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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,521

www.ngrguardiannews.com

N150

‘How Boko Haram planned to bomb Third Mainland Bridge’

By Martins Oloja, Editor

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HE security and intelligence community chiefs that talked about the vigilance that prevented the planned attack of Lagos three weeks ago failed to disclose to the public the magnitude of weapons the masterminds of the terror act had deployed for the failed operation and the main target, The Guardian’s inquiries have revealed. The Guardian Intelligence Unit learned at the weekend from the authorities concerned that apart from the deadly weapons uncovered,

• Weapons brought in fuel tankers the arrested attackers’ main target was the strategic Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos. According to revelations at the weekend, the attackers surreptitiously conveyed the weapons to Lagos inside some of the numerous fuel tankers that ply major roads to Nigeria’s former capital and indeed Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre. The Guardian learnt at the weekend that indeed the Federal and Lagos State authorities were quite startled that

the masterminds of the planned terror act could pile up weapons of mass destruction in Lagos, generally considered the safest haven for investment at the moment in Nigeria. It was learnt that the Lagos State authorities, including the governor, were shown the illegal arms that the security and intelligence community’s interagency co-operation confiscated recently. “They were shocked, really shocked when they were shown the

level of organisational capacity of the evil ones that planned to attack Lagos…”, a top source disclosed last week. In a related development, security chiefs that briefed the National Assembly top-shots last week about the reality of the planned attack of Lagos reportedly told the federal legislators that indeed the attackers had planned to attack Lagos to cripple the economy. Lagos is the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. For-

mer Head of State, the late Gen. Murtala Muhammed, had in 1976 recognised the strategic importance of Lagos even while he was announcing the creation of Nigeria’s new capital Abuja then. His words in a national broadcast to the nation on January 3, 1976: “…Lagos will, in the foreseeable future, remain the nation’s commercial capital and one of its nerve centres. But in terms of servicing the present infrastructure alone, the committed amount of money and effort required will be such that Lagos State will not be

ready to cope. “It will even be unfair to expect the state to bear this heavy burden on its own. It is therefore necessary for the Federal Government to continue to sustain the substantial investment in the area. The port facilities and other economic activities in the Lagos area have to be expanded. “There is need in the circumstances for the Federal Government to maintain a special defence and security arrangement in Lagos which will henceforth be designated a special area. These arrangeCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos

Thatcher dies at 87, leaders pay tributes From Mohammed Abubakar, Oghogho Obayuwana (Abuja) and Bola Olajuwon (Lagos) (with agency report) TOWERING figure in postA war British and world politics and the only woman to become British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, has died. She was 87. She suffered a stroke yesterday, her spokeswoman said. Thatcher’s funeral will be at St. Paul’s Cathedral, with full military honours, followed by a private cremation, the British prime minister’s office announced. Thatcher served from 1975 to 1990 as leader of the Conservative Party. She was called the

“Iron Lady” for her personal and political toughness. She retired from public life after a stroke in 2002 and suffered several strokes after that. She made few public appearances in her final months, missing a reception marking her 85th birthday hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron in October 2010. She also skipped the July 2011 unveiling of a statue honouring her old friend Ronald Reagan in London. In December 2012, she was hospitalised after a procedure

to remove a growth in her bladder. Thatcher won the nation’s top job only six years after declaring in a television interview, “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.” During her time at the helm

MORE ON PAGES 9 & 11 of the British government, she emphasised moral absolutism, nationalism, and the rights of the individual versus those of the state – famously declaring “There is no such thing as society” in 1987.

Nicknamed the “Iron Lady” by the Soviet press after a 1976 speech declaring that “the Russians are bent on world dominance,” Thatcher later enjoyed a close working relationship with United States (U.S.) President Reagan, with whom she shared similar conservative views. Among world leaders who paid her tributes yesterday were President Goodluck Jonathan who noted that Thatcher would be eternally honoured for serving her country with immense passion and strong-willed deter-

mination as well as for the great transformation that resulted from her economic and social policies, which laid the solid basis for the remarkable economic growth that was witnessed in Britain under the Conservative Government that she led. In his reaction, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister when Thatcher was PM, said: “Baroness Thatcher was a passionate Briton. She believed passionately in Great Britain. She was totally committed to Great CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Drama as Ebonyi Assembly rethinks impeachment of gov, deputy - Page 6

The late Thatcher


THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

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CJN berates judges, threatens sack From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja N a damning self-appraisal Iwhich of the country’s judiciary she heads, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Aloma – Mukhtar, yesterday in Abuja lamented decline in the performance of judicial officers, warning that the National Judicial Council (NJC) would not hesitate to issue marching orders against erring judges. Speaking at a refresher course for judges and Khadis by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) with the theme – Towards a Culture of Better Judgment Writing and Judgment Delivery, Aloma - Mukhtar admitted that public confidence in justice delivery is fast being eroded as a result of poor performance of judges. She said: “The National Judicial Council through its Performance Evaluation Committee is concerned about the quality and quantity of the output of judges in terms of the monthly returns they file. “Let us not deceive ourselves, the public confidence and trust in our work as judicial officers is beginning to nosedive. This is borne out partly from judgment emanating from our courts which the public or some section of it feels is rather unconscionable.” She said the NJC would not only empower the Performance Evaluation Committee, but would also rely on the committee’s performance reports to discipline them. On the discretionary powers of judges, she held that even though judges have discretion in some cases, “the exercise of any discretion in adjudication must be judicially, judiciously and reasonably done.” The CJN urged judges not to put themselves in positions where the exercise of their discretion would be considered unreasonable in the eyes of a “reasonable” member of the society. She warned that NJC would not hesitate to wield the big stick where a judge was found

to be complicit in the writing and delivery of a judgment. She said: “Of course a public uproar or placard carrying scenario against the judgment of a court of record is not to the credit of the judiciary. “I have heard the aphorism a

couple of times that in the court, the rich get bail while the poor get jailed. To what extent have we as judges turned justice as within the reach of the highest bidder?” In his own welcome address to the judges at the refresher

course, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Justice Umaru Eri asked the judges to be mindful of the fact that the sustenance of peace in the country depended to a great extent on their judicial pronouncements.

Leaders pay tributes to Thatcher CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Britain. She was prepared to do everything and anything to ensure that what she wanted for Britain she got. But she was unwilling or unable to accept that other people could also be passionate for their own countries too. That to me was a failing in her character. She wanted everybody to be committed to Great Britain. Even though she was against the apartheid policy in South Africa, it was not on moral ground. She simply thought the policy did not make economic sense. We believed then that isolating South Africa was the only way to get independence for South Africa but she did not believe in isolation; she believed in dialogue that called is ‘constructive engagement’. That was where we had disagreement. To me, the most significant negative contribution of Thatcher was dismantling of the social welfare system in Britain, which also led to dismantling of the social welfare system in the developing world, where subsidies are being cut and structural adjustment programmes are becoming fundamental objectives…Oh yes, she destroyed the concept of society. What is more, she replaced the social welfare scheme with the concept of every man for himself; whereas, society is what makes human beings human. Emphasis on individuals turns everything into animals. One other factor we should not forget about her is that she fought unnecessary war in the Falklands; she divided Britain into the haves and the have-

nots. Besides, there is a sense in which all these economic problems all over Europe can be traced to the destruction of the social welfare system. Market forces can’t work as she foisted them on the society. Essentially, that is what Thatcher and the late Ronald Reagan left for the world and we are living the consequences of their policies and legacies…” On his part, Ambassador Tao Otunla said: “Mrs. Thatcher’s domestic policies were … controversial and as a commentator wrote, she could not produce harmony at home. Nonetheless, Mrs. Thatcher was a great Tory Prime Minister and a British heroine of sorts, over the Falkland Islands.” Queen Elizabeth II and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev also paid tributes to Thatcher while current Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a trip to Europe following her death. Cameron, in an early reaction, said: “It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Lady Thatcher. We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton.” To the Buckingham Palace, “the Queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.” Also, Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, which loathed Thatcher during her decade in office, said his party “disagreed with much of what she did” but hailed her “political achievements and her personal strength”.

Gorbachev, whose good relations with Thatcher played a part in the end of the Cold War, said she would have a place in history. U.S. President Barack Obama said America had lost a “true friend” and the world a champion of freedom and liberty. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed former British prime minister as an “extraordinary leader” who played a pivotal role in overcoming Europe’s Cold War division. European Commission head, Jose Manuel Barroso, hailed her “contributions” to the growth of the EU, despite her famous reservations about continental European integration. Outside Europe, Israel’s conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the first world leaders to speak publicly of Thatcher’s passing, saying that “she was truly a great leader”. In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said her “firm determination to make reforms” was an inspiration to European leaders who are currently “facing very complex challenges that require great efforts and political courage.” Germany’s ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl praised Thatcher for her “love of freedom” and honesty. Former U.S. President George Bush lauded the late British prime minister as a “leader of rare character” and one of the “fiercest advocates of freedom” in the 20th century. French President Francois Hollande also hailed Thatcher as a “great figure who left a profound mark on the history of her country.”

Boko Haram brought weapons to Lagos in tankers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ments will be carefully worked out and written into the new constitution. Kaduna and Port Harcourt are to be accorded similar status and designated as Special Areas…” The Guardian Intelligence Unit learnt that the security chiefs told the federal legislators and their presiding officers that some of the attackers captured had hinted that the plan of attack on Lagos was deliberate: to cripple the nerve centre of Nigeria’s commerce

and industry, a city that plays host to the international air and sea ports so that Nigeria’s economy could collapse. It was said that the insurgents had reasoned that since they had successfully crippled business operations in the North, there should be federal character spread of the destruction, as even the East and South-South geo-political zones too have been negatively affected by the insurgency and kidnapping. The federal legislators were said to have been alarmed by a revelation

about the sense of urgency of the insurgents to hit Lagos “just to make Nigeria ungovernable for the present administration”, as it was revealed. It was not clear at press time whether the Federal Government’s planned amnesty programme for Boko Haram insurgents has been partly influenced by the confirmed incursion to the unofficial commercial capital that makes the money that Abuja spends. It is on record that as critics of Washington DC often say, “New York makes the money that Washington spends”, so it is with Lagos that consumes about 60 per cent of the fuel that PPMC/PPPRC imports and the rest of the country shares the remaining 40 per cent. The Guardian was told that the implications of targeting the very strategic Lagos Third Mainland Bridge have been worrisome to authorities at all levels. This is part of the reasons for the concerns in Abuja and Lagos. The Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of the three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland. The other two are the Eko and Carter Bridges. It is the longest bridge in Africa. The Third Mainland Bridge is a vital artery of the network of federal highways and commands

high patronage in Lagos Municipal Area, as it connects two of the Lagos State’s commercial hubs, Victoria Island and Ikeja. The bridge, which has about 350,000 daily users, is also a vital link to Lekki, Ajah and Epe communities. Midway through the bridge, there is a link to Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba. The bridge starts really from Oworonsoki, which is linked to the Oshodi–Apapa Expressway and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island. Built by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the bridge was commissioned by former Military President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990 and it measures about 11.8 km in length. The bridge posts huge economic relevance to the country as it saves commuters who shuttle between two of the Lagos State commercial hubs, Victoria Island and Ikeja, a lot of man-hours. It was said that the last repair of the important bridge cost the nation N1.055 billion. It is feared that if Lagos Third Mainland Bridge is destroyed, Lagos and indeed Nigeria, are destroyed. It was estimated that the cache of arms seized from the insurgents about three weeks ago when it was reported that Boko Haram entered Lagos was capable of wreaking havoc on the vital bridge in the heart of Lagos.


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THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

News Four Leadership ’s journalists detained

Health workers to join NLC’s strike over pension • To immortalise slain polio vaccinators From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja N solidarity, the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) yesterday said it would join the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in its one-day strike over the unsatisfactory administration of the pension scheme. MHWUN said its members would stay off work and join NLC and other affiliatelabour organisations to participate in a rally to Aso Rock in Abuja and the offices of respective governors. Also, the polio vaccinators who were murdered by gunmen in Kano recently will be immortalised by the health workers as part of activities to mark the second Medical and Health Workers’ week which started yesterday. As a way of giving back to the society, the over 250, 000 members of the union said they will this Thursday offer free medical services to primary schools pupil in all senatorial districts in the country.

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Stakeholders seek peace in Adamawa From Emmanuel Ande, Yola CALL was made at the weekend in Yola to check the growing insecurity in the state in the interest of peace and progress. Stakeholders at a forum organised by the Adamawa Community Advancement Initiative to discuss the recent security challenges and others issues militating against the development of the state, blamed politicians for the recent crises that had reduced the country into a cemetery of sorts. In his welcome address, the convener of the forum, Alhaji Hammani Bazza, said that the forum was conceived to provide a rare opportunity for the people to come together and explore ways to bring unity and harmony among the people in the state.

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Ijaw congress condemns killing of policemen • Aliyu asks northern govs to expose terrorists By Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) and John Ogiji (Minna) HE Ijaw National Congress (INC) has condemned the dastardly murder of twelve policemen in Bayelsa State by suspected militants. Meanwhile, as the Federal Government contemplates granting amnesty to Boko Haram sect members, the Niger State Governor and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Babangida Aliyu, has told his counterparts in the northern part of the country to unmask terrorists operating in their states so as to create the conducive environment for the implementation of the proposed amnesty programme.

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From Karls Tsokar, Abuja HE Police yesterday arrested and detained the News Leadership Editor of Newspaper and two other staff of the group for a yet to be confirmed offence. Confirming the arrest, the Editor Weekend Leadership, Sadiq Abdullateef said the arrest followed the publication of some stories that exposed the plan of the Presidency to increase the cost of petrol and intention to muzzle the opposition. Abdulateef said: “They came and asked to see the reporters and the editors. The police came with a warrant signed by a deputy commissioner of police here in Abuja, so they took away two of our reporters and the group News Editor. Since then they have being in detention and have being denied food.” The Group News Editor, Tony Amoekedu, a correspondent, Chibuzor Ukaibe and Taiwo Ogunmola are still in Police custody at the time of filing this report.

Globacom’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Mohamed Jameel (left) and the Company’s Group Executive Director, Eniola Adenuga (right), presenting the key to a brand new Range Rover Sport to the Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi (CON) at the Mike Adenuga Towers, Lagos …yesterday. It was in fulfilment of a promise by Globacom Chairman, Dr Mike Adenuga Jr. (GCON) to reward Keshi with two cars after the Super Eagles won the 2013 African Cup of Nations

APGA elects new leaders, court halts Umeh’s sack By Lawrence Njoku (Enugu), Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka) and Leo Sobechi (Abakaliki) HE All Progressives Grand T Alliance (APGA) yesterday, at its convention, elected Chief Maxi Okwu as new national chairman and 27 other officers to run the affairs of the party. Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu has granted the stay of execution of Enugu High Court judgment barring the embattled former national chairman of APGA, Mr. Victor Umeh, from parading himself as national chairman of the party pending the determination of his appeal. The convention held in the early hours of yesterday at the Women Development Centre (WDC), Awka in Anambra State was largely attended by delegates and supervised by the chairman, electoral committee, Col. James Onyejiegbu

(rtd). Some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were present to observe the exercise. Other national officers elected include: National Vice Chairman, South-East, Dr. Elijah Onwuka; National Vice chairman South-South, Ray Murphy; Deputy National Chairman, South, Chief Chris Uche; Deputy Chairman, Northwest, Alhaji Tijani idris; Deputy Chairman, North, Alhaji Sadeeq Massala; and National Secretary, Alhaji Sigir Maidoya. Okwu, who spoke to newsmen on behalf of other executive members, said the congress and convention marked a new dawn in the annals of the party. He commended all the delegates for their peaceful conduct and deep sense of commitment throughout the exer-

cise, and promised to work in collaboration with others. In his speech, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State said it was the first time any political party would conduct a successful convention without rancour or acrimony. He enjoined the new officers to carry everyone along, resolve all differences and work towards a stronger party. Obi expressed the hope that the party would consolidate on its current strength and emerge victorious in the coming elections. The newly elected Deputy National Chairman (North Central), Massala, described the convention as a good omen for the party on account of the exercise being transparent. While commending Obi for the leadership role he exhibited in restructuring the party, Massala explained that the

convention represents the opinion of the majority of party members. Former Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili, said the convention has ushered in a new era for the party, which she said has now moved to the next level. Dissatisfied with the High Court ruling delivered by the Chief Justice, Innocent Umezulike on February 8, 2013, Umeh had approached the appellate court seeking, among other reliefs, the stay of execution of the judgment, insisting that the Enugu High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter filed by a member of the party in Enugu State, Ichie Jude Okuli Ejike. Attempt by the Appeal Court judges, headed by Justice D. Galinje, to rule on the motions on March 25, 2013 was opposed by the respon-

dent, Okuli, who claimed that he was not served with the court processes upon which he was served right there in the court and the matter was adjourned to Monday April 8, 2013. At the resumed hearing yesterday, the court, after a lengthy legal arguments by counsel to the plaintiff and respondent respectively, ruled that since the court below granted reliefs not sought by the petitioner, the ruling should be stayed pending the determination of the substantive matter. The court also held that since the respondents have approached the Supreme Court, it would not delve into the appeal against the proceeding and lack of representations, adding that it would proceed with the ruling on stay of execution, which it said has merit.

‘Ekiti ACN aware of deputy gov’s sickness since 2009’ By Our Reporters HE Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Ekiti State chapter, Chief Jide Awe yesterday disclosed that the party, since 2009, had been aware of the health challenges of the deputy governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Aduni Olayinka, who died of breast cancer last Saturday. And since then, the party and the government had joined hands to give her necessary support and best medical attention available in the world. Meanwhile, more tributes have continued to pour in for Olayinka as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), its national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, the President’s wife (Dame Patience Jonathan), House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, Ministers of Police Affairs (Navy Capt. Caleb

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Olubolade) and Sport (Bolaji Abdullahi) and a former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose extolled her virtues. Others, who also paid tributes included Governors Theodore Orji (Abia) and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Lagos State ACN and House of Assembly as well as the party’s National Secretary, Senator Lawal Shuaibu. Dignitaries who paid condolence visits to the Government House in AdoEkiti included Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo) and their wives (Florence and Olukemi), the first civilian governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Chief Afe Babalola, Senator Ayo Fasanmi and Forum of Spouses of Ekiti State Officials (FoSESO) among others. Lagos State House of

Assembly yesterday observed a minute silence as they mourned Olayinka. The lawmakers at the plenary took turns to eulogise Olayinka, with the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, describing her as a quintessential figure that brought “corporate ethics and integrity into politics.” The President’s wife described Olayinka as a “compassionate and invaluable stateswoman,” who was not only an experienced and result-oriented politician but also a woman of exemplary lifestyle. “Her memory and legacy will forever be cherished and remain evergreen,” Mrs. Jonathan said. The Lagos ACN in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, also praised Olayinka for her integrity and courage. Awe, who spoke to journalists in Ado Ekiti said the late

woman who she described as “ a rare gem” did not keep the party in the dark about her health challenges because she briefed him whenever she travelled for medication. He, however, assured the public and ACN members that her death, which he said was “a big blow to ACN in Ekiti” would not disintegrate the party. According to Awe, “ we all know that when issue like this happens in Africa, people will continue to read meanings to it. They will say evil must have done its worst, that is, somebody somewhere must have killed her.” In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the ACN said: “The fact that Olayinka left her indelible footprints on the sands of time, having excelled in her chosen banking profession and later in politics, pro-

vides all those left to mourn her with some consolation. ‘’Mrs. Olayinka’s showed her strength of character and rare courage during those years that our party battled to reclaim its stolen mandate in Ekiti. She was in the forefront of the battle, despite the risks to her personal safety. She never looked back, never regretted leaving the comfort of her previous job and never wavered. ‘’When eventually we reclaimed our mandate, she was there to work with her principal to rekindle hope and restore the lost glory of a state known for the decency, integrity and deep knowledge of its people. Our party will forever remember her contributions to upholding the standards we hold dear, especially in making life more abundant for the citizenry.’’


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THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NEWS 5

Unions may sue govt over proposed scrapping of UTME From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) may sue the Federal Government if it scraps the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) as recommended by the Steve Oronsanye committee on the restructuring on federal agencies and parastatals. The unions accused government of executing policies that would worsen the unemployment situation in the country, as the scrapping of UMTE would increase the unemployed population with additional 2,000

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General Superintendent, Deeper Christian Life Bible Church, Pastor Williams Folorunso Kumuyi (left); Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun; Founder, Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo and Chief Missioner, NASFAT, Alhaji Akinbode Abdullahi, during a visit to the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta…yesterday

UBTH ready for mass burial of accident victims

Akingbola seeks leave for medical trip

From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City

By Bertram Nwannekanma

UTHORITIES of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) yesterday said it would give mass burial to the over 60 persons burnt to death last Friday in a road accident in Ugbogui, near Okada, in Edo State. According to a statement from the hospital’s spokesperson, Mrs. Kehinde Ibitoye, that move became necessary “because the bodies are badly burnt and beyond recognition. It is not in the best interest of the hospital and its immediate environs to continue to keep such bodies.” Meanwhile, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has decried the wanton loss of lives and property on the Benin-Ore Road, calling on the Federal Government to speed up rehabilitation work on the expressway to stem the ugly tide. While condoling with families of victims of last Friday’s mishap, he also appealed to motorists and other road users to abide by traffic rules and exercise patience on the road.

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‘Poor electoral process, youth unemployment crippling Nigeria’ From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Eugene Odoh, says that Nigeria is being greatly hampered by bad electoral process and government’s inability to tackle massive youth unemployment. Odoh, who spoke in Enugu yesterday during the opening ceremony of Academy of Leadership and Enterprise (ALE), urged Nigerians to proffer solutions to the crises, noting that unless government makes spirited efforts to address unemployment, the war against rising insecurity in many parts of the country would be a huge joke. He called for credible electoral process in all tiers of government, urging academics to develop interest in active politics. Odoh said: “We have to take our destiny in our hands. In some areas, charlatans are in charge of affairs, and in such cases, we should not expect magic because one cannot offer what one does not have.

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ORMER managing director of FAccess Intercontinental Bank (now Bank), Erastus Akingbola, who is standing trial for financial crimes, yesterday urged an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, to grant him leave to travel abroad for medical treatment. In an application of urgency dated March 20, 2013, and filed through his counsel, Akingbola is seeking the court’s leave to keep a medical appointment at Harley Street, London, on April 15. Akingbola and the General Manager, Tropix Security Limited, Bayo Dada, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 22-count charge of stealing and obtaining under false pretence a total sum of N30.09 billion and property of the defunct Intercontinental Bank. While he is standing trial on 17 counts of stealing, Dada is being docked on five counts of obtaining money under false pretence. However, Akingbola’s counsel,

Mike Igbokwe, said that allowing him to travel for treatment would not frustrate the EFCC’s case against the former bank chief. “The application is to enable the first defendant (Akingbola) quickly go for the treatment and come back for his trial,” Igbokwe said. “Medical appointments are fixed by doctors and this application is not meant to induce the court to exercise its discretion in the first defendant’s favour.” While urging the court to hear the application expeditiously, Igbokwe refuted the prosecution’s claim that the urgency was self-inflicted on the ground that the application was at the instance of the doctor’s appointment. Meanwhile, Akingbola and Dada had also filed two separate applications seeking for the variation of their bail terms. In their separate applications dated March 23, 2013, the defendants, through their counsel, who included Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), said the applications were necessary because

of the strenuous bail condition that requires their clients to be reporting at the EFCC office every Monday morning. They urged the court to remove that from their bail terms. However, the EFCC counsel, Mr. Godwin Obla (SAN), objected to the applications, stating that he needed more time to file a further affidavit to some of the issues raised by the defendants. In his ruling, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo held that a short adjournment was necessary for the court to decide if it would grant Akingbola permission to travel for the treatment. He, therefore, adjourned the matter till April 10 for hearing of arguments. Akingbola and Dada, who were initially arraigned by the EFCC on May 31, 2011, were rearraigned before Justice Onigbanjo following Abiru’s promotion to the Court of Appeal. The defendants pleaded not guilty to the offences against them, which the EFCC said, contravened Sections 390(7) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos, 2003, and Section 1(1) (a) of the Advance-Fee-Fraud Act, 2006.

Edo PDP alleges perjury against Oshiomhole over age From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City

• Gov’s aide says PDP leaders are ‘jobless’

DO State chapter of the E Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday alleged per-

not, they wouldn’t call a press briefing over the governor’s age. By the time we got to know it was 60 (years) written on the programme, it was too late to amend. “There is no dilemma in all these. The governor did not spend a dime on the event, friends put it up and that was why they called it colloquy.” According to Orbih, “the governor said he was born on April 4, 1953. Even last year, he celebrated 59 years and since he was sworn into office, he has consistently maintained that he was born on April 4, 1953. “If you go to the official website of Edo State, you will see it clearly. It is on Wikipedia, but on Monday (April 4), fellow governors were celebrating him on the pages of newspapers. The President of this country was informed and he sent a congratulatory message to him at 60, and of course Edo State PDP, seeing what was going on, had to

jury on Governor Adams Oshiomhole over his 60th birthday celebration when, according to the party, he was actually 61. In a press conference addressed by the Edo PDP Chairman, Dan Orbih, the party said the governor had always claimed in his public records that he was born on April 4, 1953, but that he deposed to an affidavit in May last year that he was born in 1952. He called for the governor’s removal from office. However, the governor’s Special Adviser (Media), Kassim Afegbua, described the PDP leaders in the state as “jobless (people), who for lack of anything worthwhile, pick on unimportant things,” adding: “They are busy body. The governor came out and told the whole world that he celebrated his 61st birthday. “The PDP people are jobless, if

come out to celebrate him the first time you see opposition party celebrate someone in power.” He added: “We believed that the governor was 60, but as a responsible party, we searched to discover whether he was saying the truth. We discovered that the governor, precisely on May 4, 2012, went to the High Court to swear to an affidavit to the effect that he was born on April 4, 1952. “You can now appreciate the dilemma we are facing. In the history of the world, no man has been born in two separate years. This is perjury, it is Labour rascality and we have our children watching and democracy can never be deepened that way, when leaders lie unperturbed. “The governor, throughout the event, never stood up to correct the misnomer. This is a challenge to us all and we have no choice than to ask him to resign immediately. Adams Oshiomhole must go!”

• 2,000 job losses if implemented entrants. Briefing the media in Abuja yesterday, the branch’s NASU Chairman, Samuel Azaba, said the Federal Government cannot dismiss a body that was statutorily established by an Act of Parliament without approaching the National Assembly, and the action, if executed, would leave the unions with no choice than to approach the courts. He submitted that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has, since inception, brought sanity and orderliness into the admissions process. According to him, with the capacity to absorb only about 600,000 out of about 1.7 million candidates that seek admission into tertiary institutions annually, what was clearly needed was more adequately funded institutions to absorb more students and advance the course of development. “Clearly, what our country needs today are more institutions to cater for the army of candidates looking for admissions,” he noted, adding: “We are not even spending the 26 per cent of our budget on education as recommended by UNESCO and yet somebody will rise and recommend the scrapping of JAMB.” Arguing for a body to enforce examination standards in the country, Azaba posited that the establishment of JAMB had minimised mediocrity and nepotism, which hitherto characterised the admission process in the country. He added: “Scrapping UTME will foment grounds for mediocrity, nepotism, ethnic and religious sentiments in the tertiary institutions since

Scrapping UTME will foment grounds for mediocrity, nepotism, ethnic and religious sentiments in the tertiary institutions since their individual examinations and attendant admission processes will expectedly be fraught with questionable and discriminatory practices their individual examinations and attendant admission processes will expectedly be fraught with questionable and discriminatory practices.” Azaba recalled that the scrapping of Teachers’ Training College (TTC) in the 1980s has today given rise to shortage of teachers in schools, especially at primary and secondary levels. He further berated the Oronsanye committee for prioritising money over the future of Nigerian youths and development. “We are still bemused over the hypocrisy and claims by the Oronsanye-led committee that it would save over N800 billion for the government between 2012 and 2015 when the education sector is evidently underfunded,” he said. “What kind of policy would starve a sensitive sector like education to save costs? “We, therefore, appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan, the National Assembly, parents and guardians and stakeholders in the education sector to urgently stand against the Oronsanye committee report to save our country from another bout of national embarrassment”, he added.


6 News

Drama as Ebonyi Assembly rethinks impeachment of gov, deputy From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki MILD drama played out on A the floor of Ebonyi State House of Assembly yesterday when the legislators backtracked from their earlier plots to impeach Governor Martin Elechi and his deputy, Dave Umahi. The Guardian investigations revealed that when words went out to the arrowheads of the impeachment plot that Elechi was in the know and have actually noted with pain the ugly designs in the Assembly, the legislators decided to humour the executive with a motion for a vote of confidence on the governor and his deputy. But matters took a different turn when the lawmaker representing Ezza North/West state constituency, Mr. Enyi C. Enyi, (ANPP) opposed the motion, saying that the vote of confidence on governor and his deputy, was premature considering the rate of uncompleted projects across the state. Undeterred by Enyi’s opposition, the member representing Ohaukwu North state constituency, Hon. Frank Nwaka Onwe, (PDP) insisted that the vote of confidence be passed on the governor and his deputy upon which unease settled among the legislators. Enyi, who is also the minority leader of the House, raised his voice lamenting the poor condition of roads within the state capital, especially the road leading to the State House of Assembly and described the about-face of the legislators as a hasty decision. He said the House ought to first of all properly evaluate how far the present administration had affected the life of the average Ebonyi citizen. His words: “Most of the projects put in place by the present administration are yet to be completed. The ongoing water schemes are yet to be completed, so we are yet to access its impact on the people of the state. It is clear that the road leading to the State House of Assembly is in shamble. Therefore, it is premature at this point for the state house of Assembly to pass a vote of confidence on Governor Martin Elechi and

his deputy.” However, as gained space, Onwe contended that the government had contributed immensely in delivering democracy dividends to the people of the state in the area of water, agriculture, construction of the Ocho Udo

City, maintenance of peace and security throughout the state among other projects and programmes. Seconding the motion, member representing Onicha East state constituency, Hon. Odefa O. Odefa stressed that Elechi’s contributions

towards the development of the state remained unequalled, as some of his projects had the capacity to transcend generations yet unborn when completed. When he felt satisfied that members had exhausted their contributions, the

THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Speaker, Mr. Chukwuma Nwazunkwu, put the matter to question and the motion was unanimously adopted even as the Speaker directed the Clerk, Mrs. Rose Nwoporo to do a memo to the state governor on the resolution of state House of Assembly.

Fear of reprisal grips ex-militants in Bayelsa From Willie Etim, Yenagoa HERE were signs of fear and T panic among the fold of exmilitant leaders in Bayelsa State following the alleged killing of 12 policemen by some ex-militant youths over alleged case of illegal deductions from their monthly amnesty allowances by their leader, Comrade Kile Selky Torughedi known along the waterways and creeks of the state as Young Shall Grow.

The Guardian gathered that some ex-militant leaders including Comrade Eris Paul popularly known as Ogunboss, Dr. Ebikabowei Victor-Ben known as Boyloaf, Pastor Reuben Wilson known as General Pastor and many others have increased the numbers of armed security around them to forestall any attack on them. Wilson, in an interview in Yenagoa yesterday on the development said though the killing of the policemen was a dastard-

ly act and condemned in totality, the killing could happen to any ex-militant leader in the state due to their involvement in the monthly deductions from the allowances of their followers. According to Wilson, the media should dismiss the claim of responsibility for the killing by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND),”our lives are in danger when visiting our areas, anything can still happen to

another leader, but I don’t think I have any problem with my boys.” “We, freedom fighters in Bayelsa are saddened that such an incident happened in the state. We want to state that the purported MEND claim is false. MEND is not involved and the amnesty office is not involved. This is pure misunderstanding between a leader and his boys. The killing is an attempt to rubbish the amnesty programme of the Federal Government.”

Court adjourns Braithwaite, bank’s suit to April 16 By Joseph Onyekwere LAGOS High Court, A Igbosere on Monday said it would on April 16 hear the application filed by the Standard Chartered Bank in response to the amended claims filed by the renowned Lagos lawyer and politician, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite against the bank. The judge, Doris Okuwobi, who gave the date yesterday asked the bank to use the opportunity of the adjournment to perfect their applications by complying with court rules before they can be heard. Braithwaite did not oppose the defence application when the judge sought his views, but said he prefers a short date. The elder statesman had declared that the 14-storey building and five level car park being constructed close to his residence in Victoria Island by the Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria Limited is illegal. Braithwaite’s declaration is contained in a 34-paragraph affidavit deposed on his behalf by Ismaila Shaib Usman and filed before a Lagos High Court, Igbosere. The affidavit is in support of

his amended pleadings where he sought the order of court to stop the commercial bank from constructing such building in a residential area. The elder statesman averred that the development permit, which the defendant purportedly obtained from the state government authorising a mixed development in the area, was invalid and unlawful. “The claimant further avers categorically and puts the defendants to the strictest proof otherwise that the building approval/development permit allegedly obtained by it is unlawful, invalid, null and void, having been procured without compliance with the requirements of the law”, he stated, adding that at the trial, he will prove that the underlying processes and relevant procedural preconditions to applying for and obtaining requisite development permit were not met by the defendants. He therefore insisted that the purported change of user obtained by the defendant for the purpose of erecting the structure was totally unlawful. Braithwaite said he would rely on the evidence of build-

ing experts who undertook a thorough environmental impact audit of the building and turned in a damning report. He averred: “The claimant sometime in December 2012 commissioned a team of renowned international scholars and experienced architects, physical planners, urban designers, landscape architects, to undertake a thorough Environmental Impact Audit (EIA) of the defendants building vis a vis its immediate environment with particular reference to claimants residence. “The report of the EIA, prepared and submitted by Urbach Tropical Designs (Architects, Physical Planners, Urban Designers, Landscape Architects, consultants), represented by Prof. Olaniyi Samuel Okedele, Dr. Adejumo Tunji, and Wilkey Oladipupo is hereby pleaded and shall be relied upon at the trial, and that the evidence to be given by these experts shall also include the use of electronic devices i.e computer video recording and projector, notice of which is hereby given.” Also, Okedele in his witness’ statement on oath swore that

their findings include, but not limited to the adverse impacts of the defendants multi-level premises on the claimant’s residential property, particularly in the area of solar rights, air quality, noise vibration, wind and weather. “That there are other serious negative environmental impacts in our report, which we shall demonstrate by electronic videos and projector at the trial of this matter”, he said in the 11-paragraph statement. Braithwaite is seeking a declaration that the construction of a 14-storey building at No. 142 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island and a five-level park at Plot 141 Elias Close, Victoria Island by the bank is unlawful and damaging to his rights. He is also seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the bank or its agents from using or causing or permitting to be used for any purpose other than residential, the said site. The claimant is demanding N10 billion as general damages for nuisance caused due to the noise and pollution of the bank’s giant electric generating sets, which led to his great discomfort over the period of 10 years. Besides, he asked for interest at the rate of

Army conducts training April 19 in Jos From Isa Abdulsalami, Jos HE 3 Armoured Division Garrison Jos is conducting a two-week range classification exercise for its officers and soldiers at Miango Shooting Range from today to Friday, April 19. A statement by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations of the Division, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Idachaba, said the exercise would commence from 6a.m. to 6p.m. daily, adding that during the period there will be massive movement of troops and equipment. The statement added “The general public is advised not to panic on seeing troops moving and on hearing the sound of gunshots within the range area, as the movement and gunshots are routine military training usually in the Nigerian Army. On our part, we have taken adequate measures to ensure the safety of lives and property during the period.

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Group tasks Jonathan on electoral promises to S’East From Saxone Akhaine, Northern Bureau Chief EMBERS of the SouthM East Revival Group (SERG) yesterday accused President Goodluck Jonathan of failing to keep to his promises of delivering the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. National Coordinator of SERG, Chief Willy Ezugwu, in a statement yesterday, while urging members of the group to evaluate Jonathan’s on his performance to determine if he should be supported for the 2015 Presidency, said that “any person who is genuinely of Igbo extraction must be prepared to vote out Jonathan at the next election after the series of promises he made to garner votes from the region have not been fulfilled”. Ezugwu explained that “it is now glaring that Igbo people were deceived in 2011 as all his actions since coming into office have served to only further impoverish the one group of people who genuinely voted for him going by election figures”, stressing that “all that the people of the South East have to show for supporting the President in good faith are phantom projects”. Said Ezugwu: “The construc-

NGO petitions Ogun House over land use charge bill From Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisation (NGO), Nigeria Association for The Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) has raised objections to Ogun State Government’s proposed law on “Land Use and Amenities Charge”. The bill is currently receiving an accelerated debate at the State House of Assembly. NACRO is kicking against the bill on grounds that if passed it would be socially unjust, unfair, inequitable, anti-people and undemocratic. NACRO’s Chairman, Mr. Gbenga Gbesan, in a petition to the State House of Assembly, insisted that the government’s action was unconstitutional and therefore null, void and of no effect and therefore urged the House not to pass the bill.

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THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NEWS

Mixed reactions trail Edo NULGE election

EFCC to file more charges against oil marketer

From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City OME aspirants in Edo State SUnion Chapter of the National of Local Government Employees (NULGE) are calling for the postponement of the state delegates election scheduled to hold today. However, the state chairman, Pat Okeranlen has called on members across the state to work together for the union and show professionalism in the discharge of their duties and services to the association. He stated this when he briefed journalists on the state’s delegates’ conference where he promised a credible exercise. He commended members for the current peaceful atmosphere currently existing in the councils and called on members to be alive to their responsibilities. Okeranlen said the choice of delegates was done through a stipulated process as enshrined in the association’s constitution.

Magistrate accuses firm of aiding suspect From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City N Ekiadolor Magistrate A Court presided by Magistrate Franca Oghoator yesterday ordered the management of a haulage company, Mbonny Technical Services in Port Harcourt to produce one of its staff, Osinachi Alaribe who is accused of jumping bail after his involvement in an accident along the Ekiadolor area of the Benin –Sagamu-Lagos road in September last year that claimed several lives and property worth millions of naira. The accident involved a contractor with Punch Newspapers, Segun James who is in charge of circulation of the paper in the SouthSouth states. The magistrate said the activities of the haulage company to keep the accused from appearing in court amounts to aiding and abetting of the said driver, adding that it is a clear display of contempt of court process.

Uduaghan seeks security agencies, states closer ties From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba S a way of tackling the A numerous security challenges currently bedeviling the country, Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has called for cooperation between states and security agencies. Uduaghan, who spoke yesterday in Asaba during a visit by participants of the executive intelligence Management Course 6 of the Institute For Security Studies, Abuja who were on a study tour of the state, remarked that the involvement of the states in tackling the security challenges of the country would make the nation safer and more secured. According to him, states are in a better position to understand the security challenges in their areas and the inner workings of security at the states and national levels, adding that when the states are deeply involved in whatever security programmes being carried out, the nation and the states will be properly secured and safe.

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By Bertram Nwannekanma HE Economic and T Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yester-

Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko (right) signing the condolence register; his Ekiti State counterpart, Kayode Fayemi; his wife, Bisi, and wife of Ondo State Governor Oluwakemi, during a condolence visit to the Ekiti State Government House, over the demise of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Fumilayo Olayinka, in Ado-Ekiti…yesterday

PDP faults INEC report on convention From Adamu Abuh and Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja

APC chiefs fine-tune constitution, manifesto, logo

EOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday expressed concerns on the motives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) report, which picked holes in its March 2012 national convention that produced the party’s current leadership. INEC, in a report sent to the party yesterday described the convention as clearly unacceptable because it breached the commission’s guidelines. INEC, however, approved the procedures of the convention in respect of only four members of the National Working Committee (NWC). The four are the National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, former National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former National Auditor, Bode Mustapha and the party’s Financial Secretary, Bolaji

Anani. The election of the remaining 14 members of the NWC, according to INEC, was faulty and irregular. This development is coming as chieftains of the All Progressive Congress (APC) yesterday met behind closed doors to fine-tune the party’s constitution, manifesto and logo. A member of the merger committee of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Lai Mohammed who fielded questions from reporters in Abuja acknowledged that the parley was in line with actualising the goal of registering the APC as a viable political party. Said he: “As I am speaking to you now, everybody is here and we are fine-tuning our manifestoes because before you write a letter to INEC, you must be ready not only with

P

the resolution of your party that you have merged, you must have an approved constitution, manifesto and slogan of the party must also be attached to the letter. This is what we are trying to do.” Mohammed who is the national publicity secretary of the ACN alluded that the PDP is masterminding the latest attempt to block the registration of the APC. Mohammed assured that members of the ACN, ANPP, and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) would leave no stone unturned to actualise the merger and registration of the APC. According to him: “We know who is financing them, we know who is behind them. When the fake APC fell by the way, they have to try another thing.

Global Fund targets $15b to fight AIDS, TB, malaria By Chukwuma Muanya, Lagos, Emeka Anuforo, Abuja, Bashir Bello, Kaduna

• WHO unveils N884b polio plan • Nigeria records no new case

HE Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and T Malaria (Global Fund) and its

gency action plans in the remaining endemic countries, and summarise the key elements of the new Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018. Also, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunisation (SAGE) is expected today, in Geneva, Switzerland, begin a three-day meeting on immunisation. SAGE is expected to review the global polio situation. This is coming on the heels of information that Nigeria did not report new case of the Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in the past week. According to the Weekly Polio Update of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the total number of WPV cases for 2013 remains 10. The total number of WPV cases for 2012 remains 122. The most

partners are stepping up efforts to curb AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, noting yesterday that it was working towards raising the sum of $15 billion, and has therefore convened a meeting of donors to actualise this. The amount, according to a statement issued yesterday, would enable it boost the work in countries where the three infectious diseases have ravaged in the 2014-2016 period. Effective funding, the organisation said, means that collective efforts could turn what scientists call high-transmission epidemics into low-level endemics, essentially making them manageable health problems instead of global emergencies. Meanwhile, as part of efforts to eradicate the Wild Polio Virus (WPV), the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday rolled out a five-year endgame strategic plan 2013 to 2018 on polio worth N884 billion. The new plan is contained in the report on polio eradication to the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) in May. It provides an overview of the latest global epidemiological situation, reviews the impact of the national emer-

recent WPV case had onset of paralysis on February 24 (WPV1 from Borno). In a report released yesterday by the WHO secretariat, the budget which was unveiled by the Executive Board at its 132nd session provides additional guidance on addressing the short and long-term risks to attaining the milestones of the new polio eradication and endgame strategic plan 2013–2018, particularly in the areas of: vaccination of travellers; fast-tracking access to affordable inactivated poliovirus vaccination options for all countries; strengthening routine immunisation; and legacy planning, including that for the human resource infrastructure currently funded by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

day told an Ikeja High Court, Lagos that it would be filing additional proof of evidence against an oil marketer, Rowaye Jubril and his company, Brila Energy Ltd to show their roles in the fuel subsidy scam. EFCC counsel, Mr. Seidu Atteh, indicated this at the resumed trial of Jubril and his company before Justice Lateefat Okunnu over the fuel subsidy infractions. The additional proof to be filed and served the parties before the next adjourned date will help the prosecution to prove its case against the marketer. Earlier, the branch manager of Inspectorate Marine Services Limited, Chidi Onyejekwe in his testimony had stated that the oil marketer forged some documents to obtain the N963.7 million subsidy payment. The inspectorate investigated the alleged fraud in the imported product. According to Onyejekwe, the inspectorate has a system of keeping records in connection to the importation of petroleum products but there were no records of Brila Energy Ltd’s transactions in their system. The witness also stated that his signatures never appeared in any of the documents issued to the marketer. But the defence counsel, R.A. Oluyede had while crossexamining the witness showed him some docu-

ments signed by the inspectorate and issued to his clients. The documents that were allegedly signed by the officials of the directorate included a certificate of cargo transfer and a certificate of origin. The counsel argued that the documents, which were appropriately issued and stamped by the directorate, could not be forged. Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned till June 13. It will be recalled that another prosecution witness, Mr. Lawal Ahmed had at the last adjourned date told the court that Jubril did not import the petroleum products for which he obtained the subsidy payment. Ahmed was part of the special team set up by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the fuel subsidy fraud. The witness alleged that Jubril had obtained the money from the Federal Government of Nigeria for the purported importation of 13,500 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). According to the witness, it was discovered during investigations that Brila Energy had forged some documents, which were presented to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to obtain the payment. “The documents included Gasoline Analysis and Certificate of Quantity of the Mother Vessel, MT Overseas Lima, which was said to have been issued by Saybolt Nigeria Ltd.


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THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

WORLDREPORT

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MARGARET THATCHER (OCTOBER 13, 1925 - APRIL 8, 2013)

Exit of ‘Iron Lady’ who changed British, global landscapes ARGARET Thatcher was a M towering figure in British and global political space, but yet divisive. She rose from humble grocer’s daughter to the woman who changed the face of Britain and the world, helped tear down the Iron Curtain as well as the Cold War. The first British female prime minister, who died following a stroke yesterday at 87, was an arch-conservative and freemarketeer, and to her supporters, she was uncompromising in defending Britain’s interests abroad. And to borrow the words of United States (U.S.) President Barack Obama, she was a “true friend of America”. Thatcher was equally “an extraordinary leader in the global politics of her time,” thanks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Equally too, Thatcher divided opinion like few other politicians, Agence France Presse (AFP) wrote yesterday. Right-wingers hail her as having got Britain working again after the economic crises of the 1970s. But with her demise yesterday, few tears will be shed for her in Britain’s industrial heartland, where her policies left coalmines redundant and the men who toiled in them bloodied in violent clashes with the police. The left accused Thatcher of dismantling traditional industry, claiming that her reforms frayed the fabric of society. But her most famous riposte to critics of her economic policies summed up her straighttalking, no-nonsense style. “To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the Uturn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning,” she said in 1980. On the world stage, she built an extremely close “special relationship” with U.S. president Ronald Reagan which helped bring down the curtain on Soviet communism. In 1982, she dispatched a naval taskforce to retake the Falkland Islands after they were invaded by Argentinian troops – the victory also

helped her to reverse sinking poll numbers and win the next general election as she rode a wave of patriotism. She fiercely opposed closer ties with Europe, reportedly banging her handbag on the table at a 1984 European summit to demand a budget rebate for Britain. But in her final years, Thatcher – the 20th century’s longest continuous occupant of 10 Downing Street, from 1979 to 1990 — withdrew from public life as dementia took hold following a series of minor strokes. Where once her distinctive voice had rung out, there was silence. Her daughter, Carol, made no secret of the fact that the former premier had to be repeatedly reminded that her husband Denis – a gin-loving businessman to whom she was married for more than 50 years – had died in 2003. Thatcher briefly – albeit unwittingly – burst back into the public eye when Meryl Streep portrayed both her rise to power and her period of failing health in the Hollywood film “The Iron Lady”, which hit the screens in December 2011. Behind the bouffant hair, trademark handbag and schoolma’am voice was an uncompromising Conservative who regularly cut her male colleagues and opponents down to size with a sharp tongue and even sharper political brain. She remains the benchmark for Conservative politicians such as current Prime Minister David Cameron. Thatcher was born Margaret Hilda Roberts on October 13, 1925, in the market town of Grantham, eastern England, where her father ran a grocery store. After grammar school and a degree in chemistry at Oxford University, she married Denis in 1951, and two years later had

twins, Carol and Mark. She was first elected to the House of Commons, the lower chamber of parliament, in 1959 and succeeded former Prime Minister Edward Heath as opposition Conservative leader in 1975 before winning a general election four years later. Her enduring legacy can be summed up as “Thatcherism” — a set of policies which supporters say embraced the individual, promoted personal freedom and broke down class divisions that had riven Britain for centuries. Her critics say she recklessly pursued her aims. When Argentina invaded the remote Falklands, Thatcher dispatched troops and ships, securing victory in two months. The human cost was high –255 British troops and 649 Argentinian soldiers lost their lives – but the retaking of the Falklands restored wavering public confidence in her leadership and the Conservatives were re-elected in the 1983 election. Buoyed by the victory, her government crushed a coalminers’ strike against pit closures in 1984-85 after a bitter year-long struggle. In Yorkshire, Lancashire, the Midlands and south Wales, police fought pitched battles with striking miners, but Thatcher stood firm. As a result of the dispute, union powers were severely curbed. In 1984, she narrowly escaped death when an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb planted at her hotel in Brighton nearly killed her and her cabinet at the Conservatives’ yearly conference. Three years later, she led the Tories to a third consecutive general election win in 1987. Internationally, Thatcher made her mark quickly, forging a close personal and political relationship with Reagan

To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.

Thatcher in quotes ARGARET Thatcher, who M died aged 87 following a stroke yesterday, was noth-

Thatcher in the Cold War stand-off with the Soviet Union. It was a Soviet newspaper that dubbed her the “Iron Lady”. But it was the same uncompromising style that initially earned her respect which proved her undoing. In 1990, soon after she delivered an incendiary House of Commons statement vowing “No! No! No!” to increased powers for Europe, one of her closest allies, Geoffrey Howe, quit with a devastating resignation speech, which blamed her entrenched Euroscepticism. She faced a leadership challenge shortly afterwards and stepped down herself after failing to receive the expected level of support. She was replaced by her finance minister John Major. After a tearful departure from Downing Street, she was appointed to the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber of parliament, as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven – the name of the area where she grew up. She also wrote her memoirs, delivered lectures around the world and continued to make

her views known as a self-confessed political “backseat driver” before bad health took its toll. In her final years, a string of politicians from across the political spectrum paid tribute to her, pointing to the emergence of a consensus in Britain over her achievements. Labour’s former premier Gordon Brown, once one of her harshest critics, described Thatcher as a “conviction politician” and held talks with her when he took power in 2007. But her public appearances became more and more scarce as her health deteriorated. She spent several spells in hospital battling a series of illnesses, most recently being admitted in December 2012 to remove a growth from her bladder. Thatcher did, however, live long enough to see another Conservative prime minister in Downing Street after a gap of 13 years — albeit with Cameron at the head of a coalition government after the 2010 election.

ing if not quotable, according to agency reports. Below are some of the former British prime minister’s most famous phrases: – “I speak as a very young Tory, and we are entitled to speak, for it is the people of my generation who will bear the brunt of the change from the trials of the past into calmer channels.” (Thatcher, then Oxford University student Margaret Roberts, in her first recorded political speech, June 1945) – “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.” (Thatcher on BBC television, March 1973) – “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” (Attributed) – “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope... There is now work to be done.” (Thatcher quotes Saint Francis of Assisi and recently murdered Conservative member of parliament Airey Neave on her first day in Downing Street, May 1979) – “We are simply asking to have our own money back” although it is famously often misquoted as: “I want my money back.” (Thatcher demands a budget rebate for Britain at a 1984 European summit) – “You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.” (Thatcher holds her ground on her criticised economic policies at the Tories’ annual conference, October 1980) – “Just rejoice at that news and congratulate our forces and the marines... Rejoice.” (Thatcher hails the April 1982 recapture of South Georgia in the Falkland Islands from Argentina. Often misquoted as: “Rejoice! Rejoice!” April 1982) – “I came to office with one deliberate intent: to change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society — from a give-it-to-me, to a do-it-yourself nation. A get-up-and-go, instead of a sit-back-and-waitfor-it Britain.” (Thatcher outlines her political philosophy to business leaders. February 1984)

Life, times of UK’s first female prime minister CTOBER 13, 1925: Margaret Hilda O Roberts is born in Grantham, eastern England. – October 1943: Begins chemistry degree at Oxford University. – 1950: Fights and loses her first parliamentary election to be MP for Dartmouth. – December 13, 1951: Marries businessman Denis Thatcher. – August 15, 1953: Birth of twin children Carol and Mark. – October 8, 1959: Harold Macmillan’s Conservative Party comes to power. Thatcher elected Conservative member of parliament for Finchley, north London. – October 15, 1964: Re-elected despite Labour Party victory; becomes in turn opposition spokeswoman on pensions, then housing, treasury (deputy to finance spokesman), energy, transport and education. – June 19, 1970: Conservatives regain power; Thatcher appointed education and science secretary. – February 11, 1975: Thatcher elected Conservative leader after party enters

opposition. – June 5, 1975: 67.2 percent of Britons vote in favour of remaining in European Community; Thatcher campaigned for “yes” camp. – May 3, 1979: Conservatives win election landslide after financial, social problems of Labour government; Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female prime minister. IN OFFICE – April 2, 1982: Argentina’s military junta invades Falkland Islands; a furious Thatcher sends troops and ships to recapture them. – June 14, 1982: Argentina surrenders; Thatcher’s popularity soars. – June 9, 1983: Thatcher leads Conservatives to re-election. – March 12, 1984: Coal miners’ strike begins in northern England; drags on for a year before miners accept sweeping pit closures. – June 25-26, 1984: Britain wins rebate on its European Community budget contributions. – October 12, 1984: Irish Republican Army bombs Thatcher’s hotel at

Conservative annual conference in Brighton, southern England; she escapes injury but five others are killed. – November 20, 1984: State-owned British Telecom is privatised. – December 16, 1984: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meets Thatcher; afterwards she calls him as a man she “can do business with”. – December 19, 1984: Thatcher signs joint declaration to return Hong Kong to China in July 1997. – June 11, 1987: Thatcher leads Conservatives to third straight term in office. – March 31, 1990: Riots in central London lead to demise of muchdespised local community charge on property or “poll tax”. – August 9, 1990: Thatcher commits Britain to US-led war with Iraq after dictator Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. – November 28, 1990: Resigns after revolt amongst Conservatives over Europe policy. POST-POLITICS – June 30, 1992: Takes her place in the upper House of Lords as Baroness

Thatcher of Kesteven. – February 5, 1994: Becomes chancellor of College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, the oldest university in the United States after Harvard. – May 1997: Endorses young protege William Hague as he becomes new Conservative leader. – March 26, 1999: Pays controversial visit to right-wing former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet, held under house arrest outside London as he faced extradition to Spain on human rights charges. – March 22, 2002: Doctors, worried by a string of small strokes, order Thatcher to cease public speaking on health grounds. – June 26, 2003: Husband Denis Thatcher dies. – June 11, 2004: Attends funeral in Washington for former U.S. president and ideological soulmate Ronald Reagan, who she hails in a video-taped eulogy as a great American who “won the Cold War”. – October 13, 2005: Celebrates her 80th

birthday with a party at a chic London hotel with Queen Elizabeth II among the guests. – December 7, 2005:Hospitalised for a night in London after complaining of feeling faint. Daughter Carol later reveals Thatcher suffers from memory loss. – March 7, 2008: Spends night in hospital after feeling unwell at a parliamentary function. – June 2009: Spends two weeks in hospital after breaking left arm in a fall at home. – June 8, 2010: After winning the May general election, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes her back to Downing Street for a reception in her honour. – October 14, 2010: Misses her 85th birthday party at Downing Street with flu before being admitted to hospital with an infection. – December 20, 2012: Admitted to hospital after procedure to remove a growth from her bladder. – April 8, 2013: Dies aged 87 following a stroke.


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THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

POLITICS 11

Politics It is never easy to govern Nigeria …Margaret Thatcher In her book: Margaret Thatcher: The Downing Street Years, the late British Prime Minister looked back on her relationship with some African leaders and visits to Nigeria and other parts of the continent. Excerpts: VERYWHERE I went I was struck by E the good humoured reception I received. The bitterness of the 1950s had clearly been forgotten. It was an encouraging start. I then went on to make a fleeting visit to Nigeria. I arrived at Lagos on the morning of Thursday 7 January and had talks with General Babangida. He was a forceful, intelligent man, trying to put Nigeria ‘s economy on to a sounder footing and in due course, we hoped, to create the conditions for a restoration of democracy. We had helped Nigeria in its dealings with the IMF and this was appreciated. General Babangida seemed to be open to my suggestions about the need to curb Nigeria’s budget deficit, cut inflation and provide reassurances for foreign investors. We also saw eye to eye about the dangers of Soviet and Cuban involvement in Africa. Visit to Nigeria The next day I flew to the very north of the country to attend a Durbar as the guest of the Emir of Kano It was a difficult landing because of the cloud of fine Sahara sand suspended in the air. Denis was sitting in the aeroplane cockpit and he told me afterwards that there had only been a relatively brief period of visibility before landing. This real danger was, however, entirely subordinated to one manufactured by the British press. On the way up to the Emir’s box, from where I was to view the horses and camels parading below, I lost contact

with the rest of my staff who were jostled by an overenthusiastic crowd and then treated with some vigour by anxious security guards confused about their identity. Bernard Ingham received a none to gentle rifle butt in the stomach. Later in the day an anxious Nigel Wicks, my principal private sectary at No. 1, rang up to see whether we were still in one piece. In fact – unaware of the confusion – I had been enjoying myself hugely, holding onto as rather fabulous hat I was wearing with the Nigerian national colours on it as horsemen charged in a cloud of dust up to where the Emir, Denis and I were seated. At the end I was presented with a hoursemuself as a gift; bt, arguing that it would be happier with its own hourse acquaintances than in a British stable. I prevailed on my hosts to keep it for me. The success of this visit convinced me that I should make a more ambitious foray into Africa the following year and this was now arranged. I would go first to Morocco – which is essentially part of the Arab world – and then onto Zimbabwe, Malawi, possibly Namibia, and Nigeria once more. I already had the greatest regard for King Hassan of Morocco, who was always underrated as a player in Middle Eastern politics. I had met him in London two years earlier when he was a state visit. On this occasion, our talk was mainly of the Arab-Israeli dispute and military cooperation between Britain and Morocco. As well as being enormously cultivated – he speaks half a dozen languages and can make an impromptu speech in any of them – the King has an icy nerve. When I heard from him about the measures he took to protect himself from further assassination attempts I understood that he, like me, understood what it meant to live as a terrorist target. Then I flew to Lagos. This was just a

Thatcher stop-over visit and General Babangida came to the airport to have lunch with me. I was glad to learnt that he was not just pressing ahead with, but actually toughening, the economic reform programme on which Nigeria had

embarked. With our support, Nigeria now had the approval of the IMF and its main western creditors and had secured a rescheduling of debt to its public sector creditors. It is never an easy task to govern a

county like Nigeria –it is a somewhat artificial creation divided between the Muslim North and the Christian and pagan South – let alone to do so under conditions of economic austerity.

Thatcher is a Nigerian By Eluem Emeka Izeze The opinion below was first published in The Guardian of Saturday, February 1, 1986 RS. Margaret Thatcher is the British Prime M Minister. You know that, of course. What you do not know is that she is a Nigerian. I tell you, only a Nigerian can be as accident prone as Mrs. Thatcher has become in her over six years as British Prime Minister and still come out of it with additional feathers to her hat. She, like Nigerian leaders, actually leave you wondering whether she is a saint or villain . Usually, like Nigerian leaders too, you credit her with being both. Who wouldn’t? Now, let’s get down to Mrs. Thatcher’s admiringly Nigerian ways. (Remember that everything Nigerian should be adjudged good, in the spirit of patriotism of course}. By now, you have become familiar with her iron resolve which only America’s Ronald Reagan, and of late the Soviet Union’s charming Charlie, Mikhail Gorbachev can dissolve. Now, that is every inch a Nigerian attitude. The only difference is that here, this trait manifests itself more in men than women. It is only here that a leader stupidly steers the affairs of even the littlest state enterprise with a frightening, sycophancy that marks him out

a mile away as just what he is: incompetent! Like Mrs. Thatcher, the Nigerian is unshaken by a cacophony of voices, otherwise pleasantly called public opinion. No amount of radio or television jingle would dissuade him once his mind is made up – usually to do the wrong thing! Of course, if you have iron will , then you must develop a skin thicker than iron, such that one only hears one’s own voice and nothing else. Mrs. Thatcher is also scandal-prone as are her aides. That again is in the best tradition of Nigerian leaders. Remember how easily the iron dissolved out of the British leader when it was discovered that her son, Mark was “missing” in a hot North African desert. You also remember that randy Mark soon turned up in the company of a lady. Perhaps, he must have wondered what all the fuss about him was. You remember too, the Parkinson affair, don’tyou? The love affair between one of Mrs. Thatcher’s cabinet ministers and his secretary? Of course, Cecil Parkinson is not a Nigerian, and he did not make pretences to being one. As a result, he resigned or put more subtly, Mrs. Thatcher, after backing him for a while (like the true Nigerian} asked him to go. The credit for that act however, went to the British public who persisted in their interest in the Parkinson affair. But I tell

you, that again is a shame, because here in Nigeria, it is not only that no one ever resigns for immoral (or any} acts, but the public don’t think that it is worth staking interest in for long. Now, you know how many times the newspaper had whispered to you about love affairs in high places. Of course like whispers that they were, they went unnoticed or unheard . And if you expected that those people in high places should be quietly shoved out, you are mistaken. They actually ended up getting a better posting. That, I tell you, sends one silently loud message: that morals have nothing to do with governing men ,especially Nigerians. The true Nigerian leader would stuff his ear with tonnes of cotton wool, blind-fold himself with a thick black clothing and seal his lips with the best cellotape around. That way, he does not hear anything, he is blind to light and of course, he is voluntarily dumb. How then do you expect him to hear, say or see things about his aides or even himself? Perhaps, Mrs. Thatcher’s greatest asset as a Nigerian is her staying in power and knack for pulling wool over the public’s eyes. Each time there is a fast-approaching tide, she picks one of her ministers and hands him in, to appease the tiding goddess. The buck, as they say, never stops at Mrs. Thatcher’ office. Did I say that it was her greatest asset as a

Nigerian? Oh, yes. This is one country where those who should talk to you about issues either feign ignorance or are thoroughly ignorant. When they are not pretending, they effectively shut their mouth. The country may be burning intensely but those who should explain it to you, act out their part expertly. They look you straight in the eyes, note your questions, appear tense for a second, then smile, and tell you: “relax man, it is not the end of the world”. Of course, the typical Nigerian is overwhelmed by such show of humane-ness. He smiles back. And with that, he returns to the big heat generated by the unexplained bonfire outside. This is his country of course, he has none other. Frankly, I am impressed by Mrs. Thatcher who has effectively subdued the usually conservative British public with her Nigerian ways. Note how many of her ministers resigned for acts linked to the performance of their job. None, and I say not even, Lord Carrington, Hesseltine or battle-weary Brittan. Forced out by one dispute or another, ever managed to raise a finger in Mrs. Thatcher’s direction, she knows how to ride out a storm and she does it effectively. Her fellow Nigerians are excelling in this trait too. And don’t be surprised if they actually reduce Mrs. Thatcher to an amateur. But then, they, like her, are true Nigerians.


THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

12

TheMetroSection ‘We need more hostels, classrooms ’

Briefs Ogbokor Ikwerre meets Sunday

• Blind teacher, group, seek government intervention for Blind School

HE general meeting of OgT bakor Ikwerre (Lagos) will hold on Sunday, April 14, at

. From John Okeke, Abuja

Club 1919, Nigerian Railway Compound, opposite AP Filling Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos at 3.00p.m.

The school is over-populated. We need more hostels and classrooms. Imagine having 30 people in one dormitory. It shouldn’t be. The government can do more by expanding the structures in the school so that we don’t contract diseases because of over-crowding... We don’t have enough materials such as the brain test. The students don’t have many books.

NIM holds lecture today IGERIAN Institute of ManN agement (NIM) will today hold the third edition of its yearly Management Day at 11.00a.m. at its Management House at Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. A statement by the President and Chairman of Council of the Institute, Dr. Michael OlawaleCole, said the theme paper:‘Good Governance: Enforcement of Law and Order’, would be presented by the guest speaker, a public affairs analyst and a reputable legal luminary, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN).

New Covenant Church holds programme

HE victims of blind sickness living T in Abuja Blind School, situated in Jabi community, and a civil society organization have urged the Federal Government to assist the blind in their predicament to improve their welfare as the bona fide citizens of the country who are entitled to enjoy the dividends of democracy. Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a oneday walkathon awareness to raise funds for the numerous needs that are confronting the school, Mrs. Anna Ekandem, a blind teacher, lamented that the number of blind students are increasing astronomically in the school adding that the lack of structures in the school has been a major challenge the school was facing. She also stressed that the lack of books and instructional materials in the school have been a major setback to their studies. According to Ekandem: “ The school is considering the available structure. It is overpopulated. So we need more hostels and classroom accommodation because the place is jam-packed. Imagine how you see 30 people in one dormitory. It shouldn’t be. So the government can do more by expanding the structures in the school a little more so that we don’t contract diseases and all those things responsible for over-crowding. The greatest challenges we are having are with the materials. We don’t have enough materials like the brain test. Even in this school the students don’t have many books. We struggle to get books and the brain test kits. These are our greatest challenges.” Also, Mrs. Fatima Mohammed, the Coordinator of LIKEMINDS Project, organisers of the event, stressed that their visit to the school uncovered a lot of gaps that has kept the school in a dilapidated state adding that it motivated them to organize the fundraising walk to help the school meet their dire needs. Mohammed also urged the Federal

EW Covenant Gospel N Church will on Saturday, April 13, hold a programme tagged: In the Day of His Power at 115B, Ikorodu Road, by AP Filling Station, Fadeyi, Lagos at 8.00a.m. The theme is “The Irrevocable Father’s Blessing”. Chief Host is Rev. Felix Omobude while Rev. Sylvester Eghianruwa will minister.

Some of the pyhysically-impaired pupils at the dilapidated hostel

Dujima of Borno dies at 83 N elderstatesman and the A Zanna Dujima of Borno Emirate Council, Alhaji Umouru Bukar Mandara is dead. He died on Sunday at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) at the age of 83. The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garbai Ibn ElKanemi, in a statement yesterday, said: “ Burial rites had been completed, according to Islamic injunctions at his Government Reservation Area residence (GRA). He was buried yesterday at the Gwange cemetery.” He is survived by three wives, many children and grand children.

Udeji, 79, for burial A cross-section of participants at the awareness walk...

Ministry of Education to assist the school meet its needs. She said: “ At the Jabi School for the Blind, we found out when we visited that there were a lot of things that the school needed, especially facilities were lacking there. So we decided to organize a walk basically to raise funds and help them increase their facilities. I want to use this medium to call on Ministry of Education that the school has special needs and a number of

things as far as facilities are concerned. The school needs upgrading because there are a lot of gaps. They need teachers especially specialists in the field.” Commenting on government’s budget allocation to the institution Mr. Meekam Mgbenwelu, Information Officer of LIKEMINDS Project urged the Federal Government to monitor its financial budget for the blind school to ensure proper usage and accountability.

He said: “Government can better monitor its allocation to this institution because we found out that huge sums are budgeted to this institution but the money does not go to the beneficiaries.” He added: “Government must ensure transparency in the disbursement and must ensure the judicious use of the money. There must be accountability and the beneficiaries must be seen to benefit from this allocation made by government.”

UNERAL rites for Mazi FUdeji Christopher Nwaelemnanya who died recently at the age of 79,begins on Thursday, April 11, with a Christian wake at his residence, Ndiagu Ogboli Awgu, Enugu State at 5.00p.m. He will be buried on Friday, April 12, after a funeral service at St. John’s Parish, Ndiagu Ogboli at 10.00a.m. Thanksgiving service holds on Sunday, April 14, at St. Michael’s Cathedral Awgu, EnuguState. He is survived by his wife and children among whom is Udeji Obinna G.

Three estate agents docked for alleged N4 million fraud By Joseph Onyekwere HE Police yesterday arraigned three estate agents, a woman and two men, at the Lagos State Magistrate’s Court, Igbosere for alleged N4 million fraud. The accused, Joy Thelma (34), Gbolahan Shodipo, 40 and Taiwo Ogundare, 36, are standing trial on a threecount charge of conspiracy, fraud and stealing. They all pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor, Inspector Stephen Molo, told the court that the trio, who all reside in Ikotun area of Lagos, committed the offences on January 10, at Block A, Plot 7, Diamond Estate in Lagos.

T

According to the prosecutor, the trio conspired to defraud an unsuspecting client by pretending to sell a house to him. He said: “The trio conspired to defraud one Mr. Frederick Akinsulire, who is the Managing Director of Freehide Facility Management Company of N4 million. The defendants obtained the sum from Akinsulire with the pretext of selling to him a house situated at Block A, Plot 7, Diamond Estate along Isheri Road, Lagos. The complainant, however, reported the case to the police when he suspected them to be fraudsters”.

The offence, according to the prosecutor, contravenes Sections 285, 312 and 409 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2011. Section 312 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2011 says that a person who commits an offence under this section is liable to imprisonment for 15 years. The Magistrate, Mrs. F. O. Aigbokaevo granted them bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum. She adjourned the case to April 24, for mention.

Udeji


THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

METRO 13

Three lawmakers to earn N100,000 each for reciting Yoruba alphabet By Wole Oyebade OW much is reciting the Yoruba alphabets worth nowadays? Well, if you are on the floor of the Lagos State House of Assembly, few seconds of fluent recital could earn you as much as N100, 000! Such was the case at the House chamber yesterday when three Lagos lawmakers won for themselves N100, 000 each, courtesy of their colleague and member representing Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency II, Ipoola Ahmed Omisore. Omisore had thrown the challenge at the House during the plenary session, promising to reward “anyone able to recite the Yoruba alphabets correctly.” He had thought the mission impossible, while reacting to a debate on the appropriate Yoruba translation for “House of Assem-

H

bly.” Omisore’s challenge came when the member representing Shomolu Constituency 1, Rotimi Olowo, made a mistake while trying to point out an error in the votes and proceedings paper of the last sitting, which was written in Yoruba Language. Olowo’s error got Omisore bothered as he stood up to inform the Speaker that such an act should not be condoned. According to him: “Lawmakers should be able to recite alphabets in Yoruba language. I want to throw this challenge that I will give a N100, 000 to any member who can recite the alphabet without blabbing.” The Speaker Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji allowed the challenge to stand and about seven members tested their knowledge of the mother tongue. The Deputy Leader of the House, Lola Akande, recited

the alphabets from the beginning to the end without committing any error. Members, representing Ikorodu Constituency II and Badagry Constituency II, Adebimpe Akinsola and Suuru Avoseh in that order, also recited the alphabets perfectly. Apparently convinced, the Speaker ruled that Omisore should pay the three members a sum of N100, 000 each, adding that failure to do so by this morning will result to deduction of the money from his imprest. Though, Omisore later protested that he only agreed to pay just one member, but the Speaker insisted that he would pay the three members who recited the alphabets perfectly, and ordered the Clerk of the House, Segun Abiru, to deduct the money from Omisore’s imprest if he fails to pay the lawmakers involved.

Photonews

Synod Secretary, Remo Diocese, Methodist Church Nigeria, Very Rev. James Osifuwa (left); newly inducted Sagamu Oko Circuit Presbyter, Rev. Samuel Babatunde Borode (third left) , Remo Diocesan Bishop’s wife , Mrs. Abimbola Taiwo (second left); the Presbyter’s wife, Mrs. Bisi Borode (second right) and the Remo Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Babatunde Taiwo at the 2013 yearly Remo Diocesan Circuit synod and the inauguration of Sagamu-Oko Circuit at Sagamu, Ogun…

Lagos to enforce sanitation laws, says Bello HE Lagos State Government T says it will no longer waive its laws restricting movement on Monthly Environmental Sanitation Exercise days or succumb to any blackmail from agencies of government at Federal, state or local level re-

questing for the lifting of restriction. The Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello who stated this during an inspection of ongoing environmental projects in the state at the weekend explained that the

Briefs Nneoma Okpuruka, 110, passes on RS. Nneoma Elizabeth Nwokocha Okpuruka of Nwokocha M Okpuruka of Umuobinola Ipupe Automomous Community in Umuahia South Local Council of Abia has died at the age of 110. Corpse leaves Godspeed Mortuary, Mgbarakuma Ubakala to Eziama Ubakala at 9.30am; arrives Amibo Ubakala at 10.00am; arrives Nwokocha Okpuruka’s compound at 11.00a.m. for lying- instate. Funeral service holds at11.30a.m. at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church, Avon, Ipupe Ubakala while interment is at noon. He is survived by children among whom is Felix Nwokocha Okpuruka.

Osukoya-Owoaje, 95, for burial HE death has occurred of Elder Moses Oluyomi OsukoyaT Owoaje, Baba Ijo of Christ Apostolic Church, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos, aged 95. According to the family through Mr. Tola Owoajo, funeral rites began on Sunday with Memorial Concert at CAC Yaba. Yesterday was a Service of Songs by The Boy’s Brigade, Methodist Church Cathedral Mushin. On Friday, April 12, 2013, there will be lying-in -state at his residence, 39, Oliyide Street, Mushin, from 8.00a.m. -10.00 a.m. The body departs for Odogbolu Ogun State by 10.00a.m. for a Christian at Agbala Omoaje, Odogbolu at 5.00 p.m. Funeral Service/Interment on Saturday, April 13 at 9.00am. Thanksgiving Service holds on Sunday, April 14, at CAC Ikosa Quarters Odogbole at 11.00a.m. He is survived by children, grand children and great Osukoya-Owaje grand children.

state’s Monthly Environment Sanitation exercise is backed by law and as such, the state government would no longer grant request for a shift in the date or mode of its operations. He advised event planners as well as examination bodies at local, national and international levels to desist from fixing events and examinations like General Certificate Examinations, or West African School Certificate Examinations on any of the last Saturdays of the month as the Lagos State Government would no longer entertain such requests. The commissioner noted that Lagos, as Africa's fastest growing mega city, could not afford to toy with the issue of sanitation as the population of the state has continued to increase in leaps and bounds. He, therefore, warned that the laws of the land were no respecter of persons, as such individuals, groups, corporate organizations and governments at all levels, should ensure that last Saturday of every month is kept free from engagements between 7.00a.m. 10.00a.m in order to allow citizens full participation in the state-wide exercise, adding that whoever chose to be defiant of the laws would do so, at his or her own risk. Bello advised Lagosians to desist from acts that could contribute to flooding as the state government has begun massive cleaning and dredging of primary and secondary channels, urging them not to dump waste in unauthorized places such as canals and drainage channels.

Chief Scientist for Israel, Mr. Shuki Geitmab (left); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science & Technology, Mrs. Nike Animashaun; Mr. Adebiyi Mabadeje and Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University, Dr. Oladapo Obafunwa at the 2013 Senior staff retreat of Lagos State Ministry of Science & Technology held at the Orchid Hotel, Lekki, Lagos PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

A cross-section of participants during the Irede Foundation Limb Awareness Walk at Falomo, Lagos... PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Energy firm empowers 60 youths in Akwa Ibom From Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh, Uyo IXTY youths from Mbo Local Council of Akwa Ibom State, who were trained by Oriental Energy/Afren Resources Ltd., were given N200,000 each to enable them open their shops and workshops. Besides, they are to be sent to the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) for one month training on how to market their products and within the period of the training, they are to receive N120, 000 each as stipend. These incentives were revealed by the Manager, Community Affairs and Government Relations, Mr. Blessing Okpobo during the graduation ceremony of the 60 youths in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. He said the company had promised the beneficiaries of

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continuous support should they use the money to open their shops and workshop; as they would be given jobs by the company and also adding another N200, 000, for them as incentive. According to him, the company in addition to the skill acquisition programmee, is giving youths from the area scholarship valued at N100, 000 to 50 each students every year, noting that, the investment is the company’s effort at building human capacity form its host community. He said the firm is building a modern youth development centre in Mbo that would expose youths of the area to all fields of endeavours. The 60 graduands were trained in various skills including computer science, welding and fabrication, tailoring, hat-making, hair

dressing salon among others. Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State government has commended the management of Oriental Energy/Afren Resources Ltd. for training the youths. According to the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Eunice Thomas, the company was carrying out exercise as part of its corporate social responsibility, saying that, what the company had done was in line with the objectives of the state government, which places emphasis on the development of skills and training of youths for empowerment purpose. The commissioner who was represented by Mrs. Tessy Ntekpo noted that, the effort of the company would create wealth and reduce poverty as well as place food on the tables of the beneficiaries.

Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN), Kayode Tinubu (left); Chief Instructor, Nigerian Army College of Logistic (NACOL), Col. Gabriel Akpan and President, Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN), Alhaji Mohammed Aliyu during the Course 10/2013 courtesy visit to (CIPSMN) in Lagos PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN


TheGuardian

14 THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Conscience Nurtured by Truth

FOUNDER: ALEX U. IBRU (1945 – 2011)

Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it. Uthman dan Fodio 1754-1816

Editorial The ‘State of the Nation’ address

T may be coming a little late, but the passage of the ‘State of the Iward Nation Address Law’ by the Senate represents a major step forin Nigeria’s search for sustainable good governance. The law

basically seeks to promote transparency and accountability in governance, by compelling any sitting President of Nigeria to deliver a ‘State of the Nation Address’ to Nigerians at a time specified by the law. A keynote of the law is that such an address is to be presented yearly by the president before a joint session of the National Assembly. Specifically, it will be presented in the first legislative day of July every year, while the president will be given a 60-day notice. According to the Senate, the law is in line with “making the president accountable to the Nigerian people as represented by the National Assembly by rendering account of his stewardship to the nation.” It is also aimed at allowing input from members of the National Assembly towards good governance of the nation. These are indeed lofty ideals that can hardly be faulted. Up till now, the president only addresses the joint session of the National Assembly when he presents the annual budget. Obviously, Nigerians deserve better and more regular forums to hear directly from their president how their country is faring on all fronts. The absence of such a practice in Nigeria, as has been the case in such democracies as the United Kingdom and the United States of America, is a pointer to the low regard, even contempt, to which Nigerian leaders subject the citizens. By failing to furnish their citizens with adequate information about critical issues of governance and development, Nigerian leaders are guilty of taking Nigerians for granted. Regular exchange of information between the leaders and the led has been, and will continue to be, one of the fundamental features of stable political economies the world over. So any nation that chooses to ignore this important issue, like Nigeria, until the passage of this law, does so at its own peril. It is against this background that Nigerians should appreciate the State of the Nation address law. Such an address is an opportunity not only for self evaluation by the president, but also to present anew, his/her future developmental roadmaps. It is against such roadmaps that the president can be judged every year and at the expiration of his/her tenure. In the absence of such roadmaps, the president may be exposed to all forms of subjective evaluations and attacks. Better still, such an address also has the potential to galvanize the people into a higher level of participation in the political processes of their country. As innovative and progressive as the law appears, however, there is need for cautious optimism among Nigerians. The problem with the country has never been the absence of good laws. Rather, it has been poor implementation, underscoring the fact that the law in theory is different from the law in practice. As such, the caveat in the law, which empowers the National Assembly to compel the president to honour this responsibility, in the event of ‘failure, neglect or refusal’ to render his/her stewardship, is a welcome relief. Hopefully, whenever such a situation arises, the National Assembly will be able to muster sufficient political will to enforce this important provision of the law. Such a law as this, which seeks to promote transparency and accountability in governance should not be targeted at the presidency alone. Other agencies of government, most especially the offices of the Auditor General and Attorney General of the Federation also ought to have platforms on which to explain issues to all Nigerians. Such laws should also be replicated at the state and local government levels, compelling chief executive officers to also give account of their stewardship. Above all, Nigerians need to begin to ask more questions about their own affairs. Such inquisitive citizenship will not only compel responsible leadership, it is central to the building of a truly democratic state.

LETTERS

Igbo leaders mislead their people IR: The recent strike in Kano the Igbo leaders and people of Jonathan, not northern leadSkilled by militants is said to have like minds, like General ers, wields the sceptre and all many citizens of Igbo Olusegun Obasanjo, decide to the associated resources to descent. Some “Igbo leaders”, are said to have told their people not to retaliate but leave vengeance to God. That is fine. But any step to forestall future occurrence? No, because the leaders have sold out to support war and not amnesty. Jonathan is expected to reign till 2019, and then pass the presidency to an Igbo. Undoubtedly, the north has produced more heads of state than the south, but it is not true that the southerners have been excluded from such governments. Beyond that, where there is no law, there is no sin. The unwritten law came in rotational presidency. Why did Jonathan take undue advantage of the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to run for presidency in 2011? Rotational presidency represents order; Boko Haram (the northern militants) represents the chaos that obtains where there is no order. Rather than asking Jonathan to grant amnesty to Boko Haram and respect rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones, Igbo leaders are playing games with the lives of Nigerians. Any lesson from how the civil war ravaged Nigeria; or how the south-west went on rampage upon the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by a Yoruba? To forestall such ugly occurrences, rotational presidency was decided upon by wellmeaning Nigerians. Why did

truncate it? I argued then and now that rotational presidency rather than survival of the fittest or rabid opportunism will engender order, equity, peace, and progress. With that, Boko Haram and al-Qaeda combined will find Nigeria impregnable. But now, the wall has cracked, and Jonathan and his supporters are resisting all efforts at mending it. Why accuse the northern leaders of inability to tame Boko Haram? It was President Yar’Adua (and not the Niger Delta leaders) who tamed the Niger Delta militants. Former President Obasanjo was a Christian from the south-west. How did he manage to rule Nigeria for eight years, without some Muslims joining alQaeda to kill innocent people in the name of Islam?

provide security, which is the primary responsibility of a government. Igbo leaders, et al, are playing politics with the lives of Nigerians. The genuine Boko Haram has been around since 2003, as a peaceful Islamic sect until it was provoked by some oppressive Muslims. It is, therefore, beyond that sect to explain Nigeria’s crisis, which can be explained only by political opportunism and leadership failure. Seek peace with Boko Haram, restore rotational presidency, and allow a truly independent electoral commission whose principal officers are not chosen by a partisan president. Otherwise, Nigeria is far from the kingdom of order, equity, peace and progress. • Pius Abioje, University of Ilorin.

Thank you, The Guardian was refreshing readSyourIR:ingItthe April 2, 2013 issue of esteemed newspaper with the lead story “Mediocrity overtakes graft, wrecks Nigeria,” an article by Femke Van Zeijl the Lagosbased Dutch journalist and writer. It was riveting, unbiased, passionate, a telling piece that hits at the very marrow of our national existence. And then your editorial “A Pope for the people”, you might have been in the Holy Father’s mind. Indeed the

poor, the oppressed, the voiceless of the world, no matter where they live, no matter their religion have found in Pope Francis one who is truly sincere to plead their cause. He has not only preached it, he has led by example. Other leaders have no excuse.  Only rarely does journalism achieve this depth of insight. This issue – and not articles filled with politicians’ rhetorics – is what makes The Guardian the flagship of Nigerian journalism. • Cosmas Odoemena, Lagos.


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Business Appointments P27 Mediocrity and unemployment crisis in Nigeria

Discordant interest rate regimes worry stakeholders By Chijioke Nelson HE widening disparity between interests payable on deposits and loans has attracted criticisms from stakeholders, even as they described the situation as “greedy commercialism”, “cut-throat policy” and “hypocrisy.” The stakeholders, also lamented the spate of identifiable and unidentifiable charges being slammed on depositors and borrowers for transactions, even as they berated the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for complicity by keeping silent over the issues. They were of the view that CBN, as the regulator, should aggregate all charges associated with borrowing from banks and make them public, so that borrowers would be adequately informed before seeking any loan, while it would also expose the prevalent illegal charges.

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But two weeks ago, the apex bank had released a revised guide to banks and discount houses on charges, which stakeholders also said was belated and expressed mixed feelings over its “efficacy” in addressing the issue, noting that the financial institutions would usually need months to key into the guidelines. CBN’s recent publications in the dailies showed that some banks pay “next to nothing” interest rate on savings, while the fixed deposits are left for negotiations. Further analysis of the publications showed that the average interest charged by banks on facilities was about 19 per cent, while the average interest paid on deposits was about three per cent. According to the Economic Report of November 2012 just released by CBN, “available data indicated mixed developments

in deposit rates.” The report said that “both maximum and prime lending rates rose in November 2012. The spread between the weighted average term deposit and maximum lending rates narrowed slightly from 17.37 percentage points to17.32 percentage points in November 2012. “The margin between the average savings deposit and maximum lending rates, however, widened to 23.05 percentage points in the review month from 22.89 per cent in the preceding month.” The Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, said: “The wide disparity between interests on deposits and loans is a serious cause for concern for all right thinking Nigerians. It is a clear demonstration of the poor management of the financial system by the CBN. “First, it discourages savings by

the majority of the population due to the fact that interest on deposits is below the double digit inflation rate. Every money saved in bank suffers depreciation by not less than seven per cent by the end of the year and this is happening in a country that is in dire need of savings and capital formation for higher level of investments in virtually all sectors of the economy. “The second issue is that it reduces banking to usury and making unearned profits, which to all intents and purposes, is that banks with the active support of the CBN are cheating and defrauding Nigerians of their hard earned money. For a bank to turn around and insist on 25 per cent interest rate after paying less than five per cent deposit rate is totally unfair. “Banks now lack creativity but are only comfortable with easy

First son of  late Chief Samuel Adegbite, Wale Adegbite (left); First Vice-President, Mrs. Debola Osibogun; President, Segun Aina both of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); first wife of Late Chief Samuel Adegbite , Chief Mrs. Comfort Adegbite  and second Vice-President, CIBN, Dr. Segun Ajibola during a commendation Service held in honour of Late Adegbite, Past, CIBN President/ Chairman of Council (1987 to 1989) by members of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, in Lagos, yesterday.

ETI records 42 per cent revenue growth from Nigeria, posts $286.7m profit in 2012 By Helen Oji COBANK Transnational Incorporated (ETI) has realised 42 per cent of its total revenue from its operations in Nigeria, last year. The bank which is Pan African, said the volume of businesses coupled with the number of its branches in the domestic economy was a major driver of its bottom line. Addressing stock brokers yesterday at the bank’s “Facts Behind the Figures,” at the

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Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Group Chief Executive Office, Thierry Tanoh reiterated that the bank, with its presence in 33 countries, was poised to deliver outstanding customer services and long term shareholders value . This, according to Tanoh would make the bank more competitive to become one of the top three Pan African bank. He disclosed that the bank recently crossed the N20 billion mark for balance sheet, noting

that for African to grow in terms of volume of business activities, there is need to develop intra African trade. He added that with the fast changing business environment, business providers need patnership and synergies to unlock various business potentials. “We are targeting a deposit growth of 20 per cent, 10 per cent loan growth, revenue growth and bring down our cost to income ratio below 70 per cent mark. We would con-

tinue to focus on our returns. We are poised to take position on the good outlook of Africa in the coming year. We want to be an employer of choice and able to attract the best. “Moving forward, our growth will be mainly an organic growth with attention on market and customer service. We would become more reactive and innovative and reference point in customer service, strong long term diversified returns for shareholders in subsaharan African.”

money. Banking used to involve intermediation in the economy and presented a winwin situation for all- the depositor, the bank and the borrower. No business can borrow and pay back the cut-throat interest rate and survive in its enterprise.”  An Abuja based Development Consultant, Jide Ojo also said: “It is foolhardy for anybody to save money in this kind of economy. Except for fixed deposit of huge sums of money in which the depositors can negotiate interest rates, ordinarily, savings do not attract more than two per cent interest rate. “Ironically, interest rate on borrowing from the same bank is in the region of 15 to 20 per cent, moreso as the Monetary Policy Rate is set at 12 per cent by the CBN. “It is understandable that banks are in business to make profit for their owners and shareholders. However, the disparity between interest rate on deposits or savings vis-a-vis that charged on loans in Nigeria  is preposterous and unjustifiable. I think the Bankers Committee or CBN needs to intervene on behalf of

the depositors. “If banks’ interest rate on deposit is upwardly reviewed from its insignificant benchmark that it is now, many of the banks who are now engaging in all manners of ‘save and win promo and bonanza’ will not need to go to that length to mobilise deposits. Customers will come on their volition to save without being cajoled or coerced.  “However, if the rip-off of the depositors continues, no amount of lotteries, promos or bonanzas will encourage customers to save. The Chief Executive Officer of Forthright Securities and Investment Limited, Ashogbon Bode, said: “Of course, there could be justifications for the wide gap between the deposit and lending rates. Firstly, the banks’ capitalisation exercise(s) had made it possible for accumulation of interest free funds from shareholders. Therefore, they can always price down interest on deposits as it were. “Secondly, the depositors seemed helpless as savings from disposable income cannot be kept at home considering the security implications.”


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U.S. state, Maryland, opens Lagos office for regional business By Chijioke Nelson HERE were indications that T transactions volume between Nigeria and the United States of America will assume an upward trend as one of the country’s statesMaryland, opens its first foreign trade office in Africa. The office, which would be located in Lagos and facilitated by Grid2Grid, a firm that promotes and facilitates investment into Maryland, also represents the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development for the whole continent.

Maryland, a state with a gross domestic product of $300 billion yearly, which borders Washington DC, will from the Lagos office, oversee its business activities in Ghana, Niger, Liberia, Mali, Djibouti, Tanzania, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while seeking to attract African companies to Maryland as well. The Managing Partner, Grid2Grid and Head-Designate of the office, Asoka Ranaweera, said: “Africa today is the second fastest growing region in the world after Asia, with 10 of the fastest growing economies

globally. According to the African Development Bank, the continent’s middle class has grown to approximately 310 million people in the space of three decades. “In the last 10 years, Africa has seen average economic growth rates of approximately 5.5 per cent yearly, resulting in the growth of demand for a variety of goods and services around the world from consumer products to industrial machinery. “As a result of Maryland’s establishment of its first office in Africa, the state’s companies will be able to tap directly, for

Deputy Director, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Lagos Mainland, Ezra Zubairu (Left); Former President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Gabriel Fasoto; and Representative of Chairman, FIRS and Communications Director, Emmanuel Obeta, during enlightenment programme on Value Added Tax for all stakeholders, in Abuja.

Fed faces risk of fourth summer slump “The fact they’ve been fooled report followed six months of HIS time, Federal Reserve T policy makers are prepared multiple times by slumps in payroll growth averaging the U.S. economy means 197,000. for the summertime slump. During the past three years, the Fed planned to cut accommodation early in the year only to boost it after economic growth lagged behind its forecasts. Determined not to repeat the error, the Fed will probably push on with $85 billion in monthly bond purchases through the summer, said Drew Matus, a former Federal Reserve Bank of New York economist.

they’re going to be a little gunshy on the exit strategy,” said Matus, deputy chief U.S. economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. Last week’s Labor Department report showing the economy generated just 88,000 jobs in March, the fewest in nine months, confirmed the concerns of William C. Dudley, president of the New York Fed, that the job market was weaker than it appeared. The April 5

“The recent improvement in payroll employment growth, which gets much of the attention, is out-sized relative to the growth rate of economic activity that supports it,” Dudley, vice chairman of the policy setting Federal Open Market Committee, said in a March 25 speech in New York. “We have seen this movie before. When this happened in 2011 and 2012, employment growth subsequently slowed.”

the first time, opportunities to sell their products and services continent wide. “As an American company that specialises in emergent markets with a focus on Africa, we have been helping companies develop trade and investment projects on the continent for many years. “We are pleased to have been chosen to represent the State of Maryland and look forward to helping Maryland companies do business in Africa.” Grid2Grid International Investment Solutions Group represents Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development in Africa, promoting and facilitating investment into Maryland, while helping companies from the state to export their products and services abroad. Ranaweera, who will lead and oversee the initiative in Africa, has long standing ties to the continent, with his network of relationships encompassing a broad spectrum of African society, including well known corporations, political personalities, industry leaders, leading research institutions and non-profits. With the development, Maryland companies can access some or all of the following services that Grid2Grid provides as the state’s representative in Africa, like market research; entry strategies; business matching; partnering; marketing and distribution.

The March jobs report will probably bolster the argument of FOMC voting members Dudley, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Boston’s Eric Rosengren that the central bank should keep adding to record stimulus through the end of the year. “I’m going to have a lot more confidence if I begin to see indications that growth is well above trend and it’s going to be sustainable,” Evans said to reporters at the Chicago Fed on March 27.


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KIA vehicle owners protest in Kano From Abba Anwar, Kano T THE weekend thousands A of KIA motor owners staged a peaceful demonstra-

tion in Kano, over what they described as ‘corporate 419’ allegedly being perpetrated by automobile servicing company, responsible for the sales and distributions of KIA brand of car in Nigeria. The protesters were seen in their thousands storming the

Uduaghan seeks improved funding for councils From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba N order to fully fulfill the Ipeople developmental needs of the at the grassroots, Delta state governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has called for an upward review of the statutory revenue allocation to the local government councils. Speaking in Asaba at the weekend during a visit by the national officials of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, Uduaghan argued that if more funds were allocated to Councils, it would enable them to not only pay primary school teacher’s salaries but only carry out infrastructural projects in their areas. He decried the enormous burden the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries was having on the finances of the Local Government councils and called for the allocation of more funds from the federal allocation revenue to enable them meet up their socio-economic responsibilities. “If we want the local government council to succeed in Nigeria, the Federal revenue allocation should be reviewed and more funds given to them to enable the council pay primary school teachers’ salaries and carry out their other developmental needs. It is a big responsibility on the council.” He lamented that well over 80 per cent of council funds are expended on the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries, a situation he added was not healthy for their development. He said that if councils must continue with this responsibility, their revenue needs ought to be reviewed upwards or the responsibility should be taken from them so that they can be able to carry out infrastructural projects and also meet the developmental needs of the people.

KIA office on Ibrahim Taiwo Road to lodge their complaints over what they described as the non availability of KIA motor spare parts in the local markets in Nigeria. They also alleged that “most of us were duped by the customer-unfriendly posture of KIA people”. Ali Gantsa, who led the protesters and who is also the Secretary, Jigawa Peoples Democratic Party, bitterly complained that “the Indian automobile company had over the years lured unsuspecting Nigerians through their articulated advertisement to patronise them, while the product been offered for

sale in Nigeria has no spare part in the country”. “I lost my car bumper in a light auto crash and had approached the same KIA office where I bought the car few months ago only to learn that I had to pay N500,000 to import same from India” Gantsa maintained that “when I now had the opportunity to embark on lesser pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I purchased the same product they had demanded half a million naira at N75, 000”. He stressed that “these brazen rip-off on a product under a warranty for a year is not only unacceptable but must attract the attention of

the relevant authorities to call the Indian automobile firm to order”. “These unwholesome practices have created a hole in our economy as thousands of struggling middle class have been incapacitated, while millions of naira has taken flight to India for no value”, Ali Gantsa reiterated. He called on the Federal Governemt to come to the rescue of Nigerians in this respect and tasked the House Committee on Commerce to look critically into the business practices of DANA Motors in Nigeria. “It is absolutely unfair for a foreign-based company to open a sale and distribution

office for products whose spare parts are readily not available in the country. This

practice is in itself is a corporate 419 and must not be allowed to flourish”, he said.


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BUSINESS

Ekiti raises IGR from N106 million to N1 billion monthly R Afeikhena Jerome, the National Coordinator, Nigeria Governors` Forum (NGF) State Peer Review Mechanism (SPRM), said Ekiti Government had raised its Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) from N106 million monthly in 2010 to N1 billion monthly in 2012. He made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja. Jerome was speaking on the findings of the NGF SPRM in Ekiti, which was one of the states that supported the takeoff of the SPRM process, the other being Anambra. He said Ekiti achieved the feat by blocking leakages in revenue collection and making tax payments affordable and convenient for the people in the informal sector. ``This finding is commendable and indicative of the potential for

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increasing the state’s IGR further and should be emulated by all states of the federation,’’ Jerome said. He advised Ekiti government not to rest on its oars as a lot still needed to be done to reduce the state’s high dependence on federal allocation. Jerome urged the state government to implement the unique national tax identification number and to examine the possibility of widening its tax base to further boost its IGR. He commended Gov. Kayode Fayemi for his commitment to transparency and accountability in governance and the House of Assembly for passing into law ``bills that will enhance public accountability’’. According to Jerome, Ekiti is the first state in the federation to enact a state version of the Freedom of Information Act with the passage of the Ekiti

State Freedom of Information Law No. 10 of 2011. This, he said, would further ensure transparency, accountability and good governance in the state. He also lauded the state government for domesticating the Fiscal Responsibility Law and for ensuring that the law included most of the main ingredients of fiscal responsibility. He, however, advised the government to enhance its current efforts at fiscal planning by ensuring the existence of adequate professional capacity in the state’s Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning. Jerome urged the government to strengthen the state’s Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), and provide it with professional staff and freedom to operate and ensure greater use of open competitive bidding in procurement activities. The national coordinator commended the state’s Social

Lagos State Commissioner for Science & Technology, Adebiyi Mabadeje (left); General Manager, Public Sector Microsoft Middle East/Africa, Elias Tabet; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science & Technology, Nike Animashaun; and EPG Director, Microsoft Middle East/Africa, Kunle Awosika during a courtesy visit to the Commissioner’s office at the Secretariat, Alausa, Lagos.

Security Scheme for the Elderly, saying the state was a ``pace setter’’ in the introduction of social security policy in the country. The Ekiti State Senior Citizen`s Welfare Law,

according to Jerome, authorises the provision of assistance to resident elderly people in areas of health care and payment of grants. He said more than 20,000 elderly citizens

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had been enrolled as beneficiaries since the scheme was introduced and commended the state governor for ensuring popular participation in the state’s policy making processes.


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Elizade Chairman urges NASS to sponsor bill on brand new vehicles for testing By Taiwo Hassan HE Chairman of Elizade T Nigeria Limited, Dr. Herbert Ajayi has tasked the National Assembly to move a

bill that will ensure that newly imported vehicles into the country through the gateways are subjected to rigorous testing for a period of four months in-country to ascer-

tain their ruggedness and durability. According to him, the move would go along way in protecting the Nigerian public, markets and its economy of

substandard vehicles that could not adjust to the nation’s weather condition. Ajayi made this appealed at the Elizade Nigeria’s official handover of 18 brand new JAC vehicles to her participating companies for test in Lagos, over the weekend. He said that the company came with the innovation to subject new imported vehicles for testing because of the feedbacks emanating from the public that some brand new vehicles develop faults within their warranty period. In addition to that, Ajayi noted that JAC vehicles being Chinese automobiles were considered to undergo this testing to ascertain their dura-

bility, reliability and quality of the brand vehicles. “The introduction of JAC vehicles was borne at of our desire to fill the gap in the budget class of the economy who ordinarily want a brand new vehicle at reasonable price hence the partnership with the Chinese Automotive Company. “The JAC vehicles are known around the world. However because of our vision and values, we are subjecting them to rigorous users test to ascertain their durability, reliability and quality backed with our professional skills and expertise in the automobile industry,” Ajayi added. He said Eliazade Autoland in

partnership with the Chinese Automotive Company would provide the JAC brand of vehicles particularly the light trucks and passenger cars to support the growing business activities in the economy, adding that “this will be backed up with our world class services of after sales services and sales of certified spare parts.” He however advised the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Consumers Protection Council (CPC) to intensify their activities at checkmating substandard goods/products in the country to erase the notion of Nigeria being a ‘dumping’ country.

Expert tasks govt on credible database to track tax evaders Publicity HAIRMAN, C Committee of West African Union of Tax Institutes,

Chuckwuemeka Eze, has urged the Federal Government to develop internal capacity to have an accurate database of taxpayers. Eze told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that credible database of taxpayers would help the government to monitor and track tax evaders. He said that some Nigerians

were not paying taxes and were difficult to track. “Some Nigerians have the habit of evading taxes and some do give wrong information about their businesses. “With accurate database, it will be difficult for them to evade tax payment,” he said. Eze said that lack of accurate database of taxpayers had been a major challenge to the nation’s tax system. Eze, a former chairman of

Ikeja branch of the Chartered Institutes of Taxation of Nigeria, said that good records of taxpayers would make the system more vibrant. He said that the situation was not peculiar to taxation alone, stressing that “it is a general problem in all the sectors of the economy’’. “Generally, Nigeria do not have credible database. It is not peculiar to taxation alone,” he said.


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Appointments Mediocrity and Nigeria’s unemployment crisis

Jonathan By Femi Adekoya VER the years, there have been concerns about the growing unemployment figure in the country with the recent observation by  Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister of Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the nation’s  youth unemployment  rate, which currently stands at 37.5 per cent, may grow rapidly by 2015. Precisely, statistics from the Ministry of Youth Development show that over 4.5 million Nigerian youths enter the labour market yearly, while that of the Federal Bureau of Statistics revealed that over 40 million Nigerian youths are unemployed, thus translating to at least one unemployed person in every household in the country. For the average Nigerian youth, the two most difficult hurdles to cross in the quest to become a responsible citizen that is acceptable to the society are gaining admission into the university and getting a decent job for living after school. Several factors have been linked to the rising number of unemployed in the country. From inadequate capacity building, unfriendly business environment leading to the closure of many firms, funding problems for educational institutions, pedagogy style in educational institutions, to most recently, the influence of the social media on youths’ writing style. In recent time, the concern on the employability of many Nigerian graduates has led to employers redefining recruitment strategies. Most times, employers’ first priority is to engage graduates with strong profession-specific skills and then to consider their ‘wellroundedness’.     The ‘well-roundedness’ includes graduates’ personal characteristics and attributes, the diversity of their experiences and skills, as well as their ‘cultural fit’ into the workplace. While all these seem necessary, English language proficiency seems to be an emerging key factor influencing access to skilled employment To some management consultants, selection for interview is likely to be influenced by a range of perceived attributes, including the quality of graduates’ prior training, their level of cultural enclosure, relevant work experience, and demand for courses  studied by the applicants in the labour market. However, the test for English Language proficiency has become a tool for employers to screen applicants before the interview stage. Some analysts noted that, beyond excess supply, there is also the question of quality of Nigerian graduates, which has been declining progressively. To Suraj Oyewale, “it was the erstwhile governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo, who raised alarm on the ‘unemployability’ of many Nigerian graduates. Sadly, the professor was very right. I interact with a number of Nigerian graduates on

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Iweala daily basis and I find appalling the quality of youths that parade themselves as graduates today.  “There is a dangerous mindset among our graduates that jobs come automatically with being a graduate, and you don’t need to justify why the employer should hire you. I have read many unemployed graduates lament their situation in written English that easily tells you why they are where they are.” More recently, the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Nnamdi Okorie-Affia, joined the bandwagon when he said some universities have been sending “graduates” to the scheme who can hardly speak English. According to him, the quality of these graduates is so appalling that employers who can’t find any use for them are left with no choice but to send them back to the NYSC.  Recent research has shown that  more students worldwide acquire and use mobile phones, so are they immersing themselves in text messaging, and other forms of social media chats. This has resulted in a situation that some teachers, parents and students themselves are expressing concerns that student-writing skills stand the risk of being sacrificed on the altar of text messaging. With the emergence of the new media, beginning with the SMS communicative style, attention seems to be no longer given to the grammatical rules of the English Language, which was adopted as the official language in Nigeria. The English Language is used as the language of ‘all’ official proceedings, communication, administration, education, law, commerce/trade, executive and legislative use. Early researches show that: “It all started with the e-mail. What had been a voice-centric society since the propagation of the telephone began to see a shift to the written word once email became widely available for business and personal use. The short messaging and instant messaging habits are like every other habit, which when formed becomes difficult to stop.     “However, it has been observed that the use of text messaging is common among youths, students in secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Most students in the higher institutions of learning had formed the habit of using text messages in most of their communications. “The reasons are obvious; it is quick, it does not adhere to the rules of English grammar and it is relatively cheap, more convenient, allows creativity, used in establishing new and re-enforcing old relationships among others”, an industry observer noted. A research conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project noted that today, informal communication abbreviations permeate even formal writings and this is evident in many formal writings.

Wogu For instance, the need to say much in as few words as possible has also led to the formation of unconventional abbreviations. The continued use of these abbreviations has led to the gradual loss in youths’ ability to spell English words correctly. As a result, the quality of written English has deteriorated. The Pew Project revealed thus: “Hardest hit are the conventions of capitalisation and

punctuation, as 50 per cent of teens say they sometimes use informal writing styles rather than the established rules in formal writing. As a result of this influence, many students find it difficult separating formal and informal English as they freely use “U” for “you”, “4” for “for”, “pls” for “please”, “2mrw” for “tomorrow” among others, during formal writing”, the findings showed.


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FCT restates commitment to agric development From Terhemba Daka, Abuja HE Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Olajumoke Akinjide has reiterated the commitment of the administration to develop of a viable agricultural entrepreneurship in the territory. Akinjide stated this in Abuja at the signing of a performance contract agreement by the FCT Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mrs. Bema Olvadi Madayi and Director of Admin & Finance, Mr. John Obiahu at the weekend. She explained that the performance contract agreement was one of the major achievements of the administration to enable it deliver on its mandate to Nigerians. “Nigerians expect government to be more proactive

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Akinjide Agreement is meant to gauge the performance of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government in line with established Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

and effective in its actions by providing the enabling environment and the requisite concrete deliverables that will enable them function more effectively. “The Performance Contract

Zamfara sacks pilgrims’ board From Isah Ibrahim, Gusau OVERNOR Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari of Zamfara State has approved the suspension of the state pilgrims’ welfare board operations with immediate effect. With the order, the management and members of the board have been dissolved while civil servants in the board would be redeployed to other state ministries and agencies.

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The action is contained in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Hassan Atto Bungudu. The statement also announced the composition of a 20-member hajj task force committee to be headed by the state Deputy Governor, Malam Ibrahim Wakkala, while Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Lawali Ibrahim Kaura, would serve as its

secretary. It directed the executive secretary of the board to prepare a comprehensive handing over note and forward it to the Office of the Secretary to the State Government before tomorrow. The suspension is squeal to board’s alleged financial scam during the 2012 where 200 hajj slots for the state were allegedly sold out.


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Govt sponsors 100 indigent students for UK education By Abosede Musari

HE Federal T Government has taken over the formal education of 100 indigent students from Bayelsa State, sending them abroad for their undergraduate training. Forty of these students left for the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom at the weekend after a brief orientation and breakfast with President Goodluck Jonathan. The 100 students, eight of whom have been taken over by the Petroleum T e c h n o l o g y Development Fund (PTDF), were under the President’s scholarship programme while he was the governor of Bayelsa State. At the orientation ceremony, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku, said that the students were some of the brightest school pupils from across Bayelsa State at the time and that they were picked from primary schools. According to him, the programme had been stalled after Jonathan left the governor’s seat in Bayelsa because subsequent governors did not

continue the scholarship programme; until recently when the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta got wind of the children’s plight and decided to take their education up. He noted that the first batch of students traveling to the University of Liverpool would study different courses while the remaining 52 will also be sent abroad when the processing is completed. The students were initially chosen with the vision to create a pool of young educated citizens who would contribute to the development of the state and the economy of the nation. Kuku, who took up the scheme as part of effort by government to equip youngsters from the oil rich region with quality education admonished them to be good ambassadors of the country. One of the students, Enegi Nadum, expressed happiness for the opportunity to continue her education and assured that they will do their best to make Nigeria proud. “In the last few years President Jonathan has been like a father to me and I am a very happy and proud Nigerian”, she said.

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PENGASSAN seeks review of obsolete labour laws By Yetunde Ebosele O enhance industrial relations system  across the country, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on  the Federal  Government to review all labour laws. According to the  Association,  mediation aspect of the labour laws should be the focus of the proposed review. In his address to the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of PENGASSAN in Warri, Delta State, recently, President of the Association,  Babatunde Ogun, said: “There is need to review some of the country’s labour laws that are now obsolete, especially the aspect of the law that deals with mediation”. Ogun added: “Under the current laws no power is given to the Minister of Labour and Productivity while mediating in industrial dispute but the minister can only advise the parties. The law should be reviewed in a way that the minister will get power to make binding pronouncements on parties while mediating.” He condemned the inability of the government to enforce all conventions and other extant labour standards of the International Labour Organsiation (ILO) that have been ratified by the Federal Government. “The government should evolve political will to enforce all conventions of the ILO and should not just leave Nigerian workers at

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• Tasks govt on enforcement of conventions the mercy of the employers, who are more profit-oriented at the expense of developing human capacity in the country. “Most of these conventions have provisions to ensure human dignity, improve workers’ welfare and protect workers against degradation while at work,” he stated. While calling for the review of selection process of judges of the National Industrial Court (NIC), the union leader, according to a press statement issued by Babatunde Oke,  expressed dismay at some of the judgments of the court, alleging

that this shows that some of the judges did not have experience in extant labour laws and history.” We discover that the pronouncement by some judges of the NIC leaves much to be desired, as some of them have demonstrated lack of knowledge on the extant Labour laws, Nigerian constitution and the international labour conventions,” he stated. Also speaking recently,  Ogun decried  crude oil theft and reported pipeline vandalisation in some part of the country, adding that the development is  becoming scandalous.

He said: “Our security forces have been unable to arrest this unwholesome practice as attested to by the running battle they keep having in Arepo, Ogun State”. He added: “Although the Miscellaneous Offences Act provides for life imprisonment for anyone stealing crude oil or petroleum products or vandalising the pipelines, hardly is anyone caught or prosecuted. Government needs to step up to the plate and summon the required will to fight this threat to our nation. If nothing concrete is done, we may be forced to suspend production of crude oil and

Partner, PwC, Leo Johnson, Mayor of London (left) Boris Jonhson and Paga Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Tayo Oviosu at the Financial Times - ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards in London

supply of petroleum products until appropriate action is taken. “In ensuring the continuous existence of the oil and gas industry and the growth of our national economy, we demand that the government must endeavour to create a template in the

Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that will give room to re-investing part of the proceeds from oil back to the industry, diversify into development of other sector of the economy, especially the solid mineral sector, and save for the future generation.


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NLC, Kriston Lally plan N960 billion housing estates for workers From Collins Olayinka, Abuja

LANS are underway by P the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in con-

junction with a private developer, property Kriston Lally, to develop housing estates in some parts of the country for its members.

Unveiling the plan in Abuja at the weekend, a deputy President of the NLC, Promise Adewusi, said the plan is to build affordable houses for any willing member of the eight million population of Congress. He said: “We, as a labour

Activists propose unemployment benefits for the poor • As Ojo becomes ERA/FoEN boss By Wole Oyebade UITE similar to what is the case in advanced countries; environmental right activists have proposed a social justice scheme to cater for the unemployed and poor in Nigeria. The proposed scheme, to be known as National Basic Income Scheme (NaBIS), is to address the widening gap of inequality between the haves and have-not, through a national wealth redistribution system. Right activists, under the aegis of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), through the scheme have advocated for a stipend of N18, 000 for the unemployed and the poor. Meanwhile, the group has also named Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo as its new Executive Director. Ojo succeeds Nnimmo Bassey, who stepped down on March 31, 2013. Ojo holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environment, Politics and Development from the King’s College, London and co-founded ERA/FoEN with Bassey, Oronto Douglas, and Nicholas Ashton-Jones in 1993. Ojo, who spoke at his official presentation recently in Lagos, reflected on the plight of the poor in Nigeria and submitted that the social justice scheme was justified. He noted that a social economic reality that has over 68 million people unemployed, millions living on less than $2 (about N300) a day and lots more going to bed hungry was unbefitting of a rich country like Nigeria. According to him: “Given the official figures from the Bureau of Statistics that Nigeria earned N48.4 trillion between 20002011, and N8.8 trillion in 2011 from oil wealth, Nigeria can afford minimum Basic Income Stipend of about N18, 000 exclusively to the poor and unemployed if we are to halt this decline towards a political class economy,” he said. Ojo added that the scheme, if given a chance, had the opportunity to awake slumbering potentials in the country, adding that the scheme may be funded or subsidised by a reform of the progressive tax system. Ojo further argued: “It is a reparation from unequal use of natural resources

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from systemic internal colonialism that is very evident in Nigeria. If the national budget trend is anything to go by, a situation whereby less than one per cent of the population enjoys about 70 per cent of the national wealth through recurrent expenditure while the 99 per cent of the 170 million population is made to settle for 30 per cent in capital expenditure from the national wealth is no longer acceptable.” He observed that such insensitivity in wealth distribution had impoverished majority, leading to violent conflicts that is not conducive to national development. According to him, “there is too much money flying around,” hence the need for the citizens “to wake up from docility and place real demand on their government.” Ojo has experience in environmental activism spanning nearly two decades within which he campaigned relentlessly for environmental justice and in the Niger Delta impacted by oil extraction activities. In his handover speech at an event to mark ERA/FoEN 20th anniversary in Abuja recently, Bassey said with Ojo at the helm of affairs in ERA/FoEN, the environmental justice group was set to move to higher heights. ERA/FoEN Director, Corporate Accountability and Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “The entire ERA/FoEN staff, welcome Ojo who has in the last two decades, demonstrated unwavering commitment to the cause of the environment and human rights in Nigeria and beyond. His wealth of experience now comes to bear on the organisation.” A conflict resolution consultant and human rights advocate, Ojo has used the ERA/FoEN platform to increase environmental awareness and citizens’ response to environmental issues in Nigeria. Among his several achievements is the prestigious African Noble Award in 2011. He has authored several articles and books including “Envisioning a post petroleum economy for Nigeria, published in 2010 and Environmental governance, climate change and the quest for alternatives”, published 2012. He is a lead conference facilitator on environment and development issues at national and international levels.

movement, are worried about the 40million housing deficit that exists in the country as revealed by a United Nations study. This collaboration with Kriston Lally Nigeria Limited is to ensure a good number of our members have decent roofs over their heads. The project is expected to cost about $6billion or N960billion. We consider the 2 per cent interest rate of the total amount of the property spread over 15 years as very attractive and well below what is obtainable in the mortgage environment.” While struggling to create an image of a labour movement that is alive to its social responsibilities, Adewusi declared that the step clearly erodes the erroneous believe that trade unionists are ‘trouble makers’ and

This will go a long way to show that we are not only trouble makers but can also be interested in the provision of social amenities for our members nationwide. We want to contribute our quotas to the reduction of poverty in our country and this will go a long way in that direction happy strike-triggered people. “This will go a long way to show that we are not only trouble makers but can also be interested in the provision of social amenities for our members nationwide. We want to contribute our quotas to the reduction of poverty in our country and this will go a long way in that direction,” he stated. The move to provide affordable housing either for the 8million strong members of the NLC or the workforce is a build up on the foundation laid by the late Pascal Bafyau reign as the President of the NLC.

The land on which the peoject would be sited in Nasarawa state was recently acquired by the NLC through its FCT council for about 40 million. Indeed, while explaining where the projects would be sited, Adewusi said the NLC land in Nasarawa State and in other states where NLC has land would be used for the project. He also explained that NLC would be reaching out to other state governments to acquire land for the project where it has no land previously. Providing more insight into the partnership, the

Group Executive Vice Chairman of Kriston Lally EPC, Mustapha Madawaki, said the houses that would be provided include bungalows, two and three bedrooms. His explanation: “The opportunity is opened to any member of the NLC. Beneficiaries are expected to pay a minimum 10 per cent of the cost and then pay the rest spread over 15 years’ period. All interested persons should do is to pay at any branch of Zenith Bank and we will take over the process from there.” The housing estates would also include the construction of a four-star hotel with a 180-guests room capacity. Madawaki added that the project is only targeting about 10 per cent of the 8million members of the NLC.


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Oil workers task govt on unemployment, illegal bunkering By Yetunde Ebosele ORRIED by the rate of W unemployment in the Niger Delta region, the  National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has advised the Federal Government to strengthen public private partnership scheme. Besides, NUPENG at the weekend urged the government to open up the region with good roads, bring in modern infrastructure to make the people feel a sense of belonging, “that they are not just been exploited, with nothing to show for the oil that is on their soil”. President of the union, Igwe Achese, explained that the public private partnership is capable of creating factories, cottage industries that will keep the restive youths busy.  The union added that the empowerment scheme should be launched and promoted by the oil multinationals and states governments, adding that it  “can be driven through the establishment of skills acquisition schemes for the youths”. A  statement issued by Achese also decried incessant force majeure been declared by oil majors especially Shell Petroleum Development Company and “recently by Agip Oil Company in its oil fields in the Niger Delta due to illegal bunkering”. The union also drew attention to the shutting down of Italian Oil Firm, Agip swamp area oil fields in Bayelsa, which produces about 40,000 barrels of crude oil daily due to incessant wave of illegal bunkering and vandalisation of the pipelines. NUPENG explained that Agip Oil Company was losing about 7,000 barrels of its crude production daily to oil thieves in Bayelsa State, pointing out that illegal bunkering and theft of crude oil  is robbing the nation of the needed foreign exchange that should be used for developmental purposes. It described theft of the nation’s resources, like crude oil  as   “unpatriotic, criminal and further degrades the environment, as they often leave the crude to spill into farmlands and waters.  It has been discovered that the destruction of the ecosystem in the Niger Delta region is as a result of wanton theft through bursting of oil pipelines.” The union vehemently condemns the illegal bunkering activities, which have led to loss of colossal monies that should have gone into the federation account.  The union calls on the Federal Government to overhaul the Joint Task Force operations (JTF)”. It explained that the traditional method of chasing and destroying the stolen products have not reduced their activities, “with the numerous pipelines that traverse the nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta region”. The union calls for effective surveillance and use of the locals to monitor the pipelines, pointing out that there is need for the international oil companies to engage modern day technology in monitoring areas where pipelines are tam-

pered with and respond fast before any damage is done to the environment.  NUPENG  recently condemned what it described as “the brazen and senseless killings of innocent Nigerians by suspected gunmen” in some parts of the North. According to the union, the nation cannot continue to lament the incessant killings every day, without taking adequate proactive measures to curtail it. Achese called on the Federal Government to safeguard the lives and property of its citizens by putting a halt to these killings, “that has dented the image of the country abroad and is scaring foreign investors, at a time we need a re-invigoration of our national economy”.

Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olojeme being presented with the Royal commonwealth Ambassador Award by the former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu on behalf of the Royal Commonwealth Society of Nigeria.


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Council laments shortage of qualified pharmacists From Tunji Omofoye, Osogbo HE Pharmacists Council of Nigeria {PCN}, has raised the alarm over shortage of manpower in the sector saying only about 20,000 qualified pharmacists are available to provide health care delivery service to over 160million Nigerians. The Acting Registrar of the council, Gloria Abumere gave this hint recently at Obafemi Awolowo University {OAU}, Ile-Ife, Osun state, where 98 graduands were inducted into the profession by the council. The PCN chief, who noted the effort by the council in enforcing ethics and professionalism, was optimistic that the latest inductees would assist in halting the declining trend in the health indices of the nation. Her words, “The production of ninety eight graduands would again help to address the paucity of pharmacists in the health care delivery system of the country. It is also hoped that these young graduands will go out there to halt the declining trend in the health

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The increasing availability of medicine and their de-classification from Prescription Only Medicines {POM} to Over the Counter {OTCs} medicines brings to the fore the need to monitor not only the efficacy of medicines but their safety as well indices of our dear country, Nigeria. I enjoin you to be good team players with other healthcare professionals in the best interest and benefit of the patients and the society at large”. She advised the inductees to brace up in meeting the next challenges in the 12 months internship training of their profession to expose them to practical application of the theories they had learnt at school. Reminding the graduands that attainment of a university degree in pharmacy was the beginning of journey in the career, she enjoined them to embrace continuous learning and capacity building strategy aimed at improving their professional skills. Abumere, who later administered the oath of practice on the inductees

Imo names panel to achieve N2b IGR target From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri N its determination to Ibillion achieve its monthly N2 Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in Imo State, Governor Rochas Okorocha has appointed a seven-man panel to ensure that the state achieved its target. In a statement issued at the

weekend in Owerri, the names of the committee’s Chairman, Jude Dike and Secretary, Mrs. Chioma Okpaleke, were given. The statement further noted that the committee would be inaugurated by the Deputy Governor of the state, Prince Eze Madumere, in his office’s conference hall.

on behalf of the council, also noted the spirited effort the council is making in the fight against circulation of counterfeit drugs in the country. She warned that the council would not hesitate to sanction erring members involved in untowards conduct capable of dragging the name of the profession into disrepute. “The increasing availability of medicine and their de-classification from Prescription Only Medicines {POM} to Over the Counter {OTCs} medicines brings to the fore the need to monitor not only the efficacy of medicines but their safety as well”, she said. The PCN boss charged the graduands to do their job with sincerity and use the knowledge and skills imparted in them to contribute their quota in order to raise the standard of health care deliv-

ery system in the society. In his speech, the Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, OAU, Professor Oluseye Bolaji urged the graduands to be good ambassadors of the university and to make meaningful impact in their chosen career. He said the university authorities would contin-

ue to monitor their progress adding that they should also relate to the institution by being active in the activities of the university alumni association. A renowned pharmacist and National Chairman, National Association of Industrial Pharmacists,

Lolu Ojo who made a presentation urged the inductees to make integrity, professionalism and character their watchword. The overall best graduand for the 2011/2012 set, Abiona Olaitan Oluwayemisi was honoured with awards for her brilliance by the council.


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NigeriaCapitalMarket NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at Monday PRICE LIST OF SYMBOLS TRADED FOR 8/4/2013

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NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at 8/4/2013

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Wema Bank to float N35bn special placement By Helen Oji EMA Bank, has received regulatory approval to commence its proposed N35billion special placing, through the issuance of 23,333,333,334 ordinary shares of 50kobo each at N1.50 per share. The bank, which explained that the offer would increase its shareholders’ fund to N40billion added that the shares would subsequently be listed on the floor of the Exchange. Speaking during the bank’s completion board meeting yesterday in Lagos Segun Oloketuyi, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank explained that with this development, the bank is expected to complete the process of raising the required capital before April 30, 2013.

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According to him, the Bank was pleased with the approvals received as it signifies a key milestone in the entire repositioning process which began in December. He explained that the completion of the placement process will further enable the bank compete more effectively in the banking industry and also enhance the quality of products and services being offered to an increasing customer base. “We will remain focused on efficient service delivery whilst scaling our business organically and strategically for superior returns to all stakeholders”, he added. Oloketuyi also expressed his appreciation to all regulators who have supported the ongoing transformation process in the bank and also praised the painstaking

efforts of all parties to the offer in ensuring strict compliance and adherence to all regulatory requirements by the bank that has made the approvals possible. The Bank expects to use the funds realized from the special placing to grow its business, invest in IT infrastructure and expand its operations. On seeking a National Banking License to enable it expand its scope of physical operations beyond the current geographical boundaries, Oloketuyi said the process of exploring available options to securing a National Banking License from the Central Bank will commence upon completion of the special placing. The bank had had in December 2012, announced plans to raise capital by way of a special placing with com-

Group Executive Director, Finance and Risk, EcoBank Transnational Incorporated, Laurence do Rego (left); Chief Executive Officer, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema; Group Chief Executive Officer, ETI, Thierry Tanoh and Executive Director, Business Development, NSE, Haruna Jalo-Waziri, at the ETI’s presentation of facts behind the figures to The NSE community, in Lagos, yesterday. porate banking, retail bankmitment from investors fully subscribed. already secured to the tune of “Wema Bank is reputably ing and e-banking solutions the N35billion offer size. Nigeria’s most resilient bank and services in addition to From all indications and with and longest surviving indige- top-notch financial advisory already high interest and nous financial institution. services to its discerning demand, the placing will be The Bank offers a range of cor- clientele.”


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Opinion Road carnage and failure of highway administration By Luke Onyekakeyah HE incessant road carnage in Nigeria is due T to the failure of highway administration in the country. Outside the state capitals and the Abuja Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where some poorly managed traffic signs and road markings exist, it is disheartening that across the length and breadth of Nigeria’s network of highways, there are no road signs and markings. The result is that motorists drive blindly on the dilapidated roads without directions or instructions and quite often end up in mishap. One could drive from Lagos to Abuja, a distance of 879 kilometres without finding a single traffic sign or road marking. The same is the case in all the major highways, whether federal or state roads. The roads are merely a stretch of blind alleys that often lead to points of no return. No amount of campaigns to curb road accidents would succeed until government installs appropriate road signs and marking like in other climes. Over and above every other factor, the lack of road signs and markings is to blame for the frequent carnage on Nigerian roads. Within the past weekend alone, no less than 70 persons perished in various road crashes on Nigeria’s deadly highways. The latest string of mass deaths from road accidents, occurring in quick succession, in different parts of the country clearly underscores the failure of road transport management in the country. It is a devastating reality caused by insensitivity, greed and lack of care for people’s lives on the part of the authorities. The gravity of road accidents between Wednesday, 3rd and Friday 5, April, 2013 is alarming and calls for a national emergency on the roads. It is obvious that all the machinery put in

place so far to stem road carnage have failed to tame a monster that is snuffing life out of Nigerians every day. The reason is that the basic things have not been done. The road signs and markings are not there. All the agencies labouring daily on the roads can do nothing to stop the frequent road carnage because the instruments that should help motorists find their bearing are lacking. That is why the rate of accidents keeps getting worse rather than abating. According to the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC), in the early hours of Wednesday, April 3, 18 persons reportedly perished on the Abuja-Lokoja highway when a J5 transporter lost control and rammed unto a luxury bus. Many occupants of the buses were killed. Nine people sustained various degrees of injuries. The accident occurred at night around 1.35 am and was blamed on fatigue on the part of the driver. While tears were still flowing as a result of the accident, a more fatal carnage occurred at Ugbogui on the ever-busy but dilapidated Benin-Ore-Shagamu highway. The crash, according to reports, occurred when a Dangote trailer had a burst tyre and rammed onto a fuel tanker and a luxury bus belonging to The Young Shall Grow Transport Company, which was fully loaded with passengers heading from Lagos to Enugu. The accident occurred at daytime around 1.30 pm. The inferno ignited by the petrol tanker consumed all the passengers in the luxury bus and ravaged nearby shops and market. The bus manifest released by the FRSC showed that all the 30 passengers perished. Six other persons, including the driver of the tanker were killed. Shocked villagers however, believe that there were more people in the bus than recorded in the manifest. It is common

for inter-state luxury buses in Nigeria to carry “attachments”, that is passengers not captured in the manifest, who pay lesser fare. About five vehicles parked in a mechanic workshop were reportedly burnt. The extent of damage caused by the disaster was yet unknown. It will be difficult to know exactly how many people died in the accident. How the three big vehicles managed to collide at each other is not of yet known. Reckless driving and absence road markings may have contributed to the disaster. And yet, in another multiple accident at Ihiala on the Onitsha-Owerri highway on the same day, 13 people lost their lives while several others were injured. The FRSC said the accident involved a Honda Accord car, a truck, a Toyota Sienna, Mitsubishi bus and another truck. The trailer, reportedly, collided with the mini buses belonging to the Rivers State Transport Company which were heading to Onitsha from Port Harcourt. Eyewitness accounts say the trailer was joining the road when the buses rammed unto it. The accident could have been avoided if there were road markings requiring the trailer to stop before joining a very busy highway. Fatal accidents are a daily occurrence in Nigeria. The catalogue of the disasters is unending. Travelling on Nigerian roads is a major risk and one can only heave a sigh of relief after reaching the destination unhurt. It is hard to know how many people are killed on Nigerian roads daily. Estimates say an average of 10 persons are killed daily on Nigerian roads. But that, obviously, is based on what is reported. Several deaths go unreported. In Lagos alone, several people are

knocked down daily while crossing the unmarked highways. Road accidents have become the number one killer in Nigeria. The combined impact of malaria and HIV/AIDS are dwarfed by road carnage. A lot has been written and said about the causes of road carnage in Nigeria. The factors range from bad roads, excessive speed, overloading, defective vehicles, fatigue, especially for night driving, drunkenness, use of inferior motor parts, etc. While all these contribute in one way or the other to the frequent carnage on the roads, absence of traffic signs and road markings is to me the greatest contributor. Nigeria is perhaps the only country in the world where there are no traffic signs and road markings on the highways. The result is that motorists drive blindly unguarded. It is like a pilot flying an aircraft without radar coverage. He flies blind and in 99 per cent of the time, the aircraft is bound to crash. Traffic signs are paraded by the FRSC, VIOs and other road traffic agencies to test drivers. Similarly, driving schools present traffic signs when testing learner drivers. But all these are merely in theory. There are practically few cases in real life where one comes across the road signs on Nigerian roads. Whereas, a few may exist in the cities, the road signs are totally absent on the highways. Given the awful state of roads in the country, a lot needs to be done to get Nigeria out of the frequent road disasters. The federal and state Ministries of Works whose duty it is to install road signs should do their work. They have failed to do what is appropriate on the roads and by so doing have contributed immensely in the road carnage. Let the right things be done, otherwise, there is no way out of the deaths on our roads yet.

Akpabio and his apostates By Andrew Okungbowa OVERNOR Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State is no G doubt a man with huge capacity to navigate whichever space he finds himself. He has proved this over and over, at least within the Nigerian political terrain and his beloved native Akwa Ibom State where he holds sway as the chief executive. For many of his followers, it is not surprising that their thespian governor is always in the news for different reasons. This time, his innocuous wedding present of a Sports Utility Van (SUV), so to say, to one of Nigeria’s rave of the moment in the musical world, Innocent Dibia, otherwise known as 2Face Idibia and doling out N6 million to feed the supposed hungry folks in his political party, which has styled itself the biggest party in Africa, have pitched him against many commentators. The media is awash with different comments on these actions with many of the comments amusing; a delight to read, not because they enlighten us or address the issues that such actions on the part of the governor raised, and particularly the implication it has for the country’s political development and how far it impacts on the lives of the people of Akwa Ibom to whom the governor took oath to serve and defend their interest always. One of such well-couched pieces is that by Etim Etim in The Guardian of Monday, April 2, 2013. Etim of course, is a media and public relations man and I believe is quite familiar to many in the media world. He signed off his piece as writing from Uyo. So, that already defines his attitude, persuasion and belief, as his write up was clearly to promote the governor. He made no pretense about approving the action of the governor as being politically, developmentally, socially and morally right as it was meant to promote the interest of the people of Akwa Ibom, which included Etim himself since he is also an Ibomite. But how exactly these actions of his governor, which many commentators have dismissed as a show of profligacy and bad judgment on the part of the governor; amid poverty in his state, posted positive for his people was not clearly defined by Etim but rather his major concern was taking a swipe at the governor’s critics. Etim was quite hard on the media, which for years has been his constituency and he understands perfectly the interplay in the media world. In defending stoutly the action of his governor and taking the media to task, he seems to have forgotten that the media has a constitutional role of holding the government and those entrusted with public offices and resources accountable to the people, which in this case the me-

dia appears to be doing. Perhaps his grouse is that the media has in the past chosen to gloss over the inappropriate and indiscreet acts of crass profligacy of others and raised to high heavens those of his governor as indicated by him. The point is whether the media was guilty of looking the other way, as a result of being compromised as faithfully canvassed by him, does not make the actions of his governor right. No one is amused by his argument that the budget of the state provides for the governor to make donations to charity. So, giving SUV to 2Face Idibia and wife is now a charity work; or doling N6 million to feed faceless hungry party members? How can we ascertain the true state of these party members and where they are truly from and how they waited for the meeting where a chieftain of the party canvassed for assistance to the hungry millions at the grassroots and the donation was made instantly, even jokingly that the chairmen of councils should go to Mr. Biggs to sort their people out immediately? By the way, a number of Ibomites would have, since the 2Face Idibia  wedding, also staged their wedding ceremonies in the state. If that is the case, how come we have not heard of the governor giving SUVs or money to them? Or they are not ‘stars’ as 2Face who luckily fished out a wife in Akwa Ibom? Or the so called generosity and charity work of the governor does not extend to such people because they don’t have recognisable status or public relations value as noted by Etim? If indeed the budget of the state makes such provision, I believe that in exercising such powers, the governor owes it a responsibility to himself and the people of the state to be guided by the overall interest of the state and the people/organisation to whom/which such charity is directed. The point people are making is not that the governor should not have attended the wedding if he so chose or have given gifts but rather such gifts should be moderate and discreet and not in so outlandish and dramatic fashion as he did without considering the morality of it, the sensibility of his people and others. What political point or public relations mileage was the governor seeking from such ignoble mismanagement of resources? I believe that the backlash and bad press that have visited the action including Etim’s writing in defence of the actions, has clearly achieved the opposite, as it has failed to present the governor in good light. If indeed Etim played according to the rule and principles of his bank then he should also understand the public outcry. In this instance, his governor was entirely on his own without consultation with any of the stakeholders and following the objectives of the state. In governance, the best recipient of the

CSR or discretionary powers of the governor in terms of appropriating the resources of the state are the people of the state because whatever else the governor does outside of his primary constituency is transient and would easily be forgotten once the euphoria dies down. But once such acts of generosity and charity are directed towards the people and elevating their socio-economic, cultural, religious, communal and political existence, they remain permanent and visible for people over the years to see. And that indeed brings us to what governance is all about, which is to impact on the wellbeing of the people. Finally, I find it also amusing that Etim would sit in Uyo and tell us “the governor has performed well following all Key Performance Indicators.” I doubt if other Ibomites living within the same Uyo would agree with Etim on that score or those from Eket or other far flung areas of the state. The mistake we always make in scoring governors is looking at the well-publicised media documents they send across to the media who have a responsibility to move into the field and cross check claims against the level of degradation and poverty visited on the people by their governors. A governor rehabilitates 50 kilometres of road or sinks a borehole in the village of his wife or one of his political associates, the people celebrate. The question is, what is supposed to be the work of the governor if not to ensure that amenities and infrastructure are provided for the people? What was his or party’s manifesto based on if not to meet the need of the people and ensure that they and the state are better than what they were before he came into power. But people are so poorly treated and neglected and also the governors and their cohorts make us believe that they are doing us a favour by giving water, light. So we celebrate and hail them when in fact we should demand as a matter of our rights for such amenities to be provided. No wonder corruption persists in the land, bad governance persists and all we do is to cry and not take action when we need to. The point Etim should have made in his lengthy piece was what he ended with, which is that Akwa Ibom governor needs to moderate his actions and talks. Besides, the writer should seek always to affect for good the generality of his people and not seek after any political reward as in this case. Let Governor Akpabio – and that also applies to all elected public office holders – please use the office and the state resources of the people for the good of their people. The time is too short to play around. If you think that you are not accountable to the people or the EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau or any law in the land, so be it, but conscience matters • Okungbowa is on the staff of The Guardian.


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Opinion Still on need to scrap JAMB (2) By Ike Onyechere Continued from yesterday HIS discriminatory practice and double standard by JAMB raise questions. How does JAMB determine which states belong to ELDS and EMDS categories? What criteria are used for the categorisation? When does a state move from ELDS to EMBS category and vice versa? What makes Akwa Ibom State (carved out of Cross River State in 1987) educationally more developed than Cross River State from which it is carved out? What makes Delta State (with four federal institutions) more educationally developed than Rivers State (with six federal institutions)? What makes FCT educationally more developed than Kaduna State? It is my considered opinion that these are questions federal and state legislators from EMDS states should seek answers to in the interest of the youths they are representing. Beyond being selective and arbitrary, the concept of ELDS and EMDS bestows unequal opportunity and undue advantage on candidates from some states against their counterparts from other states. This is against the spirit of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy enshrined in the 1999 constitution. The constitution states in section 18(1) chapter 2, part II that “Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels” There is also the other issue of education being under the concurrent legislative list in the constitution. Sections 29 and 30 of second schedule of the constitution, under the concurrent legislative list state that “subject as herein provided, a House of Assembly shall have power to make laws for the state with respect to establishment of an institution for purposes of university, technology or professional education…” But the 1989 JAMB decree (which repealed the 1978 decree) as amended by the 1993 decree provides in section 5(1) that “notwithstanding the provision of any other enactment, the Board shall be responsible for the general control of the conduct of matriculation examinations for and admissions into all Universities, Polytechnics (by whatever name called) and Colleges of Education (by whatever name called) in Nigeria…and for the

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placement of suitable candidates in tertiary institutions”. It is my considered opinion that by canceling the rights of Senates of state tertiary institutions (established by State Houses of Assembly) to fully conduct their own admission processes, the JAMB decree is inconsistent with the constitution of the country. JAMB, at best, should restrict itself to federal institutions. This anomaly raises issues regarding the theory and practice of federalism in Nigeria. JAMB has turned Nigeria’s tertiary education system into an experimental guinea pig. There was University Matriculation Examinations (UME) where candidates wrote four objective papers, including English and three papers related to their course of study. Monotechnics, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Matriculation Examination (MPCEME) with three objective papers followed. Then came Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), which replaced UME and MPCEME. With UTME came the selection process of “most preferred” 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th choices for candidates. After all the rigmarole, candidates are still subjected to the expensive and double jeopardy of Post-UTME processes organised by the various universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. In the 2013 UTME, candidates will be subjected to three options: Paper and Pencil Test (PPT); Computer Based Test (CBT); and Dual Based Test (DBT). ELDS candidates are assessed on cut off marks discounted by 20 per cent. After all the “most preferred choices” and ELDS and EMDS and PPT and CBT and DBT etc factors are taken care of, the admissions are then distributed based on 45 per cent merit, 35 per cent “catchment area” and 20 per cent ELDS. Even the most advanced countries of the world with the best administrative systems cannot operate this type of convoluted system efficiently. It is a rehearsal for serial disaster. This is why JAMB has remained nothing more than an experiment for 35 years of its existence (1978 to 2013). The registrar of JAMB acknowledged as much in his interview of February 17, 2013 with The Nation on Sunday when he said, “I can’t say it can’t go wrong. But practice makes perfect”. 35 years is a

pretty long time for practice! The total monopoly enjoyed by JAMB has resulted in a dangerous level of insensitivity to the plight of candidates. The Nation Newspaper of Thursday, February 28, 2013 reported the response of JAMB’s P.R.O to the 2013 centre allocation crisis: “…the March 15 deadline for registration is sacrosanct. The CBT starts April 15 until 17. The paper and pencil test will hold on April 27. We have more than the estimated number of candidates registered for this year’s examination. JAMB is not releasing more centres.” The argument that JAMB underestimated the number of candidates for 2013 is not backed by the statistics quoted by the P.R.O. He was quoted as saying that the number of registered candidates for 2013 is 1.3 million candidates. But it is on record that the number of candidates in 2012 was over 1.5 million. So JAMB should have prepared for at least 1.5 million. The logical explanation is that JAMB was caught in the web of confusion caused by the convoluted CBT, PPT and DBT processes. The second point to note in the P.R.O’s response is the complete absence of empathy with and sympathy to the suffering candidates and their parents. These candidates are JAMB’s customers by any definition of the word. They deserve some soft words if not outright apology from JAMB. The danger to the government and people of Nigeria is that JAMB by its inefficiencies and insensitive responses is adding to the population of angry youths in the country with all its attendant dangerous consequences. JAMB as a central admission agency for all tertiary institutions in Nigeria is not in line with conventional wisdom and global best practices. It is a notorious fact that thousands of institutions in the world are ranked higher than Nigerian institutions each year. One distinguishing feature of all institutions that rank higher than their Nigerian counterparts is that they enjoy full autonomy in conducting their admission processes. In trying to defend the continued existence of JAMB, the registrar posited in his interview with The Nation that, “even in the United Kingdom, you have what is called University and Colleges Admission Services (UCAS). It is a clearance body like JAMB.” Again, I beg to disagree with the learned professor. UCAS

does not conduct admission examinations for tertiary institutions in UK. The law establishing the agency and its terms of operational reference are there on the website for everybody to see. But there is even no point belabouring the issue because the tens of thousands of Nigerians that have schooled or are schooling in British schools did not go through UCAS. JAMB has made Nigeria the most fertile ground for recruitment of students by institutions from all over the world, including USA, Canada, UK, China, Ukraine, Singapore, Malaysia, Ghana, etc. Their embassies provide promotional support with all manners of advertisements, education fairs, seminars and interviews. On the other hand, Nigerian embassies have no international education support service to help Nigerian universities recruit foreign students. Reason: JAMB. Even countries like China that still operate central socialist systems of government have unchained their tertiary institutions to compete globally for the students. A Chinese educationist, Amanda Ci, who was in Nigeria in 2010 on a one week students recruitment drive told The Nation Newspaper (Sunday, June 13, 2010) that “in recent years, the Chinese government has been rolling out new policies to promote its education to attract international students. Things are changing fast.” Nigerian parents export over N150 billion annually to Ghana to pay school fees for Nigerian students schooling in Ghana. How many Ghanaians are schooling in Nigeria? Ditto for UK, USA, Ukraine, Canada, China, etc. The result is capital flight of unimaginable proportions and negative balance of education trade unprecedented in history of nations. The summary is that Nigeria’s tertiary education system is trapped in a time capsule by JAMB. And unless and until our tertiary institutions are unchained and liberated from the inefficiencies of JAMB and granted autonomy to run their own admission processes from start to finish, the tertiary education system in Nigeria can never and will never fly. It will continue to rank low on the global ranking index. • Concluded. • Onyechere is Founding Chairman, Exam Ethics Marshals International.

Remembering Doctor Ugochi Ihejiahi By Douglas Ude (On the anniversary of her death, a grateful father remembers his son’s doctor) WAS there when they buried you Ugochi. Outside the cavernous cathedral a sullen sky sat on a listless, leaden day. Within, the almost meaningless ritual of human burial buffeted senses already dulled by disbelief; the hymns, the monologues of Mass blurring into mere ambient sound. I saw the faces, vacant, staring, in turns blank, then briefly animated, contorting in a rictus of denial, then subsiding into stony masks. Nothing had prepared us for a day like this. I was there when they brought your casket in; the hired trumpeters blazing away but lost in the hush that swept over an entire town; the crowd, quiet as though afraid to even draw breath; the priests, solemn by practice, saying words that had almost lost meaning through repetition; the children outside, afraid to play, somehow knowing we were about serious business. The old woman who walked to enquire with broken tones: “owu onye nwuru?” “who died? Nobody tells us anything anymore...” And they were there in their numbers, the old and decrepit, drawn, helplessly and irresistibly it would seem, to scenes of death. Perhaps their very own proximity bred a certain connection, even communion with bereavement. How did we comport ourselves at this time: was it proper to show more grief, or less? I recall the pastiches of that forlorn afternoon – the sun that didn’t shine, hiding it’s baleful stare behind ugly, cotton wool clouds; and your husband, solitary at the best of times, always discomfited by too much public attention; now distant, alone in the crowd and lost, heart breaking the way only a strong man’s heart breaks, in slow-motion, a piece at a time, with every drawn-out minute of this endless day. And your sons, what upstanding fine young men they had become; your girls too, showing the grace only good breeding brings. How proud you would have been, to see how they had grown; what near masterpieces had been wrought by your hands... Bob Ingersoll had written that we will never have a race of great sons until we have a race of great mothers – and you were great Ugochi. If greatness is defined by limitless grace under pressure, by the little things done without fuss; if greatness is the difficult made simple; the complex, easy; the impossible, commonplace then you qualified. Because greatness is wielding power and influence without anyone knowing it – the unconscious art of the naturally gifted. And so they came in their droves, the great and the small, mostly

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the small, just like you would have wanted it. They came as much for you as they did your husband, and although you were willing, like a good wife, to subsume your flame under his own bright light, it would have also satisfied you to know that your circle of friends was as vast as his, their love perhaps more genuine. And I watched your brisk, confident stride (you never walked when a stride would do); tossing comments like party favours from a princess; teasing a child here; joking with a mother there; a sharp comment straightening out an errant nurse; all without breaking step. And you entered and brought sunshine with you – no airs, no fuss, demystifying the entire ritualistic ceremonial of modern medicine. I watched as you took charge and settled our fears, because somehow, everyone in that room knew that you cared, and that you knew what you were about. Competence – the art of great generals; and diligence, the watchword of royalty – these two attributes defined you. You took my worried night calls, brushing aside the apologies and cutting to the chase – no false assurances – only the guarantee that you were on the case, and that you knew your business. And that was all a scared parent ever needed. And through all of this, not a hint of personal pain; not a sign that your own life was ebbing away and there would be none to give you the succour you had brought thousands. Sacrifice then; the talent of heroes – like the Spartan boy with the fox under his robes; the Dutch kid with a finger in the dyke – this is the legacy you have left us. To soldier on against all odds; to be on call until the very last breath is drawn from us... You were not perfect, I’m sure – but sainthood is not a condition of divinity, rather the result of man striving against his base self and becoming superman – or woman. Who will bring that energy into the bleak wards that no longer echo with the confident stamp of your rounds? Who will bring wry humour and everyday commonsense into fearfilled rooms reeking of death? That day, I mused on several things – mostly, on the futility perhaps of all endeavour. It was difficult to reconcile how much vitality was shut up in that casket? How could this small box contain your presence, your aliveness? Carl Jung believed the greatest gifts often hung from the weakest branches. How true Now, in retrospect perhaps, one begins to understand why you lived life with such zest; perhaps with preternatural knowledge, you were packing a whole lifetime of living in the little time you had: and you excelled, as mother, wife and professional - and the proof was there in the large cathedral for all to see. Five hundred people all united in their sense of loss; five persons so near-perfect, now so lost without you. What happens, I wondered then and still do, now that you’ve gone?

To your husband, your boys and girls and to your parents (heartbreakingly stoic in the face of loss, their pain however plain for all to see?) Death, at first instance, is 90 per cent logistics; those endless details, the minutiae of disposal at least puts grief at bay; but when it’s all done and the crowd dispersed, how do we begin to close the hole in our heart, when it can only be filled by what is now irrevocably lost? I followed the hearse down the ochre- coloured soil to the unbelievably cruel oblong pit – I watched as the white casket was lowered by people to whom this was no more than a chore. Did they but know that on this day love had died; that for some life had stopped? Would they have cared? That night, back in the sorry lodges we occupied, the rains finally came, angry, lashing, bringing with them thunder and wind, weeping for us fools, releasing the collective tears we had held up inside – and as I looked out of my dirty windows, I hoped that perhaps, somewhere in that flood, with all the other debris, was some of our pain, leeching away into this sad ground that had taken you away from us. Today, one year after, pain is brought back into sharp relief for most of us; but for those who really loved you, it never went away. And with every anniversary, the hollow rituals of remembrance simply tear open the scabs of barely-healed wounds and the ichor of grief pours out again, fresh, rushing in agonizing torrents. Goodbyes are difficult in every language. And how can we say goodbye when you are here, right in our hearts? When we can still feel your spirit and your presence? In the wry smile and quick glance of your daughter, the proud Roman nose of your son, in the suddenly doleful children’s ward where you once wove your magic. Yesterday – in the only way I could pay tribute, I visited that military hospital where you had chosen to work – away from the glamour and light – bringing hope to those who would otherwise not have had any. I looked again at the bed by the window where we had brought my boy in extremis, and I again heard your quick, confident tones. And every time I watch my boy, who has become quite the risk taker, execute a bungee jump off a sofa, I see again God’s miracles made manifest through the agency of man (and woman). And though (sadly) Ikem (my boy) may never remember you Ugochi; we will, Chioma and I, always. And perhaps in time we will pass on the lesson you taught us; Ikem will come to know too, that every job is a grind; but those who approach each day with renewed passion, do make a difference. Sometimes, they even save a life, as you did in the case of my boy. Thank you Doctor Ihejiahi; for passing through here and for touching my life. • Ude wrote from Lagos.


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THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Law

Quote of the week An earthquake achieves what the law promises but does not in practice maintain - the equality of all men.  Ignazio Silone judicialeditor@yahoo.co.uk/ 08033151041 Desk Head: Ibe Uwaleke

‘Perception of corruption a difficult task’ Interview By Joseph Onyekwere

Since the president granted state pardon to some convicted Nigerians, the dust raised by that action is yet to settle down. It has severally been criticized by Nigerians who express worries over the effect on the campaign against corruption. Osaro Eghobamien, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in this interview, says the timing was wrong. He also comes up with a verdict that perception of corruption is worst than corruption itself. In addition, he comments on the Evidence Act, plea-bargain, the budget and others. HE state pardon for the former Bayelsa State T governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and others was his major concern as he did not mince words in condemning it. His words: “There is a distinction between actual corruption and perception of corruption. I think that perhaps, the Presidency failed to make out the distinction. The perception of corruption is more difficult to handle than corruption itself. The country and almost every Nigerian are seen and perceived as corrupt. That is not necessarily true but that is the perception. Therefore, you must stop shot of doing anything that will continue to enhance the fact that we are perceived as corrupt. So if you grant a state pardon and the only perception that would be provoked as a result of that is that we are corrupt, then you must be very careful and reconsider whether or not there is the need to do so. The consequence of the state pardon is that he has been re-admitted into the society. He can now sit as a trustee over the funds of other persons. Recall that the warrant that was issued against him is still standing in the United Kingdom. I think that politically, it was wrong. If the president wanted to rehabilitate him, he should have done so when he is about leaving the State House. To be able to fight corruption in this country, we need a judicial system that is solid and a good administration of justice system. We also need a Police Force that is effective; we need an investigative team that has the requisite tools and resources to investigate crimes as well as prosecutors that are transparent and over board. It is the responsibility of all of us to fight corruption. Unfortunately, the structures to do so are not there. And one of the most difficult of it all is the one you cannot touch, the perception of corruption. If a man doesn’t feel he is going to get justice, it doesn’t matter whether or not you give him justice, he has perceived that you are not going to give it to him and he will not utilize that system. The State Pardon may not necessarily stop the fight against corruption but what does it do to the psyche of an average Nigerian? That’s where the difficulty lies. Foreigners are coming to invest and they are watching us. The perception of corruption is more damaging than the act itself. On the Amended Evidence Act, he said: “The Amended Evidence Act 2011 introduced some innovations on the admissibility of electronic evidence. Once you comply with certain criteria, the electronically generated evidence will be admitted. That is the major innovation. But interestingly, that innovation is drawn from the 1968 Act of England. And that Act itself has gone through a lot of amendments. Therefore, what we require is a standing committee that constantly looks at the need for continuous amendment. The Indian Evidence Act was what effectively gave birth to Nigerian Evidence Act.

Eghobamien (SAN) In 2000, the Indians introduced the Electronic Act of 2000 to deal with the admissibility of electronically generated evidence. That is the comprehensive act. The amendments we have are too few and not as comprehensive as we would like them to be. That is the problem! There are many areas that are still left untouched. If you are to introduce a piece of evidence; if you are able to access the expert who maintains the computer and he issues you with certificate; then that certificate will basically deal with issues of authenticity of the computer system because these things can be calibrated. Therefore, what you require is somebody who comes in and can speak on an oath that the computer system is working properly and that the information generated by the system is information that is normally supplied to that system. These are all safeguard to ensure that what you have supplied to the system is actually what is produced. Then, the question is: when you want to use that piece of evidence against the generator of that piece of evidence, you are not likely to get that person who is in control to come and give evidence in your favour! It is also important that we look at other types of electronic generated evidence – electronic signatures are issues that stand on their own and nothing is said about that in the act like question of concluding contract electronically. In Nigeria, we have simply just relied on a very old Act. And countries that introduced that have since amended their Evidence Act with new provisions to deal with current issues. This current amendment has been in the House for a very long time. I think somebody rushed it just to say we now have an amended evidence act. There is a lot to be done.” On who has the responsibility to initiate amendment of obsolete acts in the National Assembly, he stated: “The Attorney General can take it upon himself. In the past, we have a standing law review committee. They have the responsibility of reviewing laws and suggesting to the Attorney General the necessary amendments and he will in turn send it to the National Assembly. The committee used to be very vibrant, but unfortunately, we don’t hear much about it now. Anyone can introduce amendment into the laws, but it is the pri-

mary responsibility of that committee to do so.” Responding to questions bordering on the relationship between the National Assembly and the executive as it relates to the appropriation bill, he declared: “What the law says is that the President will prepare an estimate of expenditure and an estimate of revenue and then appropriate sums to the future expenditure. And he lays that before the floor of the National Assembly. The National Assembly is to exercise an oversight function and for want of a better word, they superintend over it. In other words, they supposed to check and ensure that in the proposed expenditure, there is no inefficiency, no corruption and there is no waste. Ordinarily, they should be asking questions. Now what we see as an oversight function appears to be going beyond the powers of the National Assembly. I will tell you what happens: the President will indicate a price for oil (the benchmark) and as far as we understand it, it is the responsibility of the President. The constitution says so. But members of the Assembly discuss and negotiate the estimates. But what the members of the National Assembly do is to unilaterally increase the benchmark. They also unilaterally introduce projects into the budget. These projects are known as constituency projects. They also unilaterally appropriate funds to take care of these projects. The question that comes up is: who performs an oversight function on the execution of those projects? Oversight func-

The perception of corruption is more difficult to handle than corruption itself. The country and almost every Nigerian, are seen and perceived as corrupt. That is not necessarily true but that is the perception. Therefore, you must stop shot of doing anything that will continue to enhance the fact that we are perceived as corrupt. So if you grant a state pardon and the only perception that would be provoked as a result of that is that we are corrupt, then you must be very careful and reconsider whether or not there is the need to do so

tion is normally the responsibility of the parliament. You can see that they have abandoned their primary responsibility and taken over that of the executive to introduce projects and appropriate money to those projects. There should be check and balances.” Regarding the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), where the parliament refused to appropriate funds to the Commission, he said: “The parliament deliberately refused to appropriate money to an institution created by the constitution. Effectively, without an amendment of the constitution, what the National Assembly has done is to simply extinguish that institution. And I think that anything of that sort will amount to unconstitutionality. I heard from the minority leader of the House of Representatives that it is no longer a resolution, but in a manner of speaking, smuggled into the Appropriation Act. If a law violates the constitution, that law should be set aside. The more complicated problem is who should go to court. In the past, when we had a more vibrant political atmosphere, this would have been a matter that would be in court. Unfortunately, the Presidency is reluctant to do so and it is not clear why so. If I were to advise the Attorney General, I will say he should go to court. This would enhance our jurisprudence. May be they think they could resolve the matter politically? My reaction to that is: political negotiation and settlement must be within the parameters of the law. Therefore, it is important that the Attorney General seizes the initiative and proceeds to court. In any event, I don’t think that the president understands the extent to which the general public is frustrated by the failure of the legislature to confine itself to the powers given to it by the constitution. The public would prefer that the legislature is confined to its constitutional responsibility which is making laws.” On his views about the judges who were recently axed by the National Judicial Council (NJC) over corruption- related offences, he stated: “I think that in a society like Nigeria, it is necessary that we take this high profile action, particularly because we all talk about corruption but hardly do you see action. That is why I am particularly impressed with the present Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) in that I see her taking action. Of course those who are directly involved are reacting which is expected, that should not deter her from taking proper actions.” Talking about the propriety of plea-bargain, Eghobamien said: “Plea-bargain is oftentimes initiated by the prosecution. When the prosecution looks at a case and come to the conclusion that it might prove difficult to secure conviction, he will perhaps approach the accused and say ‘if you are willing to plead guilty to the charges, I will drop same too’. To be honest, it is not a matter for the judge because what you present to the judge is what he acts on. It is not necessarily a bad thing because you are not wasting public resources to go through prosecution where you are not sure you will secure conviction. People have to understand that securing conviction is a very tedious task because it is not guilty according to morality but guilty according to evidence. Even if a person has committed an offence, if the evidence is not there, he will go scot-free. So to avoid that, you can reach a compromise. The problem is when you abuse it.”


THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

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LawPeople

“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.” Thomas Jefferson

Hon: A lawyer with passion for research Profile By Bertram Nwannekanma EBASTINE Hon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is one of those who believe that every talent is a gift from God, which should not only be discovered but also maximised fully for the development of the populace. He believes that God created him to be a lawyer but may have been a journalist since the legal profession and journalism have much to do with research and public demonstration. The respected lawyer has not only discovered his forte for research and writing, he has also utilised it to the fullest by churning out several books that have helped to enrich the legal practice in Nigeria. Hon, whose new book is expected to be out next year believes that writing is his God-given talent. “Let me emphasize that I proudly and effectively combine book writing with legal practice”. Some of his works in Law of Evidence and Constitution have become reference points in Nigerian courts for his contemporaries because of his cerebral ability and erudition he puts in his writings. Hon is a prosecutor of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and has represented many firms and government institutions like the National Assembly in many constitutional issues because his industry in research. Incidentally, Hon’s forage into the legal profession is dramatic. As a young man, he was torn between choosing a career in mass communication and law because of he was good in the liberal arts. He however did not make up his mind till when he was in class five in the secondary school. Hon was sitting in a classroom adjacent to the school principal’s office when he saw a neatly dressed lawyer walking briskly to the principal’s office with well-polished shoe and neatly pressed suit. Since there was no teacher in his class at that time, Hon rushed to the door to take a closer look at this barrister and began to picture how he would look like as a lawyer. After that day, Hon made up his mind that he would do his best to become like Mr. Simon Orkuma, the lawyer he saw that day, who incidentally, is still alive today. Orkuma is reputed as one of the best legal brains in Nigeria. This is how he captured the event: “I started developing the urge to read law or mass communication. The reason was plain enough: I was very good in social sciences and the liberal arts and was poor in the sciences, particularly in mathematics. “I was the best student in history, literature and English language. I was also, with time, the best debating student of my time. I also started developing my research skills right in class three, so much so that I would at that time make notes and head them “GCE preparatory notes. “My young mind is already set for analytical challenges and logical reasoning. “One afternoon, I saw a neatly dressed lawyer walking briskly to the principal’s office. His shoes were well polished; his suit neatly pressed and his collar flying about glamorously as the gentle breeze was tossing it about. Since there was no teacher in our class

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at that time, I rushed to the door to take a closer look at this barrister; and wow, I began to picture immediately how one day I would start being like that lawyer. That was the day I made up my mind that I would do my best to read law”. Born in Kano on December 9, 1967 to late Elder Michael and Madam Regina Hon, the respected lawyer attended St. Francis Primary School, Gboko, Benue State between 1974 and 1980. Hon was also in Mbatiav Secondary School, Gbemacha, Gboko between 1980-1981 and Kings Comprehensive College, Mkar, Gboko between 19811985 for his secondary education. After his secondary education, Hon was at the School of Basic Studies, Makurdi between 1985-1987. In 1987, he gained admission into the University of Jos for his law degrees (1987-1990) and was called to bar in 1991. Hon cut his legal teeth during his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in Akwa Ibom State at the law firm of Enefiok Udoh. But his principal was elevated to the High Court Bench as a judge; just at the time he joined the chambers. He was therefore left at the hands of young lawyers who decided to teach themselves with the absence of their principal. That experience provided him the magic wand and the foundation upon which he built a research oriented legal practice today. After his NYSC in August 1992, Hon left for Gboko, Benue State, where he worked briefly with one Mathias Zwabo. He left that office in October 1992 for Gembu in Taraba State, where he set up his law firm called “S.T. Hon & Co. (Gaskiya Chambers).” At Gembu, providence smiled at him, when a construction firm, SGEN commissioned to construct a dam on the Mambilla Plateau made him their external solicitor. During that time some staff of the company namely, Victor Abu (an Ijaw) and Jasper Kakache (an Urhobo) were enamoured with his erudition and comportment in court that they brought him to Port Harcourt. It was this contact that helped in shaping Hon, who was elevated to the rank of the senior advocate in 2008. Today, Hon has not only risen to be a respected lawyer, who has contributed immensely to the upliftment of the legal profession through his books and social commentaries, he has also helped to enrich the nation’s jurisprudence. Hon, who plans to take up a course in arbitration spoke of that incidence in this way: “When they saw my potentialities during our court proceedings, these officials of the construction company vowed never to allow me ‘waste away’ in that Nigeria-Cameroun border town called Gembu. “They practically bundled me to Port Harcourt in 1996. But because I had not enough money to set up my law firm, I practiced in the law firm of the late Chief J.L.D. Dagogo & Co till 2000, when I set up my law firm. I now have two law offices in Port Harcourt and Abuja. Hon’s first appearance in court was in Uyo before Magistrate Orok. Although the magistrate was seen to

The respected lawyer has not only discovered his forte for research and writing, he has utilized it to the fullest by churning out several books that have helped enrich the legal practice in Nigeria.

Hon (SAN) be very abrasive and aggressive, Hon was lucky that the magistrate had earlier descended on one lawyer before his matter was called. From that day, Hon got busier and transversed all cadres of Nigerian courts. Although, Hon had handled many challenging cases in all courts, he picked up the case he handled for Chief Great Ogboru as most challenging. This is how he described it: “Chief Great Ogboru, the Delta State politician, approached me to ask the Supreme Court to overrule itself. I rejected the brief on the ground that the Supreme Court hardly overrules itself, but he kept insisting, I was the best person who could do the matter for him. I kept rejecting the offer; but one day, I stumbled on an authority (Dingyadi vs. INEC) wherein the Supreme Court, in 2011, had overruled itself. I then accepted to take the brief. “Unfortunately for me, when the application came up, the Supreme Court descended on me and told me to the face that as a lawyer, more so as a senior counsel, I ought not have taken that brief. The Justices further told me that they had read all that I had written and that they were not going to grant the application. “All my explanations were not taken and I therefore applied to withdraw the application. Rather than see my action as being honourable, Great Ogboru and his political machine went to town that I was compromised! “I was really pained that all the reputation I have built over the years was being toyed with in a most unreasonable manner. If the man had lost all the way to the Supreme Court, I wonder how he wants to visit everything on me, when all I attempted to do was to ask the Supreme Court to over rule itself. Since the apex Court told me in the open court that nothing would make them grant the application, what else was I supposed to do?” He added. HON’s venture into writing started a

very long time ago. He started writing books/manuscripts right in the university, where he wrote a manuscript entitled “Nigeria from Medieval times to the year 2000: Facts, Figures and Details.” He chose the Year 2000 as part of the title because; General Ibrahim Babangida who was at the helm of our political affairs in Nigeria in the nineties was always talking of “Vision 2000.” The book is more of historical and current affairs collection. Hon’s love for research was accentuated when he was about to graduate from the Law School. He had then gone straight to the then Director General of the School, the late Ibironke, and told him of his desire to use the school library for his research and book writing. The man has answered, ‘young man, the library is always there for you, you do not need my permission to use it. In any case, I salute your courage, given your age and the zeal I see in you.’ But he never made it again to Lagos till his NYSC posting. Providence however smiled at him, when he met one elderly woman, Mrs. Udom, in a bus while he was traveling to Akwa Ibom. The woman, who passed out with him at the Law School picked him and made him

her ‘son’ instantly. She was later appointed, the DirectorGeneral of the Women Commission in Akwa Ibom State by the Akpan Isemin regime. Together, they published a book on Decree No. 3 of 1991. He later wrote two other books – “Babangida’s Regime: Facts, Figures and Details” and Constitutional Law in Nigeria, which was based on the rested 1989 Constitution. Both books were not published for lack of funds. In 2004, Hon published his first monograph christened Constitutional Law and Jurisdiction in Nigeria. In 2006, he published another one called Law of Evidence in Nigeria: Substantive and Procedural. In 2008, he published yet another monograph entitled Civil Procedure in Nigeria (Federal High Court, State High Courts and FCT Abuja High Court), Vol. 1. And in 2012, he published another blockbuster christened “S.T. Hon’s Law of Evidence in Nigeria,” Volumes I and II, a book of more than 1,600 pages. Hon, who identified Prince Bola Ajibola, (SAN) and Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), as his role models in the legal profession want the NBA to ensure that its disciplinary machine is well oiled and ready for action in order to ensure a better legal practice in Nigeria. He is happily married with children.

Do you know… Dismissal and striking out Dismissal means that “…the matter comes to an end and the particular claim or relief dies.” “ when an action is truck out, it is still alive and could be resuscitated by the plaintiff.”: Nwobodo Oko & Ors v. Ogbodo Igwesi & Ors. [1997] 4 NWLR (Pt. 497) 48 at 64, [C.A]. Patrick Onumajuru v. Samuel Akanihu & Ors [1994] 3 NWLR (Pt. 334) 620 at 630. [C.A].


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LawReport Where findings of facts are not perverse, appellate court cannot interfere (2) N500,000 general and aggravated damages jointly and severally against the 1st and 2nd appellants? Appellants’ contention on issue two It was submitted that there was no basis for the award of N500,000 general and aggravated damages jointly and severally against the first and second appellants. It was contended that the first appellant, therefore, could not be in breach of contract in selling the property subject matter and would, therefore, not be liable for damages thereof since the respondents had defaulted. Respondents’ arguments on issue two Attention was drawn to the testimony of the PW2 in evidence in chief: ‘The Magistrate’s Court have (sic) the order the vehicles were broken down and had to be towed to the panel-beater for repairs after the order was given because it has been abandoned for one-and-a-half- years. The Magistrate made two orders to enable me carry the vehicles,” page 1, lines 1-5 of records.

In the Court of Appeal, Nigeria, Akure Judicial Division, Holden at Akure, On Monday, December 3, 2012, Before their Lordships: Kudirat M. O. Kekere-Ekun, Justice, Court of Appeal; Chima Centus Nweze, Justice, Court of Appeal; Chinwe Eugenia Iyizoba, Justice, Court of Appeal; CA/B/10/2007 Between Enterprise Bank Limited (Formerly, Spring Bank Plc/Owena/Omega Bank Nig Plc). Mr. Gabriel Gold Igbalaiye (appellants), and Emma Bayo Aregbesola Nig. Company Limited Mr. Emmanuel Boyade Aregbesola (respondents). T was argued that PW1 was an expert by Iapplicable virtue of Section 57 of the Evidence Act (then to the proceedings). The point was made that the appellant, who did not produce expert evidence, did not contradict this piece of evidence. In effect, the evidence of this expert, whom the respondents produced, remained un-impeached by the appellants. Counsel submitted that items or commodities do appreciate. It was noted that there was a world of difference between items or commodities bought in 1994 and those that were purchased over four years after in 1998. Thus, as at September 7, 1998, the second respondent’s property was valued at N7,408,550.00. There was, therefore, no basis for the comparison of the valuation report in 1994 and that of 1998. It was contended that there was evidence of collusion and bad faith in the sale of the mortgaged property between the first and second appellants. Counsel submitted that in view of the fact that the officials of the first appellant bank were bribed (with) the sum of N200,000:00 (two hundred thousand naira) before the sale of the mortgaged property to the second appellant, the sale was illegal and fraudulent, citing Sodipo v Lemminkainem OY and Anor (1985) 2 NWLR (pt 8) 547, 557. Counsel turned to page 8 of the record. In the third leg of their claim, the plaintiffs/respondents claimed that the purported sale, as grossly undervalued, cheap and ridiculous price, of the respondents’ property is unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal, null and void. As noted earlier, the appellants inveighed against the judgment of the lower court on two main grounds. On page 6 (paragraph 3.1) of the amended appellants’ brief, it was submitted that the court was wrong in setting aside the sale of the mortgaged property on the ground that there was collusion between the first and second appellants in the sale of the property and that the property was sold at an undervalue. In their attempt to vitiate the exercise of the mortgagee’s power of sale, that is, (first appellant’s) power of sale, the respondents, produced an independent expert, PW1. The spirited efforts which the appellants made to prevent the admissibility of the said expert’s report failed as the lower court held that the witness was an expert within the meaning of Section 57 (2) of the Evidence Act (then applicable to the proceedings).

Justice Mukhtar (CJN)

Instructively, they did not call any expert evidence, as the respondents did. Rather, they placed reliance on exhibit D9, which was prepared in 1994, that is, five years before the sale of the property. In other words, the court weighed the testimonies of the parties on imaginary scale. It found that the scale preponderated in favour of the plaintiffs’ claim that the property was not in a state of disrepair as contended by the defendants (now appellants). Against the background of the fact that exhibit D9 was made in 1994, five whole years before the sale of the property, it was not surprising that the court accorded due weight to exhibit P2 which “was prepared less than a year (about seven months) before the sale of the property. The court found that the said exhibit and the testimony of PW1 were “sufficiently contemporaneous to the time of the sale (seven months) to be of probative value.” In all, the court did not “believe that there could have been such depreciation of the property (with furniture and fittings) within seven months as would justify its sale at less than a quarter of its estimated value. The implication of this findings that the house was not in such a state of disrepair as to “justify its sale at less than a quarter of its estimated value,” is, simply, that the undervalue was gross, that is, that the price was very low. In our view, the lower court cannot be justifiably faulted in the exercise it carried out, as described above. It is well-settled that where issues are raised and joined in the pleadings and

oral evidence, the court cannot resolve them without evaluating the available evidence, Mobil Prod. Nig UnLtd v. Monokpo (2003) 18 NWLR (pt. 852) 346, 436, that is, without assessing or estimating them so as to be able to ascribe value to them, Osazuwa v. Isibor 92004) 3 NWLR (pt. 859) 16, 39. Now, we have to remind ourselves that issues relating to the ascription of weight to the testimonies of witnesses are the exclusive prerogatives of the trial court: prerogatives which no appeal court can interfere with, Ebba v Ogodo (1984) 1 SCNLR 372; Owie v Ighiwi (2005) 5 NWLR (pt 917) 184, 208. This is so for the trial court has the power to ascribe credibility to the evidence of witnesses who testified before it. Thus, where findings of facts are not perverse, an appellate court cannot interfere with them, Ajuwa v Odili (1985) 2 NWLR 9pt 9) 710; Chukwueke v Nwankwo (1985) 2 NWLR (pt 6) 195 Nzekwu v Nzekwu (1989) 2 NWLR (pt 104) 373. As a corollary, an appeal court will only interfere where the findings are perverse. In such situations, therefore, the interference of the appellate court, with the findings of fact, would be to put the facts and the law in their proper context and perspective, Balogun v Agboola (1974) 10 SC 111. In this case, we are satisfied that the above findings are not perverse. We, therefore, endorse them, that is, the findings, that there could not have been “such depreciation of the property (with furniture and fittings) with seven months as would justify its sale at less than a quarter of its estimated value.” Whether there was basis for the award of

It was argued that the act of the appellant of selling the second respondent’s mortgaged property and that of refusing him to remove his vehicles thereby preventing him from doing business with the vehicles for about one-and-a-half years was both callous and vindictive. The respondents were, therefore, entitled to aggravated damages, Odiba v Azege (1998) 611 LRCN 4605; Ekochin Nig Ltd and Ors v Mbadiwe (1986) 1 NWLR 9pt 14) 49. Before returning to the task of the resolution of this issue, we think it is important to deconstruct the terminological obfuscation prevalent in the briefs of counsel. Both the appellants and respondents, and indeed, the lower court, referred to the awards in respect of the tenth and eleventh heads of claims as “aggravated damages”, “special damages.” With the most profound respect, we would like to call attention to the infelicity of these usages. Regrettably, notwithstanding the above findings as to want of evidence to spite or ridicule the respondents in the actual sale of the property, the court later made a volte face and contradicted itself when it said “there is also evidence on which I can base aggravated or punitive damages, which require evidence of deliberate conduct of the defendant intended to ridicule or spite the plaintiffs’ pages 121-122. In our view, the two findings are, mutually, exclusive. Thus, one version of the findings must cave in under the weight of its contradiction. It is on this score that we entirely agree with the appellants that the claims for “special” and “aggravated” damages were not proved. We find for the appellants on this issue. We find meritorious, the other two issues are bound to fail. For the avoidance of doubt, the judgment of this court is as follows: • There is no merit in the complaints of the appellants against the judgment of the lower court in respect of the first and third issues. The appeal is, therefore, dismissed as they relate to those issues; • The complaint with regard to the second issue, that is, the award of N500,000 aggravated damages, jointly against the appellants, is meritorious. The appellants’ appeal is allowed in respect of that ground, that ground alone; • There is no merit in the notice to contend. It is hereby dismissed. Subject to two above, this appeal is bound to be, and is hereby, dismissed. The judgment of the lower court is affirmed save as it relates to two above. Parties are to bear their costs.


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FamilyLaw

Children are the most precious of all, they need to be understood, cared for and loved in order to develop their hope in pursuing their dreams in life.

Rape: Going randy with minors By Ibe Uwaleke, Head, Judicial Desk HE number of cases of rape against minors T released by Lagos State government recently is very frightening and disheartening. The report made available by the Attorney General of the state, Mr. Ade Ipaye, gave the figure at 427 cases in 2012 alone. According to Ipaye, the cases unreported are far more than the number quoted, as many of the victims’ parents and guardians shy away due to societal stigma associated with such an ungodly practice and the need to protect the integrity and identity of the child-victims. Of this number, the Attorney General said, the state could only secure judgments for six of the cases due to the problems of assembling evidences on rape cases, which is compounded by late reporting. Just last week, an Upper Area Court in Mararaba, Nasarawa State, remanded a 53-year-old security man, Daniel Kura, in prison custody for allegedly raping a two-year-old girl. The Police officer, who is prosecuting the matter, Mr. Stephen Kwaza, told the court that the case was reported by the victim’s father at Sani Abacha Police Station on April 1, 2013. Kura will remain in prison custody till April 29, 2013, having been denied bail by the Magistrate, Vincent Gwahemba after pleading not guilty. Going by the increasing number of cases of this type on daily basis, it will be quite alarming if all the other states release their figures between last year and now. My worry is that it is becoming exceedingly difficult to good-thinking people of this country and beyond, to fathom the sexual satisfaction an under-aged girl can give to an adult or grown-up man that will be warranting such cases to be on the rise by the day. If the abuse is not for satisfaction, do we now say, it is for ritual purposes, which makes the crime more devilish, requiring a more severe punishment than the law is doing at the moment.

Why are the rapists of these minors daring the law and the law enforcement agencies despite the sentences prescribed therein, or can this be blamed on societal laxity of fighting this menace? Under Chapter 21 of the Criminal Code, specifically in Section 218, ‘Defilement of girls under 13’, which says: “Any person who has unlawful canal knowledge of a girl under the age of 13 years is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life, with or without caning.” Consequently, rape as provided in Section 282 of the Penal Code is made an offence when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman (not even a minor) against will or without her consent or with her consent when she is put under fear of death or hurt. This is the definition provided by the Supreme Court in the case Sambo v. State [1993] 6 NWLR (Pt.300) at 413. If the law has defined the crime and prescribed punishment for it, why do people still engage in this unwholesome practice? Or, do we take it that rape of this type has become another sporting exercise that earns medals and accolades? Having said that, let us now look at the issue of rape generally. ‘Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent.’ (“Rape” Wikipedia , January 2012). There are various types of rape such as date rape, gang rape, marital rape, incestual rape, child sexual abuse,

prison rape, acquaintance rape, war rape, etc. Indeed, rape can be characterized simply as a form of torture. Like the torturer, the rapist is motivated by the urge to dominate, humiliate, and destroy his victim. Like a torturer, he does so by using the most intimate acts available to humans as expounded by Helen Benedict (Virgin or Vamp, 1992 in her wring ‘Sexual ones’) ‘Perhaps, it is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused and, in reality, it is she who must prove her good reputation, her mental soundness, and her impeccable propriety, according to Freda Adler (Sisters in Crime: The Rise of the New Female Criminal, 1975) Helen Benedict further said that ‘most commonly, rape is a crime of opportunity; the victim is chosen not because of her looks or behavior, but because she is there.’ ‘In giving language to my experience, Nance Raine narrated, ‘I hope I can make rape less ‘unspeakable.’ I hope to dispel at least some part of the fear and shame that has made victims mute. Rape is a culturally fostered means of suppressing women. Legally we say we deplore it, but mythically we romanticize and perpetuate it, and privately we excuse and overlook it (because we always find a way to blame the woman for letting it happen). In other words, rape is awful

except in marriage, where a man is entitled by law to have sexual relations with his wife even if against her will; and except in extenuating circumstances where the mere presence of a woman is cause for a man to rape her. (Victoria Billings, ‘The womansbook’, 1974) An American researcher Metzger in 1976 wrote that ‘rape is loss. Like death, it is best treated with a period of mourning and grief. We should develop social ceremonies for rape, rituals, that, like funerals and wakes, would allow the mourners to recover the spirits that the rapist, like death, steals. The social community is the appropriate centre for the restoration of spirit, but the rape victim is usually shamed into silence or selfimposed isolation.’ I want to see this men’s movement make a commitment to ending rape because that is the only meaningful commitment to equality. It is astonishing that in all our worlds of feminism and anti-sexism we never talk seriously about ending rape. End it. Stop it. No more. No more rape. At the back of our minds, are we holding on to its inevitability as the last preserve of the biological? Do we think that it is always going to exist no matter what we do? All of our political actions are lies if we don’t make a commitment to ending the practice of rape. This commitment has to be political. It has to be serious. It has to be systematic. It has to be public. It can’t be self-indulgent. A British rights advocate, Billy Graham, recommended that any person found guilty of rape should be castrated as it would stop him pretty quick. But I want to add that the law against rape should be made more severe and stringent to deter people from committing such crime. I also recommend that our courts should be strengthened so that cases of rape should be given expeditious hearing and determined within reasonable time. Above all, it is my wish that the government should make it a policy issue, if the law cannot catch-up with the perpetrators.

YOU AND THE LAW —-With Dupe Ajayi Fundamental right:Fair hearing in contract of employment HIS concludes our series on fair T hearing. The question whether the requirement of fair hearing is applicable to contract of employment is not one that can be settled with a yes or no answer. This assertion stems from the fact that contracts of employment are broadly divided into two; employment with statutory flavour and other employments. There is also the problem of conflicting decisions of courts on this issue. An employment with statutory flavour is basically employment in the public sector whose sources are based on the provisions of certain statutes (laws and acts). For instance, universities are established by laws, and usually, such laws regulate the employment of the staff, especially, lecturers employed in such universities. The other type of employment, which is not clothed with statutory flavour includes employment in the public sector without statutory protection and employment in the private sector generally. With respect to employment with statutory flavour, the Supreme Court in Olaniyan v University of Lagos (1985) 2 NWLR (pt 9) pg 599, held that employees in this category cannot be removed without a hearing and any purported removal of such an employee without a hearing will render the termination impeachable and accordingly, the employee will be entitled to a reinstatement. The position at Common law is that an employer can terminate the employment of an employee for any reason or for no reason at all and in case of such termination, a willing employee cannot be imposed on an unwilling employer. The Supreme Court in Olaniyan v University of Lagos (supra) created an exception to the

Common law rule state above. With respect to other types of employment not clothed with statutory flavour, the courts have not been speaking with one voice. In some cases, the courts have held that such employees are not entitled to any hearing at all before their employment can be terminated as in the case of Baba v NCAPC (1991) 5 NWLR pg 390, while in another set of cases, the courts have held that they are entitled to fair hearing, as in the case of Federal Civil Service v Laoye, (1989) 4 SCNJ, pg 146. However, what appeared to be the correct position is that the mode of removal of the employee determines whether the employee is entitled to fair-hearing or not. Dismissal, termination of employment and compulsory retirement are various modes of removal. Compulsory retirement as a mode of removal still entitles the employee to retirement benefit and as such it is seen as providing a soft landing for the employee. So whether

the employee is entitled to fair hearing before being placed on compulsory retirement has not been a prominent subject of judicial pronouncement. On the other hand, because the effect of dismissal and termination is terminal, that has been a subject of interpretation in a plethora of cases. The term dismissal presupposes that the removal of the employee is predicated on a misconduct, breach of the terms of employment or a form of culpability on the part of the employee. This may include conduct such as dishonesty, disobedience to lawful orders of the employer, insubordination, truancy etc. The effect of dismissal is that the employee is not entitled to any form of benefit connected with the employment whatsoever. See Maja v Stocco (1968) 1 ANLR pg 141. Termination of appointment on the other hand simply means that the employment has been brought to an end. This can be either at the instance of the employee or the employer. Where it is at the instance of the

employer, it does not mean that the employee is guilty of any misconduct, it may, for instance, be as a result of redundancy. Where termination of appointment is at the instance of the employer, what concerns the court is whether the termination conforms with the terms of the contract between the employee and the employer. For instance, where the contract or terms of employment provides that either party can terminate with notice or salary in lieu of notice, in such a situation, any termination by the employer without such notice or salary in lieu of notice will render such termination wrongful. This does not mean however that such an employee will be reinstated, rather, the employee will not be entitled to anything more than the amount of money equivalent to the salary in lieu of notice provided with the contract of the employment and in the absence to any length of notice, the court will imply a reasonable length of notice and award a commensurate monetary award. Where, however, the employer has complied by giving notice or pay salary in lieu of notice, the employee is not entitled to anything more and the termination will be valid in the eye of the law. In this circumstance, the employee is not entitled to any fair hearing so long as the employer does not give any reason for termination. Conversely, since dismissal imposes a level of blameworthiness on the part of the employee, the employer cannot claim to have dismissed an employee without reason. Dismissal with its usual preface summary dismissal does not entitle the employee to any notice or salary in lieu of notice. It is usually abrupt. As stated above, the effect of dismissal is grave, as the employee is not

entitled to any right or benefit in connection with the employment whatsoever. What the courts have said is that though an employer is not bound to give any reason for determining the employment of an employee, however, where he gives a reason, he is bound to prove it, if challenged. On the premises of the foregoing, an employee is entitled to fair hearing before he could be dismissed since there can be no dismissal without a reason. In the case of SPDC v Olanrewaju (2008) 18 NWLR pt 118, pg. 1, the respondent was dismissed on the basis of an allegation that he circulated some threat letters among the employees of the appellants. The panel that investigated the allegation was found to have denied respondent a fair hearing. The court nullified his dismissal though did not reinstate him but he was awarded an impressive damages for wrongful dismissal. In stating the position of the law on fair hearing, Tobih JSC, said, “an employer is not bound to give reasons for terminating the appointment of his employee but where he gives reason or cause for terminating the appointment, this imposes on him a duty to establish the reason to the satisfaction of the court. In the instance case, the appellant gave gross misconduct as a reason for the dismissal of the respondent. In the circumstances, the appellant has the onus of proving that the respondent was indeed guilty of the alleged misconduct that warranted his dismissal. And in a case such as this, the court must be watchful to ensure that in the investigation of proceedings of the domestic panel probing the dismissal of the employee, the laws of natural justice are not breached”.


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Sports We have the Presidency’s backing to restructure Nigerian league, says LMC From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE League Management Committee (LMC) yesterday disclosed that it sought for and obtained the backing of the Federal Government in its efforts to restructure the Nigerian professional league. The body said it obtained government’s support through the minister of Sports/chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC) before registering the LMC, which is now responsible for the administration of the league in the country. The Committee also revealed that its Chairman, Nduka Irabor, alongside the Sports Minister and the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari, briefed members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) last Wednesday on its activities when the minister was presenting his scorecard to government. Speaking on behalf of the Committee during an interactive session with the press yesterday, a member of the body, Shehu Dikko said the LMC has always aimed at transforming the Nigerian league to give it a new face that will make it compete with what is obtained in other countries of the world. He regretted that the league managers have decided to take steps that could take the league back to its sorry situation rather than key into the programmes that will make them stand tall and call themselves managers of the new improved league. Dikko said the LMC has taken steps that would not guarantee a stable financial position for the clubs and players, adding that it never took any decision without consulting the clubs through their two representatives in the Committee. He revealed that since the Committee met an empty NPL purse on assumption of duty, it decided that its meetings would be conducted through either telephone conversations or e-mails, noting that all its members had been contributing to the deliberations. Saying that the managers could be complaining because the Committee has not called meetings where members are lodged in hotels and given allowances, Dikko said representatives of the club managers, Mike Idoko, and Sabo Babayaro have featured prominently in all the activities of the Committee, including the series of meetings held with Globacom and Total Promotions, as well as, meetings with DSTV. On the registration of the LMC, he said the club managers were briefed on the plans on the day the draws for the 2012/2013 season was conducted in Abuja, adding that the managers consented to the decision with one of their representatives, Sabo Babayaro, as a signatory in the registration of the LMC. “We came with the mandate to change the way football and sports is being administered in the country. We want to con-

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centrate on the reportage and progress of the players, rather than the administrators as it was in the past. “Looking at the communiqué issued by the club managers, one would like to ask where we drew the powers to do what we are doing currently. The Congress of the NFF gave us the powers as contained in the terms of reference that was given to us on inauguration. But in the documents that were circulated yesterday by the league managers, it would look as if we were only given two mandates to only organise the league and elections. “But in the terms of reference given to us by the NFF, we have about six mandates which include the organisation of the 2012/2013 league. But by the time we came on board, there was not enough time to begin the league, but we tried in our own efforts to ensure that the league started. “Also we were asked to review all the existing contracts of the NPL and you can see what we have come up with in the improved Glo deal, which is intended to benefit the clubs and players of the league. “It is a broad mandate that we were given. Which kind of mandate would we have in only organising the league and conduction elections that will still have the league to remain from where we met it? Does that mean going forward? We were also mandated to review all existing rules and guidelines for a new election, as well as, develop new standards for players and club administrations. “I do not think that we have gone out of the mandate that was given to in all the steps we have taken so far. The registration of LMC became very necessary because it was obvious that no serious company or sponsor was ready to do business with the NPL after the series of court cases that it had together with the declaration of the Abuja court that pronounced it illegal. These were the challenges we had on arrival that made us seek the approval of the NFF to register the LMC, which the president signed as holder of the golden share,” Dikko explained.

NFF backs Keshi on Confederations, World Cup players’ list HE Nigeria Football T Federation (NFF) is in support of Coach Stephen Keshi and his technical crew over the list of players he invited for Super Eagles’ Confederations Cup competition, and the World Cup qualifiers in June. Keshi has come under criticisms by some players of the Super Eagles following their exclusion from the team’s last World Cup qualifier against Kenya. Skipper Joseph Yobo has openly criticised the coach for leaving him out of the team after the 2013 AFCON feat in South Africa. “We appointed Keshi for the Super Eagles job and we have resolved to give him a free hand to pick the players he deems fit to prosecute matches and thus far his selections have produced results,” a top NFF official stated. The NFF Technical Committee has been mandated to mediate in a presumed looming dressing room crisis involving coach Keshi and his players. “We are going to look at the issues objectively. A coach is a coach and is in charge of the team and can decide the players, who could best play a game for him,” NFF Technical Committee Chairman, Chris Green told MTNFootball.com “However, when players begin to complain and senior players for that matter, there is need for us mediate because the team can only achieve more when they are united. I remember how we resolved the issue of former coach Samson Siasia and Osaze Odemwingie,” he added.

Super Eagles defender, Godfrey Oboabona

Eagles drained our resources, says NFF

DSTV PBL:

Lagos Stadium hall to be refurbished By Adeyinka Adedipe N its quest to elevate the IPremier standard of the DSTV Basketball League, the inspection team made up of officials of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) and DSTV/Supersport has agreed that the sports hall of the National Stadium, Lagos be refurbished. The inspection team checked at the wooden floor, the dressing rooms, the toi-

lets and the lightening was a major source of concern to the DSTV/Supersport crew led by Niyi Oyeleke and Segun Fayose. The lightening, they stated, must be top class to enhance television coverage. The DSTV crew also noted that the dressing room, which was unexpectedly in good condition, must be cleaned for the use of the teams. It was also agreed that the coverage of the games would start from the dressing

rooms on match days so that the viewers would witness what transpires between the coaches and their players before games. They also said that all other facilities that would improve the quality and organisation of the game would be put in place before the league commences. The NBBF, which was represented by Agboola Pinhero and Kunle Raji, agreed with the DSTV team on the need to elevate the standard of the hall.

NSC releases timelines for federations’ elections, collection of forms begin tomorrow By Eno-Abasi Sunday HE collection of nominaT tion forms by interested aspirants seeking election into the various non-concessioned sports federations in the country begins tomorrow. The aspirants are to pick the forms for free at the national office/headquarters of the federations they wish to lead. The collection of nomination forms will run from April 10 to 15 after which the zonal elections will follow and thereafter the national elections, which is expected to

hold next month. A timeline released yesterday by the National Sports Commission (NSC), where the time schedule for the elections was contained indicated that submission of completed forms to the national office/headquarters of their respective federations must be done from April 16 to 17.  On April 19, screening of aspirants will hold and would be followed by the emergence of the preliminary list of qualified candidates by the various zonal electoral committees.  According to the document,

from April 20 to 24, the Commission would entertain petitions/appeals arising from the screening exercise from aggrieved aspirants. They are to forward their grievances to the NSC Abuja office. Announcement of final list of qualified candidates will be done on April 27, while on April 30, zonal elections into the boards of the various federations will hold at the headquarters of the six geo-political zones in Ibadan, Benin, Enugu, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi. Petitions/appeals arising

from the zonal elections, will be heard from May 1 to 6, while elections into the offices of presidents and vice presidents shall take place in Abuja on May 14, 2013.  The swearingin ceremony is slated for May 17, after all appeals/petitions would have been dealt with. The NSC assured all stakeholders that it has put in place systems to ensure fair and credible elections at both zonal and national level, urging aspirants to consult the published guidelines to confirm eligibility and modalities.

From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has revealed that its full concentration on the Super Eagles has affected its financial position, saying it has channeled all its resources on the training, exposure and payment of bogus allowances to the team Lamenting that the focus on the Eagles has bankrupt the federation, causing it to start begging for money to confront the national teams’ challenges, an officials of the federation said it has been difficult for it to settle board members and staff   allowances on official duties. Confirming that it plans to slash the Super Eagles’ bonus and also reduce the team’s backroom staff, the official, who pleaded anonymity, told The Guardian yesterday in Abuja that the bumper allowances the players and officials of the team receive paid off with the team winning the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa, adding, however, that no African country can afford to pay its team half of what the Eagles get. The Super Eagles’ players formerly got $5000 as winning bonus before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when the former board led by Sani Lulu increased it to $10,000, which the present board inherited on assumption of duty. The head coach and a few other officials receive more that the players.

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THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

SPORTS

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ICC WCL Division Seven Championship

Nigeria beats Ghana, meets Botswana today By Christian Okpara FTER its opening day defeat by high-riding Fiji, Nigeria on Sunday defeated Ghana to revive its hope of being among the first two finishers at the ongoing Botswana 2013 World Cricket League (WCL) Division Seven Championship. The two best teams from the competition will qualify to play in the Division Six of the league, while the others would fall off the world ladder following the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to scrap Division Seven of the league. Playing at the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) oval in Gaborone, Nigeria restricted Ghana to 254 for nine to win by six wickets despite losing two early wickets.  James Vifah (41), Simon Ateak (34), Samson Awiah (35) and Obed Harvey (33) created a strong foundation for Ghana, before the middle order crumbled and the side lost quick wickets.  Saheed Akolade led Nigeria’s wicket taking with three for 43. A patient half-century from Endurance Ofem (56) and a hard-hitting century from Oladotun Olatunji (127), including 15 fours and two sixes, saw Nigeria reach 256 in forty-five overs for the victory.  Stephen Bagabena took two wickets for Ghana, including that of man of the match Olatunji.

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Speaking after the game, a satisfied Captain, Adekunle Adegbola said, “it was a wonderful game from both sides, and a sweet victory for Nigeria.” But a disappointed Captain of Ghana, Peter Ananya said his side let too many chances slip, adding, “our fielding was poor.” In continuation of its quest for success in this championship, Nigeria will meet hosts, Botswana, at the BCA oval today. Nigeria defeated the hosts in the 2011 edition of the competition, and Ricky Sharma, who was the opener in the first game against Fiji, says today’s game would determine the country’s fate in the play-off hence the players’ determination to subdue the hosts again. “We were a bit careless in the first game, but we steadied the ship in the second match. Now, we are going for broke against Botswana, and with God on our side, we will overcome them again.” Before Nigeria’s battle against Botswana today, topside, Fiji, will host another side that has not lost any game, Vanuatu, in a game that promises all the thrills of a classic encounter. Vanuatu defeated Botswana on Sunday to record its second victory in as many games, while Fiji continued its winning streak with the defeat of Germany. Yesterday was rest day for all the teams.

UNICAL inaugurates WAUG-BTATT LOC From Anietie Akpan, Calabaar 38-MEMBER local organising committee (LOC) for the 2014 West African Universities Games-Badminton, Tennis, Athletics and Table Tennis (WAUG-BTATT) Championship to be hosted University of Calabar (UNICAL), has been inaugurated. The LOC is headed by Prof. James Utsalo, the immediate past deputy vice chancellor (Administration) at UNICAL. The LOC for the games was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. James Epoke, who also inaugurated a seven-member Publicity SubCommittee headed by the University’s Public Relations Officer, Effiong Eyo. Speaking at the inauguration at UNICAL, Prof. Epoke said winning the hosting rights for the games had not only brought fame to the institution, but also posed enormous challenges, including the provision of facilities. He assured that the institution would surely surmount the perceived challenges and enjoined the various committees to work harmoniously to ensure the success of the

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championship billed for the first quarter of next year. He added that winning the hosting right for the WAUG-BTATT was an opportunity for UNICAL to showcase its rich potential in sporting activities. In his address the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie acknowledged what he called the major role Cross River had played in hosting major competitions in recent times. Okojie, who was represented at the occasion by Prof. Akaneren Essien, the former vice chancellor of University of Uyo, said such roles could be attributable to the relative peace in the state and Calabar in particular. Okojie also said that the beautiful and serene environment provided by the past and present administration at UNICAL was also ideal for the hosting of WAUG-BTATT 2014. Meanwhile Prof. Eyo has charged the publicity subcommittee to provide adequate sensitisation and media coverage before, during and after the games through what he called mufti-media approach.

Swimmers taking to the pool at the beginning of the Men 200 metres breaststroke event at the Eko 2012 National Sports Festival. The NSC has kick-started PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU. the process of the elections into the boards of the federations.

World Challenge Trophy: Nigeria male team beats Djibouti 45-18 •Female team takes on Mozambique today By Adeyinka Adedipe HE Nigerian male team to the World Challenge Trophy defeated host Djibouti 45-18 to move closer to the semi final of the competitions. The Nigerian team had earlier played a 30-30 draw against Senegal on Monday. Officials of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) told The Guardian that the Nigerian team dominated the game and left no one in doubt about their ability to move on to the latter stages of the competition. Coach Fidelis Obi said that

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the players did everything right to win the game and left on one in doubt about their prowess. “It is a better performance by the players after the tough game against Senegal on the opening day. “We can only hope that we continue to progress so that we can qualify for the final. We are not underrating any team and we will always give our best in every game,” Obi added. Also, the female team will take on Mozambique today in a must win game after losing to Democratic Republic in the opening game on

Monday. The Nigerian girls know that winning this game would take them toward booking a semi final ticket. They must also put the loss to DR Congo behind them and deliver their best performance against the Mozambicans. Coach Adebayo Stephen believes his girls are equal to the task. He said: “The loss to Senegal is a temporary setback and I am sure that the players have what it takes to bounce back and qualify for the semi final. We are not taking anything for granted against Mozambique and we are going all out for victory.”

“The moment the players get into their strides, it will be difficult for any team to beat them. We did not have a long time to train together but I am sure that we will do well,” Stephen added. Vice President of the federation, Musa Hamza commended the team for beating the host and enjoined the girls to also do the same against Mozambique today. “I must praise the boys for doing us proud today (yesterday). It was a sharp improvement from what we experienced against Senegal, though the game against the Senegalese was a tough one,” he added.

Why we embarked on the ‘UPLIFTing’ programme, by Amosun By Tony Nwanne GUN State Governor’s wife, Olufunso Amosun has disclosed that she embarked on a grassroots football development programme with youths from her state because she believes harnessing the youths’ talents would help the state’s even development dream. Amosun, whose pet project, UPLIFTing Under-15 Grassroots Football Competition, ended at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, on Saturday, said

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she embarked on the programme because she wanted an avenue to engage the youths of the state in meaningful pursuits that would help identify the talents in them. Speaking after the final match of the competition, Amosun said, “We realised that it should not be all about classroom brilliance, so we put everything together to held them actualise the hidden talents in them. “It is all about football now, but in future we will involve other sports in the talent

hunt. It will involve our male and female children in the future. “We will pick out the best in them and try to help go as far as their talents can take them in the sporting world,” she said. Amosun revealed that the talent hunt had been taking to classrooms where the state’s most brilliant children were identified and put into a leadership programme. She added, “some of these children need to be harnessed academically, while

Ogun State Governor’s wife, Olufunso Amosun, her husband, Ibikunle and a renowned scout for the English Premiership, Jim Colston, at the just concluded UPLIFTing Under-15 Grassroots Football Competition at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta...on Saturday.

others are sports inclined. So, what we are doing is to create the platform for then to exhibit their talents beyond Hamza, who is also the the shores of Nigeria. HFN’s technical committee “We have done the boss, noted thatexercise the at the Senior Secondary Nigerian girls were caught School level whereDR weCongo, identiunawares against fied the that brilliant ones and assuring they would do took them to further developwell against Mozambique ment in programmes. It is a conand their subsequent tinuous exercise that will help games. us get out of thethat chilHe the alsobest promised dren of Ogun Nigerian teamState.” would qualify at theofevent, forAlso the speaking world edition the Ogun State Challenge Trophy. Governor, Ibikunle Amosun thanked the organisers for their concerted efforts in unearthing the best of the state’s youths, and urged the children to be disciplined, dedicated and obedient to their coaches. He also encouraged them to continue to read their books, as education would help them to reach the pinnacle of their chosen careers. Also speaking at the grand finale of the programme, Segun Odegbami, a former National team captain, lauded Amosun for her vision in assisting younger ones in realising their dreams. He said the initiative would prepare the future generation for the future challenges in the world of soccer. “Soccer evolves every day and we must put our acts together to make the best out it. The big names in the world of soccer of course usually make reference to their backgrounds one way or the other.


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THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

SPORTS

UEFA Champions League

Madrid will attack, says Lopez

Drogba’s Galatasaray face huge Real Madrid task IDIER Drogba and his D Galatasaray team-mates have a tough task when they try to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final today. Drogba, who won the title last season with Chelsea, will take some cheer from his performance in Saturday’s domestic championship game against Mersin Idman Yurdu when he scored two second-half goals in a 3-1 win. However, the mood at Galatasaray was soured at that game by Coach Fatih Terim’s anger at refereeing decisions in a row, which led to him and his two assistants being sent to the stands, overshadowing preparations for today’s return leg in Istanbul. In Madrid last week, Galatasaray were taught “a good lesson” by the Spanish side, according to Drogba. “We’re not at their level but I think it’s a lack of experience more than anything else,” Drogba told beIN Sport. “We’re learning, we’re a young team. There are things that need improving.

“It’s a good lesson and one, we have to show we’ve learned well in the return leg. We wanted to contain Madrid but we could have done it in a different way, with more audacity and aggression. We could have caused them problems as we had chances but that’s the way it is,” he said. One of Galatasaray’s biggest headaches is the absence of key striker, Burak Yilmaz, who is suspended after picking up a yellow card in Madrid. Turkish media reported on Friday that the Istanbul side had applied to UEFA to have the yellow card annulled. Galatasaray will also be missing central defender Dany Nounkeu after his booking in Madrid ruled him out. Real romped to a 5-1 victory at home to mid-table Levante on Saturday as Coach, Jose Mourinho left several top performers, including forward Cristiano Ronaldo, out of his starting lineup. Ronaldo came off the bench at halftime with Real leading 2-1 and netted his 29th goal of the La Liga campaign before setting up fellow substitute Mesut

EAL Madrid will not hide R behind their three-goal lead and will go to Galatasaray on the attack, according to goalkeeper, Diego Lopez. Real secured a 3-0 advantage in the Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu but will face a hostile crowd in Istanbul as they bid to make their 24th semifinal appearance. Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain were all on target for Jose Mourinho’s side in the first leg, but while they have a solid lead ahead of the return match, Lopez believes the only way to guarantee their place in the last four is to take the attack to Gala. “We must try to play as much as possible like in the first leg,” Lopez told realmadrid.com. “They are a team, who play well on the counter-attack, and they have very fast players up front, who are always looking for depth. We have to keep calm in defence, keep everything tight and go for them. “We mustn’t think about the 3-0, although it is clear that this is a knock-out match and the 3-0 is there, but I see scoring a goal or looking for goals as the key. “Our mentality will be to go there and score, and not hide behind the 3-0, because that would be a mistake.”

Ozil. Centre back Sergio Ramos and midfielder, Xabi Alonso both played the full 90 minutes as they are suspended for Tuesday’s game. “It could be that we are in our best form of the season,” Ronaldo, top scorer in the Champions League this season with nine goals, told reporters. “We have a complete squad with all the players available and that is very positive news.” On today’s game in Istanbul, he added, “it’s a tough match and our passage to the next round is not yet assured. Three goals is a big lead but we have to go there and play and at least get one goal. “We have to take things step by step, game by game, but I think we have a good chance of getting to the final.”

FIXTURES Galatasaray vrs Real Madrid Borussia Dortmund vrs Malaga

Ronaldo

Drogba

Diego Lopez

Klopp tips players for victory over Malaga ORUSSIA Dortmund B Manager, Jurgen Klopp believes his players have shown the character needed to overcome Malaga today and reach the Champions League semi-finals. The German side drew 0-0 in Spain in the first leg last Wednesday before coming from behind to defeat Augsburg 4-2 in the Bundesliga at the weekend. “The team passed the character test,” said Klopp. “It was important to show that we play football to win.” Dortmund, who surrendered the Bundesliga title to Bayern Munich at the weekend, have even more reason to be optimistic of progressing today, given that they have won every Champions League game at Westfalen Stadium this season. Nevertheless, midfielder, Sven Bender knows he and his team-mates can ill afford to be complacent against a Malaga side that have reached the last eight in their debut Champions League campaign. “It’s a dangerous starting position,” he said. “We shouldn’t start out stupidly and be caught out on a counter-attack, like we were (against Augsburg) on Saturday.” Dortmund have doubts over defender, Mats Hummels, who has only recently returned to training after an ankle injury, while Polish midfielder, Jakub Blaszczykowski is struggling with a groin strain. Malaga head to Dortmund missing two key players from their defence, with cen-

tre-back Weligton and defensive midfielder Manuel Iturra suspended. The Spanish side will be relying on the experience of the likes of Joaquin Sanchez and Julio Baptista, as well as, striker, Roque Santa Cruz. The 31-year-old, on loan from Manchester City, knows all about playing against Dortmund, having spent eight years in Germany with Bayern Munich. “The Westfalen crowd presses a lot, but we can stand our ground when they push forward,” Santa Cruz said. “The pressure is on Dortmund. They have good players up front, but we’ll work hard for the full 90 minutes.” Malaga Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, who previously guided Valencia to the Champions League semifinals, flew home to Chile on Saturday to attend the funeral of his father, but is expected to be in Dortmund for today’s game.

Klopp


THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

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TheGuardian

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman IGERIA is a country that occupies 923,768sq N km in Western Africa making her the 32nd largest nation in the world. It comprises 36 states and has a population of more than 162 million, making it the most populous black nation in Africa and the world at large. With its vast landmass, natural resources and population comes huge responsibilities not just to the world and to the African continent, but to her citizens, able and disabled. Disability in Nigeria has become more of an afterthought issue rather than a matter of priority with about 19 million people in Nigeria experiencing a form of disability, and more than 1 billion people worldwide. The main purpose of this write-up is to examine disability laws obtainable in Nigeria, and compare them with existent models in developed and developing nations around the world. Our two main case studies will be the United Kingdom and South Africa, due to their comprehensive disability legislation and policy implementation for disability. In South Africa, a 2005 study evaluated the country’s legislation and policy implementation from two key angles: (1) How effective has this legislative and policy environment been in making real changes to the lives of disabled people? (2) Are policies being implemented and acted on, or do they ‘evaporate’ the closer one gets to the grassroots? South Africa possesses one of the most comprehensive disability rights legislation and policy regimes in the world, and disabled people are involved at all levels of government. This research was commissioned to investigate the extent to which policies and legislation have been implemented by the South African government. Some of the achievements linked to the development of new legislation and policy in South Africa are: (i) The development and the adoption of the White Paper on Disability on an Integrated National Disability Strategy, known as INDS; (ii) The South African government can currently determine employment-equity quotas that apply to the private and public sector regarding the employment of disabled people through the Employment Equity Act (EEA) of 1998; (iii) Increasing the basic disability grant and the extension of its provisions to a wider sector of people through the Social Assistance Act; (iv) Introduction of policy on inclusive education through the White Paper on Special Needs Education; (v) Actively participating in continental and international initiatives on improving the lives of disabled people, such as the Africa Decade of People with Disabilities, and participating in the development of the United Nations Convention on the rights of disabled people; (vi) Providing free primary health care to disabled people affected by poverty; (vii) Establishing the Equity Court; (viii) Establishing the Office on the Status of Disabled People in the Presidency, and at provincial levels; (ix) Establishing Disability Desks and Units in many departments within all spheres of government. While support by the South African government for the formulation and adoption of policy has been excellent, policy implementation remains a challenge. Worthy of note is the fact that there are capacity constraints at every level that limit the effective implementation of policy. Policy implementation issues are not addressed consistently, for various reasons, at different levels of government. These reasons include: (i) Limited conceptual understanding; (ii) Poor championing awareness; (iii) Inadequate or inappropriate institutional arrangements; and (iv) a general lack of capacity. Two other factors that have contributed to the poor implementation of legislation and policies are: (i) the definition and nature of disabled people’s participation have not been adequately reviewed and articulated; (ii) policy requirements for disability mainstreaming are not adequately linked to performance management, thereby undermining commitment to implementation. The major setback of Disability Policy implementation in South Africa is: Legislation and policies are not implemented, due to lack of allocated fiscal resources and commitment by government, and agencies responsible for such implementation.

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Making a case for Nigerians living with disabilities

In the South African example, one reason that can be credited for the vast success of the disability campaign is political support. Political will power is present from both ministers and senior civil servants in charge of departments. The other reason of course is the outstanding sustained commitment and ongoing advocacy by the disability sector, led by Disabled People South Africa (DPSA). The current legislation, in the form of the Employment Equity Act; Social Assistance Act; Skills Development Act; Skills Development Levy Act…etc, have all helped to create a new sense of awareness of the needs of disabled people. In the case of the UK, people with disability are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended) (DDA) for England, Scotland and Wales, and the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 (as amended). The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) defines a disabled person as “someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-today activities”. People who have had a disability in the past that meets this definition are also covered by the scope of the Act. There are additional provisions relating to people with progressive conditions. The DDA 2005 amended the definition of disability. It ensured that people with HIV, can-

cer and multiple sclerosis are deemed to be covered by the DDA effectively from the point of diagnosis, rather than from the point when the condition has some adverse effects on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The achievement of the DDA 2005 includes the new duty it places on public bodies -from local authorities, to healthcare, to education providers to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people, similar to the ‘duty to promote’ under the Race Relations Act. This duty, which came into force in December 2006, meant that public authorities will need to have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate discrimination against, and harassment of, disabled people; promote equality of opportunity for disabled people; promote positive attitudes towards disabled people; and encourage disabled people to take part in public life. In the context of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), it encourages academic staff to review their learning, teaching and assessment methods to become more inclusive for disabled students. Having looked at South Africa and the UK, let us now look at what obtains at home. Unfortunately, Nigeria does not have any legislation currently safeguarding the rights of people with disability. It would be unfair to say Nigeria does not care for the disabled and it is important to note that Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and its

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ABC (ISSN NO 0189-5125)

accompanying Optional Protocol. However, it is important to note that Article 4 of the UN Convention identifies general and specific obligations on States (including Nigeria) and parties in relation to the rights of persons with disabilities. One of the fundamental obligations contained in the Convention is that national law should guarantee the enjoyment of the rights enumerated in the Convention. Part of those mandatory rights are enacting and passing a bill, which must include the establishment of a monitoring commission. Again, it would be unfair to say that the Nigerian government is not sensitive to the plight of people living with disability. Currently in the 7th Senate of the National Assembly, a bill titled an Act to Ensure Full Integration of Persons with Disabilities and to establish a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Vest it with the Responsibilities for Their Education, Health Care and the Protection of their Social Economic and Civil Rights is before the Senate. This bill, which is sponsored by me with the support of my colleagues, is an improved version of a similar bill sent to the 6th Senate. It brings together attainable standards from other countries including the two cases examined. This bill seeks to secure the rights of Nigerians living with disability; protect them, and reaffirm their faith in themselves but most especially in their country, Nigeria. The Disability Bill has faced challenges such as funding. The commitment of donor agencies dependent on an initial commitment from the Nigerian government is commendable and appreciated. This bill will address the issues of poverty; unemployment; education of children and young people with disabilities; access to security and assistive devices; access to housing, public health services and transport. I believe that Nigeria can gain immensely from countries that have effective legislation and policy implementation regarding disability, not using them merely as case studies or examples but as standards to be emulated. We should also learn from how other countries have been able to overcome some of the challenges in policy implementation. We recognise that even after the adoption of the new legislation; we will face implementation challenges probably similar to the case in South African, where robust legislative framework has been challenged by: Limited conceptual understanding; poor championing awareness; inadequate or inappropriate institutional arrangements; a general lack of capacity; and lack of allocated fiscal resources and commitment by government, and agencies responsible for such implementation. Nonetheless, we can seek to resolve some of these impediments via: sensitisation and training of agencies responsible for implementation; strengthening of advocacy by disabled population; greater public sensitisation about disabled rights; better oversight by National Assembly of agencies charged with implementing policy and so on. Finally, as we ponder the role of the government in the promotion and protection of disability rights, let me reiterate that our disabled brothers and sisters are just as valued and just as valuable as the non-disabled population. They are owed a duty of care and protection as citizens of Nigeria. We are a diverse nation that draws much of our strength from our diversity. It is time to realise that this diversity is not just in tribe and tongue or religion but also in ability and disability. The Paralympics games in London were a wonderful showcase of disabled athletes displaying almost superhuman talent. Who can forget Esther Oyema – the Nigerian female weightlifter, lifting a record-breaking 135 KG, to take the gold medal for Nigeria? Not everybody can achieve such feats, but these achievements of our wonderful paralympians, remind all of us of that when given support, when given education, when given opportunity, our disabled population can reach their fullest potential and contribute greatly to the productivity and progress of the nation. I can say, in all sincerity, that my colleagues and I in the 7th Senate are committed to improving on the protection, rights and opportunities open to the disabled population. We are with you, we will fight for you. Being excerpt of a paper delivered by Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman at a programme organised by women with disabilities in Abuja.


Tue 09 Apr 2013 The Guardian Nigeria  

The Guardian Nigeria

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