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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,880

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www.ngrguardiannews.com

National Confab delegates seek death penalty for graft From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Terhemba Daka, Abuja

• Senate moves to initiate new constitution

HEAD of the final report A of the on-going national conference, the Senate yes-

President to propose an entirely new statute in place of the existing one. Accordingly, the Upper Chamber fixed voting on the new amendment for next

terday initiated fresh amendment to the 1999 Constitution to empower the

Wednesday when every senator is expected to officially indicate his acceptance of the new amendment or otherwise. In a related development,

delegates at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja have advocated the introduction of capital punishment in the country’s statute book in an amendment to

address the challenges of corruption bedeviling the country. Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who is also chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, who presented the report of his committee to

the Senate on the new amendment, explained: “The aim of this insertion is to make provision for the President in addition to the National Assembly to initiate the process of a new constitution. “The proposal seeks to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Residents discover ritualist’s den with human parts in Ogun State - Page 3

Ihedioha dissociates self from APC reps’ appeal over defection from PDP -Page 4 FEC okays new GDP figures, for release on Sunday -Page 5

Global Head, Extractive Industry of the World Bank, Antonio Barbalho (left); Vice President and CEO of Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency of the World Bank, Michel Wormser; Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen; and World Bank Country Director, Marie Francoise, during a meeting with bank’s officials on Federal Road Development Project (FRDP) in Abuja … yesterday.

Lagos lists protective measures against Ebola disease -Page 6

Rivers govt insists Agumagu is state’s Chief Judge From Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt MAJOR crisis in the third A arm of government is developing as the Rivers State authorities yesterday insisted that Justice Peter N. Agumagu remains its substantive Chief Judge despite his sus-

pension by the National Judicial Council (NJC). Agumagu was suspended as a judicial officer by the NJC last week, and given four days to show why he should not be removed. However, Rivers AttorneyGeneral and Commissioner

for Justice, Worgu Boms, has declared that action illegal and unconstitutional. According to him, “by wielding the big stick against an innocent judge and purporting to use administrative measures to truncate the outcome and fruit of a judicial process

to which it submitted and participated actively in, the NJC is using its power inappropriately and is unwittingly contributing to the ridiculing of the court system which it should be promoting and respecting. “The Rivers State Govern-

ment rejects the NJC’s unconstitutional and contemptuous stance on this matter and states categorically that only a court of competent jurisdiction can declare its actions and activities unconstitutional and certainly not a council, committee or com-

mission, howsoever described, when such bodies, no matter their nomenclature and the eminence of their membership, are subject to the law of the land and the court.”

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rivers insists Agumagu remains state’s CJ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 He noted that the position of NJC “gives equally unfortunate and misleading impression to the public that the appointment of Justice Agumagu as CJ of Rivers State occurred in nibubus, and with no contribution of the NJC to it or that there is no history behind it.” Boms said it was important to state that from the outset, the NJC has always preferred the most senior judge of the High Court in the appointment of Rivers’ CJ and in particular, Justice Daisy Okocha, as its candidate for the position. According to him, the NJC, in its single-minded pursuit of the actualisation of this doctrine and preference, enunciated further the doctrine that only a judge of the State High Court is qualified for consideration for the office and that Agumagu, then President of the Customary Court of Appeal, could not be allowed to cross over to become the CJ. Boms insisted that what is happening in Rivers State with respect to filling the CJ vacancy was not peculiar to the state, “as others have passed and some are still passing through the process and in none of these did the NJC write to their judges to intimidate them on the matter and to fetter their conscience. “If the appointment of CJ of the state were to begin and end with the NJC, then perhaps, there would be no problems with its preferred candidate. Unfortunately, the constitution provides that four institutions – the State Judicial Service Commission, the NJC, the governor and the State House of Assembly must all participate for a candidate to become the CJ.” The Attorney-General stressed that no law vests the NJC with the power to declare

acts unconstitutional and that what the council did to Agumagu is usurpation of judicial powers and functions. He contended that the NJC or indeed, any council for that matter, has no powers under any law to declare the action of the state governor, in this case, the action of the Governor of Rivers State in the appointment of the Chief Judge of the state, unconstitutional. According to him, only a court vested with the requisite jurisdiction can validly do so and the NJC, no matter how eminent its members are, is not a court of any cadre in Nigeria. “There are other examples including the recommendation for the suspension of the Judge who tried the EFCC case of pensions embezzlement whose suspension was recommended only after he had been tried and found wanting. There has been no instance in the past where the NJC, without hearing from a Judge, or even after so hearing, goes directly to suspend a Judge. This precedent is dangerous as it means that any Judge of any court can, without being heard, for any reason, just stop functioning as a Judge in the name of suspension by the NJC. This is dangerous” he said. Boms stated that the Rivers State Government wrote NJC to inform the council that its twin doctrines for rejecting Justice Agumagu were unknown to the law in the appointment of Chief Judge under the Constitution. To this end, he said the state government further rejected the rejection of Justice Agumagu on the ground that the basis for his rejection cannot be found in the law since only 10 years post-call is the minimum constitutional requirement. And then rejected the recommendation of Justice Okocha. He explained that when NJC

stuck to its gun on the recommendation of Justice Okocha, the Rivers State Government and the State Judicial Commission had to file a suit before the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt. The NJC (1st defendant) entered appearance and Justice Okocha applied to join and was joined as the 2nd defendant. The Rivers State AttorneyGeneral said that based on this judgment, the NJC has no further role to play in the matter in the face of the restraining order and the holding that Justice Agumagu is the most qualified candidate and who ought to be recommended by the NJC. Based on this premise, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State appointed Agumagu and the State House of Assembly screened him and he was successfully sworn in as the 7th Chief Judge of the State. “This is the process that produced the Honourable Justice Agumagu as the Chief Judge. It must be stated that the NJC has not filed or taken any steps to file any appeal against the judgment whereas, its co-defendant and preferred candidate, Justice Okocha, immediately appealed against the judgment and has even invited the parties for settlement of records of the appeal. The matter, therefore, was made subjudice at the time the NJC purported to suspend the Chief Judge”, Boms declared. Worgu Boms added: “For the records, Justice Agumagu is senior in Biology at the Bar and on the Bench to Justice Okocha. Following Advice from the State Judicial Service Commission to the NJC listing Justice Agumagu as No. 1 and Justice Okocha No. 2 as persons for possible consideration for recommendation for the appointment, to the substantive position of Chief Judge, the NJC wrote to His Ex-

cellency, the Governor of the state, that of the two candidates recommended to it by the State Judicial Service Commission, that even though Justice Agumagu is first on the list, that Agumagu was being rejected because His Lordship was not the most Senior Judge of the High Court and could not cross over from the Customary Court of Appeal to become the Chief Judge. Only Justice D.W Okocha could thus be qualified for appointment based on the NJC’s twin doctrine of Seniority and Non Crossing over. Needless to say, these Twin Qualification of Most Senior Judge and Non Crossing Over are creations, not of the Constitution that prescribes only 10 years’ Post Call as qualification to the office of the Chief Judge, but of the NJC, which sadly, has now transmogrified from being a recommending Body to a law making Body. “Finally, we urge the NJC to disallow the personal sentiments and entrenched interests of some of its members in the Rivers Chief Judge matter, and treat the Rivers State Judiciary and its Judges as it treats other states’ and federal judiciaries and their Judges and as provided for under the Constitution, as the issue is not a family affair or succession to a family stool in which case members of a particular lineage are the only persons qualified for consideration for succession. This is public office with constitutionally provided statements on qualification for succession and provides no room for any one or persons to use their membership of the exalted Body to lend a hand to a relation or a friend outside the clear Provisions of the Constitution as now confirmed by the court.”

Senate moves to initiate new constitution CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

amend Section 3b of Clause 2 of the Fourth Alteration Bill (Alteration of Section 9 of the Constitution), dealing with how a new constitution can be processed. (Recall that Section 9 as altered in the Fourth Alteration Bill provided for how a new constitution can come into being through the National Assembly.” He continued: “While awaiting the constitution of a conference committee to harmonise areas of difference with the House, the committee received additional requests which have very serious implication for the electoral process and the committee found it imperative and incumbent on it to take immediate legislative action. The objective of the additional proposal is principally to enhance and strengthen the legal framework for the processing of a new constitution, electoral process and connected institution in Nigeria.” Senate President David Mark announced that voting on the new amendments proposed to the 1999 Constitution would be done by the senators on Wednesday. “The President is not going to change the constitution. If he comes with a bill, then it is a bill from the Executive be-

cause we cannot prevent the Executive from presenting bills”, Mark argued. Ekweremadu urged his colleagues to expedite action on the report so as to produce a scheduled constitution for the 2015 poll. He explained that an amendment has been proposed to an earlier proposal for insertion of a new clause that empowers the National Assembly to introduce a “new constitution” to the effect that the President of the Federal Republic could introduce a new constitution to the country through the National Assembly using the report of the national conference. However, senators were sharply split on the matter as some opposed the idea of producing a totally new constitution because in their views, the current constitution never envisaged it. Senator Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe North) said: “The President, in addition to the National Assembly, cannot initiate the process of a new constitution. This is the exclusive preserve of the National Assembly. We must not dilute the functions of the Executive or that of the Legislature. I can concede that any President can send request and that is provided in the Constitution but when we say initiate, it is now taking some functions of the National Assembly and be-

cause of that, I oppose this proposal that we maintain the sanctity, the purity of the functions of the Executive and that of the Legislature in such a way that there is no lacuna and no confusion; so that in the nearest future, we don’t run into a constitutional crisis where the constitution amendment process will become neither here nor there. But Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta State) said: “An officer of the ranking of the President can also instigate it by writing to the National Assembly, presenting it as if it is an Executive Bill. It will still come to the National Assembly exactly in ways and manners we have been dealing with bills. So, there is absolutely nothing new in my humble view. These are very straightforward and unambiguous matters.” Senators Odion Ugbesia (Edo Central), Victor Lar (Plateau) and Ganiyu Solomon (Lagos West) were of the view that “the proposal is superfluous and should not be accommodated in the Constitution, as the current one could be amended to suit the times.” However, after other senators spoke for and against the move, attempts by Senator Ita Enang (Akwa-Ibom) to convince the Senate to stand down the Bill for further consultation was rejected by the

Senate President. So, he voiced his support for the proposal, arguing that “it is not restrictive” but was aimed at opening the gate for more future legislations. Senate Leader Victor NdomaEgba submitted that the proposal for a new constitution was not new, as it has been on the block since 2013 when Mark indicated that the National Assembly was contemplating on making a new Constitution for Nigeria and called for contributions from the general public on the premise that the National Assembly has no monopoly of wisdom. He further argued that power to make Constitution belongs to the people, and that the people should be allowed inputs through public hearing, as it is their rights. Other amendments proposed by Ekweremadu committee are: • Alteration of sections 68 and 109 to mandate the Clerk of the National Assembly and Clerk of the State House of Assembly to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in writing within seven days of the existence of a vacancy arising from death, resignation or vacation of seat of a member of the National Assembly or a member of State House of As-

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News ‘Nigeria ready to host global economic forum’ From Mathias Okwe, Abuja

FG seeks EU support for renewable energy programme

smarting from the sucSedTILL cesses of the just-concludSeventh Joint UN

• NNPC ex-chief faults privatisation

Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)/African Union Commission (AUC) conference that ended last Sunday in Abuja, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday said Nigeria is prepared to host the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in a month’s time. Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja on the preparedness of the country to host the global business meeting, Okonjo-Iweala declared that everything that needed to be done was already in place, including security, to ensure the safety of delegates who will converge on Abuja to proffer solutions to Africa’s unemployment challenge under the theme “Forging Inclusive Growth and Creating Jobs.” According to the minister, the selection of Nigeria as host of the bi- annual summit is “a measure of confidence on Nigeria’s economy.” She said as a strategic economic diplomacy tool, the WEF Africa Abuja conference would provide a veritable platform for foreign investors to interact with the large pool of domestic industrialists to partner on investments within and outside the country. She said: “Nigeria is bringing a lot of things to the table because the country is seen as a dynamic economy with the potentials to lead the African continent in a short while. So, we are going to showcase our people because we have very mature business people here who are investing in other countries. We would showcase the investible sectors. We already have a publication on the opportunities existing in the country and we will be organising to show them around some of these potentials that we have in agriculture, solid mineral, oil and gas and even the film industry.”

From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja IGERIA is seeking the supN port of the European Union (EU) to boost its renew-

Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko (middle); the Commissioner for Community Development and Cooperative Services, Clement Faboyede (right) and Labour Party (LP) candidate in the forthcoming Ilaje/Ondo Constituency bye-election, Kolade Akinjo (left), during the LP campaign at Igbobini community in Ese-Odo Local Council Area…on Tuesday

Residents discover ritualist’s den with human parts in Ogun State From Charles Coffie-Gyamfi, Abeokuta DEN where people are A killed for ritual purposes was yesterday uncovered in Ogun State by men of the Police Command. The den, which was said to have been operated for over a year by a middle-aged man simply known as Gbenga, is located under an overhead bridge on the Abeokuta-Lagos road at a spot near Iyana Egbado Village in Ewekoro Local Council Area. Things discovered by armed policemen when they stormed the den included fresh human parts sliced into pieces, human intestines, plastic containers filled with human blood, ladies’ pants, braziers, ladies and men shoes, blood-stained dresses, knives and duvet. Other items

discovered at the gory site were electronics parts and assorted soft drinks, suggesting that the suspect and probably other collaborators live under the bridge. At the time of his arrest, the suspect was said to be carrying a bag containing human intestines. Luck was said to have run out on the suspect believed to be in his 30s yesterday morning when his attempt to kidnap a woman was frustrated by a passerby. The suspect, an eyewitness, Samuel Oladele, told The Guardian at the scene “was chasing a woman whose loud cry attracted a passerby who managed to overpower the suspect. “The man, who rescued the woman, became suspicious of the cellophane bag the suspect was holding and, there-

fore, forcefully tore it only to discover that the contents were human parts already sliced into pieces”. Oladele immediately raised the alarm, which attracted a crowd from the nearby Ewekoro cement factory, as well as the Egbado Village who mobbed the suspect and attempted to lynch him, but he pleaded with the crowd not to kill him, saying: “I will confess, I will confess.” According to Oladele, the suspect thereafter brought out his cell phone and made a call to some people. Oladele explained that the suspect told the mob that he belonged to a five-man syndicate, among them a woman, whom he alleged, has been operating in the Ewekoro axis since the past nine months. The mob was still interrogating Gbenga, the suspect,

when policemen from the nearby Itori Police Station arrived and whisked him away. Attempt to see the suspect at the Ifo Divisional Police headquarters where he was being detained failed as the police turned down all entreaties by newsmen to enable them gain access to him. The policemen referred journalists to the command’s headquarters at Eleweran, Abeokuta, the state capital, to speak to the Spokesman, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi. But when journalists contacted Adejobi on phone, he told them it was too early to determine whether the suspect is a ritualist or not. He, however, assured that the police would carry out a thorough investigation after which he would give their findings to them (journalists).

ACF cautions against associating killings with religious, ethnic groups From Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) HE Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has cautioned Nigerians against attributing the communal clashes in some parts of the country to religion and ethnicity, saying doing so would be dangerous for the nation. Meanwhile, authorities of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) and the Specialists Hospital, Maiduguri in Borno State, have said the death toll in Tuesday’s multiple suicide car bombings at a military post and Molai firewood market has increased from 21 to 51, after collating bodies of people brought into the mortuaries for identification. The northern socio-cultural

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• Death toll in Borno blasts hits 51 group reacted to the spate of recent killings and destruction of property in some northern communities following attacks by gunmen, pointing out that “reports in the last one month have shown that 17 states of the northern region have witnessed persistent attacks by gunmen, insurgents and suspected herdsmen on innocent people leading to huge loss of lives and property, as well as displacement of residents”. In a statement issued in Kaduna and signed by the ACF Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Mohammad Ibrahim, he explained that “the spate of killings in the northern states of Nigeria by gunmen and

insurgents have continued to pose serious challenges to the nation’s security agencies”, stressing that “the daily attack on villages and communities by unknown gunmen and insurgents in most states of the North is barbaric, worrisome and unacceptable”. Worried by the damage the various attacks have inflicted on the region, the ACF stated: “Report from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) shows that over 3 million people were displaced, 1500 people killed and property worth billions of naira destroyed as a result of insurgency attacks in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states within a period of three

months (January - March 2014)”. Ibrahim explained that “the recent ethnic/communal clashes in Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kaduna states had left scores of death, destruction of property and put the people in a state of despair and hopelessness. The most disturbing aspect is associating such attacks with religion and ethnicity. “The generalisation based on ethnicity and religion is very dangerous, as it enables criminals to shield under group. Furthermore, the majority of members of such accused ethnic or religious groups may be pushed to reconsider their opposition to violence, since generalisation does not spare them”. Ibrahim, however, said: “ACF

has noted the recent heavy deployment of troops and other security agencies in the north-east zone, particularly Sambisa forest and the states of Benue, Kaduna, Plateau and Nasarawa, to neutralise the enclaves of insurgents and criminal gangs. “According to the Military Command, as reported, the renewed synergy and cordial relationship among the Armed Forces, coupled with their high morale have made them to record some successes in neutralising the insurgency. ACF commends the effort, the renewed vigour and resilience of the security agencies in tackling the menace of the insurgents and gunmen and equally calls on them to sustain the onslaught”.

able energy programme. The Federal Government formally made an appeal to the EU yesterday and sought interventions to expand renewable energy to the under-served. Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, stressed that the diversification of energy sources is capable of reducing poverty in the country. Speaking when he received EU delegation in his office in Abuja, Wakil stressed the linkage between high application of renewable energy and poverty alleviation. He said access to power by the rural population would improve the rural economy. He spoke of how the renewable matrix was designed to serve people who are far-flung from the national grid, hence they will have access to electricity via off-line and small grid systems which are compatible with this strategy. The minister said the proposed National Policy on Renewable Energy has reached advanced stage as it would soon undergo review by stakeholders before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) ratification. EU’s Ambassador Michel Arrion advised the ministry on the need to ensure norms and standards are strictly adhered to in the proposed policy on renewable energy, adding that it is the responsibility of the country to regulate the kind of equipment and appliances by ensuring that they are within the framework of the nation’s industrial policy. “For the EU, the concern for the energy sector is the area of efficiency. The about 20 per cent energy loss between generation and distribution is high, hence EU wants the nation to strike a balance between energy use and environment through reforestation and planting of trees,” Arrion noted. Meanwhile, the poor electricity supply in the country has continued to draw the ire of major stakeholders in the energy sector. Former Head of Exploration Research and Development Division at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Prof Charles Ofoegbu, in an interview yesterday, wondered why the government went ahead with the privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies without a clear cut and implementable gas-to-power arrangement. The former Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute observed that what officials have done was to “put the cart before the horse.”


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NEWS Thursday, April 3, 2014

Africa must identify sponsors of terrorists, says Jonathan in Belgium From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja the war against terror Fwon,toORbethere effectively waged and is the need for sponsors and supporters of such terror groups perpetrating the heinous crimes to be identified. And if identified, they should be held accountable for the acts of their surrogates in most parts of Africa and other parts of the world. President Goodluck Jonathan made this observation yesterday while speaking on peace and security at the opening of the ongoing Fourth European UnionAfrica Summit in Brussels, Belgium. He would also want the sources of small arms and light weapons addressed as they remain the choice weapons for destruction by terrorists in Africa, especially in the Sahel region. The President noted: “Of recent, they have acquired the

rapid propelled grenades and even surface-to-air missiles. Where do they get these sophisticated weapons? The total value of what these terrorists possess as individuals, in terms of what they wear and where they live cannot buy an assault rifle. “We all have the collective responsibility to unearth their sponsors and supporters who are determined to destabilise Africa. We should hold them responsible and accountable for their actions.” While thanking the EU and other developed partners for their assistance in addressing the menace of the terror groups, Jonathan insisted that a terror attack on one nation is an attack on other nations. The summit brought together the Heads of State and Government of the EU and the African continent, together with the EU and AU institutions. Jonathan said the issue

of peace and security called for a holistic and integrated approach, as peace and development are two sides of the same coin. He said it was based on the importance Nigeria attaches to the issue that he organised a summit on “Human Security, Peace and Development: An Agenda for the 21st Century” during Nigeria’s recent

Centenary Celebrations. According to him, the summit resolved, in part, that all countries must continue to strengthen existing mechanisms for national and international conflict management and create new avenues for co-operation within and between peoples and nations. Jonathan recalled that since

2000, the AU had demonstrated sustained desire for the development of collective security arrangement among member-states and its regional economic communities, noting that the countries had established a security management system and the codification of standards within Africa’s Peace and Security Architecture.

This, he said, included the Peace and Security Council, a continental early warning system, the Panel of the Wise and the African Standby Force (ASF). He said the union has also subscribed to modalities and action plans to confront these challenges, new threat of piracy in some maritime boundaries and curb the menace of oil theft.

National Conference delegates seek death penalty for graft CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 sembly, respectively (see: clause 2 and 3); • Alteration of sections 134 and 179 which aim to extend the time for conducting presidential and governorship re-run elections from seven days to 21 days - as contained in Clauses 4 and 5. • The empowerment of INEC to deregister political parties which fail to win presidential, governorship, chair-

manship of a Local Government/Area Council or a seat in the National or State Assembly election; • The conferment of exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court for trial of offences arising from, pertaining to or connected with violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act and any other election. • The Third Schedule is altered in Clause 8 to include

former Senate Presidents and Speakers of the House of Representatives in the membership of the Council of State. Conferee Ben Duntoye representing National Youths Council of Nigeria who spoke at the resumption of session on the third day of looking at the content of President Jonathan’s speech, yesterday lamented the menace of corruption in Nigeria and stated that it must be confronted squarely in order to put the country back to its feet. Duntoye said the country must get it right, and that Nigeria needs a people’s constitution that will facilitate the fight against corruption head-on in order to kill it once and for all, arguing that “a situation where in both public and private institutions individuals steal billions of naira and still walk around freely will not augur well for the growth of the country.” “Is like killing the future of the youths in this country. The Nigerian youths are not asking for too much, capital punishment is key to fight corruption in Nigeria. There is also the need to look at the structure of government in this country. We have to look

at the structure of government so that the excesses of government officials could be checked,” he added. Corroborating in their separate contributions, Rear Admiral C.S. Ehanmu and Maj.-Gen. Jeoffrey Ejiga bemoaned the insecurity situation in the nation, blaming the development on the challenge of corruption, poverty and unemployment of the teeming youths of the country. According to Ejiga, the menace which has eaten into the fabrics of the society must be tackled head on by the government by hanging corrupt officers in order to bring back the country to an enviable status in the comity of nations. In his submission, Ray Ekpu, representing the SouthSouth geo-political zone, faulted the 1999 Constitution, which he said, has been fashioned to create a recipe for under-development. “This Constitution was inadvertently made for under-development, except we jettison it and decide to give more powers to the people who are nearer to the people, we will not go any further than we have gotten,” he said.

Jos varsity workers begin ‘sit-in’ protest From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos HE University of Jos chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday commenced a “sitin strike” to press for their earned allowances paid to

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President Goodluck Jonathan (left); Trade and Investment Minister, Olusegun Aganga and Bulgarian President, Rosen Assenov Plevneliev, during the opening ceremony of the 4th EU-Africa Summit in Brussels, Belgium… yesterday.

Ihedioha dissociates self from APC reps’ appeal over defection from PDP From Adamu Abuh, Abuja ESPITE the court verdict asking the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) defecting lawmakers to vacate their seats at the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, is not under pressure from any quarters to declare their 37 seats vacant, House Spokesperson, Mr. Afam Victor Ogene, has said. Ogene disclosed this to newsmen after speculations that PDP lawmakers have been instructed by the Presidency to ensure that the defecting lawmakers were forced to vacate their seats in accordance with the ruling by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Abuja High Court. Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, has re-affirmed his loyalty to the ruling PDP. In a statement yesterday, his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Oke Epia, dispelled reports in a section of the media that he was among the 37 defecting

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members in the House that appealed against the judgment of Justice Ademola. According to the statement, Ihedioha “wishes to clarify that he is just a nominal party in the suit by virtue of his office and counsel was briefed by the management of the National Assembly to represent the House of Representatives as an institution.” Noting that “the appeal was primarily instituted by the 37 members who defected from PDP to APC,” it stated that Ihedioha remained a firm and committed member of the PDP and associates himself fully with its ideals, principles, purposes and progress, and would “take steps to retain an independent counsel of his choice to take steps to protect his legal interests in the matter.” Nevertheless, signs that all was not well with the House became palpable when the PDP lawmakers and their counterparts at the All Pro-

gressives Congress (APC) held separate caucus meetings as early as 9.00 a.m. yesterday, apparently to strategise on how to protect their respective interests. And barely 10 minutes after the start of the plenary session at about 11.30 a.m., with Tambuwal presiding, the House dissolved into executive session. However, Ogene, who is the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said the closed-door meeting was aimed at strengthening the chamber’s resolve to put aside their differences and work towards ensuring good governance in the country. “I can tell you straight away that there is no pressure on Mr. Speaker,” he said. “If he were under pressure, we would have held this closeddoor session yesterday (Tuesday). But we decided to wait until all the parties get copies of the ruling. So, there is no pressure on Mr. Speaker to declare any seat vacant.”

Acknowledging that the issue of the defecting lawmakers came up for deliberation during the closed-door session, he noted: “One of the decisions is to allow the different cases in court on defection of some members take its due course. “In arriving at that decision, the House took cognisance of the fact that precedence has been set before last Friday and Monday rulings. If you recall, a serving member had defected from the Labour Party in Ondo State to the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). “That matter is still in court and that member is still participating in the affairs of the House. There are some other instances that fall in that category. But more importantly, we also decided to insulate the House from the growing tendency of partisanship that is beginning to arise on the floor of the House during plenary. “Upon our inauguration on June 6, 2011, we all consciously

decided to keep party affiliation aside to work to make good laws for the order, peace and good governance of the country. We thought it was important to restate that that is our core mandate as members of the 7th House of Representatives. That point was well taken by all the members present at that executive session. “And lastly, we also noticed that some publications tried to drag the person and office of the presiding officers into the ongoing judicial matter. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker did not appeal any judgment in their individual capacities. “The House, as an institution, was made a party to the different cases and so, if the National Assembly management goes on appeal, it will be wrong to say the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker have appealed the judgment. They have no personal interests in the ongoing matters.”

them by the Federal Government after the nation-wide ASUU strike to demand their entitlements which “earned allowances” were part of the demands. Lecturers were seen in their offices but were not teaching even when they were supposed to be doing so. They told The Guardian that they were in their offices but were not ready to embark on any academic activities. Asked why the sudden strike especially as they had just ended a nationwide strike, they said that “earned allowance” which was one of the demands for going on the strike has not been paid to them by the University of Jos authority. According to them, the authority allegedly mismanaged the funds meant for that purpose which was released by the Federal Government. They said that what they were doing is just to mount pressure on the university authority to put its house in order to avert further complication of issues. “Nobody wants to go on strike again especially when we have just returned from one. So, this earned allowance, which we are talking about, is no small money that can be overlooked. We want it, it is part of our demands,” they stated.


Thursday, April 3, 2014 NEWS 5

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FEC okays new GDP figures, for release on Sunday From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja ORE than 15 years after, M Nigeria is set to unveil new Gross Domestic Products (GDP) figures as approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its weekly meeting yesterday. The Council, also after reviewing the outcome of onthe-spot checks by the Federal Ministry of Health, denied the existence of Ebola fever in the country. Information Minister, Labaran Maku, while briefing State House correspondents after the meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said the new data, scheduled to be released by 2.00 p.m. on Sunday at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, is expected to highlight the progress recorded in the nation’s economies in the last 15 years when the last GDP figures were unveiled. Underscoring the importance of accurate GDP data, Maku said it would aid the government in its planning purposes, explaining that with a new and reliable GDP figures, government will be able to carry out proper planning for development purposes while investors would understand better indices of growth of the various sectors of the economy. The minister, who acknowledged that the exercise took one year to be completed, noted that because it last took place 15 years ago, it had made it a fairly tedious process. He conceded that the exercise ought to take place every five years. Experts have predicted that

rebasing the country’s GDP will give greater weight to new sectors of the Nigerian economy that have become more important since 1990 such as telecoms, Information Technology, movies and the rest of the entertainment industry. With a current nominal GDP of about $305 billion, Nigeria’s GDP is projected to be boosted by 40 to 60 per cent and to surpass that of South Africa which is presently $350 billion. “And so we received today (yesterday) briefing by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, that after nearly 15 years, Nigeria is now ready to rebase its GDP after more than one year of hard work by the Ministries of Finance and National Planning; the Chief Statistician to the Federation and the international agencies such as International Monetary Fund (IMF), Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); African Development

• Says no Ebola fever in Nigeria Bank (AfDB) and International Development Bank (IDB). “You will recall that the last time Nigeria issued new statistics and GDP figures was 15 years ago. And this is not supposed to be as we are supposed to be doing this every five years. Every country calibrates its own GDP data to show the progress made or challenges in their economy. “So, we hope that these new GDP figures will be released and the importance of this is that for the first time in 15 years, we will know scientifically what the new GDP figures are, the contributions of every sector to the economy, we will be able to know the sectors that recorded the most progress and which ones are lagging behind. “We will also know a few economic sectors that have emerged in the last 10 years which have not been cap-

tured properly in the last GDP figures, for example the telecoms which emerged in the year 2000. We can know scientifically what impact the telecoms sector has made on the Nigerian economy and GDP growth. Maku added: “When the figures hopefully are released on Sunday, we will then be able to analyse sector by sector and that will improve our budgetary planning, that will improve national planning, which sectors needed added attention. Even the ones that are doing well, what do we do to keep them growing? The importance of this cannot be over-emphasised. It will assure investors in some areas and in some others, it will pose challenges.” On the alleged outbreak of Ebola fever in the country, Maku said that based on the briefings the Council received from the Minister of State for

Health, it was convinced that there was no such development, but said that the country was fully prepared in the event of the infected persons from the neighbouring countries entering Nigeria. Maku said: “The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, briefed Council members on verification checks that have been carried out by the ministry since the alleged report of the outbreak of the disease in the country. “Nigeria is prepared right now to curtail any outbreak, particularly given reports that few countries on the West Coast like Liberia, Sierra Leone

All set for House of Reps bye-election in Ondo REPARATIONS for tomorP row’s bye-election into the Ilaje/Ese-odo Federal Constituency of Ondo State peaked yesterday as all parties finetuned their strategies. For example, Labour Party (LP) candidate, Hon. Kolade

Wole Olanipekun mourns G.O.K Ajayi former president of A Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun, (SAN), has said that the death of Chief Godwin Olusegun Kolawole Ajayi, (SAN) has created a big vacuum within the Nigeria legal circle. He described the late legal icon as one of the best the Nigerian legal firmament has ever produced and that the exemplary legacies and impressions, which he left cannot be wiped off by the torrents of time. In a statement in Lagos yesterday, Olanipekun said the late Ajayi, was a towering father figure in the law profession, even amongst his peers and contemporaries. “There is no gainsaying the fact that Chief Ajayi was a legal colossus, a front bencher amongst the pioneer Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and a remarkably outstanding forensic advocate, whose penchant for research and detection of minutest details, even in most complex and confounding causes, has now become legendary.” Olanipekun, who stated that the late senior advocate was still as sharp as a needle when last they discussed without any sign of ailment, said the memories of Ajayi would always remain evergreen in the mind and psyche of any legal practitioner, who appreciates what is good, noble and excellent.

Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun (left); wife of the late Chief G.O.K. Ajayi, Margaret Ajayi and former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola during the governor’s condolence visit to the Ajayis in their Surulere, Lagos residence.

EFCC opposes Akingbola, Dada’s bid to quash N41.1b fraud charge By Bertram Nwannekanma and Yetunde Ayobami Ojo

Court rules on jurisdiction May 2

LAGOS High Court sitting A in Ikeja will rule on May 2 on the applications brought

ing arguments from parties on the preliminary notices of objection filed by the defendants and the prosecution, the EFCC. Moving the application, Akingbola’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), argued that the subject matter of the alleged offences related to banking operations and capital market issues, which conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court. Citing the judgment of November 21, 2013, by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, in a matter brought by a former Managing Director of Finbank, Okey Nwosu, against the EFCC, Olanipekun said the appellate court struck out the theft charge preferred against Nwosu on the grounds that the Lagos High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter since it emanated from capital market transac-

by the former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, and his codefendant, Bayo Dada, challenging its jurisdiction in their N47.1 billion fraud charge. This is as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has opposed their application to quash the 18count charges pending against them. When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo yesterday, EFCC counsel, Godwin Obla (SAN), opposed the two defendants’ applications urging the court to dismiss the charges against them as an abuse of court process. Justice Lawal-Akapo fixed the date yesterday after hear-

tions. According to him, the information in Nwosu’s case, the counts and the particulars of offences were similar to that of Akingbola. He noted: “The court is bound by the decision of the Court of Appeal. We urge Your Lordship to be guided by their decision in Nwosu’s case.” He further argued that the charge was an abuse of court process because a similar charge involving Akingbola and the EFCC was currently pending before the Federal High Court, Lagos. Therefore, he asked the court to dismiss the charge against the former bank chief. Also, Dada’s counsel, Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), submitted that the offences allegedly committed by Dada related to buying and selling of shares on behalf of Intercontinental Bank, “a purely capital market

and Guinea have reported cases of Ebola fever and given our proximity to these countries, Nigeria is ready, the ministry has taken every precaution, including getting vaccines and medicines to ensure that should there be any incidence in Nigeria, everything would be dealt with fast. “But so far, there is nothing like Ebola fever in Nigeria and the Council was reassured that every step has been taken to prepare our country just in case infected persons come into the country from our neighboring countries which unfortunately have been reportedly affected.’’

and company related matter, which are listed as items 12 and 32 on the schedule of the Exclusive List. However, the EFCC counsel, Godwin Obla (SAN), argued that Section 251 (1) (2) (3) of the 1999 Constitution does not confer exclusive jurisdiction on matters involving offences to which the defendants were charged on the Federal High Court, adding: “There is no exclusive jurisdiction conferred on the Federal High Court on criminal matters, particularly as regards cases listed in subsection 3 of the section.” Particularly as the second defendant, Dada, was charged with Advance Fee Fraud, Obla noted that, “this court has jurisdiction to entertain any matter brought under Section 14 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act,” so the court should dismiss their applications and assume jurisdiction on the matter.

Akinjo, has been assured of unflinching backing in the Ilaje and Ese–Odo council areas the just as the State Government reiterated its support to youths’ development in the area. The physically challenged persons in Ese-Odo have also thrown their weight behind the LP candidate in the House of Representatives byelection. The people made the declaration when they received the LP’s campaign train led by Governor Olusegun Mimiko, which had within the last four days also visited among other communities, Okonla, Zion-pepe, OdeEtikan, Agerige, Ebute –Ipare and Ugbonla. At Ugbonla, the Spiritual Leader of Zion Church Worldwide, Most Rev. Henry Mobolorunduro while speaking on behalf of his people said the LP- led administration has done so much for the people of Ugbonla and by extension the Ilaje and that his people have promised to vote enmasse for the LP candidate in the April 5 election. Ogunfeyimi, who described the candidate as the son of Ugbonla said Dr. Mimiko’s administration had made prophecy of his father, Saint Elisha Lene Ogunfeyimi for the Ugbonla Community come to reality, saying that the administration has impressed the people of the area with laudable projects. The government made the pledge through the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Affairs, Evangelist Olumuyiwa Asagunla in Igbokoda and Igbekebo, during a meeting with youths, students, youth associations and other stakeholders in Ilaje and Ese – Odo. Asagunla mentioned as some of the government’s contribution to youth development in the state,  numerous empowerment programmes. The coordinator of persons with disabilities in the southern senatorial district of the State, Apostle Dabo Peter, gave the declaration  at Igbekebo, headquarters of Ese-Odo  local government on Tuesday during the LP campaign  tour of the area. According to him, the LP government through its intervention agency, the Ondo State Oil producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) had priotized their welfare in the provision of annual empowerment of N40,000 per person.


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6 | NEWS Thursday, April 3, 2014

MURIC faults CAN’s comment on Sultan, NSCIA over confab By Kabir Alabi Garba HE Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has urged the Secretary-General of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Musa Asake to stop “poking his nose into a matter between President Goodluck Jonathan and the Muslims.” MURIC, in a statement by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola was responding to allegations by Asake that the visit of Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the delegation of Muslims to President Jonathan on March 26, 2014 was tantamount to “polarizing the country along religious lines and attempting to frustrate the ongoing national conference.” MURIC insisted that the issue of marginalization tabled before the President during the visit was based on “facts, not sentiments. We will cite here, exempli gratia: only four Muslims among the 15 delegates approved for North Central (including Kwara, Niger, and Kogi); only one Muslim among the 15 delegates from the South-West; only two Muslims out of six retired police officers, only one Muslim out of six retired military and security personnel and, to crown the monumental edifice of marginalization, only six Muslims out of 20 delegates were picked by the Federal Government. “These facts are incontrovertible and the Sultan put them before President Goodluck Jonathan. The delegates are there and anybody can do the counting. So, what is CAN’s problem? Instead of throwing stones or inciting his followers against the Federal Government, the Sultan

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of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, in his characteristic way of dealing with matters, persuaded Muslims to be patient and told them that the matter would be looked into. “He then sought and secured audience with the Presidency, led a delegation of members of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to complain about the lopsidedness in the composition of delegates of the national confab. President Jonathan listened attentively to what the Sultan had to say and promised to look into the matter.” MURIC justified the step

taken by the leadership of the NSCIA with an anecdote saying, “When one child feels that the father has not given him his due, he goes to the father for his rightful share and not to the other child who has been over-pampered. It is not for the over-pampered child to attempt to block the chance of the marginalized child otherwise he steps into the realm of selfishness. This matter is between President Jonathan and the Muslims and courtesy demands that CAN keeps off.” The Muslim group reiterated, “CAN secretary therefore, overstepped his bounds and poked his nose into a matter over which he cannot

pronounce judgment. This is a matter that belongs exclusively to the Presidency. Instead of playing the role of an advocatus diaboli, we expect CAN secretary to provide counter data proving us wrong. It is a civilized world and we should work with facts and figures. We urge CAN secretary to do his homework. This is a shoddy response. He should stop heating up the polity.” The group therefore, appealed to President Jonathan “not to allow CAN to ride on his back in its unholy attempt to get more than it deserves, deprive the Muslims of their rightful share and usurp their Allah-given and

fundamental rights. These are acts capable of disturbing the peace, law and order. “Mr. President must act in loco parentis, like a good and just father, to be fair to all, just as he has promised. We remind the president that Justice is the Soul of Peace.” Nigeria, MURIC noted, “will be a better place when we have a good Christian or a good Muslim as president because the fear of God or Allah will make him do the needful and satisfy all righteousness. “To defeat terrorism, we must start listening to those who follow the path of dialogue, those who lodge complaints using civilized and peaceful means.”

TILL reeling from the alSweapons, leged use of chemical a non-governmental organisation, Benue Coalition for Peace and Security, has urged the Federal Government to invite the United Nations to investigate the alleged usage in the Benue farmers, herdsmen crises.

INISTER of Women Affairs M and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, yesterday stated that her Ministry will monitor the N2.1 billion project aimed at promoting women’s engagement in peace and security in the northern states to ensure successful implementation. The European Union and the Federal Government had last week signed the agreement for the project, which is wholly funded by the European Union and will be implemented by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The minister stated this in Abuja when the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Michel Arrion, led a delegation on a visit to her office. Maina said the project was timely as several women and children in northern Nigeria, particularly the north-east, are helpless, “many of them are suffering from trauma as a result of losing their homes, husbands and children and need to be rehabilitated.”

From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka group, Uga Democratic A Vanguard has commended Anambra State Gov-

Past Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi (right); former MD of Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; Securities and Exchange Commission boss, Arunma Oteh and Aliko Dangote during the meeting of the Economic Management Team at the Villa.

Chairman of the coalition, Mr. Justin Gbagir, told journalists yesterday in Makurdi that the allegations were too weighty to be taken with levity by the government. Gbagir stressed that the coalition was making the request given United Nations’ ban on weapons of mass destruction, insisting that wherever there is allegation of

chemical weapons use it has to be thoroughly investigated by local and international bodies. Gbagir, who urged the Federal Government to tighten security at the borders to check the influx of small and light arms into the country; further posited that the dimension which the crises assumed showed that the

invaders have influential sponsors. He appealed to the state government to establish rehabilitation camps for the displaced persons without further delay to address some of their fundamental needs; noting that the temporary camps set up by the Makurdi Diocese of the Catholic Church were inadequate compared with the

number of displaced persons moving into the city. The coalition boss, while calling on the government to compensate the displaced persons for their properties destroyed during the crises, dismissed the purported agreement between Tiv/Agatu farmers and Fulani herdsmen in Makurdi on Monday as “mere window dressing.”

Lagos lists protective measures against Ebola disease By Chukwuma Muanya and Tayo Oropo

• Outbreak in Guinea unprecedented, says MSF

ORRIED by the possible W spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) from neigh-

terday in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) Lagos State Ministry of Health, Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, said these measures, which include washing of hands often with soap and water, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and ensuring that objects used by the sick are decontaminated and properly disposed are necessary in order to reduce the risk of infection. The commissioner also advised health workers to be on alert; wear personal protective equipment, observe universal basic precautions when attending to suspected or confirmed cases, and report same to their local council or Ministry of Health immediately. Meanwhile, coordinator of MSF’s project in Conakry, Mariano Lugli, in a statement yes-

bouring West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to Nigeria, Lagos State Government yesterday urged members of the public to observe and maintain high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease in the state. Also, the aid agency, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) MSF, yesterday said Guinea is facing an unprecedented outbreak of the deadly virus following the announcement of eight confirmed cases of Ebola in the capital, Conakry. Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, yes-

From Omotola Oloruntobi, Abuja

Group lauds Obiano’s clampdown on hoodlums

Coalition wants UN probe of chemical weapons use in Benue From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi

Ministry to monitor N2.1b women project

terday explained: “It is the pattern of spread – affecting some locations that are hundreds of kilometers apart – that has prompted this statement. “We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country: Gueckedou, Macenta Kissidougou, Nzerekore, and now Conakry.” The news comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) distributes 3.5 tonnes of protective material to health facilities in different parts of the West African country. The equipment, which includes materials for single-use personal protection, disinfection and secure burial, is to help health workers deal with a virus that kills nine out of 10 people it infects, and for which there is no treatment

or vaccine, meaning the only way to stop it spreading is through prevention. Idris explained that Ebola virus disease is caused by a virus which natural reservoir of virus is not completely known, stressing that fruit bats have been considered to be the natural host of the virus. He said: “Ebola virus can be spread through close contact with the blood, body fluids, organ and tissues of infected animals; direct contact with blood, organ or body secretions of an infected person. The transmission of the virus by other animals like monkey and chimpanzee cannot be ruled out.” The commissioner noted that those at the highest risk of the disease include health workers and families or

friends of an infected person who could be infected in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them. He stressed that Ebola virus disease should be suspected in persons who develop bleeding from the body openings like the mouth, nose, rectum and ear; a close contact of person who is infected or health worker who had treated either suspected or confirmed infected person. Idris further explained: “Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, chills, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains. Later symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contain blood. It could progress to coma, shock and death.”

ernor, Dr. Willie Obiano, for ordering massive clampdown on hoodlums and street urchins in their hide out, especially within Onitsha and Nnewi. In a two-page communiqué issued by the group in Awka after its quarterly national meeting yesterday, spokesman of the group said the governor has taken a laudable first step in his security agenda for the state. The communiqué signed by Chief Peter Okala and Chief Ben Umeogine, the chairman and secretary of the group respectively, noted, “We have it on record that majority of the hoodlums, who are operating under various youths organisations, are not indigenes of the state and therefore they should relocate to their own states.”

Ondo probes radio, TV workers crisis From Niyi Bello, Akure panel of enquiry headed A by former Head of Service (HOS), Mr. Ajose Kudehinbu, has been set up by the Ondo State Government to look into the crisis rocking the stateowned broadcast station, the Ondo State Radio-vision Corporation (OSRC). Members of staff of the corporation, which has three operational arms, radio, television and F.M stations last week protested what they called “the appalling working condition” of the place and called on the state government to redeploy the General Manager, Mr. Ladi AkeredoluAle. During the protest, armed policemen and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) were deployed to the station located at Orita-Obele area of Akure, the state capital while the police arrested about six of the workers.


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NLC protests under-payment of electricity workers From Ali Garba, Bauchi HE Nigeria Labour ConT gress (NLC) and the National Union of Electricity Employees of Nigeria, Bauchi State branch, have picketed the offices of the company to protest under-payment of workers. The workers and union officials were seen at the premises of the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) office in the state capital with members of the union and Labour leaders across the state. Addressing electricity workers, unions’ officials and labour leaders, Bauchi State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Hashimu Mohammed Gital, expressed dismay over the inability of the private firms that took over the company to address the problems of discrepancies in workers’ salaries and epileptic power supply.

Orji insists on fairness over choice of successor From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia BIA State Governor A Theodore Orji yesterday affirmed that he is holding on to his resolve that his successor in 2015 shall be of UgwaNgwa extraction in the spirit of fairness, equity, justice and peace of the state. Orji spoke at the Government House, Umuahia, when a delegation of Ukwa-Ngwa Professionals led by Chief Sunny Aku, the Chief Executive Officer of Novenna Group, visited him to express their appreciation for endorsing the demand of the UkwaNgwas to produce his successor. His words: “Temptations have come but I withstood all of them in order to allow that this governor of Ukwa-Ngwa extraction emergence does not fail because it is the right thing. Our state founding fathers also foresaw this and provided for it through the ‘Charter of Equity’ that is, however, not enacted into law”.

Group backs Nwachukwu as leader of S’East confab delegates From Nkechi Onyedika Abuja ESPITE criticisms that D trailed the selection of Maj.-Gen. Ike Nwachukwu as leader of the South-East delegates to the ongoing National Conference in Abuja, a civil rights group, Network for Equity and Truth, yesterday said the former Imo State governor has paid his dues as a nationalist, an Igbo man, soldier, diplomat and is eminently qualified for any leadership position that his people entrust to him at community or national level. In a statement made available to The Guardian in Abuja, the Executive Director, Enyioma Ekebuike, noted that Nwachukwu used his opportunities in the military and government in the interest of the nation and Ndigbo whenever the opportunity arose.

Thursday, April 3, 2014 NEWS 7

Court threatens two banks By Bertram Nwannekanma LAGOS High Court sitting A at Igbosere yesterday threatened to visit the full wrath of the law on principal officers of Zenith and Access banks if it is legally proven that they deliberately flouted its order. Trial judge, Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson, made the threat at the resumed hearing of a suit filed against the two banks by NIYOD Construction Nigeria Limited. In the suit, the banks were accused of allowing a judgment-debtor to move funds out of its accounts despite being aware of court order made in favour of a judgment-creditor (NIYOD Construction Nigeria Limited). Already, NIYOD has filed

Form 48 (notice of consequence of disobedience to court order) against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor-designate and Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Godwin Emefiele and Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe. Zenith Bank’s counsel, O.J. Ukedu, had told the court that his client made an error in execution of the court order. According to him, instead of attaching the account of the judgment-debtor, Silverbird Galleria Limited, the bank attached the account of the judgment-creditor. But Justice Candide-Johnson countered the claim, saying such excuse could only make meaning to a primary school pupil. The judge added that the er-

ror had both professional and legal consequences. On his part, Access Bank’s counsel, Oyetunji Badmus, said the judgment-debtor moved funds out of the account before the bank was served with the court order. Badmus also admitted that the other fund standing to the credit of the judgment-debtor, which was initially not disclosed, was a loan. But NIYOD’s lawyer, Olumide Aju, said the explanations of the two banks were untenable. In a brief bench ruling, the judge said it would be absurd for banks to toy with court judgments, noting that the court would always guard its orders jealously. The judge, who said he would prefer to have the managing directors of the two banks to

come and explain the situation, added that he would not hesitate to refer the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation of the criminal aspect of the transactions. The judge, who adjourned further hearing on the matter till May 2, 2014, however, urged counsel in the matter to take appropriate steps otherwise the law would be allowed to take its full weight on the next adjourned date. According to the main matter, Silverbird had in 2009 secured a multi-billion naira contract from the Akwa Ibom State government for construction, design and maintenance of an entertainment centre that would contain inter alia an American-styled mall, a 250-bedroom five-star

Union opposes govt’s planned sack of civil servants By Anietie Akpan (Calabar) and Yetunde Ebosele (Lagos) HE Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has frowned at plan by the Federal Government to retrench 1,050 civil servants alleged to be working in the service illegally. According to the union, sack of the workers without due diligence would amount to subversion of justice and might lead to more people being thrown into the already saturated labour market. Specifically, ASCSN in a statement by its Secretary-Gen-

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• Imoke tasks NLC on leakages in economy eral, Alade Bashir Lawal and made available to The Guardian yesterday, maintained that given the penchant of Nigerian authorities to pervert the course of justice, the decision by the government to weed those it alleged are working in the service unlawfully might be a smokescreen to sack innocent civil servants who have served the nation meritoriously for decades. The reaction of the union is coming on the heels of recent statement credited to the Head of the Civil Service

of the Federation (HCSF), Alhaji Bukar Aji, that about 1,050 civil servants currently working illegally in the service would be retired in the next three weeks. “We demand that no retirement in whatever form should take place until all stakeholders, including the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), verify the claim of the government,” the union maintained. Meanwhile, Cross River State Governor Senator Liyel Imoke has decried the loop-

Fashola lists achievements in 100 days, tackles critics By Felix Kuye OVERNOR Babatunde G Fashola yesterday gave account of his achievements in various sectors of the Lagos State economy in the last 100 days, promising that his administration would not renege on its promise to make life more meaningful to all residents. Also at the ceremony, Fashola took a swipe at his critics, telling the guests how their activities allegedly scuttle efforts by the state government to deliver on some of the promises made to the people. The event, tagged: “Babatunde Fashola’s 2,500 Days in Office”, was held at the LTV Blue Roof and attended by eminent Nigerians, including former governors, Brig.-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, traditional rulers, religious and political leaders. Among the achievements in the health sector listed by Fashola in the last 100 days were the commissioning of the Maternal and Child Health Complex and the Lagos State School of Nursing Complex at Alimosho General Hospital, Igando and the commissioning of the Maternal and Child Health Complex at Amuwo Odofin area. Other health-related projects include the construction of a three floor L-shaped building extension at Harvey Road Health Centre in Yaba, construction of a three floor Lshaped Cardiac and Renal Centre at the Gbagada General

Hospital, construction of mortuary at Badagry General Hospital, construction of sewage treatment plant in Surulere, construction of the Maternal and Child Care Health Complex at Eti-Osa and a new Critical Care Unit at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). The governor, who declared achievement of 85 per cent budget implementation in 2013, alleged illegal deduction from the allocation to state governments by the Federal Government, which he said, is execution of projects and provision of basic services at the state level. Answering questions from some guests on sundry issues, Fashola confirmed that the state government is borrowing, “but sensibly and sustainably”. On the allegation by critics that his administration is elitefocused, Fashola said it is an advertisement of ignorance of the realities in the state, asking if those who benefit from the myriad of projects and special services in the rural areas are elite. He flayed the critics’ definition of elite and said they should be more concerned about the billions of naira that are allegedly disappearing from the Federal Government’s coffer. He also faulted allegation that the state government is raising bond without approval, saying it is not possible to raise bond without the Federal Government’s endorsement. On stoppage of work on the

housing project in Oyingbo, the governor blamed the opposition, which he alleged deployed soldiers to stop the job, claiming ownership of the land. He also told the guests how the opposition scuttled similar efforts by the state government to provide shelter for the residents of Lagos State. Lamenting an allegation by an Igbo woman that her kinsmen are not adequately represented in the administration, Fashola said: “I do not see you as an Igbo, but a Nigerian. It is one of the things we must restrain ourselves from doing. What is wrong is wrong, irrespective of who is involved; it is not good to ventilate our grievances on ethnic or religious ground. In Lagos, every part of Nigeria has been given opportunity to participate in governance. It is tempting for me to reply you in detail, but I will not do that. All I can say is that, if what you are talking about is electoral seat, they are not given, they are contested for and won.” Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, craved support for the administration, saying: “As you are all aware that we are now in the beginning of the second quarter of 2014 and we have started implementing our budge, we solicit your support, as individuals and groups, as in previous years, to make the state a peaceful and habitable one for everyone so that this administration can remain focused on those things that will continue to make life more meaningful for all of us.”

hole in the country’s economic system, urging members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, who paid him a visit, to assist in plugging them. He said the issues on revenue allocation formula, subsidy, location of tank farms, export processing zones, exploration of quarries, the establishment of cement industries and the status of federal roads, are areas where the congress could make their impact felt with a view of generating more revenue to the state.

hotel, cinema complex, convention centre and two parks. The contract was later subcontracted to NIYOD. However, in 2010, Silverbird dragged NIYOD before an Akwa Ibom State High Court, seeking return of N281.1 million over alleged breach of contractual agreement. NIYOD, in turn, filed a counter-claim and demanded payment of N382.4 million, being the debt payable for the works done, inclusive of N211 million, which Silverbird earlier admitted via a letter dated March 18, 2010, as amount it owes NIYOD. Trial judge, Justice Eno Isangedighi, had in a judgment delivered on December 19, 2013, ordered Silverbird to pay NIYOD N211 million representing the special damages for breach of contract, which had been proved. However, in an attempt to enforce the judgment, NIYOD registered it at the Lagos High Court, while Justice CandideJohnson on February 25, 2014, made an order nisi directing five banks to file various affidavits to show the state of finance of Silverbird. The banks are Access Bank, Union Bank, Zenith Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Skye Bank. Union, FCMB and Skye banks were later discharged after their affidavits proved that Silverbird had no account with them.


8 | NEWS Thursday, April 3, 2014

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PHOTONEWS

Commissioner, Government and Consumer Affairs, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Abba Ibrahim (left); Chairman, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi and Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, during the issuance of licences to companies in Abuja. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

Acting Registrar/Chief Executive, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Mohammed Sulaiman (left); President and Chairman of Council, NIM, Dr. Nelson Uwaga and Jigawa State Governor, Dr. Sule Lamido, during a courtesy visit to Lamido by the Institute.

Head Teacher, Estate Primary School, Isolo, Ruth Akande Aiyeghbusi (left); Group Chief Information Officer, Chellarams Plc, Dr. Harbhajan Batth and Chief Marketing Officer, Chellarams Plc, Rekha Singh, during the inauguration of recreational facilities donated by Chellarams to the school in Lagos. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Chairman, AES Excellence Club, Chief Nike Akande (middle) flanked by the President, AES, Dr. Ausbeth Ajagu (left) and Maj. Gen. Patrick Ogah during the quarterly business dinner and inauguration of the AES Abuja Chapter.

Representative of the wife of Lagos State Governor, Abisola Oshodi (left); Chairman of Board of Trustees, Courage Education Foundation (CEF), Pastor Ituah Ighodalo; Project Director, CEF, Modupe Ajagunna and Head, Public Affairs and Communications, Nigerian Bottling Company, Adeyanju Olomola, at the fundraising ceremony of CEF in Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Airport Manager, Makurdi Airport, Olatokunbo Arewa (left); Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Engineer Saleh Dunoma; Mallam Muazu Dahir; General Manager, Business Development, FAAN, Abubakar Achimugu and Director of Admin, FAAN, Ikechi Uko, during the inspection tour of Makurdi Airport by management of FAAN.

Manager, Sponsorship, Etisalat Nigeria, Orah Egwu (left); two of the Nigerian Idol Season 4 contestants who reached Top 12 stage, Jessy Okonkwo and Lisa Omoregebe; Manager, Events, Etisalat Nigeria, Ufuoma Dogun and another contestant who got to Top 12 stage, Elvis Ejiro, at the Etisalat sponsored Nigerian Idol Season 4 Top 30 first result show in Lagos. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKIN-

CEO, Datapro Limited, Abimbola Adesoyoju (left); Deputy Registrar, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Tade Fadare; First Vice Chairman, CIBN Lagos State branch, Taiwo Ige; President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Ismail Aderemi Bello; Chairman, CIBN, Lagos branch, Bolade Agboola and member, Consultancy Committee, CIBN, Lagos, Rashidat Saliu-Bello at the CIBN conference in Lagos.


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Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 9

WorldReport Ukraine moves to grant more power to regions N line with Western wishes, Ifirst crisis-hit Ukraine took the step yesterday toward granting more powers to the regions but stopped well short of creating the federation sought by Russia. The Western-backed team unveiled its high-stakes plan under the dual pressure of tens of thousands of Russian troops massed along its border and a veiled Kremlin threat to raise the price it

charges its neighbour for crucial gas deliveries for a second time in a week. But Ukraine’s new government — having won both vital financial backing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week and morale support from a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday — appeared ready to resist the Kremlin’s attempts to dislodge the more Russified regions in the east of the ex-

‘NATO’s suspension of cooperation with Moscow a ‘Cold War’ move’ USSIA has accused NATO R of succumbing to “Cold War” instincts after the alliance suspended all cooperation with Moscow over the Crimea crisis. “Basic instincts of Cold War have awoken in NATO, affecting rhetoric accordingly,” the official Twitter page of Russia’s mission to NATO quoted envoy Alexander Grushko as saying. “‘The alliance is under threat!’ Seems like taxpayers will have to fork out for

military games,” he said. The Western alliance’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday said that NATO is “suspending all practical cooperation with Russia, military and civilian” over Moscow’s speedy annexation of the Crimea peninsula and reported massing of troops near Ukraine’s border. Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin derided the announcement, remarking that it was made on April Fool’s Day.

Soviet country from direct Kiev rule. The government said it would like to eliminate the current practise under which local governors are appointed by the president and move toward an election system. But it said nothing about granting regions the right to set their own trade policies or establish special relations with foreign states. “The main idea behind the concept is to decentralise power in the country and substantially broaden the authority of local communities,” the government said in a statement published on its website. Moscow has sought radical constitutional reforms in Ukraine in the wake of the February overthrow of a proKremlin regime whose rejection of closer ties with Europe sparked months of deadly unrest. Russia would like to see Ukraine transformed into a federation that allows eastern regions in the vast nation of 46 million to adopt Russian as a second state language and overrule some decision coming from Kiev.


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Thursday, April 3, 2014 www.ngrguardiannews.com

Ahead of the rains Calls mount for speedy completion of ongoing road projects way with a standard drainage channel, he said the work was already 52 percent completed. He pointed out that the nightmare often experienced by residents of Ejigbo and Idimu in the HE rains are here again and it is about past was gradually fading away with the conanother time Lagosians begin to sing the struction of Idimu-Ejigbo road, which is now 50 old nursery rhyme: Rain rain, go away. percent completed. Recently, the Lagos State government When completed, the road, which he said is through the Commissioner for the Environgetting use to passing through hell to conduct our strategic because it links Ikotun-Isheri and Egberodu. ment, Mr. Tunji Bello, announced that there While Lagosians are appreciative of the inten- businesses because of the poor condition of the Isolo roads, would redirect traffic flow and also would be 263 days of rainfall this year starting tions of government in initiating renewal con- road. provides viable alternatives for commuters going from March 14 to December 21, with a margin tracts on some of the inner-city roads, which are “For over six years, the road was abandoned until to Idimu, Shasha, Igando, Egbeda, Iba and Isheri error of nine days. currently at various stages of completion, many early this year, when the contractor mobilized his from the Isolo and Cele Express routes. “The rainfall pattern showed that in the secpeople interviewed said that the ordeal of navi- men back to site and they started working on one The commissioner acknowledged that over the ond week of March 2014, rain will commence gating through many of the uncompleted proj- lane. This has aggravated the traffic situation on years, the Idimu-Ejigbo road, which redeveloptill mid July when it will recess before starting ects with some of them already dug up and the road as the other lane is left for both inward ment contract was awarded in 2012, has been again in September till December when the and outward-bound vehicles. We only pray the impassable, is causing growing unease and deplorable due to non-functional drainage sysseason will end. The little dry season will likely scare of a flood disaster. new pace of work will be maintained and we will tem. begin in July 15 and will end in August 31.” see an end to this project, he lamented, adding: Residents of Mushin, Ikorodu, Ejigbo, Ijegun, Referring to Alimosho, he said the deplorable Bello said the prediction showed that Lagos “The road is strategic and would be a huge relief Okota, Idimu, Ipaja and Ayobo said they coudn’t state of Meiran road generated concerns among would likely have a normal rainfall in 2014, but wait to see an end to the tortuous exercise of when completed and it would help decongest traf- several communities that the road links together. added that surrounding states like Ogun and fic along Okota–Cele bus stop, as some would precommuting with tears on uncompleted roads “The road is being reconstructed into a dual carOyo would have above normal rainfall. “The fer to link Ago Palace Way, Mile 2 and Festac Town riageway, with walkways, streetlights, standard in their areas. excess flow from dams in those states may Mr. John Danye, a resident in Isheri Osun com- through Bucknor and Ijegun ends.” drainage system and service ducts among other cause flooding downstream realistically in When The Guardian visited the area, it was discov- facilities. When completed, it will enable complained that the government has been conLagos if the water is not properly managed.” structing the about 10 kilometers road between ered that at the highly congested Iyana Ejigbo muters to go to Ayobo, Ipaja, Baruwa and other While many look forward to the rainy season Isheri Oshun and Jakande Estate in Ejigbo for junction, a lane had, for up to a year now, been adjoining communities from Sango, Otta and Ifo as a huge relief from the searing heat of the impassable due to drainage re-construction to well over a decade but that the project has among others without the need to get to Iyana last few weeks, the state of many inner-city solve the perennial flood problems in the area. remained uncompleted. Ipaja. Such commuters can connect their destinaroads in Lagos State is getting many Lagosians Some Ejigbo residents said that respite only Spokesman of the residents’ association of the tion or residence through Meiran road en route worried. community, Chief Adisa Akiode, said residents came to them recently when the governor comAjasa-Command road,” he affirmed From the bad roads to those undergoing of Ikotun, Ejigbo, Isheri-Oshun and Ijegun have missioned the Ejigbo-Ajao Estate link bridge Also worth mentioning is the Mosalashi-Ipajarehabilitation, the drop of rainfall spells doom shouted themselves hoarse over the delay in fix- named ‘January 27 Bridge’ in memory of the Janu- Ayobo road, which, according to Hamzat, has for some residents, as they have to endure ary 27 Ikeja bomb blast victims. ing the road, which was started several years been 70 percent reconstructed. hours of flash flood in a state several metres To find out the state government’s side of the ago. He noted that with a total length of 7.2km, the below the sea level. He declared: “It is only recently the contractor, deplorable conditions of the roads and what is road is critical among about 69 road projects alloSuch roads are common sight from Alimosho Hi-Tech Construction, moved back to site. We being done about the various uncompleted roads cated to Alimosho between 2011 and 2013, the to Ikeja, Amuwo-Odofin to Ogba, Kosofe to Iko- (people living in these areas and visitors) are projects in the metropolis, The Guardian state’s most populated area. approached the Commissioner for Works and “The reconstruction of the road would reduce Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat whose task it travel time, open up adjoining communities, is to drive Governor Raji Fashola’s urban renewal abate erosion, flooding and enhance property valproject. ue along the corridor,” the commissioner emphaHamzat, while stressing that he had at several sized.. public fora given assurance on government’s comHe disclosed that in Ikorodu, about 15 road projmitment to complete ongoing road projects ects were underway, which include Obafemi before 2015 runs out, disclosed that about 367 Awolowo road, Ring road in Imota and Mile 12inner-city roads with a total length of 350.686km Ikorodu road. were awarded in 2011. “Across the state, a good number of inner-city “Of this,” he continued, “161 with a length of roads are being reconstructed. In Badagry, seven 147.347km have been completed and about 211 road projects are underway. It is not true when with a length of 211.339km are under different some critics say the Fashola administration is stages of completion.” only running an elitist government.” Hamzat According to him, this figure excludes the 58 said. inner-city road projects awarded in 2013 with a A resident in Alimosho, Mr. Audu Kazeem, noted length of 64.527km, adding that this year (2014), that the Meiran road and Alakuko road has about 31 new roads would be awarded while 17 solved a lot of accessibility challenges in the area. others will be graded and resurfaced. According to him, “drainage system in Meiran He said the policy thrust of the state’s urban has been completed; median work is underway renewal project is “a multi-pronged strategy and walkway already demarcated, though much designed to make domestic trips enjoyable in the is yet to be done on the streetlight. metropolis; drain water off the streets when it “Though the road project has not been completrains and provide, especially pedestrians with ed, ongoing work has seriously reduced public walkways in order to reduce accidents.” strain and trauma. I want the state government Referring to Joel Ogunnaike road in Ikeja GRA, to fast-track the redevelopment of the road before which is being redeveloped into a dual carriageOngoing construction of Majidun-Ikorodu road, Lagos. the rainy season to avoid flooding.”

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

T

A cloudy skyline

• Bad weather, relocation of obstructing structures, facilities on RoW are causes of delay – Commissioner


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Thursday, April 3, 2014

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Ehingbeti 2014: Lagos woos investors to power sector, economic re-jig Lagos government is in a desperate search for investors’ to get its power sector reform off the ground. But where are the opportunities and what are investors thinking about the possibilities? Wole Oyebade reports. RRESPECTIVE of the clean bill of health the Coordinating Minister of the Economy consistently pass on the Nigerian economy, monthly allocation to other tiers of government is falling and state governors are making no pretence about it. Their grumblings are getting louder as their debt burden widens. Lagos, the commercial hub of the country, is doing more than bury its head in the sand and whine about the situation. Besides reporting the Federal Government (FG) and possible economic distress to the State Assembly some weeks ago, the Governor Babatunde Fashola-led administration is shifting from FG/oil dependency-syndrome to more robust partnership with the private investor. The need is clearly defined: Seek first the kingdom of constant power supply and every other thing shall be added unto you. But with dwindling revenue, there will be no magic wand out of the power problems without an improved Public-Private Partnership in the sector, the government has said. The more of the private investors wooed to the electricity sector, the better the economic prosperity that awaits the state, Commis-

I

sioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Ben Akabueze said. “Lagos State Government has therefore opened the economy of the state to private investors and financiers who can discern opportunities in the power sector, and also seizing the moment to partner with it to develop other critical sectors,” Akabueze said, ahead of the Lagos Economic Summit starting on April 8. According to the Commissioner, grappling with a meagre 1,000MW supply of electric supply from the national grid, as against the 10,000MW required in the state, underscores the importance of the electricity subject and at no better time for discourse than the seventh edition of the economic summit, Ehingbeti 2014. Main theme of the summit is, ‘powering the Lagos Economy: Real Opportunities, Endless Possibilities’. Two former Presidents – Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia and Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, foremost industrialist and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote and former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji are among the speakers. There is no gainsaying the fact that inadequate electricity supply has been the biggest constraint to the growth of not only Lagos economy but also the Nigerian oil-dependent economy as a whole. Akabueze said: “This is why power is the focal point for the economic summit being the driver of other sectors of the economy especially agriculture, transportation and housing sectors.” Fashola, during the inauguration of the second phase (expansion) of the Island Independent Power Plant (IPP), noted that a little above 1,000MW of electricity demand by Lagosians was being met by national grid, resulting in every location audited having at least one generator.

LAGOS ASSEMBLY DIARY

House explains regular adjournment By Wole Oyebade AGOS State House of Assembly has Lments explained that its frequent adjournat the plenary were not a negligence of legislative duty or insensitivity to matters of public importance pending before the House. The House’s Spokesperson, Segun Olulade, said such suspension of House proceedings were necessary to allow lawmakers attend to other matters that are not decided on the floor of the House. In a related development, the Assembly has thrown its weight behind the State Executive as it appeals against the Federal High Court’s ruling, which declared collection of tolls on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge as “illegal.” Olulade, who is representing Epe II Constituency, told The Guardian that the House was up and doing in its legislative function, stressing that their plenary breaks, however often, should not be mistaken for vacation. Since the House resumed from its four-week recess on March 3, 2014, it has sat for two weeks and adjourned

built at the cost of N29 billion, has never been spared of controversies since it was commissioned on May 29 Democracy Day 2013. for three weeks. The House is currently It would be recalled that the Lagos Assembly, to whom the Bridge conon two-week adjournment and is cession and tolling agreement was resuming on April 7. subjected for approval, frowned at its This informed speculations in some quarters that the Lagos lawmakers are provisions. more bothered on getting re-elected in The House, though declined com2015 than attending to core legislative ment on the matter of concession approval, it was gathered that the function. lawmakers have never approved toll Olulade explained that members of the House had been busy attending to collection on the bridge, which was wholly funded by taxpayers’ money. oversight functions, public protests and petitions, House Committee meet- A lawmaker, who wouldn’t want to ings, training programmes among oth- be mentioned, said the Executive was on top of the matter and the legislaer legislative businesses. He said: “Plenary adjournment is just tive arm would support their stand. He noted that there are enabling an opportunity to do other things, not go home and sleep. People think once laws in the state that permit tolling, even though the bridge was built you are not sitting, you are not doing anything. But that is when we also work without private sector’s input. “The state is at liberty to collect tolls on our bills and motions that we can on the bridge as long as it is collecalso present at the plenary. Activities tively agreed, especially considering are usually on going.” its projections on the infrastructure,” On the issue of the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge’s court case, the 1.358km bridge, he said.

• Backs toll collection on Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge

His claim was in reference to a statewide power audit recently conducted in over 13,000 residential, commercial and industrial locations in the state, where only one-tenth of their electricity need was met. Actually, the state economy is one that is being run on generator. Lagos State government is an advocate of renewable energy, clean environment and less dependence on generating sets. It is in this regard that it built and commissioned three gas-powered Independent Power Plants (IPPs) in collaboration with some private sector operators. The combined capacity of the three plants is 32.55MW, which now makes it possible for several government facilities and institutions in the state to enjoy uninterrupted 24-hour electric power. The institutions include Lagos Water Corporation, which pumps over 130 million gallons of water daily; General Hospital and Island Maternity Hospital, both on Lagos Island; High and Magistrates’ Courts; and State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja among others. Several streets are also lit at night from the power plants. Reality is that the 32.55MW generated by the IPPs, even if it doubles, is still insufficient to power ongoing infrastructure development projects like the e-Ticketing for inter-modal transport system such as Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), Light Rail and ferries, traffic lights at critical inter-sections, train and bus terminals for night operations among others. Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, said regular electricity supply is one of the avenues to reduce dependence on oil, pointing out that over 50 per cent of oil today is used in the transport sector. “Besides, we need regular power supply to have our own car assembling points and this will make the production cost even cheaper. It is obvious that the demand is out there. “For agriculture, the state also requires power for its mechanised slaughter lines, conditioning system to preserve meat and vegetables, Lagos Wholesale Fish Market, poultry and fish estates and the rice mills.” Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperative, Gbolahan Lawal, noted that if Lagos must have food security amid global population explosion, it must be able to produce 70 per cent of what it is doing presently. Today, only 10 per cent of food eaten in the state is locally produced, yet there abound plenty in poultry, fishery and vegetable value chains among others. Lawal said: “This is why we need constant power supply. Using available technology and regular electricity supply, the food insecurity starring us in the face would drastically reduce.” Some players in the private sector said the opportunities are indeed huge and “inviting” but “the state government must come out with definite plan on the power sector.” A Chief Executive Officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it is still early days in the power reform, and investors would want to be sure of what is at stake, given the huge investment required.

JIVE My encounter with a policeman ME: How you take enter? I was driving down the street at POLICEMAN: Abeg! Na since I dey try Alausa Road, having just finished answering a call when a policeman open am but he no open suddenly opened the passenger door, (The dog was now getting impatient entered and jammed it. As usual he and gave a small growl, it’s tongue wanted “something” from me for call- almost touching the policeman’s left ing while driving. Then suddenly, he ear) saw the big Rottweiler dog, Jackie at POLICEMAN: (Now sliding forward) the backseat with tongue stuck out, Oga, I take God beg you, open the door for me make I comot, I no go collect spittle dripping and fangs barring, anything from you staring fiercely at him. POLICEMAN: (Shaking) Ah! You carry ME: how much you go pay me? POLICE: Ah! I never hustle anything dog? since morning, na only 1,000 dey with ME: Yes I carry dog, that one na me. offense? POLICEMAN: (Feeling uncomfortable) ME: You never ready, (Attempting to release the dog.) Na where una dey come from? POLICE: ok ok ok ok ok, he reach 2,000, ME: From hospital the other 1,000 na my wife own but I POLICEMAN: Ehen! You sick? ME: No, na person wey the dog bite we go give you join (Now close to tears as the dog was go see, the person almost die sef POLICEMAN: (Terribly shaken by now) becoming really impatient and getEhen! But why the dog dey shake head ting ready to attack) Oga, I beg sorry for me, take the 2,000, like that? ME: Na so im dey do if he wan bite per- make you open the door please ME: Oya bring am (collects the 2,000 son POLICEMAN: And the dog know you? and allows him out of the car) POLICEMAN: God punish you idiot, he ME: Yes nah, no be my dog? no go ever better for you and your yeye POLICEMAN: (Sweating) This your dog, wicked man. door, how you dey open am?


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Politics THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

It’s satanic to introduce religion in confab, says Momoh By Seye Olumide Minster of Information and chieftain FTonyofORMER the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Momoh, has suggested a parliamentary system of government, as panacea to the controversies surrounding representation based on religion, in the ongoing national conference. Momoh, who is worried by the way the leadership of the Muslim and Christian faiths are handling issue of religion in regard to the conference, said it was satanic to introduce religion into politics, as “this may spell doom for the nation and also embarrass the initiator of the confab.” In a phone conversation with The Guardian on Wednesday, the journalist, lawyer-turned politician said: “The truth is all issues are there to be discussed, whether cultural, social, political and religion. “The conference itself is aimed towards the reordering of the country from the present lopsided situation but it is obvious that religion would come to play because of the presidential system we practice. “It is unfortunate that Nigerians have brought the issue of religion to the fore in our politics and today, religion is one of the yardsticks to deter-

mine political campaigns, representation, appointments and other issues in the country. “In those days when we practised the parliamentary system of government, nobody thinks about religion.” Warning that the trend was satanic, dangerous and would do nothing other than to further polarise the country and worsen our situation, Momoh said, “there is the need to ditch the presidential system for the parliamentary system. This is the only way out.” He noted that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) have become the political arms of religion and they are seriously using both institutions to influence decisions, particularly the ongoing national conference. “It is no longer possible to have a Muslim/Muslim ticket like we had during the June 12, 1993 election neither is it possible to have a Christian/Christian ticket anymore. It is satanic,” he reiterated. He said the ongoing crisis of religion in the conference would further divide Nigeria along ethnic line, particularly the Northern/Southern dichotomy.

Momoh “We are now witnessing segmented loyalty in the national conference, one of the issues that has longed bedeviled Nigeria and robbed us of meaningful development,” he said. Wondering what the outcome of the conference would be and/or how it is going to be

implemented, the APC chieftain noted: “Since there is now segmented loyalty in the conference that is based on religion and region and with the 75 (now 70) per cent consensus theory, sentiment is going to play prominent role and I am afraid this will become so bad that it may backfire so much that those who initiated the conference will be embarrassed.” Although Momoh posited he is not opposed to dialogue, he was emphatic, “I am yet convinced anything would come out of the exercise.” He said: “President Goodluck Jonathan has told Nigerians the outcome of the discussion would be passed to the National Assembly as part of ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution. “The same National Assembly is yet to make law to back the conference and there is no guarantee of political will to implement the outcome, if at all the delegates succeeded to reach agreement and concluded the exercise peacefully.” He recommended thus: “The means through which the exercise could be useful and implemented, if the government is serious, is for the outcome to be subjected to a referendum and submitted to the National Council of State (NCS) for deliberation after which it goes to the National Assembly to be passed into law.”

‘Without referendum, conference will suffer crisis of legitimacy’ Legal practitioner and former chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Bisi Adegbuyi, was among the school of activists agitating for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference. Now, like many of his ilk, he is in the eyes of the storm as a delegate at the national conference. He spoke to Kamal Tayo Oropo on issues that have started shaping the direction of the discourse. NE of the immediate sources of O discord in the conference is the issue of voting. What is your position on this threshold? The global best practice in all known democratic societies and parliamentary practice is two-thirds majority. Elections are won and lost on the basis of simple majority in some cases; that is what is generally referred to as majoritarian rule. Three-quarters majority in deciding the way victory will swing or the direction it will go is absolutely stringent, unreasonable, absurd and clearly standing in the way of the long notion or view that majority will and should have their way and the minority their say. Lex non cogit ad impossibilia is a Latin phrase that captures the absurdity of insisting on three-quarters majority in democratic contests, as it aptly says that, ‘the law does not compel the doing of an impossibility.’ The challenge of the Nigerian state, the problems bedeviling our dear country is how to forge unity; and in this case, harmonious unity, as my late hero, that man of uncommon ability, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, says in one of his seminal books. The yet elusive unity would undoubtedly be further strained if the protagonists of the three-quarters voting threshold were allowed to have their way. This is so because a fundamental ingredient of unity in diversity, which is the ability of a people to create conditions for self- determination and pursue same, without let or hindrance, would be completely eroded. Some political scientists and commentators have even argued meritoriously that simple majority threshold ought to, and should be the deciding factor in any democratic society, insisting that once the majority, no matter how thin the majority is, decide the way decisions should be taken, that choice must be respected and the losers should wait for another opportunity to effect change by dem-

ocratic means. Flowing from this is the irresistible and sensible submission that delegates at the national conference should imbibe what is globally obtainable and the general democratic practice of arriving at decisions by the two-thirds majority rule. Some have expressed the fear over legitimacy of the conference. What do you make of the call for a referendum to determine the fate of decisions reached? The major downside of the extant 1999 Constitution and some others before it is the all-important question of legitimacy. Constitutions are meant to be the fundamental laws of any society, state or country. It’s a sine qua non for peace, order and good government. Without a constitution, anarchy will be the order of the day and the resultant effect of that is society thus becomes short, nasty and brutish. Therefore, the importance of the all-important document cannot be over emphasised. Constitutions are invariably results of intense negotiation among the stakeholders in any society, which may be ethnic-nationalities, tribes, peoples, etc. What is important is that at the end of the day, the document should reflect the free will of the people and must not be imposed. When people freely make, effect, subscribe and give to themselves a constitution, such is known as an Auctotonous Constitution and it means the people have given birth, life and legitimacy to it. The 1999 Constitution has suffered a great deal of legitimacy problem; people have disowned it, and described it as telling a lie against itself because the people never met anywhere to produce it the way the American Constitution was conceived at the 1787 Philadelphian convention. The ongoing national conference suffers similar legitimacy problem because all the delegates have not been elected; rather, they have been

Adegbuyi either selected or nominated by various interest groups. The question to ask is: does it mean the conference, as it is presently constituted, cannot enjoy legitimacy? The answer is a simple no! The legitimacy problem, however, is a curable defect. The cure for the defect is to organise a referendum, through which the Nigerian people can affix their imprimatur to the resolutions emanating from the conference by a simple majority of yes over no votes. When such resolutions have gone through the crucible of the legitimacy test, decisions emanating from the process are said to be inviolable and ipso facto sovereign. This is where the protagonists of Sovereign National Conference stand and, of course, one’s position. When resolutions from an unelected national conference are adopted, and people’s imprimatur is affixed at a referendum, the principles of ratification, in law, become operable; meaning that, the works, decisions, and resolutions of the unelected body have been adopted. The defects touching and concerning their election are, thereby, cured. The people have spoken, and conferred legitimacy, hitherto unavailable, on the resolutions of the delegates. Also, there is the absolute need for the conference to call for resolutions from members of the public, to form part of the research materials that the delegates will consider before arriv-

ing at the resolutions that will form the road map for the Nigeria of our dream. (It would be) a country, where there will be peace, progress, growth and development, justice, equity, order and good government; where even and equal opportunities will be available to all; a country where the greatest good would be available to the greatest number, freedom for all and life more abundant as the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, once said. COULD you shed light on why the conference procedure rules had to be tinkered with? Rules are sine qua non for any organisation, society, company, work place, etc. States would break down and anarchy would ensue without the same. The national conference could not have commenced its assignment without considering the rules of engagement. Realising the need for legitimacy of the rules, conscious that we must freely give same to ourselves, the delegates decided to scrutinise the draft procedure rules, clause by clause and adopt or modify same, as they may deem fit and necessary. This, of course, is understandable, where the delegates thought that the powers given to the Secretary of the conference were too wide and prone to abuse. Such powers were reviewed and appropriate modifications made. Where it was thought that the Chairman of the conference should wield and/or exercise some powers with the concurrence of the Deputy Chairman, such was also effected. Generally speaking, it was not really controversial and difficult to pass the rules save and except the rules relating to voting threshold, which were hotly debated and almost marred the entire exercise, as the divide between the Northern delegates, who were proponents of three-quarters threshold, and their Southern counterparts that were poised to adopt the generally acceptable universal best practice of two-thirds majority, became evident and threatened the continued sittings of the conference. It is, however, gratifying and enthralling to note that a committee, hurriedly constituted by the leadership of the conference, with the remit of resolving the logjam, has proposed a 70 per cent voting threshold, which

will be (had been) presented to the plenary for delegates to consider and adopt as resolution so that the conference can proceed apace to consider the fundamental issues that will hopefully resolve all the contending issues of nation building. What do you make of alleged high handedness and partiality of the Chairman of the conference? Presiding over the affairs of a national conference, consisting of 492 delegates from different and diverse cultures, religions, backgrounds, social ethos, value systems, disparate people with various agenda, standpoints, and filled with mutual suspicion and distrust cannot by any means be an easy task. Such leadership requires abundant skill, clear and level-headedness. Having said this, it does appear that my lord and respected jurist, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, would need to, with due respect, revisit and revise his leadership style in order to avoid being seen as un-firm, unfair and partial in steering the ship of the national conference. Some instances of partiality have reared their ugly heads. Whether such were deliberate or just manifestation of human idiosyncrasies is open to debate. Suffice to say that perceptions are critical issues in dealing with matters like these. Delegates that reopen closed issues ought to be ruled out of order; those that raise issues that are totally unrelated to issues under discussion should also be similarly ruled out of order. The most appalling instance of issue under discussion is that of the offensive, clearly incendiary and subversive vituperations of Lamido Adamawa, a delegate who, by an amazing act of indiscretion, went wild in warning delegates of the perceived dangers inherent in subscribing to the values of Western world predicated on the concept of two-thirds majority voting threshold. Notwithstanding the subversive nature of the said vituperations, the Chairman was clearly reluctant in ruling him out of order. All said and done, one hopes that as the conference progresses, the Chairman will make progress in handling its affairs with commendable even-handedness. 


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Thursday, April 3, 2014 13


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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 horror in Ibadan HE recent discovery in the sprawling T city of Ibadan of a kidnapper’s den and an underground dungeon, where

human beings allegedly harvested for human parts trafficking were butchered, killed and buried, is a haunting reminder that the horrendous, dastardly and inhuman activities of ritualists are far from abating. It is also a warning to the general public on the necessity for safety awareness, and to the law enforcement agencies on the need for proper and adequate policing of the land. Besides, considering the possible motives for engaging in such barbaric and sinister act, the revelations from the Ibadan dungeon provide an insight into an increasing criminal propensity for wealth, power and influence, and a decreasing value for human life. The civic ambience of the sleepy community of Soka in Oluyole Local Government Area of Oyo State was rattled on that Saturday, when residents of the neighbourhood discovered, to their bewilderment and horror, a ritualist’s den littered with no fewer than 20 decomposing bodies, clothing of different ages of people, baby wears, school uniforms, foot wears, amongst others. Fortunately, 23 lucky kidnap victims, who were rescued from their highly traumatizing, searing and sub-human condition, among whom was a lady just delivered of a baby, are recuperating at the state Adeoyo Hospital, Yemetu, Ibadan. According to news reports, a kidnapped motorcycle transport operator, who managed to call relatives for help through his mobile phone, spearheaded the contact that led to police invasion of the place. Reports also indicated that about six guns and several cutlasses were also discovered at the vicinity. These reports raise questions about emergency response in the country. How long did it take the police to respond to the situation? Was there a deliberate delay on the part of security forces to enable the kidnappers escape arrest? Why has any leading suspect not been arrested? In circumstances such as this, it is easy

to blame the residents for their inaction. But as investigations show, angry youths who besieged the governor of the state when he visited the site, claimed that they had made complaints several times but to no avail. This also raises questions about the precarious state of internal security evidenced by rampancy in wanton criminal activities, the seeming absence of fear of detection or arrest, and low level security enforcement. The very dicey nature of Nigeria’s state of security is highlighted by the fact that, not only are the relevant authorities losing grip of the situation as far as the Boko Haram insurgency is concerned, but also that there is a gradual disregard for pro-active policing at the local level. Could this murderous harvesting of human beings for human parts trafficking or any other reason be going on without the security agencies knowing about it? As of now, they have not captured the owner of the land, although the C of O has been withdrawn. So, is it a case of under-policing in the land? Or some form of official complicity? Undoubtedly, poverty, disenchantment, powerlessness and hopelessness are everywhere. There is frustration on the faces of many, as the reward of hardwork and a virtuous life are painstakingly slow compared with life on the fast lane. And in the absence of adequate models in the system, people turn to frustrated people like themselves, who lead them astray. The result is a relapse to bewildering criminal activities, amongst which is ritual killing and questionable occultic practices. Yet, this does not make it right and good. Irrespective of positions making the rounds that the poor development of a scientific consciousness and the overwhelming superstitious beliefs pervading every facet of Nigeria’s socio-cultural life are factors encouraging the ritualistic pursuit of money and power, this horror, in a very profound sense, raises some vital issues concerning the people’s sense of respect for the dignity of the human person, vigilance and community policing. Fundamentally, that human beings should be visited with such bestial treatment for any reason whatsoever is prima

LETTER

MultiChoice as fair-weather friend IR: Subscribers Salready MultiChoice’s DStv know this:

to may That MultiChoice are unusually ‘nice’ when they want you to part with your money. That is when they put a call through to your number to know ‘how’ you are ‘doing’, akin to the Shylock who just ‘looked’ in. Note that this call is usually timed to your subscription due date. As a subscriber, I try to pay my subscription in good time. I even try to make multiple payments months in advance. So, only rarely do I get their reminder message to renew my account. But, this time around I delayed. Then, I got the reminder messages on my television. These were not enough. They were followed by a blitzkrieg on my phone. Then, you guessed right! It was the proverbial call from

MultiChoice; and they had this guy on me who was trying to ‘play nice’. I knew all the tricks. Unfortunately for the caller it was during a busy period for me. I told him that I was sorry, that I was quite busy. He pressed on. I reiterated that I was busy. He then asked me when he could call back. But I would not spare my time. Not this time! Still, he pressed on. This guy was now ‘in my hair’. With a note of finality, I said, “Unless I won a jackpot, please don’t call back!” Meanwhile, DStv subscriptions keep going up, instead of coming down like what is happening in the telecoms industry, despite their huge, and still increasing subscriber base. Their research and development department is not looking for a way to forestall the disappearance of signals when it rains.

If you need to upgrade, if your television is not on, it won’t work. As power is not reliable, you might need to tell your family to waste fuel just to upgrade your account. Unnecessary expenses! And if nobody is at home while you are paying your subscription you need to call them when you get back home to redirect you, as most times, the sms method, which is not free, does not work. But their number is not tollfree, either. So when you call, it is at your own cost. Remember, you still have to do some ‘waiting’ before they answer. The decoder even takes eternity to booth. But they are busy running promos or jackpots to woo even more customers, of which ‘they’ alone perhaps know ‘those’ people who have won! • Cosmas Odoemena, Lagos.

facie morally wrong. It is a reification of the human being and an utter disregard for his intrinsic worth as a person, who by law possesses an inviolable dignity, and by his religious inclination an image of God. Bearing this in mind, life is too precious for the value placed on it in Nigeria, as the ghastly Ibadan horror has demonstrated. It should, however, be clear to Nigerians and all who understand Nigeria’s peoples and culture that harvesting human beings for ritual has not been part of our culture. Even though local movies exported abroad have tended to portray these bizarre events as typically Nigerian, it is grossly misleading and professionally errant on the part of persons who depict Nigeria in such light. Besides, irrespective of cultural beliefs and practices, there are laws of natural justice, to which other forms of positive laws take recourse. Consequently, that a group of people may erroneously engage in questionable, inhuman practices does not obviate the course of justice. On their part, the people of Oyo State must challenge the governor and the government of Oyo State to commit themselves to ensure that this level of barbarity does not see the light of day. It is demeaning and scandalous that this monstrosity should happen in Ibadan. As a matter of fact, the government must look into the allegation that reports had been made long before now, and it should be specific in terms of who wrote what, and to whom reports were made. Although the government has revoked the Certificate of Occupancy of the owner

of the property in which the horror took place, this is not enough. In concert with the police and other law enforcement agents, the government of Oyo State must unravel the perpetrators of this heinous crime, and be seen to have done so. To avoid any suspicion of complicity, perpetrators or culprits so unraveled must be prosecuted and be made to face the full wrath of the law. Furthermore, to forestall the occurrence of this dastardly act in other parts of the country, secret places such as the Ibadan den should be identified. Many of these shrines abound, and as politicians warm up for elections they become full scale business centres. In spite of the constitutional provision on the freedom of the right to religious expression, many have inadvertently found themselves under the bondage of buccaneers, who parade themselves as spiritual leaders and occult masters, promising power, wealth and fame. This calls for a concerted effort to enlighten people on the limits of spiritual expression and when they become injurious to society. Without infringing on the rights of person’s rights to religious association and freedom of worship, questionable shrines and occultic centres should be smoked out, closed and culprits brought to book. Convinced of the repugnance of this or any act that sacrifices any human life for filthy lucre and corrupt power, this newspaper re-affirms the stance on the inviolable worth of the human person and his inalienable right to life. In pursuit of this philosophy, the human mind needs to be purged of every shackle of


Thursday, April 3, 2014

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Opinion This conference must be different By Odia Ofeimun CONSTITUTION that will outlast its makers A must derive from collective ambitions that are not driven by immediate, or merely alimentary, concerns! Unity is not enough. Nor welfare. A good constitution must seek a shared future, based on justice and a common, benign morality. It is such a constitution that we seek as a syllabus of ideals into the next Nigerian Century. And beyond.   And, there is no reason to try re-inventing the wheel. Our many struggles in the past have given us golden indications of how we may go.  We need to look with large-heartedness at our history, and to concede that so much good work has been done in the last century requiring us to take our country very seriously. Hence, in asserting that this conference must be different, I have no reason to engage in far-fetching. I am relying on the cumulative goodness of preceding creativity and hard work. Let us add a new sense of direction, and studied will, to make good our roadmap. In my well-considered view, we are, as Nigerians, inheritors of great debates, marvelous precepts, and well-honed constitutional provisions –  loaded asterisks  –  that are answers to our much-vaunted National Question. In over 100 years of trying, we have arrived at principles that are true to our needs and ought now to be harnessed with the integrity of self-motivated people.   In no particular order, the principles cover but are not limited to the following: • A Presidential system with a four-year renewable term for chief executives who shall be elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage by the whole constituency over  which they seek governance. • A bicameral legislature based on universal adult suffrage • A judiciary entitled to a first line draw on the Consolidated Revenue Fund • A post-office pension for past chief executives and officers of the legislature, so long as they were not impeached.

• The withdrawal of immunity from criminal liabilities for Chief Executives • Special courts for the prosecution, with dispatch, of cases emanating from corrupt practices. • States courts of appeal to be established in six geo-political zones • A mayoral administration for the Federal Capital Territory • Transfer of basic education , maternal health care, and housing from Chapter Two on Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State policy to Chapter Four under Fundamental Human Rights;  therefore justiciable • Creation and re-creation of states strictly to ensure that, as much as possible, all people of the same ethnic or language group in contiguous territorial formation are together in one state • The creation of a  Gbagyi state, Ekiti state, Ijebu state, Nupe state, Anioma state, Kanuri state, etc with common welfare policies   as guaranteed across all the states of the Federation. • Removal of pensions, prisons, railways, stamp duties, and wages from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent list; • Addition of road safety, healthcare, public complaints, arbitration, aviation, environment, health, housing and electricity to the Concurrent List. • A shared and federated  defence and security system with a directorate of each of the forces under each level of government;  every tier of government entitled to a police system in the format of the judicial service. • Secularity of the Nigerian state guaranteed; no state religion • All political parties to enjoy subvention commensurate with votes scored in local government elections. • All incumbents who change their political parties in midstream shall return to the electorate for their mandates to be re-determined in a byeelection. • Every language to be a national language taught at school in the domicile of each language; a multi-language choice at higher levels,  with uni-

versities in each catchment area empowered to research into the history, folklore, literature and culture of the areas. • The autonomy of the local government system to be guaranteed: no joint LG/state account; but a Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission for the state • Local governments and states to be involved, through equity and management, in resources found in their areas. • Derivation principle to be applicable to all revenues including Value Added Tax (VAT) • A revenue allocation  formula that takes cognizance of  items on first line draw; and shift of items on the Exclusive  and Residual list to the Concurrent list. • Drastic reduction in cost of governance through downsizing  of  ministries, commissions,  parastatals, offices of special advisers and special assistants. • A half-yearly report of actual cost of government to be undertaken by specially created Code of Conduct/Public protector’s office answerable to parliament. • No expenditures without proper appropriation. All budgets of such entities as the CBN, NNPC, NIMASA, Customs and Excise etc to be laid before the National Assembly • A separate office of the Attorney-General of the Federation; distinct from the office of the Minister of Justice • The office of the Accountant-General of the Federation  to be  distinguished from  the office of the  Accountant-General of the Federal Government. • All who are convicted for electoral malpractice shall be banned from running for any office for nine years. I must acknowledge the debt that these asterisked items owe to various constitutional conference reports, civil society soirees and special commissions. The empowering vision comes from tapping into the best that the Nigerian mind has framed in pursuit of a handle to collective aspirations. The ideals that they embody

offer great opportunities for celebrating as well as transcending the challenges of our history. True, not every one of the asterisked items is argued or defended beyond the mere statement. But an over-view of the social concerns that they are designed to address is at the heart of this presentation. They are, in this sense, additives to arguments advanced in Taking Nigeria Seriously, and When Does A Civil War Come To An End?  I make no claim to special knowledge and have avoided any such presumption. This is one citizen’s plea to fellow citizens: to appreciate the necessity for a National dialogue, the insolvency of a sovereign national conference; and the imperative of facing up to the challenges of the national question with creativity.  I have added lectures and interventions which bear direct relevance to the issues that this particular National Conference, or any self-respecting one, would consider. Ultimately, I am interested in how what was once described as a geographical expression can become a genuine cultural expression; how to create untrammeled conversations between Nigerian nationalities and ethnic groups; and how to accommodate the role that the National Assembly has to play if we desire a law-governed approach to the resolution of the crisis that Nigeria has faced, almost as second nature, in over 100 eventful years. They were years, let’s not forget, in which issues of external and internal colonialism were compounded by not being able to count ourselves properly, not having a proper register of voters, not being able to put every child in school, create real jobs for the majority of those able and willing to work, and defend the sources of our incomes in a true people’s Republic free of malfeasance.   A great commitment is what it calls for. It demands an exercise of will that won’t snap when confronted by the inevitability of practice. I end this with A Summing Up that may appear to repeat but actually advances the debates and why this constitution must be different. • Ofeimun, poet, author, wrote from Oregun, Lagos.

Time to re-examine basis for unity By Dave Nwogbo IGERIA is at the crossroads. The country is buffeted by a myriad N of challenges that threaten its fragile unity. The challenges are enormous and seem to have defied solution. The Hobbesian state of nature in which life is nasty, short and brutish aptly depicts the wobbly state of the nation. The inception of civilian democracy in 1999 has not in any way mitigated the apparent failure of good governance. To even use the word good governance is charitable. Good governance is an alien concept to Nigerians. The over 30 years of military rule destroyed the structures that would have institutionalized good governance in Nigeria. In contradistinction, what military rule instituted was a culture of impunity and brazen disregard for the laws of the land. The advent of civilian rule created in Nigerians a sense of hope and optimism and sundry expectations. However, 14 years after, Nigerians have become even more disillusioned and hopeless, living with a tragic sense of national loss. What can be deduced from the contemporary challenges facing Nigeria is that democratic rule has not in any way addressed these challenges, neither has it institutionalised respect for the dignity of man, equity and the rule of law, in which the inalienable rights of Nigerians are respected. Moreover, civilian democracy has not created the enabling environment for the attainment of socio-economic development. Almost on all development indices, Nigeria remains a toddler, underdeveloped, and on the brink of disintegration. The forces that threaten the country’s unity are symptomatic of the fact that Nigeria is a failing state. The imperative of nation-building demands that a common ground for peaceful co-existence of over 250 linguistic and cultural groups should have been established both constitutionally and in practice. Rather, what obtains today is that Nigerians are more divided along ethnic, political and religious lines as never before. A debilitating deluge of violence, proliferation of arms and secessionist tendencies dominate the national landscape. The interminable loss of lives and the displacement of about 600,000 persons through insurgency portray Nigeria as a country enmeshed in a crisis of development. The quest for building a nation-state out of the present contraption called Nigeria is still at the embryonic stage. This is because Nigeria remains an agglomeration of different nationalities and linguistic groups forced to live together by colonialism through amalgamation in 1914. There was no deliberate, conscious, and consistent effort to truly forge a united Nigeria where ethnic chauvinism and religious bigotry are inconsequential and do not bear any relevance to national issues. The National Conference has been inaugurated at a critical time in the history of this nation. It offers opportunity for Nigerians to re-negotiate their unity. If the citizens of

the defunct Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Ethiopia etc. re-negotiated their unity, it is not yet late in Nigeria. In September this year, Scotland will conduct a referendum to determine whether it will still be part of United Kingdom. After all, Nigeria still remains an artificial creation. Pretences, symbolism and insinuations will not help us. For once, let Nigerians, especially those who are given to politicizing serious national issues retreat and embark on introspection. The truth is that without a conducive and stable political order, socio-economic development will remain elusive. All over the world, the type of politics and political system instituted by any nation drives its development. In other words, economic growth and development cannot take place if the right kind of politics and political culture is not instituted. Conference delegates must rise above primordial considerations and begin to address serious national issues of development dispassionately and responsibly. A strong and truly united Nigeria is undoubtedly an asset for national development, but where the unity of Nigeria has been compromised and has now become a matter of opportunism and selfishness, it becomes a matter of serious concern. The current state of insecurity occasioned by the wanton destruction of lives and property is an indication that Nigeria’s unity is a phantom and should be re-negotiated with all honesty. In a certain part of the country, 12 states have adopted the sharia legal system and have gone to the extent of setting up religious police in clear violation of Nigeria’s constitution. Where then lie the unity of the country and the supremacy of the constitution? Integrating the disparate groups in Nigeria into one national entity called Nigeria has become almost intractable because we have a certain elite class that thrives on primordial considerations. Unity is desirable only if they are in power so that they can maintain their existing privileges. When they are out of power, Nigeria’s unity becomes threatened because they can use any means at their disposal, including terrorism, to make the country ungovernable. Persistent calls for unity in the country coming especially from a certain section of the country are patently predicated on falsehood. Access to oil is at the centre of such calls. The truth of the matter is that Nigeria should continue to exist only by the mutual consent of the majority of the people. A fundamental issue which the current conference should address is the structure of the Nigerian state. There is an overwhelming consensus that Nigeria’s federal structure is strongly skewed in favour of the centre. The argument is further made that federalism undermines the development of the component units because the ability of the component units to pursue independent policies and develop at their own pace is circumscribed by centrist forces. In a truly federal system, the central government is only limited to defence, foreign affairs, customs, immigration, shipping,

aviation, paramilitary services. The situation is compounded by the fact that under the Nigerian Constitution, 68 items are exclusive to the Federal Government while 30 are on the concurrent list. The present federal structure has compounded the socio-economic problems of the country. It is a structure that is inequitable, repressive and therefore incongruous with the complexities of nation building. An acute culture of financial dependence has been fostered on the states. States no longer strive to develop their natural endowments, due to the false sense of oil revenue. Whereas federalism patently fosters competition and healthy rivalry among the component units, in Nigeria, quasifederalism has made the states financially indolent, to the extent that the more important issue of internally generated revenue is relegated to the background in preference to the monthly federal allocation. It follows, ipso facto, that the present federal structure should be reviewed with a view to challenging the states to become more enterprising and productive. This implies that more powers should be given to the states to develop at their own pace. At this juncture, it is pertinent to draw the attention of the delegates to the fact that it was the post-independence federal structure in 1960 that fired the drive for development among the regions. The fetters of development in the form of restrictions were removed. This gave the leaders the leeway to creatively deploy their resources for the rapid socio-economic transformation of their regions. When states realise that there is limited oil money to be doled out by the Centre, it is likely to rouse survival instincts of the states for ingenuity and creativity. It will compel them to diversify their revenue base; already the signs are there. Due to dwindling oil revenue occasioned by oil theft and the global economic downturn, revenue accruing to states from the federation account has taken a plunge. Any state that does not see this development as a wake-up call is doing so at its own peril. With the conference delegates busy with assigned task in Abuja, it is time to re-construct the history of Nigeria: to be or not to be. They have to seize the time to critically examine all the issues threatening the unity of the country. The conference will gulp seven billion naira of tax payers’ money. The cost to the national economy is colossal – estimated at N100 billion. For the next three months ceteris paribus, delegates will not be contributing anything to the national economy and this will affect the country’s GDP as a result of staying away from their jobs. The delegates should, therefore, regard the dialogue as a paramount national assignment which should not be allowed to fail. • Nwogbo wrote from the National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Opinion The politicisation of morality By Ikeogu Oke NY interest Nigerian politicians and their A supporters may have in morality is far outweighed by their interest in politics. In fact, it may not be wrong, judging by precedents, to say that they have no genuine interest in morality and that they invoke morality, often disingenuously, to achieve negative political ends like campaigning for the removal of a rival from public office as a manifestation of the symptom of the mediocrity-spreading disease we Nigerians call Pull Him Down (PHD) syndrome.   Last year, former President Olusegun Obasanjo hinted at this hypocritical attitude of politicians and their supporters when he said of Chief Bola Tinubu, the former Governor of Lagos State and leader of the “opposition”: “You said Bola Tinubu is your master; what Buhari did was not … worse than what Bola Tinubu did. We got Buhari impeached. But in this part of the world, some people covered up the other man. The man claimed he went to Government College, Ibadan, but the Governor of Oyo State then went to Government College and packed all the documents so that they would not know that he did not go there.” Salisu Buhari, to which the former President referred, was impeached as Speaker of the House of Representatives for certificate forgery, claiming that he graduated from the University of Toronto. And what Obasanjo said “Bola Tinubu did”, which he compared to “what Buhari did” and condemned its cover-up by the former’s supporters, was that Tinubu also made “misleading” claims that he graduated from the University of Chicago and the University College, Ibadan. Tinubu was Governor of Lagos State when the scandal erupted. And I attribute it to the politicisation of morality, by which I mean the perverse use of morality as a political

weapon, with no genuine desire to improve society or the conduct of public servants that similar cases involving him and Salisu Buhari ended as differently as the former President portrayed in his remarks. Those who treat morality in this way actually portray our country in a bad light as a land of hypocrites. It is such people that Jesus Christ urged to remove the log in their eyes before trying to remove the mote in someone else’s eyes. It is also they that he criticised for seeming oblivious that while pointing an accusing finger at someone, three of their fingers are pointing back at them.   But a different precedent more fittingly depicts this phenomenon, the politicisation of morality – the case of Dr. Chuba Okadigbo who, as Senate President, was accused of some official misconduct for which a section of the media bayed relentlessly for his impeachment as they had done in Salisu Buhari’s case, only to suddenly fall silent as soon as he was impeached, suggesting that the charges had been orchestrated or exaggerated in order to instigate his removal as Senate President. Interestingly, Dr. Okadigbo remained a senator after his impeachment, and his accusers never raised the issue of his “misconduct” afterwards, as did Senator Adolphus Wabara, another Senate President impeached under circumstances redolent of the politicisation of morality. Nor are women spared the type of cynical attacks that result from the politicisation of morality. In fact, they have been the main targets of such attacks in recent years, especially by some members/leaders of the House of Representatives. First, they went after Patricia Etteh with charges of corruption which they dropped as soon as they impeached her (with no official indictment) as their Speaker, replacing her with a man.  Then they sanctioned Arunma Oteh, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and called for her

sack by President Goodluck Jonathan, after she accused some of them of dealing corruptly with SEC, a charge the accused persons did not disprove. Incidentally, the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has alleged that the body language of President Jonathan suggests his condoning of corruption. But doesn’t the allegation apply to Tambuwal, considering the treatment of Oteh under his charge after her allegation of corruption against some principal officers of the House? Afterwards, one of their committees invited Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, for a presentation at which its chairman treated her with such reckless discourtesy that should embarrass anyone who associates public office with decorum. Now they have turned on Diezani AllisonMadueke, the Minister of Petroleum, for the alleged wrongful charter of private jets for her personal use. The experience of these women has made me wonder what the current male-dominated leadership of our House of Representatives may have against women occupying high public office and excelling in such positions, sometimes more than their male contemporaries. Could theirs be a conspiracy of male chauvinists who perceive such highly educated, proficient and independent-minded women as threats to the culture of mediocrity and male domination to which some of such men apparently owe their leadership positions, and who therefore consider frustrating such women out of office as the only way to guarantee their continued control of and visibility in the public space? Or could it be that their current Speaker, said to be interested in running for the Presidency in 2015, has enlisted some of the leaders of the House as his shadow campaigners

charged with undermining the political fortunes of President Jonathan as a potential opponent in the election, by discrediting some of his appointees who incidentally are women? Sadly, the prejudice that drives such politicisation of morality precludes the recognition that the accused ought to be regarded as innocent until the allegation against them is proven by due process. This is apparent from the recent statement ascribed to one Dr. O. Banwo by Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, posted on the latter’s Facebook page on March 6, 2003. He quoted Dr. Banwo as having declared on a live programme on Silverbird Television (STV) on that day: “We all agree that (Stella) Oduah should go whether she is guilty or not…”  – whoever the speaker meant by “we”! And in the case of Diezani AllisonMadueke, for whom I am not holding a brief, it is unlikely that her accusers will consider the possibility of her innocence even after the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has issued a statement exonerating her, as the Chairperson of its Board of Directors, and pointing out “Section 6 of the NNPC Act, Cap. N123, LFN 2004” as the “enabling legislation”, among other justifications, for the chartering of the controversial aircraft. But why should her accusers expect any neutral person to believe them and not her defenders? My aim here is not to kick against accountability in public office. It is to warn against the danger of the sham pursuit of accountability with prejudice, malice, or to advance the cause of bad politics. Sometimes what is at stake is the hard-earned reputation of people which no one has a right to tarnish let alone destroy without justification. And if we keep quiet to unjustified attack on the reputation of our fellow citizens, it may not be long before we ourselves become victims of the misdeed.

If the Pope must visit Nigeria By Malachy Igwilo WRITE to respond to Bashorun J.K. Randle’s piece titled IThe“The Listening Pope on His way here” which appeared in Guardian of Tuesday, March 25, 2014. There is a general clamour for the Pope when he is not doing his work, even though the general uninformed public thinks that he is in top gear in his work! Essentially, the work of the Pope is to administer to the spiritual needs of Catholics! But it appears that Pope Francis simply wants to take care of the temporal and material needs of the world. He is, as Mr. Randle suggested, heading to Nigeria to attend the economic summit holding in Nigeria where poverty will be discussed and how to alleviate it. There is nothing wrong with the Pope attending such meetings if he is going to ask for the conversion of heart of world leaders who will be attending, asking them to stop the ongoing worship of money which leads away from God. No! The Pope will come to this meeting to prove to the world that he is a Pope with a difference whose main purpose is to take care of the world’s poor. This is a colossal deviation from the primary function of the papacy which is essentially spiritual. We have a fair idea of why the Pope is very interested in the world’s poor. We can indeed say that he has sympathies with the heresy called liberation theology. Liberation theology is the idea that hungry and oppressed people cannot worship God. For liberation theologians, food and all other Marxist ideas of necessities are what we need to cater for first and foremost, then, only then, may we talk about God and spirituality. This is a heresy condemned by the Catholic Church. With this Pope’s utterances and actions concerning the poor, he is squarely in sympathy with this heresy. Note that this Pope never says anything about the souls of the poor, their conversion and their final end. He simply wants to feed the poor! Christ himself does not just feed the poor, he preached to them asking them to accept him as their Lord and God. Even when resources were used to adore him and Judas protested, he rebuked him saying

that his own adoration is important since the poor will always be with us. When we look at the appointments made so far by this Pope, most importantly his appointment of Cardinal Muller to oversee the doctrinal watchdog of the Church called Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, we immediately know where this Pope’s sentiments are. Cardinal Muller is an unabashed supporter of liberation theology and he does not hide it. But in an era of ‘dictatorship of relativism’, an era where no one is questioned for departure from orthodoxy, Muller goes around giving lectures on liberation theology and suggesting that it is orthodoxy despite Church’s condemnation of this idea. Bashorun Randle went ahead to tell us about the Bank reforms going on in the Vatican itself after decades of mismanagement and illegal activities. He suggested that these reforms show that the Pope does not have interest in the ‘trappings of office’ but ‘on evangelization and pastoral activities which will be driven by genuine transformation of the spirit of the Church’. He also said the reform is for Pope Francis ‘to free up resources to serve the poor, the downtrodden, the hopeless and helpless’. I do not have any idea of any real pastoral activity being done by despite pretensions to the contrary. His so-called rejection of ‘trappings of office’ is the rejection of the papacy itself. He wants to trivialize the papacy by removing any dignity from it and handing over this dignity and power to National Bishop’s conferences. This very action shows that he is not a friend of the papacy, the bastion of Catholic tradition. He, the Pope, does not evangelize because to evangelise is to return people to the Catholic Church, presenting Christ to the people and reminding the world of our ultimate end, the three final things: heaven, hell and Purgatory. But no, the Pope is busy with other things other than evangelization. He wants to free money to cater for the poor. The Catholic Church has always taken care of the poor but only incidentally. The primary purpose for which Christ established the Church is for salvation of souls and never for feeding of the hungry and liberating the oppressed. This work rests on properly

constituted authorities who MUST never allow unjust and Godless structure to be built in society. But Christ did feed the hungry as an aside. The Church too follows this footstep to feed the hungry as an aside and never as its main pre-occupation. The Catholic relief organization, CARITAS has spent billions of dollars worldwide feeding the hungry and coming to the aid of people in war zones. They do this silently since they know that their work is not for media scrutiny. If this Pope wants to help the poor, he should SILENTLY strengthen CARITAS and then face his own primary function. The Pope appears as if he really wants to reform the Vatican bank by appointing both lay financial experts and clerics to work together. But the Pope and Mr. Randle never tell us how the Vatican bank came to be in such a mess. This mess was squally caused by a certain Bishop Paul Marcinkus, who worked with “blessed’ Pope John Paul II as both his bodyguard and his Vatican “bank manager”. This Marcinkus is believed to have laundered money with the Italian mafia, bankrolled drug operations and broke nearly all Italian banking laws all in the name of making money for the Church! Paul Marcinkus was eventually convicted by Italian government and sentenced. But “Blessed” Pope John Paul II refused to give him up to go to jail which he deserved. Pope John Paul harboured this man in the Vatican and so he avoided jail. It was the organiSation, Opus Dei that eventually bailed out the sinking Vatican bank in the tune of $250, 000, 000! Due to lack of serious reforms in the bank, this money immediately came under threat. So, Pope Francis’ reforms, if it were to be sincere, necessary mea culpa should be done. The Marcinkus long tenure (1971-1989) should be revisited and culpability apportioned. It is only then that we can know for sure about the sincerity of Vatican bank reforms. Before then, if the Pope does visit Nigeria, we are in for a grand media event and more departures from Catholic teachings! • Igwilo wrote from Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State.


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Focus No orchids for microfinance banks After several allegations, counter-allegations and rebuttals, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) hammer finally fell on 83 microfinance banks. CHIJIOKE NELSON writes on the intrigues and politics behind the apex bank’s action T all started like a speculation. Then, the regulaIrumour. tor stepped in with a statement to debunk the But not too long after, the reality dawned on all - 83 Microfinance banks had been swept off in one fell swoop. The development is not new in the history of Nigeria’s banking reforms. But the new dimension, perhaps, are the modalities for their closure and the acclaimed readiness of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to offset trapped deposits in them. In 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched the revised regulations and guidelines for microfinance banks in the country. According to the apex bank, “the guidelines that adequately address the features and risks of microfinance would effectively support the orderly development and sustainability of the institutions, to enable them to achieve microfinance objectives of financial inclusion and poverty alleviation. This document is, therefore, aimed at promoting innovative, rapid and balanced growth of the industry, leveraging on global best practice in microfinance banking. “These guidelines recognise the distinctiveness of micro clients, ownership structure of the institutions, their credit methodology, and the central position of savings/deposits in the intermediation process. They also adopt measures to ensure the soundness and safety of the institutions, and the protection of depositors, especially low-income clients. Also, it defines institution types, loan documentation, portfolio classification, loan loss provision and write-offs, amongst others. The guidelines provide the basis for the establishment, operations, regulation and supervision of microfinance banks, and institutions.” At the onset, speculations had been rife that the CBN was about axe 600 of the over 800 microfinance banks in the country unless they merged within few months. But the conjecture was heightened, as facts also emerged that the re-capitalisation deadline set by the CBN expired by December 2013. In fact, their operations were recategorised into Unit Trust, state and national, with different amounts of capital base requirements. The first group – the Unit Trust, is expected to have a capital base of N20 million. Those in this category, according to the CBN, are expected to operate from only their head office. The second category – the state microfinance, is to operate from only a state of the federation, with a minimum capital base of N100 million. The third category would operate at the national level. Those in this group are allowed to operate throughout the federation and are expected to have a capital base of N2 billion. Further speculations were raised when news filtered again that the CBN had urged the over 600 MFBs, which failed to meet the recapitalisation exercise to merge. An internal source was alleged to have claimed that a number of the affected MFBs were already discussing with one another, while others had given up voluntarily. The Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mrs. Agnes Tokunbo-Martins, once confirmed that the CBN had advised MFBs which failed to meet up with the recapitalisation to merge and that the management was looking at setting a deadline for the merger or liquidation, following which the NDIC would be asked to refund the customers their deposits. “Microfinance banks that failed to meet up with the recapitalisation deadline have been advised to merge. The recapitalisation deadline has expired, so, they have been asked to merge. Microfinance banks that fail to merge will be liquidated and depositors’ fund will be paid through the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation. The management of the CBN will come up with a deadline for the merger soon,” she said. Findings further showed that the CBN had appointed some firms to carry out an examination of the MFBs across the country and check their compliance level. Previous delays in taking actions were attributed to lack of adequate manpower to examine all the MFBs, as a result of which plans were made to appoint some firms to assist in the exercise. But in the midst of the under-currents, the apex bank claimed that the state of microfinance

Where is the credit? banks in the country was strong and without any trace of panic in the financial system, as a reaction to the mass revocation theory. The Director of Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department at the CBN, Olufemi Fabamwo, even lamented that the bogus and spurious claims made in the report defied the usual professional ethics of factual and balanced reporting, “which are the hallmarks of finance and business journalism.” He dismissed the story as totally untrue and misleading, while reaffirming that the CBN was satisfied with the state of the microfinance industry and the financial condition of the microfinance banks. Fabamwo, who described the report as callous and a rash misinterpretation of the policy direction, also added that the claim was capable of de-marketing microfinance banks, undermining public confidence and precipitating panic withdrawals by depositors and investors. He affirmed that the microfinance sub-sector has been effectively regulated by the CBN and jointly supervised with NDIC. He also claimed that the MFBs are examined at least once a year, while some are examined more than once, depending on the exigencies, with follow-up visits to ensure that examiners’ recommendations are implemented and corrective actions taken by the operators to sustain stability in the microfinance space. However, like a drama with high volume soundtrack, producing a mixture of excitement, suspension and dread, the apex bank’s hammer eventually fell on 83 microfinance banks, not long after it debunked the speculations. The only thing untrue about the speculation was the estimated figure of 600. But has the revocation really ended?

The apex bank, in announcing the revocation of the operating licenses, backdated the effective date to December 20, 2013, while the NDIC immediately appointed a provisional liquidator for their winding down. Further developments also showed that the NDIC has commenced the process of orderly winding up of the affairs of the affected MFBs. It promised that a public announcement would soon be made to communicate the process of verification and payment of insured deposits in the closured financial institutions. However, the CBN, in its communiqué, did not state the reasons for revoking the licences and speculations were once again rife that it may not be unconnected with their inability to recapitalize, as well as issues bordering on unethical practices and abuse of resources. But until the apex bank lays bare the ‘secret code’, the window of speculations on the matter would remain open. In 2010, the same ugly development took place as operational licences of 224 MFBs were withdrawn, owing to what the regulator described as “below performance.” In fact, the CBN had said that the microfinance banks were not technically sound, hence the revocation, while the NDIC immediately stepped in to ensure that all insured depositors were paid their entitlements. Indeed, the NDIC has been reeling out figures of repayment since then. Perhaps, the backlog of unclaimed deposits the corporation has been complaining about may partly be from the sector. But the CBN, after the action, rescinded its decision on some of the 224 MFBs, granting a provisional approval to the 121 that were confirmed to have made fresh capital injection, but subject to the fulfillment of some other specific

However, like a drama with high volume soundtrack, producing a mixture of excitement, suspension and dread, the apex bank’s hammer eventually fell on 83 microfinance banks, not long after it debunked the speculations. The only thing untrue about the speculation was the estimated figure of 600. The apex bank, in announcing the revocation of the operating licenses, backdated the effective date to December 20, 2013, while the NDIC immediately appointed a provisional liquidator for their winding down

requirements within a stipulated timeline of three months. In the midst of that revocation was the N18.2 billion at stake, declared trapped in the microfinance banks. The then Deputy Governor of CBN in charge of Financial System Stability, Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, also said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security apparatus of government would be brought in to thoroughly investigate those behind failure of financial institutions. As usual, many depositors thronged the various micro-finance banks to ask for their deposits. In Nigeria, credit has been recognised as an essential tool for promoting Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs). About 70 per cent of the population is engaged in the informal sector or in agricultural production. The Federal and State governments have recognized that for sustainable growth and development, the financial empowerment of the rural areas is vital, being the repository of the predominantly poor in society and in particular the SMEs. If this growth strategy is adopted and the latent entrepreneurial capabilities of this large segment of the people is sufficiently stimulated and sustained, then positive multipliers will be felt throughout the economy. But Moghalu, presently the Deputy Governor in charge of Operations, at the International Sustainable Banking forum, organized by CBN and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) recently, said that the nation’s microfinance was not working properly because its establishment was based on wrong structure and framework. Citing Asia, India and Malaysia, where the scheme has thrived, he said that microfinance banks were established to service the lower segment of the society, small businesses and women. He noted that in Nigeria, the MFBs were operating as competitors to regular banks, venturing into businesses they ought not, with their interest rate charges almost higher than those of the deposit money banks, while not servicing the target segment. Rural transformation is all about seeking to bring about improvement in the living condition of the farmer, the artisan, the tenant and the landless, within the simple and rustic economies of the countrysides and urban slums. The basis for employment generation and entrepreneurship development in rural areas is to enhance the improvement of the living condition of the people. The small-scale entrepreneurs in rural areas lack the necessary financial services, especially credit from the commercial banks. This is because they are not considered credit worthy. Consequently, they depend on families, friends and other informal sources of funds to finance their businesses. The emergence of microfinance banks was aimed at extending credit to microenterprises and encouraging entrepreneurship especially in semi urban and rural areas. Microfinance refers to the entire flexible structures and processes by which financial services are delivered to micro entrepreneurs as well as the poor and low-income population on a sustainable basis. It recognises poor and micro entrepreneurs who are excluded or denied access to financial services on account of their inability to provide tangible assets as collateral for credit facilities. The aim of microfinance is not only to extend credit to beneficiaries, but also to promote entrepreneurship and boost rural financial markets that would provide sustainable access to financial services by creating a relationship between those with financial resources and those who need them. Microfinance banks have been in a long-drawn battle with the CBN since the inception of the current banking reform agenda, with the apex bank insisting on removing anomalies and enforcing sanity in the sub-sector, even as they have been adjudged, like the deposit money banks, to have been enmeshed in issues of ethics, governance and exceeding of limits allowable in the enabling Acts governing their operations. Sanusi, who started the current reform, had noted that in the last six years, operations of the sub-sector required an urgent need for the revision of the guidelines.


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TheMetroSection At summit of the common man... • Ordinary Nigerians explain their plight at Tinubu’s birthday colloquim By Debo Oladimeji T was a gathering of the chieftains of All Progressives Congress (APC), friends and wellwishers of former governor of Lagos State and a national leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The Most Reverend Dr. Ephraim Ademowo, Order of the Niger (OON), who was the chairman of the occasion, had to cancel his overseas trip to attend the Sixth Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium, to mark the 62nd birthday anniversary of Tinubu, an astute politician, at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos last Saturday. The hall was almost filled to capacity as people came from far and near to witness the event. The roll call of guests included Nigeria’s former Head of State, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Chief Bisi Akande, former Attorney General of Lagos State, Yemi Osinbajo, Governor of Lagos State, Raji Fashola (SAN), Governors of Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Rivers states, Abiola Ajimobi, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Rotimi Ameachi respectively as well as member of House of Representatives and Chairperson of House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa. The common people from far and near across the country witnessed the occasion. Both the The celebrant, Tinubu low and the mighty were well-treated as all you needed was to register your presence and you a result of the adulterated fertilizer. will be given a package containing a plate of He wants the government to treat people food the programme of events among others. dealing with adulterated fertilizers like people The arrival of some of the dignitaries such as the dealing with counterfeit drugs. Ogun State Governor, Amosun drew the attenHe also complained about the problem of intion of the crowd who hailed and showered ensecurity and the untold hardship people like comiums on him. him are going through in the hands of Fulani The venue was well lit with giant chandeliers. cattle herdsmen who he said usually kill innoDue to the effectiveness of the public address cent farmers. system, and the video screens spread around the Mr. Ron Mgbatogu, a retiree, called on Baba hall, with a big screen on the podium, at every Tinubu (as he called the celebrant) to assist angle of the hall that one sat, one could see or many more common men. Among them were hear loud and clear the day’s proceedings. the 20 million unemployed youths and 11 milOne thing that was reiterated by everybody at lion primary school age children not in school. the event was that Tinubu was a consummate He is afraid that come next year (2015), 24 milpolitician, master strategist, defender of the lion of the common men in the country will be poor and a de-tribalised Nigerian. homeless. The Chairman of the occasion, Most Reverend Although he has a roof over his head but no Dr. Ephraim Ademowo further described Tinhome to call his own. “How can our governubu as a libertarian per excellence, adding that ment take our taxes for more than 40 years? he also hates injustice. We paid taxes but the country has no obligaHe recalled how Tinubu was involved in an action towards the common man.” cident with some common men while he was a If not for Tinubu, folks like him, he admitted, governor and how he followed the victims to the would have become endangered species. hospital and also foot their bills. So how can a retiree fend for himself unless He admitted that he has not only impacted on there is a social benefit available for them? He the likes of Fashola and the Governor of Edo advocated that government’s policy should be State, Adam Oshiomhole, but the common man in favour of the retirees. also have a testimony to tell about Tinubu’s gen- There was also the story of Emmanuel Ikpeaerosity. maeze who is a student of Bethesda Home for One of the common men, Alhaji Nasir Bala Dau- the Blind in Lagos. dawa, a 46- year-old farmer from Katsina State Emmanuel admitted that “he who wears the discussed about the challenges facing farmers shoes knows where it pinches.” due to adulteration of fertilizer and farm inputs. He wasn’t born blind, it started later in life. He told the story of what common farmers like The doctor diagnosed him of glaucoma. He him were going through due to the insufficient needed N200, 000 to treat it. Unfortunately two bags of fertilizers given to them as subsidy for him, his parents could only raise N20,000. by the Federal Government. That was how his sight withered away helpHe had to buy fertilizers from the market, which lessly. were often mixed with soil and the maize turned He later came in contact with Mrs. Chioma yellow instead of green. He incurred huge loss as

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people in the rural areas where the Boko Haram are still perpetrating their atrocities. There was also a video play to show what the APC governors are doing in two states, Osun and Ekiti to demonstrate how the APC government is helping the common people to be empowered. The governor of Lagos State, Fashola, admitted that Nigeria needs a change and the common people are the ones that can make the change to happen. “If we are united to change this country we are going to do so.” He recalled Frank Olizeh who used to go to the streets to interview the common man. One day he was attacked in Oshodi and he said: “This is Frank Olizeh now running for his dear life,” he said. “Is Tinubu a common man? His life tells the story of success not the story of struggle.” He, however, said that Tinubu is a common man. All the people who have led this country, he said, have come from humble beginnings. Yet he admitted that Tinubu made mistakes because he doesn’t give up. “The common man, the ordinary people, they paid taxes, they have the majority. The truth is that the common man does not understand that he owns Nigeria.” “The common man should decide in 2015 who Ohakwe, the owner of the school who gave him they want to give the top job to. Is he the man hope of a brighter future. He is now planning to who spend his time in the church or who read Sociology for his first degree and Theology spend the time on the job? Or those who have demonstrated that they can make things for his second degree. work?” He called on kind-hearted Nigerians to help Great leaders across the world, he said, are him raise money for his education. Emmanuel said giving the necessary infrastruc- people that solved problems. Having listened to all the complaints of the ture people like him could do more than Stevie common men and women in the hall, Fashola Wonder, the blind famous American musician, understands that money could make a differsinger-songwriter, record producer, and multience in their lives. instrumentalist. He, therefore, donated N10 million to help the Chioma who is the founder of the Bethesda common man in Nigeria. He asked the comSchool for the Blind said that most of the blind mon men in the hall to just write their names people in the school are very talented. She was and send it through the ushers. glad that they have been able to restore the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu recognized the efsight of some of them. She called on the government to extend love to forts of those people who painstakingly put the the visually impaired children, not only in Lagos colloquium together. “Year after year, we lisState, but other states as well, so that they don’t ten to the common man. You have heard the end up being a beggar. For help from Nigerians, frustrations and the pains of our children, the pains of the farmers, the widows whose chilChioma can be reached on (08033516572). Another common man, Mallam Musa Ali, a lec- dren cannot feed from the book of sermon, turer at University of Maiduguri, recalled his or- whose religion is not wicked but their leaders. deal in the hands of Boko Haram. He lost his wife You have raised the flag high that the leaders and father in-law to Boko Haram. His wife had six can do something.” Tinubu said that hunger has no tribal marks. children for him. “Poverty has no tribal marks. We all have traits He recalled how the Boko Haram visited his of people with poverty in our families. But you house while he was not around. The wife told cannot shake it off alone. You need the help of him about it. The school authority was aware the government.” about it and he was given accommodation on “The government needs to care for those peothe campus. ple whose shoes have worn out. APC can do it. Unfortunately, the assailants came again. They We can provide all of you with potable water. said that his wife was shielding him and that But we cannot do it until we get there. The was how they gunned her down. Now playing the role of a mother and a father to his children, change is here, to make it real you have to vote. he admitted that the situation was telling on his It is only through democratic change that it can happen. We are not sadistic. How can we productivity. continue to vote for a government that cannot He is happy that the military has pursued the insurgents out of Maiduguri but wants the gov- give us electricity or petrol? We have the broom to sweep the dust away.” ernment to be proactive to save the lives of the

Desola: Girl with hole in the heart needs N3.5million for surgery in India it was discovered that the Desola had a 12mm hole in the heart. The parents} whole world came crashing down. child was bundle of joy not only to the Kale- Right now, the parents need the help of kind jaiye family but also to friends and relatives. hearted Nigerians to raise N3.5 million for both the heart and the hernia operation in Behold, barely six months after her birth, fate handed crude pang on baby Desola, as it Apollo Hospital, India. was discovered that she had hernia. The doc- “We used this medium to thank those who have yielded to our call for assistance to little tors said the hernia could only be operated Desola Ayomide Kalejaiye. God can use you to upon when she would be a year and half. save little Desola. Anything you give will Along the line, it was also observed that her breath was faster and she looked abnormal. stand as a defense for you and everything you The only explanation the doctors could give love,” he parents pleaded. Her account details are as follow: was that the abnormality could have been Desola Kalejaye A as a result of the hernia. First Bank Plc When the time of the operation came, the parents took her to the Federal Medical Cen- Account Number – 3079144789 tre, Abeokuta, where Dr Chinyere Uzodinma If you need to talk to the parents- The father said that there was a need for the baby to un- 08187731127, 07081894915 and the dergo Echo Test and in the course of the test, mother - 08080390711 ESOLA Ayomide Kalejaye was born on D September 27, 2011 to Mr. and Mrs. Adeola Kalejaye. Just like any other parents, the

Desola

Desola...needs help


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Thursday, April 3, 2014 BUSINESS

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Business ‘Nigeria loses N380b revenue to rice tariff’ By Moses Ebosele HE current tariff regime on rice may have cost the T nation over N380 billion in revenue since last year, as importers have been diverting their cargoes to neighbouring ports,for onward smuggling to the country. Indeed, no fewer than 150 Nigerian bound ships laden with an estimated 600,000 tonnes of rice were reportedly diverted to the ports of such countries like Cameroon,Benin Republic,Ghana and Togo between January and March, this year. Terminal operators, under the aegis of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN),who gave the loss estimate yesterday, blamed the development on the 100 per cent duty and 10 per cent levy imposed on rice by the Federal Government in 2013

Chairman of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup, described the situation as unfortunate and worrisome. Haastrup said: “This is becoming rather unfortunate. Our economy is bleeding seriously because of this policy. The loss to other countries, as a result of the high tariff on rice was over N300 billion last year while in the first quarter of this year alone, both government and private sector operators have lost at least N80 billion. “Even the Federal Government, through the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, admitted the shortcoming of this policy. The truth is that the policy has done more harm than good to our economy and government should waste no further time

before reversing it.” According to her, revenues affected by the 110 per cent rice policy include those that should have accrued to the Nigeria Customs Service, terminal operators, dock workers and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). Haastrup also disagreed with those who blame Customs for the high rate of smuggling of rice into Nigeria. A press statement quoted Haastrup as saying that “it is totally wrong to blame Customs. Customs is doing its very best under the circumstance to check smuggling of rice into the country and that can be seen from the numerous seizures they make every day. “The fact of the matter is that the policy cannot work. Even if you place heavily armed Customs officers in every corner of our

borders, it won’t stop smuggling. It is a fact that local production cannot match local demand which creates a recipe for smuggling. There is a lot of pressure on Customs because the quantity of rice manufactured locally can only satisfy 30 per cent of local demand. It is easy to point accusing fingers but I believe Customs officers are giving their best. “And don’t forget that our neighbouring countries are profiting from the policy by dropping their own tariffs on rice and because they are benefitting, they give tacit support to these smugglers,” the STOAN Chairman said. She said the 110 per cent policy will not encourage local production but rather stifle it due to the high rate of smuggling. The Federal Government recently announced plans to review the current tariff

policy on imported rice. Okonjo-Iweala explained at an interactive session with members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Lagos, that consultations are ongoing between President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina and the Finance ministry over the review. The minister said:”The 100 per cent duty and 10 per cent levy on rice has led to an increase in the nation’s rice output especially in the North and it has created jobs but it has also caused a significant reduction in customs revenue and has been largely hijacked by smugglers and neighbouring countries. “So, we are reviewing the rice duties policy and we are discussing with the president and the minister of agriculture.”

Company Secretary, Zenith Bank Plc, Michael O. Otu (left) Chairman, Sir Steve Omojafor, Managing Director, Godwin Emefiele and Executive Director, Peter Amangbo at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Bank in Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Marriot completes takeover of Protea Hotel Group By Adeyemi Adepetun FTER meeting the 2.02 billion rand ($200 million) for the acquisition of Protea Hotel Group, Marriott International, Inc. has become the largest hotel company in Africa. By this arrangement, the Bethesda, Maryland, USA based firm has now doubled its presence in its Middle East and Africa region to more than 160 hotels and 23,000 rooms as it completed its acquisition of the 116hotel Protea Hospitality Group (PHG), based in South Africa. Besides, Marriott now operates or franchises more than 4,000 hotels in 79 countries. At the same time, Marriott said that its pipeline of new hotels in the Middle East and

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. Becomes largest hotel firm in Africa Africa, including Protea’s pipeline, is now more than 65 hotels and 14,300 rooms, including more than 20 hotels and 3,000 rooms in Sub-Saharan Africa. Marriott’s new protea portfolio consists of 10,148 rooms in seven African countries including South Africa. The company now manages, franchises and leases hotels across the Protea Hotels brand (103 hotels), comprising a full and diverse range of outstanding hotels and resorts. In addition to its industryleading 79 hotels in South Africa, Marriott’s Protea portfolio also has 37 hotels in Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and

Zambia. Marriott International’s President and Chief executive Officer, Arne Sorenson said in a statement announcing the completion of the deal: “This marks a new beginning. We can now officially say ‘molweni!’ {Xhosa}, ‘sawubona!’ {Zulu} and ‘hello!’ to South Africa and ‘welcome!’ to our approximately 15,000 new associates at both managed and franchised hotels across Protea’s portfolio. We look forward to integrating the superb Protea team into the Marriott International family, and together, to work toward new opportunities for growth and advancement

throughout South Africa and the continent.” President and Managing Director of Marriott International’s Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, Alex Kyriakidis said the completion was the culmination of months of highly productive collaboration between Protea and Marriott International teams, adding that the firm is delighted that such a tremendously dedicated, talented and effective team, which has been so well-led by Protea Chief Executive Officer Arthur Gillis, is now joining the Marriott International family. “With the addition of Protea’s regional knowledge, expertise and infrastructure, we are incredibly well-posi-

tioned to continue growing in one of the fastest expanding economic markets in the world”, he stressed. As part of the transaction, the previous owners of Protea Hospitality Group created an independent property ownership company that retained ownership of the hotels PHG formerly owned, and entered into long-term management and lease agreements with Marriott for those hotels. The property ownership company also retained a number of minority interests in other Protea hotels. Marriott now manages approximately 45 per cent of Protea’s rooms, franchises approximately 39 per cent, and leases approximately 16 per cent.

Agusto pursues Pan-African operations status By Bukky Olajide S part of the company’s growth and expansion strategy, Augusto and Co Limited has commenced expansion into other African countries. At a credit rating seminar organized by Agusto & Co. Limited, in partnership with the Capital Markets Authority (Rwanda) Executive Director Agusto and Co. Mrs Yinka Adelekan, emphasized that the organization has garnered capacity in its 22 years of operation in Nigeria, to attain a Pan-African status. Delivering a paper on “Impact of Credit Ratings on Financial Institutions and the Capital Market,’’ Adelekan re-echoed the company’s strong brand positioning in every market it plays, the deep knowledge of the economy where it operates, transparent and independent mindedness and its objective rating procedures. According to her, these are sound characteristics that make Agusto and Company the company of choice for their partners in every country it operates. The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwandan Capital Market Authority, Robert Mathu reiterated the benefits of credit rating as the Independent and internationally recognized way of communicating the financial strength of organizations to lenders and the general public. He emphasized that rating enhances the ability of banks to develop access to counterparty credit lines for improved liquidity and the capital market to raise money The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwandan Stock Exchange, Celestin Rwabukumba stressed that ratings and accompanying analyses help in disseminating information and imparting transparency to all, including less sophisticated investors. According to him, credit ratings provide a common language for debt markets and a basis to compare securities with similar credit risks. Having obtained a credit ratings agency (CRA) licence from the Capital Markets Authority in Rwanda, the company seeks to replicate its success model run in Nigeria for over 20 years providing businesses in Rwanda and other African countries globally accepted ratings and reports for business benchmarks. Agusto & Co’s entry into Rwanda is as a result of the country’s improving economy and impending changes to regulations. Rwanda’s economy is among the fastest growing in the East African region and subSaharan Africa growing at an average of seven percent in the last five years.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

LCCI tasks govt on social security challenges By Femi Adekoya

ORRIED by the growW ing number of unemployed in the country, the council of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the Federal Government to initiate and implement sustainable policies that would address social security issues in the country. The council noted that with a youth unemployment rate of 54 per cent, there is a need for government to address issues of correlation between unemployment, poverty and insecurity. Specifically, the chamber called for the adoption of appropriate policies to fix the unemployment problem especially through the creation of an enabling environment for the private sector (especially the SMEs) to retain existing jobs and create new ones. According to the LCCI, productivity and competitiveness of enterprises in the economy has been trending downwards, thus affecting the capacity to create jobs. Despite initiatives of government in employment generation, the chamber noted that the magnitude of the problem requires a more fundamental and sus-

tainable strategy is necessary. To address the issues, the Council proposed urgent support for SMEs to retain existing jobs and create new ones with emphasis on areas of support for funding and capacity building. Accoding to the chamber,”government should accord higher priority to investments in infrastructure to reduce the current high infrastructure deficit and moderate the cost of doing business in the economy. Quality infrastructure would improve private sector productivity and competitiveness. This will boost the capacity to create new job. “There is a need for a concentrated and sustained effort to increase the foreign reserves to enable a downward review of the tight monetary policy to boost credit availability and reduce interest rates. It affirmed that the stimulation of economic growth is much more paramount at this time in order to create jobs”. Emphasising the need to bridge town and gown, the chamber proposed that the educational curriculum in the nation’s tertiary institutions should align with contemporary

demands of enterprises in the economy. According to LCCI, there should be a good fit between the curriculum and industry requirements. Furthermore, the council stressed the need to pro-

mote sectoral linkages to create the desired multiplier that would translate to the creation of more jobs. “There should be stronger linkages between the agricultural sector and the industrial sector. Policies of backward integration in all

sectors should be accelerated. “The patronage of locally produced goods should go beyond lip service. The government has a responsibility to provide leadership and example in this respect. Council believed

that an effective policy of patronage of locally produced goods would greatly enhance the prospects of job creation. It noted that imported products are progressively crowding out locally produced goods in the Nigerian market.

Managing Director, Celtron Group, Prince Dapo Adelegan(left); Senior Partner, Jide Taiwo & Co, Sina Ganiyu; Managing Director, Techno Oil, Mrs. Nkechi Obi; President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI), Alhaji Remi Bello; former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Princess Adebisi Sosan; and Managing Director, First Registrars, Bayo Olugbemi, at the council meeting of LCCI,in Lagos.

Kwara disburses N215m agric loan From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin The Kwara State government has disbursed N215 million loan to 172 farmers who will service as change agents in their various communities as part of its commitment to creating agro-allied jobs and wealth through value chain management. Disbursing cheques to the beneficiaries in Ilorin on Tuesday, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed emphasised his administration’s commitment to the establishment of an agribusiness culture in driving the state’s economy.

“Today, we take a step closer to that dream of agro-driven growth with the launch of the ‘Off-Taker Demand Driven Scheme’ to extend agribusiness to other parts of the state by empowering a new generation of commercial farmers, to ensure our people are food secured, establish agribusiness as the pivot of our economy and regenerate agroallied industrial development”, the Governor said. Ahmed explained that the 172 lead farmers were the core of his administration’s model of ten out grower farmers per local government who will receive funds to expand their

businesses because they have proven capacity to drive agribusinesses, adding that they will partner large farming concerns that will guarantee a steady demand for crops planted by them even before they are harvested. The Governor charged the beneficiaries to be change agents that will train the next generation of commercial farmers in the State in their various communities, stressing that they should judiciously apply the funds disbursed to them for the establishment of agriculture as the pivot of Kwara State’s economic prosperity.


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INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY

Global IPO issuance surges in 1Q 2014 OLLOWING a very active 2013, the global Initial Primary Offering [IPO] market continued its fast pace in the first quarter of 2014. Quarterly proceeds were $34.1 billion, up 77 percent year-over-year. IPO proceeds in first quarter of 2014 were led by the Asia Pacific and Europe regions, which accounted for 41 percent and 35 percent of quarterly proceeds, respectively. Renaissance Capital, a global IPO investment adviser who made this available said, Asia Pacific’s total was boosted by the return of the China A-share market which raised US$3.3 billion in just one month before shutting down once again due to accounting quality concerns and the impending threat of a Chinese debt crisis. The European markets also continued their recovery this quarter as IPOs from a variety of exchanges in the region combined to raise $12 billion with particularly strong activity in London. According to Renaissance Capital, despite weak performance from emerging market IPOs, global IPOs generated a 20 percent, average return thanks to the strong performance of China A-Share and U.S. IPOs. With IPOs outperforming in developed markets, analysts expect to see strong issuance continue for the remainder of 2014. The Asia Pacific region

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*Financial sector generate strong returns accounted for 41 percent of IPO proceeds in 1Q 2014. In addition to multi-billion dollar IPOs listing in Hong Kong and Tokyo this quarter, the China AShare IPO market briefly returned in January prior to shutting down once again due to concerns over accounting quality and the impending threat of a Chinese debt crisis. However, in just one month of IPO issuance, Ashare IPOs raised $3.5 billion and accounted for 10.3 percent of total IPO proceeds. North America saw its IPO market share drop this quarter, largely reflecting a shift to smaller technology and biotech IPOs. After two years of economic contraction, the European IPO market continued to recover in 1Q 2014. Europe accounted for 35 percent of total IPO proceeds this quarter thanks to the listing of several large IPOs. Financial IPOs bolster IPO proceeds while Large IPOs underperform. With a geographically diverse group of real estate companies and regional banks, the financial sector once again accounted for a larger share of IPO proceeds than any other sector. Among the most notable issuers in the sector were leading US provider of subprime auto loans Santander Consumer USA ( $1.8 billion) and Chinese regional lender Harbin

Bank ( $1.1 billion). However, very few man-

aged to deliver attractive returns for investors through quarter end. The trend of larger IPOs observed last quarter con-

tinued as six IPOs larger than $1 billion took place in 1Q 2014, including Hong Kong-based electric power plant operator HK Electric

Investments (2638.HK) and Japanese producer of LCD display panels Japan 24.9 percent, 24 $12.1 35.6 percent.

GM to recall 1.5 million vehicles ENERAL Motors Co (GM.N) is recalling more G than 1.5 million vehicles because they may unexpectedly lose power steering, the company has said. This brings to 6.26 million the number of vehicles recalled by GM since the start of this year. “Steering control can be maintained because the vehicle will revert to manual steering, but greater driver effort would be required at low vehicle speeds, which could increase the risk of a crash,” GM said in a statement. Of the 1,508,445 vehicles involved in the recall, more than 1.3 million are in the

United States. Three of the six models recalled on Monday are also involved in a massive ignition switch recall of 2.6 million vehicles worldwide. The defect is linked to 13 deaths. Those models are the 2010 Cobalt compact, the Chevrolet HHR compact from model years 2009 and 2010, and the Saturn ION compact from model year 2004 to 2007. The company also said on Monday it expects to take a charge of up to $750 million in the first quarter, primarily related to recalls announced in the quarter.

This includes a previously disclosed $300 million charge for three recalls announced on March 17, and the ignition switch recall on February 25. In addition to the safety recalls announced on Monday, GM is offering lifetime warranties for replacement of electric power steering motors in 405,484 other cars. They include HHR compacts from model years 2006 to 2008 along with some 2009 models, and Saturn ION compacts from the 2003 model year. “With these safety recalls and lifetime warranties, we are going after every car that might have this prob-

lem, and we are going to make it right,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president of GM Global Vehicle Safety. “We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough.” Also involved in the power steering recall announced Monday are all Chevrolet Malibu sedans from 2004 and 2005 model years and some from the 2006 and 2008 model years, and Saturn Aura sedans from 2008 and 2009 model years, and all Pontiac G6 sedans from the 2005 model year plus some from 2006, 2008 and 2009.


24 BUSINESS Thursday, April 3, 2014

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FRC boss pledges improved budget monitoring hE Acting Chairman of the T Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Victor Muruako has pledged to rededicate the efforts of the Commission to ensure prudent management of the nation’s resources. Speaking when he received a delegation of Chimelem Citizen’s Union, Ihiagwa Owerri West, Imo State in the Commission’s headquarters at the weekend, Muruako said henceforth the Commission will accord budget monitoring high priority in order to ensure budgetary provisions are spent for what they were meant for in accordance with the Act. Muruako further told the delegation that the Commission had been able to compel MDAs to remit over N180 billion of their surplus to the Federation Accounts. According to Muruako, the Commission could still do more if given the necessary backing, adding that Fiscal Responsibility best practice was critical to the success recorded by most developed nation in their macro economy. Citing section 51 of the Fiscal

Responsibility Act, the acting chairman appealed to the visiting delegation to partner with the Commission so as to enthrone transparency and accountability in budget implementation. The Act, he explained, gives ample opportunity for private organisations, Non-govern-

mental Organisation (NGO), Civil Societies and so on, as well as to compel any government body to disclose information on the State of budget implementation. Muruako finally pledged to surmount the numerous challenges confronting the Commission with the cooper-

ation of the staff. Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Chief Cyril Nnodi said they came to congratulate the acting chairman on his new appointment as well as encourage him to achieve the mandate of his new office.

NIMC call centre goes live By Adeyemi Adepetun hE National Identity T M a n a g e m e n t Commission (NIMC) has launched a Call Centre Number (0700 CALLNIMC) for the National Identity Management System (NIMS) Project. The Deputy Director I n f o r m a t i o n Technology/Identity Database, Emmanuel Ogungbe, said the launch of the Call Centre Number was part of the Commission’s efforts to successfully treat complaints and queries usually channelled to the commission about the NIMS Project from potential

enrolees. According to Ogungbe in a statement yesterday, “NIMC has introduced the NIMC Call Centre Number typically for individuals who have problems, concerns and complaints about the NIMS project. he said: “the call centre number, 0700CALLNIMC, is available to everyone who wishes to request for information about the NIMC, the NIMS project, the National Identification Number (NIN) or the new National eID Card. “however, persons who wish to speak to an agent can call the NIMC Call Centre Number between

the hours of 8am-5pm from Mondays to Fridays, “he added. The Deputy Director NIMC explained that the commission is concerned with providing individuals with clear and simple answers about the NIMS project, where the NIMC enrolment centres are located and the supporting documents needed for enrolment into the National Database. Speaking further, Ogungbe urged Nigerians and legal residents aged 16 and above who are yet to enrol for their NIN to log onto the NIMC’s pre-enrolment portal, www.ninenrol.gov.ng for faster enrol-


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Appointments PENGASSAN, NCDMB partner on content development monitoring in oil, gas By Toyin Olasinde ENIOR oil workers under the SNational aegis of Petroleum and Gas Senior Staff

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State, Ministry of Commerce and Indurstry, Wale Raji(left); Beneficiary of GOS Foundation, Ruth Abolarin; representative of Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Risikat Akesode; and Sponsor and Founder, GOS Foundation, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, during the graduation of 380 fresh Empowerment students of the Foundation and disbursement of Cash and Equipments to the beneficiaries in Lagos

FCTA to tackle unemployment through agriculture From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja S part of measures to A address the problem of unemployment in the

“As you know, government cannot employ huge number of people otherwise we will be spending all our money on recurrent expenditure and may not have money to invest in the capital expenditure,” she said. The Chaplain of Calabar Ecclesiastical Province, Rev Fr Patrick Akpabio, urged the Federal Government to address the problem of unemployment and other challenges facing Nigerian youths Akpabio assured that Catholic youths would remain instruments of true peace in the country. Also speaking, the National

Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the FCT Administration has concluded plans to engage some youths in agriculture by giving them land, input and training on extension services in order to make them self-reliant.  Minister of State for FCT, Mrs Olajumoke Akinjide, who stated this at the inauguration of the new executive of the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON) in Abuja, said the issue of unemployment in the country today is due to lack of integrity in the society. She said, “If people do not trust the managerial ability of their workers, they will not invest their funds. I urged the young people to prove themselves if they have been given a job to do”. The minister who described the private sector as the engine of economic growth, said that the FCTA was trying to create an enabling environment for private sector to thrive adding that with security and policies that are investor-friendly people will come to Abuja and invest their money. Akinjide

President of CYON, Mr. Charles Ekpe who listed the challenges facing the country such as unemployment, continuous killing of innocent Nigerians in the North East by the Boko Haram sect, the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) among others urged Nigerian youths to rededicate themselves to praying for the country. Ekpe commended the Federal Government for the breakthroughs Nigeria has made as a nation, and expressed optimism that the ongoing National Conference would launch Nigeria into a better future.

Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has reached an accord with the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), in its bid to ensure total compliance by companies operating within the oil and gas industry to the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act. The union stated this in a paper delivered by its President, Babatunde Ogun and titled, “Building Synergy with Trade Unions to Optimize Value Creation in the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria: Benefits and Challenges of Implementing NOGICD Act,” during a round table discussion organized by NCDMB PENGASSAN branch in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. Ogun, who was represented at the event by the union’s General Secretary, Bayo Olowoshile, said that PENGASSAN saw the collaboration as a statutory and key obligation,

as it rallies support on advocacy on matters of interest to its members, labour and the wider society. The union leader said that members of PENGASSAN would act as whistle blowers where there were noticeable abuses of expatriate quota or any contravention and circumvention of provisions of the NOGICD Act to guarantee compliance with the Act. “Since the main objectives of the Act is to create more jobs in the country while preventing export of jobs to other countries and development of the manufacturing sector of the economy, and the major roles of the union is job security, it is imperative for the two parties to regularly communicate and interface with each other in cases of reported abuse and circumvention of the NOGICD Act provisions including the application of whistle-blowing mechanism where necessary by the union,” he stated. Other areas of collaboration identified by the PENGASSAN president include advocacy and support of socio-economic

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Appointments PENGASSAN, NCDMB partner on content development monitoring in oil, gas By Toyin Olasinde ENIOR oil workers under the SNational aegis of Petroleum and Gas Senior Staff

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State, Ministry of Commerce and Indurstry, Wale Raji(left); Beneficiary of GOS Foundation, Ruth Abolarin; representative of Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Risikat Akesode; and Sponsor and Founder, GOS Foundation, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, during the graduation of 380 fresh Empowerment students of the Foundation and disbursement of Cash and Equipments to the beneficiaries in Lagos

FCTA to tackle unemployment through agriculture From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja S part of measures to A address the problem of unemployment in the

“As you know, government cannot employ huge number of people otherwise we will be spending all our money on recurrent expenditure and may not have money to invest in the capital expenditure,” she said. The Chaplain of Calabar Ecclesiastical Province, Rev Fr Patrick Akpabio, urged the Federal Government to address the problem of unemployment and other challenges facing Nigerian youths Akpabio assured that Catholic youths would remain instruments of true peace in the country. Also speaking, the National

Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the FCT Administration has concluded plans to engage some youths in agriculture by giving them land, input and training on extension services in order to make them self-reliant.  Minister of State for FCT, Mrs Olajumoke Akinjide, who stated this at the inauguration of the new executive of the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON) in Abuja, said the issue of unemployment in the country today is due to lack of integrity in the society. She said, “If people do not trust the managerial ability of their workers, they will not invest their funds. I urged the young people to prove themselves if they have been given a job to do”. The minister who described the private sector as the engine of economic growth, said that the FCTA was trying to create an enabling environment for private sector to thrive adding that with security and policies that are investor-friendly people will come to Abuja and invest their money. Akinjide

President of CYON, Mr. Charles Ekpe who listed the challenges facing the country such as unemployment, continuous killing of innocent Nigerians in the North East by the Boko Haram sect, the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) among others urged Nigerian youths to rededicate themselves to praying for the country. Ekpe commended the Federal Government for the breakthroughs Nigeria has made as a nation, and expressed optimism that the ongoing National Conference would launch Nigeria into a better future.

Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has reached an accord with the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), in its bid to ensure total compliance by companies operating within the oil and gas industry to the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act. The union stated this in a paper delivered by its President, Babatunde Ogun and titled, “Building Synergy with Trade Unions to Optimize Value Creation in the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria: Benefits and Challenges of Implementing NOGICD Act,” during a round table discussion organized by NCDMB PENGASSAN branch in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. Ogun, who was represented at the event by the union’s General Secretary, Bayo Olowoshile, said that PENGASSAN saw the collaboration as a statutory and key obligation,

as it rallies support on advocacy on matters of interest to its members, labour and the wider society. The union leader said that members of PENGASSAN would act as whistle blowers where there were noticeable abuses of expatriate quota or any contravention and circumvention of provisions of the NOGICD Act to guarantee compliance with the Act. “Since the main objectives of the Act is to create more jobs in the country while preventing export of jobs to other countries and development of the manufacturing sector of the economy, and the major roles of the union is job security, it is imperative for the two parties to regularly communicate and interface with each other in cases of reported abuse and circumvention of the NOGICD Act provisions including the application of whistle-blowing mechanism where necessary by the union,” he stated. Other areas of collaboration identified by the PENGASSAN president include advocacy and support of socio-economic

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APPOINTMENTS Thursday, April 3, 2014

Delta sacks 26 over certificate forgery From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba WENTY-SIX employees of the T Delta State House of Assembly Commission (DSHAC) have been booted out for parading fake certificate, the Chairman of the Commission, Mrs. Josephine Ada Kachikwu has disclosed. In a statement in Asaba, Mrs. Kachikwu explained that the fraudulent staff members were sacked after a thorough verification and re-verification exercise by a firm of auditors, which was engaged to carry out the exercise of the staff. She explained that the forgery blew open following in-fighting by some employees over seniority, a situation which made some of their colleagues to blow the whistle. According to her the aggrieved staff members accused their colleagues of presenting fake certificates so that they could be promoted far and above their equals, adding that the when the auditing firm submitted its report, every case was subjected to further re-verification to remove any possible human error and that so far, 26 employees have been dismissed from the services of the Commission for parading fake certificates; two are on interdiction, while pending cases are about 20. The Chairperson said that the decision to sack the workers will go down in history as the most agonising decision by the Commission, noting that since she became the boss in 2011, the commission had carried out a policy of motivation

of employees to ensure an efficient and effective service delivery in the legislature. Kachikwu said: “It is very important to state that the Commission has set a standard whereby every eligible staff member for promotion is subjected to a refresher course and subsequent examination before being promoted based on merit.’’ She that as an incentive pack-

age, the Commission pays a handsome out-fit allowance to all staffers yearly to enable them maintain corporate and dignifying looks of parliamentary staff while “the Commission has provided a labour-friendly climate for the flourishing of a robust workers’ union, the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN).

PENGASSAN, NCDMB collaborate on oil, gas CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 programmes and benefits that foster mutual co-existence among government, company and the host communities; fostering of industry and corporate policy that fairly recognise and factor labour issues and interest through employment and job security initiatives. In his opening remark, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Ernest Nwapa, said there was need for the union to partner with the government and the NCDMB on long term policies that could bring back jobs that had hitherto been exported to Nigeria, which in return will increase the union’s membership. “The era when unions were agitators is gone but nowadays, unions such as PENGASSAN, are foundation for

growth as a result of continuous dialogue in terms of employees relations, among others. There is need to continue in this spirit and for other unions to emulate PENGASSAN because the stability and growth of this country depends on that. There is need for them to support the government’s policies that will not only creates jobs but also ensure job security.’’ PENGASSAN NCDMB Branch Chairman, Patrick June, who commended the management of NCDMB, said that the collaborations between the two unions in the oil and gas industry and the management of NCDMB underlined the fact that local content issues particularly in the oil and gas sector was central and define in terms of revenue generation and job creation.


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Bauchi inaugurates task force on civil service payroll From Ali Garba, Bauchi HE Bauchi State Government has inaugurated a 27-man task Force committee on Civil Service to review the salary of workers. Inaugurating the committee in Bauchi the state Head of Service, Mr Abdon Dala Gin said the committee would audit examine the huge wage bill and examine the over bloated workforce. The Head of Service said the terms of reference of the committee included ascertain whether there are ghost workers, duplication of payments, illegal allowance beneficiaries, special salary packages both being implemented and proposed by the MDAs and labour unions. He said the Committee would review the internally generated revenue IGR particularly as it relates to PAYE and ascertain its level of implementation to ascertain whether the reviewed states pension rates have been properly just as it was expected arrived at and to ensure that there are no ghost pensioners on the state pension payroll. Abdon said the committee would proffer both short and long term solutions to the problems identified including savings to be made after applying the measures. He said the committee would liaise with committees already set up on some of the areas mentioned, like committee on review of pension rates and committee on biometric data report so as to have proper coordination

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Yuguda, Bauchi State governor and good results. According to him the committee should make any other recommendations and should submit its report on or before April 15, 2014.

The Chairman of the committee Dr Mohammed Hussein thanked the state government for the appointment and pledged to submit its report in good time.

NSE tasks members on professionalism By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku HE Nigeria Society of T Engineers (NSE) has urged its members to fully utilize the profession as a driving force for the development of the nation’s economy particularly, the rail transportation business. This call was made recently in Lagos at the induction of new members into the society by the NSE, Apapa branch. Delivering a lecture titled; “Repositioning Nigerian Railway to meet National Transportation Needs”, the Director, Civil Engineering and New Lines, Nigerian Railways Corporation, Mr Amadu Laziz Wahab, said that the impact of railway system in the nation’s economy, if fully harnessed was capable of generating about 45, 000 employment, far more than the present 6000 employees currently engaged in the sec-

Registrar tasks analyists on training, re-training From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba HE Registrar/Chief Executive, Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN), Prof David Oluleye yesterday in Asaba advocated the training and retraining of public analysts so as to equip them for optimal performance. Oluleye who spoke with reporters explained that he was in the Delta State capital to verify the preparation of

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the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) to hold a training workshop for public analysts, which is scheduled for April 29, and 30 in Asaba. He said that the 19th mandatory training for analysts was the second time the association was going out of Lagos and that Asaba will be the second place in the record and history of the Institute. Oluleye added that the workshop was to train public analysts and other professionals that have anything to do with analysis of food, drugs, water

and other chemical devices that are used in the medical field. He commended Delta state government for its Water quality/control Laboratory, saying that Delta State had taken the lead in that direction, adding, “When the inspection team comes to the state, they would have a smooth sail” The Chairman of the LOC, Mr. Charles Ebenuwa and Dr. Friday Okei, member LOC, said they were fully ready and prepared to host the training

tor. While nothing that no nation has been able to achieve economic turnaround without an effective railway system. Wahab said repositioning the Nigerian economy, requires investing more in the transportation sector. Wahab identified demand of the Nigeria society for adequate transport system facilities and services and the inability of the sector to meet the demand as a of the lingering issue undermining economic development. He also pointed that the gap between resources required to maintain and renew the existing infrastructure and equipment, and the resources available to meet these requirements; within an efficient system was a major obstacle to the growth and development of the sector He however disclosed that for the adequate repositioning of railway system the current rail networks must be expanded to at least 10,000km con-

necting seaports, industrial clusters, and state capitals using the 25 years railway strategic vision. Meanwhile, the President of NSE, Mr Ademola I. Olorunfemi who was represented by the Vice President, Corporate Resources and Media, Mrs Margaret Oguntola, in his keynote address urged the newly inducted members to abide by the objectives and tenets of the society. She said that the bulk of the responsibilities to revamp the railway system in the country rest on the shoulders of Nigerian engineers adding that they needs to live up to their billings as engineers and be agents of change in the country. Also, the Chairman, NSE Apapa Branch, Ibrahim Aledu, enjoined newly inducted members to embrace the ethics of the engineering profession stating that no country can attain sustainable development without the contribution of its engineers.

Germany flags off vocational training in Lagos Kehinde ERMAN Government, Coordinator, G under the auspices of Stephen Awoyele, the trainDelegation of German ing programme will also feaIndustry and Commerce in Nigeria, will today at ITF/ISTC Centre, Ikeja, officially flag off its Dual Vocational Training Partnership with Nigeria (DVT-PWN). According to the Project

ture signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with training centers will be graced by a team of the German project organization and a crop of other stakeholders.


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ScienceGuardian Scientists make progress toward creating ‘benchtop human’ HUGE collaborative project A led by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Vanderbilt University is bringing together human surrogate organ constructs married with highly sensitive ion-mobility mass spectrometry in a bid to revolutionize the way that compounds are screened. Scientists from several different institutions are working together in the hope of developing a benchtop human, called Homo minitus, where miniaturized heart, lung, liver and kidney constructs are brought together and interconnected in a project called ATHENA (Advanced Tissueengineered Human Ectypal Network Analyzer). It is hoped that eventually Homo minitus will be able to mimic the way that multiple human organs respond to novel drugs and chemicals, providing far more information than an animal model can. The current system for drug development first involves studies on cells in tissue culture followed by tests in nonhuman animals. By law, no drugs are allowed to enter human trials without first being tested in animals for possible adverse effects. If approved, the novel compound may then proceed into phase I clinical trials on humans, but astonishingly around 40 per cent of trials fail in this stage, costing billions each year. This is because what happens in an animal does not necessarily mirror what may happen in a human due to physiological differences, therefore unexpected toxic effects may appear. Although synthetic livers are currently being tested in the hope of reducing the need for animal testing, this is the first project aimed at connecting numerous different organ constructs in order to give a much more comprehensive picture on how a compound interacts with the body and produces side-effects. Senior scientist Rashi Iyer from LANL said “By developing this ‘Homo minitus’ we are stepping beyond the need for animal or Petri dish testing: There are huge benefits in developing drug and toxicity analysis systems that can mimic the response of actual humans.” The scientists are not aiming at developing exact organ replicas; instead they have been miniaturizing them in such a way that will retain their functional capacity and key features necessary to behave in a manner similar to that of actual human organs. If successful, the organs will ultimately be hooked up via a blood surrogate in a way that imitates actual bodily connections. It is hoped that this system could also be used in the field of toxicology, since a huge percentage of the tens of thou-

sands of chemicals used in commerce are untested, and even those that have been tested have not been extensively investigated for long-term chronic effects. Researchers from Vanderbilt University led by Professor John Mc Lean combined this miniature organ system with an ion-mobility mass spectrometer, enabling the detection and identification of the thousands of molecules that living cells produce, allowing them to monitor fluctuations in what is both consumed and produced in response to compounds being tested. The first results to be reported from this system were in a presentation by Professor John Wikswo, which described the surrogate liver developed by a team of scientists also at Vanderbilt University. A small perfusion device was created, only a few inches in size, that was capable of keeping human liver cells alive for extended periods. They tested the effects of different dosages of the well known liver toxin acetaminophen. They found that the liver cells responded in the same way as a normal liver by first forming metabolites, then tryptophan levels began to increase as the cells became compromised. “After that we saw decreased production of bile acid, a clear indication that something was going very wrong with the liver, as expected when exposed to seriously high doses of acetaminophen,” said Wikswo.

The next stages of the project will hopefully involve hooking up the heart developed in Harvard to the liver, followed by the lung developed at LANL and the kidney from the University of California San Francisco and Vanderbilt University. In recent years, a cadre of scientists and clinicians around the world has begun to develop more relevant and advanced laboratory tests for drug efficacy and toxicity: small bioreactors that can form human organ structures and are equipped with sensors to monitor organ health. The ATHENA project combines the skills and insights of some of the top researchers in this pioneering field of research. The liver construct is being developed by Katrin Zeilinger, head of the Bioreactor Group and her colleagues at the BerlinBrandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT), Charite UniversiUitsmedizin, Berlin. Kevin Kit Parker, Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics at Harvard University, is leading the heart effort. Shuvo Roy, director of the Biomedical Microdevices Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Associate Professor of Medicine William Fissell of Vanderbilt are developing the kidney construct. In addition to leading the project, Iyer is directing work on the lung organ at LANL. Wikswo and his VIIBRE group are building the hardware platform and a heart

The ATHENA organ project combines heart, liver, kidney and lung features in a desktop toxicity testing platform.Credit: IMAGE COURTESY OF LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY

Artificial hearts may help patients survive until transplant HE largest single-center T study of patients implanted with a total artificial heart finds the device may help patients in severe heart failure survive until they can receive a heart transplant, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session. Researchers studied 22 patients implanted with total artificial hearts at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in 2012 and 2013 to look at the primary end-

• Study lists benefits of new device, though risks remain points of death and incidence of stroke at 60 days. They found that five patients had died, four had successfully undergone heart transplants and 13 were alive and waiting for donor hearts. Eight of these patients were discharged home with the artificial hearts to await transplant. Three patients had strokes, one of whom was alive and waiting for a transplant. No patients had artificial heartassociated infections.

All patients in the study had end-stage cardiomyopathy – heart disease in which the heart muscle becomes thick, enlarged or rigid – and were in end-stage heart failure prior to implantation. “We were pleased to see how well many of these patients did,” said Dr. Swaminatha Gurudevan, cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, and lead investigator of the study. “Given how sick these

patients were, we expected to see higher mortality rates.” Most of the deaths that occurred were among patients who were sickest before their procedure, he said. Patients were separated into three categories based on how sick they were before receiving the artificial heart. The sickest patients were in critical cardiogenic shock, a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood

for the body’s needs that has a nearly 100 percent mortality rate when untreated. Of the 10 patients in this category, six were alive at 60 days. One had received a heart transplant, and five were awaiting transplant – one from home. In the middle category of patients, in progressive decline despite medications, eight of nine had survived at 60 days. Two of these patients received heart transplants, and the other six were awaiting transplant – five of them at home.

Great earthquakes, water under pressure, high risk • Interdisciplinary research reveals interactions between plate tectonics, fluids, quakes we have a unique opportunity that the water pressure in the

HE largest earthquakes T occur where oceanic plates move beneath continents.

Obviously, water trapped in the boundary between both plates has a dominant influence on the earthquake rupture process. Analyzing the great Chile earthquake of February, 27th, 2010, a group of scientists from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and from Liverpool University found

pores of the rocks making up the plate boundary zone takes the key role. The study was published in Nature Geoscience. The stress build-up before an earthquake and the magnitude of subsequent seismic energy release are substantially controlled by the mechanical coupling between both plates. Studies of recent great earthquakes have revealed

that the lateral extent of the rupture and magnitude of these events are fundamentally controlled by the stress build-up along the subduction plate interface. Stress build-up and its lateral distribution in turn are dependent on the distribution and pressure of fluids along the plate interface. “We combined observations of several geoscience disciplines - geodesy, seismology, petrology. In addition,

in Chile that our natural observatory there provides us with long time series of data,” says Onno Oncken, director of the GFZ-Department “Geodynamics and Geomaterials”. Earth observation (Geodesy) using GPS technology and radar interferometry today allows a detailed mapping of mechanical coupling at the plate boundary from the Earth’s surface. A comple-

mentary image of the rock properties at depth is provided by seismology. Earthquake data yield a high resolution three-dimensional image of seismic wave speeds and their variations in the plate interface region. Data on fluid pressure and rock properties, on the other hand, are available from laboratory measurements. All these data had been acquired shortly before the great Chile earthquake of February 2010 struck with a magnitude of 8.8.


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‘Over 2,700 Nigerians ‘Preparations for 2015 elections is the greatest challenge to polio eradication’ infected with drug Dr Oyewale Tomori, Chairman of Nigeria’s Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization. Tomori is also the President of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences (NAS) and serves on several advisory bodies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO’s) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, the WHO Polio Research Committee and the WHO Africa Regional Polio Certification Committee. From 1994 to 2004, Tomori served as the WHO’s African region laboratory coordinator and established the Africa Regional Laboratory Network for the diagnosis of polio and other viral diseases. Tomori in this interview published by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) bares his mind on polio eradication drive in the country. Excerpts: How do you think Nigeria’s polio programme is doing right now? HE programme is doing much better and this has resulted in the progress recorded so far. Between January and September 2012, Nigeria reported 101 cases of polio in 13 states and 70 local government areas (LGA), compared to 49 cases in nine states and 26 LGAs for the same period in 2013. For the first time, except for Kano State, no polio cases have been reported in most parts of the northwestern states in the last year. So far in 2014, there has been only one wild polio case in the country, reported from Gaya LGA, Kano State, with onset on 1 February. Behind this progress is improved national coverage of three doses of trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV), which increased from 73 per cent in 2012 to 84 per cent during January-September 2013. The nationwide proportion of children aged six to 35 months with non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) who have received four or more doses of OPV increased from 75 per cent in 2012 to 87 per cent in 2013. However, in the northeastern parts of Nigeria, the high level of insecurity has hampered supplementary immunization activities (SIA) and created huge surveillance gaps, making it difficult to confidently determine the state of polio eradication in the area. What have been the most

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Oyawale important factors contributing to Nigeria’s recent progress? The programme used new methods to evaluate SIA data and implemented special interventions to improve performance in high-risk LGAs. For example, community leaders (including traditional and religious figures) became polio eradication advocates, working in the community to counter anti–vaccination lobbies and threats of violence. In areas where noncompliance

was particularly high, polio survivors joined campaigns to highlight the permanent risks associated with polio. The programme also established temporary mobile health camps during SIAs to help reach children with vaccines and simultaneously address other unmet primary healthcare needs. Can you describe some of the innovative strategies Nigeria has been employing to overcome challenges? The introduction of the

polio Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) at national and state levels has allowed for real-time assessment, evaluation and response to field situations. The deployment of inter¬agency support teams at the ward level improved supervision of SIA activities, while accountability officers ensured the proper use of funds and increased local accountability. The programme used global positioning systems (GPS) to help implement microplans and track vaccination teams during SIAs. How has Nigeria’s polio work affected other health programmes? The latest and greatest beneficiary of the polio activities in Nigeria is routine immunization (RI). In the past, RI was abandoned and neglected. The polio programme recognized that ending polio and strengthening immunization went hand in hand, and in 2012 made serious efforts to ensure that eradication programmes enhance RI. Today, the country is reaping the benefits of high RI coverage, evident in the much reduced number of polio cases. The health camps established along with the SIAs are also providing other health care services. What do you see as the biggest challenges Nigeria’s polio programme will face this year, and how can we overcome them? The greatest challenge to the polio programme in 2014 will be the preparations for the 2015 elections. Currently, the election is the only thing that matters in Nigeria. Every election year since 2003 has been characterized by abandonment of good governance, and subsequently accompanied by a surge in polio cases. We are so close to victory. In 2010, Nigeria recorded only 48 cases of polio, but because we did not press victory to the end, we recorded 95 cases in 2011 and 130 cases in 2012. We suffered and continue to suffer as one of only three nations that have NEVER stopped the transmission of polio. We must not allow the 2015 election to set Nigeria back in the race to eradicate polio. It is important for all stakeholders to ensure that the polio eradication programme is not neglected. We must engage the press, civil society organizations, parents, and academics to call governments’ attention to health in general and polio eradication in particular. *Culled from http://www.polioeradication.org/Mediaroom/Ne wsstories/Newsstories2013/tabi d/488/iid/358/Default.aspx#stha sh.yzGXONVg.dpuf

resistant TB’ From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka ESPITE huge investments D to tackle spread of Tuberculosis (TB) by federal government, Nigeria ranks highest in Africa with an incidence rate of 311 per 100,000 population. Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Lawrence C, Ikeakor, said a recent report by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) shows that the country has about 2,700 cases of Multi Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) yearly. In a press briefing organized by Anambra State government in collaboration with the German Leprosy and Relief Association (GLRA) at the state Secretariat complex, Awka, yesterday, Ikeako hinted that Anambra State recorded a total number of 1,874 TB, and 16 Drugs Resistant TB cases, lamenting that the highly resistant strains of TB is taking hold on the nation gradually. According to him, in Anambra State, the case detection rate is less than 30 percent and there are over 145 TB treatment (DOT) centres, maintaining that there are 30 laboratories treating and diagnosing TB free of charge. He said, “There is need to expand treatment centres to all primary healthcare facilities, both private and public for easy access to treatment for the people”, adding that the state is collocating with partners from who Health Organization, German Leprosy Relief Association, National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) among others. Ikeakor further disclosed that government recently acquired and installed a gene expert machine at the State Teaching Hospital, Awka, which detects resistant strains of TB, while arrangement has been conclude to install such facility at the NAUTH Nnewi, courtesy of FHI-360. Warning on the dangers

of the infectious bacterial disease, the commissioner added, “…every single undected TB is a grave health hazard as unsuspecting members of the public are exposed to infection. One TB case spreads to between 12 to 15 people a year if undected and treated”. Earlier in his speech, the State Director, Primary Healthcare and Diseases Control, Dr. Chukwudi Okoye, explained that with the theme, ‘Reach the 3 million’, “the aim is to go out across the state, find out people who are infected and give them required treatment”, arguing that many people on the streets are carrying the germ without knowing. He added, “The disease has been with us over the years, and with advent of HIV/AIDs, they go together and now referred to as co-operation in infection. HIV reduces immune system, which in turn throws up TB formerly dominant in our body”. He however dispelled fears about the disease, saying it is curable today, and there are treatment centres with adequate facilities put in place across the state by former Governor of Anambra, Chief Peter Obi, just as he counseled people to go for treatment rather than patronizing quacks. Also speaking at the press briefing described as part of events to mark world TB Day Israel Enemouh celebration in Anambra State, the State Director, TB, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer unit, Dr. Israel Enemouh lamented the absence of treatment centre for MDR-TB in the South East, regretting that patients have to travel as far as Calabar, Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta and Zaria for Medicare. “As a result, people are reluctant at times to travel outside the state to access MDR-TB treatment”, Dr Enemouh noted, saying that there is need for concerted efforts by governments, good spirited Nigerians and Non Government Organizations(NGOs) to ensure provision of facilities for treatment of patients.

NAFDAC wants traditional rulers to lead campaign against hawking of drugs From John Akubo, Dutse HE National Agency for T Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has challenged the traditional institutions in the country to use their office in the campaign against hawking of drugs. The Director of the agency in Jigawa, Mr Olaniran Olakunle made the appeal during the sensitisation campaign against drug hawking at central motor park, Dutse. He explained that monarchs have vital role to play because of their importance and their relationship with people in the society. “We are appealing to our tra-

ditional rulers to advice their subjects to desist from patronising drug hawkers” he said. He said that hawking of drugs affect their efficacy because they are exposed to higher temperature beyond their permitted preservation temperature which make them to expire early and would be harmful when consumed. The Director observed that drug counterfeiters equally capitalize on hawkers as channels for sales of their bad products. Olakunle indicated that despite the effort of the agency to tackle the menace, drug hawkers have been getting undue patronage in the rural areas.


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NaturalHealth Potato, carrots ‘cure’ breast cancer in clinical trials DERIVATIVE of vitamin A, A known as retinoic acid, found abundantly in sweet potato and carrots, helps turn pre-cancer cells back to normal healthy breast cells, according to research published this month in the International Journal of Oncology. The research could help explain why some clinical studies have been unable to see a benefit of vitamin A on cancer: the vitamin doesn’t appear to change the course of full-blown cancer, only precancerous cells, and only works at a very narrow dose. Because cells undergo many changes before they become fully aggressive and metastatic, Sandra V. Fernandez, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, and colleagues, used a model of breast cancer progression composed of four types of cells each one representing a different stage of breast cancer: normal, precancerous, cancerous and a fully aggressive model. When the researchers exposed the four breast cell types to different concentrations of retinoic acid – one of the chemicals that the body converts vitamin A into – they noticed a strong change in the pre-cancerous cells. Not only did the pre-cancerous cells begin to look more like normal cells in terms of their shape, they also changed their genetic signature back to normal. Fernandez’s pre-cancerous cells had 443 genes that were either up or downregulated on their way to becoming cancerous. All of these genes returned to normal levels after treatment with retinoic acid. “It looks like retinoic acid exerts effects on cancer cells in part via the modulation of the epigenome,” says Fernandez. “We were able to see this effect of retinoic acid because we were looking at four distinct stages of breast cancer,” says Fernandez. “It will be interesting to see if these results can be applied to patients.” Interestingly, the cells that were considered fully cancerous did not respond at all to retinoic acid, suggesting that there may be a small window of opportunity for retinoic acid to be helpful in preventing cancer progression.

Mustard seed as remedy for liver, kidney damage, epilepsy, diabetes

Mustard seed... scientists have demonstrated the protective effect of the methanol extract of B. nigra leaves against d-galactosamine (d-GalN)induced hepatic (liver) and nephro (kidney) toxicity in Wistar rats

It is better known for the Biblical ‘Parable of the Mustard Seed.’ But it has become an article of trade in the country. Marketers advertise it even on ‘Molue’ buses in Lagos as a potential ‘cure all’ natural medicine. However, recent studies have validated mustard seed as a remedy for liver and kidney damage, epilepsy, and a possible substitute for insulin injections to treat diabetes, among other benefits. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes. USTARD seeds are the M small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are usually about one or two millimetres in diameter. Mustard seeds may be coloured from yellowish white to black. They are important spices in many regional foods. The seeds can come from three different plants: black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), and white mustard (B. hirta/Sinapis alba). Mustard seed belongs to the plant family Brassicaceae (Cruciferae). It is commonly used as a spice and a cheap source of antimicrobial agents for bacterial infections. Black mustard is a manybranched, aromatic, weedy annual plant, growing up to

four meters in height. It has showy, smallish yellow flowers. Its seeds grow in long, slender pods. Each pod contains ten to 12 brown or black seeds. Phytochemical analysis shows that mustard seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, essential oils, the minerals selenium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamins A, B-complex, and C, dietary fibre, protein, and phytonutrients. Earlier studies indicate that Brassica nigra seed has been used as a sedate for neurotic pain and rheumatoid arthritis, treatment of the brain and lung edema, paralysis, migraine and epilepsy. Experimental reports have shown the antioxidant, hypoglycemic, anticancer and

antimicrobial effect of Brassica nigra seed. The effect of this plant on oxidative stress and free radicals production has also been reported. However, Indian researchers from M.G.R. College, Hosur, Periyar University, Salem, Pondicherry University, Puducherry, and Siddah Central Research Institute, Chennai, have demonstrated the protective effect of the methanol extract of B. nigra leaves against dgalactosamine (d-GalN)induced hepatic (liver) and nephro (kidney) toxicity in Wistar rats. Galactosamine is a hepatotoxic, or liver-damaging, agent that is sometimes used in animal models of liver failure. Wistar rat is a laboratory rat of the species Rattus norvegi-

cus (brown rat), which is bred and kept for scientific research. The researchers in a study published recently concluded: “The crude methanol extract of B. nigra leaf lacks inherent toxicity and exhibits hepatic and nephro-protective effects against d-GalN-induced toxicity in Wistar rats.” The study is titled “Brassica nigra plays a remedy role in hepatic and renal damage.” The researchers used as the standard, activity of the methanol extract of B. nigra at doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg b.wt. against d-GalN (500 mg/kg b.wt.) induced toxicity, with silymarin. Silymarin exerts membrane-stabilizing and antioxidant activity, and promotes liver regeneration.

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Scientists reverse erectile dysfunction without medication EN suffering from sexual M dysfunction can be successful at reversing their problem, by focusing on lifestyle factors and not just relying on medication, according to research at the University of Adelaide. In a new paper published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers highlight the incidence of erectile dysfunction and lack of sexual desire among Australian men aged 35-80 years. Over a five-year period, 31 per cent of the 810 men involved in the study developed some form of erectile dysfunction. “Sexual relations are not only an important part of people’s wellbeing. From a clinical point of view, the inability of some men to perform sexually can also be linked to a range of other health problems, many of which can be debilitating or potentially fatal,” says Professor Gary Wittert, Head of the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and Director of the University’s Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health. “Our study saw a large proportion of men suffering from some form of erectile dysfunction, which is a concern. The major risk factors for this are typically physical conditions rather than psychological ones, such as being overweight or obese, a higher level of alcohol intake, having sleeping difficulties or obstructive sleep apnoea, and age. “The good news is, our study also found that a large proportion of men were naturally overcoming erectile dysfunction issues. The remission rate of those with erectile dysfunction was 29 per cent, which is very high. This shows that many of these factors affecting men are modifiable, offering them an opportunity to do something about their condition,” Professor Wittert says. The lead author of the paper, Dr Sean Martin from the University of Adelaide’s Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health, says: “Even when medication to help with erectile function is required, it is likely to be considerably more effective if lifestyle factors are also addressed. “Erectile dysfunction can be a very serious issue because it’s a marker of underlying cardiovascular disease, and it often occurs before heart conditions become apparent. Therefore, men should consider improving their weight and overall nutrition, exercise more, drink less alcohol and have a better night’s sleep, as well as address risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Public smoking bans associated with reduction in premature births, childhood asthma N the first comprehensive duction of new laws that ban pital visits. They report that births and childhood asthma Edinburgh. the impact of smoking bans Ismoking study to look at how anti- smoking in public places in while the impact of anti-smok- attacks. The many countries According to information on children. laws are affecting North America and Europe ing laws varies between coun- that are yet to enforce smoke- in the article, 16 percent of the the health of children, researchers from University of Edinburgh collaborated with researchers from Maastricht University, Hasselt University, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effect of smoke-free legislation on child health. They found that the intro-

has been followed by a decrease in rates of premature births and hospital visits for asthma attacks in children. These findings are published on March 28, 2014 in The Lancet. Researchers analyzed 11 studies conducted in North America and Europe that included more than 2.5 million births and approximately 250,000 asthma-related hos-

tries, the overall impact on child health is very positive. Specifically, the data show that rates of both preterm birth and hospital admissions for asthma were reduced by 10 percent following the implementation of laws that prohibited smoking in public places. “This research has demonstrated the very considerable potential that smoke-free legislation offers to reduce preterm

free legislation should in the light of these findings reconsider their positions on this important health policy question,” said Aziz Sheikh, senior author and a physician-researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, visiting professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Primary Care Research and Development at The University of

world’s population is covered by smoke-free laws, while 40 percent of children worldwide are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke. Laws that prohibit smoking in public places, such as bars, restaurants and work places, are already proven to protect adults from the health threats associated with passive smoking, but research to date has not systematically evaluated

Passive smoking can cause babies to be stillborn or born prematurely and is linked to certain birth defects, asthma and lung infections. Studies have also suggested that being exposed to second hand smoke during childhood may have long term health implications, contributing to the development of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes in later life.


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Antidepressants during pregnancy linked to preterm birth NTIDEPRESSANT medicaA tions taken by pregnant women are associated with increased rates of preterm birth. This finding reinforces the notion that antidepressants should not be used by pregnant women in the absence of a clear need that cannot be met through alternative approaches, say researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Vanderbilt University, MetroWest Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center. “Preterm birth is a major clinical problem throughout

the world and rates have been increasing over the past two decades. At the same time, rates of antidepressant use during pregnancy have increased approximately four-fold,” says lead author Dr. Krista Huybrechts, from the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “Therefore it is essential to determine what effects these medications have on pregnancy.” Huybrechts and colleagues

conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies that evaluated women who took antidepressants during pregnancy and had information on gestational age at birth. The results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE. “We studied 41 papers on this topic and found that the available scientific evidence is becoming clearer that antidepressant use in pregnancy is associated with preterm birth,” says senior author Adam Urato, MD, a MaternalFetal Medicine specialist at

Tufts Medical Center and MetroWest Medical Center. “The complication of preterm birth did not appear to be due to the maternal depression but rather it appears likely to be a medication effect.” “Several of the studies in this review controlled for maternal depression and these studies continued to show increased rates of preterm birth in the antidepressant exposed pregnancies,” adds Dr. Reesha Shah Sanghani, from Vanderbilt University. “It is important to keep in

mind, however, that the issue of treatment of depression during pregnancy is complex and that there are many factors to consider. Pregnant women and their providers need to weigh many issues,” says Urato. “It is crucial, though, that the public gets accurate information on this topic.” Rates of preterm birth have been increasing over the past two decades and it is a major public health concern. Children born preterm have higher infant mortality rates than full-term babies and surviving infants are at increased risk of health problems ranging from neuro-developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy and intellectual delays to other chronic health problems like asthma. Costs to society have been estimated to be as high as $26.2 billion per year in the US. Of the 41 studies which the authors reviewed, the majority showed increased rates of preterm birth in patients taking antidepressants. The asso-

ciation was strongest with use in the third trimester. There was no evidence of a beneficial effect or reduction in preterm birth with antidepressant use. “Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant death and it is also a major contributor to both short and long-term illness,” says Urato. “While very preterm infants have the highest risk, we now know that even later preterm birth is associated with significant increases in neonatal morbidity and mortality.” “Pregnant women with depression need proper treatment and our results should not be seen as an argument to ignore depression in these patients,” says Huybrechts. “These drugs may be necessary in some pregnant women with severe depression in whom other approaches are inadequate. However, for many others, non-drug treatments, such as psychotherapy, will help, and aren’t associated with complications like preterm birth.”

Underweight people at as high risk of dying as obese people, new study finds EING underweight puts B people at highest risk of dying, just as obesity does,

Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) addressing members of Ward Development Committee/Village Health Workers at one of the 500 renovated Health Centres under Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) at Gasuwo Maternity, Toro Local Government Area (LGA), Bauchi State…

Nestlé reports progress on nutrition commitments ESTLÉ is making a series N of commitments with a special focus on nutrition. Nestlé’s efforts to meet a series of commitments in areas where the company engages with society are detailed in a new report, Nestlé in Society 2013. The 35 pledges cover nutrition, water, rural development, sustainability and compliance. Nestlé aims to fulfill all these commitments by 2020 or earlier. Ten are new this year and six are updated, based on feedback from stakeholders over the last 12 months. The report underlines Nestlé’s fundamental belief that, for a company to be successful over the long term

and create value for shareholders, it must also create value for society. The commitments show our determination to achieve this. They include, for example, leading the industry in nutrition and health research, and providing nutritionally sound products designed for children. “We believe that this 2013 report on Creating Shared Value at Nestlé represents a significant step forward in our drive to communicate transparently,” said Nestlé Chairman Peter BrabeckLetmathe. “For a company like ours to prosper, we must take a long-term view, framed in a robust set of principles and values based on respect,” he

added. Nestlé Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke said he hoped the report would enable shareholders and stakeholders to hold the company accountable, and to offer guidance and feedback. “This is a set of forwardlooking commitments covering every part of our business, providing a clear sense of the strategic direction we are heading in and the standards to which we hold ourselves accountable,” Bulcke said. “They are real, they are credible, and we will do everything in our power to make sure they are deliverable. But we know that there will be challenges along the

way, and these too we will share with you.” Nutrition focus Nestlé’s renewed policies for the reduction of salt, sugars and saturated fats and the removal of trans fats originating from partially hydrogenated oils highlight its ongoing commitment to global public health. Nestlé is committed to reducing both sodium (salt) and sugars in its products. When reducing the saturated fats and removing trans fats originating from partially hydrogenated oils in its products, Nestlé will prioritise those products consumed by children and families, such as soups, snacks, pizzas and ready-made meals.

new research has found. The connection between being underweight and the higher risk of dying is true for both adults and fetuses. This is so even when factors such as smoking, alcohol use or lung disease are considered, or adults with a chronic or terminal illness are excluded, the study found. The study, led by Dr. Joel Ray, a physician-researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital and the hospital’s Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, was published today in the Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health. Ray’s meta-analysis looked at 51 studies on the links between Body Mass Index (BMI) and deaths from any cause, plus data on newborn weight and stillbirths in Ontario. He found that adults who are underweight – with a BMI under 18.5 or less – have a 1.8 times higher risk of dying than those with a “normal” BMI of 18.5 to 24.9. The risk of dying is 1.2 times higher for people who are obese (BMI of 30-34.9) and 1.3 times higher for those who are severely obese (a BMI of 35

or higher). The researchers required that studies follow people for five years or longer, to weed out those who were underweight simply because of cancer or chronic lung disease or heart failure. Common causes of being underweight include malnourishment, heavy alcohol or drug use, smoking, low-income status, mental health or poor selfcare. “BMI reflects not only body fat, but also muscle mass. If we want to continue to use BMI in health care and public health initiatives, we must realize that a robust and healthy individual is someone who has a reasonable amount of body fat and also sufficient bone and muscle,” Dr. Ray said. “If our focus is more on the ills of excess body fat, then we need to replace BMI with a proper measure, like waist circumference.” Ray also said that as society aims to curb the obesity epidemic, “we have obligation to ensure that we avoid creating an epidemic of underweight adults and fetuses who are otherwise at the correct weight. We are, therefore, obliged to use the right measurement tool.”

Protective measures to reduce Ebola virus disease, by WHO By Chukwuma Muanya HE World Health T Organisation (WHO) has published protective measures countries and individuals can take to reduce the spread of Ebola virus disease. According to the Fact Sheet on Ebola Virus released yesterday by the WHO: Transmission Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats,

monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest. Ebola then spreads in the community through humanto-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Men who have recovered from the dis-

ease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks after recovery from illness. Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced. Signs and symptoms EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash,

impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes. People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. Ebola virus was isolated from semen 61 days after onset of illness in a man who was infected in a laboratory. The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is two to 21 days. Diagnosis Other diseases that should

be ruled out before a diagnosis of EVD can be made include: malaria, typhoid fever, shigellosis, cholera, leptospirosis, plague, rickettsiosis, relapsing fever, meningitis, hepatitis and other viral haemorrhagic fevers. Ebola virus infections can be diagnosed definitively in a laboratory through several types of tests: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); antigen detection tests; serum neutralization test; reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay; virus isolation by cell culture. Samples from patients are an extreme biohazard risk;

testing should be conducted under maximum biological containment conditions. Prevention and treatment No vaccine for EVD is available. Several vaccines are being tested, but none are available for clinical use. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. Patients are frequently dehydrated and require oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes or intravenous fluids. No specific treatment is available. New drug therapies are being evaluated.


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Lagos takes giant strides into genomic medicine N line with the advances the human heredity and Imedical that have been made in health in Africa (H3Africa) sciences especially Initiative, the Health

Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson (centre) explaining a point shortly after inspecting the Specialist Hospital under construction at ToruOrua as part of activities marking two years of his Restoration administration, while his Deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah rtd, (left) and the Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor (right) looks on PHOTO BAYELSA GOVT.

NAFDAC calls for international collaboration over drug regulation By Joseph Okoghenun S the world continues to A battle with the challenge of counterfeited drugs, Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, has called for global collaboration among national drug regulatory authorities to reduce the menace. Orhii, who spoke during closing ceremony of Health Canada- NAFDAC mentorship training workshop in Lagos, recently, said that the globalisation has thrown up the challenge for international collaboration for effective drug regulation. The Health Canada- NAFDAC mentorship workshop is collaboration between NAFDAC and Canada drug regulatory experts that aims to strengthen vaccines and

biological regulation in Nigeria in particular and the West Africa sub-region in general. Orhii stated that NAFDAC, having realised the importance of access to quality medicines, has adopted a holistic, multifaceted, diverse and well-coordinated strategy that transcends local, national, regional, continental and international boundaries. He added that the agency was establishing and building closer ties with other nationals and international organisations ensure importation of good, quality, safe, efficacious medicines and other regulated products into Nigeria. Orhii explained that the agency was taking a number of efforts to strengthen drug regulation in Nigeria with aid of various advanced technologies, grassroots and

media sensitisations, adding that the agency was working assiduously to review the nation’s current law, which stipulates N500, 000 or 15 years jail term for convicted counterfeited drug offenders. Orhii said:” Effective regulation is key to improving access to quality essential medicines. As regulators, we must perform continues balancing act between access and quality. The regulatory landscape today is such that regulatory authorities around the world are dealing with many issues of differing complexities, which require that we leverage our existing resources, avoid duplication, share information and develop proactive strategies to further support our efforts to ensure access to quality, safe and efficacious regulated products. “We remain committed to work towards

strengthening our regulatory capacity and fostering greater national, regional and international collaboration as exemplified by this workshop.” On NAFDAC achievements, Orhii said: “ The agency is reviewing the current law which stipulates a fine of N500, 000 or 15 year jail term upon conviction of offenders involved in the sale, distribution, importation and advertisement of counterfeit regulated products, to make our laws serve as a deterrent. The new law seeks life term jail and confiscation of asset upon conviction, compensation for sale victims if product is found to be the proximate cause of death or severe body injury, and to make this a non-bailable offence. “One of our major strategies is the use of cutting-edge technologies to secure the supply chain.”

How good bacteria protects against HIV, by researchers ESEARCHERS at the antiretroviral efficacy in colo- ered that certain bacterial of how they interact with R University of Texas nized epithelial multilayer communities alter the way “good and bad” bacteria. In Medical Branch at Galveston cultures.” HIV infects and replicates. their current studies a bacterby growing vaginal skin cells outside the body and studying the way they interact with “good and bad” bacteria, think they may be able to better identify the good bacteria that protect women from Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) infection and other sexually transmitted infections. The health of the human vagina depends on a symbiotic/mutually beneficial relationship with “good” bacteria that live on its surface feeding on products produced by vaginal skin cells. These good bacteria, in turn, create a physical and chemical barrier to bad bacteria and viruses including HIV. The original findings published in PLOS One Journal, March 27, 2014, is titled: “Cultivated vaginal microbiomes alter HIV-1 infection and

A publication released today from a team of scientists representing multiple disciplines at UTMB and the Oak Crest Institute of Science in Pasadena, California, reports a new method for studying the relationship between the skin cells and the “good” bacteria. The researchers are the first to grow human vaginal skin cells in a dish in a manner that creates surfaces that support colonization by the complex good and bad communities of bacteria collected from women during routine gynecological exams. The bacteria communities have never before been successfully grown outside a human. The research group led by Richard Pyles at UTMB reports in the journal PLOS One that by using this model of the human vagina, they discov-

Their laboratory model will allow careful and controlled evaluation of the complex community of bacteria to ultimately identify those species that weaken the defenses against HIV. Pyles also indicated that this model “will provide the opportunity to study the way that these mixed species bacterial communities change the activity of vaginal applicants including over-thecounter products like douches and prescription medications and contraceptives. These types of studies are very difficult or even impossible to complete in women who are participating in clinical trials.” In fact, the team’s report documented the potential for their system to better evaluate current and future antimicrobial drugs in terms

ial community associated with a symptomatic condition called bacterial vaginosis substantially reduced the antiviral activity of one of the leading anti-HIV medicines. Conversely, vaginal surfaces occupied by healthy bacteria and treated with the antiviral produced significantly less HIV than those vaginal surfaces without bacteria treated with the same antiviral. Dr. Marc Baum, the lead scientist at Oak Crest and co-author of the work, stated “this model is unique as it faithfully recreates the vaginal environment ex vivo, both in terms of the host cellular physiology and the associated complex vaginal microbiomes that could not previously be cultured. I believe it will be of immense value in the study of sexually transmitted infections.”

in the areas of genetics and genomic research, the Lagos State Government through it Ministry of Health Tuesday held a workshop on Human Biodiversity Genome Project; a forum geared to create an avenue for discuss with relevant stakeholders on the relatively new field of Genome and how Lagos could get involved and benefit from it. The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris who flagged-off the one day workshop explained that Genomic is the application of specific technologies to analyze the wider sets of genetic information about the entire genome. He added that genomics is the study of the vast complexity of genetic information that is responsible for forming the human being from conception, and enabling man to live and interact within their environment which includes organism that may be beneficial or pathogenic. “Its main task is to determine the entire sequence of DNA or the composition of the atoms that make up the DNA and the chemical bonds between the DNA atoms. The knowledge of the DNA sequence is not only an important part of biological research but also of vital importance in research disciplines including medicine, biotechnology, forensics amongst others,” Idris stated. The Commissioner posited that genomic process has been hailed as beneficial to man stressing that it provides answers to some key question such as; why do some people get a disease and some don’t? As well as what environmental factors might contribute to or possibly help prevent the disease? And what treatment work best? He stated that though genomics is still a relatively new field especially in Nigeria but however noted that advances have been made in genetics and genomic research at both basic and translational level in other climes with obvious benefits to healthcare. According to Idris, genomic technologies have the potential to transform the delivery of healthcare; providing vital insights to support the accurate diagnosis of disease and inform therapeutic decisions. Said he, “they can enhance preventive care and enrich our understanding of disease risks as well as enabling outbreak of infectious diseases to be controlled faster. The benefit of genomic is extremely significant; as once all disease-causing genes have been identified, it will be possible to build up a database to determine the future risk of healthy individuals to determine their risk for disease.” While outlining some genetic research works and initiative that have been carried out to include; the human genome project, 1000 genomes project and

Commissioner stressed that the benefits of genomics to a megacity like Lagos cannot be overemphasized especially in view of the growing incidence of communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiac diseases, kidney diseases and cancers, which has gradually assumed a serious public health significance. “As genetic testing becomes more affordable, more people can benefit from understanding their genetic and use that understanding to improve their health, prevent harmful side-effect of some drugs and potentially avoid preventable deaths”, Idris said. Noting that Africa has lagged behind in this major human endeavour and cutting medical frontiers, the Commissioner however posited that Africa is poised to take full advantage of this biggest human science project of all times with careful strategic alliances and a multitude of reasons. “Africa has the largest burden of communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and hepatitis which are all deeply intertwined by the historically complex immigrant and nutritional status of the African people. These huge disease loads are most likely to derive rapid benefit from genomic medicine, prevention, intervention and untimely cure and eradication,” he said. Idris stressed that Africa must join the rest of the world in approaching healthcare and well being not from one of hospital based care but to one of preventive and preservation of health using vaccines, smart drugs and immune therapies derived from genomic science to create massive shifts in health paradigms. “The genetic revolution is here. Just as computer technology and the internet created a whole new industries and extraordinary benefits for people that extend into almost every realm of human endeavour from education to transportation to medicine, genetics will undoubtedly benefits people everywhere in ways we can’t even imagine but know will surely occur. We must get involved”, the Commissioner said. The Guest Speaker, Prof. Akin Abayomi who is the head of the division of Haematology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa noted that there is a prospect for Lagos to tap into benefit of genomic science but stressed that there are things that need to be put in place before this can be achieved. He listed the need to build infrastructure, train scientist as well as encourage indigenous scientist abroad who have the skills in genomic science to return to the country to kick-start the process for entry into the new era of genomic medicine.


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Stakeholders task media on malaria zero-death campaign By Wole Oyebade HEAD of the World Malaria A Day coming up this month, media practitioners in the country have been urged to re-double efforts in the campaign against malaria-related sickness and deaths. Stakeholders, under the aegis of ‘Malaria No More’ group, said media must be unrelenting in raising awareness and influence right policies, if the country must achieve the zero-death target. In a related development, a 30-second on-air reminder message against malaria – NightWatch – is set for launch this month. NightWatch messages, as conveyed by celebrities, are to remind Nigerians on the importance of sleeping under mosquito nets and take other preventative measures. Meeting at a media workshop in Lagos, participants were unanimous that there is lot more to be done against one of the biggest killer diseases of all time. Country Director, Malaria No More, Dayo Oluwole observed that despite huge efforts aimed at tackling the disease burden, half of the world remain at risk of malaria, majority of which are pregnant women and children. “Today, almost half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria infection, with over a million deaths yearly. Africa contributes 3,000 child deaths to the list; that is, one child every 30 seconds,” she said. Oluwole added that malaria also accounts for 60 per cent outpatient visits today; 30 per cent hospitalisations; 25 per cent of deaths in children under one year old; 11 per cent of maternal deaths. She said further that the statistic, though an improvement on erstwhile burden, is indication on the need for improved efforts and awareness campaign against the disease. Oluwole said the onus lies on the media, a critical stakeholder in the campaign, to further raise awareness on life saving commodities like timely diagnosis, treatment,

mosquito nets and targeted insecticide spraying among others. Oluwole added that the awareness-drive informed the NightWatch idea, to inspire health around malaria among the Nigeria public. “The idea is simple: broadcast a 30-second message with a signature sound and celebrities - reminding people to sleep under their mosquito nets and take other preventative measures.” Already in Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, and Tanzania, NightWatch harnesses the power of pop culture and the

reach of national consumer brands to give new vibrancy to the malaria fight, and ensure our weapons to prevent and treat the disease are used regularly and effectively. In 2013, football stars like Didie Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, XMaleya and President Johnson Sirleaf joined the ranks of NightWatch spokesperson. Confirmed Ambassadors in Nigeria include: Bez, Chioma, Femi Kuti, Funke Akindele, I Go Dye, Mikel Obi, Stephen Keshi, Victor Moses, Vincent Eyeama, Waje and Zebrudaya among others. Malaria is a life-threatening

blood disease caused by Plasmodium parasites; malaria is transmitted to humans only by mosquito bites from female Anopheles mosquitoes. The Anopheles mosquito bites primarily at night – between 9PM and 5a.m., which makes sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net every night highly effective in preventing malaria. The most common parasite in Africa is the Plasmodium Falciparum – more deadly than Plasmodium Vivax prevalent in South America & Asia Malaria can be diagnosed

within 20 minutes by using a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDTs) and can be treated by Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) medicine. Malaria is preventable, curable and can be eliminated! Facilitator at the programme, Sola Ogundipe stressed that improved awareness must also be created around available and effective low-cost strategies for treatment, prevention and control through RBM global partnership; traditional approaches such as prevention of malaria in pregnant women, through

the Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) and the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) are promoted. “Sleeping under an ITN as the most effective way to prevent malaria transmission; scaling up household ownership and use of ITNs. The problem is that children under-five are not sleeping under ITNs and current levels of use by children still well below the target of universal coverage. These is why media practitioners must improve on enlightenment,” he said.

Imoke charges Navy on Calabar referral Hospital ROSS River State Governor, C Senator Liyel Imoke, has charged the Nigerian Navy to ensure that the Naval Referral Hospital in Calabar, which construction began about 35 years ago is completed and put to use within the life time the present administration. Imoke gave the charge when the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral OC Medani, paid him a courtesy visit in Calabar. He lauded the commitment and zeal demonstrated by the organization towards the completion of the project, saying that he was excited over the project because it is in line with his vision of making healthcare delivery readily available to the citizenry, especially the less privileged. He maintained that the referral hospital which has recently witnessed tremendous facelift and reconstruction work owing to the commitment of the Chief of Naval Staff and his men, gives great hope that it is coming to fruition soon with its commissioning by President Goodluck Jonathan. The Governor who underscored the significance and contribution of the facility to improved healthcare delivery in the state when completed, promised to collaborate with

Cross River State Governor, Senator Liye Imoke receiving the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral O. C. Medani, with him is the Commanding Officer, NNS Victory, Commodore Fredrick Ogu, when they paid him a visit in Calabar the Navy to ensure that the hospital project takes off successfully. Imoke congratulated the FOC whom he described as a home boy, having served in the command before his present appointment, on his elevation.

Earlier in his speech, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral OC Medani, lauded the giant strides recorded by the Imoke-led administration and promised to consolidate on the

successes recorded by his predecessor in ensuring that Calabar, which he described as the home of the Navy, enjoys harmonious co-existence with the civilians. He commended the government for supporting the Nigerian Navy School with

the requisite infrastructure including access roads, saying that such gesture was quite exceptional and pledged the unalloyed loyalty of the Navy to the government in the area of security.

Group seeks higher budgetary allocation for food production By Omotola Oloruntobi, Abuja HE Chief Executive Officer T of Save the children, Jasmine Whitebread yesterday called on the federal government to increase budgetary allocation for food production in order to reduce stunting and malnutrition in the country. She said that stunting, a permanent effect of malnutrition, which could lead to fatal health complications that burden health care system, adding that it reduces productivity and has devastating effects that last a life time. Speaking at press briefing in Abuja, she stated that most children are stunted because they have been deprived of the right kinds of food, which damages their physical and mental growth permanently. Whitebread said, “At current rates, around one mil-

lion more children will become stunted every single year over the next decade. That’s millions of children condemned to being less than their potential: physically, emotionally and intellectually. “Stunting is a big problem. About 37 per cent of children are suffering from malnutrition because they do not have access to balanced diet. To address this, we need to sensitize people on the importance of breast-feeding, which is relatively. Also the national health bill needs to be addressed to improve health services to children. Though government is trying, more needs to be done. “Addressing stunting is the right thing to do and also a smart financial investment. The sustained development of Africa’s economies is dependent on the potential of its citizens. A whole genera-

tion of potential leaders is at risk without commitment and actions to address child stunting and malnutrition quickly and effectively.” She added that to reduce the risk of millions of malnourished children in the country, there must be direct interventions, such as protecting vulnerable families from poverty, and making the global food system produce more nutritious food. She said, “Attacking the global poverty can no longer be treated as an issue for the social sector alone. This concerns all of us across part of the society. Tackling nutrition must be a team effort between governments, civil society and business if it is to be successful.” The Head Health and child survival, Save The Children, Dr. Binyam Gebru added that there has been a significant improvement in the budget-

ing for malnutrition by some states, but that the more still needs to be done. He said, “Allocation of funds for malnutrition is not properly earmarked because it is buried under other health issues. We need to learn how to translate our plans into actions which is very important.” The Senior Maternal and New birth Health Manager, Abimbola Williams, also called on government to do more in tackling malnutrition in children by ensuring that funds meant to address it are expended judiciously. “Malnutrition is a general problem which needs to be addressed. It is better to prevent it now in order to forestall its resultant damages. Also, money earmarked to address malnutrition must be spent judiciously without using it on something else,” she said.


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Mustard seed ‘cure’ for epilepsy, diabetes CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33 They assessed the histological damage, activities of serum marker enzyme, haematological changes, metabolites such as bilirubin, urea, uric acid, and creatinine levels, tissue thiobarbutric acid reactive substance, enzymic and nonenzymic antioxidants and inflammatory marker enzymes such as myeloperoxidase, cathepsin D, and acid phosphatase. The haematological system consists of the blood and bone marrow. Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment found in bile, a fluid made by the liver. Urea is the major end product of nitrogen metabolism in humans and mammals. Uric acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are found in some foods and drinks. Creatinine is a by-product of normal muscle contractions, which becomes a chemical waste product filtered from the blood through the kidneys. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances - TBARS - are formed as a byproduct of lipid peroxidation (that is as degradation products of fats) which can be detected by the TBARS assay using thiobarbituric acid as a reagent. The results read: “The d-GalN-induced toxicity was evident from a significant increase (p < 0.001) in the serum and tissue inflammatory markers in toxic rats, when compared with the control (saline alone treated animals). The B. nigra pretreated groups (200 and 400 mg/kg b.wt.) showed significant reduction in the d-GalN-induced toxicity as obvious from biochemical parameters. Histopathological observations confirm the protective effect of B. nigra leaf extract by reduction in hepatic and renal tissue damage. Experimentals extract showed a similar effect as the standard.” Indian researchers have also shown that extract of Brassica nigra seed can be used to treat seizure, epilepsy and convulsion because of its antioxidant properties and action via enzyme activity mechanism. The study is titled “Antiepileptic and Antioxidant Effect of Brassica nigra on Pentylenetetrazol-Induced Kindling in Mice.” The researchers wrote: “Considering the high rate of epilepsy today, with respect to the insufficiency of the available therapies, new strategies and methods are recommended for medical treatment of epileptic patients. Therefore, the present study experimentally investigated the anticonvulsant effect of a herbal medicine candidate Brassica nigra, by using kindling method. “Sixty male mice were randomly selected and divided into six experimental groups (n = 10) including: 1-control, 2pentylentetrazole (PTZ)-kindled mice, 3-positive control group received valproate (100 mg/Kg) as anti-convulsant drug, 4-5 and 6 received brassica nigra seed extract in three doses (75, 150 and 300 mg/Kg; IP). “All groups except for the control ones were kindled by 11 period injections of PTZ (35 mg/Kg; IP). In the 12th injection, all groups except for the control group were tested for PTZ challenge dose (75 mg/Kg). However, the exhibited phases of seizure (0-6) were observed

and noted till 30 min after the PTZ injection. At last, the brains of all the mice were removed and then malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and nitric oxide (NO) levels of the brain tissues were determined. “Statistical analysis of the data shows that the seed extract could reduce the intensity, improvement and duration of seizure. In addition, the Brassica nigra extract increased the SOD and NO levels and decreased the MDA level in the brain tissues. “Attained results show that the extract of Brassica nigra seed can be used in grand mal seizure treatment. Moreover, the antiepileptic effect of this extract is probably caused by its antioxidant properties and acts via enzyme activity mechanism.”

Epilepsy is one of the most prevalent neurological disorders, which affects about 0.5 to one percent of the world’s population. Epilepsy is resulted from a recurrent spontaneously abnormal electrical discharge of a group of neurons in the brain and exhibits as seizure occurrence in the patients. Glutamate and -aminobutyric acid (GABA) are two important excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in epilepsy. In spite of the generally acceptable treatment of epilepsy by anticonvulsant drugs, about one-third of this population suffers from unprevented neurological changes induced by epileptic seizures and also exhibit some accompanied side effects. The long time seizure-induced neuronal activity might result

in neurological changes and finally is ended by neuronal death. Oxidative stress and free radicals production are of the most important mechanisms by which neurological disorders such as epileptic seizure occur. Nitric oxide (NO) is known as a neurotransmitter in the brain that has shown paradoxical role in seizure modulation, as an inhibitor and promoter in different cases. The final product of lipid peroxidation is malondialdehyde (MDA), while MDA level could be considered as an index of lipid peroxidation. Increased level of MDA, as an index of lipid peroxidation in the PTZ mice may lead us to the conclusion that free fatty acids and free radicals are made from membrane phospho-

lipid metabolism. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an intracellular antioxidant enzyme that catalyses converting the peroxidase to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in order to protect the cell from superoxide radicals and oxidative stress. The researchers concluded: “In conclusion, the present research indicates that hydroalcoholic Brassica nigra extract have anti-seizure effect on PTZinduced kindling in mice. In addition, since the experimental epilepsy is mediated by oxidative stress and free radicals, it could be suggested that Brassica nigra is able to prevent seizures by an antioxidant mechanism. However, the involvement of GABA receptor agonists in the Brassica nigra anti-seizure effect should not be ruled out.” Indian researchers have also

found that mustard seed could be a possible new therapeutic agent for the treatment of diabetes. The study published in Experimental, Clinical and Endocrinology Diabetes is titled “Insulinotropic effect of aqueous extract of Brassica nigra improves glucose homeostasis in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats.” The researchers wrote: “Aqueous extract of BRASSICA NIGRA (AEBN) has been shown to have good anti-diabetic effect along with significant decrease of abnormal serum lipid levels in our previous study. To understand the mechanism of action, effect of oral administration of AEBN for two months on glycolytic and gluconeogenic enzymes was studied in liver and kidney tissues of rats with streptozotocin (STZ) induced diabetes mellitus.”


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Ibru

Omolayole

Kolade

Corporate leaders rally behind ‘Big war on cancer’ initiative But nobody today can say that one does not know what cancer and its prime cause is. On the contrary, there is no disease whose prime cause is better known, so that today, ignorance is no longer an excuse that one cannot do more about prevention. In the meantime, millions must die of cancer unnecessarily – Nobel Prize Winner, Otto Warburg By Chukwuma Muanya and Wole Oyebade UMANITARIAN spirit of H the corporate world in Nigeria would be on the line this June, as ‘the big war on cancer’ initiative calls for support. The business world is not unused to pockets corporate social responsibilities. But this is the first time they will be asked to close ranks, amass resources and form a United Front against a common mortal enemy – cancer. The big war initiative, led by Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) Nigeria, aims at acquiring no fewer than 37 Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs) to go round the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. It is estimated that at least 100,000 lives of Nigerians, currently killed by cancer, would be saved yearly. To achieve this objective, all roads lead to the fund-raising banquet, tagged: ‘Banquet of Stars Against Cancer’ (BOSAC), holding at the Eko Convention Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday June 8, 2014. BOSAC is the grand finale of the National Cancer Week, slated for June 1 to 8, 2014. Convener of the CECP

• Target 37 Mobile Cancer Centres, at N95m each • As Kolade, Alex-Ibru, Omolayole others set agenda for media support Nigeria, Adetutu Adeleke, at a recent interactive session between elders of the corporate world and media professionals in Lagos, said the current focal course of the CECP Nigeria was ‘the big war against cancer’, aimed at raising funds to acquire 37 Mobile Cancer Centres. The MCC, a clinic on wheels, will facilitate the ongoing nationwide cancer screening/treatment campaign of the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP), a non-government initiative. Cancer kills because the incidents are often undetected or treated early. But with the Mobile Cancer Centre, lifesaving screening would be carried out, coupled with followup and some treatments including surgeries. Among the facilities aboard the mobile clinic are colonoscopy, sonology, mammography, cryotherapy, as well as equipment for the screening for prostate cancer and other common cancers. The mobile units will also deliver preventive care against other related diseases known to increase the risk of cancer. These related diseases include malaria, diabetes, hepatitis, kidney disease, hypertension and HIV/AIDS. The sad reality, Adetutu observed, is that Nigeria is “a bleeding nation, in the midst of preventable causes of untimely and premature death stalking the land.” It is therefore a little wonder Nigeria has the 11th lowest life expectancy in the world, and the second lowest in West Africa. Today, “most Nigerians do not live long enough to retire, to attend their children’s graduations or weddings, to

see their grandchildren, or enjoy the fruits of their labour,” she said. Continuing, Adeleke said: “But, just as surgeons use surgical clamps to stop bleeding, we believe that with the support of all Nigerians, particularly the Corporate Leaders and Media Proprietors, the CECP Nigeria will be able to actualise this historic project to save the lives of over 100,000 Nigerians annually.” Chairman of the occasion, Sir Michael Omolayole noted that cancer is the number one killer of mankind, and a growing epidemic at alarming proportion. “Cancer is not just a health issue,” he submitted, but has also assumed a socio-economic dimension, in families and the society at large. In addition to the prolonged mortal agony of the primary sufferer, cancer victimises the family and the society at large. “Because cancer is the most expensive disease of mankind, it often results in worsening of poverty, school drop-out, marital breakdown, loss of employment, closure of otherwise viable small and medium scale business concerns and other social problems. Therefore, tackling the cancer epidemic will ameliorate so many other multifaceted social problems,”

Omolayole said. As someone that has lost a daughter (a medical doctor!) to the disease, Omolayole added that cancer is also a human rights issue. More than any other disease, “the rich and powerful Nigerian cancer patients who can afford care are more likely to survive it while the poor and vulnerable die.” “Finally, cancer constitutes a major drain on the resources of Nigeria’s corporate world, both in terms of the huge amounts being spent every year on treatment, but also the loss of human capital when skilled professionals succumb to preventable cancer.” Omolayole, who is also the Chairman of the Society for Advancing Local Talent and Virtue in Management (SALTVIM), a private sector advocacy group, said further that the good news is that cancer is preventable; “and the means of preventing cancer can be made readily available to all Nigerians through the use of mobile cancer centres.” He said words of Nobel Prize Winner, Otto Warburg, are instructive, when he said: ‘But nobody today can say that one does not know what cancer and its prime cause is. On the contrary, there is no disease whose prime cause is better known, so that today igno-

We need many more Nigerians in the mould of Warren Buffet who said, ‘More than 99 per cent of my wealth will go to philanthropy during my lifetime or at death’. He not only committed himself to this ideal but also convinced more than 50 of USA’s billionaires to take his ‘Giving Pledge’, committing at least 50 per cent of their total wealth to charity. We cannot afford to continue to fold our arms and watch the already medically defeated canker worm called cancer cruelly snatch our loved ones prematurely from us. We will be failing our nation and loved ones if we don’t act.

rance is no longer an excuse that one cannot do more about prevention. In the meantime, millions must die of cancer unnecessarily.’ “At a cost of N95 million for each, we require a total of N3.6 billion for all the 37 Mobile Cancer Centres. To accomplish this huge task, we need all hands on deck,” Omolayole said. Can the corporate world afford the sum? Omoloyole and Co are upbeat that N3.6 billion is within a snap job, giving the willing heart. After all, Nigeria spends over N30 billion ($200m) on medical tourism every year. That is the cost 333 MCCs in a year! Omolayole, therefore, called on corporate philanthropists in the country to take a cue from India’s largest conglomerate, the Tata group. Tata, which accounts for 3.2 per cent of Indian Gross Domestic Product (GDP), devotes two-thirds of its profit every year to charity! Tata funded the first Indian comprehensive cancer centre. “We need more Nigerians to embrace the noble example of Bill & Melinda Gates whose Foundation devotes as much funds to global health as does the World Health Organisation! “We need many more Nigerians in the mould of Warren Buffet who said, ‘More than 99 per cent of my wealth will go to philanthropy during my lifetime or at death’. He not only committed himself to this ideal but also convinced more than 50 of USA’s billionaires to take his ‘Giving Pledge’, committing at least 50 per cent of their total wealth to charity. “We cannot afford to continue to fold our arms and watch the already medically defeated

canker worm called cancer cruelly snatch our loved ones prematurely from us. We will be failing our nation and loved ones if we don’t act,” Omolayole said. Executive Secretary of CECPNigeria, Dr Abia Nzelu, explained that the MCC is a not the same as a mobile mammogram, but a cancer clinic on wheels, in which screening, follow-up and some treatment can take place as the vehicle move from one door-step to another in communities. Nzelu observed that Nigeria has one of the worst cancer statistics in the world, with only one out of every five Nigerian cancer patients surviving. While there are 100, 000 new cases recorded every year, about 80,000 die every year, or about 10 cancer deaths every hour! Findings revealed that much more are unrecorded. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said one-third of cancer cases are actually preventable, one-third treatable, given early diagnosis and care services and the remaining onethird can still have better outcome if treatable promptly. Nzelu said: “That is why we keep saying cancer ought not to be an epidemic among us and we must wage this war together. Health education is important, but without appropriate intervention, awareness is defeated, which is why we need the MCCs, one in each of our states.” She added that ideally, Comprehensive Cancer Care Centres, at least one in every geo-political zones of the country, are imperative for effective cancer care on the long run. “And Nigeria should have the comprehensive cancer care centres, including the Cancer Research Institute. CONTINUED ON PAGE 43


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Corporate leaders target 37 Mobile Cancer Centres, at N95m each

Mobile Cancer Centre CONTINUEDFROM PAGE 42 But the challenge is that each will cost several billions of naira and will take time. We cannot also tell dying Nigerians to hold on, while we get the comprehensive centre ready. “In the alternative and to save Nigerians from preventable deaths, we are asking for MCCs for Nigeria. Each mobile clinic has a lifespan of 20 years,” she said. Chairman and Publisher of The Guardian Newspapers, Maiden Alex-Ibru, in her keynote address said the media have a significant role and responsibility to the success of the big war initiative, and therefore, should be participants and not observers. Reasons are, the media holds the key to awareness creation, public opinion and are members of the human society, where all are vulnerable to the cancer epidemic. She said: “There is a lot of superstition, stigmatisation and secrecy surrounding cancer. There are widespread misconceptions and misinformation about the deadly disease; with the help of the media, cancer can be demystified. “Many people do not know how to protect themselves from the cancer epidemic. The media plays a vital role towards ensuring that the gaps in knowledge are filled. Effective health communication through the media would significantly enhance cancer prevention and cancer care as well as reduces difficulties in people’s access to health,” Alex-Ibru said. She added that without the media, there would be minimal progress in realising the goal of acquiring the needed 37 mobile cancer centres, which will take cancer prevention and health promotion to all Nigerians. “Many of us are also aware that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) created a unique short code; by sending a text message to “44777”, a person can contribute N100/SMS towards this cause. Interswitch Limited also established a code - “777526” for donations via ATM or

online at www.quickteller.com. “However, without the media publicising these two codes pro bono, the efforts to get the general public to use them will amount to winking in the dark. In addition, media publicity would help to draw the compassionate attention of high net-worth individuals and organisations, capable of donating one or more of the MCCs.” While she stressed the importance of regular medical checks, even among the media practitioners, Alex-Ibru noted that MCC course was more important, as one of the 100, 000 lives to be saved in a particular year could be one’s own. She said: “It is known that one out of every three persons will be diagnosed with cancer in their life-time. Therefore, by supporting the ‘Big war’, we are actually saving our own lives and lives of our loved ones. “Cancer has cut short the careers of so many gifted media professionals and entrepreneurs. Some of you may already be aware of the story of my beloved husband, and his two-year battle with cancer. Indeed, there is hardly any of us here whose life has not been touched directly or indirectly by this deadly but

Adeleke

largely preventable disease. “We hereby call on each and every media entrepreneur and media practitioner in Nigeria to join in promoting and deploying a 10-point Media Agenda for the total success of the ‘Big war’ against cancer.” Components of the 10-point Media Agenda are: *Donation of advert space to publicise the campaign, especially the National Cancer Week and the Banquet of Stars against Cancer (BOSAC) *Facilitating interactive sessions between editorial boards/editors/reporters and representatives of the CECP *Editorial support *Special interviews/features *Daily ear piece insertions (print media) or Public Service Announcements /Jingles (electronic media) *Online support through the relevant websites and social media platforms *Getting your staff members to use their individual social media networks to promote the initiative *Creating dedicated periodic (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) programmes/columns to facilitate the BIG WAR *Buying your own corporate table at the Banquet of Stars against Cancer (BOSAC) *Helping with the sale of

tables by mobilizing your high net-worth friends and associates to buy tables at the Banquet of Stars against Cancer (BOSAC) “Through its unlimited communicative strength and outreach, the media wields great power but it should be noted, with great power comes great responsibility. As the cancer menace worsens, the media cannot afford to be silent, sleeping, snoring, slacking, or snorting. To defeat Cancer, we need a full-scale war! “We should ACT! (Attack Cancer Today!) Because every Nigerian deserves to live long enough to retire, to attend their children’s graduations and weddings, to see their grandchildren, and to enjoy the fruits of their labour. “We will ACT!! (Attack Cancer Together!!) Because cancer could afflict anyone, irrespective of age, sex or social class “We must ACT! (Attack Cancer Totally!!!) Because only through a full-scale ‘war’ can we defeat the cancer menace in Nigeria. To successfully fight and win the ‘Big war’ we need ‘generals’,” Alex-Ibru said. Former Nigerian Ambassador to United Kingdom, Dr Christopher Olusola Kolade, who is also the anchorperson for the

Ohiwerei

National Cancer Week, listed activities for the weeklong celebration. He stated that the week would begin on Sunday June 1, 2014 with the International Cancer Survivors’ Day, with prayers and special collections by churches across the nation. It is a campaign known as Stars in the Church Against Cancer. It would be followed by similar campaigns focused on schools – Rising Stars Against Cancer – on Monday, June 2. A World Press Conference holds on Wednesday, June 3 and a Novelty football match on Thursday, June 4. Kolade added that a Corporate Dress Down Day Against Cancer is scheduled for Thursday, June 5 in offices across the county. And ‘Stars in the Mosques Against Cancer’ on Friday June 6, for the Muslim community. Banquet of Stars Against Cancer (BOSAC), holding on June 8, is the grand finale of the National Cancer Week. Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited, Sir Remi Omotoso, who is also a Lead Advocate of the CECP Nigeria, listed the levels of sponsorship ahead of BOSAC, ranging from one-star sponsor (N5 million) to fivestar sponsors (N100 million).

He explained that the word ‘star’ is used in the military sense of a ‘general’ in the ‘Big war’ against cancer. For each level of sponsorship, he enumerated benefits that would accrue to the sponsor, including branding rights and the availability of the mobile units to screen the staff of the donor organisation. Apart from Corporate sponsors, there is also a provision for Corporate Associates of the ‘Big war’; these are individuals or organisations that book corporate seats for N250, 000 per seat or corporate tables for 10 guests at N2m per table at the fund raising banquet. BOSAC is planned to be an AllStars All-Brands Act and the biggest charity banquet ever to be held in Nigeria. It would also be the first-ever Spectral Carpet Event in the world. Eko Hotel is hosting the BOSAC pro bono under the auspices of the Hotel and Personal Services Employers Association of Nigeria (HOPESEA). Doyen of the entertainment industry, Tony Okoroji, who also spoke at the event emphasised the need to mobilise all Nigerians to donate the sum of N100 as often as possible by sending SMS ‘SAVE’ to 44777. He emphasized that those who cannot be ‘generals’ in the ‘Big war’ should at least be foot soldiers, in order to mobilise enough Nigerians to yield one million SMS messages. CECP-Nigeria is a local adaptation of a universal movement, which started in the United States of America. It provides a platform for private sector led united action for the common good of society. CECP-Nigeria is co-promoted by six of the core bodies of the Organized Private Sector (OPSNigeria). These are: the Institute of Directors (IoD), the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and industry (LCCI), the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA), the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) & the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).


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SCIENCE HEALTH Thursday, April 3, 2014

Eating fruits, vegetables linked to healthier arteries later in life OMEN who ate a diet W high in fresh fruits and vegetables as young adults were much less likely to have plaque build-up in their arteries 20 years later compared with those who consumed lower amounts of these foods, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session. This new finding reinforces the importance of developing healthy eating habits early in life. Previous studies have found that middle-aged adults whose diet consists of a high proportion of fruits and vegetables are less likely to have a heart attack or stroke, but the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption during young adulthood and heart disease later in life was less clear. To study this concept, researchers evaluated the association between dietary intake of fruits and vegetables in young adults and the presence of coronary artery calcification (CAC) 20 years later. CAC scores, which were obtained using a CT scan, provide a direct estimate of the amount of plaque in the coronary arteries. “It’s an important question because lifestyle behaviors, such as a heart healthy diet,

• Study shows lower prevalence of plaque build-up in women, but not men are the foundation of cardiovascular prevention and we need to know what dietary components are most important,” said Dr. Michael D. Miedema, a cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, and the lead investigator of the study. Specifically, women who reported consuming the most fruits and vegetables (eight to nine servings a day for a 2,000calorie diet) in their 20s were 40 percent less likely to have calcified plaque in their arteries in their 40s compared with those who ate the least amount (three to four servings a day) during the same time period. This association persisted even after researchers accounted for other lifestyle behaviors, as well as for their current-day diets, further demonstrating the role dietary patterns at younger ages may play. “These findings confirm the concept that plaque development is a lifelong process, and that process can be slowed down with a healthy diet at a young age,” Miedema said. “This is often when dietary habits are established, so there is value in knowing how the choices we make in early life have lifelong benefits.”

Surprisingly, the same benefit did not hold true for men, which warrants further investigation. “Several other studies have also suggested that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is less protective in men, but we do not have a good biological reason for this lack of association,” Miedema said, adding that the study had less power to evaluate men (62.7 percent were female vs. 37.3 percent male). The study included 2,508 participants from the ongoing government-sponsored Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which is evaluating how heart disease develops throughout adulthood. CARDIA began in the mid-1980s with a group of men and women 18 to 30 years of age and has collected extensive data on medical, socioeconomic, psychosocial and behavioral characteristics. At the start of CARDIA (19851986), women and men were asked about their consumption of different fruits and vegetables and the number of servings they had eaten in the past month using a semiquantitative interview food-

frequency questionnaire. Researchers then calculated the average number of servings of fruits and vegetables per day and adjusted them to a 2,000-calorie diet. People were divided into three groups based on self-reported fruit and vegetable intake: high, moderate and low. CAC was measured at year 20 (2005-2006) using electronbeam computed tomography. The average age at baseline and the 20-year follow-up was 25 and 45 years, respectively. “CAC scoring is currently the best predictor we have for future heart attacks,” Miedema said. Calcium buildup in the walls of the coronary arteries is an early sign of heart disease, and the presence of CAC substantially raises an individual’s risk for a future heart attack. In their analysis, researchers controlled for smoking, exercise, consumption of red meat, sugar-sweetened beverages and other dietary and cardiovascular risk factors that correlate with atherosclerosis. Participants with extreme high or low caloric intake/day or those missing CAC scores were excluded from the analysis.

Fruits and vegetables... middle-aged adults whose diet consists of a high proportion of fruits and vegetables are less likely to have a heart attack or stroke

Rapha Healthy Living Institute holds training By Adeniyi Idowu Adunola HE first diet of the Rapha T Healthy Living Institute was a huge success. A total of 43 participants from all walks of life across Nigeria registered and partook in the healthy living training. The objective of the training was to inculcate good healthy living practices and to produce healthy living enthusiasts, coaches and ambassadors to spread the healthy living practice. The Founding President of the Institute and Senior

Pastor of The Shepherd’s Flock International Church, Rev. Tony Akinyemi, said: “It is the cardinal objective of RHLI to recruit, train, raise, empower and commission individuals to educate and counsel people to overcome their health challenges through healthy dietary and lifestyle practices.” He said that, “imbibing the healthy living practices offered by the institute is a sure way of improving one’s state of health and above all prolonging one’s life span – to die at rightful age.” The five-day training,

which flagged off on Monday, March 17, 2014 came to a close on Friday, 21, 2014. Trainees were taken on various modules followed by intellectual exercises and group projects in the course of the five-day training. Successfully trained participants were awarded certificates and commissioned as Healthy Living Ambassadors (HLA) and healthy living coaches in providing practical solutions to variegated healthy and healthy living challenges. At the end of the training, Rev. Akinyemi, charged the

trainees to be good healthy living ambassadors in all their doings and interrelationships with individuals who may require their help. He added that the second training would come up from Monday June 23 to Friday June 27, 2014. Individuals seeking to improve their own personal health, as well as medical, nutritional, and health education professionals who want to enhance their skills and education in order to help others are encouraged to attend this diet. For enquiries, interested persons should please call TSF

Complications and management of diabetes our discussions in the Long-term elevation of FseenROM last two weeks, we have blood sugar level causes damthat diabetes mellitus is a disease that is characterised by excessively high levels of glucose in the circulation but not enough inside the cells. There is not enough inside the cells because insulin, which is supposed to drive the glucose into the cells has failed. Furthermore, we know that every cell of the body requires glucose for energy production and utilization. For this reason, complications of diabetes seem to affect every system of the body. The severity of these complications depend on how well the condition is managed; how well the blood sugar is controlled. There are some lifestyle choices and health challenges that may increase the severity of diabetic complications and these are, a sedentary lifestyle (a life devoid of exercises), smoking of cigarettes, obesity, high blood cholesterol level and hypertension. Complications of diabetes mellitus These complications can either be acute or chronic. Acute complications of diabetes that are within the scope of this article include the following: Respiratory infection: Hyperglycaemia (excessive blood in the circulation, a main feature of diabetes), is known to suppress the immune system and also causes inflammation. These, ordinarily should cause infection any where in the body, but respiratory infections like pneumonia are more frequently encountered because the vascular effects of hyperglycaemia also cause impairment of lung function. Gum disease (gingivitis): This is inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria which makes treatment of diabetes more difficult. In fact, research has proven that proper treatment of the gum disease can improve the management of diabetes. Hypoglycaemia: This is a state of abnormally low level of glucose in the blood. It is commonly the result of error in the administration of insulin in type 1 diabetes or in advanced cases of type 2, where insulin administration is part of treatment. Other causes could be excessive exercise without reduction of insulin given to the patient and inadequate diet. In the acute stage the individual may be anxious, agitated, sweaty with cold extremities and weak. He could also become unconscious, a condition known as hypoglycemic coma. Chronic complications of diabetes

age to the blood vessels. This is a condition known as angiopathy and depending on the type of vessel affected we have microangiopathy in the small vessels and macroangiopathy in the bigger vessels. The endothelial cells that line the inner parts of the blood vessels usually take up glucose independent of insulin and in the presence of chronic hyperglycaemia, they can contain very high levels of glucose. This leads to thickening and hardening of the blood vessel as a result of the more than usual level lipids and other deposits such as calcium, fibrous connective tissues and other substances that may be found in the blood. In the large blood vessels, the plaques deposited form a sort of arteriosclerosis known as atherosclerosis, which can cause diseases like coronary artery disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Due to the nature of this disease, complications can be found in any organ or system of the body. A list of these complications as they affect the organs or systems are, Diabetic retinopathy is due to a microangiopathy, a disease that causes damage to the microvascular network of the blood vessels in the retina. It could also be as a result of the development of poorly formed microvessels in the retina. These both can cause oedema (swelling) of the retina, which can eventually lead to blindness. Diabetic cardiomyopathy is as a result of damage to the coronary blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. As I mentioned earlier, atherosclerosis (arteriosclerosis of the bigger blood vessels), in the heart vessels cause damage of these vessels leading to heart failure, heart attack and death. Diabetic nephropathy is a microvascular disease that is caused by damage of the blood vessels in the kidneys. Diabetes is the commonest cause of chronic kidney failure requiring dialysis in the industrialized nations. This is on the increase among Africans, considering the number of them that troop to India and other nations for kidney transplant. Diabetic neuropathy is characterised by a decrease or loss of sensation in the feet and hands. This condition is more common in the feet and together with microangiopathy of the feet can lead to diabetic foot. Next week Thursday, I shall discuss more specific complications of, and management of diabetes.


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Education Suspense as Anglican Church battles Enugu govt over schools ownership From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu NUGU State government is locked in a heated E battle with the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in the state, over a parcel of land housing three secondary and five primary schools. As the day passes by, the matter degenerates and tension rises. While residents of the state watch as the ugly scenario unfolds, more than 3, 000 students, who have been caught in the crossfire are now on tenterhooks and their education, severely threatened. And unfortunately, disturbing signals emanating from both camps in the last few weeks point to the fact that none of the parties is ready to shift grounds as the claims and counter claims over the rightful owner of the massive property rages. The three affected secondary schools are Urban Anglican Girls Secondary School; City Anglican Secondary School and Metropolitan Anglican Girls Secondary School, while the primary schools are Urban Primary School 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The massive compound also plays host to Christ Redemption Anglican Church; St Anthony Catholic Church; the Nigerian Institute of Hotel and Catering Services as well as residential quarChime ters for workers of the schools. The large population of the schools is a direct the Catholic Church including the Holy Rosary result of the dense population of the “New College (HRC) and the College of Immaculate Layout” area, which is seen by many as the Conception (CIC) among others were returned “heart” of Enugu State. Being among the areas to their owners. When the Sullivan Chime-led administration that harboured the first set of settlers in Enugu urban, after the Coal Camp, it boasts facilities that came on board, it continued with the trend. It are rarely found in newly developed areas of the even went further to reach an understanding with representatives of the churches on joint state. In fact, The Guardian gathered that the early mis- management of the schools. It was learnt that in the agreement, teachers’ sionaries who brought Christianity set up the schools and its appurtenances, which also served salaries were to be jointly paid by government as training facilities for young girls. It was then and churches. The same applied to maintenance called the Women Training Centre (WTC), estab- of facilities among others for a period of five lished under the name Christian Missionary years, after which the schools would be fully handed over to the missions. Society (CMS). The massive acquisition of land in the area was However, while the agreement was on, governin a bid to ensure that there was enough accom- ment went a step further to “gazette” all schools it returned to the Catholic Church leaving out modation for the trainees. However, penultimate Thursday, Anglican those of the Anglican and Methodist missions. priests in the state, from 6:00am to midday, The Anglican Church in protesting this selective locked and cordoned off the entire treatment in 2010 petitioned the state governentrances/exits to the schools and denied entry ment asking it to gazette the schools returned to to thousands of students, teachers and others it. The church had also insisted that the inability of thereby stalling academic and other activities. Dressed in their black and white cassocks, the government to gazette the schools led to the placard carrying priests said they were not denial of certain forms of assistance that accrued against government recovering the schools, but to the Catholic schools, which the Anglican would resist a forceful take over of the property schools were denied. They were quick to cite and other facilities housing the schools, which school buses, which several schools returned to the Anglican Church, were denied. they said belonged to them. Although the Anglican Church had requested They also claimed to have spent millions of naira to maintain the property over the years, insisting and secured the removal of the then Education that they would not allow the schools to operate Commissioner, Simeon Ortuanya, whom it within the facility as long as the government was blamed for the afflictions that it schools suffered, the schools are still not gazetted. bent on repossessing them. Now, most Anglican Church members alleged Expectedly, the situation forced the hapless students including those preparing for the ongoing that they have been denied similar treatment as Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations their Catholic Church counterparts because (SSCE), to join in the protest and call for urgent Governor Chime is a Catholic. They also point at the strained relationship between their Bishop, resolution of the matter. The Guardian gathered that the parcel of land, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma and the state which was developed by the church to host the government as one of the reasons. One of the senior priests in the church who is mission schools, was taken over in 1970 by the then East Central government under the Ukpabi extremely uncomfortable with the treatment meted out to the church in recent times lamentAsika-led administration. That regime, it was gathered, four years after ed that: “Government has descended heavily on invited the church under the late Bishop Uzodike facilities belonging to us, pulling down our to receive compensation for the land on which structures and reclaiming our schools.” the schools are sited. The church, however, However, in giving a background to the lingerrefused on the grounds that someday the gov- ing feud between the church and the state government would return the schools to their rightful owners. The quest to return mission schools to their owners, started during the military regime and continued under succeeding civilian administrations in the state. Apparently aware of the decadence suffered by schools, the administration of former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani administration began the process of returning mission schools to their owners. In the pilot scheme, some schools belonging to

Chukwuma ernment, Chukwuma said: “While, we were waiting and dialoguing over the issue of getting our schools gazetted, a letter from the Ministry of Education addressed to us told us that the three schools and 54 other schools including primary schools located inside the church compound are not our schools. They said they were handed over to us in 2010 in error and that government had repossessed them.” He went on: “We are asking, on what grounds, and how did they (government) suddenly realise that the schools are not ours? In the last four years, we have carried the burden of these schools and were waiting for the management of the schools to be fully handed over to us, only to be told the schools are not ours. We are seriously suspecting that the government is not sincere and fair to us. Or why did they not gazette these schools all along? As far as we are concerned, they are our schools and we are not going to give up in the fight to get what belongs to us.” The cleric stated that the church had taken the matter to court where a restraining order was issued against the government on repossessing the schools, adding that while the order was still in force, government started allocating plots of land in the compound of the old WTC, which is housing the three secondary schools. Chukwuma, who informed that he ordered the priests to protest when he discovered that the land was being allocated by the state government, stressed that there was no going back in ensuring that the schools were returned to the church. Despite the resumption of academic activities in the schools following  appeals from the government and concerned parents on the need for the church to embrace dialogue, it would appear that the road to truce is still very far as the two parties are not ready to sheath their swords. It was reliably gathered that the government had summoned representatives of the church in the state to a meeting, where it explained that the move to repossess the school followed its discovery that it was given out to the church in error. Government was also said to have backed up its claim with documents. The state Commissioner of Education, Prof Uchechukwu Okoro said: “In 2009, the state government began the handing over of schools to

We are asking, on what grounds, and how did they suddenly realise that the schools are not ours? In the last four years, we have carried the burden of these schools and were waiting for the management of the schools to be fully handed over to us, only to be told the schools are not ours. We are seriously suspecting that the government is not sincere and fair to us. Or why did they not gazette these schools all along? As far as we are concerned, they are our schools and we are not going to give up in the fight to get what belongs to us

their original owners including Catholic, Anglican and Methodist churches. “Following public complaints that some government schools had been handed over to some missions, the state government set up a committee to investigate the claims-the Anglican, Methodist and Catholic churches were represented in the committee. He continued: “The committee finished its assignment and submitted to the government its findings, listing all the schools handed over in error to other owners. The committee’s findings were based on verifiable records contained in the archives of the government. Following the report, government directed the state Ministry of Education to repossess the affected schools and inform their ‘new’ owners accordingly,” adding that “consequently, schools were recovered from all the churches and not only the Anglican Church.” He listed Catholic Science School, Ihe, in Awgu, Awgu Community Secondary School Nnenwe and Ezeagu Secondary School, Isiugwu as schools that were recovered from the Catholic Church, while  Community Secondary School, Obeagu and Comprehensive Secondary School, Akpasha were recovered from the Methodist Church.” The Commissioner stated that among the schools listed in the report was one located in the old WTC, which had been handed over to the Anglican Church, adding that when government proceeded to recover the school, “the Anglican Church inexplicably, decided to cause a breach of the peace by locking the gates of the schools and prevented students from entering the premises to take their studies. “The church claims that the land, upon which the school was built, belonged to it, but this claim is baseless as the records in the archives clearly show otherwise. Moreover, the church has been unable to produce any document to buttress the claim or show how the government got into its land to build the school. “We find it rather disturbing and painful, that people entrusted with responsibility for the spiritual and moral welfare of the people, could act in such a  reckless manner, most especially, as schools in similar situation as that of the WTC, were recovered from other churches without any incidence,” the statement added. Since the statement was issued, several meetings have been held in a bid to make progress but all to no avail. Apparently to assert its authority and control of the schools, the state government moved its officials last week to the schools where they removed all the signboards that gave ownership of the school to the Anglican Church replacing them with new ones that tied the schools to the government. Like a people prepared for battle, youths suspected to be from the church last Saturday brought down the new signboards in protest over the removal of their own. As at the time of filing the report, none of the three secondary schools within the facility had any signpost in their names within the compound. “We are not ready to give up and nobody can intimidate us. All we ask for is fairness as done to others and nothing more. Since they said the government says it owns the schools, let them take away the schools away from our facility. They can take the schools anywhere they want to,” a member of the church told The Guardian at the complex. A teacher in Urban Girls Secondary School, Mrs. Loveth Aniagbo lamented the situation thus: “We cannot continue this way. I was surprised when my daughter that went to school that day came back to say that gate was locked. Many of the students preparing for their WAEC were affected as the school was shut following the announcement by principal that the schools were no longer under the control of the Anglican Church. I do not know the contention of the church, but I know that the government is returning schools to missions. Let them find out the rightful owners of the schools so as to end this problem. I want to tell you that this is a problem because these are the only schools in this area. You can see the number of students we have”.


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Thursday, April 3, 2014 EDUCATION 47

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Stakeholders urge sustenance of Osun’s new education policy By Ujunwa Atueyi INCE it came into being, Spolicy Osun State’s new education has attracted negative comments from various quarters, with some of the critics altogether accusing the state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola of insensitivity and attempting to promote religious bigotry. It was this prevailing situation that informed the meeting of leaders of non-governmental groups from diverse walks of life in the state recently, to critically examine the new policy and subject it to wide-scale debate as well as get more informed commentary. Organised by Osun Movement for Peace (OMP), the one-day forum with the theme, “Osun Education Policy: Issues, Challenges and Imperatives,” after a comprehensive analysis of components of the policy concluded that the strategy would, in the long run become a catalyst for the socio-political and economic transformation of the state. Held at Ideal Nest Hotels, Osogbo, the group which believed that the long-term benefits of the policy far outweighs its present criticisms, regretted that a project that is suppose to be applauded by all was subjected to political sentiments, adding that no

rational government would have allowed the deplorable state of education in the state to remain in place. In his opening remark, the coordinator of OMP, Comrade Temitayo Bankole, said the symposium would serve as a platform for all interested and well-meaning citizens of the state to dissect the policy with a view to engendering robust positive debate and support base for the nonderailment of its beneficial impacts. He added that the exercise was their contribution towards the building of an egalitarian and peaceful society where citizens are better informed about policies that shape their destinies. “Government come and go just as politics and political contests come and go. However, the only sensible permanent interest that all well-meaning citizens of a state like our own dear State of Osun must hold as nonnegotiable is lasting peace and development that can make life better for future generations. Our group is driven by the desire to preserve Osun and all policies that will transform its fortunes now and in future,” he submitted. For the state government, the forum served as an event for stocktaking as the Deputy Governor/ Commissioner for

Osun State governor, Aregbesola Education, Mrs. Grace Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, who exhaustively presented the new policy and what it entails, submitted that its overall aim was to deliver the curriculum to all school children in the most successful and cost effective

manner. “Our administration is most sincerely committed to the liberation and security of the future of our state as the catalyst for the reclamation of the lost values and ideals of the Omoluabi persona, which

defined the Yoruba race in the past. To be the epicentre of the future Black Race that would be able to stand tall and claim its destiny, Osun State and her children must be sufficiently empowered with holistic education that combines cognitive, affective, psychomotor and technological excellence. Laoye-Tomori continued, “Our administration remains totally committed and will not spare any effort to pursue this objective in the interest of Osun children; no matter the attempt made by enemies of the state to make us lose focus or abandon the course,” she stressed. She commended the organisers for giving an opportunity to stakeholders in the state’s education sector to come together to brainstorm on a policy the state government holds dearly as a clear-cut strategy for liberating and securing the future of the state. In his presentation, which captured the mandate, objectives and various components of the policy, Chairman of Osun Schools Infrastructure Development Committee, Chief Lai Oyeduntan decried the attempt by those he called “mischievous political jobbers who are adept at creating confusion,” to malign the policy and derail the execution of its noble ideals which are meant

for the re-orientation, empowerment and fortification of Osun children to be able to take a pride of place in the evolving new world order. He assured that the policy is being implemented professionally, responsibly and with the sole aim of empowering Osun children to grow up into complete citizens with the Omoluabi (cultured and well mannered) attributes firmly planted in their conscious and sub conscious being so that they can be at the forefront of the vanguard of new middle class being envisaged to elevate the Yoruba race and indeed Nigeria in the comity of focused, developmentattuned nations of the future”. While Prof. Ayo Olukotun of the Lead City University, Ibadan, enjoined Nigerians to cultivate a fresh attitude of objectivity and pursuit of public good whenever public policies are analysed and criticised, Chairman, Civil Societies Coalition, State of Osun, Comrade Biodun Agboola, expressed happiness that the symposium was able to halt what he termed “the divisive agenda being secretly championed by irresponsible politicians whose aim was to precipitate disharmony and religious crisis in the State.


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Concept of Almajiri schools counterproductive, says Kukah By Eno-Abasi Sunday HE Federal Government’s “T decision to create separate schools for Almajiri as a step towards rebuilding the north after the insurgency is likely to have the opposite effect,” so says the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah. The cleric, while speaking at the 43rd Convocation ceremony of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Anambra State over the weekend expressed deep concerns that the predominant Muslim make up of the schools would severely limit and restrict the pupil’s worldview. Speaking on the topic “After the Insurgency: Some Thoughts on Reconciliation in Nigeria,” Kukah opined that the Federal Government should take a second look at the concept before the negative effects go full blast. Advancing details of what could ensure that the concept ends up anticlimactically, Kukah said, “First, these children, the Almajiris will already be stigmatised by virtue of the fact that they will be perceived as being from the streets. The northern elites are not likely to send their children to these schools. But even more dangerous to the programme is the likelihood that no non-Muslim child will be allowed into the schools, thus, denying the children opportunities to interact with others. “Equally dangerous is the fact that their syllabi will be set up and run by Muslim teachers. So, what all this means is that teachers, non-teaching staff and students are most likely to be Muslims. This is definite-

ly not good enough for children of one country. Behind closed doors, the teachers whose ideology or brand of Islam may not be immediately known, could turn these schools into little incubators of hate, thus, merely preparing the next generation of Boko Haram. The Catholic priest who said the idea of government funding the schools has the capacity to cause further controver-

sy saying, “The Islamiyya School is a seminary of sorts, it is incomprehensible why, and how the Federal Government will sink funds into this initiative without appreciating the risk that other religious bodies can start asking to be supported too. Where will we be if various religious bodies should request for the same support?” Referring to the bedlam that

enveloped the school in the wake of the removal of the school’s former ProChancellor, Dr. Emeka Enejere, Jonathan who was represented by the supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike said, “Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my address would not be complete if I do not make reference to the recent disturbing developments in this university.

While I am pleased that peace and normalcy had returned to the university, let me seize this occasion to reiterate that federal institutions should not be seen as the property of the communities or states in which they are situated.” Earlier in his address the Vice Chancellor of the school, Prof. Barth Okolo informed that the school was awarding a total of 7,989 degrees, comprising first degrees, higher degrees

King’s College wants PTA to facilitate steady power RINCIPAL of King’s College, P Lagos, Otunba Oladele Olapeju, has appealed to the

National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members on parade during the closing ceremony of the three-week orientation course for 2014 Batch ‘A’ members, held at the NYSC camp, Iyana Ipaja, Lagos… yesterday

Provost laments non-accreditation of courses 38 years after school’s establishment From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos HE Provost, College of T Health Technology, Pankshin, Jos South council area of Plateau State, Dr Jonathan Daboer, has decried the non-accreditation of any of the college’s courses since its inception in 1976. Speaking while on a courtesy visit to the newly elected chairman of council Mr. Samuel Goar in his office, Daboer blamed the unfortunate situation on the school’s continuous operation at its temporary site 38 years after its establishment. According to him, the “National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) categorically told us that there was no way it would accredit any of our courses since we are not operating at our own permanent site. This is really drawing us backward as a college.” He said the college has a permanent site, which no form of development has taken place on due to the non-compensation of the natives, whose plots of land were taken over. He added that the natives threatened not to allow any

and diploma certificates at the convocation. According to Okolo, some of the achievements his administration has recorded include forging collaboration with over 80 universities across the world, development of infrastructure, making investments that are capable of boosting the school’s revenue, development of online transcript delivery system among others.

development to take place on their land and “until that matter is resolved, it will be difficult for us to go there for any developmental work.” The provost also decried the porous nature of the temporary site, which he said was without perimeter fence making it vulnerable to

attacks. Daboer, who said he was in Goar’s office with his team to congratulate him on his victory at the recently concluded council polls and also brief him on activities of the college, called on the council to assist the college in addressing some of its chal-

lenges. The council boss, who sympathised with the college management on the challenges its grappling with, pledged to discuss the land issue with the Ngas monarch with a view to seeing how the issue of the permanent site could be resolved.

The chairman commended the management of the college for keeping the college standing in spite of the problems facing it, adding that his council was ready to partner the school’s management to make the college one of the best health institutions in the country.

Parent Teachers Association (PTA) of the college to intensify efforts in bringing a permanent solution to the irregular power supply plaguing the college. He said the  development was a major challenge in the execution of the developmental and transformational programmes of the 104 year-old college. According to him, “the issue of power is one of the greatest challenges currently facing the college. We spend N4m monthly on diesel that will serve the two campuses. “We are spending well over our overhead cost for this purpose, to meet up with the demands of our day-to-day activities and this, in no small measure, is rubbing off seriously on other issues jostling for attention in the college.” He said adequate teaching and learning, especially in the face of technological advancement couldn’t take place in the absence of steady power supply. “We are doing our best to ensure that the students were exposed to the best form of teaching and learning. That is why I am calling on the newly-elected PTA executive to step up efforts in this regard, in finding a lasting solution to the challenge”.

Literamed donates first set of books to new library S pupils of both primary A and secondary schools in Ijebu-Imushin, Ogun State prepare to take full advantage of a newly commissioned library donated under the platform of the City Prof Academy Community/Library initiative, Literamed Publications Limited has blazed the trail by donating the library’s first set of books. The event was the 7th anniversary of City Profs Academy (CPA) and official commissioning of the Community Library Initiative (CLI) in the Ijebu Imushin Community. It was tagged “Community Library Initiative in Nigeria: a Vote for Reading Culture.” The donation, which included text and story books and

other culturally relevant and character building books, is coming on the heels of previous donations the firm made to library projects in public schools and various states across the country. With over 45 years’ experience of providing good quality books for children, Chairman of the company, Otunba Yinka Lawal-Solarin, is also canvassing for the promotion of culturally relevant books to be included in the country’s school curriculum. Lawal-Solarin, a staunch supporter of community libraries, said the promotion of culturally relevant books would give Nigerian children the opportunity to relate with their culture and history. He said: “The absence of

developed reading culture in Nigeria is one of the most visible obstacles to our national development. Although, we can say that we have passed the stage of oral tradition culture and have even gone beyond the culture of books to the information age of computers and Internet, we must realise that the door to the Information Technology age is not the computer but the book, which leads to accessibility of the computer. “What is most important is that our (Latern) books are culturally based. They are not stories about blue-eyed children running around the snow. They are books with cultural relevance because we have culture as a very strong background for our books.”

Lawal-Solarin said it was not enough to donate books, but “every school must encourage their pupils to read by buying at least two books per term.” Apart from encouraging a reading habit, he urged the government to promote and patronise indigenous publishers. He was also of the view that students could benefit by creating time to visit the library. “This is what happens in Lagos, when the children leave school. They go to the library, spend an hour there before they go home,” he stated. He described e-learning as a double-edged sword. His words: “You can get a lot of information by just goggling any topic and that

information is very important for learning, whether you are reading culturally relevant books or any other books. E-library is not a disadvantageous thing to rural communities despite infrastructural challenges. In the next few months, all our storybooks would be on the Internet so that children can read the books.” The Oloko of Ijebu Imushin, Oba Stephen A. Onafowokan, who hosted the dignitaries at the event, regretted that the reading culture and values have been eroded in the country through the use of mobile phones, video games and other electronic gadgets. The resultant effect, according to him, is the geometric decline in academic performances.


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Pathway to enjoying benefits of science education, by Okebukola By Ujunwa Atueyi ORMAL delivery of science F170th education in nigeria is in its year now, unfortunately the country has not benefitted greatly from the tremendous advantages inherent in it. Of immense concern in the pathetic situation is the fact that it is not the lack of knowledge in tackling the major issues militating against reaping these benefits that is the challenge, rather it is the lack of political will to address emerging problems. Former Executive Secretary of the national Universities Commission (nUC), Prof Peter Okebukola, made the exposé at the 19th annual lecture of Stephen Oluwole Awokoya Foundation for Science Education in Lagos recently, where he also listed the subject, the learner, environment, culture and the science teacher as presenting different shades of encumbrances to the teaching and learning of science education. He added that gross underfunding and inadequate reward for excellence in science teaching and learning are also part of the problem. In his presentation titled “Delivery of Science Education in nigeria: Putting the Shoe on the Right Foot,” Okebukola also examined the state of input, process and output of science education in the country just as he conducted a deeper probe into the quality, relevance and performance of learners at all levels. Starting with the input variable, which includes the curriculum, teachers, students and facilities, he said: “Our score on the curriculum measure is impressive for all levels of

the system. A comparison of science curricula at the basic and higher education levels with those of well-rated countries in science and technology shows the richness of the curriculum in nigeria.” On teachers, students and facilities, he said, “the printout of the health check shows depressingly low marks. In diagnostic stations two and three where checks on process and product variables are determined, the same trend of poor performance of the system is reported.” Going down memory lane, he recalled, “In St. Malachy’s College Sapele, where I had the first leg of my secondary education in the early 60s and in Remo Secondary School, where I had my higher schooling, science was taught by knowledgeable and dedicated teachers in well-stocked laboratories. We had hands-on practical sessions every week in all science subjects, and were compelled to read a book a week. “We were well prepared for public examinations hence no impetus to cheat. At the University of Ibadan, where we lived in halls of residence, which looked like three star hotels, many of the lecturers were professors from Europe and north America, who were the best in the fields. Every Saturday, we were out on field trips and were able to develop immense knowledge and practical skills in science. Since leaving the university in 1973 up to 2000, which is serving as a marker for the past being described, I have sadly watched the performance of science education take a downward slide.” According to the erudite

scholar, a lot of factors have been responsible for this downward slide, ranging from government related factors; examination body related factors; teacher/students related factors and school/home related factors. “We did a quick review of the 170-year history of science teaching in nigeria and documented our success stories, as well as where we failed to meet the mark. We carried the basket of blame to the doorsteps of all stakeholders, not only government, as it is commonplace to do. Parents, teachers, learners, the media, the civil society, government, indeed all nigerians are blameworthy. However, half the battle is won since we have a diagnosis of the problem. It now remains for one and all to contribute our quota in our different ways to improving the system. “What has emerged over the years is that, it is not for want of knowing the solution to problems facing science education; it is the acute shortage of political will to frontally tackle and wrestle down these problems that is the challenge. I make a guess that not less than 90 per

cent of the recommendations to solving science education problems that have been made in the past and not acted well upon, will be made in the report of the present national conference when submitted in three months time”. The former nUC boss recalled that a few years before independence, four significant events affected science education. “First was the Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme, launched in 1976, which resulted in a multiplefold increase in the number of entrants into secondary school system seven years later.” The enactment of the national Policy on Education in 1981 and the national Policy on Science and Technology in 1986, which the don categorised as the second, steered new directions for science teacher education. The third significant event is the depression in the economy and the associated Structural Adjustment Programme of the 1980s and early 1990s, while the fourth is the combination of the re-emergence of democracy in May 1999 and the launch of the Universal Basic

Education (UBE) scheme. Today, teachers deliver science education to over 42 million children in public and private primary schools and to over 15 million in secondary schools and about 2.3 million higher education students. However, to put the shoe on the right foot, Okebukola presented a 25-point plan for getting the delivery of science education in nigeria right. This, he clustered around seven themes viz curriculum, parents; media; teachers and curriculum delivery; policy; research and government. He, however, recommended that, “The national Policy on Education and the national Policy on Science Education should give effect to the resolution of the 2012 national Summit on Higher Education, calling for the restoration of the Higher School Certificate (HSC). HSC is a pathway for preparing science students better for university education. HSC classes are known for their rigour and will help to remedy the deficiencies in science that senior school certificates students now bring to the 100 level of degree programmes in

universities.” “Consideration should be given to the restoration/establishment of special science schools in states and the Federal Capital Territory. The arrangement does not preclude other schools from teaching subjects like Biology but for those students who are in the science stream, aggregating them in specialised schools will ensure better utilisation of resources. This model worked exceedingly well in Kano State and it is the ‘magic formula’ that led the state to have one of the richest human resource base in science in nigeria, especially in the north”. In addition, he called for a modification of the policy on graduate science teacher education; decongestion of the overloaded science syllabuses on senior school certificate level with emphasis on quality not quantity as well as a fiveyear plan for refurbishing the laboratories of basic, post basic and higher education schools. This should be developed and implemented beginning from 2015.

Provost urges students to focus on entrepreneurial skills n order to survive the chal- charged students to shift ness. worthy members of the socieIployment lenge posed by rising unem- attention to entrepreneurial “History has it that a lot of stu- ty. in the country, the dents easily forget the major need for nigerian students to be resilient and innovative has been stressed. Speaking at the annual matriculation ceremony of Ronik Polytechnic, Lagos, the acting Rector of the polytechnic, Mrs. Oyeladun Atoye

skills that would promote the nation’s economy. In his address, the Chairman, Governing Council of the institution, Moses Ajayi said the students should concentrate on the reasons they enrolled in the institution as that would help them to remain focused en route to achieving great-

reasons they are admitted to school and embrace other irrelevant social vices. It would be important if you fresh students take your stands in life,” he stressed. Ajayi advised the students to make use of the opportunity available to them to become

Maria Afinjuomo, a student of Business Administration and Management, expressed delight at being offered admission into a tertiary institution after six attempts. 250 students were admitted into the institution’s Lagos campus located in the Ejigbo area of Lagos.


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AUN announces scholarships for four new students By Eno-Abasi Sunday HE American University of T Nigeria (AUN) has announced scholarships for four prospective students of the institution. The first two were at the instance of the school’s founder, Atiku Abubakar, in honour of deceased AUN Board of Trustees member and former United States National Security Adviser, Dr. Robert Pastor, who passed away in January. The Robert Pastor scholarships will be awarded annually to deserving male and female JAMB candidates entering AUN. In the latest two, Mr Jon Freeman and Alhaji Tajuddeen Dantata, both board members are honouring one of their colleagues, Dr. Enyantu Ifenne, by sponsoring two scholarship awards in her name for JAMB candidates entering AUN. In this particular scholarship awards, which take effect from January this year, the female candidate with the best JAMB score entering

AUN, in any given year wins the first scholarship, while any candidate with the best JAMB score, from any of the three geographical zones in the North, gets the other. Scholarship winners can enrol for any course of their choice offered at AUN. A statement by the university states that the scholarships are a “further demonstration of a fundamental commitment to increasing access to education, especially for females, in the educationally disadvantaged North East region. Female candidates are particularly encouraged to enrol at AUN because of the numerous scholarship opportunities available. This commitment is further reflected in the university’s latest admission figures, which show that it has enrolled more female candidates than males, for the first time in its history.” According to Freeman, one of the sponsors of the scholarships in honour of Ifenne: “I am honoured to support the scholarship for a female AUN

student in Dr Ifenne’s name, to honour the work she has done with girls and women in Nigeria.” President of the university, Margee Ensign expressed happiness with the development saying, “This scholarships support from Board Members Jon Freeman and

Alhaji Tajudeen Dantata in honour of the work and accomplishments of Dr. Ifenne is extraordinary. We thank our board members and will identify scholarship candidates with great potential. “By providing yearly scholarships in her name, they have recognised Dr. Ifenne’s vital

work in heath, particularly with regard to HIV/AIDS. We are honored that, like Dr. Ifenne, Trustee Freeman and Trustee Dantata have chosen to support deserving students at AUN in our commitment to building a better educated Nigeria.” Ifenne, a Harvard-trained paediatrician, politician, and

health activist, is a role model whose own dazzling career can inspire a generation of young females for the highest educational attainment. She has distinguished herself in important positions in the public and private sectors at national and international levels.

Chellarams donates recreational facilities, others to school By Clarkson Eberu EYING into Lagos State K government’s “Adopt a school programme”, a leading conglomerate, Chellarams Plc, has donated recreational facilities, and educational materials to Estate Primary School, Ile-Iwe Meta, Isolo. Making the donations at the weekend in Lagos as part of activities to mark the group’s 90th year of doing business in Nigeria, the Chief Information Officer, Dr. Harbhajan Batth, restated the company’s commitment

towards fulfilling its mission statement of being a responsible, responsive, competitive and quality driven production entity, satisfying all stakeholders, including educational institutions. He stressed that since children were leaders of tomorrow, there was the need to lay a good foundation for them by supporting their educational development, adding that “although we are doing this as part of our 90 years anniversary, we hope to incorporate this into our corporate social responsibility activities in line with the

‘Adopt a school programme’ of the Lagos State Ministry of Education. Batth urged other companies within the Isolo Industrial Estate to support government efforts at improving the quality of public education in the state. Earlier, the headmistress of the school, Mrs. Ruth Aiyegbusi, while thanking Chellarams for the gesture, sought further assistance in the area of building renovation and provision of other basic learning materials for the pupils to enhance their performance.

The school’s Head Boy and Girl, Master Julius Ajayi Kolawole and Miss Favour Igiewoh respectively lent their voices in appealing to public-spirited individuals and organisations to provide the institution with writing desks, good toilet facilities among others needed to make learning worthwhile. The highpoint of the event was the distribution of powdered milk to the pupils to cater for their health needs, a programme, which the Chief Marketing Officer, Mrs. Rekha Singh, said would hold once monthly for six months.

‘Lagos Leadership School out to create new generation of business leaders, enterpreneurs’ By Victoria Ojugbana O engage students in creative T and cohesive culture of lifelong leadership development, training and education as well as empower them to become leaders by facilitating opportunities for international learning, self-reflection and skills development relevant to the country, the Lagos Leadership School has

come up with a bold vision towards achieving these. The schools aims to, among other things, inspire and shape a new generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs, a sine qua non in the current private and public environment of our economy. To address training challenges, the school produces managers who will not only manage but

also lead their staff through change. According to the school authority, to meet external and internal challenges of a changing world, managers need to develop their capacity to lead, whether in private or public sectors and this, the Lagos Leadership School is out to achieve. The school is also out to help

private and public organisations willing to invest in developing leadership capacities at all levels to create an atmosphere in which new leaders can emerge and flourish, because according to it, when managers effectively lead and manage organisations, they drive organisational performance and contribute to sustainable results. The school further noted that

leadership, which is believed to be an extraordinary quality, is also a natural gift bestowed upon only a few individuals. Maintaining that when people are committed to achieving results and encouraged to take responsibility, they can develop values and learn practices that empower diverse groups to reach their objectives. While stressing that it is not

everyone that will become a world leader, the Lagos school, which said it was poised to help everyone improve their leadership abilities, added that that leaders and those intending to occupy leadership positions in the country stand to benefit a great deal from this leadership training organisation, as they can effect what others do to help them accomplish important goals.


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Adamawa partners varsity to promote innovative curriculum in primary schools From Kanayo Umeh, Abuja N its effort to improve the quality of education in the country, American University of Nigeria (AUN), is partnering with the Adamawa State Ministry of Education and the state’s Universal Basic Education Commission (SUBEB) to promote an innovative curriculum for primary schools in the state. The initiative, if successful, will provide free reading materials and teacher training to every Primary One class in the state. This is to ensure that each child is functionally literate and able to communicate effectively. Jolly Phonics is a systematic synthetic phonics programme, designed to teach children how to read and write. With it, children learn the 42-letter sounds of the English language as against the alphabets. They are then taken through the stages of blending and segmenting words to develop reading and writing skills. There are two main approaches to teaching phonics: analytic and synthetic. Both approaches require the learner to develop the ability to hear and discern sounds in spoken words. Jolly Phonics is a scheme, which comes under the Synthetic Phonics Method. The programme developed in the United Kingdom by Jolly Phonetics Corporation, is already in use in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, where 2,750 were trained in 2012 and 80,000 textbooks provided free of

I

charge. Other countries around the world are also utilising the initiative, while pilot programmes are underway in 11 states across the country. The AUN through its Student Empowered Through Language, Literacy and Arithmetic (STELLAR) project, has started implementing and evaluating the project in six pilot primary school in the state capital. The school are: Aliyu Mustapha Model Primary, TC Demonstration Primary, Toungo Yola Primary, Mbamba Primary, Bako Primary and A.A. Namtari Primary School, all Yola, the state capital. The STELLAR project is designed to harness the knowledge, creativity, civic-mindedness of AUN students body to provide critical literacy assistant to primary school pupils, with the aim being to raise academic achievements through a combination of one-on-one after-school tutoring, creation and dissemination of reading materials, and the use of technology to enhance learning outcomes. In return, the students of the institution have a proper understanding of the Nigerian elementary school system. To initiate the programme, the AUN Academy facilitated the training of 15 teachers from the six schools and from AUN Academy (elementary) in August. They learned new ways of teaching using action and multi-sensory methods. To date, over 300 AUN students have been trained as tutors and they have held over 200 tutoring

sessions in five public primary schools is Yola. Approximately 1000 pupils have received tutoring in small groups of five or fewer just as AUN students have written over 40 children books, including many with peace-related themes. More are in the pipeline. The institution has also started a partnership with WorldReader to put these books on mobile phones and tablets. According to preliminary results of the programme, AUN students in STELLAR project gave the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) to 136 pupils in the tutoring programme in spring. After only 10 weeks of their participation in the programme (approximately 2.5 hours per week), the pupils’ mean scores rose across all sub-task, most often by an impressive 0.80 standard deviations (i.e. 20-25%) or more. While the primary goal of the STELLAR project is to strengthen the academic foundation of primary school pupils, it also serves as a vehicle of concrete engagement for AUN students, who are enrolled in the service learning courseCDV 101. The course (CDV 101) is designed to channel students’ knowledge, skills and creative talents with a view to helping them contribute their quota to solving some needs in the society. It also helps them to situate their field experience in the general context of sustainable development in Nigeria. Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, AUN President, Prof Margaret Ensign said the STELLAR

Participants at the Lagos Business School (LBS) yearly MBA career fair, which took place in Lagos…recently

project was designed to harness the knowledge, creativity, and civic mindedness of AUN students as well as to provide critical assistance to primary school children in the state. She underlined that the initiative was part of the ways of contributing to development of education in Nigeria, while adding that STELLAR has experimented with using tablets for instructional support. She explained that initiative was line with the institution community development classes, which seeks to inculcate the spirit of civic responsibility among the students even as she added that the programme employs childcentered and multi-sensory approaches that make learning fun and easy for children all over the world. According to her: “It’s a big part of what we do out here towards making sure that kids learn how to read and also learn how to solve mathematics… Our vision and mission are very different from others because we are not a traditional university, but a development university. One of our required community development classes is very innovative and students are required to write a book because there are not much books in these schools out there. STELLAR is really focused on teaching kids how to read and it is very inspiring. The goal is to teach everybody in this community how to read, how to write and how to do Mathematics. She revealed that the institution has submitted a proposal to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand the project, stressing that, “We are going to do everything we can out here to set up models so that other universities can come and see how we are doing things and see if they can take them home.” The AUN president, however, explained that, “the challenges that we face is the lack of resources in these classrooms. How can you learn if you don’t have any material? Our challenges are making sure that these kids are trained and that we have enough resources to carry out the training. Also speaking, Vice President of AUN Schools and Educational Programming, Krista Mckee said, “We at AUN are very interested in being at the cutting edge of literacy. In Adamawa State, there was a study done in 2010 where they discovered that 77 per cent of the students from age 5 to 16 can not

read and write. That is a breathshattering statistics. So we are dedicated to improving and changing the illiteracy, not only here in the state, but across Nigeria. I believe the literacy level in the North is very weak, so we have so much work to do. “There is so much work to do and we are looking for unique ways to do the work and that is why we have infused technology into it with the use of the tablets. We feel that technology is key and capable of really making an impact in the literacy level because by 2030, Nigeria is going to be the fifth most populous country in the world and there must be a change in the illiteracy level,” she said. Explaining the involvement of the AUN students in the programmes, the Academic Liaison for Community Engagement and Service Learning at the institution, Karen Harden underlined that, “This is what we call a service learning class. Indeed, the students combine academic learning, reading articles about education, talk about the problems in the education field and they do concrete activities in their bid to improve the observed problems.” On how the six benefitting schools in the pilot phase of the programme were arrived at, Harden said, “We asked the Ministry of Education to chose six schools at random. We did, however, asked for them to be located in Yola for logistics reasons. “This is just for the pilot phase and during the pilot phase, it’s just a small group of schools. But if the programme proves effective and the state wants to adopt it statewide, then all schools across the state would benefit from it. According to Yusuf Abubakar, a 200 level student of the institution, “Apart from teaching the pupils in most of the schools, we go for community service, we also engage in community development exercises. At the end of the course, we write a children’s book in addition to other things that help the children improve their literacy skills. Also speaking, Chidinma Nwaogu, a 200-level Economics student of the school said, “The programme has revealed that the pupils’ learning ability was quite low. We hope they would improve because we spend one to one and a half hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays teaching them. They have the zeal to learn, but they need sometimes to catch up, and so we need to keep teaching them for them to improve.”

Firms hunt for talented students as LBS holds career fair By Felix Kuye N keeping with its tradiISchool tion, the Lagos Business (LBS) recently held its yearly MBA career fair during which employers, who were hunting for talented people to be offered employment, met with the students to discuss career choices and interview for job openings. Essentially, the recruitment and networking event that presents a platform for specially selected corporate

organisations to interact with the MBA students, is organized for employers seeking competent and managers with strong values and charming knowledge of understanding of realities in their respective areas of operations. Welcoming the participating employers to the event, the Dean of LBS, Dr. Enase Okonedo, said the MBA programme has been carefully structured to provide a solid foundation in general management for the young pro-

fessional who aspires to a career in management. “Our MBA students represent a generation of young Nigerians eager and equipped to contribute to building great organisations as the study is geared towards successfully grooming competent and qualified managers with the right attitudes and ethical values critical for sustainable business success in emerging markets,” she said. Okonedo was corroborated by the MBA Director, Dr.

Nubi Achebo, who highlighted the renewed preference for quality local talent and the importance of social media in talent acquisition. “Over the years, we have built a strong brand and reputation for producing managers who will add immense value to organisations.” Employer Brand Manager for Unilever, Mr. John-Paul Ugbe, who attended the career fair in 2012 observed improvement in the comportment and quality of interactions with the students whom he

said asked more development-rich questions that showed the depth of their professional maturity. Other employers at the fair include Airtel Networks Limited, BASF West Africa Limited, Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited, Cormart Nigeria Limited, FBN Capital Limited, General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC, IBM West Africa and KPMG. Also in attendance were Lexcel Group, Oando Marketing Plc, Procter & Gamble Nigeria, PZ

Cussons Nigeria Plc, Schneider Electric Nigeria, Simba Group, The Candel Company Limited, Total Nigeria Plc, Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Standard Chartered Bank and Swift Networks. More than 70 organisations have participated in the career fairs over the years with a good number attending more than once, and students recruited in previous years forming part of the recruitment team for their organisations at subsequent fairs.


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How to drive real change in political, • Sooner or later, we will get there • We need grassroots reformation Yomi Durotoye teaches at the Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America, where he is Coordinator of the African Studies Minor. The Okemesi, Ekiti State-born scholar, in this encounter with Kabir Alabi Garba in Winston-Salem, postulates how Nigeria can overcome the political and economic quagmire that has stunted its quest for development in all ramifications. S a political scientist and scholar, what is A required to arrest the disorder and confusion in Nigeria’s political space and put the country back on the path of progress? Nigeria is not going to be like this forever. The reason is that I know where we came from. I am old enough to know when Nigeria was a very good place to be, when our moral compass was of the highest quality, when people did not know how to be corrupt. I grew up during that era.    Certainly, some people may say, the Finance Minister in the First Republic, Chief Okotie-Eboh, was corrupt because he did this or that, but for those who know and compared to what we have now, those guys were as honest as any politician you could find anywhere in the world at that time. For instance, my dad was a member of the Board of Western Region Housing Corporation when they were developing properties in Bodija, Ibadan and in Ikeja, Lagos. Because his day job was as a school supervisor, and because these guys did not know how to embezzle money, when they finished with the project in Bodija, the man (my dad) said he could not afford to buy any property there! He only had a street named after him.  After he died and while I was going through his files, I found that the man had opened a file for that honorific street name. For him, it was glorious and rewarding enough that a street was named after him. It did not matter to him that he did not have a piece of land in that estate even though he served as a board member when the place was being developed. That will not happen in Nigeria of today. My uncle, Chief J.O. Osuntokun, after serving as Minister in the Western Region from 1955 to 1966 when the coup d’état booted him and others out of office, did not have any significant funds or possess any significant property. My uncle had to go back to a secondary school to teach. This, after he had been a minister for 11 or so years!  Today, there is no minister in Nigeria, who will serve for two years, and thereafter need to go back to a secondary school to teach because he is unable to make ends meet! After a mere two years! People would scold and abuse him for his failure to loot and accumulate enough wealth to take care of him and generations yet unborn!  Right there is one of our major problems; that people will call him a fool for being honest. But the likes of the Osuntokuns are the ones we need to move this country forward.  Surely, in our recent history, our contacts with officialdom had convinced many of us that those guys I spoke of were the last breeds of real public servants; the emphasis is on servants.  The truth is, there are some of these types of guys who are presently serving. We just don’t have enough of them. We are decent people, really. Those that are messing us up hardly constitute two percent of the population! I know where we came from and I witnessed how the decay came to be. But would it be easy to reform and go back to how it used to be? Of course not! It is easier to destroy things; reconstruction takes much, much longer. I know it is going to be difficult, but we will get there. For me, we will get there when people say, individually and collectively, we have had enough. It is going to be that simple! But we are not there yet.  And it is interesting that many Nigerians, including some politicians, are making a similar statement. A good number of people are saying something to the effect that: “until Nigerians overcome their timidity, there would be no change”. I agree.  I am aware, though, that the changes some of these people are talking about are cosmetic in character. Period! The fundamental changes, such as they are, will not be delivered by our typical present crop of leaders. 

Class suicide is never attractive to the beneficiaries of a corrupt system. Consequently, others will have to do it. For me, once the people collectively (not all of us, but a significant number of people) say, ‘we‘ve had enough, to hell with you’, that is when we are going to start the recovery, the renewal. I am sure Nigeria is going to get there, not only because of what I have just said, but because we have all it takes to make that country great. It is true that we are blessed with human and material capital. Petroleum is just one of the things we are blessed, or perhaps cursed, with. We have a whole lot of other materials. Most importantly, we are blessed because of who we are. Nigerians, everywhere in the world, make their mark. Are you aware that out of all nationalities here in the US, we (Nigerians) record and register the highest proportion of college graduates and postgraduates? The census of all households was conducted all over America; Nigerians proportionately have more second degrees than any other nationalities in this country. That is how good we are! We have a group here called Association of Nigerian Physicians in North America (ANPNA); several other groups of professionals are everywhere in the US.  Any city in this world you go and can’t find a Nigerian there, you better pack your load and leave; the city must simply not be habitable!  Nigerians will go anywhere in the world to seek their fortune. Someone told me that some Nigerians live close to the North Pole. Our people are tough, they are goal-getters, and they are resilient.  In fact, our resilience is more or less becoming our weakness. Weakness because our resilience is being exploited by our leaders; they know we will cope with all sorts of challenges and consequences of bad governance.  We are a creative, hardworking and generally upbeat people. Unfortunately, these characteristics have worked to enable and sustain the existing conditions because we are so adaptable. Yet, I will argue, this same Nigerian character is what is needed to build a nation. Creativity, resilience, aggressiveness, goal-setting, and a high sense of selfconfidence and pride. Some years ago, somebody published a report in a magazine (I can’t recollect the name now) about Nigerians, and the opening subtitle is something like, ‘Sakaraa’ (the writer gave the meaning of Sakaraa as bravado, confidence), but he said when he visited Lagos, he couldn’t figure out how Nigerians came to acquire such an attitude! Any nation that is going to prosper and develop needs exactly that self-confidence and energy. BUT with all these attributes, Nigeria is yet to get its act together and harness these resources to the benefit of the country and its citizens; where do we miss the direction? I strongly believe that Nigeria will get there and all these people stealing money may even be able to still continue to steal money if they do the following: Provide the necessary infrastructure: roads, electricity, and water. Provide security for Nigerians; then move out of the way. Why? Because Nigeria’s case can be likened to an anecdote in a Yoruba fable of a lion searching for food. (The narration, which he renders in Yoruba, goes thus): A lion prays to God in the morning for food and that God should facilitate a face-to-face encounter between him (the lion) and the prey (food); and thereafter God should leave both of them alone to sort things out….  You understand my point! “Oro Nigeria ni yen!” (That is a perfect similitude of Nigeria). I believe that if these leaders give us the infra-

Durotoye structure: good roads, electricity, water, and security, and get out of our way, we will make it. Who needs to get out of our way?  The insensate rent-seeking, corrupt and clueless political leaders and civil servants and similar officials in other government institutions; they are the ones that hinder national progress. They should get out of the way.  We will make it because Nigerians, majority of Nigerians, are very enterprising. We can create wealth by ourselves and for ourselves. Nigerians are that creative. That is why I am really confident that sooner or later, we will get there.  When do we start the journey?  When our people say ‘enough is enough; get out of our way.’ That is when we are going to start. Could January 2012 protest over removal of fuel subsidy be likened to your kind of agitation? It was a form of it. But the problem with that was that it was located only in Lagos and a couple of other places. The form it took in Ibadan was more violent and partisan.  But yes, if we took what happened in Lagos as an example of what we are talking about, oh yes, it satisfied that. I am not advocating violence! This thing can be achieved in a non-violent way. But, yes, what happened in Lagos was non-violent and is close to what I am talking about. Like the Arab Spring… when people become resolute and tell the government ‘enough is enough’ things happen. However, those who resist, or shall we say rebel, must be aware of potential hijackers during and after the mass action.  There are two other ways to achieve the change I am talking about. I will talk about these later. Somebody said something, and I think it makes sense. I think it was el-Rufa’i, but he was misunderstood; and he, I think, articulated what I have also said elsewhere: that if Jesus came down, became the Nigerian president, he would need more than 12 disciples; he would need about a million disciples to get his work done in Nigeria. These disciples will be needed at all levels and in all our communities and establishments.  I am not being irreverent; it is just to reiterate the point that unless Jesus comes through the minds of everybody and miraculously changes the minds of everybody, such that we all become law-abiding citizens and love each other, no change will come easily. But, hey, Jesus may yet do this in Nigeria on account of his unfathomable divine character. Short of this, I am afraid all this call for prayers would not change our situation.

We have a Mosque and Chapel in Aso Rock; we have our most celebrated Archbishops, Imams, Overseers, Pastors and so on fasting and feasting with our Presidents! Show me the results on the ground… My thinking about change in Nigeria is this: we have to take care of the corrupt person that is very close to us. Let us find a way to make such people uncomfortable with their ill-gotten wealth. Assuming in your locality, the councilor is the corrupt oppressor; let us deal with him first! The hyper-focus on Abuja will not get us anywhere. It is grassroots reformation that we need.  All of us know a number of previously unemployed or underemployed individuals nearby that somehow became Councilors, Commissioners, Ministers, or Directors in MDAs and within months started living large. We all know where the money came from.  How about challenging rather than hailing them when they come home? Why do we continue to hail them as “Honourables” and “Excellencies” when they are neither honourable nor excellent in their personal and professional conduct?  Gossips and shaming may not be effective social sanctions in our communities, as they used to be, but I bet we can still make them uncomfortable when they come home. The recovery should begin from our immediate environment. I believe that.  We should be able to somehow hold the councilors, commissioners, and government officials around us accountable before we move against others in faraway capitals and places. That is how it should be.  If each community actively cleans its surroundings of these leeches, discipline one another through social sanctions… we will incrementally change things.  Of course, I am aware that this is easier said than done. The persistent and decades-long poverty and victimisation that most of our people have had to endure have made us to singularly focus on basic survival and nothing else.  The notion of citizenship is now alien to a critical majority of our people. Under this circumstance, self-respect and self-determination have become casualties and docility toward authority figures has become the norm.  But then, the Yoruba, in their wisdom, have


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economic life of Nigerians, by Durotoye observed that the timidity of the sheep turns into aggressive self-defence when driven to the wall. As they say, “one day, one day, monkey go go market, he no go return.” We need to liberate ourselves mentally to realise that no change will happen until we accept and fulfill the responsibility to make it happen. OU are familiar with political development Y back home, especially in the Southwest; what is your assessment of governance in that region so far? Another layer of analysis is that we shouldn’t generalise about the decay in Nigeria, because there are pockets of excellence in a few places that can be encouraged to be even better.  For example, I am impressed with the development in Lagos. People, who go to Lagos from here, praise the level of improvement that is going on there. Lagos is peculiar in the sense that the population keeps increasing, but it is still better run than many other cities and states in Nigeria that probably have just one-tenth of the population of Lagos.  Examples of pockets of excellence are found not only in Lagos, but also in Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, and Osun States. Ibadan and Abeokuta are going through a remarkable renewal. In those states, we found leadership dedication and purposeful pursuit of set goals.  You may or may not agree with some of their policies but you will have to give it to them that they do have verifiable and thought-through policies. The performances in these places show that we can actually make incremental and significant changes by means other than peoples’ uprising.  It seems to me that this type of change and transformation started in Lagos and has spread, I am told, to many states around the country. Many of those who are following the Lagos example tend to focus on urban renewal. That is all well and good.  However, in order to substantially improve the living conditions of the citizens, they would need to implement people-oriented policies in all sectors: in education, health, employment, infrastructure development, recreation and so on. In this regard, Ekiti, Ondo, and Osun States provide interesting and credible road maps.  The lesson here is that we should not nationalise the rot and funk from Abuja. Certain positive changes are happening slowly at the subnational level. Although we can’t begin to celebrate yet, these change agents must be encouraged to do more.  How do we elect and protect these change agents?  To start with, we know the candidates; they live among us, and we know their antecedents. We have to make sure that the good or better ones are elected into office. This means that we have to resist the imposition of bad leaders and we have to protect those we think can do the job with massive voter turnout and an energetic and robust defence of the integrity of the electoral process.  It is our responsibility, as citizens, to defend our interests against those who will sabotage them “by all means necessary,” as Malcolm X would say. Good leadership will not survive if we failed to perform this role.  The long and short of what I am saying is this: we will not have good leaders and turn things around if we failed to commit and apply ourselves to the task. It’s on us. We cannot dodge it; it’s on us.  If a good leader emerged out of nowhere, such a leader will be eaten for lunch by these “killers of dreams” if we failed to support and defend him or her. The rogues will come in and mess things up and will be picking their teeth with relish when you are complaining.  When I hear some of these “killers of dreams” recommend that our salvation lies in constant prayers and fasting, I know they know that our piety is no threat to their hold on power. They know that they are sending us on a wild goose chase.  We need more than that. We need to be vigilant and active in the promotion and defence of our common interest. There is no other way. If we commit to this line of action, I am very optimistic that things will begin to positively change in leaps and bounds in Nigeria. Our creativity, energy, entrepreneurial tendencies, and the characteristic desire to succeed will see us through.  But we have to overcome the obstacles created by those insensate officials who are supposed to lift us high but are, indeed, holding us down.

HAT can Diaspora Nigerians do to fastW track this change? There are many good things that our people are already doing. I know of some self-help projects being embarked upon by people here. Some doctors go to their communities in Nigeria, and for a week or for how long they stay, offer free medical services to their people. That is on-going. Repatriation of funds is another thing. There was a recent report that suggested that repatriation of funds into Africa by Africans in the Diaspora, Nigeria inclusive, surpasses foreign aid. That is already going on.  Interestingly, people do not consider this activity as a critical contribution. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that repatriation of funds by migrants, who live abroad, is more effective than money that goes to government’s hands from aid donors. Such funds are often misapplied or stolen.  To the extent that what we call foreign aid are often concessional loans, we end up with a bloated loan stock and a frighteningly deepening level of underdevelopment. In addition, many of us, who relocated in the past 20 years, did so because of our children, and by so doing, we are developing a new generation of Nigerians, equipping them with needed skills.  In the recent past, during Obasanjo’s regime when the private sector was expanding, a lot of companies were recruiting their workforce from here in America, and other places young, skilled, and well-trained Nigerians.  This process nearly caused a big problem and resentment between the homegrown graduates and foreign-trained professionals. The fact is that these young Nigerians, because of their training, exposure, and work experience, are generally more skilled and serviceable. I believe that when the opportunities arise, a substantial number of these skilled young men and women will go back and take up employment in Nigeria, just as it happened in the 1960s and 70s.  For example, my first daughter, who did postgraduate studies in Housing and Urban Development at the Wagner School in New York University, was in the process of going back to Nigeria before the financial meltdown of 2008. She is now a Senior Manager in a corporation funded by the Congress and the private sector.  Her younger sister is a Regional Manager and Vice President in a bank while their younger brother is in an International Commerce postgraduate programme. These young Nigerians are well-trained and they are acquiring incredible skill sets that the country can tap into when the time is right. 

Durotoye

Believe me, there are lots and lots of Nigerian kids doing incredible things here. I mean incredible things. Guess what, most of them would love to come back home and contribute to the national development project. I say all of this to buttress the point that we are raising professionals for Nigeria of tomorrow. That is going on right now. Politically, what can we do? I believe that you are as effective as your distance to the site of action would permit. Politically, given the nature of our politics at this time, if we are not at the location of action, there is precious little we can do. We will just appear to be complaining, and making noise. How much impact can we exert on politics in this dispensation? I do not know. I came here during the Abacha era. I joined forces with the Soyinka-led opposition group to contribute whatever I could. But we do not have that kind of situation now.  At that time, the political situation was dire and desperate and “Big Nigerians” were in exile, so, we could mount pressure from here. Now, the situation has changed and the strategies employed by the opposition against Abacha would not work at this time. I am not sure we can have direct impact as such, especially if there is no crisis of international proportion going on in Nigeria for which we can mobilise political opposition from here against the perpetrators of the crisis in our country. The situation is still desperate but it is unlike what transpired during the regime of Abacha.  Some of our people are going back home to take part in politics, but unfortunately, judging from what some of these people are saying, it appears that they just want to go back to join the gang of looters.  No question, one major thing that we can do is to go back to contribute our quota. Given the opportunity cost of returning to Nigeria at this time, many of our people are reluctant to take this step. However, for those of us nearing or are of retirement age, we cannot wait to go back.    Despite all the things people complain about in Nigeria, it is better to spend one’s old age in Nigeria than here. One of my older colleagues from our OAU, Ife days told me a few days ago, “Yomi, t’eyan ba ku s’ile yi, ko ni r’orun wo o.” (We will not make heaven, if we die here (America). There is an irony, Nigeria’s educational system is rotten, yet high percentage of our best brains, scholars and professionals are in the Diaspora, especially in the US helping to build and develop other nations’ educational sector. Do you intend to come back home, to lend a helping hand in rebuilding the educational sector? Isn’t that a shame? Ile lo le’ni. Many of us are involuntary exiles and we lament the irony you

identified. That being said, many of us would like to lend a hand or are actually contributing to the rebuilding effort in various ways. I intend to return permanently to Nigeria fairly soon and pick up a teaching job in one of our private universities. As you know, I taught for many years in Ife.  However, public universities are a no-go area for me because of the perennial problem of industrial action. I have nothing against it as such, but at this stage, I need certainties in my work and holiday schedule. I am going to go to a private university and pick up from where I left in Ife and contribute other skills and learning that I have acquired since I came here 18 or so years ago.  Among other things, I will like to contribute to the development of international programmes in a university when I get back home.  I am the Director of African Studies programme here at Wake Forest University, and when we were debating the establishment of MoUs with some African universities for our Study Abroad programme, the first place I wanted to go was Nigeria.  Indeed, we signed an MoU with the University of Abuja, but the university could not come through. The effort was further complicated by the Abdul Muttalab “underwear bombing” event. I eventually had to take the programme to the University of Ghana and we have been running it for five years now.  Prof. Nuhu Yakubu talked to me last year about his intention to attract Nigerians in the Diaspora (he has been appointed as VC for Sokoto State University) back home. The VC of Kwara State University, Na’Allah, left Ohio and moved back with some people, including Egbon Abiola Irele… But to revamp our educational sector… Professor Wole Soyinka said something a couple of years ago, which intrigued me. He said we should shut down the universities, shut down all the institutions for one or two years and then start the project anew. It sounds so drastic, doesn’t it?  Frankly, I don’t think he meant it to be a programme of action; rather, I think it was a manner of highlighting how horrible the situation is. No question, a total overhaul of the system is required… from primary schools to tertiary institutions.  We need to find ways to develop quality students and teachers. The way forward will have to be jointly developed by all stakeholders. Government alone cannot do it. I will not, therefore, claim that I have the sure fire answer to this problem. Believe it or not, in my view, this task is going to be more difficult to pull off than turning the Nigerian economy around or providing uninterrupted electricity


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MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY

AS AT 2=04=2014

PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com


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MARKET INDICATORS

AS AT 2=04=2014

PRIMERA AFRICA

Shareholders laud Zenith Bank’s board on corporate governance Stories by Helen Oji OR increasing shareholders value on investment through robust dividend payout and adherence to corporate governance principles, shareholders’ of Zenith Bank Plc, yesterday commended the company’s board on its 2013 performance, as they unanimously approved a dividend of N1.75kobo per share. Besides, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of the bank, Godwin Emefiele also assured shareholders that his exit from the bank would not create a vacuum or hinder the growth of the bank. Speaking at the bank’s 23rd yearly general meeting in Lagos, yesterday, Emefiele, who is expected to step down as the Group’s Chief Executive Officer in June to resume as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) , assured shareholders that the bank has put in place a strong succession plan, expressing confidence that the growth currently seen in the bank will be sustained and surpassed by the incoming Chief Executive. Emefiele assured that the bank would focus on strategic and key areas to improve upon its activities in the coming years. He said: “The management and board of Zenith Bank will not rest on its oars and we will work hard to ensure that the confidence that the shareholders have placed on us is not misplaced, we would do all we can to surpass the expectations of our stakeholders. “For the few months that I have to be there and beyond, I can assure you that we would continue to do more to position the bank and move it from its current number six in terms of shareholders’ funds to number one. “We move from number six in shareholders’ fund to number one in Africa. We are already number one in West Africa and soon, we would

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• Approve N1.75kobo dividend begin to compete with some of the best banks in the world. ‘As I move on to the Central Bank of Nigeria as the next CBN governor, people have given a lot of advice, it is a national assignment, it is about our economy. We would work very hard to ensure that we take this country to greater heights. We would look at all the issues raised. We would be fair and we would be firm in taking those decisions.” Commenting on the bank’s feat within the financial year under review, the President of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu expressed satisfaction with the state of affairs in the bank especially for abiding by strict corporate governance principles and sustaining its profitability. He commended the management for the impressive performance and efficient running of the company, amid harsh economic environment. He however urged the incoming Chief Executive, Peter Amangbo to do everything within its powers to surpass the goals of his predecessors. The National Cordinator, Renaisance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Ambassador Timothy Olufemi commended the bank for their prudent management of affairs of the bank as well as its performance, while urging them to do everything within its powers to consolidate on the performance to enable it enhance shareholders value. Olufemi, who urged the management of the bank to ensure that they pay interim dividend in the next financial year, also expressed the need for the board of the bank to increase the dividend in 2014 so that it will equate with the banks high earning.

Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank declares three kobo dividend NFINITY Trust Mortgage Iannounced Bank Plc, (ITMB), has an increase in

What Happened? The NSE All-Share index appreciated by 22bps (0.22%) and closed at 38,469.33. This represents a year-to-date performance of -6.92%. Market Capitalisation appreciated 0.22% to close at N12.357 trillion. Total value traded decreased 8.21% to N4.465 billion and total volume traded decreased 10.88% to 329.60 million units..

Where?

At the close of trading, the banking sector represented 50.63% of the total market value traded, while the breweries sector represented 20.18%. The Top 5 stocks as a % of total market value traded were: NB (19.12%), ZENITHBANK (17.35%), WAPCO (12.34%), GUARANTY (10.71%) and ACCESS (7.01%). On a volume basis, the Top 5 most traded stocks for the day were: ACCESS (42.03m), ZENITHBANK (37.33m), FIDELITYBK (33.82m), DIAMONDBNK (26.93m) and UBA (24.20m).

total assets from N5.6billion in 2012 to N7.4billion in 2013 for the year ended December 2013. According to the bank, this represents an increase of 32 per cent. Its gross earnings also grew from 524million in 2012 to N584million in 2013 while shareholders fund of the bank rose from N4.5billion in the preceding year to N5.4billion in 2013, representing a growth of 20per cent. The Managing Director of the Bank, Mobaleye Olabanjo explained that the improved performance of the bank is a result of discipline, hard work and commitment to providing credible mortgage plans for all Nigerians. The bank’s directors are recommending a dividend of over 125m to its shareholders. This, according to the bank translates to threekobo dividend per share due to every shareholder of the bank. Olabanjo explained that the bank was poised to take a leadership position in the

Mortgage business industry, adding that it would continuously reinvents its strategies to meet the needs of its customers. “With ITMB, customers are top priority as sufficient time and research go into developing products that would ease their needs.Considering the tough operating environment for Mortgage business in the country, the bank’s achievements is commendable. “These results would not have been achieved without a team of dedicated staff and a supportive board. A result like ours means one thing – we are serious about the Mortgage business and we are here to stay despite the industry’s rapidly changing regulatory and operational landscape.” he said. The mortgage bank commenced operations in 2003 in Abuja as Infinity Trust Savings and Loan Limited. In 2012, the bank became a public limited company and was quoted on the main floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in December, 2013.


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SPORT Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sports Ahead 2014 African Women Championship

LMC offers Giwa FC provisional clearance, Nembe City gets deadline OLLOWING their effort to Fistration meet the conditions for regto play in the Glo Nigeria Premier League, Giwa FC have received the League Management Company’s (LMC) provisional approval to participate in the 2013/14 season. The Jos-based team was adjudged by the LMC to have substantially met four of the requirements listed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) at its emergency meeting, which considered the appeal by the two clubs that failed to meet registration requirements at the start of the season. The second club, Nembe City, was given up to the close of business yesterday to make good some of the conditions it failed to meet, including the dissociation of the club from dealings with its former Chairman, Victor Rumson Baribote, who is currently serving a 15-year ban imposed by the NFF. Baribote is also at various stages of litigation against the LMC and NFF and the club did not provide any proof of discontinuation of the cases. In separate letters to the two clubs signed by Salihu Abubakar, the LMC Chief Operating Officer, reference was made to the four conditions imposed by the NFF on the clubs and which they were to meet within seven days to be eligible to participate in the fixtures. The four conditions include submission of a signed letter of allegiance to the LMC in accordance with the approved format, appoint a stadium to be inspected and approved by the LMC, submission of detailed Medical Profile (passport) of all players in line with the LMC approved

Medical forms and discontinuation of all matters and litigations in court. “The LMC can confirm that Plateau State Football Association officials have provided us evidence of discontinuance of cases filed against the LMC by associates of Giwa FC. This evidence has been verified by our Lawyers,” Abubakar stated. Specifically, Giwa FC was directed to write a formal letter of acknowledgment upon receipt of the letter of conditional approval as a pre-condition to be allowed to play the rescheduled Match Day 4 fixture against Rangers International yesterday in Jos. The letter from Giwa FC was received by the LMC on Tuesday night and signed by the Chairman, Chris Giwa, it thanked the LMC “for the opportunity given Giwa FC to be back to play in the Glo NPL. We pledge our loyalty to the league body.” The LMC in granting provisional approval for Giwa FC to join the league also set out other conditions to be met on or before June 24 in line with the ruling of the NFF emergency meeting. Top of these conditions was a directive to the Club to ensure that it filed a proper letter of allegiance using the form provided to it and with no caveat attached as was the case with the filing that led to the Club’s disqualification. Other conditions are the submission of N25 million performance guarantee, submission of new contract documents with the players indicating compliance with the N150, 000 minimum wage with verifiable proof of payment and thirdly, all other registration requirements as provided for in the minimum registration conditions.

Super Falcons ready for Cameroun friendly HE senior women nationT al team, Super Falcons, have started preparations

Participants at the 3000m steeple chase event of the EKO 2012 National Sports Festival. The Centenary Games organisers have promised a festival full of culture and tourism.

Calabar 2014, a blend of sports, tourism, entertainment, says Ugbe By Gowon Akpodonor

• Sponsors assured of full value for money

HE government of Cross T River State says this year’s National Sports Festival,

Patrick Ugbe, said yesterday that the state is planning a sports fiesta that would attract a global audience that would give sponsors good mileage. Ugbe added that the games marketing team have drawn up a package that would make sponsors get good return on investments even after the games. He noted that anybody, who was at the games logo and mascot unveiling ceremony, which took place March 22 at the Venetian Event Centre, Calabar, would agree that sponsors are in for a treat and as such, should throw their weight behind the games.

tagged the Centenary Games, will be a blend of sports, tourism and entertainment. The state has also assured would be sponsors of full value for their money. Sports Commissioner,

AFN Golden League to light up Abuja Stadium April 12 By Gowon Akpodonor HE Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is set to commence the Golden League competition, despite not having a sponsor for the event. The 1st Leg of the 2014 Golden League will take place at the Abuja National Stadium between April 12 and 14, the Federation’s Technical Committee said yesterday. The Chairman/Director of AFN Technical Committee, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, told The Guardian yesterday that only athletes pre-registered and licenced for the League would be permitted to participate. Nesiama however called on athletes who are yet to registered for the event to do so without delay. Meanwhile, the AFN has notified all Track and Field stakeholders that the proposed

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Athletics Twilight Meet has been rescheduled. The Federation stated yesterday that the decision to reschedule the event was “to allow for certain salient details to be fine-tuned.”

A statement by the AFN Technical Committee said: “This is due to the fact that we want to ensure the Meet truly meets the objectives for which it was conceptualized.

“At the logo/mascot unveiling ceremony, the marketing team came up with a wonderful blue print for sponsors. Calabar 2014 is not just going to be all about sports, but a blend of sports, tourism and entertainment, which is what our great city is now synonymous with. “So my appeal to corporate bodies is to throw their weight behind the games,” Ugbe said. It would be recalled that Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, had during the mascot and logo unveiling ceremony, assured that the state would raise the National Sports Festival bar by hosting a game that is ICT

ITTF World Tour: Makanjuola wins first game, as doubles events begin IGERIA’S Kazeem N Makanjuola yesterday got his first victory at the ongoing World Table Tennis Tour with a victory at the Spanish Open holding in Almeria. Makanjuola had featured in two International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-sanctioned World Tours without any win. Today, Nigerian players will be on duty when the doubles events take centre stage at the five-day $100,000 prize money championship.

Prior to the resounding victory over Venezuela’s Nelson Villamieva, Makanjuola, a bronze medalist at the maiden Lagos Classics, had suffered defeats at the Kuwait and Qatar legs of the tour earlier this year, while he narrowly missed out from competing at the German Open. But yesterday he halted his string of losses on table three when he pounded his Venezuelan counterpart 11-4, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 to secure a place

in the main draw today against Spain’s Alfredo Carneros on table six. Before departing for the tournament, southpaw Makanjuola had pledged that he would not return to the country empty-handed having been beaten in his two appearances at the World Tour. In the women event, Ganiat Olatunde-Aruna failed to overcome India’s Shamini Kumaresan in her first group match despite making several

spirited efforts in the encounter. The Indian won the game 1311, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6. In the preliminary of the doubles event, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Makanjuola got a bye to the last 32, where they are expected to meet Denmark’s duo of Mikkel Hindesson and Kasper Sternberg today. Also, the pair of OlatundeAruna and Edem Offiong will confront Chinese Taipei’s Hsin Huang and Hsing-Yin Liu.

for the 2014 African Women Championship (AWC) slated for Namibia in an open camp in Abuja. Coach Edwin Okon invited 34 players for the camp/screening, a process that will see the technical crew picking players in elimination by substitution format to get the required legs for the team. The Falcons will meet Cameroun in a friendly before the AWC qualifiers kick off and Okon says he is happy, as it would help him prepare for the game against Rwanda. “Nigeria has so many players and we have replacement for whoever is not up to our standard. This is just the beginning of the camp and everything is right. “I am happy that we are playing against Cameroon because it will make my players ever ready. “I heard that the Camerounians have been in camp since December, but that is not a problem. We will try our best and use the match to screen players too,” Okon said. Only 20 players participated in the team’s first training session yesterday morning, but officials of the team say the rest of the players were expected to arrive camp last night.

MasterCard begins stories sharing campaign for UEFA Champions League final ASTERCARD cardholders in M Nigeria now have an opportunity to win a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, to watch the UEFA Champions League final, as a part of the Priceless Africa campaign. The campaign dubbed, “Win a trip few can win,” invites MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cardholders from across Nigeria to share unique stories showcasing how using their MasterCard product has positively impacted their lives. The entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges and after six weeks, the selected finalists’ entries will be posted on social media for consumers to cast the deciding vote for their favourite stories. The top four finalists will be selected to attend the UEFA Champions League Final, tagged Lisbon 2014. According to Vice President and Area Business Head, MasterCard West Africa, Omokehinde Ojomuyide: “Nigeria already appreciates the immense benefits that cashless transactions have to offer and this campaign could not have come at a better time, when more and more consumers are embracing the security and convenience of electronic payments.


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Thursday, April 3, 2014 SPORTS

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UEFA Champions League

Man United will beat Bayern in Munich Young A SHLEY Young claims Bayern Munich will miss suspended stars Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez and that Manchester United have “a massive chance” in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final next week. United forced a 1-1 draw with the reigning European champions at Old Trafford on Tuesday but Bayern will have goalscorer Schweinsteiger missing after he was sent off. Martinez will also be missing for accumulating bookings and England winger Young said United will be going to Munich believing they can win. Young said: “I can’t wait to go to Munich. We have given ourselves a massive chance. “I think everyone would have taken that result before a ball was kicked. It sets us up nicely for the second leg. “It was a great team performance and we look forward to the second leg now. “Everybody wrote us off before the game but we created many chances. We know they are a good team but we knew we would get chances on the counter attack. We managed to do that and got the goal. “Schweinsteiger is going to be a miss for them. Martinez will be as well. But we have to concentrate on ourselves and put on a performance.” David Moyes’ men had just 26 per cent possession, an all-time low for the club in the Champions League, yet enjoyed the better chances. Midfielder Michael Carrick admitted it could have been

even better for United if Danny Welbeck had not squandered a golden chance by trying to chip Manuel Neuer when oneon-one with the Bayern keeper. Carrick said: “That is the one that sticks out. It would have been great if it had gone in but as it happened we managed to go 1-0 up anyway. Who knows what would have happened. It was a chance he would normally take. “We are not getting carried away. The task ahead of us is tough. We will have to be right at our best to get the right result. But we still have a chance. We still believe we have a chance. We can go over there really positive.” Moyes will have Patrice Evra back for suspension for the second leg in Munich but the French full-back’s stand-in Alex Buttner performed well against Arjen Robben and said he is determined to take his chance. Buttner said: “I enjoyed the challenge. This is the biggest game to show myself. We have played against one of the best teams in the world and we have not given much away. Just one goal. “We did well to stop Ribery and Robben and it was my chance to show I am ready. This is my chance and I have to take it. “But Patrice helped me a lot, I appreciate that. Before the game he came to me and he wanted me to do well. That was nice afterwards he told me I played well. That is a good

Manchester United’s Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic (right) scores the opening goal against Bayern Munich in their UEFA Champions League Photo: AFP quarterfinal first leg match at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

I’m proud of my team, says Atletico’s coach TLETICO Madrid coach A Diego Simeone was proud of his players after they battled to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Atletico survived the loss of their top-scorer Diego Costa, who left the pitch when the game was just half an hour old with a hamstring injury, to take the lead 11 minutes

We will score goalsplayed, in Madrid—Barca we deserved to score • Pique out of second leg ARCELONA coach Gerardo B Martino has said he was pleased with his team’s performance. “The way Barca played fills me with pride,” he said. “Sometimes it paid off, other times it didn’t, but if we keep playing this way we will have every chance of success. “I’m very happy with how we

another goal. We maintained intensity over the 90 minutes and we didn’t allow Atleti to play in space, we created more chances and their only chances came from a bad pass and a goal from 35 metres.” Midfielder Xavi, though, was less optimistic, telling Television Espanola: “I think that we deserved more and created more chances but they also played well.

“We struggled to create chances and we will have to try and score goals there [in Madrid] but this is not a great result for us.” While Atletico are likely to be without Costa for the return leg, Gerard Pique is certain to miss out, Barcelona confirming that the defender will be out of action for a month after suffering a hairline hip fracture during the game.

Barcelona’s Argentinian midfielder Javier Mascherano (left) battles with Atletico Madrid’s midfielder Koke during their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg match at the Camp Nou stadium on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

into the second half when the forward’s replacement Diego Ribas unleashed a rasping drive into the top corner. Neymar equalised for the Catalans in the 71st minute and from then on Atletico were hanging on, with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois making three vital saves from Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi before the final whistle sounded. “I’m very happy with this team, this was the most decisive game of the two years I’ve been at the club and we are still going, showing enormous heart, and the way we fought makes me so proud, and I’m sure the fans are proud too,” Simeone told the post-match press conference. “I’m delighted we were able

to compete with Barcelona, you don’t earn the right to do that in a day, you earn it with hard work and today we showed we can compete with them.” The coach admitted Atleti were made to suffer in the final 20 minutes, but added: “This is the history of Atletico Madrid, always suffering, playing with their heart, never giving up, always keeping going. “This group of players has huge heart. More than the result, here or in the return leg, this is what makes me proud.” Simeone could not give details on the extent of Costa’s injury, but defended the decision to play the forward, who retired from training the day before the game after just five minutes. “The injury he received wasn’t

the one he had before, he received so many knocks it’s difficult to know where it came from,” he said. But the former Atletico midfielder spoke of his delight for Diego Ribas, who before the match had had an uneasy two months since returning to the club on loan in January. “I was in a perfect position on the touchline and when he took the shot I knew it was going in. I felt pure joy,” said Simeone. “The team needed Diego to demonstrate what he is worth and he did that, and he also needed to demonstrate his worth to everyone else. “I’m delighted for him because he’s been working so hard in silence and today was an example that hard work always pays off in football.”

FIFA slams one-year ban on Barca over breach on transfer “Additionally, the club was complete and consecutive transfer periods, together granted a period of 90 days in with a fine of 450,000 Swiss which to regularise the situation of all minor players contransfer of players aged under francs. cerned.” 18. The Spanish club has been sanctioned for breaking the rules in the case of 10 minors and been punished with a transfer embargo for two transfer windows and a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs. The Spanish FA has also been fined for rule breaches in terms of registering the players and fined 500,000 Swiss francs. FIFA said in a statement: “FC Barcelona has been found to be in breach of article 19 of the regulations in the case of 10 minor players and to have committed several other concurrent infringements in the context of other players. “The disciplinary committee regarded the infringements as serious and decided to sanction the club with a transfer ban at both national and international level for two Barcelona celebrate Neymar’s goal against Atletico has imposed a year-long FforIFA transfer ban on Barcelona breaching its rules on the


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Femi Aremu ITHOUT doubt, one of the most fundamental questions every Nigerian youth will ask if given the opportunity has to do with the possibility of the “going concern” of the Nigerian state. This question arises mainly from the fears and despairs the youth face daily as they try to make sense of their existence as Nigerian citizens in a world that has become a global village. This question has to do with the level of confidence that they have in terms of the relative opportunity to realise their potentials within the Nigerian political and economic milieu. It is also brought to the fore when Nigeria is compared with countries such as Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia that are not as rich in natural resources and were in the same situation as Nigeria in the 1960s but have experienced marked industrialisation, with improved quality of life for the vast majority of their population since the 1990s when Nigeria as of now cannot even confidently say it is on the path to industrial growth. For the Nigerian youth, this situation is made more complex by the contradiction between the values and goals that the youth are expected to uphold and their interests as individuals who want to move ahead in both economic and social terms within such a society. There is a dilemma that arises from the failures of the promises of independence. One of which is the responsibility of the youth to a country that holds so much promise but carries very limited hope of their fulfilment for a vast majority of its population. Like any other political entity, I look back with nostalgia at the great possibilities which Nigeria represented on the globe some 40 years ago. History tells us of a land of diverse people living peacefully under one government. A land flowing with “milk and honey”, richly endowed with fertile soil and natural mineral deposits, harnessed for the good of all citizens. A political entity where an Hausa man from Kano once tested and won election as councillor in Enugu State, a land where a Nigerian nationalist of Igbo origin led a party that provided a Mayor, Dr. Olorunnimbe, in Lagos, and had considerable following in major towns in Yoruba land. What else shall be saying of a land where Nigerians held offices, live and traded peacefully outside their ethnic base without anybody to remind one another of not being indigenes? It is not surprising that education then was an interesting and inspirational experience where the teacher was an example of moral standards, a community leader, a rare breed and an authentic source of information with vibrant students who are agents of sustainable development. Education placed greater emphasises on the formation of character and civic responsibility of good hygiene. When Nigeria became an independent nation on October 1, 1960 the future looked bright with immense possibilities. Nigerians were united in their anticipation for a nation where no one is oppressed or victimised. The aspiration of the distinguished and noble leaders of our beloved country at that time was to hand over to coming generations a banner without stain, an emblem radiating hope and faith in our country with the upcoming future champions, a model that emphasises the morality of politics while damning the politics of prebendalism. The national day was always celebrated with pageantry and splendid ceremonial dresses, the young student had his or her little flag high with pride. At that time our leaders were role models. It was about contributing to humanity; life was all about living for some purpose. Our sovereignty as a nation and our commitment to unity in diversity was so distinct that the world stood still to behold the prospect of a truly great Nigeria that will fill the long vacancy for the big Black success story renewed and reconstructed nation with devoted citizens wanting to safeguard the banner of our common heritage lest it be stained by the wrong social values.

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The ‘going concern’ of Nigerian state: A clarion call to the youth (1)

Fifty three years after independence, it is still an item of debate whether Nigeria has experienced the kind of development we desire. Although some things are obvious - the nation is lagging behind when compared with other nations in Africa that also had their own share of colonisation, and could have done better had it had good, sincere and hardworking leadership and an active followership. Whether in the areas of infrastructure, such as provision of basic amenities like pipeborne water, electricity and good road network, functional and up-to-date health facilities, it is obvious that more was expected from

Nigerian leaders than they have given, largely due to corruption. Immediately after independence, the continuing story of this country is about bad leadership and poor governance. At this time of political moment in Nigeria, one of the most discussed issues of our time is the absence of a leadership that has the required vision and wisdom to lift the country from its fallen or diminished state. Nigeria has witnessed many bouts of bad leadership under both civilian and military administrations, with varying degrees of impact that has been crippling our enduring democracy. But the current one is

The YOUTHSPEAK Column which is published daily is an initiative of THE GUARDIAN, and powered by RISE NETWORKS, Nigeria’s Leading Youth Development Centre, as a substantial advocacy platform available for ALL Nigerian Youth to engage Leadership at all levels, engage Society and contribute to National Discourse on diverse issues especially those that are peculiar to Nigeria. Regarding submission of articles, we welcome writers‘ contributions by way of well crafted, analytical and thought provoking opinion pieces that are concise, topical and non-defamatory! All articles (which are not expected to be more than 2000 words) should be sent to editorial@risenetworks.org To read the online Version of this same article plus past publications and to find out more about Youth Speak, please visit www.risenetworks.org/youthspeak and join the ongoing National Conversations’’. Also join our on-line conversation

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ABC (ISSN NO 0189-5125)

Crime is spreading all across the nation and is eating up the country like cancer. Almost everyone in Nigerian politics has cash and assets in volumes far in excess of, and in size disproportionate to their known sources of income. What they declare at the Code of Conduct Bureau when they take office or when they leave, as required by the law, is pure fiction

very severe, the like of which has not been experienced for quite some time. The cumulative effect of this has been the outright collapse of infrastructure, particularly electricity with consequences for industrialisation efforts and the economy as a whole which are disturbingly obvious. Manufacturing firms are migrating to neighbouring countries. New investment in the country is mainly in oil and gas, sectors with minimal manpower requirements to make a mark on the deteriorating employment situation in the country. The near-collapse of education and health services has been well-documented elsewhere to warrant a detailed deliberation here, but it suffices to say that universities were shut down for more than four months owing to lecturers’ strike and government hospitals are just coming out of their own strike in most parts of the country. There is also evidence that bad leadership has given room for terrorism to fester, be it in the name of militancy in the South-South, or frequent religious uprising in the North or kidnapping for ransom in the South-East. Crime is spreading all across the nation and is eating up the country like cancer. Almost everyone in Nigerian politics has cash and assets in volumes far in excess of, and in size disproportionate to their known sources of income. What they declare at the Code of Conduct Bureau when they take office or when they leave, as required by the law, is pure fiction. To be continued. • aremufemi@gmail.com 08037072396

Thur 03 April 2014  

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