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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,887

www.ngrguardiannews.com

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Senate okays N4.69tr 2014 budget, N7b confab vote From Mathias Okwe, Assistant Business Editor (New York), Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja) HE Senate yesterday T passed the N4,695,190,000,000 2014 Budget which is N52,230,000,000 higher than the initial amount of N4,642,960,000,000 proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan. Meanwhile, to leverage on the opportunity provided by the recent offer of the $1 bil-

• Govt shops for power sector investors in U.S. lion Nigeria power sector investment guaranteed by the World Bank’ Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the Federal Government is taking the search for investors to the United States ( U.S). The campaign holds May ending 2014. Of the amount okayed, N408,687,801,891 is for statu-

tory transfers while N712,000,000,000 would be expended on debt service. The sum of N2,454,887,566,702 is for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure while the balance of N1,119,614,631,407 is earmarked for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure for the year ending December 31,

2014. The budget was premised on a benchmark of $77.50 per barrel and a yearly crude oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day as well as an exchange rate of N160 per dollar. Of the recurrent budget, education got the highest figure of N373,532,095,037. This is fol-

lowed by Defence which got the sum of N314,347,339,871. Police Formation and Commands took third position with N295,561,812,085. Clause by clause consideration of the bill on the floor of the Senate went smoothly until they got to the issue of N7 billion voted for the National Conference. The opposition

senators, comprising mostly members of All Progressives Congress (APC), had attempted to frustrate the approval of the said amount. It took the maturity and tact of the Senate President, David Mark, to push the clause through. The opposition lawmakers had echoed in the negative when the Senate President first put forward the question, but realising the danger in giving the ruling at that time, he paused a while to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

U.S. expresses worry over insecurity, 2015 polls in Nigeria - Page 3 Delegates adopt proposal to reduce media coverage of confab - Page 3 NANS rallies in support of oil sector reforms, PIB -Page 3 Nigeria under Ebola fever threat, says Chukwu - Page 4

Chief Executive Officer, AMDP, Christian Udechukwu (left); Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo; Chief Executive Officer, CSCS Plc, Kyari Bukar; Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dalhatu Sarki Tafida; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema; and Vice Chairman, BIAE UK Ltd, Emeka Ugwu-Uju, during the Nigerian Capital Markets Forum 2014 hosted by the NSE and co-organised by African Market Development Partners (AMD) and A & O Acquisitions in London.

Ban urges new urban agenda to curb poverty From Chinedum Uwaegbulam, Medellin, Colombia S nations grapple with urA ban equity in development process towards improving lives in cities, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Mr. Ban KiMoon, on Tuesday advocated the redefining of urban policy agenda at local, national and regional levels to enhance city’s transformative capacity to bring out collective well-being and fulfilment for all.

• Nigeria seeks concrete actions in S’South co-operation Meanwhile, Nigeria yesterday urged nations in the South-South hemisphere to map out strategies that will assist them to redouble their efforts to harness the wealth of knowledge and expertise in the region. Speaking at the opening of the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF7) yesterday in Medellin,

Columbia, Ban said: “We need a new urban agenda that leaves no one behind. Let us plan and manage our towns and cities so that they can provide the foundation for global, durable and sustainable development.” Ban, who spoke at the ceremony attended by President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos; Presi-

dent John Dramani Mahama of Ghana; Nigeria’s Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi, among others, called for the elimination of rising urban inequality and extreme poverty in cities. He further stressed: “Our world is increasingly urban. This presents great opportunities for sustainable develop-

ment - equitable social progress, inclusive economic growth and sound environmental stewardship. But the challenges remain profound. Among them is rising urban inequality. “All over the world, cities and towns are divided along social, cultural and economic lines. People are denied the opportunities for a

better life that the urban environment can and should offer. We need inclusive development to eradicate extreme poverty.” Speaking at the event, Mayor of Medellin, Mr. Aníbal Gaviria, said Medellin was not a finished piece of work but an inspiring city, adding: “We want to face the creation of a more equitable city and we show that we can do it with innovation.” Gaviria, who sought for inCONTINUED ON PAGE 2


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Nigeria seeks concrete actions in S’South co-operation CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 sights from delegates to lead them to become one entity where all human beings can equitably develop their full potential and seize the opportunities offered by the society, recounted the painful memories of Medellin history. “Medellin’s history is full of moments, some profoundly painful that bear witness to our entrepreneurial, fighting and solidarity spirit. This spirit, which we all share, has enabled us to face and overcome the stark crisis that plagued our city and come together to reconstruct the foundations of our society. Together, we can strive towards a more promising future for our children.” UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos, said this year’s theme, “Urban Equity in Development - Cities for Life”, represents the urgent call for equity for all and integration of urban equity in development plans. “We must integrate urban equity in its different dimensions into development agenda. This includes looking at equality as a key human right principle. Both are needed to ensure sustainable development. “Inequity has become a universal concern. Differentials in access to opportunities, income, consumption, information and technology are the norm, not the exception. Unequal cities have difficulties in optimising the urban advan-

tage, and translating it into tangible benefits in social, economic and political aspects for all.” Eyakenyi, who spoke at the South-South and Triangular Co-operation special session of the World Urban Forum (WUF7), noted that successful solutions were available across the global South which, if adequately harnessed, could tackle the issues of hunger health, housing and sustainable energy. Eyakenyi’s call is coming on the heels of recent approval for the United Nations Office for South-South Co-operation (SSC) 2014-2017 Strategic Frame-work by the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Office for Project Services. The WUF7 session, which focused on “Promoting Equity in a Urban Development through South-South and Triangular Co-operation” is designed to provide opportunity to reflect on the mechanisms needed to foster a greater exchange of policies, practices and challenges between actors and beneficiaries of international co-operation in development either the support of the donor community and the multilateral system under innovative triangular and public-private partnership arrangements. Today, over $5 trillion in reserves are held by countries of

the South-South, which now also account for 47 per cent of global trade. South-South cooperation is a broad framework for collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. Recent developments in South-South co-operation have taken the form of increased volume of SouthSouth trade, South-South flows of foreign direct investment, movements towards regional integration, technology transfers, sharing of solutions and experts, and other forms of exchanges. The minister, represented by the Nigerian High Commissioner to the Republic of Kenya, Ambassador Akin Oyateru, pointed out that the South-South and Triangular Co-operation has been weakened by a rapidly urbanising world and urban poverty. “Many people move from the rural to the urban areas as a result of economic systems. But when there is a downturn, they don’t go back to the rural areas. They have the challenge of providing basic amenities which brings about rapid growth of slums and poverty in urban cities. “We should not be looking at the South-South Co-operation as an exclusive initiative, but a complementary to the North. We must have an intra- and inter-regional initiative. We have the bilateral relationship, but I don’t think that will create more synergy. We

should be looking at it from a regional perspective such as the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD) to meet and deliberate on these problems and proffer solutions to the issue of urbanisation in Africa”, the minister said. Eyakenyi recommended an effective and innovative ways of making housing finance available to the developers, which will be complemented by better urban planning, adding: “If there is no housing finance, everything comes to nought. We must look for basic and practical solutions to-

wards ensuring that mortgage banks and developers get access to funds with minimal conditions.” On the issue of political will and commitment, she called for a monitoring mechanism to ensure governments meet up their obligations and agreements reached under the South-South Co-operation, and advocated new ways in measuring targets set during the WUF7. “These are practical ways; we in the global South can actually co-operate. There must be conducive environment by governments for actors and stakeholders to be able to op-

erate efficiently. Government may not bring in the finance, but there must be policy that will make the finance from the private sector available,” she added. The South-South Co-operation 2014-2017 Strategic Frame-work provides necessary enabling policy environment for both its legislative and executive leadership to make informed decisions, policies and strategies, as well as programme initiatives that give effect to mainstreaming support to SSC and Triangular Co-operation, as a complement to North-South Co-operation, on a global and UN

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya (left); Chief Executive Officer of Youth for Technology Foundation, Njidekka Harry and Executive Director and Chairman of SFDA, Kenya, Evans Wadongo, during the London School of Economics Summit in London, United Kingdom.

Govt shops for power sector investors in U.S. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 allow his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) colleagues restrategise.

By the time he put the question again, there was an overwhelming approval for the conference vote to the disappointment of APC lawmakers. President Jonathan had on December 19, 2013, through the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, laid before both Chambers of the National Assembly the 2014 Appropriation Bill, containing the estimates of revenue and expenditure of the federation for the 2014 fiscal year. The Senate subsequently debated the general principles of the Bill and read it the sec-

ond time on January 23 after which it was referred to the Committees on Appropriations and Finance for further legislative action. They jointly further referred the schedules of the bill to the appropriate Standing Committees on money bills in line with Order 92 (4) (a) of the Senate Standing Order. The Chairman, Senate Joint Committees on Appropriation and Finance, Ahmed Maccido, observed that “the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Frame-work and Fiscal Strategy Paper, upon which the 2014 budget was based, just like the previous editions, will require being refined and retooled both in procedure and process. A major issue here is in the planning required and the engagement processes with all stakeholders which will have added effective value to the budget process, with obvious multiplier effect on the economy. “The drop in oil production volume as reflected in the budget estimates of the past two years remains a disturbing phenomenon. The obvious reason has been traced to the obstruction to oil production as a result of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.” The committees also decried the inability of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to fully implement budgets. According to the committees, the development, which has become a recurring decimal, was becoming worrisome. “The appalling state of budget implementation in the country is still a worrisome recurring decimal for our economy. Unspent funds that are

rolled over into the economy only make a mockery of development which is a dire necessity across the nation. Government must be seen to be taking steps to improve on this. “The 2014 budget, which is described as one of job creation and inclusive growth, deserves to urgently rise to the occasion to defend itself, in view of the yawning gap between employment created and the army of the unemployed”, the committees stated. Commending the joint committees for their efforts, Mark urged the Executive arm of government to ensure full implementation of the budget. With the passage at the Senate, the budget bill now awaits the concurrence of the House of Representatives before it is sent to the President for assent. The Federal Government through agencies like the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) have in the past taken the Nigerian Power Sector road-show programmes to the United States (U.S.) and other emerging markets across the world to attract investors in the sector back home. However, the drive has not really yielded the desired result as can still be seen in the teething challenges in the transmission and distribution of power in Nigeria almost one year after full privatisation of the sector. However, smarting from the opportunity of the  World Bank’s MIGA fillip, the Nigeria Development and Finance Forum (NDFF) is once again taking the initiative to investors in the U.S. and has already

lined up experts and Nigerian power and financial sectors’ regulators that will speak at a conference slated in New York, from May 29 to 31 this year. MIGA’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Michel Wormser, who began a working visit to Nigeria penultimate Tuesday, told journalists: “Over the next couple of years, I would expect that MIGA would provide guarantees above $1 billion in Nigeria. And this is primarily going to be in the energy sector and the discussion that we are going to have today is to precisely identify with the governments and agencies where they would see the highest value from MIGA involvement, given the development priorities of the country.” Some of the key speakers include the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, who is expected to lead the Nigerian power sector engagement with international investors and development professionals in the U.S. The theme of the conference,  which equally encompasses other sectors, is: “ Entrenchment of Economic Growth in Nigeria:  Opportunities for Asset Diversification, Investments in Housing, Textile and Fashion Industry, SMEs and Value Chains of Big Businesses.” A statement by the NDFF obtained by The Guardian on Tuesday in New York declared that the power stakeholders’ session of the conference will be co-hosted by Financial Nigeria International Limit-

ed, lead conference organiser, and Detail Commercial Solicitors (DCS), the first commercial solicitor firm in Nigeria to specialise exclusively in noncourt room practice. The (NDFF) is a yearly international conference that provides the international community of finance and investment independent policy briefings on the Nigerian market. This year’s conference is being sponsored by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) and Arik Air. The NDFF statement yesterday gave some insight into the conference: “The United States Department of Commerce (U.S.DOC) will lead the participation of U.S. business delegation, with specific interest in power, agriculture and hospitality. “The keynote address of the session on power will be delivered by Amadi who will provide an update on the privatisation process and regulatory expectations for increase in power generation supply and improved performance of distribution companies; current legal, regulatory and tariff frame-work. The title of the session will be: “Ongoing Power Sector Reform and Inherent Investment Opportunities.” “The session will feature a high-value panel, including Jimi Oluwabiyi, Chief Executive Officer, Trans-Africa Gas and Electric Limited, as well as thought leaders and representatives from various discos and power developers that are providing solutions to small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) and select Nigerian SMEs, among others.


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News LUTH doctors end strike, give ultimatum

U.S. expresses worry over insecurity, 2015 polls in Nigeria

By Joseph Okoghenun HE three-day warning T strike embarked upon by members of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) ended this morning. The doctors, however, indicated that they might begin indefinite strike in the hospital within the next three weeks if their demands are not met within 21days. LUTH-ARD SecretaryGeneral, Dr. Ramon KoladeMoronkola, who spoke to The Guardian yesterday on behalf of the association, stated that some demands by the association have not been met by the management of LUTH, adding that all what the association has received from LUTH management are “mere promises here and there.”

From Msugh Ityokura, Lafia HE United States governT ment has expressed deep concern over the rising level

Chief Prosecutor, Lesotho, Sefako Seema (left); Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, Barrister Nta Ekpo; former Executive Secretary, Economic for Fighting Crime Commissioner (EFCC), Samuel Akomoye and Senior Advisor, Directorate for AntiPHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO Corruption Initiative, Dusan Draki’c after a meeting in Abuja …yesterday.

Delegates adopt proposal to reduce media coverage of confab From Terhemba Daka and Karls Tsokar, Abuja ISSED by what delegates described as meddlesomeness, the leadership of the national conference yesterday resolved to conduct some of its sessions in secret in protest against the newsmen accredited to cover the three-month parley in Abuja. The decision to shut out some of the proceedings from the full glare of the media came following complaints by some delegates, including Prof. Eddy Erhagbe, over reports and publication of some unfolding sundry oddities in the conference. Erhagbe, an Edo State delegate who raised the alarm on the need for the conference to always endeavour to go into ‘executive sessions’ warned that public reactions would not augur well for the conference if some of the activities are beamed live for the consump-

P

• Nwachukwu cautions on criticisms of past leaders tion of Nigerians, especially the international community. Ruling on the decision which was unanimously applauded by the delegates, Chairman of the Conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, stated that henceforth, some of the issues will be discussed during executive sessions in order to protect conferees from the prying eyes of the press. Specifically, members had at the beginning of the conference raised eyebrows over the continued media publication of photographs of conferees, who were caught sleeping by the camera lens. The delegates have also frowned at the publication of explicit details bothering on the sundry allowances for conferees during the three months duration of the conference. Meanwhile, a delegate from Kano State, Dr. Junaid Mohammed yesterday raised

the alarm over the absence of a medical facility to service the 492 conferees at the venue of the conference. Corroborating an earlier complaint by a Federal Government’s delegate from Anambra State, Dame Virgi Etiaba, over the unavailability of toilet tissues in the lavatories at the conference centre, Mohammed lamented that in the event of any emergency, nothing could be done by the authorities, thereby jeopardizing the lives of all the conferees. Meanwhile, another Federal Government’s delegate, Gen. Nwachukwu has cautioned conferees against using the platform to cast aspersions on some former Nigerian leaders who are delegates participating in the conference taking place at the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja. Nwachukwu, who debunked a

previous submission on the floor suggesting that he ordered the flogging of a female primary school headmistress when he was Military Administrator of Imo State, also warned the delegates against distorting historical facts in their submissions on the floor so as not to undermine the outcome of its report. “I was governor of a state, it will be most belittling of my status to raise my hand on any woman talk-less of anybody else,” he said. Specifically, the former military officer had stepped out from the conference hall on Tuesday, and a delegate, during her submission, took a swipe at him for allegedly hitting a female headmistress in one of the schools in Imo State when he was appointed a military governor of that state. But responding, Nwachukwu said: “I come from a family that revers women. We don’t raise our hands on women, if we did, it will be in law.

“I come from a service, the Nigerian Army, in which hitting a junior officer or any officer is offering violence and you will be tried by a court-marshal. Mr. Chairman, I was Adjutant of my Battalion, Adjutant of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Provost Marshal (Army), and Adjutant General of the Nigerian Army among others. “All these jobs were jobs given to only officers of the highest level of discipline, and you either enforce or guarantee discipline in your unit. I was a General Officer Commanding a Division of the Nigerian Army, having been a Brigadier and a Battalion Commander. It is not normal for an officer of my status and training to raise his hand on a woman. And I want to let you know Mr. Chairman and my colleagues here, that we should stop taking swipes at people just for the sake of the cameras.

NANS rallies in support of oil sector reforms, PIB From Collins Olayinka (Abuja) and Roseline Okere (Lagos) HE National Association of T Nigerian Students (NANS) has described the reforms in the oil sector and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as avenues for massive job creation. The umbrella body of the country’s students, which stated this yesterday in Abuja during a peaceful rally to the National Assembly, also cautioned the lawmakers over politicisation of the forensic audit of the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Meanwhile, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has remitted $44 billion (N7 trillion) as revenue to the Nigerian government between 2009 and 2013. Besides, the number of Shell’s oil spill recorded in Nigeria

• ‘Shell paid N7tr to FG in four years, records 157 spills in 2013, to reduce presence in Niger Delta increased from 137 in 2012 to 157 in 2013. The oil giant attributed this increase to crude oil theft and sabotage in its operating areas in the country. The Federal Government has also received $4 billion as share of royalties and taxes in 2013 with SPDC accounting for $2.6 billion and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) $1.4 billion in 2013 alone. The company, which made this disclosure yesterday in its 2013 sustainability report, added that SPDC and SNEPCo paid $180.6 million funds to the Niger Delta Development Commission in 2013. It also paid $104.1 million contribution to community development projects in the year under review. NANS National Senate

President, Maxwell Soye, said the passage of the PIB and the reform in the sector by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani AlisonMadueke, will revive ailing industries in the sector and restore foreign investors’ confidence in the Nigerian economy. The group noted that efforts must be made not to sensationalise the forensic audit exercise lest it send wrong signal to the international community, saying Nigeria must build on its new role as the largest economy on the African continent. The rally took the students from Eagles Square to the National Assembly where its position paper was handed over for onward transmission to the legislators.

Soye said the association was worried by the uncertainty created in the polity with the alleged missing proceeds from crude oil production and its possible negative impact on the Nigerian economy. While welcoming the forensic audit, he said the group was in support of recent changes at the NNPC by the Minister, which was the movement of five Group Executive Directors (GEDs) at the NNPC. His words: “For long, Nigerian students have been used as thugs by politicians but we have decided not to support everything that is bad in this country. We are not fighting against government, we are here to appreciate and encourage the thing that government is doing. We support President Jonathan’s transformation agenda but we are greatly concerned and our concern is based on what is hap-

pening currently in the petroleum sector which happens to be the mainstay of the Nigerian economy but political detractors are using what is happening there to distract the peace of Nigeria.” He urged Nigerians to wait for the outcome of the various probes of the sector by the National Assembly before drawing conclusions on the matter. He added: “We want Nigerians to wait for the outcome of the probe currently going on at the National Assembly before castigating anybody and the Minister that is working assiduously for the betterment of the sector at large. NANS is a major stakeholder in nation building and a factor in determining the path that the country follows; some detractors in government are trying to derail the transformation agenda of the

of insecurity in some parts of Nigeria and has therefore pledged assistance to tackle the ugly situation. Besides, the American government has expressed concerned about the 2015 general election and is therefore working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as the civil society groups to ensure transparent and violence-free polls. Speaking yesterday in Lafia, Nasarawa State during a courtesy visit to Governor Tanko Al-Makura, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwhistle, who restated America’s plan to help check insecurity in Nigeria, expressed satisfaction with the relationship between the two countries which he described as equals working together for the development and progress of their interests. Entwhistle emphasised the importance of a violence-free general elections and urged the electorates to task prospective aspirants to the various elective positions in the land on commitment to non-violent campaigns before giving them a listening ear. He expressed regret that the crises between purported Fulani herdsmen and farmers has some new elements in it even as he emphasised his country’s commitment to ensuring that an end is put to the unwarranted killings.

SSS arrests The Sun editor From Terhemba Daka and Karls Tsokar, Abuja DEPUTY Editor with The Sun A Newspaper, and accredited to cover the ongoing National Conference, Mr. Iheanacho Nwosu was yesterday whisked away from the venue by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) for publishing a story of a fisticuff between its agents and some policemen attached to the conference. Nwosu was picked up a few minutes after 12 p.m. from the conference hall yesterday and taken to their office located within the National Judicial Institute (NJI), venue of the conference and detained for over 30 minutes before he was eventually released after some journalists besieged the area where he was held. Although the authenticity of the report carried by the newspaper on Wednesday could not be faulted, the operatives said they were embarrassed by its content, after being queried by their superiors and the Presidency over the ugly incidence, which occurred on Tuesday.


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Nigeria under Ebola fever threat, says Chukwu From Mohammed Abubakar,Abuja and Chukwuma Muanya, Lagos

• Ghana debunks outbreak report, WHO puts death toll at 111

VEN though there are no E real signs of Ebola fever in Nigeria, the Federal Govern-

Mali. Also, the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday said the death toll from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has hit 111 with 101 in Guinea and 10 in Liberia. The WHO said, “the number of people believed to have been killed by the Ebola virus in Guinea has passed 100. It was one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks we have

ment has admitted that the country faces real threat of the disease outbreak in the country. Answering questions from State House correspondents, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said, “Ebola has been moving eastward towards Nigeria as well and we are already facing danger from Central African Republic (CAR). With what is happening in Congo, people are also migrating to Chad and Chad, Cameroon are also in our borders. “Yes Ebola is a real threat. It is true that as at today we have not been able to report a single case of Ebola. But mind you Ebola is not the only threat, it is an added threat because West Africa never had a single case of Ebola until this year, it was more in Central Africa. But now we have added it to the ones that are even more native to West Africa, which is Lassa fever. Meanwhile, blood tests have shown that a 12-year-old girl in Ghana, who died of viral fever did not have Ebola, Health Minister, Sherry Ayittey said on Monday. According to a report published yesterday by Fox News, the girl was the first suspected case in Ghana of Ebola, which has killed more than 90 people in Guinea and Liberia. Another suspected case has been reported in

ever dealt with and could take another four months to contain. The virus had now killed 101 people in Guinea and 10 in Liberia, it said. According to Chukwu, “some of these viruses belonging to a group that causes similar diseases like yellow fever, which for 18 years now we have not had a single case but 18 years ago it devastated Nigeria. It is also the cause of what is called

hemorrhagic fever. Then Lassa fever, which you know has been ongoing in some parts of Nigeria, which is endemic like the northern part of Edo State, they record a case every week and is very deadly. “So Nigeria is in danger but we have recently said that in addition to the leaflets that we are producing for Lassa fever, we will now emphasise Ebola fever. As I speak to you, we

have already approved for jingles to be produced in various languages produced for Nigerian Centre for Disease Control to be aired on radio, television and newspaper adverts. Then we are working with all groups, just like we are doing for polio, religious bodies, communities, traditional rulers and the media which is most important in this venture you will help us to play your role by educating Nigerians.”

Governors Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Liyel Imoke of Cross River and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina after their meeting with the PDP chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu in Dutse, Jigawa yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Kwara lawmakers suspend member over murder allegation From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin OR the third time in two FHouse years, the Kwara State of Assembly yesterday suspended one of its members representing Malete/Ipaiye-Oloru Constituency, Alhaji Iliasu Ibrahim (PDP), over attempted murder allegation. The embattled lawmaker was first suspended in 2012 when a committee of the House set up to investigate his allegation of misappropriation of fund against the

Speaker of the House came up with a report that the allegation was unfounded. He was suspended for the second time late last year over another allegation that his colleague in the House, Yussuf Tanke sent suspected assassins after him, which he was said to have failed to substantiate. He was suspended for three months and was asked to tender a written apology to Tanke. Ibrahim was indicted by the House Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Judici-

ary in its report presented to the House during yesterday plenary for his refusal to write a letter of apology to Tanke (APC) after resuming from three months suspension. The Speaker of the House, Razaq Atunwa announced the fresh suspension of the legislator after the House had adopted the report of the committee on the matter. Reading the House resolution, the speaker directed Ibrahim to commence an-

other three months suspension from yesterday without pay. The House directed the suspended legislator to tender a written apology to Tanke before the expiration of the three months suspension as directed by the resolution of the House on December 18, 2013. The House also said that failure of the suspended member to comply by writing a letter of apology, should mean that he would continue to be in suspension

until he complied. Reacting on the development, Ibrahim, who was not at yesterday plenary when the suspension order was pronounced, said the House lacked powers to suspend him. Also during yesterday’s plenary, the House approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant in the Assembly, Alhaji Aliyu Olanipekun as the deputy clerk of the House.

FEC okays tobacco control bill From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja HE Federal Executive T Council (FEC) yesterday approved the Draft Tobacco Control Bill, 2014. The bill, which is expected to be sent to the National Assembly soon for passage into law is to regulate the consumption if tobacco in designated public places. Under the proposed law, offenders, both individuals or corporate bodies who violate sections of the law, would be liable, on conviction, to pay fines or go into prison for some prescribed numbers of years or both. For instance, individuals, who run foul of the law by smoking in places designated as non-smoking areas would be liable to a fine of N50,000 or six months in

prison upon conviction or both. Whereas, companies who fail to enforce the provision of the Act, if passed into law, are liable to a N5 million fine or imprisonment of the chief executives of those companies, which could vary from one to two years, if found guilty. Health Minister, Prof, Onyebuchi Chukwu, who unfolded the details of the proposed law after FEC meeting yesterday, said the proposed law is to protect Nigerians from any form environmental pollution. According to him, “the bill also proposes to ban every form of sponsorship by any tobacco company of any public event, when government is doing anything, they cannot sponsor, whether in Sports or seminars.

“We will not accept gifts from them, if a tobacco company wants to build school, we reject but we will accept when they have stopped producing and selling.” Another feature of the bill is total ban of the advertisement of cigarette in any media in the country, whether in the print, electronic or outdoor media. The minister acknowledged that some state governments have successfully banned tobacco advertisement in the country. “There would be a fund to be known as the Tobacco Control Fund, which would be established under the provision of the bill to provide adequate financial buffer for the effective enforcement of the bill when passed into law. The proposed Fund will be funded by federal and state

governments, as well as, individuals.” To ensure that the latest effort is effective, a national committee that would be monitoring developments and also ensuring that the fund is well managed will compose of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health, Justice, Customs and all the major stakeholders that ought to be in such a committee. The minister said, “advertisement is totally banned under this law so you cannot just go and advertise. Some states have already taken the lead, like Cross River State, which passed its own law on advertisement of tobacco last year. Now, we want to make it national. Any form of advertisement is not permitted, either in broadcast, print or outdoor.”

The objective of the law, according to Chukwu, is to ensure tobacco-free-environment. “We want to produce hundred per cent tobacco-free environment for people, who do not want to have anything to do with tobacco use and so places will be clearly designated whether public places, whether indoor or outdoor will be clearly designated as non smoking areas. “The responsibility, say for instance, a hotel, rests on the owners of the hotel to clearly indicate the areas that are non-smoking so that if you ever decide to go to a place that has been clearly designated non-smoking area, you will be liable to being prosecuted and then the law will take its course.”

Orji Kalu canvasses two-party system • Drums support for Fayemi From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti) ORMER Governor of Abia Fyesterday State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, urged Nigerian politicians to work towards entrenching two party system, which he said would strengthening ‘our nascent democracy.’ The former governor, who addressed journalists shortly after a visit to Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi at his official residence urged Nigerians politicians to consider the advantages of two party system, which he said, out weighed multi part system that weakens the opposition. Kalu, who said he was on tour of the country to preach unity said he all hands must be in deck to ensure unity of the country. He, however, urged the people of Ekiti State to support Fayemi’s re-election, saying that he has been able to deliver on the promises he made to the people. Orji said he is impressed by the diligence and commitment with which Fayemi delivered the dividends of democracy to the people, adding that he has got reports from the people that the governor is performing well, while also maintaining that Fayemi has provided the people access to good roads, quality education and health among others in his developmental agenda. Orji said, “Ekiti people should rally round the governor. According to what Ekiti people said, the governor has done very well. He has put in the mechanism and software for the job. Everything will not come in one day. You will start from somewhere and operate it. He is giving them access to good roads, access to education and health and there is no doubt that I have been impressed since I have gone through the southwest based on what I saw on ground,” he said.

Pakistan targets Nigeria’s oil palm production From Joke Falaju, Abuja ETERMINED to develop its D capacity in oil palm production, the Pakistani government has asked for improved collaboration with its Nigerian counterpart towards boosting the production of the product in its country. Pakistan’s Oil Minister, Shahid Khagan Abbasi, who made the appeal when he led an eight-man delegation to the Ministry of Agriculture on the revised Nigeria-Pakistani Commission yesterday in Abuja, regretted that the country spent $1.2 million importing the product in 2013. He noted that though Pakistan is self-sufficient with surpluses in the production of sugar, wheat, rice, poultry and poultry products, fertiliser, textiles, including cotton and yarn, and the production of agriculture machinery and tools, it is beset with a lack of oil and gas resources and such essential commodity like palm oil. According to him, the collaboration is imperative, as both countries stand to tremendously benefit from the partnership.


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Adoke withdraws N10.2b libel suit against Melaye From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja HE Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), yesterday withdrew the N10.2 billion libel suit he brought against former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, at an Abuja High Court. Counsel to Adoke, Zekeri Garuba, who withdrew the suit, however, did not volunteer any reason for his client’s decision to drop the case. He simply said he was only instructed by his client to withdraw the case and, therefore, applied that it be struck out. Under the rules of court, a litigant has no obligation to give reasons for discontinuing an action. Melaye’s counsel, Moses Ideh, did not object to the plaintiff’s application. Consequently, the judge struck the case out on the ground that the defendant did not object to its being struck out. Adoke had in May sued the Registered Trustees of AntiCorruption Network (ACN), where Melaye serves as the executive secretary), claiming among others, to have been defamed in some claims made about him by the group in its petition to President Goodluck Jonathan.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014 NEWS 5

BoA in custody of N9.7b cassava bread fund, says FG From Joke Falaju, Abuja VEN as farmers, under the E aegis of Nigerian Cassava Growers’ Association (NCGA), are asking the Federal Government to arrange loan facilities at low interest rate, the Federal Government said the N9.7 billion Cassava Bread Intervention Fund provided by President Goodluck Jonathan is domiciling with the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and Bank of Industry (BoI) and would enable farmers get credit facilities at five per cent interest rate, with a repayment period of 3-4 years.

• Cassava growers seek loan facilities for farmers The NCGA had advised that the fund used for subsidy could be diverted to mitigate the interest rate on the agricultural loan that is taken from the capital market by BoA, to ensure that the interest rate does not exceed five per cent or below like what obtains in other countries of the world. NCGA President, Segun Adewumi, made the appeal during the commissioning of its national secretariat in Abuja.

He also appealed to the Federal Government to support BoA in sourcing funds from the capital market to finance agriculture, assuring that the association would ensure 100 per cent recovery of the loan. Explaining the intrigues in recovery of the credit facilities, he said: “We shall set up a tripartite arrangement where the bank finances farmers and off-takers pay for the products directly to the bank. The profit of the

farmer is worked out and paid to him. Choice of repayment is no longer that of the farmer; the beneficiaries would sign agreement that if he dies or neglects the farm, NCGA that guaranteed the loan would take over the farm”. He added: “Even though Nigeria may have huge domestic debts, the debt situation cannot stop the Nigerian people from eating, besides the only salvation that Nigeria economy awaits

Protest in Edo over APC ward congress • Exercise free, fair, says deputy gov From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City

A cross-section of dignitaries at the first Ogun State National Women’s Conference organised by Spouses of the State Government Functionaries’ Association (SOSGFA) at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta…yesterday

is agric-business. Let us have a commercial agriculture that would generate millions of jobs for our jobless graduates and youths, and handsome revenue for local, state and Federal Governments.” Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina, revealed that the Cassava Development Fund would avail credit facilities to stakeholders in the cassava value chain, including cassava growers, high quality cassava flour (HQCF) processors, wheatcassava composite flour millers, farm equipment suppliers and other investors in the industry through the BoA and BoI at interest rate as low as five per cent and a repayment period of 3-4 years. He also affirmed the readiness of the ministry to sustainably provide other forms of support through incentives to farmers with a view to making Nigeria the largest cassava producer and processor of high quality cassava in the world. Adesina also disclosed that the BoA had provided credit facility to the tune of N1 billion to cassava farmers and processors, adding that the bank would soon commence disbursement of the N2.4 billion facility to cassava growers and processors at five per cent interest rate. He, however, disclosed that 2.5 million jobs have so far been created under the Agriculture Transformation Agenda, noting that “any discerning mind would see that agriculture has far more potential for creating jobs, wealth, food security and combating hunger more than any other sector.”

LL Progressives Congress Lawyer threatens to sue FRSC over wrong interpretation of court verdict A (APC) members from the on the right to personal libhad after the judgment of the “But if the FRSC fails, neglects der which penal law would 77 wards in Edo South Senato- By Bertram Nwannekanma rial District yesterday decried the Tuesday party ward congresses in Edo State. However, the Deputy Governor, Pius Odubu, who is from the area, described the exercise as a free, fair and peaceful one, adding that those crying foul were not being sincere. Addressing a press conference at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Benin City yesterday, the Eson of Benin Kingdom, Chief Amos Osunbor, with some party leaders like Mrs. Evelyn Igbafe, Patrick Osayimen and Jude Ise-Idehen (both members of the state House of Assembly), Nosa Adams and others, said the congress was planned to fail.

ORRIED by what he called ‘distorted’ information by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in the judgment delivered by Justice James Tsoho of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on the plate-number case, the plaintiff in the suit, Mr. Emmanuel Ofoegbu, yesterday threatened FRSC if the information was not retracted within three days. The lawyer, whose suit led to court’s declaration of new vehicle number-plates as illegal, said the information by FRSC was intended to distort the judgment. The FRSC, it will be recalled,

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Federal High Court in Lagos on March 26, 2014, issued a statement ‘clarifying’ the verdict. The Commission had said the judgment affirmed its right to redesign the new number-plates and that the court cautioned that it cannot determine the commencement date of its enforcement.  But in a statement yesterday, Ofoegbu said the FRSC was attempting to misinterpret the judgment and mislead the public.  “I hereby demand that the FRSC retracts the statement within three days from April 4, 2014. 

and/or refuses to retract the statement within three days, I will employ all legal means to ensure that the Commission and its officials are brought to book for distorting the decision of a court of competent jurisdiction with the intent of misleading and deceiving Nigerians as to the meaning of the decision,” Ofoegbu said. The judge had held in the judgment, a certified copy of which Ofoegbu made available to journalists in court, that the threats by FRSC to impound vehicles with old number-plates amounted to an abuse of power. Justice Tsoho had said: “Un-

the respondent’s threat be executed? “While it conceded that the respondent is vested with statutory powers and responsibilities by the FRSC Act (2007), it is obviously overreaching itself by its proposed action, which runs contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. “The respondent cannot force upon Nigerians a hastily conceived policy without any enabling legal framework.  “It is dictatorial and a violation of the democratic norms to want to adopt that kind of approach concerning an issue with fundamental effect

erty and freedom of movement of citizens. “Such attitude is unacceptable in a democratic dispensation.  “Finally, I hold that the threats by the respondent to impound vehicles of defaulters, inclusive of the applicant, over the redesigned vehicle number-plates, when the plates in use have not been outlawed, amounts to an attempt at arbitrary use of power, which must be deprecated.  “In the circumstances, it is my respectful view that the applicant is entitled to an order of injunction against the respondent.”

Group flays cut in police budget for 2015 poll

Why Nigeria’s diversity is source of strength, by U.S. envoy

From Chuka Odittah, Abuja NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation (NGO), CLEEN Foundation, has condemned the recent cut in total budgetary allocation of the Nigeria Police by the National Assembly, one year before conduct of presidential and gubernatorial polls in the country. Executive Director of the NGO, Kemi Okenyodo, said the implications of the cut are grave, considering that Nigerian security challenges are currently at all time high and require full backing of the Command to assuage the situation. According to Okenyodo, the 30 per cent cut in Police budget further exposes the electorate to perils of election violence, a worrisome situation and a threat to 2015 poll.

By Olalekan Okusan

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OTWITHSTANDING the N state of insecurity permeating a section of the country, United States Ambassador, James F. Entwistle, has said the diversity of Nigeria should be a source of strength and not strife. Speaking during his tour of Northern Nigeria in Makurdi, Benue State capital, the envoy said the 2015 elections would be an important test for Nigeria. He, however, urged politicians, the media and Nigerians to make a pledge “that they will not advocate, support or condone violence before, during or after the elections.” The tour was aimed at interacting with the people, learning more about the security

issues in the region, as well as to share the United States’ wishes for peaceful elections, good governance, development opportunities, and a better future for Nigeria. He said the United States would support Nigeria’s efforts to entrench democracy, but would not dictate to Nigeria. “Nigeria has great potential. Your diversity should be a source of strength, not strife. People must learn to tolerate and get along with one another. Across the globe, history has shown that countries which make progress are those whose communities live in peace with one another,” he said. He added that with the North’s strong tradition of inter-faith cooperation, the U.S. would support efforts aimed

at promoting tolerance and assist both government and civil society to promote transparency and accountability, as well as strengthen media and support national and local elections. Like Entwistle, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Bisa Williams, had told The Guardian recently that the American government would help Nigeria to strengthen the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be able to conduct credible elections. “We have met and whenever we had conversations with your politicians, government and civil societies, a lot of focus is on INEC to ensure that the Commission has the resources needed in your proce-

dure of having monitors and appropriate representations in your polling places. Also to ensure that everything is set up the way it should be and we will give INEC the appropriate support. We need to make sure that INEC is properly supported so that they can get out on time to make sure there is no technical confusion in your election,” Williams said. The former Ambassador to Niger Republic added: “Nigeria has the structure to organise a credible election but what you need are the people who are committed to ensure that those structures work the way they are supposed to. “However, that takes political will, rule of law which is enforcement of law, respect for human rights, accountability and a willingness to make all

people accountable regardless of their particular position, party or affliction to any political person. There is no lack of structure but there is need to be a robust determination and political will to do all the right things.” Meanwhile, Ambassador Entwistle toured two U.S. government supported projects in Makurdi on health and agriculture, while he also paid a courtesy call on Governor Gabriel Suswam and met with religious and community leaders. He further emphasised the importance of U.S.-Nigeria bilateral relationship in terms of trade and economics, democracy issues, partnering on shared security, and advancing access for all Nigerians to education and health resources.


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6 | NEWS Thursday, April 10, 2014

Nyako, Gaidam, Shettima urge INEC to copy Afghanistan TATING the need for courage in the conduct of the 2015 general elections, Governors Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe and Kashim Shettima of Borno, whose states are currently under a State of Emergency, have tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take a cue from Afghanistan. They noted that the country’s Independent Election Commission was not deterred by the strong threats from the Taliban, which promised hell on election day, but courageously held its presidential and provincial elections last weekend. In a joint statement yesterday through their spokesmen, Ahmad Sajoh for Nyako, Abdullahi Bego for Gaidam and Isa Gusau for Shettima, the governors said that Afghanistan and its good people were celebrated worldwide for liberating themselves from the scourge of fear, thereby sending a strong signal that no amount of threat would deny them choosing their leaders through a democratic process.

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Public service to publish independent assessment of govt reforms From Anthony Otaru, Abuja HE Bureau of Public ServT ice Reforms (BPSR) is working on a new approach to making government accountable to the people through the publishing of an independent assessment of all the reforms undertaken by government since 1999. BPSR Director-General, Dr. Joe Abah said that such difficult questions as, “have the

reforms improved the quality and quantity of public services, reduced corruption, reduced the cost of governance, unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape,” as well as, “whether things are improving, staying the same or getting worse” would form the bedrock of the publication. Speaking yesterday in Abuja while declaring open a workshop for Resident Infor-

mation Officers of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Abah said that BPSR was working with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to gauge the perception of Nigerians on whether these reforms were making any tangible difference in their lives. The bureau was established on September 26, 2003, as the lead agency and “engine room” for inte-

grated reform implementation and harmonisation, with mandate, among others, to initiate, co-ordinate, monitor and disseminate information on all aspects of Public Service Reforms. “Since the main mandate of the Ministry of Information is the publicity and dissemination of Federal Government’s programmes and policies, there is need for a synergy of efforts in the

Group asks Taraba govt to check spread of HIV From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo ERSONS Living With P HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Taraba State have decried the state government’s uninspiring attitude to their plight, saying it is the major reason the infection has continued to spread in the state. According to the state’s co-ordinator of PLWHA, Johnson Abrahmam, the prevalence rate has risen from 5.8 per cent to 10.5 per cent, and could get out of hand if drastic steps are not taken by the relevant authority. The members protested against the absence of ARV due to the ongoing strike by the Federal Medical Centre personnel, lamenting that government was not contributing to the reduction of the scourge. Noting that Taraba is now second among the HIV-prevalent states, they blamed the state government for the surge, adding that the issue of clients suffering from taking the refill of their ARV cuts across all the facilities in the state.

Bauchi council’s APC secretariat razed From Ali Garba, Bauchi NKNOWN arsonists early U yesterday burnt down the All Peoples Congress’ (APC) Bauchi Local Council secretariat. The Police Public Relations Officer of the Bauchi State Command, Haruna Mohammed (DSP) said that information from an anonymous source indicated that unknown persons razed part of the APC building along Gombe Road in the night. He explained that no life was lost and that value of things destroyed as yet to be ascertained, though investigation was ongoing, adding that the party was yet to report the incident officially. However, it was learnt that the arsonists allegedly carted away chairs, tables and air conditioners before setting the building ablaze. According an eyewitness at the premises, they also drove away the security man before torching the building.

Newly sworn-in members, Kwara State Civil Service Commission, Alhaji Isiaka Labaika (left); Alhaji Abubakar Gunu Zikki and Chairman, CSC, Alhaji Salman Adelodun Ibrahim with Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed after swearing in ceremony at Government House, Ilorin, yesterday.

business of communicating the public service reforms between the BPSR, the Ministry of Information and its officers in other MDAs,” he noted. According to him, the overall objective of the workshop, which has held every year since 2010, is for participants to brainstorm and understand how best to communicate public service reforms. He added, “the public discourse in Nigeria is often dominated by politics. “This means that many citizens are not aware of government’s efforts to improve their lives. As public officers, we must be available to answer questions and explain government policies, respond to freedom of information requests and engage in proactive disclosure, as public service is after all public, not private.” In his welcome address earlier, the Director of Public Communication, Ministry of Information, Mr. Emmanuel Agbegi said the ministry would this year design capacity building programmes for officers to keep them abreast of current and emerging trends in information management and dissemination in line with the reform process. “This workshop is, therefore, designed to give the resident information officers deeper knowledge of the public service reforms and equip them with strategies to communicate the reforms,” Agbegi said. He commended the BPSR for embarking on the exercise to enhance the reportage of the MDAs.

Fayose, PDP leaders meet over running mate From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja HE Peoples Democratic T Party (PDP) leadership met for several hours on Tuesday evening with its candidate for the June 21 Ekiti State governorship election, Ayo Fayose. Presided by the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus, the meeting was essentially to resolve issues arising from the choice of

Fayose’s running mate. One of the aspirants that contested the primary election with Fayose, Prince Dayo Adeyeye was said to have opted for the deputy governor position. However, in an interview with newsmen shortly after the meeting, Fayose said he had appealed to the party to be allowed to pick his deputy, who he said would come from Ekiti South Senatorial District.

According to him, the most important issue was to pick someone that would give his administration peace of mind. He also spoke on the efforts to reconcile other aspirants, who were still aggrieved over the primary election. “Nobody can do total reconciliation except God,” he said. “Ours is to do our best and be seen not only as fair, but fair to everybody. We must allay

their fear, (assure them that) the government will be run by all of us, the governor only has a rare privilege of being the leader, others will have a part and role in the government.” Explaining the absence of Senator Gbenga Aluko and other aggrieved aspirants at the meeting, he said, “we still keep appealing. People have motive for their actions, but we don’t want to pre-empt

RMAFC tasks states, councils on alternative revenue sources From Anthony Otaru, Abuja OR states and local counFoutcils to move forward withclutching onto the Federal Government for economic sustenance, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has urged them to exploit alternative sources of revenue. The agency advised that investments in agriculture, solid minerals and tourism could boost their revenue base and reduce their overdependence on oil revenue from the Federation Account. Chairman of the commission, Mr. Elias Mbam, who made the call yesterday when

he received a delegation from the Kaduna State government, led by Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero in Abuja, assured that “the commission will do everything within its powers to help all the states explore all avenues that will make them increase their revenue base and reduce over-dependence on oil revenue.” He noted that if all the natural resources like mines, agriculture and tourism were developed, it would assist in establishing manufacturing companies to tackle the issue of unemployment while the Federal Government concentrates on the provision of social amenities for the citizens.

Earlier in his presentation, Yero, who was represented by the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Madami Garba Madami explained that the state, with a population of over six million people and an annual growth rate of 3.2 per cent, is the third most populous in the country after Kano and Lagos. According to Yero, the state, famous for industrial establishments like textiles, automobile, brewery, petroleum refinery, fertiliser blending and furniture, is also blessed with human and natural resources. Also, it hosts many state and federal higher educational

institutions, research institutes and outstations that provide capacity building for farmers, generate relevant agricultural innovations and technologies, and transfer such to end users, he added. Yero further highlighted the state’s agricultural potential to include a total cultivable land area of about 2.5 million hectares, out of which 1.8 million hectares is upland where rain-fed crops are produced - while 0.7 million hectares hold flooded plains (Fadama) - where dry season crops are grown with irrigation, with abundant opportunities for year-long livestock, fishery and crop production.

anybody. “My responsibility is that anybody that I need to prostrate for in the name of the party, I have to do it. An aggrieved man of yesterday can become best of friends tomorrow.” Responding to the alleged attack by his supporters on Governor Kayode Fayemi’s convoy, he noted, “I was on my way to Abuja when I heard that they opened fire on our men. Even if it is true, how could you use live ammunition directly on the office of the opposition? “Mine is that the office of a governor is an office where oath to protect lives and property is taken. The moment the chief security officer becomes the chief attacker, it is unfortunate. Of helpless people who do not have arms, you turned the story that you were attacked! The story doesn’t flow. “I have told my supporters not to be provoked, we are looking at June 21 and we will ease them out of power.” Also speaking, Adeyeye said, “our reconciliation, by the grace of God, was total and complete between me and the candidate of the party, Mr. Ayo Fayose. We have reconciled and have resolved to work together to win the coming elections.”


Thursday, April 10, 2014 NEWS 7

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Appeal court okays Igbinedion’s trial over alleged fraud From Abosede Musari, Abuja HE last may not have been heard of the money laundering case instituted against former Edo State Governor, Lucky Igbinedion as the Court of Appeal in Benin City, ordered yesterday, that he returns to the High Court to face trial. The court, in upholding the appeal of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ruled that Igbinedion has a case to answer over allegations of financial improprieties. Information from the commission revealed that the decision was reached and declared by a panel of three justices led by Justice Helen M. Ogunwunmiju. The other judges who agreed that the former governor

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should return to the Federal High Court to face trial for money laundering, misappropriation of fund and abuse of office are Justice M. M. Saulawa and Justice A. O. Lokulo-Sodipe. The EFCC approached the Court of Appeal sequel to the judgment of Justice Adamu Hobon, then of the Federal High Court, Benin City who dismissed the fresh charge of money laundering filed against the former governor on the ground that Igbinedion entered a plea bargain with the EFCC and was convicted, that the fresh charge brought against him amounts to double jeopardy. The appellate court in upholding the appeal of the EFCC ruled that there was no agreement between Igbine-

dion and the EFCC that he would not face trial on fresh allegations and revelations and therefore ruled that Igbinedion returns to the High Court to face trial for money laundering and misappropri-

ation of funds. The EFCC had on February 8, 2011 charged the former governor and six others before a Federal High Court sitting in Benin, on a 66-count charge. Others charged along with

From Tunde Oyedoyin , London HE defence team of former T Delta State governor,  Chief James Ibori yesterday . argued fiercely at Southwark  Crown Court that Crown Prosecutors will have to prove their client obtained each benefit they want the judge to strip him of and not just rely on his guilty pleas to confiscate his assets . Lead defence counsel , Ivan Krolick actually branded the

Crown’s reliance on assumptions as ‘nonsense.’ From that moment on, it was Ibori’s team all the way, except for some dialogue that ensued between his team and the Judge .Krolick and his partner , Kennedy Talbot then seized the initiative , picking on both the prosecution and the judge as they started their battle to prevent the case going back to square one . Their position was that if the prosecution had done a shoddy job, they shouldn’t be made to then go through a retrial of  clients - as Krolick is now representing Onuigbo in the case of reassess her benefits  from Ibori. Opening their argument  , Krolick said:” We are being accused of changing our case and the Crown said they don’t understand what our case was. But we are saying the Crown knows what our case is, that aside, they have declined to disclose the source of their evidence.” His position was that both sides of the Bench had , prior to the three-week aborted  confiscation hearing last year, agreed to confine themselves to  the 66,000 - pages of evidence provided by the prosecution and that the Crown had bypassed these in their bid to rip  Ibori off of all the assets in his indict-

Senate suspends move to make president initiate new constitution HE Senate yesterday susT pended its move to amend the constitution to empower the President to initiate the process of enacting new constitution. At the commencement of yesterday’s session, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, announced the suspension of the controversial addition into Section 9 of the constitution which gives the President power to initiate the process of a new constitution. Senate President, David Mark, who presided over the session, had announced that voting on all recommendations of the Ekweremadu committee was suspended because the number of the senators who attended the plenary was just slightly above the required 73, which is the two third of the entire figure of 109. He therefore urged all his colleagues to attend the next legislative sitting because all members should be present in order to participate in the “all important process of constitution amendment.” Ekweremadu had earlier informed the chamber that his committee met on Tuesday to exhaustively debate on the insertion to section nine which tends to recognise the right of the president to initiate the process for a new constitution. Members of the senate had expressed divergent views on

the additional report submitted last week Wednesday by the committee because of certain aspects that affect national and individual party’s interests. The bill titled, “An Act to further alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and for other matters connected therewith, 2013” according to Ekweremadu, was to principally enhance and strengthen the legal framework for the processing of a new constitution, electoral process and other connected institutions in Nigeria. He had recalled that the Senate at its sitting of Thursday, July 1, 2013 voted on some recommendations of the Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution. He explained that while expecting the inauguration of a conference committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives which are separately working on the same issue to harmonize areas of differences, his own committee received six additional requests which have very serious implication for the electoral process. He said his committee found it imperative and incumbent on it to take immediate legislative action on the requests. The highlights of the amendments as proposed by the committee are to amend Section 3 (b) of Clause 2 of the constitution dealing with how a new constitution can be processed. Ekweremadu explained that Section 9 of the first Alteration Bill provided for how a new

Limited. The charge borders on money laundering, illegal transfer of public fund to private account and abuse of office when Igbinedion was governor of Edo State between 1997 and 2007.

Defence team battles to save Ibori’s assets

Prominent African entrepreneur Tony O. Elumelu (middle) with United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon and others at the opening of the joint United Nations General Assembly and Economic and Social Council conference on “The role of partnerships in the implementation of the post-2015 Development Agenda”. Elumelu gave the keynote address representing the global private sector.

From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja

the former governor are his brother, Michael Igbinedion, Patrick Eboigbodin, and four companies -Gava Corporation Limited, Romrig Nigeria Limited, PMI Securities Company Limited and PML (Nigeria)

constitution can come into being through the National Assembly but that the aim of the current insertion by his committee is to make provision for the President, in addition to the National Assembly, to initiate the process of a new constitution. Also, he said Sections 68 and 109 were being altered to mandate the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Clerks of States Houses of Assembly to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission in writing, seven days of the existence of a vacancy arising from death, resignation or defection of a member of the National Assembly or a member of the State House of Assembly respectively. The third amendment he added, is that Sections 134 and 179 also being altered by the committee, aims to extend the time for the conduct of presidential and governorship re-run election from seven days to 21 days as contained in Clauses 4 and 5. He noted that INEC had submitted proposal to the Commitee seeking for an extension of the seven days to 21 days after results of the election would have been announced. Another new ammendment, the Deputy Senate President explained, is the empowerment of the INEC to de-register political parties which fail to win presidential, governorship, chairmanship of a local government area council, or a seat in the National or States Assembly elections. The amendment also aimed at

conferring exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court for the trial of offences arising from, pertaining to or connected to the violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act and any other election related act of the National Assembly. Ekweremadu noted that “After our meeting with the INEC, they came up with the suggestion that instead of setting up another bureaucracy, it is better to confer on the Federal High Court the powers to try electoral offences. Apart from this, the amendments include the altering of the Third Schedule of the Constitution in Clause 8 to include former Senate presidents and Speakers of the House of Representatives as members of the Council of States. He stressed that currently, the serving Senate President and the Speaker are members of the Council of States while their predecessors are not included. In the constitution being amended, he said the former Chief Justices of the Federation are members of the Council of States in addition to the serving CJN. The report generated instant reactions from the senators after the presentation thus making its passage for second reading through voice vote somehow risky. Mark, therefore, ruled, after an exhaustive debate on it, that the red chamber will on Wednesday this week, vote on each items on the proposed new amendments to the 1999 constitution, as submitted by the committee.

ment . Krolick then took the fight to   the judge reminding him that “ the Court has  no power to say , you closed your case and because you haven’t provided enough evidence and want to restart the case . Our research had not found a single case where that happened .”  But the Judge fought back, arguing that even if there is no legal precedent for that, in exceptional circumstances , he can order a restart if only to ensure justice is served. Before the court adjourned for the day, Krolick made several citations from the aborted hearing to back his argument that  both sides of the bench had agreed they  were singing from the same hymn sheet and that the Judge is even on record as taking the same view. With several pages to back his argument , he made it clear to the  court that the  Crown cannot just base their case on the fact that since Ibori pleaded guilty to all the indictments for which he’s serving a 13- year jail term, then assets to be stripped off him should be to the tune of £50 million.  According to Krolick , Ibori wasn’t even part of the $37 million VMobile contract. “ His involvement was limited to introduc-

ing Gohil to the Delta State Executive Council.” Moreover, he submitted further that in a case of confiscation of assets, it is not enough for the prosecution to make assumptions that since a defendant pleads guilty , then automatically you have to strip him of assets to the tune of his guilty plea. Krolick told the court that the onus is on the Crown to prove each particular benefit they say Ibori got from his conviction. After being accused by the judge of making a ‘ludicrous’ claim that Ibori isn’t guilty of all his indictments , Krolick replied and said,” Your honour ,our case is not going beside to say he’s not guilty but that being guilty is not enough in a confiscation hearing. “You , Crown prosecutors, have to prove that he obtained particular benefits, on a one by one basis.” The case was adjourned till Friday at the instance of Wass , who pleaded with the Judge not to “ sit on the matter tomorrow , Thursday , because I ‘m making a closing submission for a case in Reading and it is not appropriate for me to delegate it to someone else.”


8 | NEWS Thursday, April 10, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

PHOTONEWS

Festival Coordinator, Ms. Folu Michaels (left); Regional Manager – Isolo, Diamond Bank Plc, Njideka Esomeju; Executive Director, Lagos Businesses, Diamond Bank, Victor Ezenwoko; Regional Manager – Victoria Island, Diamond Bank, Maureen Offor; Head, Corporate Communications of the bank, Ayona Trimnell and representative of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival Consultant (Prof. Wole Soyinka), Jahman Anikulakpo, at the press conference prior to the painting competition of this year’s Vision of The Child Competition of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival.

Deputy Managing Director, Moni Pulo Limited (MPL), Solate Ovundah-Akarolo (left, front row); Executive Vice President, Seinye Lulu-Briggs; Mayor of Port Harcourt, Chimbiko Akarolo and others during a fitness and team spirit building Walk For Life programme organised by MPL in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Olumide Akintayo (left); Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii and Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research, NAFDAC, Segun Momodu, during the meeting between PSN and NAFDAC in Lagos. PHOTO: OSENI YUSUF

Group Head, Capacity Building & Certification, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Akin Morakinyo; President, Sierra Leone Association of Commercial Bankers (SLACB)/MD, ECOBANK Sierra Leone, Clement Doodo; Governor, Bank of Sierra Leone, Dr. Sheku Sessay; Registrar/CEO, CIBN, Dr. ‘Uju Ogubunka and Executive Secretary, SLACB, Ms Shola-Taylor-Pearce, during the execution of MOU with the Bank of Sierra Leone and SLACB for setting up CIBN examination centre in Sierra Leone.

Finance Controller, Sweet Sensation, Yemi Opedemowo (left); Regional Operations Director, Airtel Lagos, Adebayo Oshinowo; Executive Director, Sweet Sensation, Olatunji Kamson and Head, Front Forensic experts from Abuja inspecting Soka forest in Ibadan to retrieve the remains of dead bodies. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM Operations, Sweet Sensation, Kemi Adewole Ojo at the Airtel partnership with Sweet Sensation “ Refresh and Recharge Initiatives ” in Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Managing Director, Nigerite Limited, Frank Le Bris (left); President, Professional Carpenters and Furniture Association, Lagos State, Comrade Anthony Aluko; Head, Roofing and Ceiling Sales Unit, Nigerite Limited, Chris Adegbile and others during the unveiling of a new Nigerite product –Solo Xtra Roofing Sheets in Lagos.

Principal Manager, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Mallam Lawal Mai’Iyali (left); Maikano Ibrahim; Nutricima Mega Cash Promo N1 million winner, Muhammad Auwal and Kano Area Sales Manager, Nutricima, Idris Bello, during the prize presentation in Kano.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Thursday, April 10, 2014 | 9

WorldReport Journalist disappears without trace in Rwanda

Putin warns Ukraine on gas supplies, urges talks RESIDENT Vladimir Putin yesterday warned Russia may begin requiring advance payment for gas supplies unless Ukraine comes to the negotiating table over its unpaid energy bills. Russia’s state-controlled natural gas company “Gazprom will only send gas in the amounts that the Ukrainian side has paid for a month in advance” under the changed sale terms being contemplated, Putin said at a government meeting according to televised excerpts. “They will receive as much as they have paid for,” he said. Russia says Ukraine now owes it $2.2 billion for natural gas supplies, and Gazprom last week demanded that Ukraine “take immediate measures” to settle the debt. Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev insisted during the meeting that the situation was “critical” and urged the government to switch to a system of advance payments. Putin however said that for now Russia would refrain from doing so, citing Ukraine’s economic difficulties and Moscow’s ongoing talks with the European Union. Earlier this month, Gazprom announced it was raising the price of gas exports to Ukraine by more than a third, scrapping a previous discount amid soaring political tensions between the two ex-Soviet countries. Ukraine now has to pay $485 dollars for 1,000 cubic metres of gas, the highest price of any of Gazprom’s clients in Europe. Kiev charges that Moscow is punishing it for its Western ambitions and vowed to take its energy-rich neighbour to

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court. Speaking at the government meeting, Putin added that Russia was not in a position to prop up Ukraine’s struggling economy indefinitely. “The situation today is strange to say the least. As we know, our partners in Europe recognise the legitimacy of Kiev’s current authorities but are doing nothing to support Ukraine. Not a single dollar, not a single cent. “The Russian Federation does not recognise the legitimacy of the authorities in Kiev but is still continuing to render it economic assistance and subsidise Ukraine’s economy in the amount of hundreds of millions and billions of dollars,” Putin said. “Of course, this cannot last forever.” Putin also expressed hope that Kiev would not take any irreversible steps and Russia’s diplomatic efforts would be successful. “I hope that the acting (authorities) will not do anything that can’t be fixed later,” he said, expressing hope that Russian efforts to calm tensions through talks would have a “positive” result. Russian officials have warned Ukrainian authorities not to use force against pro-Russian protestors which have seized government buildings in eastern cities, and have worried Ukraine may move closer to the EU and NATO. United States Secretary of State, John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov are planning to meet in Europe next week to discuss preparations for possible fourway crisis talks with Ukraine and EU diplomats.

HE head of a Rwandan T Christian radio station disappeared without a trace

Residents of Deep slum in Nairobi walk with what they could salvage from their houses after a fire caused by an electrical fault broke out in Nairobi…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

France backs evacuation of Muslims ‘as last resort’ in CAR RANCE said it supported the F evacuation of Muslims under threat of reprisals in Central African Republic “as a last resort”, saying that the priority was to save lives despite concerns it could lead to the division of the country. The United Nations said on April 1 it was trying to evacuate 19,000 Muslims urgently from the capital Bangui and other parts of Central African Republic who are surrounded by anti-balaka Christian militia threatening their lives. Anti-balaka forces control major routes to and from Bangui as well as many towns and villages in the southwest, the U.N. refugee agency said. The militia has become more militarized as it steps up attacks on Muslims and African Union peacekeepers. The militias have previously attacked convoys of Muslims

Israel limits contact with Palestinians as talks falter SRAELI Prime Minister, Iordered Benjamin Netanyahu has ministers to limit all but diplomatic and security contact with their Palestinian counterparts, an official said yesterday, dealing another blow to faltering peace talks. The move comes a day after United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, who kickstarted talks in July, blamed Israel for derailing the process by announcing new settlement construction in what he described as a “poof” moment in negotiations. “In response to the Palestinian violation of their commitments under peace talks... Israel government ministers have been told to refrain from meeting their Palestinian counterparts,” the Israeli government official told AFP, requesting anonymity. Palestinian Labour Minister, Ahmad Majdalani dismissed the significance of the move. “In any case there are no (regular) meetings organised between Palestinian and Israeli ministers, apart from the finance ministers,” he told AFP. Israel’s environment minister also brushed aside the move as “useless and premature,” calling for a govern-

ment meeting on the matter. Kerry on Tuesday blamed Israel’s approval of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem on April 1 for the latest crisis in the negotiations, a charge that has left Israeli officials bristling. While he blamed intransigence on both sides, Kerry told US lawmakers that a delayed Israeli plan to release several Palestinian prisoners as part of a good faith effort was sabotaged by the settlements move.

“In the afternoon, when they were about to maybe get there, 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem and, poof, that was sort of the moment,” he testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. At the end of March, Israel refused to release a final batch of long-serving Palestinian prisoners as agreed under the talks, and at the same time reissued tenders for 708 settler homes in annexed Arab east Jerusalem.

Mass stabbing at U.S. school S many as 20 students have A been injured in a mass stabbing at a high school in the US state of Pennsylvania, authorities have said. One suspect believed to be a student was taken into custody at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The wounded, many with significant injuries, range in age from 14-21. Several were in surgery in hospital. As many as seven students were stabbed in the torso, a doctor told reporters. “These are all significant stab wounds,” said Dr Chris Kauffman of nearby Forbes

Regional Hospital. He said several were either in the operating room or being prepped for surgery. The initial report of the attack came before 08:00 local time yesterday. “A critical incident has occurred at the high school,” school officials wrote in a bulletin. “All elementary schools are cancelled, the middle school and high school students are secure.” The panicked students poured out of the school building, some suffering injuries in the chaos, as police descended in search of the suspected attacker.

who were being evacuated by private convoys or Chadian troops to Chad or the north of the country. With 2,000 troops in its former colony, France could provide security for any evacuation. The head of the French contingent, General Francisco Soriano, said last week he was against an evacuation, saying: “Our role is to protect populations and do everything so that they can live where they have

always lived.” But Foreign Ministry spokesman, Romain Nadal told reporters on Tuesday: “France believes that moving populations must be a last resort. “Nevertheless, it is helping to ease limited evacuations in agreement with populations, notably when their security is under threat or humanitarian aid access cannot be guaranteed.”

after a ceremony commemorating the 1994 genocide, Reporters Without Borders said yesterday, expressing concern that he may have been abducted. The disappearance of Cassien Ntamuhanga, director of Amazing Grace Christian Radio, comes just weeks after the media watchdog condemned what it called “harassment” and “intimidation” of journalists by the Rwandan government, accusing authorities of trying to stifle independent reporting. Ntamuhanga was last heard from on Monday evening when he left Amahoro Stadium in Kigali where a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the genocide took place and phoned his brother to tell him he would meet him in town, RSF said. “There has been no news of him since then and his phone rings without anyone answering,” the group added. RSF said that later that night guards saw a man suddenly parking the journalist’s car outside the radio station before quickly leaving the premises on a waiting motorbike.


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Thursday, April 10, 2014 www.ngrguardiannews.com

Adverse effects of uncontrolled development of Lagos By Godfrey Okpugie FTER many years of unbridled development and expansion, Lagos is today facing myriads of challenges akin to a tangle mass of twines, which posses a Herculean task to any person that attempts to disentangle them. Some of these challenges include the absence of water hydrants in Lagos streets and the building of houses close to the roads without making provisions for setback between the gutters and perimeters fences in front of houses in the streets. Explaining the reason there are absence of water hydrants on the streets of Lagos, the managing director, Lagos State Water Corporation (LWC), Mr. Shayo Holloway said the massive and rapid developments in the metropolis over the years which were carried out without regards to existing law on physical planning and urban development was responsible. The massive developments, he said, also account for the lack of space on the streets in Lagos even to lay water pipes for the supply of pipe borne water to Lagosians. Defining a fire hydrant as an active fire protection measure and a source of water provided in most urban, suburban and rural areas with municipal water service to enable firefighters to tap into the municipal water supply to assist in extinguishing a fire, Holloway said in the old days provisions were made for hydrants but the growth and development coupled with reconstruction and rehabilitations of roads in the city consumed them (hydrants). Recently a 25-storey Great Nigeria Insurance A congest street in Lagos Island Company (GNI) Ltd House on Martins Street, the lack of space to lay water mains. He declared: “Right now people no longer Lagos, was razed by an early morning fire. The absence of fire hydrants was identified as observe setbacks. There should be setbacks by law between drains and a perimeter fence. one of the reasons the fire could not be put Nowadays, people no longer comply with out on time. that, everybody builds his fence right up to Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak the drains. There is nowhere for water corpoFadipe, who led officials of the Lagos State Fire Service and other emergency agencies to ration to lay mains. “When we were providing pipe borne water battle for hours to quench the fire, told reporters that his men received a distress call in Oshodi, we had to be going through people’s properties to lay mains. In some areas we around 6:34 am on that day but that even though the fire trucks at Onikan Fire Station, had to avoid graves and septic tanks. These are with 10,000 litres of water were mobilised to challenges.” On what the LWC is doing to ensure this the scene it was discovered that the fire was does not continue, he replied: so huge that the water the fire engines took “There is existing law. It is just that people there was insufficient. decided to disregard the law. What we have He said: “We had to call for reinforcement done is that we complained to the ministry of from the Sari-Iganmu Fire Station, which physical planning. They are the ones who will brought another 10,000 litres of water to implement that law so that anywhere we need fight the fire. “We left the island to as far as Apapa to get a to lay mains and we come across physical obstructions we will notify the ministry. They functioning water hydrant.” Mr. Solomon Oladejo, a resident in Idumag- will remove the obstruction. The law is there.” Corroborating Holloway, Hon. Mohammedbo Street, Lagos Island, said when they were young water hydrants were available in many Bello Oyinlomo Danmole, the Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture parts of Lagos Island. in answering a question on why has it been He blamed the disappearance of the facilities on government failure to enforce the law difficult for Lagos state government to adopt fire hydrant method in fighting fire disasters on building and expansion of roads. in Lagos? Said: “It is just to get the right people However, Holloway, while disclosing that to do it. I can tell you that we are already on the present state government is reinstating top of that. It is in my next agenda, somebody water hydrants, pointed out that the major has written to me that he can do that. I have challenge now is not even the hydrant but

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PHOTO: GODFREY OKPUGIE

Endless wait for potable water told them to assess and get all the hydrants in Lagos State Central and Ikeja areas where all those hydrants were built when we were young. The report of the ones in Ikeja is already on my table,” adding: “I studied in the United States where hydrant is very important on their roads that they can not even park in the front of a hydrant. It is as important as that to them. So, in

the state, we are going to re-activate all of them wherever they are. We are starting from the urban centres, Lagos Central Senatorial District, Ikoyi, Lagos Island, Ebute-Meta and other places. Once we are able to start those ones, we will go into other inner places even where there are no hydrants at all, we will start constructing them.”

Lagos Shots

A physically-challenged boy crossing the highway at Berger bus-stop, on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

Dangerous driving: A lady fiddling with her phone while driving on the Third Mainland Bridge recently. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Thursday, April 10, 2014

LagosHOMS affordable, says commissioner By Wole Oyebade S affordability speculation trails the Lagos State Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (LagosHOMS), government has explained that the initiative is pro-masses but that prospective owners must cut their coat according to their cloth. The cost of owning a house in the scheme ranges from N4million to N35million – among civil servants many of whom are unable to pay the high cost of education in the state-own university. State Commissioner for Housing, Bosun Jeje, at a recent briefing said that government

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deserves credit for introducing the masses-oriented mortgage scheme as part of measures to address the nagging accommodation challenges in the state. According to Jeje, Nigeria has never practiced mortgage to standard, as it is now being done with the scheme. He said: “The scientific approach lends credence to the fact that the scheme is designed for the masses. We have houses that are up to N10 million and N15 million. What we have done is to enable applicant take what their pay can afford.” According to him, all over the world, it is not everyone that will buy a house. Those that are fortunate to do so buy the type of a house that their income can

afford. not adding any profit or He declared: “If you go to our financing cost. Again, you website, you will get different must also note that even kinds of houses your income can though the houses are for the accommodate. What we request masses, that does not mean interested buyers to do is to pay a they have to be built with infecertain percentage (30 per cent) rior materials or shoddily,” and then balance the rest within Akabueze said. a minimum period of 10 years.” He disclosed that monthly He disclosed that the prevailing remittance of applicants housing deficit in the state is would not exceed what they about one million houses out of were paying as rent. which the current measure intro- “The rent is simply an duced by the government has the expense that does not get capacity to deliver only 13, 000. them any value. So, if you forHe said about 3,156 units are at mally pay N15, 000 without various stages of construction any value as rent and you now while 1104 have been completed pay N20, 000 monthly in our till date with 200 units awarded scheme, over time you’ll own each month. the house. That person cannot According to him, the homes turn around to say this is not are of different kinds – one-bed- affordable. We should really room, two-bedroom, three-bed- take time to examine the facts room and even a-room-and- aand not be carried away by the parlour apartments. figures. “Only first-time buyers are eligi- “In developed societies like ble to apply. Tax card and the Europe, the average home temporary resident’s registration ownership is under 50 per card are some of the pre-qualifica- cent. There is no country in tion criteria,” he said, adding the world that has achieved that: “If you are a minimum wage 100 per cent home ownership. earner, you won’t go for a house Singapore has come very where you’d have to part with close, but they are not there N35, 000 every month.” yet. The Commissioner for Econom- “The house that the state has ic Planning and Budget, Ben put in the market still look Akabueze said that the current expensive to some people, but pay-arrangement is the best it is the best we can do if the option possible, if the scheme scheme is to be sustainable,” would be sustainable. Akabueze said. “As it is today, government is

LAGOS ASSEMBLY DIARY

House to probe Ikorodu boat mishap By Wole Oyebade

system, he said: “We must find out the extent to which provisions of this law are known to ferry operators in the state. We must also examine the extent to which the public is aware of provisions of this law. A stitch in time saves nine. We are trying to encourage water transportation as alternative to road congestion, but with these mishaps, the The fatal episode occurred last Wednesday, public will lose confidence and we must when a 22-capacity boat, plying Ebute-Ero to not allow that.” Apparently in agreement with AgunbiIkorodu, capsized. Most of the passengers ade, Gbolahan Yishawu, added that were working class, returning home after poor implementation of the guiding close of work. Agunbiade recalled that a similar case was regulations might have aggravated the disasters on the waterways. recorded in FESTAC town few weeks ago Yishawu, who is representing Eti-Osa I when a crowded boat conveying about 24 constituency, said that over-loading had passengers also capsized and about 13 lives been fingered as the root cause of the were lost. mishap and therefore the lawmakers While he commiserated with the families that lost loved ones in the accident and com- must investigate the extent to which mended the emergency service agencies for provisions of the law are being enforced. timely response, Agunbiade said the recur“We have several traffic laws in the ring incidences had made it more important for the House to look into the root and state but to what extent do we have them enforced? We should look at the immediate causes of the accidents. water transport regulation laws and While saying that even though House beyond that, we should also look at othrecently passed a law guiding the operations and regulations of the water-transport er laws on transportation in our state,” he said.

• Summons Commissioner, AGOS State House of Assembly is to Linvestigate the recent boat mishap in LASWA boss, ferry operators Ikorodu, which killed about eight passengers. • Expresses reservation on The probe is aimed at understanding new developments in Lagos water-transport FG’s GDP boom and to find lasting solution to recurring episodes of waterway accidents. The House, at Monday’s plenary, summoned the Commissioner for Transport, Managing Director of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and Association of Ferry Operators in the State. They are all to appear on the floor of the House on Monday, April 14, 2014. In a related development, Lagos Lawmakers have expressed reservations over cheering reports on state of the economy vis-àvis national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), describing it as “meaningless” without commensurate improvement in the live of the people. Moving the motion of summon, Lawmaker representing Ikorodu I constituency, Sanai Agunbiade, expressed sadness on lives that were lost in the incident. It was second of similar accidents in three weeks.

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Citizens commend good work of their local council chairman By Cleopatra Eki OTABLE dwellers in Eti Osa East Local Council DevelopN ment Area at Lekki/Epe Expressway, Sangotedo, Ajah, Lagos, have lauded the efforts made by the executive chairman, Alhaji Owolabi Yisa, who has been the man at the helm of affairs in the locality since 2008. The Chief Nurse, Mrs. Yusuf Onigbogi was full of praise for the chairman for the uninterrupted supply of drugs and fuel to power the generators at the various primary health centres in the place. Mrs. Josephine Adusi, a Delta State indigene resident in the area prayed for the chairman for the job he and his officials are doing. Chief Nursing Officer, Mrs. Sidikat Abiodun Ogunlaja said the large number of patients coming daily to receive medical attention in the LCDA healthcare centres was very impressive but added that the major challenge was how to attend to the ever increasing number of people who come for treatment every day. For this reason, she said that there was need for additional medical personnel to meet the surging demand. She, however, lauded the chairman for his selfless service to the people and for doing his best within the limited resources of the local council. Dr. Stephanie Fowler, one of the female doctors in the health centres in the place confirmed that the primary healthcare delivery in the council is one of the best in the state in view of the medical facilities provided in the LCDA, but appealed for more medicals workers to support the great work. When The Guardian visited another Primary Health Centre, which is being constructed at Idiagbon/Alanyande Villages, the projects, which were nearing completion, it was learnt, would serve the needs of three communities – Bashiru, Alayande and Diagbon. Pastor Eze Ogbonnaya, chairman of the council development area in the Idiagbon/Alayande Communities, explained the benefits of Primary Health Care (PHC) in the three communities, saying that before now, especially during emergencies, peoples go as far as Ajah or Lagos hospitals for treatments but with the provision of health facilities in the area by the chairman, energy and time that were spent going to far places to seek medical attention were now being conserved. Mrs. Christiana Jatula, Principal Community Health Extension worker said: “In the past, during rainy season, the PHC was always flooded and most patients would find it difficult to come for treatment, but now that we sent ‘Save Our Soul’ (SOS) request to the Local Government Chairman, he promptly responded to our needs. Today, we have huge number of patients coming to the centre to enjoy the facilities. We are grateful to the Council and the Chairman for this kind gesture.” In Mogo-Alaya Community, five hectares of land had been acquired for Mini-Stadium (Okun-Mopo), which would cater for Youth Sporting activities in future. Mr. Solomon Ochni, a primary school teacher appreciated the effort of the chairman and the MDGs intervention for a provision of facilities that aid and ease learning. Mrs. Olabisi Agbejamu, an indigene of the area, who spoke in Yoruba said: “We go to Ajah and Okun Mapo for medical attention in the past. We had no roads, so, we spent N400 N800 for Okada (motorcycle) to travel the distance to these areas, it was worse during emergency or at night to get sick ones among us to the hospitals. “Now, we do not need to do so. We are grateful to Governor Fashola and the Council Chairman for coming to our aid with medical facilities in our domain. “However, we are appealing to them to build a primary school here in Araromi because we spend between N300 to N600 to go to Okun Mopo and other communities for that purpose.” Mr. Isogba Ayo, an Okada rider and indigene, confirmed that “ two years ago, the road was very bad, it was the intervention of the council that gave rise to the good patronage I currently enjoy in my motorcycle business.” But he appealed to the Council to try and complete the road. Mrs. Glory Akpan, a recharge card seller and a resident at Ajah appreciated the council for providing drainage system and sand filling of the road, which has boosted her business. The praise galore is endless.


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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Politics There’s grand design to eliminate northern minorities, says Dauda (1) Are there truly second-class citizens in Nigeria? Well, Professor Saleh Dauda of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, the University of Abuja, says so. Indeed, the delegate from Bauchi State at the national conference in Abuja, appears to have opened a can of worms in an interview with Foreign Affairs Editor, Oghogho Obayuwana. He did not only list how the minority groups in northern Nigeria are systematically denied, dehumanised and discriminated against, and religiously dominated, but also gave reasons why the conference must come up with workable solutions to save the North from itself. OU have been an activist academic and now a delegate to the National conference; can we have a general overview of the conference situated against the needs of the people of the North and the minorities therein? For the minorities in the North, this is an opportunity to tell the whole world and our southern delegates in particular, many of the hidden things about Nigeria. To understand that, when you say Bauchi State, there are minority groups there. When you say Gombe State, Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, and the whole of North Central, I mean Benue, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Taraba and what have you, these are states that minorities are dominant and in fact they are spread across the states. For instance, when you say Bauchi State, the tendency is for our southern brothers to think that these are all Muslims. But there are Christians in Bauchi, in Yobe, in Borno, in Taraba, in Adamawa and what have you. So, this is an opportunity for us to tell Nigerians and to tell the whole world and to educate Nigerians about the complexities of northern Nigeria, about these minorities and their plight. First, you have to appreciate the fact that most of them — the minorities in the northern parts of this country — are Christians and there is an overlap between ethnicity and religion. Hence, ethnically, most of the minorities in Northern Nigeria are not Hausa-Fulani; religiously, they are Christians and this has given them an ethno-religious identity in the northern part of this country. Therefore, when we speak of minorities, we are basically talking about these groups that are found in the northern part of the country that have not been properly given their due recognition and a sense of belonging.  Can you cite examples, looking at a place like Bauchi, of the marginalisation/discrimination you talked about? The paradigms are there. Look, in the whole of southern Bauchi, Tafawa Balewa local government council, there is no single functional science-based secondary school equipped with modern facilities. There is none. Are you saying that this situation differs from

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what obtains in other parts of the state? In other parts of Bauchi, the situation is not the same. In fact, in those other privileged parts, the schools built there are lying fallow. There are no students there, honestly. I am told that in some parts of Bauchi, people in the town come to the school to eat the food they cook for the students in those parts, because the students are so few. But in Tafawa Balewa local government, the people are yearning to see commensurate development. In the entire area, there is no single functional general hospital. Their children are not employed. There is this incidence where someone went to attend an interview; he failed the interview because he was putting on a kaftan without wearing a cap. So, wearing a cap became the yardstick of measuring success or otherwise of a candidate. This is replicated in southern Borno; it happens in southern Gombe; this happens in Adamawa; this happens all over. The road between Maiduguri and Biu has become an abattoir for human beings killed every day; people are being slaughtered. Minorities in the North from Bornu state inhabit Biu. In terms of education and exposure, they are higher but are denied employment, denied career progression in the service and what have you. Systematic denial! How does the game play out really in modern Nigeria? 

In the whole of southern Bauchi, Tafawa Balewa local government council, there is no single functional science-based secondary school equipped with modern facilities. In other parts of Bauchi, the situation is not the same. In fact, in those other privileged parts, the schools built there are lying fallow. There are no students there, honestly. I am told that in some parts of Bauchi, people in the town come to the school to eat the food they cook for the students in those parts, because the students are so few. But in Tafawa Balewa local government, the people are yearning to see commensurate development. In the entire area, there is no single functional general hospital. Their children are not employed. There is this incidence where someone went to attend an interview; he failed the interview because he was putting on a kaftan without wearing a cap. So, wearing a cap became the yardstick of measuring success or otherwise of a candidate. This is replicated in southern Borno; it happens in southern Gombe; this happens in Adamawa; this happens all over.

Dauda Through unwritten norms, of course! Nobody is going to put in the statutes: that you are being discriminated against. This method has become the unwritten norm of the elite. There is no law, as such driving discrimination, but it is clearly an issue for the country’s elite to deal with as it concerns the minorities in the North. I will give you an example: In Tafawa Balewa local government in Bauchi State, you have the Alkaleri, the Zarawa, the Wajawa, the Bulawa, and so many minorities. The case of the Zasiawa has become prominent. The Zasiawa in Bauchi call themselves Siawa or sometimes also refer to themselves as Ziars. Their distinct nature is so pronounced, apart from the fact that they are Christians. The area has witnessed series of crisis simply because all plans to destroy the people have failed. Because the people are resilient, they have resisted all attempts by the big people to ensure that they are wiped out. That’s why they are the most hated group. Besides this, others are also minorities in Kogoro local government area. Now, we also want the relocation of the local government headquarters (from Tafawa Balewa local government to Bununu, a Muslim dominated area) to be revisited. The relocation by the state government was done in bad taste in aid of continuous domi-

nation. My people are finding it difficult to get assimilated in terms of employment in the new place and to be accepted. SO, what does the national conference mean to people like these? Well, the national conference presents an opportunity, and an avenue to seek redress in the way Nigeria is being government, most especially, the plight of the minorities in the northern parts of this country. First of all, the minorities in the North are discriminated against, in terms of their religion, in terms of their ethnic identity and what have you. In fact, it seems to me that government has declared war on these minorities. In terms of the provision of basic infrastructures, (there are) no roads, no schools, no hospitals; they cannot access and afford the good things of this life; they are discriminated against in employment opportunities, even in terms of career progression. And more importantly, can you imagine that in the 21st century, some of these minorities are saddled with the imposition of traditional rulers that are not from their areas? They call it alien District Heads and so on and these institutions have become instruments of domination and exploitation. This is basically the plight of the minorities.

TO BE CONTINUED


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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 Boko Haram: Jonathan’s new approach reSIdeNT Goodluck Jonathan’s expressed intention to ‘be a little more P forceful’ in tackling the Boko Haram terrorism is certainly a needful, albeit reactive, approach to a danger threatening to engulf a huge swathe of the country.   For, besides the relentless destruction that the Boko Haram sect continues to visit on three states in the north-eastern geopolitical zone, marauding bands going by various names including herdsmen together with foreign mercenaries have extended their killings and sacking of villages to the north-central zone that includes Plateau, Benue, Nassarawa and Kaduna states. Also, parts of the Northwest including Katsina and Zamfara are not spared. In sum, persistent insecurity confined hitherto to three or four states is fast spreading. As lawlessness holds sway in the face of ineffective state response, the entire northern region is turning into a huge killing field. The attendant consequence is that the military forces are being spread thin to deal with a widening threat to internal security as well as challenge to the authority of the state. A military thus diverted and distracted from its core constitutional duty is dangerous for Nigeria in an unstable, conflict-riddled world. The coordinated brazen activities of both the Boko Haram insurgents and the so-called herdsmen, the sophisticated arms– including military uniforms at their disposal, the funding and training that seem to enable these, give cause to not discountenance, firstly, the possibility of external involvement, and secondly, probable access to insider information from within the state security apparatus. But, the Boko Haram problem could not have graduated from a small religious group disgruntled with the system to a band of well-trained and well-funded insurgents that have now earned itself international attention except that there was a terrible gap between what needed to be done about them, and what was actually done. And central to this has been the failure of leadership to do the needful as, and where appropriate. recently, the Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, in faraway United States of America, directly accused the Federal Government and its security agencies of, in different ways, fuelling the crisis in the northern part of the country.  The choice of foreign forum for such an accusation was clearly inappropriate and less than patriotic. Nevertheless, these are weighty allegations from one who should know - a former high-ranking military officer and the governor of an affected state. Worsening insecurity in the land, and government’s less than satisfactory and largely reactive ‘kid gloves’ response throw up some more salient questions.  Why are all these happening at this time?  Is Nigeria a victim of the vicious pursuit of the agenda of one or another vested interest? Is Boko Haram truly acting, albeit so dastardly, in defence of the faith it claims? Or, as its many un-Islamic acts have shown –including killing Muslims – is it more of a politico-ideological movement being used to execute a non-religious game plan? Granted that the advent of democracy has allowed the expression of group and sectional grievances long suppressed by military rule. But why, with such ferocity and executed so heartlessly, including slitting victims’ throats and murdering school children, and defying the understanding of reasonable men? These are questions only a government, with its immense power, and resources can and must answer as a way to overcome the present danger to the polity. It may not be out of place to suggest that if indeed, Boko Haram has a genuine case; it should bring it to the on-going national conference either by its leadership, or through delegates that represent the affected areas. The current problem may be primarily one for governments to solve. But it is much wiser to see it as a challenge to all Nigerians especially the political parties. Therefore, political leaders across party lines must come together to ensure the safety and sanctity of the Nigerian state that each desires to rule now, or sometime. To this end, firstly, Jonathan, as president to all citizens irrespective of party leaning, should avail his administration of the cooperation of other political parties to address insecurity in the country. Merely trading brickbats by the parties is most unhelpful at this time. Secondly, government must not allow itself to be driven into irrelevance. A situation whereby necessary social service facilities such as the schools and health centres are closed, plays into the hands of Boko Haram. In addition, displaced persons should be catered for in ways that will make their unhappy condition more tolerable, lest they become ready tools in the hands of the insurgents.

LETTER

The Church, Mosque and national development Ir: When people are overwhelmed with life’s chalSlenges they, on impulse, turn to God. He is the only being who forgives unendingly, gives hope to endure and to overcome tests: he provides succour to mankind. Life may not be fair but God is always just. It is nerve-racking and despicable today to see lay people venture into politics and instead of fulfilling their campaign undertakings, suddenly become self-proclaimed

The church and mosque are important to every society’s positive growth. It is there that decent traits of citizens are shaped for development. It is there that citizens who have overturned from the right course of life are reprimanded to toe the right path. It is not enough for religious leaders (and worse lay men) to blame government officials for promoting ethnicity, division, demagoguery while they also engage tacitly in

spiritual leaders judging people who do not share their faith, thereby causing misgivings, hatred and wicked criminality in the political entity amongst people known for living amicably for ages. This diatribe should be condemned by all Christians and Muslims so as to put a stop to the conscious mission by some people who thrive on sponsoring fratricidal divide. When God exalts a man, that man must be humble to be a link that will unite people in love and harmony and not to promote division amongst people. Succession is rapidly becoming a thorny issue in most churches in Nigeria. It is not surprising therefore to see a man establish a church and install himself as an “Archbishop” and his wife as a “Senior Bishop” with his servants “Bishops”, setting the tone for succession to the “Senior Bishop”. The “Bishops” grumble grudgingly behind in the dark because of the prominence of the “Senior Bishop” over them. It is also not unexpected these days to witness knighthood ceremonies involving people with dubious reputation. Some have been indicted by the public for various

offences. Yet the church bestows a designation meant for spotless faithful, accolades are poured on awardees that once had a devil-may-care disposition to the state and to the people. It is also not unexpected these days to see some Muslim clergymen barefacedly involved in preaching hatred in motor parks, in religious gatherings and on television regularly in the north. The church and mosque are important to every society’s positive growth. It is there that decent traits of citizens are shaped for development. It is there that citizens who have overturned from the right course of life are reprimanded to toe the right path. It is not enough for religious leaders (and worse lay men) to blame government officials for promoting ethnicity, division, demagoguery while they also engage tacitly in those irreverent acts. It will be a compliment to them if they can engage in acts of fairness and honesty when dealing with people of other faith. Nigeria needs the cooperative efforts of all religious leaders for nationbuilding and without the raucous brickbats. • Simon Abah, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.


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Opinion A conspiracy of silence on ASUP strike By Ayozie Ogechukwu T is hardly an understatement that governIever ment - past and present - catches fever whenASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) sneezes. But then, I also admire ASUP - the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics - for its doggedness, consistency, courage and sincerity of purpose in pursuing a cause for 10 months and, sadly, still counting. Every level of the tertiary education sector, by virtue of the Decree or Act of Parliament establishing them, has a noble role to play in the development of the Nigerian economy. It is a fact that all developed economies had one time or the other based their technological advancement on technical institutions of which the polytechnic is an integral part. Essentially, for Nigeria to progress, it needs to focus more on the development of polytechnics and other tertiary institutions. Decree No 33 of July 25, 1979 which established the polytechnics state some of its functions to include provision of full time or part time courses of instruction and training in technology, applied science, commerce and management, and in such other field of applied learning relevant to the needs of the development of Nigeria in the areas of industrial and agricultural production and distribution and for research in the development and adaptation of techniques. It is also responsible for organising conferences, seminars and study groups relative to the fields of learning specified above. If, in 1979, the government in its wisdom set the above as the objectives of the polytechnics when they were established, it is really amusing that such institutions would be on strike for almost 10 months, and there would be a conspiracy of silence by all. Nobody is concerned. Nobody worries about the impact of a ten-month strike on students who have been idle since, the teachers and the society that will at the end of the day depend on half-baked graduates. One is at a loss about the silence of the government, media, Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, religious bodies, opinion leaders - even parents who contributed greatly to solving the impasse between the Government and ASUU. Why has the government consid-

ered some academic sectors to be less important than others and some students more relevant to the society than others? It is public knowledge that the federal government always enters into an agreement it hardly honours. ASUP and the federal government are squaring up on four issues, which are germane to the technological development of Nigeria. There was a 2009 agreement, which was meant to be honoured. Among the demands of ASUP are the non-release of the white paper on the visitation panels to all the federal polytechnics, the non-release of funds for the implementation of CONTISS 15 migration and its arrears, the continued and embarrassing discrimination against polytechnic graduates in both the private and public sectors of the economy and during job search, the non-establishment of the National Polytechnic Commission and the continued recognition of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) as a regulatory body for Nigerian Polytechnics, the slow review of the Polytechnics Act by the National Assembly; gross under funding of polytechnics as well as the alleged lopsided disbursement of TETFUND grants, scholarships and other financial interventions in the education sector to the disadvantage of the polytechnics; the worrisome state of state-owned polytechnics and continued appointment of unqualified persons as rectors of the polytechnics. The current strike which started in 2013 had forced a damaging disruption of the academic calendar while creating social vices among the many students who have been kept at home for that period. It is puzzling really why the government has acquired the unpopular reputation of a partner that cannot be trusted to keep agreements it voluntarily entered into with unions and sectors of the Nigerian society. It is needless restating that constant and prolonged industrial actions hurt the cause of the technical education more than it advances. Have the Government and ASUP exhausted all options? Professor Wole Soyinka once advocated the closure of the universities for one year, to facilitate proper stocktaking, so that appropriate remedies would be advanced to bring back the lost glory of the ivory towers. Having spent ten months out of classrooms, is it not better for the governments involved to close all polytechnics, if by whatever rea-

son they are convinced about continued ‘irrelevance’ of the schools? Technological institutions in other countries are the bedrock of their scientific advancements. Can the Nigeria government run a polytechnic of equal standing and standard with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA or the Cranfield Institute of Technology (now Cranfield University) in the UK? What has become of the plans of the government to upgrade the Kaduna Polytechnic and the Yaba College of Technology to degree awarding institutions, towards acquiring the status of MIT or CIT? The supervising minister has given the impression that government has exhausted its options in reopening the polytechnics. There is uneasy calm everywhere. The students have had cause to demonstrate in major cities of Nigeria over the continued closure of their institutions. Something has to give to break this deadlock, urgently. A closer look at the demand of ASUP shows that it has not made any fresh demand apart from the implementation of the 2009 agreement it reached with the federal government which is to restore the lost glory of the polytechnics. Proper funding is a necessity if Nigeria is to be ranked with the Asian Tigers. To back out of their demands now will be catastrophic for ASUP and the students. The government has mismanaged this strike. The impasse would have been avoided if government had sincerely discussed with ASUP about the same time it reached an agreement with ASUU. Government officials have displayed indiscretion by favouring one academic sector as against another. Why is government shirking in its responsibility to the citizens? The hard line position adopted by government functionaries including the supervising minister (Nyeson Wike) is an ill wind. ASUP is only reminding the government that what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander. There should be no winwin situation by either party in resolving this impasse. ASUP had in the past suspended a similar strike, only for the government to renege in its commitment to honour the agreements. So, the union and members are waiting for concrete commitment by government on how the 2009 Agreement would be completely imple-

mented. The future of many Nigerian youths is at stake. The government for urgent infrastructural development must as a matter of necessity, release intervention funds; the institutions are also currently lacking in modern equipment for learning. The elimination of the HND-BSc dichotomy in the public and private sectors can also be realised if the 2009 Agreement is implemented, which depends on the expansion of the carrying capacity of the polytechnics, upgrading the deserving ones to degree awarding and the implementation of the November 7, 2006 Recommendations of Ufot Ekaete, and Dr. Oby Ezekwusili reform proposals on tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The negative societal perception of the polytechnic sub-sector as inferior has fully changed now to attract high academic manpower from all sectors of the society. The U.K has elevated all its old polytechnics to universities, thereby expanding the potentials of the students and staff. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was in the forefront of eliminating this disparity between the HND and B.Sc., and this must be sustained now. Nigeria is in the danger of producing uneducated, agitated, frustrated, hopeless and helpless graduates. A quick resolution of the current ASUP impasse can address the challenges. There is an urgent need to arrest the rot now and begin a massive re-engineering of the polytechnic sector. The polytechnics must be structured not just to accept the ‘rejects’ in the society, but allowed some level of independence to make its contribution to the development of Nigeria. Once technical education, which is the bedrock of the technological advancement of a nation, is destroyed, the nation is finished. Nigeria cannot afford to allow the Chinese, Indians, etc to flock into the country and take over the industries. The media should not be part of this conspiracy. I have not read any editorial commentary on this prolonged strike, giving the impression that the polytechnic sector is not significant in development process. This conspiracy of silence is destroying technical education. The seeming arrogance by the government and indifference exhibited by the society are dangerous signals. Let us all break this silence! • Ogechukwu is of the Department of Marketing, The Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State.

Challenge, confrontation: Jonathan’s new year (2) By Lindsay Barrett T can hardly be denied even by the most supportive of the inIa cumbent administration’s loyalists that this year has brought congregation of unprecedented challenges and problems to the fore in the arena of governance. Already, a number of senior cabinet figures have vacated their seats for various reasons. In fact the haemorrhage in the upper echelons of public office has begun to seem like a vast house cleaning rather than the normal course of changing personnel. It is a fact of political life that when key figures that have been at the forefront of the formulation and implementation of key political strategies in the pioneering years of a government are suddenly removed from office, public perception regards such movement as a symptom of unease. Dr. Jonathan is confronted with having to conduct the affairs of state in the first quarter of this year in a combative atmosphere as he seeks to replace important figures that have either been asked to go or have chosen to go for their own reasons. The removal of the once-powerful Chief of Staff in the Presidency, Mike Ogiadhome, from Edo State seemed to signal the commencement of the flood even though he claimed that the decision was a voluntary one as he prepares to join the contest for elective political office later in the year. To most observers, his role in the presidency for the past three years was so vital that for him to abandon ship at this crucial time is highly suspect. The major ministerial removals that have followed have increased public tensions and the suspicion that some of those who have stepped down were certainly pushed. Intense public attention has been focused on the decision to accept resignations from two of Jonathan’s closest ministerial allies, the former Aviation Minister Princess Stella Oduah, and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe. An objective scrutiny of the circumstances of their abdication from office seems to indicate, however, that while in the case of the latter, the claim to voluntary withdrawal is believable, that claim is somewhat less credible in explaining the lady’s removal. Apart from the fact that the major strategies and actions initiated by her in her ministry were still in their formative stages when she resigned, the timing of her removal also suggests inevitable connections to recent events which saw her facing embattled questions in parliament

over her financial conduct as a minister. The difference in the circumstances of the removal of these two stalwarts of the Jonathan team was graphically illustrated by the handover ceremonies in their respective ministries. At the Niger Delta Ministry there was a four-hour love fest in which all the directors and the permanent secretary and Minister of State (who was taking over) attested to their happy working relationship with Orubebe and wished him well in his highly publicised plan to run for the governorship of Delta State next year. Orubebe’s valedictory speech was also notable for his intense expression of support for, and loyalty to, President Jonathan’s agenda of development and continuity. The reports from the Aviation Ministry on the other hand indicate that the handover from the minister to her temporary successor was a short and less glamorous affair in which the focus was simply on the Minister’s account of her stewardship and expressions of gratitude for cooperation she received from members of the ministry’s staff. The irony in this situation though is the revelation that she had indeed put extraordinary programmes and plans in place and was only just beginning to consolidate these far-reaching objectives when she ran into problems with a hostile lobby. Princess Oduah is one of Goodluck Jonathan’s most loyal and effective political supporters and it is therefore difficult to believe that she would have left the team by choice at this time. The president himself must consider it unfortunate that circumstances have forced Princess Oduah’s withdrawal from the cabinet at this time since it is gradually emerging that the programmes that she was putting in place for the development of the aviation sector could, if actively implemented, truly transform the sector in extraordinary ways. This particular incident illustrates an important factor that the administration must confront directly and without compromise this year; that is the fact that in a democracy it is not just how well the operatives perform their tasks but also how carefully they navigate the arena of public service that gives their performance the imprimatur of success. Oduah’s handling of her duties was flawed by the introduction of extraneous financial conduct that may not even have really had any bearing on the true worth of her operational conduct. Now an even more dangerous and potentially destabilising catalogue of events at the heart of the national economy has begun

to undermine the tranquility of the year’s political countenance. Quite understandably, the overall perception, especially in the foreign media, of the president’s decision to suspend the Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has been linked to the governor’s vocal allegations of shortfalls in the petroleum ministry’s accounting of revenue delivery. The timing of this decision coming as it did right at the height of exchanges of allegations and counter-allegations between the CBN governor and the minister of petroleum, who incidentally hails from the president’s home state and region, was bound to spread ripples of unease in this year of campaign rhetoric and pre-election jousting. A close reading of the circumstances surrounding the matter will reveal that Jonathan’s hitherto cautious style has actually concealed a deep fundamental divide between the CBN governor and the presidency. The document produced by the Financial Reporting Council, a body of economic monitors and disciplinarians instituted by the Ministry of Trade and Investment, detailing allegations and strictures against the governor that go back as far as 2009, but which was dated June 2013 and represented an audit that ended in December 2012, indicate that disturbing assumptions of mistrust between the presidency and the bank’s managers led by the governor have been brewing for almost the entire term of the latter’s tenure as head of the apex bank. Sanusi’s supporters claim that this material was kept under wraps waiting for a time when the government could use it against their champion.   Sanusi’s term of office will end in June. He was due to commence his pre-retirement leave in March, and he must have been aware of the catalogue of allegations being raised against him because the investigation was on-going and a similar probe had even been instituted against his predecessor. He has denied that his decision to blow the whistle on the alleged missing oil corporation funds was the clever diversion that officials in the presidency have claimed, but there is no doubt that it has been an effective confrontational tactic in the protracted battle between himself and the Jonathan administration.  Now that he has confronted the CBN governor’s hostility squarely, the challenge before the president is to resolve the matter credibly in order to overcome a key threat to the nation’s socio-economic stability in this final year of his first fully elective term. • To be continued. • Barrett wrote the piece via daylightmedia@yahoo.com


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Opinion Remembering Rwanda’s genocide By Adekeye Adebajo WENTY years ago this week, a genocide erupted in the tiny central African country of Rwanda in which 800,000 people were killed in 100 days. It was one of the ghastliest massacres of the bloody 20th century. Diabolical Belgian colonial social engineering had sharpened Rwanda’s ethnic fault-lines, resulting in sporadic post-colonial massacres. The Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda from Uganda in 1990. These refugee warriors came from Rwanda’s Tutsi minority who had been forced out of their homeland and denied the right to return by the Hutudominated government of Juvénal Habyarimana. Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni backed the RPF, while France - which had trained and armed Habyarimana’s militias - along with Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire – now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) - supported Habyarimana. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) arranged peace talks in Tanzania that resulted in a peace settlement by August 1993. A 2, 500-strong U.N Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) was mandated to implement the Arusha agreement. The U.N peacekeepers arrived in Rwanda two months behind schedule and without the armoured unit and helicopters that had been authorized by the Security Council. General Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian UN Force Commander had called for a contingent twice the size of the one

T

deployed. On April 6, 1994, President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down over Kigali, signalling the start of the genocide against the Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus. The genocide had been planned by a group of extremists within Habyarimana’s regime who feared that the RPF’s presence in a new national army would facilitate the launching of a Tutsi military coup, concerns heightened by the assassination of neighbouring Burundi’s first Hutu President, Melchior Ndadaye, by Tutsi military extremists in October 1993. Within 24 hours of the start of the genocide, 250,000 Rwandan refugees flooded into Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, and the DRC. The killing of ten Belgian U.N peacekeepers led to the withdrawal of its entire contingent, the backbone of the U.N force, from Rwanda in April 1994. Brussels then lobbied for the withdrawal of all UN peacekeepers from its former colony. The slaughter ended only with an RPF military victory in July 1994. The genocidal militias and the Rwandan army retreated into eastern Congo with a hostage Hutu population. This retreat was facilitated by the controversial UN-sanctioned French intervention, Opération Turquoise, which had ostensibly been launched to save lives. However, revelations that Paris had trained and continued to allow arms to flow to Rwanda’s death squads raised troubling questions. As French scholar René Lemarchand put it: “No amount of retro-

spective guilt can diminish its (France’s) place in history as the principal villain in the Rwandan apocalypse.” At the start of the genocide, African governments and their allies at the U.N urged the Security Council to strengthen and reinforce the UN mission to be able to protect civilians. Nigeria’s permanent representative to the UN, Ibrahim Gambari, wondered aloud on the Council whether Africa had fallen off the map of the world’s concerns. The OAU condemned the UN’s “indifference or lack of sufficient concern” for Africans. Led by strong American and British demands, the Security Council, however, withdrew most of its peacekeepers from Rwanda, leaving a token force of 270. The Ghanaian contingent, under Dallaire’s deputy, Henry Anyidoho, stayed behind, bravely protecting civilians in Kigali. A machismo-fuelled United States (U.S) was determined to prove that it could “shut down” a UN mission after the death of 18 American soldiers in Somalia six months earlier. The Clinton administration refused for weeks to call genocide by its proper name for fear of being pressured to act. Susan Rice, the current National Security Advisor, reportedly argued against any intervention due to upcoming U.S Congressional elections. The representative of the genocidal Rwandan regime, Jean-Damascène Bizimana, surrealistically sat on the UN Security Council throughout the genocide, reporting back on the unwillingness of the Council to act.

Egyptian U.N Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, belatedly called for a stronger U.N force. Many observers, including General Dallaire - and cynically Bill Clinton - have since argued that a strengthened UN force could have prevented many of the civilian deaths, most of which were carried out by gangs wielding machetes, clubs, knives, and spears. Dallaire wrote several distressed cables calling for such action, but never found support within the U.N Secretariat. Much controversy still remains over the failure of the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping - led at the time by Ghana’s Kofi Annan - to report the contents of a January 1994 cable from Dallaire warning of the impending genocide and asking for authorisation to take military action to forestall it. A subsequent U.N inquiry report published in 1999 criticised Annan for this shortcoming. The safety of UN staff and Western civilians in Rwanda had taken precedence over the slaughter of innocent African civilians. Nine African countries that had volunteered troops for a strengthened UN mission to Rwanda failed to receive the promised logistics from foot-dragging Western countries. The international community had fiddled while Rwanda burned. • Dr. Adebajo, executive director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution, Cape Town, South Africa, and author of UN Peacekeeping in Africa wrote the piece to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide on Monday, April 7.

The orator’s last bow By Niyi Osundare (for Columbus Chukwujindu Ihekaibeya, 1942-2004) O two acts could have been more dramatic in their tragic coincidence. I was halfway through Biodun Jeyifo’s powerful elegy for Tunde Sawyer, his former classmate at the University of Ibadan (The Nation, January 12), when the obituary notice of yet another highly remarkable U.I alumnus popped up in my email box. This notice came from Professor Chukwuma Azuonye, the noted scholar and teacher, and it is about no other person than Chuks Ihekaibeya, our mutual friend, and my classmate and valuable colleague at the Universities of Ibadan and Leeds in the late sixties and early seventies respectively. These two mortuary notes sent me into a reflective spin. Jeyifo’s “departure lounge” metaphor and its memento mori implications; his eloquent, nostalgia-inducing recall of intellectual life at the University of Ibadan in the 1960’s; his exposure of Nigeria (for the umpteenth time) as that Hobbesian jungle where life is short and nasty and brutish; his characteristically cerebral but tender and humane representation of our human condition – all this in remembrance of a dear friend and the indictment of a country which never fails its citizens in its infliction of untimely ‘departures’. Azuonye’s own obituary notice is a celebration of Ihekaibeya and an impressively meticulous documentation of his achievements as student, scholar, and officer of the Commonwealth. Azuonye’s mail hurtled me down the proverbial memory lane, and my mind wound back the reel on the deck of time. The year was 1970. The Nigeria (un) civil war had just ended. The air was rent with shouts of: “One Nigeria. No victor, no vanquished”. But one brief, conscientious look at our war-weary, battlebruised returnee-colleagues was enough to punch a hole in that slogan wide enough to swallow a mortar tank. The moods of many of these returnees ranged from despondent to defiant, bitter to buoyant, but overall, what I noticed was a burning hunger to catch up on everything, to recover some of the lost time, to learn, to love, to live again. No time, no money for fancy wardrobes and expensive perfumes. Some of the shoes pounding the campus pavements were worn right to the heels. Occasional chants of ‘Happy Survival!’ interrupted the somber silence whenever long-separated former friends ran into each other again, and the ensuing hours were clamorous with narrations and enactments of all kinds of war sagas. It was a sober, even belittling experience for many returnees who were now nothing more than classmates with those who were still in high school at a time before the war when the ‘new’ arrivals were already undergraduates. Many of the returnees needed a more than usual lightness of spirit to bear this unfortunate demotion; others reached out with stubborn courage. Two of my most memorable colleagues in Tedder Hall, Frank and Aloysius Nwosu, one now a doctor, the other a renowned agriculturist, embodied these two ideals. Frank was brilliant, funny, and fabulous; Aloysius was intensely affable and witty. I revelled in their company as I teased them with literary terms and they re-

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sponded with all kinds of scientific arcana. In my private moments I couldn’t help wondering where these bright men would then have been had the war not intruded. It was in these sobering circumstances that Chuks and I discovered each other. In the first few weeks of class, I had noticed this bearded, fair-faced man who carried himself with the deliberate aplomb of a book-bound guru. For, everywhere Chuks went, there was always a book in his hand. Initially, he smiled but little, talked even less, but as time went on and the pains of the war began to wear, Chuks began to smile – that broad, generous, and utterly disarming smile that lit up his face and offered access to the light that perennially shone in his soul. It was impossible to encounter Chuks without being touched by his boundless vivacity and intensely reflective proclivity. Virtually every time we met, it was book talk, lecture talk, discourse over the new literary theory or concept or expression – or heady disputation over the vocabulary of the English language. Hardnosed grammarian and doctor of diction, Chuks waxed vigorous in our after-lecture ‘quarrels’ over dangling participles and their unpardonable damage to the health of English syntax; the semantic perils in almost like-sounding but differentmeaning pairs such as ‘official and officious’, ‘effect and affect’; ‘considerable and considerate’; ‘simple and simplistic’, etc. We even split hairs over the grammatical difference between ‘enquiry’ and ‘inquiry’; the differential syntactic positioning/implications of ‘due to’ and ‘owing to’; and ridiculed the intolerable redundancy in such expressions as ‘can be able to do it’ and ‘should in case’. In our second undergraduate year, some kind of occasional sparring sessions developed between Chuks, myself, Akanji Nasiru, a close friend of mine, and a versatile, unobtrusively intelligent fellow, and Terimi Adekunle Jimoh (also now late, alas!), a deep, immensely literate bookworm. ‘University Wits’ of a fledgling but ambitious breed, we raided world literature from Sophocles to Soyinka; from Hardy to Achebe; from Chaucer to JP Clark. The book was our brief, the pursuit of knowledge our ardent desire, the attainment of academic excellence our quenchless passion. Chuks was some kind of literary omnibus, at home in all the genres. But he and I had an uncommon fascination with the metaphysical poets. (Forgive my pathetic confession: up till now, I haven’t succeeded in ridding myself of my own Donne Disease). I remember one evening in 1971 at the famous Faculty of Arts courtyard, when Chuks and I decided to wage a battle of minds over the metaphysical poets. We spent about two hours ranging over Donne’s Euclidian tropes, his astonishingly captivating conceits, and the brave theatricality of his love poems. Then, in the tail end of the battle, Chuks mentioned a particularly fetching phrase. ‘From Theodore Redpath’, I said. ‘Ah, you’ve read him?’ Chuks asked, his face a shining book of surprise and inquisitive delight. Chuks stretched out his hand for me to shake, as if we were meeting for the first time. That handshake went beyond the elbow, in a manner of speaking, as the two fledgling scholars locked in collegial embrace. For the next 40 years Chuks and I never met without some mention of that Eureka moment.

That short but poignant moment was so symbolic of student life in our university days when the cultivation of the mind was the prime passion and the pursuit of knowledge trumped the search for material frivolities. We at the University of Ibadan strode around the campus, heads high, the way our counterparts did at Oxford or Cambridge or Harvard or The Sorbonne. Our university in every aspect made sure that there was no exaggeration in that comparison; that our faith was no fantasy, our valour no vanity. Ibadan University’s reputation ensured a global currency of its degrees. First-rate universities all over the world threw open their gates to its graduates. This was the atmosphere in which Chuks thrived. It was the only atmosphere in which he could have thrived. An intellectual aristocrat of an urbane and liberal temper, Chuks had no tolerance for mediocrity. A lover of robust, edifying argumentation, he was constantly in the company of those who traded in ideas. A colourful, expansive man of letters, he was never shy in his dramatic exhibition of knowledge, and in his habit of frequently running his ideas by those whose responses he genuinely respected. With this demonstrative knowledge and oratorical bravura, Chuks quickly earned the nickname ‘Professor’ in friendly circles, a jocular designation, which garnered substantive credibility upon his delivery in 1970, of a powerful citation on Professor Adeoye Lambo, then Vice chancellor of UI, after that famous psychiatrist’s winning of the Haile Selassie Award. It was a solo effort, astonishing in its initiation, masterful in its delivery, and overwhelming in its lasting effect. An overflowing Trenchard Hall watched and cheered as Chuks enacted the most memorable performance in his university career. His fame spread on the university campus, and he quickly won a place on UI’s team to the next edition of the inter-university debate between UI and the University of Ghana, Legon. Chuks graduated as one of the best students in the 1972 set, and the next field of action shifted to the University of Leeds, one of England’s top institutions. As fate - or good fortune - would have it, Chuks and I arrived in Leeds one day of each other in September 1973, he on a Commonwealth scholarship, and I on one provided by the University of Ibadan. It was at this fascinating citadel of learning that our relationship became closer and our appreciation of each other received a tremendous boost. On our first day on the Leeds University campus, Chuks and I surveyed the buildings in their majestic serenity, tracing the footprints of Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thion’go, Ime Ikiddeh, and other notable African forerunners and authors of what is now called the ‘Africa-Leeds Connection’, and we swore to avail ourselves to the fullest of the generous facilities provided by our new university. We both realised that although Leeds was new, it sprang no notable surprise in its physical structure, curricular content and general academic culture, for our undergraduate education at UI had equipped us with the capacity for excelling at any other firstrate university in the world. • To be continued. • Prof. Osundare is based in New Orleans, United States.


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Focus Health safety net for primary school pupils The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has just unfolded an initiative to provide coverage for 24 million public primary school children over the next four months. ROTIMI LAWRENCE OYEKANMI writes on the implications

Chukwu

Etim-Eni ROM the National Health Insurance Scheme Fweek, (NHIS) came a surprise announcement, last that it would, over the next four months,

centre and receive free services. We will also do on-the-spot installation, monitoring and feedback from the beneficiaries on the quality of service received.” On how children with complicated health conditions like cancer or those requiring open heart surgery would be taken care of, Adeoye noted that the scheme already has an emergency fund to take care of the first 100 children that might present complicated health issues requiring expensive treatment, not ordinarily covered under the scheme. Adeoye debunked insinuations describing the scheme, which was launched in June 2005 under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as a jamboree. He stated that any hospital that wishes to join the programme would go through an accreditation process, in terms of procedures, manpower and ability to provide medical services round the clock. Besides, quality control measures would also be carried out to ensure that the participating hospitals live up to standard. He said that at the last Presidential Summit held in Abuja, it was agreed that every ward in the country should have a primary health care centre, as part of the on-going efforts to upgrade health facilities in all the local councils across the country. On how the children domiciled in rural areas with few of no hospitals could take advantage of the new initiative, Adeoye affirmed that adequate measures were being put in place to encourage private hospitals to provide services in the rural areas. But for providers unwilling to cover the villages, he said: “We have a solution to this. Providers who don’t want to go to rural areas will miss out because the payment for any facility that the children would use would go directly to that particular facility. This is good business for any hospital because money is waiting for them. Quite a lot of measures have been put in place in rural areas. We are expanding our visibility so that we can be closer to the people. We have been having meetings with stakeholders and also putting mechanisms in place to monitor it.” He also observed that the project would create massive employment opportunities nationwide. With regard to how the funds to be contributed would be effectively monitored to prevent theft, Adeoye explained that the NHIS is setting up offices in all the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, to bring the project closer to the people. “In

begin the registration of 24 million primary school pupils across the country, preparatory to providing them with free health insurance. After the registration exercise, the pupils would have the choice of using facilities at either a public or private hospital, for the treatment of pneumonia, worm infection, water borne diseases and malaria among others. Any referral or surgical processes would, however, be taken care of at the “secondary level.” The ambitious initiative will for now, cover only children aged between six and 12 years, who are considered as the most vulnerable group in the society. With time, the initiative will be expanded to also cover public secondary school students. According to the NHIS’ Acting General Manager, Research and Planning, Dr Thomas Olabode Adeoye, who made the disclosure on Health Access, a television programme recently, the new concept was derived from the redesigned National Health Policy (NHP), that seeks to establish a “realistic health financing system” in the country. The idea, among others, is to enable the citizens enjoy critical medical services on demand, which, otherwise, they might find unaffordable. The new plan will cover the country’s different socio-economic groups through three programmes: formal, informal and vulnerable. Thus, registering public school children, which falls under the third programme, is part of the policy implementation. Already, the agency has opened discussions with state governments and other partners, to convince them to contribute funds towards achieving the goal. Adeoye said: “primary school pupils are usually vulnerable to all kinds of diseases. We need to make sure that we protect them. We are already talking to the state governments where the public schools are based. They have agreed that they will pay, so that we can have a sustainable health insurance scheme for these children.” Adeoye assured that 40 per cent of the funds needed for the take –off of the scheme “is ready,” while another N30 billion is being expected from the National Health Bill. Explaining the process of registration, Adeoye said: “Once we take delivery of the data capturing machine, we should commence registration immediately and within the next four months, pupils from any public primary school across the country can walk into any health care School children

any health insurance, cost control is very important. Payment would be made electronically so that we can always track the money. Sanctions are there and the issue of fraud will be nullified. We must keep an eye on the flow of fund,” he said. However, there are growing concerns over the poor status of Health Management Organisations (HMOs) in the country, making access to sound health services by majority of Nigerians difficult. Which is why the NHIS’ dream of getting 70.8 million Nigerians enrolled in the insurance scheme by 2015 is being greeted with skepticism. The general poor condition of many public hospitals across the country is also a downside. Absence of basic infrastructure, and the net effect of brain drain, which had depleted the number of specialists is also seen as a minus. Indeed, the NHIS’ Executive Secretary, Dr. Femi Thomas, at a meeting with stakeholders and State Commissioner of Health in Abuja, also expressed concerns over the poor status of the HMOs in the country. He revealed at the meeting that “only 26 out of 78 registered HMOs are healthy.” While he admitted that enrolling 70.8 million Nigerians by the end of the 2015 might sound like a tall dream, he was of the opinion that the feat was achievable. “This is because, over the years, the Federal Government has been alive to its responsibilities by paying part of its own portion of the public sector workers’ health insurance bills. Consistently, government has been doing that and so, we are now working with workers to contribute their own.” Some stakeholders are also worried about the feasibility of programme, considering the perception Nigerians have about anything “public.” Dr Nchewi Etim-Eni raised doubts over the smooth take off of the programme due to what she described as the “poor state” of the majority of hospitals and health care facilities in the country, insisting that some hospitals may even take advantage of poor and vulnerable children. She said: “The quest to make quick money has affected the health care system. So, the initiator (NHIS) of the programme must put stringent measures in place to ensure that the beneficiaries get quality service. Sanctions should also be imposed to punish erring HMOs or hospitals.” Another major obstacle facing the implementation of the initiative is the slow move-

ment of the National Health Bill. Although, the Senate has now passed it, the Federal House of Representatives is yet to pass it. Meanwhile, the bill has created disaffection among the major stakeholders in the health sector, many of whom consider the bill as being favourable only to medical doctors. Pharmacists, Nurses, laboratory technologists and other health workers have kicked very hard against the passage of the bill, with some even threatening legal action. Thomas is however confident that the bill will be passed. According to the NHIS’ website, the concept of Social Health Insurance was first mooted in 1962 by the Halevi Committee, which passed the proposal through the Lagos Health Bill, which was however truncated. “But in 1984, forced by the desire to source more funds for healthcare services, the National Council on Health (NCH), under Admiral Patrick Koshoni, then Minister of Health, inaugurated a committee, chaired by Prof. Diejomoah and advised government on the desirability of Health Insurance in Nigeria and also recommended its adoption.” In 1985, former Minister of Health, Dr. Emmanuel Nsan, set up a committee on National Health Review headed by Mr. L. Lijadu, which concluded that health insurance was viable. In 1985, the late Prof. Olikoye Ransome Kuti, as Health Minister, raised a consultative committee on NHIS, made up of the: Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian Employer Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Armed Forces Medical Directorate, National Planning Commission (NPC), Federal Ministry of Labour, and the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC). “Upon submission of (the committee’s) report, another committee chaired by Dr. E. Umez-Eronin was set up to recommend an acceptable model for the implementation of a Social Health Insurance in Nigeria. “In 1993, the Federal Ministry of Health presented a memorandum to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) praying for immediate implementation of the NHIS. In 1995, the National Health Summit endorsed the need to setup the scheme as soon as possible. At its 42nd meeting, the NCH approved the repackaging of the NHIS, to ensure full private sector participation. This model ensured the introduction of Health Maintenance Organisation (HMOs) as financial managers of the scheme. The enabling law Decree 35 was signed in May 1999.”


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TheMetroSection ‘We seldom get electricity supply’ .‘ Ilupeju community complain over unfair treatment by Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company By Isaac Taiwo them.” “A meeting was held one time in Shomolu and there they told us that it was because of a Justice that lived in a they are receiving from the Electricity particular area they were giving them Distribution Companies, the Electricity light. This means, as long as we do not Consumers Association, Ilupeju/Odihave a “big man” residing within our Olowo Chapter, having wriggled in community, we are at their mercy and pains for a long time and could no yet they kept on collecting the same longer bear it, is calling on Ikeja Electricamount from us without recourse to ity Distribution Company (IEDC) to extheir conscience. Sometime, we even plain the reason for sidelining their area pay more,” he said. when other consumers in their neighThe Vice Chairman, Mrs. Oluwatoyin bourhood have been enjoying 24-hour Oladimeji said their grouse was that electricity supply. their neighbours, including Ibadan and Speaking recently at a meeting schedShobayo streets, have frequent light. uled with the management of Ikeja Elec“In summary, we have concluded, no tricity Distribution Company at the light, no payment” she said. Conference Hall, Ilupeju Police Station, An Elder of the Community, Alhaji PHOTO: ISAAC TAIWO Lagos, where representatives of IEDC Odekilekun addressing the media at the meeting Taiwo Banuso, said that the demands of were conspicuously absent, the Chairthe association include the supply of man of the Association, Hon. Mufutau Republic of Nigeria.” Company and we are saying to Nigerimeters and removal of N750 mainteOdekilekun relayed the uncomplimen“We need 24-hour light, they refused to ans that since they have refused to atnance charge. This company makes N3, tary treatment the distribution comgive. We asked for prepaid meter they tend the meetings we mutually agreed 750, 000, 000 billion every month from pany has subjected them to with the did not oblige. Instead, they were asking to hold, we believe they are not ready to only 50 million consumers in Nigeria same non-challant attitude towards the us to pay N750.00 every month, which work and should hand over the Comon maintenance charge alone without meeting they both agreed to hold, stands as a fixed charge and we have pany to those that gave them and we be- the main bill itself. In Lagos alone, from which the company decided to call off a been asking them the reason for this.” lieve there is responsibility for EFCC to only 15 million consumers, they make few minutes to the commencement of “We have called meetings several times take up here,” he lamented. N7.5 billion on maintenance charge the meeting. and if they bother to come, they would Odekilekun further revealed: “After our alone and yet no service!” “We have a lot of issues against them be shying away from the Press, an idea last meeting, their Public Relations Offi- “The PRO, Ikeja Distribution Company and their attitude to deliberately boywe find difficult to reconcile. We believe cer (PRO) said emphatically that we said if we do not pay a particular cott a meeting we both agreed to hold if anyone does not have any skeleton in would remain in darkness and true to amount, there would be no light, and here today speaks volume.” his cupboard, he would not be afraid of his words, they have kept us in darkness. they have kept us in darkness.” “They have refused to give us light and the Press. Somebody is taking another It was only one day they brought it for a When the PRO Ikeja Distribution Comyet collecting our money. Our counsel person’s money without rendering the few minutes and took it again. They pany, Mr. Omade was contacted, he reto them is that if they feel they do not requisite service and the defrauder is came to dig the ground in my place ferred the reporter to the Assistant have the wherewithal to run electricity, asking to be covered. We cannot juxtaunder the pretext that they were going General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. they should own up to the Federal Gov- pose this. It is preposterous! We believe to do something only for them to aban- Pekun Adeyanju who was also contacted ernment that they cannot cope instead it is time to disclose what we are passing don their course. We believe they are on phone and through a text message of rubbishing the effort of the Federal through under the Ikeja Distribution selling the light to those who can bribe without a response. NLIKE some consumers in diverse loU cations in Lagos State who are dying in silence over the abysmal treatment

Briefs Church begins crusade ALVATION World OutSWeekends reach has begun its three of Salvation at Salvation Ground, Plot 30, Alhaji Olabisi Sarumi Street, off Adesan Road, before Oke Safari Street Mowe in Obafemi/Owode Local Council of Ogun State. It will continue on April 11 – April 13 at 5.00p.m. It is tagged: “Discovering & Defeating Your Real Enemies”. Host is Ifeanyi – Ohiri .

Odutola, 97, for burial HE death has occurred of T Mrs. Christiana Adetoun Odutola, wife of Rt. Revd. Solomon Odunaiya Odutola, the late Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Ondo- Benin (195260) and Ibadan Diocese (1960-70). She died on March 9, at the age of 97. Odutola, who is survived by her children (Mrs. Yetunde Yoloye and Dr. Tunji Odutola) was the eldest daughter of the Royal Highness, Oba David Adesanya, Gbelebuwa II, Awujale of Ijebu Land. Funeral service will hold at the Cathedral Church of Our Saviour, Italowajoda, Ijebu Ode on June 13, 2014.

Court to rule on notice concerning the Offa kingship tussle today From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin NEWLY constituted panel A of Justices of Court of Appeal in Ilorin will today rule on a notice brought before it by the Olugbense Ruling House of Offa town asking it to stay proceedings in an appeal and other applications connected to the appeal between the ruling house and Anilelerin Ruling House, Offa Kingmakers and the Kwara State Government. The Anilelerin Huling House and the Offa kingmakers had applied for a stay of execution of judgment delivered by a sister appeal panel of the court, which dethroned Oba Muftau Gbadamosi of the house and ordered that Olugbense house should produce the next monarch of the Offa town.

However the Olugbense house applied before the Supreme Court for stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal to which the Anilelerin house and the kingmakers applied for stay of execution. It was on the ground of this motion at the Supreme Court that the Olugbense ruling house brought before the appeal court their notice titled “Notice Of Pendency Of An Application Before The Supreme Court.” The new panel of justices of the court headed by Justice A.G. Mshelia which also include justices A. Jauro and R.N. Pemu , allowed hearing on the notice on Tuesday after lead counsel to the kingmakers, Yusuf Ali, had informed the court of his preliminary objection to the notice. Lead counsel to the Olugbense ruling house, Toyin Oladipo said

the notice was for information of the court and added that “it is to guide your lordship in respect of further proceedings in this appeal and also to inform the court that the Appellant/Respondents have joined issues with us in respect of that motion at the Supreme Court.” He said his clients want to, by the notice, inform the court that they are before the Supreme Court and that the other parties have responded to their motion at the Supreme Court. “We submitted that since your lordship has taken notice of this motion before the Supreme Court the proper thing to do is to stay action,” he stated. However, Ali in his preliminary objection to the application urged the court to

discountenance the application as he argued that the bringing of the notice was not predicated on any known rule while no relief was sought with it. He said that Order 7 Rule 1 of the Court of Appeal makes it mandatory that every application shall be by notice of motion supported by affidavit and shall state the rule and the under which it is brought and submitted that “On this ground this notice is unknown to the rule and it ought not to be dealt with by the court.” Lead counsel to Muftau Gbadamosi (the 4th Respondent), Lawal Rabana associated himself with the submission of Ali and added that, “what this notice is seeking to achieve is to rob this court of jurisdiction to determine the application

for the stay of execution that have been heard and reserved for ruling.” Rabana said the application did not come by a competent means as he relied on Order 7 Rule 1 of the Court of Appeal to “show that the medium they have come to take away jurisdiction of this court is unknown to the law.” However, while replying, Oladipo argued that there is no recognised or established method of bringing a fact to the notice of court and submitted that the notice his clients brought is proper. He said that the reference to Order 7 Rule 1 of the Court of Appeal made by the counsels to the respondents “is not appropriate because we have not stated that we are filing a motion or application to warrant compliance.”

Photonews

Thatch maker in Ilaje, the riverine area of Ondo State

Traditional toilet in Ilaje ...at the Weekend

PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Odutola

Emmanuel Oseji for burial on Saturday R Emmanuel Onyeka M Oseji, a lawyer and retired Customs Officer, is dead, aged 57. His burial rites begin today with a service of songs at his residence, No. 21 Edigin Street, off Columbia High School, Evbuotubu, Benin City. A commendation service holds at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 12 at his country home in Ogbeachi Village, Ewulu, Aniocha South council of Delta State, while interment follows immediately. On Sunday April 13, a thanksgiving service holds at 8.00a.m. at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Ewulu. He is survived by an aged father, wife , children and

Oseji


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Business ECOWAS strategises for integrated sub-regional capital market From Itunu Ajayi, Abuja HE ECOWAS Commission T has called on market operators and other stakeholders to step up citizenship awareness on the roles of capital markets in wealth creation and management and overall economic development, to maximize the benefits of the upcoming integrated regional capital market. The ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Investment Promotion, Kaliou Troaore, said in an address at a sensitisation workshop for captains of securities and exchange commissions, stock exchanges and other stake-

holders in the region, that the drive for an interlocked regional market is for members to seize the opportunity of access to markets across borders to horn their product development strategies. It is also an opportunity to improve product quality, packaging, innovation and completion in ways that will make the markets more attractive to the uninitiated, especially the unsophisticated investors. The commissioner in an address read on his behalf by Peter Oluonye, noted that accessing the integrated regional capital market would enable operators to

“unlock the idle resources that could be directed to the market to catalyse inclusion and economic development.” He pointed out that professional ethics and corporate governance must also guide operators’ initiatives and operations in the new market arrangement so as to galvanize regional trust and confidence and ensure sustainability of benefits that would accrue from integration. According to him, the commission is excited at the enormous opportunities to be unleashed in the new capital markets integration land-

scape and enjoined the market operators to gain all insight into the working of the new capital markets in the region as there is anticipation for more cross-border capital issues, listings and securities-trading in the region, going forward. The Secretary General of the regional Council for Public Savings and Financial Market, Messrs Mory Soumhoro and DirectorGeneral of the West African regional Stock Exchanges, who is also the ViceChairman, West African Capital Market Integration Council (WACMIC), Edoh Kossi Amenounve, under-

Chairman, Leadcapital Plc, Ayo Ajayi (left); Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema; Chairman, Lead Securities and Investment Plc, Abimbola Olashore; Director, Leadcapital Plc, Dan Ngarem; and National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sir Sunny Nwosu, at the official media launch of Leadtrader in Lagos.

Lagos, electricity firms plan embedded power solution By Sulaimon Salau

ETErMInED to tackle the D shortage in electricity supply to the state, Lagos State Government has unveiled plans to partner the electricity distribution companies to establish an embedded power solution mechanism in the state. The state government at the on-going Lagos Economic

summit, said plans are at advanced stage to launch the new power solution in collaboration with the Eko Electricity Distribution Company and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, which manages power distribution networks in the state. Commenting on the new mechanism, the Chairman, West Power and Gas, (owners

of Eko Disco), Charles Momoh, confirmed that the company has listed 45 firms and already talking to two electricity firms on captive power solution. Momoh, who lamented the increasing menace of vandalism, also noted that the Eko and Ikeja Disco have always receive low power allocations from the national grid, which forced them to ration

the available power. He said the company is now working relentlessly to improve power supply to the nation’s commercial nerve centre. Speaking in the same vein, the Managing Director, Sahara Power, (owners of Ikeja Disco), Kola Adesina, cited gas shortage as another

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reuters launches fully automated FX platform in nigeria By Bukky Olajide HOMSOn reuters has T launched a fully automated new trading platform for currency traders in nigeria. In a new robust strategy for Africa, the new Thomson reuters Foreign Exchange Transaction trading platform brings together a robust market content, analytics, liquidity resources and the connec-

tivity to help the market operate at greater level of efficiency and transparency in foreign exchange transactions. These developments were announced at an executive briefing session in Lagos, by, the Global head of Thomson reuters Foreign Exchange, Phil Weisberg and the Head of Africa, Sheha Shan. According to Weisberg, this is all part of a bold new initiative

to invest heavily in the nigerian market in a clear demonstration of confidence in the dynamic nigerian market and its continued great growth potentials. Weisberg pointed out that the future of the company will depend on their success in emerging markets and nigeria is great market where they have been very much part of the country’s history

and development, having been here since 1860. His words: “Our approach is different in the fact that we are not taking advantage of the African success story but we are enabling it instead. We are investing in the development of local human capital as well as creating local infrastructure.  “We are also promoting

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lined the importance of integrated capital markets to the realization of the regional vision of a single currency, enhanced economic development and ensuring a competitive edge for the region in the global market. The Director-General of the West African Monetary Institute, Abwaku Englama, urged market operations and other stakeholders to continue the sensitization until the full realization of the market integration objective. The CEO of the nigerian Stock Exchange and WACMIC Chairman, Oscar Onyema, presented an overview of council, highlighting the roadmap for the implementation of the process. WACMIC, at its fourth meeting that preceded the sensitization workshop, had reached some key resolutions supporting the implementation of the regional capital market integration. These include approvals of Sponsored Access Framework; Harmonized Listing requirements and Minimum Standards for Corporate Governance; Common Passports for Capital Market Operators; as well as Short- and Long-term Professional Certification. WACMIC is one of the pillars for the creation of the West

African Common Investment Market (ECIM), and seeks to help entrench a harmonized regulatory environment for the issuance and trading of long-term financial securities across the region as well as develop a common platform for cross-border quotation, listing and trading of such securities in the regional market. The Abidjan workshop, coorganized by the ECOWAS Commission and WACMIC precedes the take-off of the first phase of the markets integration roadmap, which would enable sponsored stockbrokers of other member states to trade on the existing stock exchanges using the platform of the sponsoring broker. The workshop, the fourth in the series, approved by WACMIC as platforms to engage with stakeholders, create sufficient awareness and gain the support and ownership of the process by market operators and the investing community, is preparatory to the commencement of the implementation of the threephased West African Capital Markets integration roadmap this month within the framework of the ECOWAS-led regional market integration process.


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22 BUSINESS Thursday, April 10, 2014

Govt restates commitment to agric sector’s development By Faith Oparaugo and Toyin Olasinde HE Federal Government has T restated its commitment to the development of the agricultural sector. According to the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, the strategic sector has the capacity to stimulate the country’s growth. Adesina, who was represented by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Bode Opadokun, said this at the launch of a book titled: “Agricultural Finance - a Practical Guide for Lenders and Entrepreneurs,” written by the Chairman, Lagos chapter of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Bolade Agboola, at the weekend. He noted that agricultural financing in recent times has become an issue of concern not only in Nigeria but in developing countries of the world. “The agricultural sector in Nigeria plays a huge role in the economy; it accounts to 30 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product and provides an aver-

age of 60 per cent of employment in Nigeria. “With this strategic approach to agric business, more funding especially from the private sector involving banks, lending institutions and developmental partners has been attracted to the agric sector which would impact the economy,” the minister said. He said there was an urgent need therefore to begin to see agriculture as a business and not as development project as it used to be seen in the past. He further advised agricultural investors across the nation and across the value chain to take advantage of the insurance opportunities being provided by insurance firms. Adesina also commended the author for contributing his knowledge to the growth of the sector. Speaking on his book, Agboola stressed the need for the federal government to establish more schools of agriculture to produce trained farmers. He further said there was need for funding in research to boost the sector.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Omar Hafeez (right); Executive Director/Secretary to the Board, Centre for Petroleum Information, Victor Eromosele and Board Member, Centre of Petroleum and Information, Arinze Agbim at the recently concluded Energy Finance Conference which held in Lagos.

Lagos, Discos plan improved power supply CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 major factor that militate against regular supply of power to the state. Adesina submitted that the activities of vandals not only amounted to an economic crime, but a disservice to humanity because once the supply of electricity was impaired due to their nefarious activities, millions of life suffered the adverse consequences. He added that the two distribution companies in Lagos – EKO Discos and Ikeja Discos - have the capacity to

increase their daily average distribution if power generation and the supply of gas could be increased. Former Minister for Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, who was the lead speaker at the session, said among other ways to achieve efficient electricity supply in Nigeria there was a need to conduct an audit into the power demand of the entire country, just as Lagos State had done. ‘‘We cannot know the amount of power we need unless we do an audit. So, Lagos was right when it said it requires 10,000MW. If Lagos with a population of 20

million needs 10,000MW, you can imagine what Nigeria with about 170 million people needs. So, that means something has to be done’’, he said. The former minister noted that the country would not be able to accelerate its socioeconomic growth unless the power challenge was overcome, stressing that the top 20 countries of the world like China, which is currently the world’s largest producer of power, South Africa and Mexico among others generate power in excess of their demand.

Firm to raise $700m for 1500MW power plant ENTUry Power C Generation Limited, an indigenous energy company, plans to raise $700 million to finance the first phase of a 1,500 megawatt (MW) power plant. Chief Executive Officer of the company, Chukwueloka Umeh said Standard Chartered Plc, based in London, and Diamond Bank Plc, based in Lagos, will lead the financing process expect-

ed to be concluded by the end of this year. Umeh stressed that the African Development Bank is providing a partial-risk guarantee as “the global arranger,” “We’re working with a typical split of 70 per cent debt and 30 per cent equity,” he said, adding that: “We expect that by the end of 2016, we should be commissioning the first phase of the plant.”

According to him, General Electric Co. and Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co. will start building the gas-fired plant in Okija in Anambra state, as soon as the company seals the financing deal. Starting from an initial 495 megawatts, Umeh said the plant is expected to run at its full capacity of 1,500 megawatts by 2020. Standard Chartered didn’t immediately respond to emails and telephone messages to its London office seeking comment. Diamond Bank didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed questions for comment. Century Power is a unit of Nestoil Plc, a Nigerian company providing engineering, procurement and construction services to energy companies. Its assets include part ownership of Oil Mining Lease 42, estimated to have gas reserves of more than 5 trillion cubic feet. That is enough to produce 2,500 megawatts daily for more than 25 years, according to Umeh. The company plans to add an additional three power plants to generate a total of 5,000 megawatts within the next six years. He said: “We are investing across the value chain, from gas production to gas transport, and transmission lines.”

reuters launches fully automated FX platform in Nigeria CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 transparency in the market and this enhances overall confidence. Transparency, automation and fairness increases confidence, accountability and bring down transaction costs and this is very good for the Nigerian market. It is fun to be in a market such as Nigeria that has such an amazing growth rate. And the growth rate is sustainable. We want to help the market further evolve.” Weisberg stressed the strategic importance of technology in accelerating overall national growth. With technology you no longer need to wait for development, you can leapfrog development. The Nigerian market is indeed ripe for an explosion and we are creating frameworks for the continued rapid growth of the capital and forex markets in Nigeria. “The market has now evolved from bilateral to multilateral conversations. By introducing a fully automated foreign exchange platform, there will be greater transparency which in turn creates more liquidity. When everybody can see the liquidity in the system, it reduces market nervousness,’’ he said. On Nigeria’s much trumpeted vision 2020, Weisberg pointed out that the importance of the efficiency and transparency of the country’s capital market and foreign exchange market. In his words:’’ It is indeed the key success factor in the actualization of that vision.   All the top 20 countries have high standards for transparency, liquidity and fairness. Electronic trading helps to give a positive impression of the financial system and gives people confidence to invest more. “We need a top 20 market infrastructure to achieve a top 20 economic status. We believe we can make a difference through our innovative platforms that combine global knowledge and cutting edge technology” 


Thursday, April 10, 2014 |

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INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY

IMF predicts rich nations propelling global growth HE International T Monetary Fund (IMF), on Tuesday predicted the global recovery would strengthen this year and next as output in richer nations picked up, but it warned of rising risks in emerging economies. In its latest global economic snapshot, the Washingtonbased IMF nevertheless said better policies were needed in both advanced and emerging nations to avoid a prolonged period of sluggish growth. Global output should expand 3.6 per cent this year, slightly lower than forecast in January, and grow 3.9 per cent next year, the IMF said in its flagship “World Economic Outlook.” That would make 2015 the strongest year of growth in

four years. But the numbers mask an increasing divergence among countries. While less fiscal austerity should help unshackle growth in the United States and Europe, emerging markets are likely to grow more slowly than thought just a few months ago, the IMF said. Geopolitical risks have also entered the picture because of the conflict between Russia and Western countries over Ukraine. “The strengthening of the recovery from the Great Recession in the advanced economies is a welcome development,” the IMF said. “But growth is not evenly robust across the globe, and more policy efforts are needed to fully restore confi-

dence, ensure robust growth, and lower downside risks.” Despite weather-related weakness at the start of the year, the IMF said the United States should enjoy abovetrend growth of 2.8 per cent this year thanks to less severe budget cutting, a recovering housing market and an easy monetary policy. It said it did not expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates until the third quarter of next year. Economic activity in the euro zone should pick up slightly as countries slow the pace of fiscal austerity, even though the currency bloc continues to suffer from financial fragmentation and weak credit supply and demand, it said.

The IMF repeated warnings about the very low level of inflation in the euro zone and said it saw about a 20 per cent chance of growth-sapping deflation in the region. “Sustained low inflation would not likely be conducive to a suitable recovery of economic growth,” the IMF said, calling again on the European Central Bank to ease monetary policy. “We hope they will implement (policies) as soon as they’re technically ready to do so. Sooner is better than later,” IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said at a news conference. Deflation is less of an immediate threat to Japan than it has been in the past, the IMF said, largely because a planned increase in the con-

sumption tax would raise prices. But it said the tax hike would likely cut into Japan’s growth and warned of a one in five chance the world’s thirdlargest economy could slip into recession this year. The IMF cut forecasts for some of the biggest middleincome countries, including Russia, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa. It forecast that emerging markets overall would grow 4.9 per cent this year, 0.2 percentage point lower than in January. “In emerging market economies, vulnerabilities appear mostly localized,” the IMF said. “Nevertheless, a still-greater general slowdown in these economies remains a risk.” Blanchard said as prospects

U.S. job openings hit six-year high in February .S. job openings jumped U to their highest in six years in February and there was a significant decline in layoffs, more signs of a steadily improving labor market. Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased 299,000 to a seasonally adjusted 4.17 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday. That was the highest level since January 2008. Hiring advanced 1.6 percent and layoffs tumbled 4.9 per cent. Even more encouraging, more people are quitting their jobs, a sign of confidence in the labor market. “The report is upbeat and dovetails with the improved February and March payroll data,” said Ray Stone, an economist at Stone & McCarthy Research Associates in Princeton, New Jersey. “The improvement in job openings foreshadows somewhat faster payroll growth in the months immediately ahead.” Job growth averaged about 195,000 per month in February and March, with the unemployment rate holding at near a five year low of 6.7 percent over that period. The report is one of the indicators being closely watched by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and other policymakers at the U.S. central bank to gauge the health of the jobs market. With job openings rising and unemployment trending lower, the number of unemployed job seekers per open job tumbled to 2.50 in February, the lowest level since July 2008. This ratio was at 2.64 in January. “This is almost exactly the average seen from 2002 to 2004, a period over which the unemployment rate averaged 5.8 per cent,” said Cooper Howes, an economist at Barclays in New York. “This suggests that there is little slack remaining in labor markets and that future wage growth will be stronger than it was at similar levels of the unemployment rate during past

cycles.” There is growing concern among economists that the Fed might be overstating the slack in the labour market, with measures such as the short-term unemployment rate having fallen sharply and the decline in the labor force being more structural in nature. As such, the central bank might be too slow to start raising benchmark interest rates, which it slashed to a

record low of zero to 0.25 percent in December 2008 as it battled the worst recession since the 1930s, they say. According to Stone, an analysis of the relationship between job openings and the unemployment rate, the so-called Beveridge Curve, suggested an increase in structural unemployment. The evidence of a skills mismatch, in which job seekers do not have the right skills

for the positions available, could mean the Fed’s expectation that the unemployment rate could be pushed down to between 5.2 and 5.6 per cent without sparking a inflationary rise in wages is too low. “It may be that with the 6.7 percent unemployment rate that we had in both February and March we are closer to their long-run objective than they think they are,” said Stone. “The

employment gap may be closed sooner than if the unemployment rate has to drop to 5.6 per cent.” In February, job openings increased in professional and business services and trade, transportation, and utilities. Hiring was led by strong gains in business and professional services, construction and education and health services.

improve in advanced economies, investors will become less forgiving of countries’ problems, including large current account deficits or high debt burdens. “And financial bumps, such as those we saw last summer and earlier this year, may well happen again,” Blanchard said, referring to large capital outflows from emerging markets as the U.S. central bank prepared to wind down its massive bondbuying programme. The IMF warned the tug of war between Russia and Western countries over Ukraine could undercut growth in other ex-Soviet economies. Russia, a top producer of commodities and a key natural gas supplier to Europe, was hit with EU and U.S. sanctions over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. “Greater spillovers to activity ... could emerge if further turmoil leads to a renewed bout of increased risk aversion in global financial markets, or from disruptions to trade and finance due to intensification of sanctions and counter sanctions,” the IMF said. It also warned of the potential for disruptions to natural gas and crude oil production. The report painted a picture of a global economy that could face a period of stagnation without the right policy actions, particularly by officials in the euro zone and


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Appointments Unions fault merger in aviation sector By Ibe Uwaleke Here have been criticisms T and outcry in the aviation industry since the government, on Monday, released the white paper merging three aviation parastatals into

one. The agencies are Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NeMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMeT). The three agencies are now to be known as Federal Civil Aviation

Authority (FCAA). reacting to the development the General Secretary, Nigerian Aviation Professional Association (NAPA), Abdul rasaq Saidu said: “The decision was received with shock because such step

was taken before and it failed, it didn’t work by the retired Air Vice Marshal Nsikak eduok, it was practised and it failed. “Secondly, the recommendation of Steve Oronsaye cannot work in aviation industry

Special Guest of Honour, Engr. Jani Ibrahim(left);President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria(ICAN), Alhaji Kabir Alkali Mohammed; Vice President, ICAN, Chidi Ajaegbu during the ICAN 12th Conferment of Fellowship Status ceremony in Lagos PHOTO; SUNDAY AKINLOLU

NOA ex-director urges women to tackle domestic violence FOrMer Director of the A National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Osun State, Mrs remi Wilson, has urged women to speak up against domestic violence. Wilson made the call in Osogbo on Wednesday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). According to her, keeping silent in the face of domestic violence will eventually end up working against the victim. ‘’When I say that women should speak up against domestic violence, I do not mean that they should confront their husbands, rather they should seek for help before the issue gets out of hand. ‘’Victims of domestic violence, especially physical and sexual assault from partners, should not be shy from sharing their experi-

ences with counsellors, medical personnel and psychologists,’’ she said. The former director said that it was also important to report such developments to security agencies. She, however, said   consulting with those who could passionately appeal to the sentiment of both parties should be the first step. ‘‘When a woman is constantly abused and she keeps quiet about it, the tendency is there for the trend to continue even up to a dangerous degree. `` Like rape cases, many women are suffering and dying in silence when the right counselling could have put the ugly situation under check. `` even children raised in homes where domestic violence is the order of the day have the possibility of grow-

ing to become husband and wife abusers because they will think it is the normal way to live,’’ she said. Wilson further urged abused women to always seek the assistance of counsellors and psychologists in order to save their lives and marriages. ‘’I am not saying that the man is always at fault, there are cases of women who can really be a pain in the neck at homes. `` But  beating  such women has proven not to be the solution,’’ Wilson said. She  appealed to prospective husbands and wives to take into consideration compatibility and tolerance before venturing into  marriage. Wilson, who   expressed dismay at the high rate of divorce cases often   due to domestic violence, described the trend   as unfortunate.

Gombe empowers 1,500 households O fewer than 1,500 memN bers of households in Gombe State have benefited from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Alhaji Adamu Audi, Special Adviser to Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo on MDGs said in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Gombe. He said that the beneficiaries

were drawn from 114 wards of the state. Audi said that the programme was aimed at eradicating poverty, and had targeted widows, people with disabilities and those living in abject poverty. He said each household was given N5, 000 basic income monthly for 12 months. According to him, this has improved the standard of liv-

ing of the beneficiaries and helped to  develop their human resource potentials. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government launched the CCT scheme on May 13, 2013 with N10 billion. The scheme is aimed at developing education, healthcare and agricultural enterprise among the poor and vulnerable persons.

because Nigerian aviation is a global industry and it is being regulated by international bodies, ICAO, IATA and if they do that Nigeria will lose us Category One, status I don’t know who advised them, I think that they are being misadvised and misled, I think the Federal Government will never mean it because we are going to resist it, we will not allow Cat One to be toyed with. “NCAA autonomy has an Act that established it, NAMA has its own that established it. FAAN has its own that established. All these are now being cancelled. “This thing happened before and the foreign airlines refused to fly into Nigeria when they were flying to the West Coast countries airports. Who advised FG that they should merge a regulatory body, the only thing that they should do is to scrap the Ministry of Aviation because it is irrelevant. All the agencies are under the watch word of NCAA, which is an autonomous body and the agencies are to report and be supervised by NCAA, then why are you merging NAMA and NIMeT together with NCAA. It is wrong. “NIMeT is not working only in

aviation, It provides services to other sectors. This decision is unacceptable, it is unprofessional and those who are taking that decision should revert it.” On the way forward, Saidu said: “The way forward is to allow this structure to go on. What is causing this problem is the Ministry of Aviation. Across the world there is Ministry of Transportation not aviation. Creating ministry of aviation is duplicating the functions of NCAA. “I am advising President Jonathan not to yield into extending that Oronsaye report to aviation otherwise we are going back to square one.” To Captain Dele Ore,” what the government is planning to do is wrong. It will take us back to the 1995 era and whether we like it or not, I give them two years, they will return back again. You don’t merge a regulatory body with a service provider. NAMA and NIMeT are service providers, you cannot merge them with NCAA which is a regulatory body, this is at variance with international laws laid down by ICAO and other relevant inter-

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APPOINTMENTS Thursday, April 10, 2014

ILO, maritime sector move to curb seafarers, ship owners’ liability From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE world’s leading marT itime nations and representatives of ship owners and seafarers, are to address the issues of abandonment of seafarers and the rapid settlement of claims for compensation in the case of a seafarer’s death or long-term disability at the first meeting of a Special Tripartite Committee established under the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006). More than 300 maritime representatives from all regions of the world are gathering at the ILO between 7 and 11 April, to consider the two key proposals jointly submitted by the international representatives of ship owners and seafarers to amend the Code (Standards and Guidelines) of the MLC, 2006. The meeting will also be a major forum for

an international exchange of views on issues encountered in national implementation. As of March 2014, the ILO’s Abandonment of Seafarers Database listed 159 abandoned merchant ships, some dating back to 2006 with abandonment cases still unresolved. Many abandoned seafarers are aboard ships without pay, often for several months, and lack regular food supplies, medical care or means to return home. The proposals for amendments concern the provision of financial security to better protect seafarers from the consequences of abandonment in foreign ports and to address the MLC, 2006 requirements that ship owners provide financial security for compensation in the event of death or long-term disability due to occupational injury, illness or hazard.

Seafarers are frequently exposed to difficult working conditions and particular occupational risks. Working far from home, they are vulnerable to potential abandonment in foreign ports when ship owners are no longer fulfilling their responsibilities. If these amendments are adopted by the Committee and successfully meet the other conditions for entry into force, they will mark the first time in maritime history that the plight of abandoned seafarers and the provision of financial security for seafarers’ claims have been addressed in binding international law. The MLC, 2006 was adopted at a Maritime session of the International Labour Conference in 2006 and came into force on 20 August 2013. To date, 56 ILO Member States have ratified the Convention, representing more than 80

Unions fault merger in aviation CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 national bodies.” “On the recommendation of the Steve Oronsaye committee, who are the experts that did the report? Did they even give consideration to international convention and international best practice? Those are the questions one would love to ask and whatever they do may be a big slap to our face.” Former Airport Commandant, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Group Capt. John Ojikutu also followed the same line of thought: He said:”

Whoever advised govt to merge nama and nimet with ncaa must be from another planet. He probably forgot to include FAAN in the appropriation to further take us back to the era of self-regulatory. “Oransanye must have been wrongly briefed by some egg heads. How do you merge operators of the industry with the regulator? “This merge completes what Oduah started – bring the industry under the jackboot of the government. Must the government drive the policy, regulate and operate the indus-

try? We must be in a world of our own and out of the earth planet. “When we should get the private operators to invest more on the industry or commercialise government operators like FAAN and NAMA as recommended in the privatisation and commercialization Act of 2000, government instead is appropriating the industry to itself alone. Surely, the government officials and political office holders can not remove their eyes, mind and souls from the hidden or sleaze funds in these agencies,” he concluded.

per cent of the world’s gross tonnage of ships. There are more than 1.5 million seafarers in the world. A majority of these seafarers now have a right to be protected through national laws and practices applying the MLC,

2006 to the ships on which they work. The meeting will also include a special event on Monday, 7 April with the presentation by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN)

of the “International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards 2014” for Seafarers’ Centre of the Year, Shipping Company of the Year, Port of the Year, and Welfare Personality of the Year.

Nigeria to benefit from UNHABITAT’s $2m youth empowerment, ecological project By Chinedum Uwaegbulam, Medellin, Colombia COMPREHENSIvE initiative has been launched at the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF7) for addressing urban issues such as urban poverty, youth unemployment and ecological disasters in China and Africa caused by climate change and poorly planned urban settlements. The Urban Youth Empowerment and Ecological Safety Programme is a three year project jointly implemented by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization (IESCO), mooted in 2013 with a $2 million funding from by IESCO to tackle unemployment, poverty and ecological safety through the development of models and policies that will lead to the meaningful engagement of young people in

A

the development of cities. Essentially, a nine-member project steering committee will oversee the project implementation. The project is envisioned to improve youth livelihood and access to economic opportunities including access to green jobs through research training, mentorship and entrepreneurship development in Nigeria, Cambodia, China, Tanzania and Thailand. Representative of the UNHABITAT at the launch and Chairman of the Project Steering Committee, Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, explained that under the project, youth centres based on the UNHABITAT one-stop centre model would provide skills training and resources to young men and women in targeted countries. It would also support other youth activities: publication of the State of the Urban Youth Reports and magazines to deepen the understanding of urban

dynamics of equity, prosperity and poverty affecting the lives of youth; an Innovation Awards programme; and an Urban Ecological Safety Index incorporating information on construction, city location, management, planning and positioning. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka said: “These activities aim to promote youth innovation and participation, and to highlight best practices in ecological and urban safety and entrepreneurship.” He added, “through this partnership, we will work with all countries to strengthen youth capacities to create green jobs, mitigate urban disasters and contribute to the post2015 agenda and Habitat III processes.” He further disclosed that a mobile application -UE, positioned as a platform for communication, releasing and interaction for the youth empowerment programme and IESCO’s long standing development has been introduced.


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Kwara empowers farmers with N215m loan By Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin. S part of its commitment A to creating agro-allied jobs and wealth through value chain management, Kwara State Government yesterday disbursed N215 million loan to 172 farmers expected to serve as change agents in their various communities. Disbursing cheques to the beneficiaries at the Banquet Hall in Ilorin, the State

Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed emphasised government’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 agro-allied 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 judi-

ciously apply the funds disbursed to them for the establishment of agriculture as the pivot of Kwara State’s economic prosperity. Reacting on behalf of beneficiaries, the Olusin of Ijara Isin, Oba Solomon Oloyede, thanked Governor Ahmed for a promise fulfilled, pledging strict adherence to terms and conditions of the loan in order to allow others poten-

tial beneficiaries to be accommodated in the scheme. The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Barr. Anthony Towoju, in his address, said the farmers were expected to plant maize, rice, soya beans and cassava as part of efforts to turn around the future of agriculture in Kwara State.

Ex- Director tasks workers on hardwork former director of Skye robust and rewarding workA Bank PLC, Gbenga ing experience during his days Adekulegun, has admonished in Skye Bank having enjoyed staff members to be hardworking and consistent as doing these would ensure the sustainance of the bank. Speaking at a dinner organised in his honour, Ademulegun said that the bank was on the verge of emerging as the most trusted bank in Nigeria if the current scale of loyalty and dedication could be sustained. At the send-forth dinner party organized in his honour at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers by the workers of the bank from the northern zone, he gave kudos to the management team of the bank, currently headed by the Managing Director, Kehinde Durosinmi Etti for the motivation its gives to all staffers of the bank at all times. He said he had a much more

unrestrained supports both from his superiors and those with whom he worked closely. The ex-Director who said he had put behind him 28 years of experience as a banker, insisted that he had no regret working in the Skye Bank all through the eight years he put up with the bank. He admonished workers of Skye Bank to remain committed to the policies and initiatives of the bank, while he urged them to always demonstrate the spirit of hard work, consistence After relaying the difficult times he had passed through in his days at the Skye Bank, Ademulegu expressed delight that the Bank has entrenched valuable virtues in the banking world in Nigeria. Ends

Guest Speaker, Prof. Cornelius Ogunsanwo(left); Past President, Nigerian Institute of Management(NIM) (Chartered); Margaret Adeleke; and President/Chairman of Council (NIM) Dr. Nelson Uwaga during theCentenary Management Day Lecture of the Institute in Lagos on Tuesday


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PRODA chairman canvasses resuscitation of indigenous technology From John Okeke, Abuja HE Chairman, Board of T Directors, Project Development Institute of Nigeria (PRODA), Mr.  Emma Ndubusi Mbaka, has said the revival of indigenous technology was the panacea to Nigeria economic growth. The Chairman who was showcasing some farm equipment, including, wheel barrow, Cassava Peeling machine, Rostary sieve among others, which was manufactured by PRODA, stressed that the neglect of the industrial sector accounted for the retarded industry could retard the economic growth. “ Nigeria has the technological capacity to manufacture any farm product in country and unless we look inward to take advantage of this we cannot not go any further. There is need to revisit our indigenous technological institute like ours in order to revamp the industry.” He noted that Nigeria’s dependent on import is the major challenge to the economic advancement of the country, adding that capital flight to advance nations should be urgently checkmated to enable the country catch up with her global contemporaries. Mbaka also decried the total neglect of the institute

adding that it has turned to economic waste. “As the Chairman of the Project Development Institute in Enugu, the edge long research institute is the biggest in the East of the Niger that has been neglected for about 10 years. “ “That was an institute that gave us an idea on what technological take off of a nation looks like. When PRODA was evolving we all thought that this is an institute that will help us to get into the global arena to compete with others. He continued “ when we assumed the mantle of leadership in September last year, we went into PRODA and discovered that there are so many products that this organisation has patented over the years. They never saw the light of day. Most of those patent expired. So it looks like an endless or bottomless pit that can never be sealed. We are yearning to attain a technologicaly developed country and here we have an institute, a research institute that has the potentials to develop so many things and it is neglected.” The Chairman also vowed that the problem of unemployment and lack of technical know how will soon be a thing of the past if the Federal Government comes to its aid.

Trustfund Pensions PLC enrollee, IIiya Duniya, (left), a health consultant, Rev. Tony Akinyemi, Head, Customer Service of Trustfund, Mrs. Maha Longe, Trustfund enrollee, Hassan Bala, and Trustfund Regional Manager, North 1, Sani Mustapha, during the Trustfund Pensions PLC customers forum held in Kaduna.

ZTE empowers schools with ICT laboratory By Bankole Orimisan TE Nigeria Limited,has Z upgraded the educational capacity of teachers and pupils of Police Children School, Ikeja, Lagos, with modern ICT laboratory. ZTE Corporation is a leading global maker of telecommunication equipment and network solutions, which has maintained effective presence in Nigeria for over 10 years. The company’s operations in Nigeria span through building telecom infrastructure for private operators specialized telecom facilities and opera-

tions for government. The Managing Director, ZTE Nigeria Limited, Hao Fuqiang, said that as part of its social responsibility and a way of giving back to the community, the Company initiated the ZTE ICT lab project for primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. “With this project, ZTE plans to make donations of ICT laboratories to select primary or secondary schools. We strongly believe in the common saying that ‘the children of today are tomorrow’s future’,” he said. He noted that for Nigerian

children be able to compete in the ever dynamic tech world, they needed to be exposured to latest computing technologies today. The laboratory commissioned recently was equipped with 20 modern desktop computers with UPS accessories. The desktops were all connected to the internet with internet subscription already paid for 18 months. It was also complemented with a 5KVA generator for power back-up. In the choice of the Police Primary School, Fuqiang, said, “We at ZTE see the Police as a strategic institution in pro-

moting peace, law and order necessary for national development and business growth. You will agree with me that while a policeman is busy at dangerous assignments trying to protect lives, property and businesses, his child deserves the best of education”. Extolling ZTE for choosing the school, Mrs. Akerenale Gladys Modupe, head-teacher of the School, said, “We appreciate the management and staff of ZTE for giving Police Children School, Ikeja opportunity to partake in their selfless humanitarian services.


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ScienceGuardian ASTRONOMY With J. K. Obatala

Stars, planets, clusters herald dry season (11) OW, for compositional N convenience, we are going to do some zigzag-

Last year Professor Alexander Seifalian (pictured) made a nose for a man who lost his to cancer. Scientists added a solution to the mould of the nose to mimic the sponge-like texture of the real thing. Stem cells were taken from the patient’s fat and grown in the lab for two weeks before being used to cover the scaffold CREDIT: DailyMailOnline

Scientists ‘create’ custom-made body parts using stem cells ONDON’S Royal Free hospiLworld tal is among several in the that are working on the

futuristic idea of growing custom-made organs in the lab. Few have received the labmade organs so far - including ears and windpipes - but researchers hope they will soon transplant more. They hope to transplant world’s first nose made partly from stem cells. At London’s Royal Free hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in the laboratory in a bold attempt to make body parts using stem cells. It is among several labs around the world, including in the United States (U.S.), that are working on the futuristic idea of growing custom-made organs in the lab. Only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs so far - including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes. But researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of body parts into patients, including what would be the world’s first nose made partly from stem cells. ‘It’s like making a cake,’ said Professor Alexander Seifalian at University College London, the scientist leading the effort. ‘We just use a different kind of oven.’ During a recent visit to his lab, Professor Seifalian showed off a sophisticated machine used to make moulds from a polymer material for various organs. Last year, he and his team made a nose for a British man who lost his to cancer. Scientists added a salt and sugar solution to the mould of the nose to mimic the somewhat sponge-like texture of the real thing.

• Hospital growing noses, tear ducts, blood vessels Stem cells were taken from the patient’s fat and grown in the lab for two weeks before being used to cover the nose scaffold. Later, the nose was implanted into the man’s forearm so that skin would grow to cover it. Professor Seifalian said he and his team are waiting for approval from regulatory authorities to transfer the nose onto the patient’s face but couldn’t say when that might happen. The potential applications of lab-made organs appear so promising even the City of London is getting involved: Professor Seifalian’s work is being showcased on Tuesday as Mayor Boris Johnson announces a new initiative to attract investment to Britain’s health and science sectors.

A British businessman who lost his nose to cancer is growing a new one – in his arm. If all goes well it will eventually be removed and sewn on to his face, with experts at University College London hoping he will have feeling and a sense of smell. The new nose, the first in the world to be grown from scratch, will also look just like the 56-year-old man’s old one – slightly crooked. University of California Los Angeles (UCL) scientist Professor Alexander Seifalian, who is behind the pioneering treatment, said: ‘His nose was a little bit bent to the left and we asked if he wanted it straight but he said no, he wanted it exactly the same.’ The new nose began as a glass mould, based on the orig-

inal, which was sprayed with a synthetic honeycomb-like material to create a framework for stem cells to cling to. The mould was then removed and the honeycomb covered with millions of these ‘blank cells’ which, with the right nutrients, can turn into the cartilage of the nose – a process which took place at UCL in a rotating jar called a bioreactor. Meanwhile, the skin on the man’s arm was gradually stretched by a small balloon placed under the surface and inflated until it was loose enough to accommodate the nose. Professor Alex Seifalian hopes to eventually grow a whole face in the lab and says procedure could help car crash victims and wounded soldiers. CONTINUED ON PAGE 39

Earth observation enters next phase UROPE has launched the E first satellite of what is heralded as one of the most ambitious Earth-observation programmes ever. On 3 April, a Soyuz rocket dispatched into orbit the Sentinel-1A probe, the first craft of a planned constellation of six Sentinel families set to be launched by the end of the decade. Together, the satellites will offer unprecedented long-term monitoring of the planet’s land, water and atmosphere. According to the report published by Nature, the Sentinels will be the core of

the €8.4-billion (US$11.5-billion) Copernicus programme, which is managed by the European Commission. Copernicus will also draw in data from about 30 other satellites, and from ocean buoys, weather stations and air-quality monitoring networks. “The Sentinels and Copernicus have the potential to become the world’s most comprehensive Earth-monitoring system,” says Zbynek Malenovsky, who studies vegetation using remote sensing at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

Copernicus was designed by the European Union (EU) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to help the European Commission and EU member states to develop environmental policies and monitor the results. Its data will be used to create services for myriad practical applications, including ice mapping, agriculture management, climate-change forecasting and disaster response. The idea is to produce images, maps and models in near real time, much as is done with weather monitoring, but for many more variables.

ging and jumping aboutbefore we finally return to Orion and bed down. The serial will end soon, with a visit to the extremely active star-forming region of this scientifically important constellation. Leaving Bellatrix, in Orion, let’s rocket over to Gemini, a neighbouring constellation (30th in size) and pay a quick call at two of the most famous stars in the night sky- Castor and Pollux. They are the two brightest objects in Gemini and are listed among the world’s 57 navigational stars. Known in Western mythology as the “twins,” South Africa’s Bushmen imagine Castor and Pollux to be “two wives” of the “Male Elend”. An elend is a large African antelope. In Bushmen lore, says Psychohistorian.Org, the bright star Procyon, in Canis Minor (the Little Dog) constellation, is the male. Stars rise on the eastern horizon 3.9 minutes earlier each day. This causes each star to appear higher and higher in the sky, at dusk. Hence as we enter the rainy season, the dryperiod objects are inching towards the western horizon and will soon start to set before dark- disappearing from the night sky. By 8:00 p.m., or earlier, Orion constellation is already directly overhead, if you are observing from Nigeria. You can find Pollux and Castor, Earth Sky advises, by drawing a line from the blue supergiant Rigel through lush red Betelgeuse and extending it to the two brightest objects beyond Orion. Gemini, Wikipedia reports, has 85 luminous bodies that are accessible to the unaided eye. If one goes by the 17th century Greek-letter-ranking of the German astronomer, Johann Bayer, Castor is the brightest of these objects. But in reality, it’s Polluxthe 17th brightest star in the night sky. A reddish-orange giant, Pollux has a confirmed planet revolving around it that is several times the size of our Jupiter. The star is just 34 light years away, making it the closest giant to Earth, as well as one of the nearest planetary systems. Pollux is not associated with any confirmed gravitationally bound stellar object. But according to the Collins Dictionary of

Astronomy, the star has “several optical companions, none of which are physically related to it” (they are merely in the same field of view from Earth). Says Earth Sky: “Pollux is about 31 times as bright as our sun in visible light, but [it] also pumps out a good bit of energy in non-visible infrared radiation. With all forms of radiation counted, Pollux is about 46 times more energetic than our Sun”. Whereas Pollux is a solitary traveler around the Galaxy, Castor is gregarious and outgoing. It likes company and moves with a crowd. Castor is thus part of a cosmic coterie, consisting of six gravitationally bound stars. “Castor,” notes the Top Astronomy website, “is a visual binary composed of two separate binary stars. Castor also has a faint companion star, an eclipsing binary system, which makes it a sextuple system, one composed of hot, bluish-white stars and faint red dwarfs” Simply stated, “Castor” is six stars- three pairs, with each unit gravitationally bound to the other as well as to the Castor system. Here is how it works: Double stars Castor “A” and Castor “B” revolve around each other once every 350 to 420 years, while “C’ takes 10,000 years to orbit the two pairs! The stars in the Castor system are apparently on the main sequence of the H-R. Diagram, since their combined mass is just about six times that of the Sun. It is doubtless the binary structure that makes the Castor system appear so bright, compared with other stars in the region. Although Pollux and our Sun are solitary- orbiting the Milky Way as individual stars, rather than as part of a group—they probably weren’t born that way. Most stars originate as part of an assemblage, called a “cluster,” which is formed in clouds of gas and cosmic dust. Individual stars continually escape the cluster, due to various internal and external perturbations- so that the clusters themselves, like the stars they harbor, evolve and change with time. These star groups range from loose associations of a few stars to globules containing millions. *To be continued.


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32 | SCIENCEGUARDIAN Thursday, April 10, 2014

‘UNTH capable of performing 250 open-heart surgeries yearly’ From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu CONSULTANT A Cardiothoracic Surgeon and leader of foreign medical team currently carrying out Open heart surgeries on Nigerians at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, Onyekwelu Nzewi, has said that the hospital was capable of performing 250 open heart surgery cases in one year if well funded. Nzewi, a Consultant at the Royal Hospitals Belfast, based in the United Kingdom also lamented increasing cases of heart diseases in Nigeria attributing it to imbibing westernized feeding habits. The foreign medical team currently at the UNTH on its fifth medical mission since the open-heart surgery programme was revalidated last year at the hospital would handle eighteen cases. When concluded, it would add up to forty cases handled by the team since March last year. Nzewi told The Guardian that without proper funding there was no way the hospital would sustain the programme, adding that it would also give more access to patients suffering heart diseases. Although many Nigerians have suggested for special intervention fund for open heart surgery programme, Nzewi stated that such many not properly address the problem and suggested the method of funding in the UK. Also, the authorities of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) have re-affirmed their determination to re-invent the conducive academic environment that enabled their med-

• To boost learning, research, staff welfare ical doctors record several medical breakthrough in the past. Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Enugu Campus of the University, Prof. Mrs. Ifeoma Enemo, said the present administration had evolved several measures to boost learning, research and enhance staff welfare at it’s college of medicine in order to bring out the best from workforce. Declaring open the 2014 homecoming health conference of past graduates of the UNN college of Medicine (UNNCOMA), at the Nike Lake Protea Hotel, Enugu at the weekend, Mrs. Enemo, who represented the vice Chancellor on the occasion, stated that despite present financial crunch facing tertiary institutions in the country, UNN would continue to give priority to its training and retraining programme. She reassured that work on the ongoing projects at the medical school would be completed, even as she solicited support of the private sector. Meanwhile, Nzewi said: “Open heart surgery is funded in my institution and we do a lot of cases every year. What the government does is that at the beginning of every year they give us money, they know what a case costs. They give you money for 1200 cases and you have to deliver that number. So the federal government should identify institutions that run open-heart surgery in Nigeria and say you said you can do 250 cases in a year, this is the money for it. “At the end of the year, you

tell us how many cases that has been done and if you have not done up to the number, you bring our money back but if you have done and exceeded that, we give the marching grant that is required. If the federal government said we fund you for 100 cases, that will enable the hospital cut the price from one million to five hundred and that is affordability. I want a continuous funding, not special intervention that comes and dries away.” The Medical expert disclosed that reduction in the cost of open heart surgery would encourage more Nigerians to obtain cure for it, as well as pave room for trained practitioners to practice regularly. He advised Nigerians to go back to eating natural African foods to guide against heart diseases, saying that the main cause of heart diseases is consumption of artificial or canned foods. Speaking on his organization, Save a Heart Foundation, he said it was registered, “ for the sole purpose of helping, not only coming to do cardiac surgery, but to train the locals to be self-sustaining and be able to do the operations themselves, and it is only when they are able to do it themselves that the cost will come down and it will be sustainable”. He said the organization would continue to support the open heart surgery of the UNTH as well as any other institution in Nigeria willing to partner with it. Also speaking, Chief Medical Director of the UNTH, Dr. Christopher Amah dis-

closed that UNTH was in 1986 designated as centre of excellence for cardio thoracic surgery having performed the first open heart surgery in subSahara Africa in 1974. He noted that the open heart programme of the hospital suffered some reversals for 10 years, before it was reactivated by March 2013 through the collaboration of foreign partners. “Last year, precisely March, 2013, by the Grace of God and by the spirit of team work, we were able to reactivate the open heart surgery programme, which disappeared from here apparently some ten years before. After quite a lot of preparations we were able to take off. The same March and now, this ongoing one is the fifth mission we are doing and we have operated on 40 persons all together. The last one was in December, we did 11; in this one now we have shortlisted about 18 persons both adult and children and there are many more patients pressing to be enlisted,” he said. Amah stated that the programme was reactivated in line with the transformation programme of the present administration in the health sector, noting that medical tourism has become a huge embarrassment to the country, hence the need to reverse the trend particularly on heart related ailments. The CMD noted that it costs from N750, 000 to N1 million to perform one open heart surgery on adults and N500, 000 for children, an amount he said was highly subsidized as the real cost should have been N1.8 million to N2 million.

Health Minister, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu He said that the programme sion, coupled with the difficulwas not only providing treat- ty of re-locating from old site in ment to patients but also Enugu to the permanent site of teaching and training opportu- UNTH at Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu nity to Nigerian doctors who State. He explained that the univerwould in turn take over when the foreign collaborators sity of Nigeria College of would have gone. Medicine Alumni Association, Meanwhile, the Provost, UNNCOM Health Conference UNN College of Medicine, Pro. was strategically designed to Basden Onwubere, recalled provide the platform for the that their medical surgeons led over 3000 participants to by Prof. Udekwu in 1976 per- cross-fertilize ideas and draw formed the first separation of inspiration from one another Siamese twins in Africa, after it with a view to moving the pioneered the open Heart health sector forward. The Surgery in Nigeria in 1974, theme of the conference, is among several other medical “Past glory, present challenges and future expectations”. feats. Also speaking, former goverHe noted that with improved funding of the institution and nor of Enugu State and an improved staff motivation, his alumnus of UNN, Dr. team of doctors were ready to Okwesilieze Nwodo exphado more and make a strong sized the need for the adoption statement on the nations of medium and long term health sector. development of master plan to According to the medical leg- not only sustain but build an end, a school that started with infrastructure that would less than 120 students in 1970 match the reputation of the and now has over 2500 stu- college of medicine on the condents is in dire need of expan- tinent as the flagship of med-


Thursday, April 10, 2014

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NaturalHealth By Chukwuma Muanya with agency reports ESEARCHERS have made R advances on how to improve the quality of life in patients with chronic kidney disease as well as how to prevent the condition. According to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), just a modest amount of exercise may help reduce kidney disease patients’ risks of developing heart disease and infections. Heart disease and infection are major complications and the leading causes of death in patients with chronic kidney disease. It is now well established that immune system dysfunction is involved in both of these pathological processes. Specifically, impaired immune function predisposes to infection, while persistent immune activation leads to a state of chronic inflammation that can damage the insides of blood vessels and increase heart disease risk. Physical exercise may confer benefits by exerting anti-inflammatory effects and enhancing immunity, but such effects have been largely unexplored in kidney disease. Also, a new study by Florida State University Associate Professor Arturo Figueroa, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, found that watermelon could significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals both at rest and while under stress. “The pressure on the aorta and on the heart decreased after consuming watermelon extract,” Figueroa said. The study started with a simple concept. More people die of heart attacks in cold weather because the stress of the cold temperatures causes blood pressure to increase and the heart has to work harder to pump blood into the aorta. That often leads to less blood flow to the heart. Thus, people with obesity and high blood pressure face a higher risk for stroke or heart attack when exposed to the cold either during the winter or in rooms with low temperatures. So, what might help their hearts? It turned out that watermelon may be part of the answer. Also, a new study has found that eating one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils can significantly reduce “bad cholesterol” and therefore the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, most people in North America would have to more than double their consumption of these foods known as pulses to reach that target, said the researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital. The study, led by Dr. John Sievenpiper of the hospital’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre, was published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Also, kidney disease patients with poor quality of life are at increased risk of experiencing

Stretching...modest amount of exercise may help reduce kidney disease patients’ risks of developing heart disease and infections (inset: watermelon)

How to improve quality of life for kidney disease patients • Modest exercise protects against heart ailments, infections • Watermelon lowers blood pressure • Daily beans intake cuts bad cholesterol progression of their disease and of developing heart problems, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings suggest that quality of life measurements may have important prognostic value in these individuals. Approximately 60 million people globally have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Quality of life has been well-studied in patients with end-stage kidney disease, but not in patients with CKD who do not yet require dialysis. To gain a better understanding of quality of life among such patients, Anna Porter, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago) and her colleagues studied1091 African Americans with hypertensive CKD enrolled in the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension Trial and Cohort Studies. The researchers assessed healthrelated quality of life, including mental and physical health, through surveys. During approximately 10 years of follow-up, lower physical and mental health scores were linked with increased

risks of experiencing cardiovascular events or dying from heart-related causes as well as with experiencing progression of CKD or dying from kidney-related causes.

“Quality of life is extremely important to patients and is impacted by kidney disease,” said Porter. “In order to better serve our patients, physicians need to gain a bet-

ter understanding of the negative impact that kidney disease has on quality of life, and to recognize the association between quality of life and other outcomes.” Meanwhile, Drs. João Viana and Nicolette Bishop from Loughborough University, in the United Kingdom (UK), and Dr. Alice Smith from the University of Leicester and

their colleagues designed a study to explore the impact of exercise on a range of immune and inflammatory parameters in patients with chronic kidney disease. In an acute exercise study conducted in 15 patients, 30 minutes of walking improved the responsiveness of immune cells called neu-

CONTINUED ON PAGE 35

Frequent mouthwash use linked to oral cancer EAVY use of mouthwashes H may lead to a higher risk of oral cancer, an expert claims. Research suggests that people rinsing with such products more than three times a day have a greater chance of developing mouth and throat cancer. Dr. David Conway, a senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow Dental School, said people should not routinely use a mouthwash and stick to brushing and flossing instead. Poor oral health – one of the reasons people regularly use the rinses – also plays a part in cancer risk, he added. The research supports an Australian study in 2009, which said there was ‘sufficient evidence’ that mouthwashes containing alcohol contribute to an increased risk of the disease,

because they allow cancercausing substances to penetrate the lining of the mouth more easily. In the latest study, in journal Oral Oncology, University of Glasgow researchers and European colleagues assessed 1,962 cancer sufferers and 1,993 healthy people in 13 centres across nine countries. Those with poor oral health, including people with dentures and persistently bleeding gums, were at greater risk, they found. The study set out to identify risk factors for oral cancers affecting the mouth and larynx, as well as oesophageal cancer of the gullet. Conway said: “I would not advise routine use of mouthwash, full stop. There are occasions and conditions for which

a dentist could prescribe a mouthwash - it could be that a patient has a low salivary flow because of a particular condition or medicine they are taking. “But for me, all that’s necessary in general is good regular brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing combined with regular check-ups by a dentist.” He added there may be a link between excessive mouthwash rinsing and people who use it to mask the smell of smoking and alcohol – independent risk factors for oral cancer. The researchers were unable to analyse the types of mouthwash because they were used many years ago by those in the study. Prof. Damien Walmsley,

adviser to the British Dental Association, said the study was not ‘conclusive’. “It does, however, reaffirm that smoking together with heavy drinking and a poor diet over time are strong risk factors for developing cancers of the oral cavity and oesophagus,” he said. “Unfortunately, these behaviours cannot be disassociated from people who neglect their oral hygiene and rarely, if ever, visit the dentist, as this study suggests. “It also highlights that people, who are at risk of developing these cancers, may be using alcohol-based mouthwashes inappropriately to disguise smoking or drinking alcohol. “Mouthwashes should be used according to manufacturer’s directions.”


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34 SCIENCE HEALTH Thursday, April 10, 2014

‘How mosquitoes get, transmit malaria parasites’ By Wole Oyebade IGERIANS obviously understand the link between mosquito and the killer disease called malaria. But how many realise that mosquitoes are also infected with malaria parasite? According to researchers, just one parasite from one infected mosquito can generate billions of offspring within weeks—and if just one infected person transmits a parasite to one mosquito, that mosquito can infect many more people. When a mosquito transmits Plasmodium parasites to a human, scientists observed, other mosquitoes pick up the parasites when they bite that same victim. Infected mosquitoes carry tiny parasitic forms called sporozoites in their salivary glands, and when they bite, 100 or so sporozoites penetrate the skin and invade blood vessels, swimming to the liver. That initial transmission causes infection, but not yet disease, and this “pre-blood” stage is a bottleneck in the malarial life cycle when it might be possible for a drug or vaccine to kill the limited number of parasites that have been transmitted. Within a week of invading liver cells, each sporozoite can give rise to tens of thousands of asexual merozoites. Each merozoite, in turn, rapidly replicates, forming a grapelike cluster that ruptures into the bloodstream in the “blood stage” of infection. Billions of merozoites sicken the victim by invading red blood cells and hiding from the immune system as they consume the heme molecule in haemoglobin, causing anaemia and weakness. The sequestered parasite pushes proteins through the blood cell’s membrane. Those proteins are sticky and adhere to blood vessels in organs— especially in the brain, causing often—fatal cerebral

N

malaria with coma, and in the placenta, endangering both mother and child. Meanwhile, some merozoites develop into sexual gametocytes. Now begins the “mosquito stage” of the life cycle, another bottleneck available to therapeutic intervention. A mosquito biting the infected person will ingest a few gametocytes, and within two weeks those parasites will develop into sporozoites and travel to the salivary glands, ready for transmission to the next human. Malaria burden Malaria, a life-threatening blood disease caused by Plasmodium parasites, is thought to have killed more people than any other single cause. In a state like Lagos, it accounts for 60 per cent outpatient visits today and 30 per cent hospitalisations, the Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris said. Worldwide, it accounts for 25 per cent of deaths in children under one year old; 11 per cent of maternal deaths. Half of the world’s population lives in malarial zones, and it kills more than half a million children under the age of five each year. “Africa contributes 3,000 child deaths to the list; that is, one child every 30 seconds,” observed the Country Director, Malaria No More, Dayo Oluwole. Infectious diseases like smallpox, polio among others are caused by viruses and are passed from person to person. Everyone within an infected person’s circle of interactions can be vaccinated or treated. When no more circles appear, the disease is gone forever. But malaria is different, experts say. Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness caused by a parasite that cycles relentlessly between humans and the mosquitoes that frequent rainy seasons and tropical regions. Female anopheles mosquito, which bites primarily at night

National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe – between 9p.m. and 5a.m., is the species of mosquito that carries the deadliest form of parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net every night is highly effective in preventing malaria. Cases of resistance But if you have malaria, “the harder you push, the more selective pressure you put on the mosquitoes and parasites to develop resistance, leaving people worse off than before,” says Jamie Maguire, senior physician in infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, explaining cases of resistance. People also succumbed to malaria at higher rates than before—not just because the

drugs were ineffective but also because of lost immunity. Those who grow up in where malaria is endemic are repeatedly bitten and infected, and when children survive malaria they acquire a limited, shortterm immunity. Repeated episodes of bites by infected mosquitoes serve as a kind of booster shot that keeps most adults from having much more than mild flu-like symptoms. Yet because the parasites remain in their systems, even infected people who don’t seem sick can transmit malaria to mosquitoes, which then infect neighbours, children and travelers who may not have the same level of immunity.

How to end professional rivalry, strikes in health sector, by NUAHP By Joseph Okoghenun S Nigeria continues to A struggle with the challenge of professional rivalry and strikes in the health sector, health professionals under the aegis of Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) have prescribed some antidotes to end the ugly phenomenon. The health professionals recommended convocation of stakeholder’s conference whose outcome should be fairy, justly and promptly implemented by an impartial group of persons as one way to end the crisis in the healthcare sector. NUAHP National President, Mr. Felix Olukayode-Faniran, who made the recommendation during the re-launch and change of name of the union from the Nigerian Union of Pharmacists, Medical Technologists and Professionals Allied to Medicine (NUPTPAM) in Lagos, also called for uniform guidelines for the appointment of Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) and Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) position, which should be made open to all healthcare professionals, instead of medical doctors alone. The NUAHP boss explained that the name of the union

has been changed to satisfy the yearnings of some healthcare professionals who were not comfortable with the former name, NUPTPAM, and end the internal crisis the name had generated. The union, which is affiliated to Trade Union Congress (TUC), is a component of the Joint Health sector Union (JOHESU). The union is made up of physiotherapists, radiographers, dieticians, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and medical laboratory scientists among others. Olukayode-Faniran added that the union is making efforts to establish branches where there are currently none to make it a formidable trade union in the healthcare sector. The union was first registered as a trade union in 1978 by the Federal Government but had remained regressive for various reasons. Olukayode-Faniran said with the change of name, the future of the union has been brightened to contribute to national development. The physiotherapist also called for the quick completion of the Yayale Ahmed Committee on InterProfessional Relationship in the health sector set up is the Federal Government as one way to minimise strikes in the healthcare sector.

Foundation laments scourge of hepatitis, charges government, others on awareness From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City HE Clem Agba Foundation T (TCAF) on has lamented the scourge of hepatitis among Nigerians and the alarming low level of awareness and therefore urged relevant government agencies and departments to do more in the area of awareness creation. The Foundation said that not less than 23 million Nigerians live with the dreaded disease and the majority are not aware of their status as regards the ailment that is said to have become more deadly than Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Founder of the Foundation, Mr. Clem Agba, made the call when he formally launched the Foundation to mark his fiftieth birthday. He had earlier embarked on free medical tests and treatments in Edo North Senatorial District.

Speaking at the solemn ceremony, the Edo State Commissioner for Environment said he decided to set up the Foundation with special focus on Hepatitis largely because he lost two close persons, his mother, Mrs. Philomena Agba and brother-in-law, Victor Okpako who he said both succumbed to cancer which was caused by hepatitis C and B respectively. He said his mission transcends political, ethnic, religious and other differences. “It is about creating awareness about the neglected killer – hepatitis and instituting a foundation to engage in public awareness campaigns, evidence-based data for action, prevention of the causative virus’ transmission, as well as screening, counselling, care and providing further treatment. Hepatitis is a silent global epidemic that has infected 370 million people and responsible for almost 1 million deaths annually.

Bauchi records 9,190 cholera cases, gets drugs From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja HE Federal Government has T donated drugs to the Bauchi State Government to curtail the spread of cholera outbreak in the State, the Federal Ministry of Health said on Monday. The drugs donated include Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), antibiotics, chlorine powder, intravenous (IV) fluids, iv infusion sets and drip sets. Mrs. Olubunmi Ojo, Director, Disease Surveillance in the Federal Ministry of Health donated the drugs on behalf of the Federal Government to the Bauchi State government. Ojo said that the drugs donated were part of the Federal Government’s intervention to bring the cholera outbreak under control. Olubunmi who led a rapid response team deployed by the Federal Ministry of Health, said in a statement in Abuja,

that the team was in the state for surveillance activities, to assess the level of containment, to complement the efforts of the Bauchi State Government as well as beef up support to checkmate further spread of the disease. She called Bauchi State Government to step up its surveillance activities, increase portable water supply to the people, and also advised people of the state to observe and cultivate simple hygiene habit like washing hands before eating and keeping their environments clean. Acting Chairman, Primary Healthcare Development Agency, in the Bauchi State Ministry of Health, Dr. Yahaya Yarima, received the drugs on behalf of the State Government, thanked the Federal Government for the kind gesture which he said will go a long way to ameliorate the condition of the patients.

Vedic Lifecare Hospital launches Tele Health Department By Ekwy P. Uzoanya EDIC Lifecare Hospital, Lekki, Lagos, a multi-specialty hospital that boasts world class diagnostic technology, last Monday commissioned a Tele Health Department as part of its activities to commemorate this year’s World Health Day. The hospital had kicked off activities for the celebration on Saturday, April 5 with a walkathon in partnership with the Hope Alive Child Care Initiative, a Lagos-based nongovernmental organisation working in the area of preventing childbirth mortality and increasing confidence in the Nigerian health care system. A release issued by the Public Relations/Business Development manager of the hospital, Uche Nworah, stated that the General Manager, Dr. K. S. Chandraprakash, commissioning the Tele Health Department said that tele health is a combination of telemedicine and tele radiolo-

V

gy services. Chandraprakash explained that “telemedicine involves the use of telecommunication and information technologies to provide clinical health care at a distance, and tele radiology involves the transmission of radiological images such as xrays, Computed Tomography Scan (CTS), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) from one location to the other – in this case from the hospital here in Lagos, Nigeria to their partner hospital – Manipal Hospitals in India. “These images are transmitted online real time as they are being scanned to a consultant radiologist in Manipal, India who also interprets the images alongside the radiologist in Vedic Lifecare Hospital.” This development, according to the General Manager, would aid in giving more accurate interpretations to diagnostic images, ensuring correct diagnosis, which corresponds with the hospital’s mantra “that right treatment starts with the right diagnosis.”


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Modest exercise protects kidney patients against heart ailment, infections CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33 trophils to a bacterial challenge in the post-exercise period. It also induced a systemic anti-inflammatory environment in the body. In a regular exercise study, six months of regular walking (30 minutes/day, five times/week) reduced immune cell activation and markers of systemic inflammation in 20 patients compared with another 20 patients who did not increase their usual activity levels over the same period of time. “Thus, exercise exerts antiinflammatory effects in patients with kidney disease and may in this way reduce their high risk for heart disease,” said Dr. Viana. “our study also found no evidence that this level of exercise might be harmful to the immune system in people with kidney disease.” Sievenpiper said that by eating one serving a day of pulses, people could lower their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by five per cent. He said that would translate into a five to six per cent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. one serving of pulses is 130 grams or three-qurter cup, yet North Americans on average eat less than half a serving a day. Pulses have a low glycemic index (meaning that they are foods that break down slowly) and tend to reduce or displace animal protein as well as “bad” fats such as trans fat in a dish or meal. “We have a lot of room in our diets for increasing our pulse intake to derive the car-

diovascular benefits,” Sievenpiper said. “Pulses already play a role in many traditional cuisines, including Mediterranean and South Asian. As an added bonus, they’re inexpensive. Since many pulses are grown in North America, it’s also an opportunity to buy and eat locally and support our farmers.” Sievenpiper’s meta-analysis reviewed 26 randomized controlled trials that included 1,037 people. Men had greater reduction in LDL cholesterol compared with women, perhaps because their diets are poorer and cholesterol levels are higher and benefit more markedly from a healthier diet. Some study participants reported stomach upset such as bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation but these symptoms subsided over the course of the study. Meanwhile, Figueroa’s 12week study focused on 13 middle-aged, obese men and women who also suffered from high blood pressure. To simulate cold weather conditions, one hand of the subject was dipped into 39 degree water (or 4 degrees Celsius) while Figueroa’s team took their blood pressure and other vital measurements. Meanwhile, the group was divided into two. For the first six weeks, one group was given four grams of the amino acid Lcitrulline and two grams of Larginine per day, both from watermelon extract. The other group was given a placebo for 6 weeks. Then, they switched for the second six weeks. Participants also had to refrain from taking any medication for blood pressure or making any significant

changes in their lifestyle, particularly related to diet and exercise, during the study. The results showed that consuming watermelon had a positive impact on aortic blood pressure and other vas-

cular parameters. Notably, study participants showed improvements in blood pressure and cardiac stress while both at rest and while they were exposed to the cold water.

“That means less overload to the heart, so the heart is going to work easily during a stressful situation such as cold exposure,” Figueroa said. Figueroa has conducted multiple studies on the bene-

fits of watermelon. In the past, he examined how it impacts post-menopausal women’s arterial function and the blood pressure readings of adults with pre-hypertension.

Drinking well water linked to low IQ scores STUDy by researchers at A Columbia University, United States (U.S.) reports that schoolchildren from three school districts in Maine exposed to arsenic in drinking water experienced declines in child intelligence. While earlier studies conducted by the researchers in South Asia, and Bangladesh in particular, showed that exposure to arsenic in drinking water is negatively associated with child intelligence, this is the first study to examine intelligence against individual

water arsenic exposures in the U.S. Findings are reported online in the journal, Environmental Health. The research team, led by Dr. Joseph Graziano, professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, assessed 272 children in grades 3-5, who were, on average, 10 years old, from three school districts in Maine where household wells are the predominant source for drinking water and cooking. The Augusta area in particular was

studied because of earlier research indicating higher than normal exposures. Using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV), the most often used assessment tool for measuring intelligence in children ages 6 to 16, the researchers found that arsenic in household water was associated with decreased scores on most WISC-IV indices. After adjusting for maternal IQ and education, characteristics of the home environment, school district, and number of siblings, the

children who were exposed to greater than five parts arsenic per billion of household well water (WAs ≥ 5 μg/L) showed reductions in Full Scale, Working Memory, Perceptual reasoning and Verbal Comprehension scores, losses of five to six points, considered a significant decline, that may translate to problems in school, according to Dr. Gail Wasserman, professor of Medical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia, and the study’s first author.

Nutrition society hinges malnutrition on poor awareness By Wole Oyebade oNTrAry to the belief that C poverty accounts for high rate of malnutrition in the country, Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) has blamed the problem on lack of nutrition education among the public. They said though poverty abounds in the public, inadequate awareness on importance of “variety, proportion and moderation” in everything eaten, is the bane of nutrition challenges in the country. According to statistics, almost two in every five Nigerians have stunted growth (37 per cent), three out of 10 are underweight (29 per

cent), and two in every 10 are wasting. President of the nutrition society, Prof Ngozi Nnam said there were varieties of foods in the Nigerian environment that could enhance the needed nutritional status in all, if eaten in the right proportion and in moderation. Speaking in Lagos, at Nutrition Education Programme, collaboration between NSN and Unilever, Nnam said: “The problem is that our people lack nutrition knowledge. It is knowing what to eat, when to eat it and how to combine foods that are locally available around us.” Nnam added that foods con-

tain some nutrients that needed to be combined in right amounts, for proper nutritional diet. According to her, “If that woman that is considered poor in the village, is properly informed, she will realize that she is rich by the kind of food around her. Around us are lots of fruits and vegetables that we can eat, as part of our diet for proper nutrition. Adequate diet does not translate to expensive diet. That is where a lot of our people missed it.” Nnam said further that a good diet should contain major nutrients like carbohydrate, fruits and vegetables, fat and oil and protein, adding

that “If people are well informed, they can make informed choice and can feed their families nutritionally adequately within the scope of what is locally available to them.” Director of Nutrition, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Abimbola Ajayi noted dietary needs varies from one individual to another, and one shoesize cannot fit all in food-related matter. She urged the public to eat according to needs, but in moderation. Ajayi stressed that adequate nutrition components in diets are essential to growth of a healthy population and national development.


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Scientists grow noses, tear ducts, blood vessels, others CONTINUED ON PAGE 31 The polymer material used for his organ scaffolds has been patented and Professor Seifalian has also applied for patents for their blood vessels, tear ducts and windpipe. He and his team are creating other organs including coronary arteries and ears. Later this year, a trial is scheduled to start in India and London to test lab-made ears for people born without them. “Ears are harder to make than noses because you have to get all the contours right and the skin is pulled tight so you see its entire structure,” said Dr Michelle Griffin, a plastic surgeon who has made dozens of ears and noses in Professor Seifalian’s lab. The new body part begins as a glass mould, based on the original, which is sprayed with a synthetic honeycomb-like material to create a framework for stem cells to cling to. The mould is then removed and the honey- comb covered with millions of ‘blank cells,’ which, with the right nutrients, can turn into the cartilage of the organ. Meanwhile, the skin on another area of the body is gradually stretched by a small balloon placed under the surface and inflated until it is loose enough to accommodate the organ. After several months, the body part is taken out from under the skin and sewn into the right place. “At the moment, children who need new ears have to go through a really invasive procedure involving taking cartilage from their ribs,” Dr Griffin said. She added that taking fat cells from patients’ abdomens to add to a lab-made ear scaffold would be far easier than the multiple procedures often necessary to carve an ear from their ribs. Dr Griffin said they plan to eventually create an entirely synthetic face but must first prove their polymer scaffolds won’t accidentally burst out of the skin. “Scientists have to get things like noses and ears right before we can move onto something like a kidney, lungs or a liver, which is much more complicated,” said Eileen Gentleman, a stem cell expert at King’s College London, who is not involved in Seifalian’s research. “Where Seifalian has led is in showing us maybe we don’t need to have the absolutely perfect tissue for a (lab-made) organ to work,” she said. “What he has created is the correct structure and the fact that it’s good enough for his patients to have a functional (windpipe), tear duct, etc. is pretty amazing.” Some scientists predicted certain lab-made organs will soon cease to be experimental. “I’m convinced engineered organs are going to be on the market soon,” said Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, a professor of transplantation biology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. She has transferred labmade blood vessels into a handful of patients and plans to offer them more widely by 2016, pending regulatory approval. Still, she acknowledged doctors will have to watch closely for any long-term side effects, including the possibility of a higher cancer risk. Professor Seifalian estimated about £10 million ($16 million) has gone into his research since 2005 but said he hoped lab-made organs

would one day be available for a few hundred dollars. “If people are not that fussy,

we could manufacture different sizes of noses so the surgeon could choose a size and

tailor it for patients before implanting it,” he said. “People think your nose is

very individual and personal but this is something that we could mass produce like in a

factory one *Adapted DailyMailOnline

day.” from

Pharmacists caution Confab members over alleged lobby by medical doctors for creation of Office of Surgeon General, Health Commission By Chukwuma Muanya HARMACISTS under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical P Society of Nigeria (PSN) has cautioned members of the ongoing National Conference on alleged lobby by medical doctors led by Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) for creation of the Office of Surgeon General and the establishment of a proposed National Health Commission. President of PSN, Olumide Akintayo, yesterday in a press statement also alleged

attempts by medical doctors to use the instrument of the National Conference to privatise pharmacy and medical laboratory science practice in public health facilities. “Ordinarily we would have ignored the conspiracy to privatise these professional practices by persons who insist on vindictive purposelessness against perceived arrowheads of genuine reforms in healthcare, but in a country where opinion leaders carry on with the peculiarity of a dysfunction of the protoplasm, nothing can be safely taken for

granted,” he said. The pharmacists, however, commended the National Conference for attempts to promote universal health coverage for Nigerians, but said after usual evaluation that it is critical to solicit a balanced distribution of skilled health workers between rural and urban centres in addition to having strong health system, good financing of health services, access to basic drugs and technology and sufficient capacity of a well trained and motivated health work force. Interestingly, the PSN,

although a major professional body in the country, was not invited for the National Conference. The statement reads: “The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria wishes to admonish members at the on-going National Conference to tread cautiously and not fall into booby traps set by the Honourable Minister of health, Prof. C. O. Chukwu acting in concert with the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association. “Information at our disposal reveals that there are papers

flying around on sensitive issues like creation of the Office of Surgeon General and the establishment of a proposed National Health Commission.” Akintayo also said the attempt to privatise some health professional practice notably pharmacy and medical laboratory science is a violation of the rights of practitioners of these professions as Section 42 (1) a and b of the 1999 constitution protects citizens of Nigeria from discrimination that deprives them of legitimate rights as citizens.


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Nigerian drug firm emerges first in West Africa to get WHO- certification By Emeka Anuforo and Joseph Okoghenun IGERIAN pharmaceutical N company, Swiss Pharma Nigeria Limited (Swipha), has made history as it emerged the first pharmaceutical company in West African-Sub region to become World Health Organisation (WHO) Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant. Making the announcement of Swiss Pharma Nigeria’s feats on Tuesday in Lagos during WHO and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) officials’ visit to the premises of Swiss Pharma Nigeria Limited, WHO Representative, Ms. Seun Omobo, said that the certification was a reward for the Nigeria’s intense efforts through NAFDAC to make the country’s drug companies participate in global drugs manufacturing and trading. “We appreciate the commitments NAFDAC, P h a r m a c e u t i c a l Manufacturers of Manufacturer Association (PMG-MAN) and Swipha. This is the first company to get WHO-certification in Nigeria and the whole of West Africa. Other companies should see it as an inspiration to improve on their quality,” Omobo said. The fight to get local pharmaceutical companies to meet WHO-prequalification standards started in 2011 when NAFDAC under the leadership of its current Director-General, Dr. Paul Orhii, set machinery in motion to work with WHOprequalification team and PMG-MAN. The importance of such certification cannot be overemphasised as every year, billions of dollars worth of medicines are purchased by or through international procurement agencies – such as United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID– for distribution in resource-limited countries, without any Nigeria pharmaceutical firms benefiting because of lack of WHO-certification among Nigerian drug firms. UNITAID uses innovative financing to increase funding for greater access to treatments and diagnostics for human immunodeficiency virus infection / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), malaria and tuberculosis in lowincome countries. The WHO Prequalification of Medicines Programme (PQP) helps ensure that medicines supplied by procurement agencies meet acceptable standards of quality, safety and efficacy. The certification mean that Swiss Pharma Nigeria can manufacture drugs and sell in international drug market and even be patronised by international aid agencies like UNICEF, a practice that was impossible for any Nigerian pharmaceutical company before. Orhii, who was elated over

• PSN gives kudos the feat, said that the WHOGMP “is a huge deal not just for Nigeria, but West African, Africa and the World,” adding that he has been receiving congratulatory messages over the fact that a Nigerian drug company has been able break the jinx of WHO- certification in a short time. Orhii added that when agency started the project to get Nigerian drug companies meet WHO-standards, not many critics, both locally and internationally, whished the country could ever get certified, adding that Swipha Pharma Nigeria’s success story has convinced Doubting Thomases that Nigeria can achieve anything. Orhii said: “The effort to grow local pharmaceutical industries and push for selfsufficiency in essential medicines of pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria is yielding success, as Swiss Pharma Nigeria limited has become the first Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturer and indeed the first in Sub – Saharan Africa to be considered compliant with stringent WHO GMP.” “We undertook the venture to get the pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria prequalified because as a regulatory agency it is one of the ways we can earn respect and credit to sufficiently inspire confidence and supervise the companies. While it used to be thought that Nigerian products are of lower category in the market, this endorsement by the WHO has revealed rather the contrary, which is that the industries in Nigeria can compete with the best in the world. “With this WHO certifications, pharmaceutical companies will be able to access the 200 billion intervention fund which will boost their production capacity and also enable them become global player in the industry.” Meanwhile, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has congratulated the management and staff of Swiss Pharma Nigeria

Orhii

ers in the pharmaceutical sector.” Chairman of Swiss pharma Nigeria Limited, Mr. Colin Cummings, who was represented by the Deputy Managing Director, Mr.Abbas Sambo, stated that he was elated over the certification, adding that the success has opened up the way for other companies in Nigeria to be certified. National Programme Manager of PATH2, Mr. Mike Egbu said all the partners were in intensifying efforts to get the NAFDAC laboratory in Yaba, Lagos, and meets international standards. He said: “There is a contract in place right now between WHO and Department for International Development (DFID) to support the process that we have been pursuing over the years, that is to certify the Iyaba Laboratory, because one thing is for a country like Nigeria not to have a certified laboratory. For me, it is a shame. As a Nigeria, I don’t feel good about it, and that is why those of us who are working

WHO D.G, Dr Margaret Chan on it are very passionate about it, and so yesterday we had meetings to look at the time line, what we need to do, look at the roles and responsibilities. “One of the major things that came up was to look at how we implement these programmes, because the partnership between DFID and WHO does not take care of everything. It takes care of part of it, but not all of it.” He continued: “A major part will come from NAFDAC and one of the major things will be to look at commitments, because like you heard, there is shortage. The time is no longer long. We want to combine the short time with high impact, and that means that we must be committed. I know that there is ISO certification, and WHO certification. Our concern is WHO certification, because we cannot be pursuing two rats at the same time.” He went on: “The purpose is to ensure that we re able to follow up with the WHO certification to get that lab certified by the end of next year, which is 2015(December). A lot of work needs to be done, which means that we have to look at the role of individual partners in this project, which means that NAFDAC has to make that commitment, because if you say you

are going to do ABC, if you look at the work plan, standards are set. “By April this year, a letter is supposed to be sent. In fact, we have suggested that that letter should go by this week. If want WHO to come, you have to send an expression of interest. That letter needs to be sent by April 11 latest. “We want to make sure that there is a focus, act as an organisation NAFDAC is pursuing. We want to make sure that there is a unified focus, vision of where we are going with this activity. We want to identify the people who should be responsible for specific role sin the work plan. We want to make sure that funds are released when they should be released, that materials that are supposed to be there are there, that when the WHO inspectors come, they will meet those things down. “There are also some aspects where we are going to be working to strengthen the internal mechanism of NAFDAC to ensure that those things that are supposed to be happening at Iyaba are happening. That is why we are today, because also need to sign a compact between the various partners that clarifies what each needs to do. We will all sign to it.”

back in nightly one or twohour installments. To prevent sleep debt, make sleep a priority. Instead of cutting back on sleep in order to tackle the rest of your daily tasks, put sleep at the top of your to-do list,” he said. Akinjobi noted that generally sleep deprivation might result in aching muscles and increased risk of fibromyalgia. There are also the risk of confusion, memory lapses or loss, irritability, hand tremors, hallucinations, headache, reduced performance and ability. With sleep deprivation, there is increased risk of car accidents and occupational accidents, lack of concentration causing impaired learning, depression, blood pressure,

increased stress hormone levels and increased risk of obesity. There are more. Temper tantrums in children, yawning, impaired immune function, increased risk of cancer and increased inflammation, which causes a variety of diseases and conditions. Akinjobi observed that sleep is the most undervalued contributor to optimal health and performance. He said many people have no idea that getting enough sleep is essential for helping them stick to a diet, making their workouts more productive, or boosting their immune system in general. “A good night’s sleep is one of the absolute essential requirements for being healthy. You

can have a perfect diet, have no stress and be physically fit, but if you aren’t sleeping well you will simply not be healthy. “Eight out of 10 people said they would sleep more if they knew it would improve their health and memory. In terms of prevention, various studies indicate that consistently sleeping around seven hours per night is optimal for health, and a sustained reduction may predispose to ill health,” he said. “Sleep difficulties are closely associated with psychiatric disorders such as depression, alcoholism and bipolar disorder. Sleeping too little or too much increases your chances of dying from all causes by up to 25 per cent

While it used to be thought that Nigerian products are of lower category in the market, this endorsement by the WHO has revealed rather the contrary, which is that the industries in Nigeria can compete with the best in the world. Limited for the feat. In a letter addressed to the pharmaceutical firm and which was signed by PSN President, Mr. Olumide Akintayo, the PSN said the feat of WHO-complaint plant for the firm was as result of hard work, commitment and diligence on the part of the firm. The statement reads: “We write to congratulate you and the entire management and staff of Swiss Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Limited on the laudable achievement of attaining the landmark feat of the first pharmaceutical manufacturer in Nigeria and indeed SubSahara Africa to be designated a WHO-Compliant plant. “This achievement epitomises hard work, commitment and diligence over the years and we are very proud to identify with your success story which is truly inspiring in our peculiar sector. “It is imperative to challenge you to respond appropriately to this opportunity which places you in the privileged status of global play-

Sleep debt: A silent killer By Wole Oyebade LEEP expert, Dr Obafemi SNigerians Akinjobi has urged to ensure adequate sleep and avoid ‘sleep debt’, which he described as a silent killer. Sleep debt, according to Akinjobi of Marvina Sleep Centre, Lagos, is the difference between the amount of sleep an individual needs and hours he or she actually gets. “Eventually, the debt will have to be repaid. It won’t go away on its own. If you lose an hour of sleep, you must make up that extra hour somewhere down the line in order to bring your ‘account’ back into balance,” he said. He explained that sleep debt is the effect of not getting

enough rest and sleep, adding that a large debt causes mental, emotional and physical fatigue. Akinjobi said: “Sleep debt results in diminished abilities to perform high-level cognitive functions. Neurophysiological and functional imaging studies have demonstrated that frontal regions of the brain are particularly responsive to homeostatic sleep pressure. “Many of us try to repay our sleep debt by sleeping in on the weekends. But as it turns out, bouncing back from chronic lack of sleep isn’t that easy. “One or two solid nights of sleep aren’t enough to pay off a long-term debt. If you lost 10 hours of sleep, pay the debt


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NHIS, NMA promise to curb abuses in health insurance scheme By Chukwuma Muanya

*Ogun to roll out community based programme in six LGAs

HE Executive Secretary of T the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr.

found wanting will be answerable in accordance with the Act establishing the Scheme. Determined to further improve health indices and the overall well-being of the citizenry, Ogun State government has announced its readiness to roll out the pilot phase of its Community Based Health Insurance Scheme (CBHIS) in six Local Government Areas of the State. The Local Government Areas are, Abeokuta South, Odeda, Ado Odo/Ota, Ifo, Obafemi Owode and Ipokia. The State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun made this intension of government known in his address at the launch of Ogun/MTN Foundation Mobile Medical Intervention Scheme held at the Arcade Ground, Governor’s Office, Abeokuta. Represented by his Deputy, Prince Segun Adesegun, Senator Amosun disclosed that the CBHIS would help reduce the cost of accessing medicare as government would subsidise for able bodied participants in the scheme while pregnant women, children and the aged would be given treatment free of charge. Meanwhile, Thomas

Femi Thomas, has restated the determination of the Scheme not to hesitate to wield the big stick against any stakeholder, particularly Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) found withholding capitation payment from health care facilities. Thomas reiterated this assurance when members of the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), led by its president, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja recently. According to the NHIS boss “we must not allow any stakeholder to strangulate the facilities who are the burden bearers of the health Insurance industry.” “The health care facilities” he said “must survive. And the only way they can survive is when they are paid their capitation as at when due. This, we at the NHIS will ensure,” he stated. He told the delegation that as part of the process of ensuring probity in the system, the scheme is presently reconciling accounts of about six HMOs, while any of them

appealed to the NMA to show leadership, by calling on its members and other health workers in the public sector to begin to make their own contribution of 1.75 per cent of their salary to the Scheme, to enable it pool enough resources for the expansion of coverage and the benefit package as is being clamoured for. He used the forum to again assure the nation, that wideranging reports are being implemented in the Scheme to connect NHIS to the many more people, as well as ensure greater quality of service delivery. Speaking earlier, the President of NMA, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, said the organisation has come to felicitate with the Executive Secretary on his appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of NHIS, and expressed the Association’s confidence that he will provide the needed leadership that will ultimately transform the health sector in the country. According to him, NMA’s confidence in the ability of Thomas to turn the Scheme around is inspired by his enviable track record as a scholar, practitioner and administrator in the nation’s health sector.

“The NHIS under your leadership must not shy away from the urgent task of providing the pivotal role of championing the needed transformation in the health industry”, Enabulele said. The NMA leader said the association has resolved to no longer continue to lament on the decay in the health industry but strategize to help in transforming it for the socioeconomic progress of the nation. He therefore assured the management of NHIS that the NMA will continue to give the needed support to it, in its effort to move the health insurance industry in this country to the required level. Meanwhile, Amosun expressed gratitude to the telecommunication organization for selecting the State for the scheme, affirming that the mobile medical intervention would strengthen government efforts at enhancing quality primary health care delivery services, particularly at the grassroots. “The project will involve skilled health workers going to rural communities using the fully equipped mobile clinic to deliver quality primary health care services to them and appropriate referral of complicated cases to secondary health facilities”, the Governor submitted.

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, President, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Najeem Yasin, and Head, Health Workforce/Supplies, Maternal and Child Health project of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P MCH), Dr. Sidi Ali, at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Emergency Transport Scheme as part of interventions to reduce Maternal Mortality in Nigeria in Abuja recently

Dehydration as a cause of diabetes mellitus OR a very long time, the Fbetes school of thought that diais caused by too much sugar in the body which eventually wears off the insulinproducing cells in the pancreas has held sway. I have also explained this extensively in the first 2 parts of this series on diabetes mellitus. Be that as it may, the role of dehydration as a cause of diabetes cannot be overlooked. Physiologically speaking, insulin is produced by the beta cells of the Islets of Langarhans in the pancreas. The well known function of insulin is to drive glucose from the circulatory system into the cells for energy production and storage. In other words, insulin regulates the blood glucose level. In diabetes it is thought that this function of insulin fails for reasons that I have already discussed. There is therefore a buildup of excess glucose in the blood. In this type of diabetes the cells of the pancreas are still capable of production of insulin when stimulated by certain chemical drugs usually prescribed by orthodox practitioners. A lot has been achieved by doing so, but I would like to state that diabetes, like the rest of the chronic degenerative diseases is a disease caused by lack of water in the body. Apart from the production and secretion of insulin by the pancreas in response to increase in the level of glucose in the blood stream after a meal, there is another very important function of the pancreas which is, the production of a copious bicarbonate buffer solution. This solution released into the upper part of the duodenum neutralizes the acidic contents of the stomach as they empty into the intestine.

No vaccine for Ebola, dengue, says health minister From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja HE statement by the T Information Minister, Labaran Maku, last week, that government was taking precautionary measures, including getting the vaccines and medicines for deadly Ebola disease, may not have any scientific basis. This is because the Ministry of Health has categorically stated that there is no vaccine for E b o l a . Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, told newsmen at the weekend that the impression that there was a vaccine for Ebola was not true, stressing rather, that prevention was key in the management of the disease, which had gone viral in some African countries. He said: “What is important is

• Herbal medicine studies for Nigerian varsities prevention. Give information to the people so that if people are having symptoms, they quickly see appropriate authorities. They need to be separated before they spread it and we can also start treatment in time by giving all the supportive treatment. “So, I don’t think anybody will say there is a vaccine. There is no vaccine for them. But the country, through us, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, our partners, including laboratories in various teaching hospitals, the CDC of the United States, the World Health Organisation (WHO), we are closely working together to see how we can the s p r e a d . ”

He was emphatic that there was no vaccine for treating Ebola and dengue infections. His words: “There is no case of Ebola in Nigeria; and we are putting things to tract it because it is not something you stay and say it will not come. You are not God that you will say it is not possible to have Ebola. Nigerians travel a lot. Even if we monitor them at our seaports and airports, we have so many land borders. It is not always too easy to monitor people. “So, it is possible someone can visit a place and come back with a disease.   It is possible. But, we have taken time to do surveillance. We are strengthening everything. So, if we pick a case, we quickly quarantine

so that it doesn’t spread to othe r s . “There is no vaccine for them. That is the problem. For now, we don’t have any single vaccine. We don’t also have vaccine for laser fever yet. We don’t have vaccine for Ebola. We don’t have vaccine for dengue and the rest. There is no specific treatment but there are drugs that help. When you have laser, there are drugs we give you and you are likely to survive.” Chukwu said Ebola kills rapidly and only supportive treatment could be administered to minimise its effect. But, dengue, he said, does not kill as quickly as Ebola and only supportive treatment is given to its victims, too.” And going by government calculations, the Joint Admission and Matriculations

Board (JAMB) will next year list herbal medicine studies as one of the courses open to students seeking admission into the nation’s universities. A curriculum to that effect, according to officials, has been developed and would be submitted at the next National Council on Health (NCH) for review and adoption. The Federal Government has concluded plans to introduce herbal medicine studies in Nigerian universities, Chukwu said at the weekend. He spoke at the yearly Guest Lecture organised by Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) in Abuja. According to him, the introduction of herbal medicine studies would hopefully strengthen Nigeria’s attainment of universal health coverage.

The stomach gate, (Pyloric sphincter), only opens when this bicarbonate solution has been released. This function of the pancreas is regulated by the amount of water in the body. In a state of dehydration, the amount of the bicarbonate solution is reduced and this can get to a critical level that there is not enough of it to neutralize the stomach contents. If this is the situation, the opening of the Pyloric sphincter will not be effected and there will therefore be a ‘backing up’ of the stomach contents as happens in stomach dyspepsia, ulcer and eventually Hiatus hernia [read Thursday, October 6th 2011 edition of The Guardian]. Histamine, like most of us now know, is the main water regulatory neurotransmitter in a state of dehydration. There are some other subordinate hormones that are released by the action of histamine. Amongst these are the Prostaglandins and Prostaglandin E [Pg E] is the one we are interested in for the purpose of this write up. Pg E when released has two functions: It redirects water to the pancreas in times of dehydration to ensure that the buffer solution is being produced and secreted so that neutralizing of the stomach contents and digestion of food continue to take place. Secondly Pg E inhibits the secretion of insulin. What is the reason for this? Simply put, when insulin is secreted, it not only drives glucose into the cells, but along with it are potassium, amino acids and water. The water that goes into the cells at such times when there is dehydration will further deplete the amount of free water for purposes such as the manufacture of the bicarbonate solution needed for neutralizing the stomach contents and for digestion. As the secretion of insulin gets blocked by Pg E, glucose accumulates in the blood stream and eventually appears in the urine which is the finding in diabetes. The cells of the body other than those of the brain depend on insulin for glucose, amino acids, salts and water for their functions. Of course, this is not as simple as I have presented it, but it is important to note that the bicarbonate solution plays a very important role in preventing conditions such as stomach dyspepsia, ulcer and hiatus hernia. In blocking the production and secretion of insulin which should drive glucose, salts and water into the cells, PgE, redirects water to the pancreas to maintain production of the bicarbonate solution. In conclusion, if one drinks sufficient water daily, there would not be any need to block insulin and redirect water to the pancreas.


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Education Anxiety as fresh trouble brews in LASU AS authorities of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo frenetically search for the wonder cure for the spate of crises rocking the school since the outrageous fee hike introduced by the Alausa government in October 2011, more ills appear to be emerging from the closet. In fact, indications that whatever the state government and indeed the school authorities are doing or saying do not constitute the silver bullet needed to shoot down the smouldering crisis, have found expression in many ways than one. But authorities believe the intervention of the school’s Chancellor, Molade Okoya-Thomas, may stem the tide writes ENO-ABASI SUNDAY • Lecturers declare trade dispute, give 21-day ultimatum • Students unrelenting in forcing downward review of fees • No indigent student will be denied education in Lagos State, Fashola insists • Increment unfair, unjust, discriminatory and retrogressive, says SERAP UST as the students are unrelenting in their Jfees, clamour for a downward review of the school (which makes the school about the most expensive public university in the country), the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), of the institution last week declared a trade dispute and issued a 21-day ultimatum to its governing council asking it to meet their demands or risk industrial action. The teachers issued the ultimatum in their bulletin titled, “Declaration of a Trade Dispute,” dated April 1 and signed by its Chairman, Dr. Adekunle Idris. The teachers who said they resolved to issue the ultimatum at their congress stressed that they would embark on an indefinite strike if their demands were not met at the expiration of the ultimatum. “We hereby give a 21-day ultimatum effective March 24, to the governing council to implement all matters already agreed. At the expiration of this ultimatum, the union will embark on a total, indefinite and comprehensive strike, if its demands are not met,” the union said in the document. ASUU said it declared the trade dispute as a result of the non-implementation of some demands, on which the management and the union had reached agreements in the past 12 months. The union, the bulletin stated is disappointed that the Lagos State government insists on retaining the neck-breaking school fees, which is threatening to turn the once lively institution into a ghost town, owing to dwindling enrolment figures. “This policy contradicts the objective of establishing the institution. It is not sustainable and portends great danger to the citizens of Lagos State, who are desirous of tertiary education,” the union stated. In the bulletin, the teachers expressed their displeasure with the continuous use of the “no vacancy, no promotion policy’’ of the present administration to stifle career advancement of its members. They further stated that the partial implementation of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act of 2012 in LASU is an act of inequality. This is an Act currently being implemented in all federal universities and in almost all state universities in Nigeria.” The bulletin added that the teachers decided to go this way because the meeting between the union and the various stakeholders of the institution to resolve the issues at stake was unproductive and held no promise. But spokesperson of the institution, Kayode Sutton believes that the intervention of Chancellor of the institution, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, would turn things around for the better. “The management of the school is aware of the 21-day ultimatum given by ASUU and we have had a meeting with all professors and deans amongst others to sort out the issues in contention, which include the retirement age, ‘no vacancy, no promotion policy’ among others. Already, about 200 vacant positions have been declared, but ASUU still wants more. However, ASSU still wants more. Only yesterday (Tuesday), the school’s management and ASUU leadership met with the chancellor to try and broker a truce. “LASU authorities, as well as the chancellor have pleaded with ASUU to show some understanding as we cannot afford yet another strike action. I am happy to say that after the meeting with the chancellor, they (ASUU) accepted to tarry a while, even though verbally to give him time to intervene on

Entrance to the Lagos State University other matters, excluding the fee increment, which is a matter only the government can handle,” Sutton said. Before the union issued the ultimatum, aggrieved Nigerian students had penultimate Monday, besieged the Lagos State Governor’s Office demanding a downward review of the fee. Led by the South-West Coordinator of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr. Sunday Ashefun, the students who cordoned off the office around 1pm, apart from the immediate downward review of the fees, also want the Federal Government to honour the 2010 agreement entered into with Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, (COASU) and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) and other teachers’ unions They also want the implementation of the 20 per cent budgetary allocation to education as recommended by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); conversion of Higher National Diploma (HND) to Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) and the reinstatement of all banned unions by the managements of schools like the University of Lagos, College of Education, Ikere, Ekiti State among others. The students’ leader who also deplored the alleged victimisation of student union leaders in LASU, the new fees were “not just affordable (as) some of our colleagues have opted out of LASU because they cannot such high school fees. “These prohibitively high fees, are some of the highest paid by any university in the country. Children of the poor can no more attend LASU and this is sad,” he said. Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), in his response to the students, offered to help any new student of the school, who risks losing his/her admission as a result of indigence as well as any current student, who may have problem coping with the fees due to the same reason. “Get admission to that school and if you cannot pay we will give you scholarship to cover the course you got admission for. The debate is access. If there are children who cannot get in as a result

of that, let me have their list and the list of those who have dropped out as a result. We will give scholarship. So in a sense, what we have taken with one hand we have given back with the other hand,” he said. Fashola, who recalled that the decision to increase the fees was part of the recommendations of the Visitation Panel set up by his government, in line with the demand of the students of the school, pointedly told the students, “You came to the House of Assembly and asked the House to pass a resolution compelling me as Visitor to the school to set up a Visitation Panel. We didn’t jump into LASU. It was your decision that the school be upgraded. So, the House passed the resolution and I set up the panel and the consequent decisions are what we are implementing- upgrade of infrastructures, building new classrooms, new library, a Senate building and so on.” Fashola, who claimed that government’s intervention in the school has been yielding results, explained that almost all the courses in the school have been accredited by the NUC as against what it was pre-2011. On the issue of the number of students the university could admit at a time, Fashola said the institution couldn’t exceed the admission quota granted it by the NUC, but stick to it for the purposes of accreditation of courses. “Every university in this country has a limit of the students it should admit based on the spaces that we have and it is the NUC that allots that number as regulator of university education. Often times you may hear that accreditation has been withdrawn; it happens when schools are crowded,” he explained. Recalling that some law graduates from the school could not go to law school four years after graduation because NUC said the university exceeded the number of students to admit, (a development that forced him to intervene), the governor said, “If we continue to exceed our quota then we will continue to have the problem.” Fashola, who stressed the imperative of another university for the state, concluded that his administration has resolved that it would not build

Get admission to that school and if you cannot pay we will give you scholarship to cover the course you got admission for. The debate is access. If there are children who cannot get in as a result of that, let me have their list and the list of those who have dropped out as a result. We will give scholarship. So in a sense, what we have taken with one hand we have given back with the other hand

another until the myriad of problems besetting LASU were sorted out and the institution repositioned “from what you call it to what it should be.”   The governor who said apart from raising the budget for education, his administration has also put a N200m grant in place for LASU students added, “Our resolution is that no student will be left behind as a result of inability to pay the school fees. We have raised the fees but we have also provided a cushion.”   For many, the long silence maintained by the staff unions in LASU especially ASUU (before the recent ultimatum), in the face of the obnoxious increment was, at best unholy. In fact, only last month, a former general secretary of Lagos State University Students’ Union (LASUSU) and a member of Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Ewebiyi Keye James insisted that, “The continuous silence of the staff unions in LASU particularly the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) since this crisis broke out is a betrayal of the trust of students in the unions.  He also faulted the new scholarship arrangement of the state government even as he accused it of reneging on its promise to provide bursary awards to Lagos students. In the release titled “LASU: The Unending Crisis,” James expressed fears that, “As enrolment level drops further and drop-out rate increases, some programmes and courses in the university may be rationalised due to inadequate number of students, and subsequently some programmes and departments could be shut down. In this case, teaching and non-teaching personnel will be sacked. He said “There is an urgent need for ASUU, NASU, SSANU, NAAT, parents and indigenous associations in Lagos State to join forces with Save LASU Campaign Movement and other radical student groups to launch a joint campaign to defeat this anti-students/workers’ policy and save LASU from imminent collapse. They cannot afford to sit down and watch this government commercialise education out of the reach of the poor.  The campaign must continue to demand the reversal of the increase in fees which remains the root cause of the crisis, and which if left unaddressed will continue to throw the university into more crises.” Putting the matter in perspective, James said the fee hike, which had students paying between N193, 750 and N348, 750 depending on their course of study as against the old fee of N25, 000, was inimical in many ways and has drastically affected enrolment as only about 1, 100 had registered for PostUTME examination as at July 30, 2013. James said, “This figure is a far cry from what was obtainable in time past when between 15,000 and

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Students insist on reduction of LASU school fees CONTINUED FROM PAGE 49 20,000 candidates sat for the same examination. Currently several departments at LASU have fewer than 10 students at 100 level. For instance, French department has only one student in 100 level, Islamic Studies department has six students in 100 Level and the Faculty of Law has just 15 and 25 students at 100 Level and 200 Level respectively. “A more striking example is the Department of Fishery where 60 students obtained admission into 100 level last session and a session after, only 14 out of this are left and out of this 14, only four have registered for the current session. The increase in fees is responsible for the sharp decline in student enrollment in LASU over the past three years. LASU used to have over 20, 000 full-time students, today full-time students are only a little above 12, 000. Indeed, at this rate especially when the current 300 and 400 level students who are still paying the old fees of N25, 000 graduate, LASU may have fewer than 6,000 full-time students. The wider implication of this is an increase in the illiteracy rate of the State.” The activist wrote further, “Following the hike, the Lagos State Government further attacked the institution’s scholarship scheme, which used to provide a lifeline for indigent, but brilliant students during the old fee regime. The new scholarship arrangement makes it difficult for most students to benefit from the scheme and no award has been issued in the past three years. The state government has also reneged on its promise to provide bursary awards to students of Lagos State origin; there has been a decline in the issuance of bursary in the past three years despite the fact that the bursary is less than onethird of the new fees. This is contrary to the pledge made by Governor Babatunde Fashola, in the heat of the fee hike struggle that bursary and scholarship awards would be provided to cushion the effects of the fee increase.” As the seeming commercialising of education beyond the reach of the children of the poor including civil servants, traders and the likes stirs more crises, the state House of Assembly appears to have taken sides with the government against the people, even though about three members, whose voices have not been loud enough are against this unfortunate development. A clear picture of the state Assembly’s position was gleaned recently when it’s deputy speaker, Taiwo Kolawole played host to newsmen. At that meeting, every shade of doubt regarding the lawmakers’ position on the increment was removed. Recently, Kolawole had told protesting students of the institution and civil right activists that the increment was neither arbitrary nor insensitive to their plight, but a necessary condition that has to take place in order to restore LASU back to its glory days. In his interaction with newsmen a week after the students protest, the deputy speaker claimed the students’ alleged lack of consideration and insensitivity of the House towards indigenes of the state were baseless, coupled with their claim that high tuition fee was the root of the crisis in the school. He said everything boiled

Fashola down to making a choice between education-for-all or quality education for those that can afford it, adding that if it “is quality education, then it will involve giving more resources to the system to function.” The longest serving lawmaker in the Lagos Assembly (1999 till date), who once revealed on the floor of the House that his search for quality education for his kids, saw him sending them to Turkish International School, Lagos, where they are being educated, observed that there was a time in this country when LASU’s law department was a toast of all. “Then, if anybody said, ‘I read law at LASU’, people would bow in agreement that this is a qualified lawyer. If you hear Sanai Agunbiade (member of the House) talk about law, you’d want to be a lawyer. But today, we know there are some afternoon lawyers who know nothing about law. This is part of what led to changes in the school, and the management could not have done anything without a reason for it,” said the lawmaker.

Prof. John Obafunwa He pointed out that an indication that the school’s fortunes were dwindling was the then de-accreditation of 11 courses (including law), by the NUC in October 2010, adding that the Assembly was peeved with that development. Said he: “We (lawmakers) were never happy with that development. So, in response, the Speaker set-up a committee that I headed then and we went to the NUC in Abuja, where they told us that most of the courses in LASU had been on probation three times. They had the plan of coming to LASU to further deaccredit other courses. It was in that sad state that we returned that day.” Continuing, he said: “When we returned from visitation to NUC, we went to see the law that established LASU and we realised that the governor ought to send a Visitation Panel to LASU every five years but they had not done that for 10 years. “We passed a resolution that the governor should send a Visitation Panel to LASU and told NUC to give us six months that we would change LASU.

Oledu wins Yojus painting trophy By Emeka Nwachukwu LEVEN-year-old Victor Oledu E of Lolly-Kay Nursery/Primary School, Oshodi, Lagos, beat about 60 others contenders to emerge overall winner of the Yojus Painting Star competition. The competition, which held at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Media Centre, National Theatre, Iganmu, drew participants from over 80 private primary schools in the state. At the competition, which theme was “Stories of my Holidays,” 10-year-old Ohikena Iruafemi of Rona Kings and Queens School, Oke-Afa, Isolo, finished second, while 10-year-old Praise Omowunmi of Jaden International School, MazaMaza, took the third position. Olams Group Nigeria Limited, manufacturers of the Yojus fruit drink explained the motive behind its newly introduced painting competition

for pupils, saying it was meant to bring out the creativity in them. The firm’s Brand Manager in charge of Yojus, Foluke Makinde said the contest for pupils aged four to 12 was meant to expose them to early healthy competition in life. According to her the Yojus Painting Competition will play a significant role in demonstrating the imagination and fun loving nature of the children. Speaking on the occasion, a visual art instructor, Mr. Timothy Olaniyan, who hailed the firm for instituting the competition, also lauded the pupils for their artistic skills. He described as amazing, the pupils’ originality and creativity, colour combination and harmonisation, space management as well as field interpretation. Olaniyan, who served as one of the judges in the contest, said the pupils’ display of skills, greatly surpassed expectations of the judges.

One of the situations on ground was that the best law faculty in Nigeria few years ago, did not even have a single professor, whereas the condition of NUC is for a law faculty to have at least six professors. “The governor set up a Visitation Panel, which told him to introduce new fees and they came up with a white paper in September 2011. When we saw what it contained, we turned it down because we wondered where undergraduates that were currently paying N25, 000 would get N250, 000 to pay.” The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is not bought over by Fashola’s argument neither are they impressed by the posture of the state Assembly. This explains why they have urged the government to revert to status–quo-ante expeditiously. To the non-governmental organisation, the increment is

simply unfair, unjust, discriminatory and retrogressive and therefore should never be allowed to stand in order that no student of the institution will be denied access to education on account of his/her inability to pay the prescribed fees. A press release endorsed by SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the group said: “By reversing the tuition fees, your government will be demonstrating its sacred duty to promote equality in the society, and showing respect for international law requiring states to move towards free higher education when setting fees policy. “We believe that next in importance to freedom and justice is access to quality education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be maintained. “The increased tuition fees have constituted a disincentive to poorer students attending

LASU, because we continue to receive reports of decreasing level of enrolment to the school due primarily to the increased fees. “We believe that the increased tuition fees discriminate against poorer students. As most students wishing to attend LASU cannot do so on the grounds of their economic and social conditions, their right of access to education is clearly being severely curtailed, if not extinguished. “A hike in fees cannot be in the best interests of the child, which is a fundamental principle entrenched in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria has ratified. “The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria is a state party provides that, higher education shall be made equally accessible to all on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education. “Education aims to provide the child with life skills, strengthen the child’s capacity to enjoy the full range of human rights and promote a culture which is infused by appropriate human rights values. “Non-discrimination and economic accessibility mean that education must be accessible to all, especially the most disadvantaged students. Progressive introduction of free education means that while States must prioritize the provision of free primary education, they also have an obligation to take concrete steps towards achieving free secondary and higher education.”


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Imo releases N450m to mission schools, to commence work on varsity campus soon will commence soon. From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri that lodgments have been made Former member of the state O assist in the provision of basic infrastructural facilities to all mission schools handed over to their owners by the Imo State government, Governor rochas Okorocha, has approved the release of the final lump of N225m to them. The is as it emerged that the government has finally resolved to site the campus of the Imo State University in Ogbuvuru, Aboh Mbaise council area of the state. According to a statement signed by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media Mr. Sam Onwuemedo, a copy of which was made available to The Guardian, the state government had earlier released the sum of N255m to same schools. The statement, which added

T

into the designated banks, urged affected school authorities to access such accounts for collection through the Ministry of Education. While wishing the schools’ authorities and their students well, the statement said the governor would continue to work with the mission schools and mission hospitals in the state. Deputy governor of the state, Eze Madumere, while on a visit to the proposed site of Imo varsity, said Okorocha, mandated him to inform the landowners about the development, thanking them for the retention of the land, which they made available to the Late Sam Mbakwe administration for the purpose in 1982. According to Madumere, construction work on the campus

House of Assembly, who represented Aboh Mbaise, Mike Iheanetu, had variously led advocacy to retain the university campus as proposed by the late Mbakwe administration. Iheanetu also chaired the House Committee on Education. In the past, the state government had constituted a panel to ascertain the best possible location for the campus and the three zones of Owerri, Okigwe and Orlu positioned themselves for it. Now that the state government has finally resolved to site a campus and not permanent site in Aboh Mbaise, the implication is that the university’s main campus still remains at its present location-off Okigwe road.

AAU president makes case for quality assurance in varsities Or universities to effectively Oyewole, who was represented (students), services and facilities.” FAssurance serve their purposes, Quality by Dr. Olusegun Folorunso, According to Oyewole, who is (QA) mechanisms Head, Webometrics Centre of also the President of the must be established within them, according to the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Olusola Oyewole. Delivering a lecture titled Quality Assurance in African Universities: Challenges and Strategies at the just-concluded African Leaders in Education Forum, held in Abuja recently,

FUNAAB, traced the emergence of Quality Assurance in African institutions to the 1980s and the 1990s. He said: “Quality Assurance is for systematic planning, monitoring and evaluation of our universities to sustain and improve on the standards of teaching, research and extension mandate as well as providing confidence in the university outputs

Association of African Universities (AAU), the key issues, which necessitated the emergence of QA were: demand for efficiency and competitiveness in higher education; increased mobility; brain drain; globalization and cross-border recognition of qualifications; involvement of private interests and expansion in student enrolment.  


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itF, iit sign partnership with Germany on vocational training By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku hE industrial training t Fund (itF) and institute of industrial training (iit) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Dual Vocational training (DVt) with Germany. the pact, which was signed recently in Lagos between the two Nigerian organisations and the German Chamber of industry and Commerce (CCi) GiessenFriedberg, focuses on sustainable economic development, with emphasis on small and medium size enterprises. it is designed to train Nigerian youths to acquire quality skills thereby, reducing unemployment and poverty. Speaking at the ceremony held at the itF training Centre in ikeja, itF’s DirectorGeneral, Prof Longmas Sambo Wapmuk said the overall aim of the partnership was to enable the beneficiaries acquire skills that would enable them to get employed or start their own businesses. Represented by a director in itF, hassan Umaru, an engineer, Wapmuk disclosed that the implementation of the pact commenced since last year when experts from Germany in areas like mechanical and electrical technology trained Nigerian trainers. he further revealed that the partnership would be expanded to other trade areas even as he added that the gains, which will be derived from the partnership, would help in solving

the country’s unemployment problems and bring growth to its economy. Leader of the German delegation from the German Chamber’s of industry and Commerce, Robert Malzacher said that the partnership initiated by the chamber and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, focuses on the improvement of vocational

education within the Nigerian enterprise by combining of theory and practice. Malzacher who noted that this approach “… contributes to the employability among the Nigerian youth and hence, to poverty reduction,” added that the project seeks to introduce, within the three targeted regions of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, vocational training in three technical and one commercial occupa-

tion. he disclosed that the training, which has a lifespan of three years, would centre strictly on theoretical knowledge and practical instructions according to the German dual education system as opposed to a “mere training on the job.” the German Consul-General, Mr. Michael Derus said that the partnership is of strategic importance and of mutual

benefit to both countries. he said that the MoU came timely and at a juncture when it is very important to do something to empower the youths to be able to create a good basis for their future. Derus also reiterated the German Chancellors call recently for more German and European investment in Africa when she urged them to “see more chances than risks in their neighbouring

continents.” While stating that the country offers state of the art trainings, he disclosed that vocational training is not something that is just for the benefit of individuals involved in it, but also strategic and crucial for sustainable development; puts people on equal footing and serves as a condition for economic growth and diversification.

Fashola implores stakeholders to help educate indigent children ith a large number of W indigent children still unable to access basic and secondary education in the country due to poverty, wife of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, has called on all stakeholders to help educate the society’s less privileged children, in order to create a better future opportunities for them. Represented by Mrs. Abisola Oshodi at a fundraising event organised by Courage Education Foundation (CEF) in Lagos recently, Fashola charged both government, corporate organisations and individuals to come to the aid of poor children, stressing that investing in children “is like investing in the future of the nation.” While encouraging children from disadvantaged homes to look beyond their environment and take full advantage of every educa-

tional opportunity available to them, Fashola also enjoined beneficiaries of the project to remain focused and shun all vices in order to achieve success. Project Director of CEF, Mrs. Modupe Ajagunna, said the NGO was established in 2006 to ensure that brilliant but indigent children also get the opportunity to be educated. According to her, the desire to see that no child is denied educational opportunity irrespective of their social background, has so far propelled the foundation to partner with well-meaning individuals to offset the school bills of the beneficiaries. Starting in 2006 with 12 beneficiaries, the Foundation now caters for the educational needs of 148 beneficiaries. With eight of its beneficiaries due to commence university education this year, Ajagunna explained that the fundraising activity is to ensure that the 148 benefici-

aries remain in school. She said it costs about N180, 000 per annum to train a child in primary school; N300, 000 in secondary school; and N600, 000 in the university. “Presently, we have 67 beneficiaries in primary school, 80 in secondary school and one undergraduate studying at Caleb University. Your contributions will go a long way in assisting to pay for the school bills of our beneficiaries.” Chairman of the CEF board, who chaired the occasion, Pastor ituah ighodalo of the trinity house, urged all wellmeaning Nigerians to make sure that every Nigerian child gets access to formal education. he maintained that no nation could develop if its future leaders are neglected or lack quality education. “For a nation to grow, it is important that its young population, irrespective of background, is exposed to

quality education. We all must resolve to get children of school age into school,” he added. One of the beneficiaries, Miriam Abdulahi said the foundation has been the sole sponsor of her education from Primary Four, where she was transferred her from St Paul African Primary School, ilupeju to Learning Gate Private Nursery and Primary school. From a very humble beginning, she admitted that her life was being transformed because of the educational opportunities provided by the foundation. “the foundation has impacted my life in a very big way. they gave me the opportunity to dream big despite my very humble background and this goes on to show what education can do in the life of the poor,” she said. Abdullahi, who graduated from the prestigious Day Waterman College and is cur-

rently studying Mass Communication at Caleb University, imota said she owes her success story to all stakeholders who have contributed to funding the foundation. She said: “ My father is a security man and my mother, a petty trader. if not for the intervention of the foundation, i would probably have been married off at 14 or 15 years because my sister and brother are already married.” Abdulahi who is the last child in a family of five and hails from Borno State, admitted that she is the only one attending school. With tears, she commended the foundation for giving her a chance in life. “there are so many Miriams out there; children with great potentials but whose parents can hardly afford to send them to school. My prayer is to see other children like me given similar opportunities,” she


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Foundation institutes N160m prize for teachers globally By Olawunmi Ojo O reward teachers for their achievements and enormous impact on people across the world, a United Kingdombased group, Varkey GEMS Foundation has instituted a $1m (N160m) award to be given to an exceptional teacher, who has made outstanding contributions to the profession in his or her sphere of service. Referred to as the Varkey GEMS Foundation Global Teacher Prize, the award, according to its sponsors, is aimed at properly rewarding, celebrating and returning teachers to their rightful position as the most respected professionals in society. Speaking at the opening of applications and nominations for the prize in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), founder of the Foundation, Sunny Varkey, said the winning teacher must have achieved exceptional results in student learning, and won the respect of the community through activities beyond the classroom. In a support speech for the

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prize, former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who is the honorary Chairman of the Varkey GEMS Foundation, said: “Attracting the best people to teaching, developing and supporting their skills, and holding our teachers in high regard, are all critically important to achieve excellence, both in teaching and learning.” The recipient, Varkey said, would have served as role model to other teachers through charity, community work or other cultural achievements. The winner would have encouraged other teachers to join the profession and contributed to discussions and debates about how to raise teaching standards. “He/she would have also opened up access to quality education for children of all backgrounds, and prepared young people to be ‘global citizens’, comfortable with peers from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. This prize is not just about money. It’s about unearthing thousands of stories of courage and inspira-

tion,” he added. The award, described as the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for teachers, is to operate under the patronage of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The prize is open to working teachers who teach children that are in compulsory schooling, or are below the age of eighteen. Head teachers with

teaching responsibilities are also eligible to apply. The prize is also open to teachers in every kind of school in every country of the world. Applications for the award closes on August 31, 2014 and would be judged by a prize committee, which meets in October to choose a shortlist of 10 candidates. According to the sponsors, the public can nominate a teacher, or teachers can apply them-

selves by filling an application form at globalteache rprize .c om. Consulting firm, PriceWaterhouseCooper is to ensure that the balloting process is fair and accurate. A winner will be chosen from the finalists in November by the Global Teacher Prize Academy made up of headteachers, educational experts, commentators, journalists, public officials, tech entrepre-

neurs, company directors and scientists from the UK, the US, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Austria, Pakistan, Philippines, Netherlands, Thailand, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Japan, Nigeria, Uganda, Singapore, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India and Turkey. The winner would be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum 2015 in Dubai next spring.

AISL’s schools conference raises bar in learning delivery By Anthony Nwachukwu HE American International T Schools, Lagos (AISL) took its drive for effective learning delivery among teachers in pre-teens schools across the country a notch higher at the weekend, with its innovative teaching techniques during its 2014 Nigerian International Schools Conference. At the teachers’ conference, which teachers from over 40 private schools were in attendance at the AISL, Victoria Island, participants were exposed to different teaching techniques that not only capture and sustain the attention of the pupils, but also stimulate them to actively participate in class work. Such classes include teaching outside the box, taken by Ayeni Akintayo, which highlights strategies for keeping the students engaged in learning and keeping the class under control. According to a participant, Mrs. Ibe Evelyn of Rock Foundation Montessori, Wilmer, the basic thing here is using experiences common to the pupils, like movie or occurrence outside the classroom walls to drive the teaching home. Another such skill was using scale drawing to brake language barrier, as a mastery of this strategy not only enables the teacher to learn the unspoken world of the students, thereby enhancing understanding and communication, but also helps to event impart the common language

of study. According to Mrs. Anaga Mabel, a psychologist and expert in this field, the knowledge lends itself to all subjects, including Mathematics, as drawing equally does with measurements. Among others, another field with a lot of challenges and consequences is the role of media in current affairs education, with emphasis on new media. According to the presenter and journalist, Morenike Taire, information in the new media platforms require filtering because they are largely unverified. She advised that since the new media is the future of information delivery, schools could open own blogs, wherein teachers could write on topics in their fields for the benefit of the pupils. The pupils could also chat with fellows on problems with classwork or assignments. Meanwhile, participants have applauded the programme for its content and exposure. Among them was the proprietress of Nightingale Academy, Alagbado, Mrs. Ajanaku Florence Olufunke, who was attending for the first time with her school’s headmistress, Mrs. Josephine Chukwudebe. Olufunke said the expose on parents/teachers relation explored each party’s role at enhancing synergy for better results, as parents would know what to provide for their children to make teaching less difficult and more effective.

Human rights lawyer, Bamidele Aturu (left); Guest Lecturer and Director General, Centre for Black African Arts and Civilisation, Prof. Tunde Babawale; former provost, Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Dr Kunle Filani; Dean of Social and Management Sciences, Ayo Babalola University, Dr Festus Epetimehin during the inauguration of the Lagos State chapter of Adeyemi College of Education Alumni Association … recently

‘Knowledge on statistics, econometrics, others critical for sound economic management’ By Ujunwa Atueyi HE Director General of T West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Mr. Akpan Ekpo, says good understanding of statistics, econometrics and research methodology were essential for policy makers involved in the management of economies. Speaking at the recent WAIFEM regional course on “Basic Statistics, Econometrics and Research Methods,” organised by the institute, for managers and policy makers in economic management across West African countries, Ekpo,

whose address was presented by the institute’s Director of Administration & Finance, Mr. Euraclyn Williams, said in ensuring solid capacity building in the financial and macroeconomic sectors of its member banks, the institute has established collaborative arrangements with a number of reputable institutions to ensure high standards in all its programmes. He told participants that the essence of the course was to ensure that they have good understanding of the basic requirements in economic management, especially in the face of ever increasing openness and internationalisation of economic transac-

O address the dearth of T medical doctors in Bornu State, the state government has approved the award of scholarship to 30 female students to study medicine at the University of Khartoum, Sudan. In the programme, the government would spend the sum of $225,000 yearly on the beneficiaries, while the five-year training would cost the state the sum of

$1.14 million (N164. 229m). Receiving the awardees at the Government House, Maiduguri, Governor Kashim Shettima said that education remains the best sustaining legacy that a society, and governments at all levels could bequeath to the youths. Shettima, who made a $1, 000 donation to each of the beneficiaries, stressed that women deserve special attention, noted that the beneficiaries would create

therefore, becomes imperative for such highly developed and skilled manpower to engage in economic policy analysis by efficiently utilising economic and financial data to estimate economic relationships, test economic hypotheses and predict economic outcomes”. He noted that for effective result, the course has been designed to cover key areas in basic statistics, econometrics and research methods. The main themes, which the course covered include: Economic Questions and Data Collection; Basic Computing and Econometric Software for Modelling Economic and Financial Data among others.

Leadership summit for Nigerian, American students launched By Felix Kuye SPECIAL global leadership A summit has been launched for young Nigerian and American students to sharpen their innate abilities through visits to environ-

ment that are different from their places of origin. Essentially, the summit being packaged by the Legacy Empowerment and Aid Foundation, is a foremost Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Borno to spend N164m to train doctors in Sudan From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri

tions. He said, “Statistics is a branch of Mathematics whilst Econometrics is a blend of mathematics, statistics and economic theory. Econometric results bring empirical content to bear on the economic relations. This application of statistics revolves around basic knowledge and competence in research methodology of which mathematics and statistics provide the basic foundation. “Thus, a good knowledge of basic econometrics in theory and practice is essential for building a strong foundation in economic policy research for managing the economy. It

positive impact on the society when they return to serve their communities on completion of their studies. In pledging his administrations commitment to improving the literacy level of its citizens, he said, “We would remain fully committed in according topmost priority to the education sector, so that our people can benefit immensely, including our future leaders. We would also be will-

ing to expend whatever it takes to ensure that our children are well educated in diverse areas of life. This is a promise that we must keep very close to our hearts.” He urged the students to take their studies seriously and not disappoint the state government and their parents by indulging in social vices, adding that the special foreign scholarship for female students will be a continuous one.

(STEM) leadership development programme, designed to inspire young students through visit to fresh environments, with the belief that such visits will structure their fertile minds. According to a statement by the Coordinator of Global Youth Leadership Summit, Dr. Remi Duyile, the 14-day (July 25 to August 8, 2014) intensive leadership programme will provide a safe and structured out-of-classroom learning experience for the participants. The curriculum offers scholars confidence, independence, expertise and most importantly, global competitiveness for the next generation of young leaders. She said: “The participants from Nigeria will interact with US policy makers, universities, educationists, scientists, renowned entrepreneurs, community activists and visit historical sights that will

impact positively on the thought processes of each participant. They will have top public figures with inspiring stories to share, which will give them opportunity to strike mentoring relationship with these figures.” Duyile said though the programme is designed for young adults between ages 13 and 18 years, “exception could be granted for those outside the range if we believe that the applicant will really benefit from the programme.” She noted that the summit is in keeping with Legacy Empowerment and Aid Foundation mission, which is “to raise the next generation of global leaders by putting our expansive knowledge and contacts in Nigeria and USA at the disposal of families, communities and business people with integrity who crave for global interactions in these great nations.”


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Foundation trains Abuja teachers on teaching methods for autistic children From Emeka Anuforo and Kanayo Umeh, Abuja

• NUC plans integration of autism studies into university curriculum

HE Thoughtful House Foundation has trained teachers in Abuja on ways of helping children with autism through the learning process as well as ways of improving their teaching methods. This is as the National Universities Commission (NUC) has announced plans to introduce a new curriculum for the teaching and caring for autistic children in the country. Co-founder of the foundation, Mrs. Kemi Barrow, told newsmen in Abuja recently that autism spectrum disorders

sometimes makes affected children to require special education, which is in short supply in Nigeria, hence the need for the training. And as part of activities to commemorate April, the month of autism, foundation and its partners last weekend organised a charity walk to help beat autism. “As you may be aware, autism is a developmental disorder

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that affects almost one in every 1000 children in Nigeria and about one in every 83 children in most parts of the developed world. Autism spectrum disorders affects the communication skills and cognitive development of children. So, regimes requiring them to receive special education, occupational and behavioural therapy, medication and nutritional supplements

to be able to overcome the challenges of autism and integrate fully into family, school and professional life is required.” Barrow who said Thoughtful House had been working with children and families with autism spectrum over time,” added that, “Since 2010, we have run a unique and highly differentiated autism education programme in Abuja that

provides children one-on-one behavioural therapy and education, using a combination of intervention methods that have proven effective. Autism education and therapy requires a lot of funds and the children enrolled in our programmes are subsidised by funds raised through donors and partners. NUC’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie, at a one-day seminar organised by the commission in collaboration with Autism Care and Support

Firm harps on guiding youths on career path By Ujunwa Atueyi ONSCIOUS of the imperative of setting youths on the right career path as they inch forward in their academic pursuits, mobile telecommunications outfit, Etisalat Nigeria teamed up with Lagos Empowerment and Resource Network (LEARN) to avail secondary school students of some of the prerequisites for higher education and factors that influences career choice. The one-day meet brought together students from nine public schools in Lagos and also featured debating and spelling. Head of Learning and Development, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Chike Otubelu, remarked that providing students with information that would guide their career choice was of paramount importance, owing to changes and varieties in higher institution courses due to technological advancement. He stressed that the incessant unemployment narratives constitute a major reason why students should be directed to choose subjects and careers that would match their ability, adding that wrong career choice can hinder one’s advancement and fulfilment. He said the initiative is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to national development, adding that it enables staff to live up to one of the company’s core values. “We are aware that our success is a product of the society in which we live and do business, that is why we are committed to contributing to development at all levels of society. At the Career Counselling programme, our staff volunteers time and employ skills to provide career counselling and mentorship to those with the most critical need for such guidance. We are aware that students need appropriate direction towards making compatible and fulfilling career choices, because a wrong career move may have some negative long-term effects,” he said. On her part, Senior Project Officer of LEARN, Mrs. Tonne Saheed, who likened the complexity of building a career to that of building a house, the time was ripe for Nigerian students to be aware of career advancement in the global market so as to make informed decisions in their career choice. She commended Etisalat for providing updated information for the students and their contribution to human capital development in the country.

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Winner of the debate event at the 10th Etisalat Career Counseling programme, Glory Umoh of Keke Senior Secondary School, Agege (second, left) being jointly presented with her prize by Head, Learning and Development, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Chike Otubelu (left); Senior Project Officer, Lagos Empowerment and Resource Network (LEARN), Mrs. Tonne Saheed and Director, Education District I, Lagos State, Rev. (Mrs.) Doyin Oyelowo in Lagos… recently

Initiative (ACSI), a non-governmental organization in Abuja, noted that it was the responsibility of all to ensure care and management of the young and elderly in the society, especially those with special needs. At the seminar, which theme was “The Need for Professional Awareness and Capacity Building in the Field of Special Education in Nigerian Universities - A Focus on Autism,” Okojie said autism should be viewed from a new perspective and beyond family because it was a national issue. He called on educators to devise means of making special education affordable and qualitative, adding that the commission would convene a stakeholders meeting to chart a course for the effective management of autism. Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of the ACSI, Dr Julia Ejiogu, said it was imperative for professional awareness and capacity building to be carried out in the field of special education with a focus on autism. Ejiogu said children with autism often faced many  challenges and stigma because of lack of awareness on the brain disorder, adding that the collaboration with NUC to integrate the studies into universities curriculum would help graduates understand the needs of the children for effective learning. In his address, the Director of Academic Standards in the NUC, Prof. Alhassan Bichi, said that awareness on autism and care was yet to be fully absorbed in the country, adding that the NUC planned to develop a curriculum that would dwell on the clinical and social aspects of autism.

Students decry lack of credible role models among political leaders By Ujunwa Atueyi INAL year students of select Fcountry secondary schools in the have decried the increasing dearth of credible role models in the Nigerian society, especially among the political class. The graduating students who voiced their disenchantment during this year’s edition of “We are the Future of Our Nation” (WATFON), also expressed strong disappointment with the grim scenario playing out in the country as reflected by the wanton loss of lives, rising corruption and the near bedlam, which has left the country on tenterhooks. WATFON is a mentoring programme for youths especially school leavers, where role models gather to inspire young ones through their life experiences and positively affecting their mindsets. Specifically, the students who charged the older generation to set good examples for the youths by being good role models, bemoaned the senseless killing of their colleagues at the Federal Government College, Bunin-Yadi, Yobe State by Boko Haram insurgents.   Convener of the programme, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde, said WATFON represents a message of hope and acknowledging the greatness of the present generation and Nigeria as a country. Leading a minute of silence for the recently slain unity school students in Yobe State Ogunde insisted that if there is to be a change in the country, the youths must be ready to make it happen. Ogunde who has been in the forefront of youth empower-

ment in the country, said it was important to preach the message of love and unity among the Nigerians, stressing that despite religion and ethnic differences, Nigeria still remains one. She said, “We want the youths to understand their role in nation building. Our goal is to preach the message of hope despite all the daunting and very depressing challenges facing us as a nation. This generation of youths will make a differ-

ence if given the right mindset and with good role models, they will take Nigeria to where it rightfully belongs.” According to her, WATFON’s goal is to groom a generation of patriotic young people who have been tutored by the nations finest role models and who believe in the Nigeria dream.” Role models such as former Lagos State governorship candidate, Mr. Jimmy Agbaje, former Commissioner for Health, Lagos

state, Dr Leke Pitan, Nollywood actress, Stephanie Okereke, Toyosi Akerele, Mrs. Deola Azeez, Mrs. Layi Balogun and Dr. Tokunbo Dosunmu among others gave success tips to the kids. After sharing his experiences with the students, Agbaje told them: “Young people should aspire to imbibe good qualities. I came from a background where I had so much energy and didn’t know where to channel it so I learnt to pick and learn from every experience. I urge the

youths of today to look for good avenues to channel their energy where they can grow and make an impact.” Pitan attributed part of his success story to the grooming he got from attending Igbobi College, Lagos where they were regularly challenged that the sky was their limit. Okereke on her part noted that at 16, many things are going on in the heads of young people hence the need for constant monitoring and advise.

Envoy tasks institutions on investment in libraries, retraining of librarians By Ujunwa Atueyi HE role of libraries in the T lives of institutions of learning in particular and society’s advancement in general cannot be over-emphasised. In fact, in an institution of higher learning, academic and research libraries remain extremely important resource centres that should be well funded and manned by tested professionals. This realisation perhaps explains why  Information Resource Officer of the United States Consulate, Abuja, Dr. Malore Brown, has called on managers and helmsmen of institutions of higher learning in the country to rethink the value of academic and research libraries in their facilities. This was at the 95th biannual meeting of  the Committee of

University Librarians of Nigerian Universities (CULNU), which took place at the University of Lagos, Lagos.  Among other things, the librarians meeting affords them the opportunity to discuss and reach consensus on how Nigerian universities libraries can be transformed to meet technological advancement and keep pace with their peers across the globe.  At the meeting, which had as its theme “Nigerian University Libraries: The Value of Academic and Research Libraries: A Confluence of Knowledge”, Brown, who was the keynote speaker stressed that massive investment in Nigerian libraries and retraining of librarians remains a responsibility, which every institution must live up to. She maintained that universi-

ty libraries cannot afford to fail to meet the needs of undergraduates, graduates, lecturers, PhD students, faculty deans and even some advanced secondary school students, who needs a resourceful library to get crucial information for their research, presentation, project, thesis and reports. Emphasising that a lot of technological advancement and opportunities exists in the library world, which Nigerians must tap into, she challenged managers of institutions not to wait until it was time for accreditation before they can pay attention to the library. “The hub, the vital organ of the university needs to be well stocked, wired with the latest technology, and have staff trained on the latest innovations. “Nigerian universities libraries

need to do what American colleges and universities libraries did over 50 years ago. Invest in the library continuously. The constant re-investment enabled libraries to keep up with the times and support their constituents as well as the curriculum. A cliché has it that if a mother hears the cry of her baby; she will react to the call positively. Well, I say to all university management and vice chancellors, the university library, your baby is crying. Do you not hear her?” she queried. In her remarks, Chairperson of CULNU, Dr. Elizabeth Ifidon, who said that some libraries in Nigerian institution especially in the private sector were standardised, stressed the need for the positive effect to be widespread “library in our institutions generally needs a lot of improvement.”


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Skye Bank posts N16 billion profit By Bukky Olajide KYE BANK Plc has announced a profit after tax of N16.023 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2013, compared with N12.644 billion posted in the previous year, showing an improvement of 26.7 per cent. Other highlights of the result according to the statement submitted to the Nigeria Stock Exchange include growth in total assets from N1,073 trillion to N1.116 trillion, while its deposit liabilities also increased from N966 billion to N996 billion during the period under review, reflecting a growth of three per cent. Gross Earnings stood at N127.3billion 2012. The bank’s total equity grew during the review period from 106.8 billion in 2012 to N120 billion in 2013, indicating the bank’s financial stability and solidity. The bank’s Loans and receivables also rose to N549.8 billion from N540.3 billion. As a measure of its growing good loan portfolio, the bank’s net interest income shot up to N61.69 billion from N44.5 billion in 2012, an increase of 38 per cent. It earnings per share also rose to 121 kobo per share as against 101 kobo in the previous year. The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, said “In a year beset with various regulatory headwinds on the backdrop of monetary policy tightening with attendant impact on liquidity, cost, fees, and overall earnings, our results showed positive growth on all performance indices. “Having recorded gross earnings of N127.3billion, we grew

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our interest income by four percent Year on Year from N101.0billion to N105.3billion while our interest expense reduced by 23 per cent to close at N43.6billion from N56.5billion. This reflected our focus at replacing relatively expensive term deposits with low-cost funding and the continuous use of our branch network to mobilize less costly deposits. “With this, we increased our net operating income year on year from N56.7billion to N68.5billion, representing a 21 per cent growth. Our operating expense increased year on year by 28 per cent, from N40.2 billion to N51.4 billion as a result of increased statutory payments and other operating costs. We ended the year with a profit before tax and profit after tax of N17.1billion and N16 billion respectively, indicating growth of 3.8 percent and 26.7 percent respectively. “We are confident about the successful implementation of our Tier 1 and Tier 2 Capital Raising Project within the year as planned, which would enable us deepen our penetration in existing markets, while also providing the avenue for exploring uncharted segments and other opportunities. He explained that the information technology transformation project involving deployment of high-grade banking application software, optimal disaster recovery, enhanced Information and Communication Technology (ICT) security backbone, among others, would be concluded in the next few weeks.

LSE lauds Seplat on completion of IPO in Lagos, London By Helen Oji HE Head of Primary T Markets for Africa, London Stock Exchange, Ibukun

What Happened? The NSE All-Share index increased by 35bps (0.35%) and closed at 39,017.66. This represents a year-to-date performance of - 5.59%. Market Capitalisation also appreciated 0.35% to close at N12.353 trillion. Total value traded decreased 11.70% to N4.31 billion and total volume traded decreased 17.81% to 290.97 million units.

Where? At the close of trading, the banking sector represented 60.26% of the total market value traded, while the breweries sector represented 16.70%. The Top 5 stocks as a % of total market value traded were: ZENITHBANK (23.89%), FBNH (17.64%),NB (16.24%), WAPCO (9.63%) and ACCESS (8.20%). On a volume basis, the Top 5 most traded stocks for the day were: FBNH (61.32m), ACCESS (47.77m), ZENITHBANK (46.79m), TRANSCORP (17.40m) and UBA (11.14m).

Adebayo, has commended Seplat Petroleum Plc on the successful completion of its simultaneous IPO in Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and London Stock Exchange (LSE), describing it as a demonstration of how LSE and the NSE can complement each other in financing Nigerian industry and infrastructure. Adebayo, in a statement made available to The Guardian said: “We are delighted to welcome Seplat to London. The successful completion of its simultaneous IPO in London and Lagos is a demonstration of how London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange can complement each other in financing Nigerian industry and infrastructure. “A London listing ensures that Nigerian companies have access to the world’s largest pool of International equity capital and to the world’s marquee investors while a Nigerian listing ensures that all available domestic funds are tapped and Nigerian citizens are provided the opportunity to participate in the wealth that is created by the development of their country’s natural

resources.” He noted that Seplat’s global offer raised $ 500million, giving it a market capitalisation of $ 1.91billion. Conditional trading of its shares, according to him, commenced in London yesterday, while formal admission and unconditional trading is expected on 14 April, this year Seplat is the sixth oil & gas explorer with significant operations in Nigeria on London’s markets. It will be the first Nigeria registered company to list its shares on London’s Main Market. Meanwhile, SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc has announced the pricing of its initial public offering (the “Global Offer”). The offer price has been set N576 per ordinary share for shares to be listed on the Official Trading List of the NSE (the “Offer Price”) and 210 pence per ordinary share for shares to be traded on the LSE’s main market Based on the offer price, the total market capitalisation of the company at the commencement of conditional dealings will be approximately £1.14 billion (equivalent to US$1.90 billion) (excluding the exercise of the over-allotment option).


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FG to stop domestic use of candles, kerosene lamps From Lillian Chukwu, Abuja HE Federal Government will replace the use of domestic candles and kerosene lanterns in most Nigerian homes next year with “clean” solar energy lamps. Minister for Environment, Laurentia Mallam, who disclosed this in Abuja when senior officials of the Total Group paid her a courtesy visit in her office stated that the “archaic” household beams would be replaced in 12 months with “Clean Solar Energy Lamps that are more environmentally and ozone-friendly.” She said that the Solar lamps offer a credible solution to clean and renewable

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energy that were favourable to global requirements for positive actions against climate change. She noted that the candles and lamp phase-out process would not come by way of legislation but through the introduction of “a superior product.” Mallam assured that the new Solar energy lamp technology would be distributed by the Total Group at affordable prices especially to the rural poor. The minister expressed concern on environmental hazards and avoidable deaths from fire outbreaks caused by the use of candles and kerosene lanterns. She explained that the switch would slash the

Vice President of Total Group, Allen Schapeaux said the solar alternative had been introduced to other developing countries including Kenya, Indonesia and Pakistan and that the organisation intends to establish a production plant soon in Nigeria for the entire West African market.5 price of kerosene and possibly eliminate the use of candles in Nigeria, thereby improving the position of the country on the list of ozone-friendly nations in line with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. Vice President of Total Group, Allen Schapeaux said the solar alternative had been introduced to other developing countries including Kenya, Indonesia and Pakistan and that the organisation intends to establish a production plant soon in Nigeria for the entire West African market. The minister said synergy with other ministries including Trade and Investment, Finance, Health and Education would ensure success of the Solar initiative.


74 Thursday, April 10, 2014

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PUBLIC NOTICE

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Sports UEFA Champions League

Ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup

I am proud of my boys, says Klopp

NFF explains choice of Victoria Hotel Concept Campiness as Eagles’ camp From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday defended the choice of Victoria Hotel Concept Campiness, located at the outskirts of Sao Paolo as the Super Eagles’ cam base during 2014 World Cup, saying that it is the best any country in Nigeria’s group could get for its national team. Reacting to criticisms that the hotel is located outside the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo and will take the Super Eagles over one hour to get to any of their three group match stadia, the Federation disclosed that the hotel was picked by the World Cup organizers, FIFA and approved by Coach Stephen Keshi. NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu, disclosed that the Super Eagles are not the only team to be camped at the hotel, adding that the Nigerian team would be moving from the camp to honour all their group matches in Cuiaba, Curitiba and Porto Alegre. “The arrangement is that in any day the team will have a

T

ORUSSIA Dortmund boss, B Jurgen Klopp, says their near-comeback against Real

• $10, 000 bonus is big incentive match, they will move a day before the match day, play the match and then return to their base. It is the same with all other countries participating in the World Cup. “Brazil is a huge country and some of the travels you have to do them for more that two or three hours. But of course there is enough time for the team to move and there are chartered flights and FIFA has arranged everything with the airlines there. “The hotel has already been booked and everything is ready. The Victoria Hotel Campiness was approved by the Super Eagles head coach himself. He has seen everything and he likes what he has seen. “We have discussed everything with the Nigerian Consular General in Brazil. So in terms of accommodation for the Super Eagles in Brazil, we must assure that everything is absolutely perfect. Remember that this is FIFA arranged and it is for all the participating teams,” Amadu noted.

Fenerbahce’s striker, Emmanuel Emenike (centre) vies for the ball with Galatasaray’s Semih Kaya (right) and Yekta Kurtulus during their Turkish Super Lig match… at the weekend. Emenike is one of the players PHOTO: AFP. Nigeria is banking on for success at the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

NAFDAC takes anti-fake drugs’ campaign to Eagles, athletes’ camps From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja

Elegbeleye declares open FIFA elite course ATIONAL sports N Commission’s Director General,

(NSC) Gbenga Elegbeleye, yesterday in Abuja declared open this year’s FIFA Member Associations Elite Course for referees, technical instructors, referee assessors and physical fitness instructors. At a ceremony inside the Media Centre of the National Stadium Complex, Elegbeleye charged the participants to be studious in order to grow quickly in the profession, expressing excitement at their youthfulness. “I am happy seeing most of you being so young. It means that the future is indeed very bright for Nigerian refereeing. You must be diligent and study hard, remain fit, alert and committed to the profession.” NFF President, Aminu Maigari, who was represented by Federation’s Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee, Emeka Inyama, praised world football-governing body, FIFA for making Nigeria one of very few countries to benefit from the elite

course twice a year. “FIFA’s support and encouragement for this course, has been underscored each year with the sending of some of its best hands in refereeing instruction business to come to Nigeria and impart uncommon knowledge to our referees, referee assessors and technical instructors.” There are seven technical instructors, 37 referee assessors, 30 elite referees and 14 physical fitness instructors attending the five-day course. Speaking at the event, renowned former FIFA referee, Lim Kee Chong from Mauritius, encouraged Nigeria referees to believe in themselves and aim higher always. Also present at the ceremony were NFF Executive Committee member, Alhaji Muazu Suleyman (also chairman of the NFF Referees Committee), NSC Director of Facilities, Ibrahim Shehu, NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu, NSC Legal Adviser, S. B. Adewale and FIFA Referee Advisor, Linus Mba and other course instructors.

In a move to ensure that Nigerian players and athletes are not hampered by fake drugs at the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Scotland Commonwealth Games, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) says it will take its antifake drug war to both teams’ camps. The Director General of the agency, Dr. Paul Orhii, said in Abuja on Tuesday that plans were being made to sensitize Super Eagles’ players and other athletes on national assignment on the need to be drug-free before and during international sports championships. Speaking during a seminar organized by Abuja journalists, the NAFDAC boss disclosed that the agency would partner with its sister agency, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to ensure that the planned campaign received the desired result. He regretted that athletes, who use banned drugs, get undue advantage over their competitors, ‘hence the use of banned drugs by sports men

and women should be discouraged.’ Orhii, who was represented by the Director Special Duties at the agency, Abubakar Jimoh, also stressed that NAFDAC intends to use the Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, who is a role model to a lot of youths across the country, in promoting its fight against drug counterfeiting. “We know sports, especially football in Nigeria, is a unifying factor… that is, when the Super Eagles are playing,

Nigerians forget all their differences and come together as one. “This is very unique, because no other sector can boast this great tool, hence NAFDAC has concluded plans to delve into sports as a tool to sensitize the people about the dangers of drug counterfeiting. “But in summary, people need to be aware that fake drugs respect nobody and it affects everyone in one way or the other, hence the need to fight this menace together,”

Madrid can be a template for other teams chasing big deficits. Real won the Champions League quarter-final first leg 30 in Madrid but Marco Reus scored twice as Dortmund won the second leg 2-0. “You could make a video of this game and show it to the teams that lose a first leg 3-0,” said Klopp. This year’s tie was almost a role reversal of last year’s semifinal when Borussia Dortmund won the first leg 41 and Real won 2-0 in the second game Dortmund reached last year’s final, beating Real in the last four. Klopp felt that Real Madrid midfielder, Xabi Alonso, was fortunate not to have been sent off for a second booking when he tripped Henrikh Mkhitaryan early in the second half. “I think the game had one crucial moment when Alonso committed a tactical foul that should have warranted a yellow card,” he said. “And if you are already on one, you should get sent off. That was after 52 minutes. And with the power we showed, it would have become very difficult for Real Madrid. “We put Real under so much pressure that they needed to resort to means they usually don’t need to.” Klopp, whose side are 20 points behind German and European champions Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga table, did not blame Mkhitaryan for squandering several chances, including hitting the post after rounding keeper Iker Casillas.

We fear no foe in semifinals, says Mourinho OSE Mourinho has no particJclub ular desire to take on former Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals, when he believes Chelsea’s “special spirit” can again prove the difference. After falling to a 3-1 defeat at Paris Saint Germain last week, it looked a big ask for the west Londoners to progress from their quarter-final second leg on Tuesday. However, substitute Andre Schurrle gave the hosts hope before fellow replacement and boyhood PSG fan - Demba Ba netted at the death to

secure a 2-0 win on the night, putting them through on away goals. The semi-final line-up will be decided this evening with the matches in Munich and Madrid - a city guaranteed at least one representative after Real Madrid saw off Borussia Dortmund.

A clash between Chelsea and Los Blancos would be a fascinating match for the neutrals after Mourinho left the Santiago Bernabeu to return to Stamford Bridge in the summer. However, asked if he wanted to face his former club, the Portuguese said after a pause:

Today’s Europa’s League fixtures Benfica v AZ Alkmaar 20:05 Juventus v Lyon 20:05 Sevilla v FC Porto 20:05 Valencia CF v Basel 20:05


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Arsenal crisis: Magic hat fades as Wenger flounders By Neilleverett after Arsenal lost to SonHORTLY Aston Villa at the Emirates the opening day of this campaign, thanks to some dubious refereeing – not for the last time – from Anthony Taylor, this very writer filed a piece about the Arsenal boss’s shortcomings as a evolutionary and revolutionary manager in 2013 and questioned the Arsenal chief’s ability to take Arsenal any further forward. Shortly after, Arsene Wenger pulled a rabbit out of his famous magic red hat and out popped Mesut Ozil for a princely sum of £42.4m. Fans rejoiced and the German’s arrival reinvigorated the team; Aaron Ramsey reached new heights; Olivier Giroud was enjoying a prolific goal-scoring record and Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were forming one of the best defensive partnerships in the top flight. Since the Villa defeat, it almost seemed to have a reverse effect on the Gunners. Arsene Wenger’s men won the next six games and went undefeated until they lost at Old Trafford to a Robin van Persie header. After beating Sunderland 1-3 at the Stadium of Light, the Gunners moved to the top of the table on goal difference and despite the defeat at Manchester United, stayed there until two days before Christmas, after drawing with Chelsea in a lifeless 00 stalemate. Ozil’s effect on the team was nothing short of inspirational even if the former Real Madrid and Bremen man’s individual performances were not. Few could refute that Ozil was a panic buy – albeit a top drawer one – and with Ramsey and then Theo Walcott’s freak injury, the Gunners lost not only their goal-scoring threat, but their pace as a whole. Which Olivier Giroud felt more than anyone. I had accused Wenger of not evolving as a manager. However, the Frenchman had an increasing penchant for classic 1-0 wins and clean sheets. Frequently Kieran Gibbs would start a game and with 15-20 minutes to go would bring on Nacho Monreal ahead of Gibbs to reinforce the left hand channel to protect Mertesacker and Koscielny. It was a tactic that rarely let the Arsenal boss down. Arsenal fans are used to the annual ‘let’s have a good crack at everything but ultimately lose out and finish fourth’. This

term though, it seemed as though the North Londoners had stamina and could go the distance. There seemed to be more heart, more courage and determination. Ultimately though this has not been the case and here’s why. For years now Wenger has been talking of looking for the exceptional talent that will improve the squad. Herein lies the first problem. He may not be deliberately deceptive, but if for example Lionel Messi, Diego Costa and Xabi Alonso were made available for an affordable sum, would Wenger bite? The answer is unequivocally, well maybe not. Why? Because the Frenchman would never and has never bought a player that will hold another member of the squad back. It’s happened with Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny whilst the two players have come on leaps and bounds – Koscielny in particular is now arguably one of the best centre backs in Europe – those are just two examples that worked out. Abou Diaby remains Wenger’s pet project despite having limbs of glass. The Arsenal boss refuses to give up on the man that should have replaced Patrick Vieira in the Arsenal engine room. This is one big factor that has kept the Gunners back. Returning to the point, if we look a Chelsea and Manchester City’s squad, and to some extent Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool, there is depth. There is consideration to squad size, but largely the consideration turns to the factors and effects of a long season. If Arsene Wenger had Sergio Aguero to manage, it is likely he’d look no further than the Argentine. Pellegrini, however, has instead gone out and purchased Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo to boost their ranks. All four individuals have chipped in when others have dipped in and out of form and/or injury. One of Wenger’s biggest flaws is his inability to see the reality of a long, hard-fought season and the inevitable list of injuries, but still refuse to bring in players who will hold others back. Arsenal went in search of another front man, but because of Wenger’s unrelenting tactic of playing 4-2-3-1 there is only one slot for one striker. This brings us on to the whole

discussion of no plan ‘B’. Well to be brutally frank, there isn’t even much concrete evidence of a plan ‘A’. This term the Gunners have conceded 20 goals on the road to the other four sides in the top five. It doesn’t take a maths wiz to figure out that is five goals per game on average, but there is more damning evidence against Wenger underneath it all. They say the definition of insanity is doing things over and over again exactly and expecting different results. Unfortunately, that rings all too familiar with the Frenchman’s ethos in the big games this season. Okay the 63 defeat at the Etihad was explainable; City were in the middle of regularly putting four of five past their visiting opponents. But the game at Anfield was something else entirely. Indeed, the madness was being suffered by the fans; sheer crazed frustration and bewilderment. Even after conceding the first goal versus Liverpool, one could see things weren’t right. What exactly the Arsenal boss had told his troops will remain a mystery, but from the off the Gunners lacked discipline and any sort of plan. But then again Arsenal fans aren’t alien to that issue. Wenger is a manager with little discipline. During the game or after it. The calamitous error that saw a green Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny collide and gift a winning goal to Birmingham at Wembley a few years back was just one of a catalogue of incidents that have littered Wengers career post-2005. Indiscipline seeps into Arsenal’s game plan frequently. But why? Do the players not listen to their manager? Did Alex Song not stop playing as an attacking midfielder when he should have clearly been playing his given role of a holding midfielder? Or did Wenger simply not tell him to stay back? In the Premier League, particularly this term, we have to be pragmatic. Any team can beat anyone on the day, and any result is possible. However, for Arsenal then to roll up to Stamford Bridge after having been given a title lifeline having, as Wenger would say ‘turned the corner’ and then play with EXACTLY the same lack of discipline, game plan, fight and spirit is criminal. The away maulings Arsenal have taken have been massive psychologically and for a team

Scolari (middle) points the way to World Cup success to Neymar (left) and Paulinho. PHOTO: AFP.

These are not easy times for Wenger. Arsene Wenger says has character and mental strength, it is a statement pretty hard for Arsenal fans to swallow. Especially in the light of another emphatic defeat to Everton at Goodison, which has thrown the Gunners participation in next season’s Champions League into huge doubt. Just this past month, Arsene Wenger has reached 1,000 Premier League games, which is a feat unlikely to be repeated again in the modern Premier League age in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. The documentary ‘Arsene Who?’ made for enlightening viewing. Arsene Wenger turned up a nobody and is now a household name. But

his presence was far more enigmatic previously. Here was a strange looking guy; a disciplinarian teacherlike figure, with strange round-rimmed glasses; but tall and imposing. The Arsene Wenger now is the polar opposite; frail, gaunt, endemically a frustrated figure. It is a very sad picture currently and he must realize that he is driving Arsenal into the ground with his dated tactics and philosophy of which many a manager has mimicked, evolved and ultimately eclipsed. Arsene Wenger was a legend and has turned Arsenal Football Club into a world wide brand of attractive football and integrity. But (and in all due respect) every dog has

his day and a manager’s lifespan at a club is indefinite. Arsenal play Wigan in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday, the Gunners with their biggest chance of ending a nine-year trophy drought. With a team lacking discipline and heart but with a returning Aaron Ramsey hoping to fire, can the Welsh Wizard propel Wenger to glory once more. If he does, it may well be time for Arsenal’s greatest manager to depart on good terms. If not, the Frenchman’s reputation may be tarnished. Forever. For Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, that would be a tragedy. • Culled from soccerlens.com

Scolari bans his players from ‘acrobatic sex’ at World Cup VERY World Cup, it becomes E the talking point amongst players and media members. No, not starting lineups or formations, weather or field conditions. Sex. Yes, the idea of players bringing their girlfriends or wives along to the world’s biggest tournament has been ‘hotly’ debated for decades. Could they be a distraction to the players, perhaps even “tire” them out ahead of the games? Or would a little “stress relief” actually be beneficial? You know, clear the mind among other things. These are excellent questions that every national team manager has had to address. As the host nation, Brazil is facing the most pressure to perform this summer, so sex was

naturally one of the topics manager Luiz Felipe Scolari had to answer recently. And he gave a fantastic answer: “The players can have normal sex during the World Cup. Usually normal sex is done in balanced way, but there are certain forms, certain ways and others who do acrobatics. And that, no,” Scolari replied at a press conference in Lisbon on Monday. “We will put limits and survey the players.” So close the Kama Sutra, Thiago Silva. No diving in the bedroom, Neymar. Rules are rules. The mere presence of wives and girlfriends at major tournaments is a perennial talking point. England fans will still remember the reaction to

their WAGs’ presence in BadenBaden during the 2006 World Cup, which was labelled by the British press at the time as a “circus.” On the field, Brazil are ready for the World Cup. While organizers race against the clock to get the country ready to host the tournament, the national team is counting the days until the June 12 opener against Croatia. “We have the confidence to say that we can win this World Cup,” said. “We have some of the best players in the world, and when we can be tactically balanced, no one is better than us.” Brazil doesn’t have a team filled with stars this time, but the experienced Scolari has put together a squad that mixes talent and competitiveness.


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Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Mark Columbus Orgu RULY, the youths of yesterday are the leaders T of today and they have failed us in all areas of human endeavours such as provision of basic infrastructural development, manpower training, and unemployment, denied and robbed of quality education, social amenities, security, true leadership, true religion, parenting and good governance. The youths of yesterday who are now leaders in various capacities of our lives enjoyed good moral parenting and government entitlement such as bursary, scholarship, free meals, excursion to foreign lands, access to quality education and standard of living and, of course, security was a priority. Our culture and values were being preserved and respected unlike now that foreign culture has devalued same making the youth of today to forget their fatherland culture. In those days, it wasn’t like that. In fact, our culture was a real investment and tourist attraction by our foreign brothers and sisters. Education that is supposed to nurture and change our thinking on moral values and respect for our culture is making it worse day by day because of the weak structure and government insensitivity in putting the right structure in place for the right people at the right time to manage. The late Prof. Chinua Achebe in his book ‘’There was a country’’ a personal history of Biafra tells us how his geography teacher on a hot and humid day came to teach them a lesson on the geography of Great Britain instead of their local geography or even Nigeria. And then, the ‘Village Madman’ came by, and after standing and listening to the teacher’s lesson for a short while, walked up to him, snatched the chalk from the teacher’s hand, wiped the chalkboard, and then proceeded to give us an extended lesson on Ogidi, Achebe hometown. The late Prof Achebe narrated that amazingly, the teacher let all this take place without interference. Looking back, it is instructive, in my estimation, that a so-called madman whose clarity of perspectives, first identified the congruity of our situation, that the pupil would benefit not only from the colonial education but also by instruction about their own history and culture. My brothers, in Nigeria, that is where we are today. Our education that is supposed to be a ‘’redemption camp’’ is now a refinery of foreign bad culture. Our education that is suppose to refine and position us towards solving the challenges of mankind, is now in shackle and even worse, that mankind now uses his acquired knowledge to intimidate his fellow mankind. In the past, education was seen as a ‘’true repository of man’s fall and shortcoming’’. Today, human capacity building through education training initiative is at minimum leaving Nigerians who are from well to do homes to go abroad to acquire quality education and make the host nations economy benefit to the detriment of ours. In the end it also results in brain drain. It was reported years back that 71,000 Nigerians who are studying in Ghana alone paid N155 billion yearly to their host country. The Network of Migration Research on Africa (NORMRA), a research body, worsens the situation. In their report more than 10,090 Nigerians were granted visa to United Kingdom (UK) in 2009 and they paid the total sum of N42 billion. We can imagine what the figure and the number would be for now. In the past, according to reports, Nigerian universities were known for academic excellence and research induction, well structured and planned curriculum. The aim was transformation of mankind and immense contribution to the society. Our professors then were known for meritorious end; they had pedigree, proven knowledge and values. Foreigners then dreaded our students because they know that they were grounded with first class information. In fact, Nigeria was a home of acquiring knowledge and research. Today, what is the situation? What happened? Whom should we ask? Should we ask our leaders who were the youths of yesterday and were beneficiaries of this noble gesture. Well, for me it is a mystery. Meanwhile, on the return of those Nigerians who go abroad in search of quality education, high values are placed on their ‘’certificates

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Abortion of youths’ dreams by our leaders

and they stand at a more advantageous position than us whose certificates are tagged local certificates.’’ In the past, the employers of labour who themselves must have had their education in the country now discriminate. They are quick to employ those brandishing foreign certificates and not necessarily ability, or strong will and demonstration of competence but simply because the certificates are foreign sourced. Certificate has become a basis and criteria to adjudge individuals whereas in the past the reverse was the case. This alone has created a dichotomy that is very difficult to redeem by Nigerians, not even the youths who manage to graduate from our institutions. This worrisome situation can be redeemed by employers of labour and practical government policies. Yes, of course, the government may distance itself from this because their children and beneficiaries are involved in education tourism and knowledge induction. It

may look like a trite notion if I say that even some with the so-called ‘Foreign Certificates’ cannot compete practically with those who obtained theirs at home. This maybe debatable if only we acknowledge the fact that in the midst of many failures, you will also have at least one success. In the past, before you graduated from any higher institution of learning, jobs were already waiting, at least to cater for yourself and show little kindness to you parents and those who must have assisted you in one way or the other while in school. Many were recruited while still in school. Today the story is different such that it is still the parents who see to the upkeep of their wards. Sometimes this goes on for six years post-graduation. What an irony! This is food for thought. Some are left to drift to an option of social vices such as arm robbery, prostitution, thuggery, militancy, terrorism, drug abuse and trafficking. Even some of those who manage to sneak out the country get

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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Editor: MARTINS

OLOJA

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ABC (ISSN NO 0189-5125)

When will this generation have it right? When will they take their destiny in their hands? Would they want to depend on illusory empty promises of our politicians or take the bull by the horns? Our youths must bend the rod when it is red hot. The destiny of our future is in the hands of our youths of today. What that future holds in stock is not shielded away from us

entangled in the same vices because of frustration. These were not the dream of our heroes past; they fought our fight and shed their blood in ensuring that we have a better day ahead. When will this generation have it right? When will they take their destiny in their hands? Would they want to depend on illusory empty promises of our politicians or take the bull by the horns? Our youths must bend the rod when it is red hot. The destiny of our future is in the hands of our youths of today. What that future holds in stock is not shielded away from us. The most essential thing is the readiness of this generation to decide to take that which is their fundamental right such as the right to good living, freedom, quality education, security, infrastructural development, social justice, access to information on the activities of our elected and appointed leaders in various capacities. Our value system must be retraced and restructured to suit our belief. Our leaders should also remember that they were once like us –youths. Better foundation and structure was laid for them and other leaders of this nation. Therefore, steps should be taken to rekindle the fallen spirit. Lets us begin to see ourselves as brothers and sisters in all ramification. Finally, if the youths of yesterday who are now leaders in various capacities could fail this generation, what is the guarantee that the youths of today on becoming leaders tomorrow would not fail their generation? That is the million dollar question waiting for an answer. • Orgu is a final-year student, Business Education, School of Technical Education, Yabatech, Yaba, Lagos.

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