TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Vol. 30, No. 12,878
Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Ayo Gbeleyi (left); the governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN); his deputy, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; Commissioner for Housing, Bosun Jeje; winner of the Shitta Scheme, Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS), Mrs. Yetunde Oluwaseun and her son, Joseph Camille, during the presentation of keys to the first draw winners of the scheme in Ikeja… yesterday.
Court asks 37 defecting PDP lawmakers to resign From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja N a landmark verdict, the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, yesterday declared that the 37 members of the House of Representatives who defected from People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Congress (APC) had no basis to retain their seats having dumped the party which sponsored them. The court also barred the House of Representatives from changing its principal officers as it held that the de-
• Voids planned House leadership change fecting lawmakers were not competent to vote to remove the leadership of the House or even sponsor a motion to that end. PDP had sued the House of Representatives and listed as 2nd to 10th defendants all its principal officers of the lower chamber of the National Assembly, including the Speaker (Aminu Tambuwal), Deputy Speaker (Emeka Ihedioha), Mulikat Akande-Adeo-
la (The Majority Leader), Leo Ogor (Deputy Majority Leader), Isiaka Bawa (Chief Whip), Ahmed Mutkar (Deputy Chief Whip), Gbajabiamila (Minority Leader), Samson Osagie (Minority Whip) and Sumaila Kawu (Deputy Minority Leader). The defecting lawmakers were listed as 12th to 53rd defendants. Tambuwal had aligned with the APC and its new lawmak-
ers to pray the court to dismiss the action for being unmeritorious and non-justiceable. Delivering his verdict, the presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, declared the suit as justiceable and therefore within the jurisdiction of the court to entertain as he held that the court had power to intervene where there is a likelihood of a breach of any person’s funda-
mental rights. The judge held that the lawmakers no longer had any business, morally and legally, in the National Assembly. He said they should honourably resign from their seats as members of the House of Representatives, having moved to another political party while their tenure was yet to expire. “Having perused the arguments of the counsel and the constitutional provisions, it is clear and unambiguous that CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
INEC may create new constituencies as Jega inaugurates panel - Page 5
NSCDC absolves DPR workers of oil theft -Page 4 Pensioners fault non-inclusion in confab - Page 8 Court convicts ex-premier of Israel, Olmert over bribery - Page 11
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2 Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Why Ajaokuta Steel crisis persists, by Jonathan From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja
• President travels to Belgium today for summit
RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan yesterday said that the moribund Ajaokuta
sues involved in the earlier privatisation exercise of the company. Meanwhile, President Jonathan would leave for Brussels, the Belgian capital, today as the head of Nigeria’s delegation to the Fourth European Union-Africa Summit scheduled to open in the Belgian capital tomorrow. The summit has “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace” as its theme. Jonathan, however, pledged that all the hurdles towards the revival of the company resolved. be would President Jonathan, while addressing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stakehold-
Steel Company (ASC) in Kogi State has remained in its sorry state because of the legal is-
ers from the North-Central Zone, which paid him a solidarity visit at the Presidential Villa, also re-assured them that his administration was taking concrete steps towards addressing the ongoing insecurity occasioned by the suspected Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the states within the zone. Jonathan’s assurance on Ajaokuta followed request by the leader of the delegation and former National Chairman of the party, Senator Ahmadu Ali, who also canvassed the establishment of the Solid Minerals Development Commission, akin to the defunct Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in the South-South. The forum, attended by Senate President David Mark, the governors from the zone and their deputies, ministers and legislators, afforded the President to explain some of the policy directions of his administration and thanked the people from the zone for their support for his government.
For instance, the President admitted that but for the stabilising role played by the governors from the NorthCentral Zone, the crisis which rocked the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) would have claimed his position. Reacting to the request for the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company, the President said: “Of course on Ajaokuta Steel, the key thing is that we had some challenges with the privatisation process. The people that got it then have some issues and because of these litigations, the project was held down. And all along, we have been trying to meander one way or the other, but the project cannot take off very effectively because we want the private sector to come in robustly if we must get out from where we are, but they will find it difficult except the legal issues are sorted out.” Jonathan, who underscored the importance of the company, said it was a project that was dear to anybody
who wants to move this country forward. The North-Central is of course known for solid minerals, especially places like Jos, so, the zone is one that provides food for the whole country, provide power for the whole country and other good things. Speaking on behalf of the governors from the zone, Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State said: “We are also aware that being governors who have held several meetings with you on the efforts you are making to address these security issues that have befalling our great country and Mr. President as your children, we will not stop crying to you and asking that you play particular attention on the issues that affect the North-Central. “The reason for these requests is because if the NorthCentral is disorganised, Mr. President, you are disorganised because that is where you have your stability and so, do whatever it will take you to address the security challenges that we have in the North Central. You have just directed the military to move in, they have started moving in between
Nasarawa and Benue states. As of last night, there were lots of security movement between Benue and Nasarawa states and we hope that the same thing will be applicable in Plateau State because the state has had a longer history of this crisis than any one of us. Suswam added: “Mr. President, what has worried us as governors who are also leaders, is that despite the magnitude of destruction, no person has been arrested and these destroyers move in large numbers. We are worried that without appropriate sanctions, they will continue with impunity because once people are not sanctioned, they will continue in their evil acts.” President Jonathan whose entourage will include the Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd); the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, will hold bilateral talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and some other participating heads of state and government before returning to
Court voids planned House leadership change CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 the defendants were sponsored by the PDP and won the election on its platform. It is also the court’s opinion that their tenure has not expired and there is no division in the PDP. “The defendants are, therefore, not competent to vote or contribute to any proceedings in the House of Representatives. An order of perpetual injunction is, hereby, ordered, restraining them from altering or attempting to change the leadership of the House of Representatives,” Ademola said. PDP’s counsel, Mr. Yunus Usman Ustaz (SAN), had while arguing the originating summons, faulted the cross-carpeting of the lawmakers, saying that the legislators did so during the pendency of a judgment. Ustaz submitted that Justice Evoh Chukwu’s ruling of October last year had resolved that there was no division in PDP. He further submitted that by virtue of the provision of Section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, the lawmakers ought to have vacated their seats forthwith. But the lawmakers’ counsel, Mr. Mahmoud Magaji (SAN), had argued that it was wrong for the PDP to have sought to restrain its former members from activities of the House for defecting. Other defence counsel, Mr. Niyi Akintola (SAN), Mr. Sebastian Hon (SAN), Mr. James Ocholi (SAN), Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) and Jibril Okutepa (SAN), aligned with Magaji. No fewer than 37 members of the House of Representatives belonging to a faction of the ruling PDP, then referred to as new PDP, had on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 defected to All Progressives Congress (APC).
Senate President David Mark The announcement of their defection by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, was welcomed with a loud ovation by APC members. In the letter read before the House by Tambuwal, the defectors had alleged that they decamped because of the sharp division in the ruling PDP. In the letter read by the Speaker to the House, the 37 lawmakers elected under the platform of PDP said they decided to join APC as a result of the problems in the party and “we have merged with APC according to Section 68 of our 1999 Constitution.” Though a PDP member from Rivers State, Kingsley Chinda, had raised a point of order citing Order 9 Rule 52 of the House which borders on the fact that there was a judicial matter still pending in court over defection of PDP members to APC, he was roundly booed by APC members who shouted him down. The Speaker had gone ahead to announce the names of all those who defected to the delight of APC members. Each defecting member re-
House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal ceived a loud ovation from APC members. This development had threatened to push the ruling PDP into a minority status in a House of 360 members. What would have been the Senate version of the defection was thwarted by the Senate President, David Mark, who insisted that the letter presented by 11 senators defecting from the PDP to APC would not be read on the Senate floor pending a court ruling. The 11 senators had on January 30 protested failure of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, to read the letter they sent announcing their defection from PDP to APC. Ekweremadu, who presided over that session, said that the letter was still with the Senate President who had travelled out of Abuja. The Senate President followed Bukola Saraki’s Point of Order citing Order 15 of the Senate Rules in which he urged Mark to read their letter of defection on the floor of the Senate. Saraki had informed the Senate that he, alongside 10 oth-
ers, had declared their intention to defect from PDP to APC having gone ahead to register their membership with the opposition party. But in his response, Mark had told them that the privilege of the 11 senators was not breached in any way since they were the ones that instituted legal action against the principal officers of the Senate. According to Mark, the matter at stake could not be discussed at the floor of the Senate while it was still pending in court. “Well, that cannot be your privilege because the matter as you are very conscious of and aware of is in court. Therefore, we cannot make reference to a matter that is in court. You were the ones who went to court. You have come by way of a Point of Order but because the matter is in court, I shall have no further discussion on it because our order is very clear. No reference shall be made on a matter that is already in court. Therefore, I rule you out of order,” the Senate President had ruled.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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Confab adopts 70 per cent majority votes From: Terhemba Daka and Karls Tsokar, Abuja FTER almost a week of indecision, uncertainties, bickering and expectations, the delegates at the ongoing National Conference have adopted 70 per cent as the voting benchmark for decisions not agreed on by consensus. In the same vein, the conference yesterday commenced debate on the speech by President Goodluck Jonathan at inauguration with 30 delegates given the opportunity to contribute to the debate in alphabetical order. Before moving the motion for the adoption yesterday at the National Judicial Institute Abuja, the Conference Vice Chairman Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi on the mandate of the Chairman Justice Idris Kutigi said, the 50 delegates selected last week to go behind closed doors have come out with the decision in order for the impasse to be resolved. “The conference had deferred decision on the issue to further notice due to the lack of consensus by delegates on some orders”, he said. There was a call for observation from some delegates but for what the presiding Akinyemi alluded to as “the mood of the house”, Dr. Iorchia Ayu, North Central delegate was called on to move the motion for the decision to be adopted, Ayu made a move to explain that the decision of the 50 ‘wise men’ and their report be discussed on the floor of the house, but he was called upon to move the motion. Ayu reluctantly did and was seconded by Obong Victor Attah for the decision to be adopted.
• Delegates begin debate on Jonathan’s
One other decision taken by the 50 wise men was a reversal of the initial amendment to Order 12, which states that presiding officers of the different committees to be formed be appointed by the conference secretariat as earlier recommended. Nnamdi Eriobuna in moving the motion for adoption said “they wish to rescind on the amendment on Order 12, earlier made that members of committee appoint their own chairmen and vice chairmen, but instead, the conference leadership should appoint the various presiding officers of the various committees”. The Secretariat seem to have names of those to move motions and seconders as well, Akinyemi then called Jaye Gaskiya, of United Action for Democracy (UAD) a civil society organisation, to second the motion. The Vice Chairman then explained that the reason for the return to the initial provision to allow the secretariat to select the presiding officers of Committees is to avert problems in the future, where there would be cries of marginalisation.
“When we see a problem brewing, we owe it as a duty to correct them before they get out of hand. We did this, so that we would not have a situation where a particular section of the country would produce two or more chairmen of committees, while another may not have at all. “The committees would be sitting at different locations at the same time, so it is important that the secretariat handles the appointment of the officers to avoid a duplication that might alienate other representatives”, he explained. This was unanimously accepted by voice vote. Justice Kutigi in agreement with delegates resolved that in discussing President Jonathan’s speech at the inauguration of the conference on the March 17, 2014, members would be given three minutes each to voice their opinion on the content in alphabetical order. Opening contributions, Garba Abare, a delegate from Yobe State was of the opinion that Nigeria was more united in 2005 than it is today. As the country is bedevilled with high incidence of insecurity,
high unemployment, poverty, paucity of national core values in the “face of huge earnings of revenue. This calls to question the role of the state.” He urged the conference to look at the issue of governance dispassionately with a view to addressing the myriad of challenges. The 13th delegate that was called to air his views on the president’s speech, Ayo Adebanjo, an elder statesman argued that the problem of disunity of Nigeria was not concealed “but no one is courageous enough to face it.” Dr. Mariam Abdulahi, representing the civil society organisation, attributed the country’s predicament to the activities of the elite who, according to her, led Nigeria to where it is today, just as she called on the conference delegates to address them. Most of the other speakers described the President’s speech as inspirational, patriotic and a pointer to the issues that should occupy discussions and decisions at the conference; and what to expect in the next 100 years of Nigeria’s existence. John Achimugu said the conference must not shy
NSCDC absolves DPR workers of oil theft
By Roseline Okere HE Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) yesterday debunked media reports that some workers of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) were arrested for crude oil theft and adulteration of petroleum products. The Commandant General of the Civil Defence Corps, Ade Abolurin, in a statement yesterday, described the various
media reports as misleading, stating that the two agencies have good working relationships. He reiterated that the Corps in conjunction with personnel of the DPR carried out a joint operation, which led to the arrest of seven suspects and the apprehension of five trucks containing cooking gas. According to him, the suspects were identified by personnel of DPR as operating ille-
gally without a licence backing up their business. He stated: “According to the DPR representative during arrest, the source of the cooking gas dealing by the suspects is questionable and perceived to be hazardous to the final off takers. “It is pertinent to note that, the Corps and DPR have embarked on several joint operations in ridding the society of those involved in illegal
away from the issue of religion; describing it as an emotive one, but which in many ways has been a great source of perennial problems in the country. He said delegates must be free to discuss religion frankly because Nigeria has reached a point where “our society is now zoned according to faith.” Achimugu said the refusal of conferences to discuss the issue in the past has only heightened the differences instead of solving the problems; “I urge us under God to discuss this matter for the sake of ourselves and for the sake of our children.” Senator Abdullahi Adamu described the President’s speech as his “best speech ever,” and that it set the tone for the conference. He said the conference must critically examine and address the issue of corruption; and come up with imaginative and effective approach towards fighting corruption. Others who spoke during the session include: Mike Ahamba (SAN), Clifford Abu, Oba Aderemi Adedapo, Senator Musa Adede, Chief Gbadegeshe Adedeji, Adekanmbi Ayodele, Fola
deal in petroleum products, therefore no personnel of DPR was arrested, detained and paraded by the Corps as earlier reported”. It would be recalled that there were media reports last week that men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, arrested 18 persons for allegedly vandalising pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation in Gwagwalada Area Council. According to the report, Abolurin, while parading the suspects in Abuja, said the arrest were at different locations at some villages through combined efforts of the FCT command of the Civil Defense Corps personnel and men of the State Security Services (SSS) as well as staff of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) following intelligence reports. He showed journalists some petrol tankers belonging to MRS Oil and Gas, SIMEC Gas, Sinco Gas, Omoh Oil and Gas, which he said, were also impounded. Abolurin, however, stated that such action by the vandals was a sabotage and conspiracy responsible for the bad image given to the present administration as a non-performing government. He said the Corps was determined to protect the nation’s infrastructures and prosecute those found vandalising any public properties or sabotaging government efforts.
Adeola, Samuel Adetuyi, Promise Adewusi, Prof Bisi Aina, Dr Segun Aina, and Chief Samson Agbaru among others. Yesterday’s proceedings had earlier commenced with an announcement by Justice Kutigi of the death of Mr. Hamma Misau, a delegate on the platform of Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON), who passed on last week. Immediately after the announcement, the chairman requested observance of one-minute silence in honour of the deceased who was an indigene of Bauchi State. It was unanimously agreed and carried out. On the conference work plan, a lot of suggestions were made. For instance, the issue of public holidays came into focus as delegates observed that sitting were scheduled on days nationally observed as work-free days and also asked for extension of time for committee sittings. Delegates also raised the issue of work load for each of the committees and suggested restructuring of some of the committees so that the constraints of meeting the deadlines could be removed. Conference Secretary, Dr Valerie-Janette Azinge explained that most of the issues raised had already been taken care of. Meanwhile, the conference adjourned at 6 p.m. to resume sitting tomorrow (Tuesday).
Military deploys troops to check armed gangs in Benue, others From Madu Onuorah, Abuja HE Nigerian military has commenced a major operation to put an end to the activities of all armed men and criminal gangs who have been engaging in wanton killings and destruction of lives and property in three north-central states of Nigeria. The operation is being jointly conducted by the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Police, Department of State Security Services and other security agencies. Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that “troops have already been deployed for a major offensive, which is covering Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states.” Olukolade added that “the internal security operation is meant to capture and neutralise all the enclaves of criminal gangs. The Nigerian Air Force, Police and other security agencies are also participating in the operation designed to restore peace in the affected states.”
5 | Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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News Edo majority leader faces trial over alleged tax fraud
INEC may create new constituencies as Jega inaugurates panel
N Edo State High Court sitA ting in Benin City has fixed 14th of April, 2014 for the
From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja
arraignment of the Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, Philip Shaibu, for allegedly forging tax clearance certificate. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had dragged Shaibu to court on a six-count charge of allegedly violating the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. According to the charge sheet, Shaibu allegedly, in July 2010 at Abuja, made false statement to the officers of ICPC claiming that he was an employee of Zanote Ventures Nigeria Limited from 2003 to 2006. A statement by the commission said the accused person was also alleged to have lied to the officials of the Edo State Board of Internal Revenue sometime in November 2006 to fraudulently obtain a tax clearance certificate. The alleged false statements are said to be offences that contravene Section 23(1)(a) and punishable under Section 1(b) of the ICPC Act, 2000. Counsel to Shaibu, Mr. Ken Mozia (SAN) sought for bail ahead of the arraignment of the accused before the court by ICPC. According to him, the bail was to enable him respond to the charges preferred against his client.
Mbeki, Tukur seek better Africa economic integration From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja ORMER President of South Africa, Mr. Thambo Mbeki, has sought an economic integration for Africa capable of raising the living standard of every African. Mbeki made this known in Abuja during a consultative meeting he held with the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, at his Wuse 2 residence on Sunday. Mbeki, who was in Nigeria for the ongoing AU-ECA Summit of African Ministers of Finance, said with the attention Africa has lately been commanding among the developed countries, it is time the continent began to reenergise itself economically. He said his consultation with Tukur on the need to develop a model of economic integration for Africa was necessary because of his capacity as the President of African Business Round Table (ABR) and NEPAD Group. Mbeki, a founding member of the NEPAD Heads of Government and Implementation Group, said Nigeria has a critical role to play in the proposed Africa’s Economic Integration, urging Tukur to start playing a leading role in making Nigeria embrace the concept.
HE Independent National T Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday inaugurated
Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ndubisi Menakaya (left); Governor Willie Obiano; Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and Permanent Secretary, Anambra State Liaison Office, Abuja, Dr. Beatrice Okonkwo, during a visit by Obiano to the Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja.
FG seeks support to end corruption, others in civil service From Anthony Otaru, Abuja ICE-President Namadi V Sambo has implored civil servants in the country to throw their weight behind the Federal Government in its efforts to put an end to indiscipline, corruption and other social vices responsible for the nation’s under-development. Sambo made the appeal yesterday at the celebration of 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Public Service Commission in Abuja. The vice-president, who was a special guest at the occasion and represented by the Minister of State for Works, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda said: “The deepening of democratic values has sometimes been misunderstood by civil servants, they presently flout public service rules, which has amounted to indiscipline. They have also failed to assist government to find solution to corruption.” According to Sambo, the public servants should go back to the basis of their core values,
• To retire 1,050 over age falsification they must be more responsive to government and the people of Nigeria on policy formulation and implementations. He stated that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has supported and will continue to support the Federal Civil Service Commission to have full control of recruitment, postings, discipline, promotion and retirement of any of its staff, without any interference. He used the occasion to applaud the contributions of the civil servants to nation building, saying, “the civil service has been able to demonstrate its impartiality before, during and after the Civil War in Nigeria till date.” At the event, the Head of the Federal Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Buka Goni Aji, disclosed that necessary arrangements have been put in place to retire a total of 1,050 federal civil servants across the country in the next three
weeks on age falsification ground. Earlier in her opening address, the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Joan Ayo, said that despite some daunting challenges, not less than 112,000 staff are still in employment of the government to date. She said it was necessary to celebrate the 60 years of its existence as the commission still remains the gateway into the service as well as the gateway for exit. “We are here, therefore, to celebrate the past, present and to see where we got it wrong,” she noted. Speaking on “The Evolution of the Public Service of Nigeria”, former Head of Service of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Committee on Civil Service Reforms, Alhaji Adamu Fika, said that in an attempt to chart the way forward for an effective revitalization of the Nigerian Public Service, a cornerstone for a bet-
ter Nigeria, there is the need to reposition the service to conform to the norms and ethics that were envisaged by the founding fathers of this country. Fika, who was the presidential public lecturer at the occasion, stressed that this can only be achieved by restoring a merit-based civil service that was laboured for by the founding fathers of Nigeria, a civil service devoid of corruption, inefficiency and impartiality. “There is need for attitudinal change in the running of our public affairs in order for us to begin the process of change, the future of this nation must be entrusted, as it was in the past, into the hands of selfless people – politicians and civil servants – who will, in word and deed, and through selfsacrifice, lead us by example and who will always exhibit leadership function in the discharge of public responsibilities, purely for public interest and for the public good,” he noted.
the national constituency committee with the charge to review the existing constituencies in the country and make provisions for the creation of new ones, if need be, to ensure even representation on the democratic space. Inaugurating the committee at the commission’s headquarters yesterday in Abuja, INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, expressed regret that the commission has not been able to carry out the project of periodic constituency and boundary delimitation as provided by the constitution and the Electoral Act, blaming it largely on lack of sufficient data to provide a transparent and open exercise. He said the commission will ensure that constituencies are reviewed in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act as well as international practices. Jega charged the committee to review previous reports on the review of electoral constituency and establish the methodology of carrying out the exercise to develop the limitation guidelines, taken into account the 1999 Constitution and the 2010 Electoral Act as amended. Jega also charged the panel to consider the boundary of the constituencies as well as allocation of seats for new constituencies where they exist and to undertake a review of boundaries and composition of constituencies and make appropriate recommendations to the commission. The INEC chairman also disclosed that the commission has set up a technical committee for the constituency delimitation headed by a national commissioner to serve as a technical support arm to the national committee on constituency delimitation. His words: “The National Committee on Constituency Delimitation is the apex organ in the implementation exercise of the commission’s statutory mandate of reviewing electoral constituencies and districts as provided for in the 1999 Constitution and the 2010 Electoral Act, as amended.
Presbyterians urge true federalism, laud northern gov’s move for free education By Eno Bassey HE Presbyterian Church of Nigeria has charged the ongoing national conference to enthrone true federalism and uphold in practice, the status of Nigeria as a secular state. According to the church, these, among other major decisions, will form the basis for peaceful co-existence of the people of Nigeria. In a statement issued at the end of the first quarterly meeting of its General Assembly Executive Committee (GAEC) held in Calabar, Cross River State, the church expressed delight at the commencement of the conference and urged delegates to courageously tackle the issues before them in the spirit of justice and fair-
play and not that of parochial consideration. The statement jointly signed by the Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church, Most Rev. Emele Mba Uka and the Principal Clerk, Rev. Ndukwe Nwachukwu Eme, also commended President Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration for a possible referendum to back up the decisions of the conference. The church commiserated with the President and the families of the job- seekers who lost their lives in the tragic recruitment test into the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS). The church stated that the measures taken by the government so far on the issue are only palliative and have not
addressed adequately the issue of corruption and the need to preserve the sanctity of human life in the country. It urged the government to ensure that those found wanting in the shoddy arrangements for the test are prosecuted and those found guilty penalized according to the laws of the land to serve as a deterrent to sharp practices and insensitivity to national issues. The church described the rising cases of violent attacks and killings by Fulani herdsmen across the country as a major security challenge next to the Boko Haram insurgency. The leaders called on the government to urgently dispatch soldiers to Benue State to curb the attacks.
As a solution, states in the North that are endowed with the cattle industry should revive the moribund grazing reserves in their areas and establish more irrigated reserves, it stated. It said the nation could no longer put up with the practice of open grazing where animals destroy crops at will and their herdsmen unleash mayhem on innocent communities. The church noted government’s various interventions aimed at employment generation and stimulation of the economy and stated that although these schemes might have benefitted some people, they are yet to make significant impact on the high unemployment rate and the overall econ-
omy. It called on the government to take “more pragmatic and enduring option of the provision of adequate social infrastructure and the security of lives and property that would put in place the enabling environment for the return and operation of the manufacturing industry in Nigeria.” The church noted that, “until the manufacturing sub-sector is revitalized with the return of the motor vehicle, textile, tyre, footwear, cosmetics, beverages and other big manufacturing companies with their huge employment ratio and local content, efforts to stimulate the economy would only amount to scratching the surface.”
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6 NEWS Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Group flays Lagos for allegedly disobeying court on tollgate GROUP, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), has condemned the Lagos State government for disobeying last week’s order of the Federal High Court, Lagos, nullifying toll charges on the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge. According to the group, speaking through its coordinator, Chido Obiagwu, the primary condition of constitutional democracy is that judgments and orders of court must be complied with by all persons concerned, including the government. LEPAD said it was regrettable that Lagos, governed by the major national opposition party, would flagrantly disobey court order by continuing to collect toll on the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge, which it smacked of impunity and complete disregard of the rule of law. Therefore, it urged the plaintiffs to return to the court to commence contempt proceedings against the concerned officials, including the governor and the attorney general of the state. It further called on motorists to resist payment of tolls on the bridge but stand and resist abuse of power by public officials. Though the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye, told newsmen after the judgment that the government would appeal, LEDAP noted that such excuse was no reason to disobey the court order.
Nigerians mourn GOK Ajayi From Mohammed Abubakar, Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Lemmy Ughegbe (Abuja), Muyiwa Adeyemi (Ado-Ekiti), Abiodun Fanoro, Bertram Nwannekanma (Lagos), and Charles CoffieGyamfi (Abeokuta) HE passage of the accomT plished legal icon and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Godwin Olusegun Kolawole Ajayi, has opened a floodgate of tributes from eminent citizens and government officials, all concurring that it was a great loss to the country owing essentially to his outstanding professionalism, intelligence and impeccable character. Ajayi died on Friday during a prolonged sickness that sidelined him from active legal practice in the past few years. President Goodluck Jonathan, expressing sadness at his death, extended sincere condolences to Ajayi’s family, friends, colleagues and associates in the legal profession, and the many Nigerians whose cause and rights he vigorously defended throughout his outstanding career. In a statement in Abuja yesterday by Presidential Spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, on behalf of himself and the Federal Government, President Jonathan urged them to “be consoled by the knowledge that Ajayi lived a very fulfilled life and will, even in death, continue to serve as an enduring model
‘Nigeria lost last colossus of first generation lawyers’ of dedication to truth, equity and justice for all. He also mourned the Emir of Agaie in Niger State, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar and commiserated with Governor Babangida Aliyu, the people of Niger State and the Agaie Emirate on the sudden death of Abubakar at the age of 52. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, in a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, said that Ajayi was a thorough disciplinarian, whose works would be cherished for a long time. Describing his death was a huge loss to the legal profession in particular and the nation in general, the Speaker said the deceased was an inspiration and a role model, who made immeasurable contributions to the growth and development of the legal profession within and outside Nigeria. “GOK Ajayi was an advocate’s advocate and a legal titan,” he remarked. “Though he made his name as a lawyer, his charisma, brilliance and philanthropy stood him out as a humanist, who used his deep knowledge of the law to better the society.” Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, agreed that Ajayi’s passage marked the end of a chapter that shaped the legal profession in Nigeria. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, Fayemi described Ajayi as a fearless
lawyer and people’s advocate. Noting that the deceased defended Abiola’s mandate in the court at the risk of his life, he said Ajayi used his knowledge of law to right the perceived wrongs in the society and was faithful to the ethics of his profession. He added that the deceased, by dint of hard work, built one of the foremost law chambers in Nigeria and left a great name that was untainted in almost 60 years of active practice. Similarly, Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs. Funmi Wakama, Amosun said Ajayi was consistent, forthright and famous, noting that the roles he played in several high profile cases “championed the cause of progressives.” “I remember cases such as the 12 2/3 Suit of Awolowo vs Shagari over the 1979 presidential election, among others, which are still reference points till today,” the statement read in part. Joining the Bar, the Bench and other Nigerians to mourn the “last colossus of first generation of Nigerian lawyers,” Amosun urged his family, friends and associates to take solace in the fact that he led a good and disciplined life. Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), said his death was the “end of a great legal titan” in Nigerian law. Reacting yesterday, Ndoma-
Egba said that not only was Ajayi one of the best in Nigerian jurisprudence, he was also a fine gentleman and “one of the greats of the Nigerian legal profession. “He was a great legal mind, a titan of the profession in every sense and his grasp of The Law of Evidence was legendary.” And from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) came tributes to two of its eminent members, Ajayi and Chief Theodore Ezeobi, who passed on recently. In a statement, the association expressed shock at the death of the two lawyers, who it described as gentlemen, mentors and idols. Of Ajayi, the body said: “The NBA celebrates his life. Evidently, it has been a great and worthy life. In a separate statement, the NBA said it received with shock the death past Chairman of NBA, Lagos branch and a long time member of the executive committee, Chief Ezeobi, who was a committed Bar man. While commiserating with his family, it prayed God to give them the fortitude to bear this loss and grant his soul eternal rest. For the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), Ajayi’s death has drawn the curtains on the finest era of legal activism, as “he was at the forefront of law for the benefit of humanity, stood permanently on the side of justice, and his legacies are unim-
peachable.” According to Ojo, “the justice sector in Nigeria has lost a constant voice of truth; Africa has lost a bright legal mind. The world would miss Nigeria’s special gift to global legal system.” Also, renowned lawyer and teacher at the University of Lagos, Wahhabi Shittu, said Ajayi’s death has ended one of the most storied legal practices in Nigeria’s history, as he was jurisprudence personified, an extraordinary advocate with great talent in terms of professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness. “I had the privileged of being led by him in a few cases and I can attest that he was a man of uncommon intellect, rare integrity, discipline and compassion.” Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), said he was a human rights defender from the conservative bloc, who took it upon himself to fight for the rights of some fellow citizens when abused by people in positions of authority. He recalled how he fought the deportation of Alhaji Abdulraman Shugaba by the Alhaji Shehu Shagari-led Federal Government, defended the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi during the military era, and his battle to revalidate the June 12, 1993 presidential electoral victory. Falana said Ajayi would be remembered as a staunch defender and promoter of rule of law and the autonomy of the Nigerian Bar Association, especially during the country’s military dictatorships.
Why France seeks new cooperation model with Nigeria From Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor RANCE is seeking a new model of developing cooperation with Nigeria and a host of other African countries aimed at creating jobs for the teaming youth, who are being forced out of the continent by unhelpful domestic environment to seek greener pastures in Europe and elsewhere. The new cooperation will be anchored on human capital expansion and youth empowerment. According to the French Minister of Economy and Finance, Pierre Moscovici, who has just ended a visit to Nigeria, apart from deepening the French-Nigerian political and economic dialogue, it is now imperative for “France and the African countries to find new ways to develop cooperation in the field of youth and human capital.” Recently, both countries reached an understanding within their strategic relations for France’s high-level cooperation in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria. Having also met with his South African counterpart, Mr. Pravin Gordhan, Moscovici said yesterday that the official visit (to
Nigeria) was also “an opportunity to bring the message for the renewal of economic relations between France and the African nations, in line with the conclusions of the Economic Conference held in Bercy, Paris, last December at the Elysée summit for peace and security in Africa.” Stressing that much was to be expected from the newly set up French-Nigerian youth network, he noted: “It is the human ties between France and Africa that give density to our relationship. François Hollande, the president of the Republic, has made youth a priority of its action and this commitment shall be present in our relationship with Africa. “To encourage youth is a fundamental political ambition. This new cooperation will transform the relations between France and Africa and investing in a FrenchNigerian youth network is among the most promising fields of cooperation.” Moscovici’s coming is on the heels of an earlier visit by the country’s Minister of Trade, Nicole Bricq, in September last year. A special ministerial envoy for development, Mr. Pascal Canfin, was also in Abuja in January this year, culminating in the presence of
President Hollande in Abuja in February for Nigeria’s centenary celebration. Earlier, during the African Union’s (AU) Seventh Joint Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Moscovici stressed the need to raise the productivity level on the continent. This is in order to cut down on the lopsided dependence syndrome, using a development model that would ensure “the industrialisation of the continent for inclusive development of the continent.” A Franco-African Foundation for Growth proclaimed last December by the French during the Elysée Summit and the gathering in Abuja also had prospective investors seeking to build on its promises. These included Foreshadower Foundation boss, Mr. Lionel Zinsou, and Chief Executive Officer of the French Development Agency (AFD), Anne Paugam, as well as President of PlaNet Finance, Jacque Attali. On how Nigeria and other desiring countries could get commensurate assistance using the new cooperative model, the French minister again pointed to the foundation for growth. According
to him, “the French-African Foundation for Growth is dedicated to embody and support the renewal of the economic relations between France and Africa. “This project is one of the proposals in the report, Vedrine-Severino ZinsouThiam-El Karoui - a partnership for the future containing 15 proposals for a new economic dynamic between Africa and France which calls for replacing the economy at the heart of a partnership relationship between France and Africa. “The foundation will promote the economic relationship between Africa and France for the benefit of African and French businesses.” To achieve this, he said, “it is aimed at rallying French and African civil societies and will be both the vehicle and showcase for the momentum of flow of workers between Africa and France. “It will provide different services to businesses in this area and will be based on a French and African public-private initiative. Lastly, it would ensure that the entrepreneurial networks and initiatives of Africans living in France are both recognised and leveraged.”
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Pensioners fault non-inclusion in confab From Iyabo Lawal (Ibadan), Lawrence Njoku (Enugu), Kelvin Ebri (Port Harcourt) and Ali Garba (Bauchi) ENSIONERS under the P aegis of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) yesterday decried their neglect by governments in the country, just as they protested their non-inclusion in the ongoing National Conference. National President of the union, Dr. Abel Afolayan, whose speech was read by the National Vice President of the union in the South East, High Chief Emeka Onwumere, said, “all efforts so far to get the attention of governments over some critical issues have proved fruitless and failed to satisfy our legitimate yearnings.”
• MOSOP insists on resource control, state creation Flanked by executives of the union in the five states of the south east, Afolayan listed their demands as; “Outstanding arrears of pension and gratuity due to pure federal pensioners and state pensioners with federal shares, outstanding 33 per cent pension increase and its arrears which have been paid to military pensioners months ago and non harmonisation of pension for most pensioners. He mentioned others as non-approval of minimum pension for pensioners as done to Nigerian workers, ill-treatment of federal parastatals and private sectors pensioners, and primary school pensioners’ ill treatment by governments
as well as pensioners verification. “The problems associated with contributory pension scheme resulting in nondeduction of check-off dues from pensioners in the scheme. This portends serious danger to the continued future existence of the union. The implication here is that when the last pensioner on the old scheme dies, the union ceases to exist for lack of membership. The pension fraud which has damaged the image of Nigeria both nationally and internationally and has negatively affected the fund made available for genuine pensioners and non-prosecution of the identified culprits”, he said.
He added: “The pensioners have observed that our problems across the country have been ignored by the concerned government agencies and functionaries contrary to the directive of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Presidential task force on pension grievances.” Speaking generally on the plight of pensioners in the South East, the union stated that their members were passing through difficult times. In Enugu, for instance, they said that gratuity of primary school teachers have not been paid in the last 29 months, explaining that government had treated the ex-workers with levity. In Imo, the union said that the gratuity had piled up into billions of naira since
1999, stressing that the state government had not implemented the transfer of teachers from federal to state in payment of the gratuities. In Bauchi too, the NorthEast Zonal Chairman, Alhaji Muhammed Inuwa Ahmed vowed that if government fails to respond to their yearning, the union would mobilise its over five million members nationwide to protest. Ahmed added, “Dear comrades, if our efforts to achieve the purpose of this conference fail, we shall have no alternative other than to involve the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).” Meanwhile, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has cau-
Envoy urges Nigerians to invest in Sierra Leone By Omiko Awa ITING Nigeria’s C immense contribution to peace efforts in some troubled states of West Africa, Sierra Leonean Ambassador to Nigeria, Henry Macaulay has called on Nigerians, especially the business class to invest in the Sierra Leone now that peace has returned to it. Speaking at the launch of ‘The Executive In You’ writ-
ten by Dr. Patrick Lukulay, the vice president of USP’s Global Health Impact Programme and Programme Director, USAID, Mr. James Layley representing the Sierra Leonean envoy, commended Nigerians for their industry and the Nigerian government for its big brother role in the West African sub-region, saying its military has contributed immensely to the
peace and tranquility that exits in West Africa as a whole. He noted that it was the Nigerian Army that came to the rescue of Sierra Leone and its people from its 11 year-old civil war caused by Revolutionary United Front (RUF). He said, “The Sierra Leonean economy was at a standstill because of the civil war, and we appreciate Nigeria’s effort, especially
those soldiers that sacrificed their lives so that Sierra Leoneans may have peace. Now that peace has returned, we want Nigeria and its people to come and invest in key sectors like education.” Unveiling the book, the chairman of the occasion, Prof. Pat Utomi, said young people should learn that God gave man talent to equip him to survive in his community and as such we
should all learn from the story of others to avoid the mistakes of the past. Giving reasons for writing the book, which tells his life story, Lukulay, disclosed, “it is to inspire the younger generation and to share some of the stereotypic challenges he has to confront with as a Sierra Leonean in America to attain enviable position among blue chip compa-
tioned Northern delegates to the national conference, against their planned resistance to issues of state creation, resource ownership and control. As the national conference progresses, MOSOP President, Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara said the alleged expressed northern sentiments no doubt betrayed sinister motives, which in the view of Ogoni and others in the Niger Delta may not augur well for the conference and north/south relationship. He observed that it is alarming that at crucial times in this country such as this, the north has been behaving as if other parts of the country are mere vassals that have no real legitimacy and rights and must be subject to their whims and caprices.
nies in the United States of America.” Advising the youths, he said: “Your beginning does not necessarily dictate the end of your journey. Opportunities, sometimes, are disguised as roadblocks and success is about overcoming these roadblocks and sticking to ones mission.” Lukulay, a chemist, has over 15 publications to his credit.
Court issues warrant of arrest on Sun Editor, Wabara From Gordi Udeajah Umuahia BIA State Police A Command’s arraignment of The Sun Associate Editor, Mr. Ebere Wabara at an Umuahia Chief Magistrate Court held yesterday without him (Wabara) in court. Consequently, the court presided over by Chief
Magistrate John Ukairo issued a bench warrant against him and adjourned the next sitting to April 10, 2014. The warrant was extended to his surety, Mr. Chuks Onuoha, the state correspondent of The Sun newspaper. Wabara was reportedly granted police bail Saturday evening on the directive of the Inspector General of Police, who directed him to report back to the state police yesterday. He was consequently released to The Sun Abia state correspondent, Mr. Chuks Onuoha, who The Guardian gathered stood as his surety. The said Onuoha (surety) too, was not in court. A ten-count charge was leveled against Wabara with reference No U/11C/2014 Commissioner of Police VS Ebere Wabara, which ranged from his “conspiring with others now at large to make seditious publications against Abia State governor, Dr Theodore Orji with intent to bring him hatred or contempt or excite him disaffection.” The charge sheet listed some of the titles of the publications, which were stated to be punishable under the relevant sections of the law. They are “Buffoonery by Mezie Abia Organization” in The Sun newspaper of 18 February 2014 on page 22. “T A Orji Self Delusion” in the City Reporter - a daily publication that circulates in Umuahia, “Demystify a
Master Strategist” in same City Reporter, “Re: Go to Akwa Ibom Weep for Abia” published in The Sun newspaper of March 3, 2014. Another one was titled “T A Orji’s 7 years Demystification of Kalu” with “intent to injure the reputation of Chief Chinedu Orji and expose him to hatred, contempt or ridicule and described the said Chinedu Orji as a terrorist knowing same to be false.” Again, that “on the 10th day of March 2014, Wabara at Government House Umuahia did publish or threatened to publish or offers to abstain from publishing defamatory matters and with intent to extort money or other property with intent to induce His Excellency Governor Orji to give, confer, procure or attempted to procure, to upon, or for yourself, or on Don Norman Obinna or any other person, any property or benefits of any kind”. While the Commissioner of Police (Prosecutor) was represented by two Police Prosecuting Counsels Police Superintendent Esther Nwosu and Deputy Superintendent Sam Onyemaucheya, the state government had Barrister Chief Chukwunyere Nwabuko but the accused Wabara was neither in court or represented by a lawyer. Hence the case was adjourned to April 10, 2014.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 NEWS
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TMG lauds Ekiti elders on voters’ registration
NCAA gets presidential support over FAA’s re-certification
From Adamu Abuh, Abuja HE Transition Monitoring T Group (TMG) has applauded the impressive participation of
By Ibe Uwaleke HE bid by the Nigerian Civil T Aviation Authority (NCAA) to get the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recertification has got the backing of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has arrived in the headquarters of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Ikeja, Lagos, at the weekend to begin a four-day inspection of records and facilities to step up the re-certification of Nigeria’s Category One status. Acting Director General of NCAA, Mr. Benedict Adeyileka, an engineer, announced to the team yesterday of Jonathan’s ‘full support’ in all its ramification in order to realise the retention of this much-needed category one status. His words: “This is to assure you (FAA team) that NCAA is not alone in this programme; we have the full support of the Federal Government of Nigeria, His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan, the Supervising Minister, High Chief Samuel Ortom, all stakeholders namely NAMA, FAAN, Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), AIB, NIMET and airline operators and aviation service providers.” Adeyileka told his audience that this exercise NCAA is undergoing will help to shape the future of aviation in Nigeria, as well as strengthen the safety oversight capability of the agency and also help to provide reassurance to the fly-
Rivers PDP denies Wike’s resignation IVERS State Peoples R Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked reports in some media organisations (not The Guardian) that the Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, has resigned his position. In a statement by Jerry Needam, Special Adviser, on Media to the Chairman, Felix Obuah, the PDP said, “the party wishes to state that the honourable Minister has not resigned his membership of the Federal Executive Council and has not at the moment contemplated doing so. He remains the Supervising Minister for Education. The PDP also warns its teeming members and the general public not to be deceived by falsehood emanating from political opponents, particularly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) but to be steadfast and more committed to the struggle of liberating the people and the state from neo-colonialism and bad governance by the APC folks. The PDP says it is aware that this conjecture of falsehood is part of the many strategies employed by the APC and the opposition in their efforts to provoke public umbrage against the genuine programmes and activities of the majority party (the PDP) in the state and the nation. The party, however, says it has put in place modalities to check and thwart every of such ill-conceived plan against its successes by the opposition parties, particularly, the APC.
Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed (second right); Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rasak Atunwa (second left); Deputy Speaker, Prof. Muhammed Gana Yisa (left) and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Kamaldeen Ajibade (right) while assenting to 2014 Appropriation Bill at the Government House, Ilorin… yesterday
the elderly in the just-concluded continuous voters’ registration exercise (CVR) in Ekiti State. Chairman of the group, Malam Zikirullahi Ibrahim, who addressed journalists on the outcome of the exercise, believed that the show of enthusiasm exhibited by the elderly might be connected with the monthly welfare policy put in place by the Ekiti State government for the elderly. Ibrahim disclosed that 54 observers were deployed to monitor the CVR in Ekiti and Osun states, noting that reports indicated an impressive turnout at the weekends but quite low during the weekdays. On how the CVR were administered in both states, Ibrahim, who was represented by Mr. Rommy Mum, said majority of the centres were opened for accreditation before 8:00 am with two registration officials.
Controversy trails Nasarawa international hunters From Abiodun Fagbemi (Ilorin), Olalekan Okusan (Lagos) and Msugh Ityokura (Lafia) N air of controversy is still A surrounding the discovery of international hunters in Shinge, Kwandere areas both in Lafia and Doma local councils of the state. The Commissioner of Police, Idris Ibrahim, while briefing newsmen in his office prior to the conduct of the just-concluded local council elections, acknowledged the men but quickly said they were international hunters on routine activities. There have, however, been claims and counter-claims from many quarters, which include ancestral Tivs of Nasarawa State taking refuge along Lafia-Makurdi federal highway, who posited that the hunters are insurgents. This has caused them to desert their abode. A visit by The Guardian to Shinge and Kwandere areas of Lafia, the state capital, revealed that the strangers in the guise of international hunters are camped there. This belief has further escalated fear and tension among
• Ahmed, Dabiri-Erewa, others task leaders on peace, accountability residents in the state, given a series of allegations that the insurgents, carrying out attacks on Tiv communities in both Nasarawa and Benue states, have their camps scattered around the border communities of Doma, Obi and Lafia. One of the displaced people who simply identified himself as Tsav, said: “When we received that warning from those terrorists of impeding attacks in different dimensions, little did we know that it was going to be the use of chemical weapons as has been proven in Benue.” “These people camped as international hunters in Shinge area of Lafia and Kwandere, where the governor’s elder brother is a paramount ruler, must be identified as quickly as possible.” He further expressed fear that the attacks will continue, “If nothing was immediately done to apprehend the purported hunters.” “Not only is our source of livelihood gone, our people are now under chemical attack and as you can see, my
children are out of school; so, you people will have to tell the world about our situation,” a victim in Nasarawa, Nguemo, who lost a relation in the Benue chemical weapon attacks, lamented. According to her, “the situation is more devastating and disheartening for us women and our little children.” She called on the Federal Government and the international community to urgently wade into the matter before the insurgents annihilate the entire Tiv community. Meanwhile, Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, at the opening ceremony of the 8th International Annual Conference and General Assembly of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP) yesterday, charged members to intensify efforts to identify institutional, legal and participatory approaches to the prevention and resolution of violent conflicts. In Makurdi, member representing Makurdi/Guma Federal Constituency, Emmanuel Jime, yesterday
Court denies Ajudua bail in alleged $1.69m fraud trial By Bertram Nwannekanma LAGOS High Court, Ikeja, A yesterday denied bail to one-time Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua, who is being tried on allegation of defrauding two Dutch businessmen of $1.69 million. The trial judge, Justice Kudirat Jose, in a ruling yesterday on Ajudua’s bail application, dismissed the application on the ground that it lacked merit. Justice Jose, however, held that it was evident that Ajudua was not a very healthy man as evidenced from the medical reports attached to the application, which were issued by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). According to her, Ajudua
was admitted at LUTH on August 3, 2013 and was treated for hypertension, traumatic haematuria and enlarged prostrate gland, which arose from having only one kidney. Although doctors had also recommended further treatment and possible corrective surgery to address his failing health, the judge said, the reports did not, however, show that Ajudua cannot be treated while still in prison. She added that the applicant had not been able to convince the court that he would not abscond or interfere with witnesses if he was granted bail. “The applicant (Ajudua) has not shown to the court why he was not able to come to his trial between 2006 and
2013. “He did not respond to the allegation that he had tampered with a witness in the trial. “Due to his absence, the matter has been stalled since 2006,” Jose said. It will be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Ajudua and one Charles Orie to court for allegedly defrauding the businessmen - Messrs Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen. They were re-arraigned before Jose on February 5 following the transfer of the case from the former trial judge, Justice Joseph Oyewole. Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned till April 28.
attributed the suffering of the Tiv people who are being sacked from their ancestral homes by insurgents under the guise of Fulani herdsmen, to leadership failure in the country. Speaking when he donated relief materials to the displaced persons taking shelter in public primary schools, Jime called for urgent intervention by the appropriate authorities to salvage the situation. In a similar vein, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has charged Nigerians to demand accountability from the leaders. The lawmaker, who was the guest of honour at the monthly public lecture titled: “The Arab-Israel Conflict: Is Lasting Peace A Possibility?”, organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) at the weekend in Lagos, said it was high time Nigerians demanded for accountability and transparency from the leaders.
“I noticed in Nigeria that we now care less about ourselves and this should not be. But my concern for this nation is that Nigerians must be ready to hold leaders accountable to salvage this nation from degenerating. They must demand change from their leaders because leaders now take Nigerians for granted,” she said. Also charging political leaders, Acting Director of the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Dr. Mahfouz Adedimeji, yesterday canvassed the establishment of the Ministry of Peace in Nigeria, saying that the situation in the country makes it imperative. For Adedimeji, there are three ways of resolving a conflict, which are by going to war, by going to court and by going for dialogue. Pioneer Director, Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies (CPSS), University of Ilorin, Prof. Isaac Albert, observed that the on-going National Conference would be futile unless there is attitudinal change.
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Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (middle) flanked by Commissioner for Science and Technology, Adebiyi Mabadeje (left); Public Sector Leader, Oracle Customer Support Services, Allan Marker; Vice President, Oracle Customer Support Services, Mid-East and Africa, Peter Fuzes; Vice President, Head, Application Business Unit, Oracle, Arun Khehar and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Nike Animashaun, at the Oracle Courtesy/Interactive meeting with the governor in Lagos.
Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun (middle); Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Suraj Ishola Adekunbi (right) with the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Rahmon Bello, during the final fidau prayer in honour of Bello’s late mother, Alhaja Fatima Bello, in Ibooro, Ogun State.
Members of Catholic Women Organisation (CWO) of St. Luke Chaplaincy, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, celebrating Mothers’ Day in Abuja. Recipient of Mathematics prize, Oluwade Abimbola (left); Guest of Honour, Toye Adegboye; Abimbola’s parents, Sunday Alani Oluwade and his wife Mopelola, during the 19th founders anniversary/speech and prize giving day of Grace Schools in Lagos. PHOTO: OSENI OLADELE YUSUF
Dr. Innocent Chukwuma (left); Chief Bianca Ojukwu, on behalf of her husband, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu; Dr. Folorunsho Alakija and Dr. Maduka Onyishi, after their receipt of Honorary Doctor of Business Administration Degrees at the 43rd convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Head, Human Resources, Nutricima Limited, Bose Ogundipe (left); Managing Director, Suneel Vasudevan; Category Marketing Manager, Rapheal Agbaje and Sales Director, Nutricima Limited at the second E-raffle draw in the ongoing Nutricima Mega Cash Promo in Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
Product Manager, Savings Account, Diamond Bank, David Otukpe (left); Manager, KPMG, Bright Anaekwe and Deputy Manager, National Lottery Commission, Fashola Olumide, during the PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINDiamondXtra promo draw in Lagos.
Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo (left) being welcomed to the Arco Group exhibition stand by the Group Managing Director of Arco, Alfred Okoigun (right) and Managing Director of Arco Pipeline Solutions Limited, (a subsidiary of Arco Group) Pius Ajahbu, during the just concluded oil and gas conference in Abuja.
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WorldReport ‘Displaced persons in S’Sudan war in ‘acute’ need’ AR-TORN South Sudan is
Court convicts ex-premier of Israel, Olmert over bribery
N Israeli court yesterday A convicted former Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert in a wide-ranging bribery case, a verdict that could send him to prison and that crushed his hopes for a political comeback. The development seals the most serious legal battle the 68-year-old Olmert has waged since he was forced to step down as prime minister in 2009 amid a flurry of corruption allegations. It also capped a political career that saw Olmert transform himself from a sharptongued backbencher in the hard-line Likud Party into a global statesman whose push for peace with the Palestinians came crashing down due to his legal troubles. The Tel Aviv district court handed down its decision in a Jerusalem real estate scandal case related to Olmert’s activities before he become prime minister in 2006. A total of 13 government officials, developers and other businesspeople were charged in three separate schemes related to the Holyland housing development in Jerusalem, in what was regarded as perhaps the largest corruption scandal ever exposed in Israel. Sentencing is set for April 28. Legal experts say the conviction will almost certainly entail prison time for Olmert. According to the original 2012 indictment, millions of dollars illegally changed hands to promote a series of real estate projects, including a controversial housing development in Jerusalem that required a radical change in zoning laws and earned the developers tax breaks and other benefits. Olmert was charged for acts committed while he was
mayor of Jerusalem and minister of industry and trade. He was accused of taking bribes to push the project forward. The conviction puts a dramatic end to Olmert’s long political career, which was dogged by corruption allegations but which — until yesterday — rarely stuck. Without a natural rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Olmert was often mentioned as a potential center-left alternative, should he survive his legal woes. Olmert faces a maximum prison term of seven years. Under Israeli law, he would have to wait at least seven years after serving his sentence to run for office. Even if he somehow wins an appeal, he has become so tainted that a comeback is virtually impossible, said Tamir Sheafer, a professor of political science at Jerusalem’s Hebrew
Musharraf for treason, a landmark move in a case seen as a test of civilian authority in a country long dominated by the military. Tahira Safdar, one of three judges hearing the case in a special court, read out five charges relating to Musharraf’s 2007 imposition of emergency rule, with the ex-president pleading “not guilty” to each of them. Musharraf, who had earlier arrived at the court in a convoy of SUVs with over 2,000 security personnel deployed along his route, then turned to address the judges. “I honour this court and prosecution, I strongly believe in law and don’t have ego problems, and I have appeared in court 16
Activists from Tibet, Mongolia and China hold placards showing montage pictures of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping with Dalai Lama and reading “Now the EU can make this happen” as they demonstrate in front of the European Parliament in Brussels…yesterday, during a visit by the President of China to the European Institutions. PHOTO: AFP
Russian PM flaunts grip on Crimea with visit EFYING Western demands D to hand the region back to Ukraine, Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev yesterday flaunted Russia’s grip on Crimea by flying to the region and announcing plans to turn it into a special economic zone. The visit, hours after Russia held talks on Ukraine with the United States, is likely to anger Kiev and the West, which accuse president Vladimir Putin of illegally seizing the Black Sea peninsula after a March 16 referendum they say was a sham. Shortly after landing in Crimea’s main city of Simferopol with many members of his cabinet, Medvedev
Pakistan indicts Musharraf for treason Pakistani court yesterA day indicted former military ruler, Pervez
University. “He had to come out as pure as snow to carry on,” Sheafer said. Speaking during a state visit to Austria, Israeli President, Shimon Peres said the verdict marked “a sad day for my country.” Olmert has already faced a trial on separate charges of accepting illicit funds from an American supporter and double-billing Jewish groups for trips abroad. He was cleared in 2012 of the most serious charges but convicted on a lesser count of breach of trust for steering jobs and contracts to clients of business partners and got a suspended one-year sentence. At the center of yesterday’s case was the Holyland housing development, a hulking hilltop project Jerusalem residents long suspected was tainted by corruption.
times in this year in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi,” the 70-yearold, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, said. Appearing fit and confident, he made an emotional speech highlighting the country’s achievements under his tenure. “I am being called a traitor, I have been chief of army staff for nine years and I have served this army for 45 years. I have fought two wars and it is ‘treason’?” “I am not a traitor. For me traitors are those who loot public money and empty the treasury,” he added. Musharraf’s defence team requested the court adjourn for eight weeks to allow them to prepare, and repeated a call for the retired general to be allowed to visit his ailing mother, who is in her nineties, in the UAE.
chaired a Russian government meeting attended by Crimean leaders and outlined moves to revive the region’s struggling economy. “Our aim is to make the peninsula as attractive as possible to investors, so that it can generate sufficient income for its own development. There are opportunities for this - we have taken everything into consideration,” he told the televised meeting, sitting at a large desk with Russian flags
behind him. “And so we have decided to create a special economic zone here. This will allow for the use of special tax and customs regimes in Crimea, and also minimize administrative procedures.” In comments that made clear Russia had no plans to give back Crimea, he set out moves to increase wages for some 140,000 state workers in Crimea, boost pensions, turn the region into a tourism hub, protect energy links with the
peninsula and improve its roads, railways and airports. Russia’s swift takeover of Crimea, following the ouster of Moscow ally, Viktor Yanukovich as Ukraine’s president in late February, has caused the biggest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War.
in a “spiralling humanitarian crisis”, the United Nations (UN) warned yesterday, as top aid chiefs visited the young nation, where more than a million people have fled months of conflict. “People are in acute need,” UN World Food Programme (WFP) boss Ertharin Cousin said as she arrived for a twoday assessment. “Large-scale population displacement and disruption of markets and trade routes are creating a food security crisis,” she said in a statement. More than 800,000 people are displaced inside South Sudan, while almost 255,000 have ?ed to the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the UN says. Many had only returned to South Sudan after it won independence from Sudan in July 2011, following the end of the 1983-2005 civil war. “It is heartbreaking to see that some of the very people who had fled the war two decades ago, people we helped to return to South Sudan after independence, are having to flee for their lives again, many back to the very same places where they lived in exile,” UN refugee agency chief (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres said. Violence erupted in South Sudan on December 15 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and fighters loosely allied to former vice president Riek Machar.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 POLITICS 13
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The National Conference Debate
Political conference of hope! By Steve Azaiki OW that Nigerians are talking let us give N hope a chance. “When hope is taken away from a people, moral degeneration follows swiftly after,” Henry Wadsworth Long-Fellow (Tales of wayside inn, 1886) said. Let us remember Edgar Waston Howe when he said, “there is nothing so well known as that we should not expect something for nothing — but we all do and call it Hope.” There had been varied opinions about the possible outcome of the National Conference, which members were inaugurated on Monday, March 17, 2014. While some expressed the belief that the three-month exercise was just a jamboree of sorts, others argued that the mere claim by the President that the result of the conference would be subjected to the Senate for ratification and approval showed that nothing good can come out of the exercise. For the latter set of people, the Senate is the wrong place to send the outcome of the conference. They reasoned that many of the members of this topmost legislative house are self-serving and not worthy enough to handle this aggregation of approved opinions of the Nigerian people, as should be represented in the conference. They further argued that the outcome of the conference should, instead, be subjected to a referendum and then, tucked into the Constitution as the true decision of the people. There were also those who argued that the conference was not necessary since the country has elected representatives both at the state and the federal levels. They said it would be a waste of time and efforts since the country paid the representatives, elected by the people. While all these arguments, back and forth, continued, with some criticisms, President Goodluck Jonathan maintained a courageous stand on his optimism that the conference would not only yield the targeted result, but that Nigerians would take the glory and testify that it was a worthy idea at the end. The announcement by the President, during the inauguration of the members, that Nigerians should prepare for a referendum on the outcome of the conference; now seems to have changed the previous impressions. Like everyone knows, the President stressed that Nigerians have discussed and argued over various issues concerning the country’s national existence and wellbeing for many years. Much of this national discourse, according to him, has been conducted through the mass media, both print and electronic and more recently, through social media. For those Nigerians who argue that this is a jamboree, what has become of all these discussions? Groups purportedly involved in the fight for the rights of the people have, in most cases, allegedly had their hands soiled at one point or the other and history has some of them. Lagbaja, the popular musician, in 200 Million Mumu, described Nigeria as a country where her citizens speak “big, big grammar” and know how to analyse on television, but after that, what happens? Nothing. So, sincerely, who loses with all these analysis and big grammar? Is it those claiming to fight for the people, who they always describe as the downtrodden or the alleged downtrodden people themselves who look up to the government for a direction? This country has become too big for a few to reap where they have not sowed at the expense of the masses. Once one is a citizen of this country, one is supposed to have the same rights as every other person in the same country. Nobody has two heads, and where a human being develops two heads, it becomes abnormal, a monster. Must the people therefore continue to fold their arms despite these realities staring at us in the face? Must we continue to wallow in poverty and keep lamenting every passing day? Now, let’s look critically at our lives, as Nigerians and how we have evolved over time. We are bound to see that there has been no such conference that did not bring some good to Nigeria. The bringing together of the northern and southern protectorates of what is now known as Nigeria did not come unplanned. So many activities must have come up leading to the amalgamation. Today, we are rated positive in so many areas and pride ourselves as the most populous black nation simply because of that
Azaiki singular event. This is part of the reason I support the President in his statement that the country’s amalgamation was never a mistake, as some people would think. Again, in 1922, the Sir Hugh Clifford Constitution came into being. But the constitution was not just established. It passed through a silhouette of conferences and the result was that for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the country introduced the elective principle for legislative houses, thus bringing in the Legislative Council, a 46-member council, which became a replacement for Lord Lugard’s Nigerian Council. Historians remember the Richards Constitution of 1946 for its peculiarity in the introduction of an objective for the promotion of the unity of Nigeria and securing greater participation by Nigerians in discussing their own affairs. It also brought into focus and cares for the diverse elements within the country, with the constitution of a Council with representatives from all parts of Nigeria. Apart from this, the constitution sought the abolition of the official majority in the Council as it created Regional Councils made up of a House of Assembly in each of the Northern, Eastern and Western Provinces; it established House of Chiefs in the North. For the first time again, the country got a constitution that touched every citizen through a constitutional conference. These were among many other sound sides of the constitution that emerged in that period. As good as the constitution was, however, it did not last for the nine years it was marked for as a result of the protest from some parts of the country that not all Nigerians were consulted before its creation. To therefore resolve the grey areas put up by Nigerians, the Macpherson Constitution came into existence in 1951. The making of this constitution brought many Nigerians together unlike in the previous ones. The constitution conference even brought Nigerians from the village level. Following its successful establishment, it stipulated a provision for a 145-member House of Representatives with 136 of these members elected. It also instituted a bicameral legislature for both the Northern and Western parts of Nigeria. One of them was the House of Chiefs while the East retained the unicameral House of Assembly. It established the Public Service Commission as an advisory body for the Governor. It should be known that between 1951 and 1954, two important constitutional conferences were held in London and Lagos between the colonial masters and the Nigerian politicians.
One thing is certain here; all the previously mentioned constitutional conferences were an opportunity for Nigerian leaders then to learn the act of governance. Therefore, when it was time, in 1954 for a Federal Constitution, it was not difficult to get the inputs of and participation of Nigerians. The outcome, according to some analysts, was great as it separated Lagos, which was the country’s capital, from the Western Region. It also created a Federal Government for the country comprising three regions — the North, West and East — and further made provisions for the regions to be headed by Governors, but with a Governor-General at the centre. The popular Exclusive Federal Legislative List and the Concurrent List, which have become part of every constitution in Nigeria since independence, began at this stage, just as it established a strong central government and weak regions, as well as the expansion of the Judiciary and of the public service. It was operational till independence. THEConstitutional Conference of 1957 was the last before independence in 1960. It took place in London from May 23 till June 1957, and was chaired by the then Colonial Secretary with 10 delegates and five advisers from each of the Regions of Nigeria and five delegates and three advisers from the Southern Cameroons, according to historians. Others who attended the conference included the Federal Government as represented by the Governor-General, the Regional Governors, the Commissioner of the Cameroons, two Federal Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, two delegates representing the Federal Capital and the United Kingdom Government, which was represented by 10 delegates, nine experts and a legal adviser. The decisions reached at that conference included the call for self-governance. It was agreed for the Governor to appoint the person who commands a majority in the House of Assembly as Premier, who would recommend two ministers. It also provided for the Northern Region of the country to become self-governing in 1959 while the Federal Legislature should run its full course until the end of 1959 after which it should consist of 320 members elected on the basis of one member for approximately 100,000 citizens of the country. It was through this conference that the establishment of the Senate came into existence. Today, we have the House of Representatives and the Senate where even some of the critics now represent their people. If not for such conferences, Nigeria would not have such a blessing.
One major recommendation at the conference was for the division of the country into 320 single-member electoral constituencies and the appointment of a permanent electoral commission to supervise preparation of the Federal Electoral Register and to conduct all Federal elections. Today, we have the Independent National Electoral Commission, a metamorphosis of this decision. Who then would think a conference is a curse upon the land rather than a blessing? One thing that should be certain is that no such conferences ever came into being without a consideration of the situation of the country. Nigerians could remember the Aburi Conference held in Ghana between January 4 and 5 1967, aimed at addressing the crises that befell the country in 1966 and improve unity and national growth and progress. Though the Aburi Accord came with controversies, the agreement reached at the conference, which came just after a failed attempt at a constitutional conference in September 1966, included that “all the decrees passed since January 15, 1966, and which detracted from previous powers and positions of regional governments, should be repealed if mutual confidence is to be restored.” In 1975, the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) was inaugurated by the late General Murtala Muhammed, and chaired by the late erudite lawyer, Chief Rotimi Williams. This led to a Constitutional Assembly in 1977, which delegates were elected and some appointed. This further led to the 1979 Constitution enacted by Decree 25 of 1978. One could therefore see that apart from the conference organised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which never saw the light of day, every other such event had added one positive mark to the growth and development of our country. The current National Conference did not just come because the President wanted it. Before his emergence as the elected president of the country, Nigerians had clamoured for it. The country had begun to witness signs of disintegration with nepotism becoming the order of the day. It got so worse that once one was from a minority ethnic group, one automatically became an outcast of sorts in his supposed country. We do not need to even belabour the issue of insecurity. Even the blind man knows what the country is facing currently. The uniqueness of Nigeria’s own terrorism is that it is politically inclined. I do not know how other Nigerians would see it, but this is my opinion about Nigeria’s insecurity. Then there is this issue of corruption. People complain that the nation’s anti-graft agencies are not as effective as they should be and I wonder how many people the anti-graft body would arrest and prosecute in a country where everyone is corrupt in one form or the other — financial corruption on the one hand and moral corruption on the other. There are also many challenges giving rise to fear that the country is on the brink of total collapse. Can we continue like this? The simple answer is NO! Now, the President has told us that he would not tamper with the outcome of the conference. We can recall the day he first made the announcement and installed the Femi Okurounmu-led committee for feasibility on the conference. I would not further agree with those who complain about the timing of the conference. There is no better time than now that the 2015 general elections are fast approaching. If the result is subjected to a referendum, then 2015 would be a whole new beginning for every Nigerian. I am very sure that this optimism is part of the reason even states governed by the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), sent representatives to the conference even though the party has continuously maintained its pessimism. That should tell every Nigerian that inwardly, there is a general support for the conference. Moreover, a conference that has delegates like Femi Falana, Pastor Tunde Bakare and other well-meaning Nigerians (however radical their views may be considered by many who do not agree with them) cannot be considered a charade. Nigeria will not disintegrate. Our population, our diverse religion, our languages, our traditions, our culture, our diversity should and must be our strength. • Prof. Azaiki, OON, is the National Coordinator, Na-
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Politics The National Conference Debate
‘Confab can’t solve Nigeria’s unity problem’ From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu ONCERNED Igbo Leaders of C Thought, led by constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, has picked holes in the three-week-old National Conference. It said yesterday in Enugu that that the conference, as constituted, would not solve Nigeria’s unity problem. Nwabueze, who addressed reporters after their 7th Assembly of the body, insisted that convocation of ethnic nationalities’ conference was the solution to Nigeria’s problems. Among others at the meeting were: Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa; Prof. (Mrs.) Uche Azikiwe; former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ginigeme Mbanefo; Prof. Chinwite Ejike; His Majesty, Eze (Prof.) Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike; Justice J.U Ononiba (Rtd); Chief Enechi Onyia (SAN); former Education Minister, Dr. Igwe Aja Wachukwu; Chief Emma Okocha; Igwe Emeka Ilouno; Col. Emma Nwobisi; Prof. Elo Amucheazi and Elliot Uko Although the group supported the need for the conference based on challenges facing the country, Nwabueze stated, however, that certain rules placed by the President on it, like the voting pattern, had already scuttled the motive. Nwabueze said: “What we have decided today (yesterday) is that we agreed that Igbo Leaders of Thought should be kept alive and we unanimously agreed that the meeting should be kept alive. “Everybody agreed also that the National Conference, as constituted, will not lead us to realising the objectives but we should continue monitoring the objectives of the conference on a daily basis and to analyse developments from time to time, to see what contributions we can make from it to the realisation of our aspirations. “The objective is how to achieve a new, better and united Nigeria but we have said the National Conference, as constituted, will not lead us to a better and united Nigeria. Something good might come out of it, but we should talk and nobody will run away from talking.” Nonetheless, Nwabueze iterated that the ethnic nationalities were best suited to solving Nigeria’s unity problem. His words: “We all belong to an ethnic nationality. It is sociological reality. We all know what the problem is and that is the unity of Nigeria, which is how to coalesce the over 389 ethnic nationalities of Nigeria into one nation. This is different from ethnic group. “There are attributes that make a group and a nation and that is what is different from Africa and others. You must find an answer to this and the day you find an answer to it, you solve the problem of Nigeria’s unity. “I do not accept that the problem is insoluble; certainly, you must apply yourself and resources to them. “I am not unmindful of the trou-
Nwabueze bles; you have the difficulty of devising an equitable representations being demanded by the minorities. “You have the problem of the rancour between the ethnic nations (the big and small ones) and the fear that if you base representation on national conference on ethnic nations that it will break up. “But I do not accept that there is any problem in this world that is unamenable to rational solution. Let us apply our mind and resources on how to coalescence these nations and you will find the answer.” Nwabueze added that the 75 per cent vote for any issue to be passed was an indication that nothing could be agreed upon. “Seventy-five per cent is impossible to achieve,” he said. “When you analyse the composition, you will see that Muslims, not the entire North, are more in number. “They have created what they called Northern Delegates’ Forum and the Sultan of Sokoto had led a delegation to the President, complaining about marginalisation of Muslims in the composition of the National Conference. “They want it to increase and 75 per cent means 25 and once you are 25, you can frustrate everything. I should have thought, quite frankly, that they should have thought about consensus and where you cannot achieve consensus, you go by absolute majority.” Nwabueze also faulted the convocation of the conference by the inherent powers of the President. “When you constitute a conference by your inherent powers, it means that you cannot give them any powers because you do not have one,” he said. “You can only give it functions and this means it does not have capacity to adopt a new Constitution. “A new Constitution is one that is binding as law and how can this conference take decision that is binding as law for us?”
‘How ‘tyranny of minority’ may affect confab resolutions’ From Collins Olayinka, Abuja ARE must be taken by the national C conference leadership to prevent the emergence of “tyranny of the minority,” which may stifle the resolutions of the confab. A delegate to the conference and President of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Richard Uche, raised this fear in Abuja yesterday. He explained that the minority might have unwittingly been empowered by the proponents of the 75 voting agreement. His words: “With the 75 per cent voting, what happened when there is 74 to 26 voting? That means that the minority will overwhelm the majority by simply spoiling their show. “Because it will be very clear that no decision can be taken until 75 per cent is gotten. The reality will then be that the minority will even be more powerful than the majority of the people. “Care must be taken to strike a balance between not allowing the majority to lord themselves over the minority but also balancing the equation so that the minority will not become tyrannies.” Uche, however, stressed that adoption of consensus on most of the issues would help unite Nigerians and explain hitherto unacceptable positions to the opposition. On issues that consensus cannot resolve, he called for scaling of matters and allocate percentage based on their importance to national cause. “The best thing in the current situation we have found ourselves is to strive to achieve consensus on issues rather than laying emphasis on voting,” he said. “Voting will only bring about this side versus that side and that is what all the members must avoid at this conference. “But where this becomes impossible, 75 per cent may seem too high, but it may be necessary in certain situation.
“If, for instance, somebody is proposing we break up this country, I think we will need 90 per cent to carry that through because that is a very weighty issue. “I think it will be good to apply different percentages to different resolutions.” According to him, the stakes could be raised very high when discussing something very fundamental that touches the essence of Nigeria, “while we lower the stakes for issues that are considered ordinary and try and reach consensus.” “For example, in the Company and Allied Act, there are issues that require simply majority while others require two-thirds majority and 75 per cent and even unanimous in some situations,” he said. “Voting is not universal in many aspects of life. If we insist in 75 per cent in all cases, the confab may not achieve anything significant within the given timeframe.” Uche listed state creation, negotiation of the statehood, and state police, among other serious issues that have great implications for the continued existence of country, that could be scaled. The NECA chief also supported the adoption of referendum at the end of the debates to obtain ownership of the Nigerian people. He said: “I believe in using referendum to determine the acceptance level of resolution because there are other Nigerians, who are knowledgeable about the best way to run Nigeria but are not here. “I think that referendum will give such people and, indeed, all Nigerians the opportunity to be a part of the process. “Besides the all inclusiveness of referendum, it also helps authenticate all the resolutions because every Nigerians will feel they are part of the process and therefore can lay ownership of the conclusions.
Uche “We should not forget that referendum is based on simple majority.” Uche said the agenda of NECA at the conference is to seek policy discourse that will promote the generation of massive employment for the Nigerian youths, as well as ways of curbing the cost of governance. “Our agenda at this conference is to support any discourse that will promote provision of massive jobs for the unemployed, and most importantly to seek ways of reducing cost of governance and curb corruption in the system,” he said. “We will also be interested in the way Nigeria should go on deregulation as a policy.” He said employers were not happy about the continued spending of about 70 per cent of the national budget on recurrent expenditure rather than on capital expenditure that can promote infrastructure for economic growth. “In the 80s, it used to be 30 per cent for recurrent and 70 per cent for capital,” he said. “Employers have continually said that government should leave business to the entrepreneurs to run.”
Delegates decry neglect of Okun Yoruba area HEsix delegates from the with their colleagues from T Okun Yoruba area of other parts of the country, Kogi State to the ongoing to seek solutions to the national conference have expressed concern over the continued neglect of their communities by successive administrations in the state. The delegates, who came to the conference on various platforms, made their views known at the weekend in Abuja at a dinner organised in their honour by the Okun Development Association. Former Minister of Industries and President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chief Kola Jamodu, who spoke on their behalf, said the neglect of infrastructure in the Okun area and the continued deterioration in the representation of Okun people and their Oworo compatriots in the governance of Kogi State were unacceptable. Thus, they pledged to work
problem and to bring about the realisation of the aspirations of their people. The other Okun delegates are retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Raphael Osanaiye, former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), Ambassador John Kayode Sinkaiye, former Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Prince Olusola Akanmode and Dr. Femi Obayori of the Lagos State University. Jamodu said the delegates were familiar with the demands of the Okun people, as expressed in their position paper on the national conference and the communiqué issued at the end of a conference of the Okun Development Association on March 5 this year. He gave assurance that they would work assidu-
Jamodu ously towards getting the conference to address the salient issues raised in the two documents. In his goodwill message, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Chief Yomi Awoniyi, expressed satisfaction that Okunland was being represented at the conference by delegates who could hold their own anywhere in the world. Awoniyi said he had read both the communiqué and the Okun Position Paper
and that he was confident that the delegates would do justice both to their reputation and to the aspirations of their people. The President, Okun Development Association, Ambassador Babatunde Fadumiyo, urged the delegates to work together in pursuing the creation of Okun State and the relocation of the Okun people’s political boundary from the North Central to the Southwest geo-political zone. Former Minister of Health and convener, Okun ThinkTank, Professor Eyitayo Lambo, in his remarks, said it was by divine favour that the proposed Okun State, with five local government areas, was coming to the national conference with six delegates. He implored the delegates to work as a team to advance the cause of Okun people, regardless of which platform brought them to the conference.
14 | Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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 Still on fuel scarcity HE continuing spectacle of petrol scarcity in the country is an embarT rassment for which culpable officials should be sanctioned. It has gone on for too long and may continue if the right steps are not taken. Petroleum marketers had last December alerted the public to imminent petrol scarcity. They were complaining about mounting arrears of petrol subsidy payments owed to fuel importers and delay in issuing licences for fresh imports of petrol. Subsidy payments become due 45 days after delivery of the required product. Subsidy claims are meant to be verified during that period. Even then their fears could come to nothing should the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which issues the licences decide not to give them out in order to checkmate any hankypanky by licensee marketers over the volume of product imported. In that event, the NNPC will be expected to import the entire shortfall in supply of the country’s petrol requirement for allocation to marketers with the necessary bulk storage facilities and eventual distribution. That option is not only feasible and profitable but also tidier than to farm out petrol importation to several marketers. Indeed, the NNPC not long ago gave the impression that it had braced up to implement that option when it explained that a large chunk of the funds yet to be remitted to the Federation Account (FA) was tied down in the corporation’s 30-day stock of various refined petroleum products as strategic reserve for emergency use. However, going by the recent Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) testimony before the Senate, the marketers’ position was correct. Thus, the latest two-month long spell of petrol scarcity along with the immense socio-economic cost that it occasioned, was certainly caused by the misconduct of officials. It is, therefore, not enough for the PPPRA to apologise to the Senate: all officials who neglected their duty and precipitated the petrol scarcity should face action. Contrary to Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke’s assertion the other day, the petrol scarcity was not the result of sabotage, diversion and hoarding. Not even the NNPC had any petrol being hoarded in its depots. The question that arises is, where are the unremitted funds supposedly spent on the phantom stock of refined petroleum products? Furthermore, the minister stated categorically that the subsidy policy could not be sustained any longer. That firm standpoint provoked widespread speculation in the media that petrol subsidy was on the verge of being removed. The recent apologetic PPPRA testimony before the Senate, however, gave express assurance that there were no immediate plans to scrap petrol subsidy. Firstly, it is highly improbable that petrol subsidy will be removed before the next general elections. Secondly, there is provision for petrol subsidy payment in the 2014 budget proposals which the National Assembly cannot by any stretch of imagination be expected to throw out. Thirdly, the public protests against the removal of petrol subsidy in 2012 rules out any subsequent unilateral removal of fuel subsidy by the President. Fourthly, the minister is not supposed to take a cue from the forum of commissioners of finance which had one week before her address called for the removal of petrol subsidy with the apparent expectation of raising FA allocations to the states. And talking about raising FA allocations, state finance commissioners reaped a bumper revenue harvest in 2013 even with the petrol subsidy in place. The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) drew down the Excess Crude Account (ECA) by at least US$7 billion. This was despite collecting the accruals from “the stable 2.3 million barrels per day (mbd) production of crude oil” in 2013 which marked the highest production level since 2008. Average crude oil price was over $110 per barrel. The socalled oil price benchmark meant little. The almost insatiable appetite of states led to the furore over revenue shortfall in the course of 2013: it arose from the ill-advised practice of counting chickens before they are hatched as regards the set 2013 budget production volume of 2.5 mbd. The FAAC has not settled for a pragmatic revenue expectation based on actual sales volumes. Nonetheless, the realistic approach, going forward, is to scrap the ECA altogether. The Petroleum Minister also missed the point when she asserted that removal of fuel subsidy was the only way in which capital investment in petroleum refineries could be encouraged. Virtually all sectors of the economy experience gross under-investment because of prevailing harsh economy conditions. Verily, conducive economic conditions will remain elusive until the FAAC begins to allocate FA dollar accruals for the individual beneficiaries to convert to realised naira revenue through deposit money banks. Over the years, Nigeria’s petroleum industry has not been run as an institution in the vanguard of seeking solutions to the country’s oil and economic problems. This must change.
Issues in Ekiti governorship campaign IR: “Weep not, child, weep tration of doing nothing and that he should tell the Ekiti Skisses not, my darling, with these with funds accruing to the electorate what he would do let me remove your state from the Federation better if realises his ambition of tears; the ravening clouds shall not long be victorious. They shall not long possess the sky – shall devour the stars only in apparition; Jupiter shall emerge-be patient-watch again another night – the Pleiades shall emerge”. These words are those of a father consoling his child on a beach at night in a bid to give a highly importunate and crestfallen young one a lullaby to enjoy a relief from the endless cries piercing his eardrums. This is the season of politics in Ekiti State and politicians gunning for the forthcoming governorship election will use all tricks in the book including lies, blackmail, subterfuge, unrealistic promises and other devices to hoodwink the electorate. The state’s governorship contest is around the corner and many of the aspirants have resorted to telling lies all in the name of clinching the tickets of their parties. The most egregious falsehood from the governorship motley crowd was the one spewed by a recently sacked minister. In a bid to justify his ambition, the ex-minister accused the Fayemi adminis-
Account. Those of us who knew the condition Fayemi met the state in October 2010 believe that the governor has faithfully utilised the resources available to turn round the fortunes of the state in the areas of infrastructure, education, tourism, human capital development, urban renewal, agriculture, empowerment, among others. One would have thought the ex-minister would have been honest to acknowledge that Fayemi has done a lot
ruling the state. Fayemi has restored Ekiti’s core values through good governance, quality and viable representation and service delivery. I will advise all aspirants to weep for their party and not Fayemi who has become a rallying point/symbol for a modernised Ekiti. Ekiti people are wise, knowledgeable and discerning enough to know what is good for them and they will speak with their votes at the June 21 election. • Sina Odewale, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State
Restoring sanity to the Gateway trailer park Kindly permit me space Sof IR:tothecommend the activities Ogun State government in curbing the menace caused by owners of illegal structures at the Gateway Trailer Park, Ogere along the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway. A pointer to this is the 24hour ultimatum given by the State Government last week through the General Manager, Parks and Garages Development Board in the state Alhaji Ola-Ayo Ogunsolu to owners of illegal
structures and shanty operators to vacate the park. The ultimatum came as an aftermath of the inferno, which occurred on March 22 in the park, which claimed property worth millions of naira. Prior to the ultimatum, the illegal structures have constituted a nuisance to the tanker drivers and commuters on the route. I believe that with this move, sanity will be restored to the park and its environs. •Temidayo Agida, Sagamu, Ogun State.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Opinion The court verdict on the FRSC’s number plates By Luke Onyekakeyah AST week’s verdict by the Federal High Court Lvehicle in Lagos voiding the imposition of the new number plates by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) on motorists across the country is cheery news for weary Nigerians, who are buffeted on all fronts with oppressive policies of different government agencies. The verdict is a great relief to the people. It reaffirmed the saying that the court is the last hope of the common man. Motorists can now move on the highways without fear or intimidation by the FRSC personnel. It is high time that the culture of impunity is stopped in the interest of good governance. Coming at a time when scores of young innocent unemployed graduates perished in different stadia across the county while hunting for a bogus job recruitment by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the court has doused what could be another bloody confrontations by motorists and men of the FRSC, who would be hellbent to impound or arrest motorists who may not have acquired the new number plates. Unfortunately, the Nigerian space has been turned into a jungle, where the fittest prey on the weak. That is why different arms of government – the Police, Navy, Customs, Immigration, etc, are preying on the citizenry at the slightest opportunity. If someone had, perhaps, dragged the NIS to court to challenge the ill-fated job recruitment exercise, those who died could have been saved. The lesson from these incidents is that Nigerians should not be complacent on issues that affect them negatively. They should go to court to challenge the unimaginable. That may be the only way to curtail the culture of impunity. According to reports, Justice James Tsoho delivered the popular verdict in a suit filed by a lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ofoegbu, against the FRSC. Ofoegbu had challenged the power of the FRSC to impound vehicles of motorists who failed to acquire the new number plates. In his judgment, Tsoho held that it was unlawful for the FRSC to impose new number plates on motorists, when there is no existing law permitting the same. He said the issue of redesigning new number plates by the FRSC is not
covered under the provisions of any law in Nigeria. Consequently, he said the FRSC cannot force Nigerians to acquire the new number plates by impounding cars, without the backing of any legislation to that effect. Tsoho said, “I hold that the act of the respondent amounts to an arbitrary use of power and is, therefore, illegal and unconstitutional”. “Judgment is, therefore, entered in favour of the plaintiff and all the reliefs sought hereby granted, I so hold”. Applause! Mr. Ofoegbu had filed the suit on September 30, 2013 after the FRSC had set October 1, 2013 deadline for all vehicle owners in Nigeria to obtain the new number plates and driver’s licence. Mounting pressure by Nigerians forced the Commission to back down shift the deadline to June, 2014, which again is not feasible. There is nowhere in the world where millions of vehicle owners are given few months deadline to acquire new imposed vehicle number plates and driver’s licence, especially, in a country where graft, extortion and exploitation are norms. Getting these instruments over the past year has proved most daunting. It takes over a year to get the new driver’s licence. The website of the FRSC is permanently blocked, thereby, making it impossible to process the payments as directed through designated banks. Elsewhere, when there is a legal need to change vehicle number plates or driver’s licence, it is done administratively over a long time without hassle, during which motorists acquire the new instruments as they renew the old ones. That shows transparency, as no vested interest by individuals or group is there to gain from the exercise. But the way and manner the FRSC has been issuing deadlines with threats shows the ulterior motive in the whole exercise. While claiming that the number plates and driver’s licence were designed to curb road carnage, it is obvious that the underlying motive is to generate billions over a short period for some unknown purpose. The new instruments have little or nothing to do with curbing the rate of accidents. Rather than abating, the rate of accidents has increased since the idea was mooted going by available statistics. Whereas, Nigerians have hailed the people-ori-
ented court verdict, with many demanding a refund and apology from the FRSC, it is sad that the Commission is struggling to defend the indefensible by saying that it would appeal the case. The excuse that the court did not strip its statutory power to design and produce number plates is inconsequential. That merely amounts to belaboring the issue. Nobody has said the FRSC has no power to design and produce a legally mandated vehicle number plate or driver’s licence. Even at that, setting a deadline without a law invalidating the old one would still be illegal. For the avoidance of doubt, the plaintiff had averred that the old number plates were issued under the provisions of the National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR) 2004. The NRTR 2004, he said, is a subsidiary legislation made under the FRSC Act, laws of the Federation of Nigeria as revised in 2004. Furthermore, he averred that the NRTR 2012, under Regulation 230 (2), provides that “the revocation of the 2004 Regulations, shall not affect anything done, or purported to be done pursuant to that Regulation”. He said, there is no law made in accordance with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which prohibits the use of the old number plate, or declares its use as an offence. With these glaring legal clarifications, it is abundantly clear that the FRSC acted ultra vires in designing, producing and imposing the new number plates and driver’s licences on motorists. The implication of the verdict is that all the actions carried out by the FRSC under the illegal number plates have been nullified. Vehicles cannot bear illegal number plates. Motorists who have acquired the new numbers are therefore right to demand a refund and apology from the FRSC. Rather than accept the verdict in good faith and do the right thing, the FRSC is threatening to appeal the case. Since the old number plate is backed by law, while the new one has been declared illegal, what is the legal basis of an appeal? The Commission should not set itself on collision course with members of the public. The issue at hand is not a do-or-die affair. There should be rule of law in this country. Going to
appeal would only portray the FRSC as being desperate to impose the new number plates on motorists without legal backing. The public has been sensitized by the verdict. And that would make it even more difficult for FRSC men to intimidate or harass any motorist. The FRSC started well at the beginning; but over the years the trust and confidence Nigerians placed on the Commission has gradually eroded. At the beginning, you could only see the FRSC on the highways diligently doing their job without extorting motorists. But that has changed. The FRSC personnel now lay ambush for motorists at street corners just to harass and extort money in broad daylight. For instance, what is the FRSC doing on the Lagos Airport Road between Hajj Camp and the junction of the tollgate? That area is within the airport premises, where practically, no accidents occur and motorists are not on speed because of the short distance. So, why are the FRSC men always there stopping motorists rushing to catch their flight at the airport? The FRSC should know that about 85 to 90 per cent of deadly road carnages in the country involve commercial vehicles – the ubiquitous trailers, tankers, articulated vehicles, mini and luxury buses. Reckless drivers mostly drive these vehicles and constitute danger on the highways. Private cars going to the airport don’t constitute danger within the short run where the FRSC mounts its roadblock. It is obvious from the foregoing that the FRSC is overstepping its bounds. From the outset, the new vehicle number plate has been controversial and unpopular. First the Senate suspended it following mounting controversy. After a long pause, the Commission resumed the issuance and issued a deadline of October 1, 2013, which was again shifted to June 2014. All these are happening because there is no law backing the action of the FRSC. Some people just want to fleece motorists like the NIS recruitment. If there had been a law backing the new number plate, nothing would have shifted the set deadline without first amending the law. Now that the FRSC has been told that it is acting outside the ambit of the law, it should suspend further action on the vehicle number plates and driver’s licence and do what is just for sanity to prevail.
The monetary policy committee decisions By Boniface Chizea HE Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting which held in T the period March 24-25 had its outcome eagerly anticipated. The nervousness that surrounded the expectation of the outcome of the meeting was due to the felt need by economic agents that market expectations should be carefully managed following the sudden suspension of Governor Sanusi under rather controversial circumstances. And the Naira came under speculative attack as the market was wary that the tight posture of policy thrust under the Sanusi regime may not survive him. And, therefore, what was witnessed was a flight to safety using the dollar until the coast was cleared. The verdict across board is that the MPC rose to the challenge as could be gleaned from the decisions of the Committee as reported. One would expect that the outcome of the meeting should go a long way in assuring particularly foreign investors that at least in the near-term that the devaluation of the Naira is not an option and, therefore, that fear should at least for now be suspended. To buttress the observation that the decisions taken were correct, the exchange rate immediately firmed up in the foreign exchange inter-bank market on Wednesday following the release of the decision of the committee. The Naira ended the day at the rate of 164.90 Naira at the inter-bank market – same rate as for the previous day. The exchange rate had weakened to 165.7 to the dollar a few hours before the announcement until it became obvious that the fear of the devaluation of the Naira was unfounded. What could have jolted the market and most certainly destabilised it was the expectation that the mid-point value of the Naira which was 155 to the dollar was going to be increased. If that happened we would right now have had a crisis on our hands! It might not be Uhuru yet as no doubt one should expect that there will be some wait-and-see attitude which should for now be uncalled for as the incoming Governor of the Central Bank during his confirmation hearing by the Senate threw his weight behind the strong Naira policy of the Central Bank, rightly justifying his position with the argument that currency devaluation is an option favoured by countries intent on boosting the price competitiveness of their export products. Nigeria unfortunately does not enjoy the luxury of having a robust non-oil export sector since the main foreign exchange earner for the country – oil – is already de-
nominated in dollars. Emefiele made the point clearly that as an import-dependent economy, devaluation would only worsen the inflationary pressure leading to a rise in the misery index in the economy. One should, therefore, expect that the stance adopted by the incoming Governor would go a long way to reassure investors regarding the stability of policy in this respect. The MPC kept the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 12 per cent over 15 consecutive meetings. But this in itself should not be surprising as at this rate and considering the negative consequences of high interest rate which amongst other factors had accounted for the poor level of contribution to the Gross Domestic Product by the Real Sector of the economy particularly the manufacturing sector; the only realistic direction the MPR could go is south. And questions have been asked, ‘why not tweak this rate, even notionally over this period instead of just leaving it at the same rate over such a long period?’ What would be of interest is to find out in the circumstances to what extent the demand for credit in the country is sensitive to slight changes in interest rates particularly the MPR. But this particular posture of not tampering with the MPR cannot be surprising as I had it argued by someone who should know better at a public presentation that it is not the task of the Central Bank to worry about the level of interest rates in the economy. What immediately comes to mind is to ask if interest rate does not belong to the gamut of prices in the economy. If, therefore, we all agree that the core mandate of the Central Bank is price and exchange rate stability, it follows logically that the Central Bank should be concerned and not feel powerless to show leadership in this connection. In fact in most other industrialized economies, the ready instrument for use by the Central Bank is indicative change in the level of interest rate and this is eagerly monitored as it impacts directly the burden of mortgage repayments. And what is more is the realization that interest rates are factor costs which directly impact the level of inflation in the economy and, therefore, we cannot accept the mandate of price stability without worrying about the level of interest rates. We do hope that as Emefiele assumes duty that this is an area he would like to look into. One appreciates the rationale that resulted in the decision to withdraw public sector deposits from the banks. We had the strange situation whereby public sector interests would have de-
posits sitting on bank accounts earning un-remunerative interest income but then resort to borrowing at the usurious rates that prevail in the economy. But due caution should be exercised if there is the intention to go beyond the existing rate of 75 per cent withdrawal of public sector funds. It will impact negatively on the prevailing rather high level of interest rates and could precipitate another round of distress among the banks. The decision to increase the CRR on private sector deposits from 12 to 15 per cent, it has been estimated, would result in the mopping up of the sum of N300 billion from circulation. Well, I looked at this decision and I concluded that it might not send the right message if the MPC meets for two days and no changes were made, even if one could argue that not effecting any changes is in itself a decision. But this is a route we should be very careful about following because when compatriots argue regarding jobless growth the main reason as I have argued is that the real sector of the economy is not performing and one of the key reasons for this which accounts for lack of competitiveness of this sector is the unsustainable high levels of cost of capital. And it goes without saying that continued sterilization direct impacts negatively the interest rates. In the interim there are other measures which the Central Bank could take in its bid to continue to defend the rate of exchange. In the past, the CBN attempted to position itself as one other supplier of foreign exchange in the market by encouraging the sourcing of foreign exchange from autonomous sources. Does the CBN for instance track the foreign exchange earnings from oil companies and their utilization? And as arbitrage opportunity arise following evolving parallel market premium, to what extent is the Central Bank monitoring to discourage the temptation to round-trip by the banks? We allocate foreign exchange to bureau de change and there is this fear that this channel has been used in the past for money laundering. What is being done to plug any loopholes if any? The bottom line is that as a result of oil theft, vandalism and other leakages continued reliance on the reserves to maintain stability of the exchange rate might not be sustainable and therefore there is the urgent need to think outside the box. • Dr. Chizea is Managing Consultant, BIC Consultancy Services, Lagos.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Opinion A sickening hope for Federal pensioners By P. C. Anaekwe HE Federal Government has a penchant for T disputing every adverse international human development index but the one it lacks even the moral authority to deny is the Global Age Watch Index, 2013 which ranked 91 countries in terms of the quality of life of the elderly. Sweden and Norway were ranked first and second while Nigeria was ranked 85th, ahead of Malawi, Rwanda, Jordan, and its familiar pals – Pakistan, Tanzania and Afghanistan. The Federal Government cannot deny this index because it owes its pensioners of the old defined benefits scheme (pension and gratuity) substantial arrears of pension since July 1, 2009. By two circulars SWC/S/04/S.100/II/408 and SWC/S/04/S.100/II/403 dated December 8, 2009 issued by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, the Federal Government approved the Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure II (CONTISS II) for non-academic Staff of Federal Universities and the Consolidated University Academic Staff Salary Structure (CONUAS II) for the academic staff, with effect from July 1, 2009. CONTISS II and CONUASS II increased the salary of university Non-Academic and Academic Staff by 53 and 57 per cent, respectively. The salary of the rest of the Federal Service was later also increased by 53 per cent. Officers in service receive the new salary increase and are not owed any arrears but pensioners are not so favoured. Apart from military pensioners who began to receive the salary increase with their current monthly pension in 2013 leaving the arrears still outstanding, Federal pensioners are yet to be paid one kobo of their own component of the 2009 salary increase in egregious breach of mandatory constitutional provisions. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 provides in Section 173(3) (s. 210(3) for the states) as follows: “Pensions shall be reviewed every five years or TOGETHER with any Federal Civil Service salary reviews, whichever is earlier” (emphasis mine). What the Constitution clearly directs in sections 173(3) and 210(3) are as follows: (1) that pensions of federal and state pensioners shall be reviewed every five years whether or not there is general civil service salary review during the period; (2) that pensions shall be reviewed contemporaneously with every civil service salary review; (3) that review of pensions is not tied inexorably to review of civil service salary: pensions must be re-
viewed every five years and any time soon after that civil service pension is reviewed. The Constitution is so zealously jealous of the welfare of public service pensioners that it makes it mandatory that pensions be reviewed periodically to ensure that pensioners receive what translates to a reasonable living wage – a burden it expressly imposes on government in Section 16(2)(d): “The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that … reasonable national minimum LIVING wage, old age care and pensions … are provided for all citizens.” What this means is that pension is not to be tied to the provision of pension legislation and regulations which are discriminatory to the extent that pensioners are to be paid 33 per cent increase instead of 53 per cent paid to serving officers! The framers of the 1999 Constitution must be shocked by this rape of pensioners. Whatever allowances pensioners are inexplicably denied is counter-balanced by pensioners’ need of substantial allowance to cater for their obvious heavy medical bill. The spirit of sections 173(3) and 210(3) of the Constitution dictates that pensioners should receive at least the same increment as serving officers. It cannot be within the contemplation of the Constitution that pensioners’ standard of living must paradoxically nosedive substantially by the auspicious act of retirement after meritorious service to the nation. There is no baser example of man’s inhumanity to man than the refusal of the federal and all the state governments to implement the beneficent provision of the Constitution for periodic review of pensions since it was introduced in 1999. The Presidents and the Governors who have ruled Nigeria from 1999 to-date stand condemned by the Holy Bible in James 5: 4: “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the LORD of Sabaoth.” The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) also heard the cry of pensioners and their engagement of the Presidency on behalf of pensioners in 2013 finally jolted the Federal Government to action. President Goodluck Jonathan is reported to have recently established two bodies sounding alike – the Pension Constitutional Arrangement Department (PCAD) to look into the matter of pensioners under the old scheme, and the Pen-
sion Transition Arrangement Department (PTAD) to take over the management of three of the offices currently running the old pension scheme – the Civil Service Pension Department, the Police Pension Office and the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO). The Pension Board of Trustees of federal parastatals are also to report directly to the DirectorGeneral of PTAD. The establishment of the PCAD and the PTAD which should be merged if they are two different bodies gives cause to fear and not to cheer, in view of the recent ugly experience of wholesale looting of pension funds and dehumanization of pensioners by all hues of “Task Forces” which ended up creating more problems than they solved. What is needed is not more bureaucracy but better control and adequate and prompt release of funds. The new contraption(s) must not tamper with the subsisting arrangements for payment of pension, especially with respect to parastatals whose pension arrangements are working very well, thanks to the commendable role of pension administrators who are also at the heart of the success story of the National Pension Commission. The pension administrators, in collaboration with the Pension Boards of Trustees of the parastatals, have generally acquitted themselves creditably by ensuring that pensioners receive their pension as and when due in spite of substantially reduced, and late release, of funds to them. The Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance was reported to have stated recently that the country is yet to fully absorb the pension implications of the 2010 wage increases and the government has “been under pressure from many quarters, including Senators, to integrate the civilian component of pension, and doing so will further increase the recurrent budget”. This statement which echoes his Minister’s earlier lamentation during her presentation of the 2014 budget to the public that the high recurrent budget is going to persist in 2015 if pensioners’ arrears are incorporated, makes it doubtful whether the arrears will be included in the 2015 budget. It is obvious that the expectation of federal pensioners is in dire danger of perishing forever contrary to the word of the LORD: “For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.” (Psalm 9, 18). It is wishful thinking to expect a country where nothing works and looting the treasury is the
strong drive of political office seekers, to institute policies for the care of the elderly but to deny the elderly of pension which they earned after lifetime service to the nation is the unkindest cut of all. It is a crime that cries to heaven for vengeance. President Jonathan’s Nightingales and nightjars need not cast about for evidence of the success of his transformation agenda: he has successfully transformed to paupers and ghosts federal pensioners who did not corruptly enrich themselves while in office or do not have well-to-do relations and faithful friends. For every pensioner that goes to bed on an empty stomach, that languishes to death on his sick-bed for want of medical care, that goes blind because he cannot afford medication or surgery, that goes to his grave in penury, when he is owed hundred thousands or millions of naira in arrears of pension, his blood, like the voice of the blood of Abel, will cry to the LORD and “He will avenge the blood of His servants.” (Deuteronomy 32, 43) Since it is obvious that the executive arm of government did not provide for pension arrears in 2014 budget and the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy baulked at the thought of including it in the 2015 budget for the laughable reason that the arrears the government unconscionably fattened for five years is now too burdensome to pay, pensioners’ last resort is to appeal to members of the National Assembly who appear to feel for pensioners and are still considering the 2014 budget. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress, along with the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, should once more come to the aid of federal pensioners by prevailing on the legislators to move funds for grandiose projects like presidential jet and construction of a new Abuja city gate, and other projects that can wait like expansion of the National Assembly complex, to payment of arrears of pension which is a matter of life and death. The legislators, being the peoples’ representatives, must keep faith with the hapless senior citizens and not allow the expectation of a single pensioner receiving his arrears of pension to further perish forever, by providing for payment in full of arrears of pension of federal pensioners in the 2014 budget. • Anaekwe wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org
Revisiting the state of our press (2) By Pius Isiekwene LOSELY related to the inadequacy of professional manpower C is the entry of entrepreneurs without passion for journalism or public service into the media industry. Very much like unqualified journalists, such investors’ major motivators are fame and money. They cannot bear the capital intensive nature of media investments and the relatively long gestation periods. They entice journalists with unsustainable pay packets and default in payment of salaries within months of take-off. Even where such investors experience quick breakthroughs, revenues are not reinvested into the fledgling media businesses and journalists are made to bear the brunt of the entrepreneurs’ recklessness. Those who can resign their jobs while others who cannot hang on hopeless hope, employing their “identify cards” as “meal tickets.” They resort to touting and subtler means of extorting money from news sources and events’ organisers. They gleefully announce to dignitaries, like Cole observed, “your boys are here” or openly request transport fares. There also appears to be a glaring absence of self-regulation within the industry and respective media organisations. Media houses that do not pay or delay salaries for long periods lack the moral authority to regulate their employees. But those employers that live up to their obligations also seem to presume self-regulation by the journalists themselves. Such self-regulation has become rare rather than common as the more respectable ones are easily converted by their less privileged counterparts left on their own by delinquent employers. Sometimes, out of a spirit of camaraderie and not wanting to play holier-than-thou, the selfrespecting journalists succumb to the filthy lucre of money-forstory schemes. Another major hindrance to effective journalistic practice is, ironically, the beat system. The beat system is helpful and can aid a mastery of policies and issues associated with a journalist’s assignments. But it is prone to abuse, especially when a particular reporter or correspondent is retained on the same beat for a long time. Some are, sadly, so retained at the behest of the reported
organisation. Some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are known to influence the assignment of reporters to their institutions. And once an unholy rapport is struck, no change is allowed. The maintenance of beat journalists has, not surprisingly, become a major item on some MDAs’ budgets. Some correspondents’ associations had taken their cozy relationships with ‘client’ organisations to ridiculous levels by setting up bogus awards to honour ‘the best in the land’ before the Nigeria Union of Journalists intervened years ago. Perhaps there are no more of such awards or they are now sparingly given. So, what can be done to restore the integrity and dignity of journalism for the good of the profession and the society? Cole proffers a germane solution. Journalists should revert to their core duty “to examine, report, re-evaluate and report again” while holding facts as sacred. They should also do so “endlessly, ceaselessly and unfailingly.” Only those that live up to this billing should be engaged as journalists. Those already employed who cannot meet up with these professional demands should be retrained where they are willing and have the potential. Where, otherwise, they should be encouraged to seek other means of livelihood outside journalism. Training and re-training of journalists should be stepped up. Journalism remains about the only profession where there is no mandatory continuing education programme for practitioners. A good number of people are also employed without any training in journalism just because they have a flair for writing. People with such flair who desire to make careers in journalism but lack the requisite qualifications should be encouraged to undergo further journalism-specific training. First degree holders in other disciplines who seek to practise law enroll afresh into law faculties for a three or four year pre-Law School programme. Non-accounting degree and diploma graduates must undertake the mandatory courses of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) or Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) before they can practise in Nigeria. The same is true of other established professions. A gifted journalist who can correctly analyse financial reports and trends is not inducted into
ICAN or ANAN because of his talent. He has to qualify. If such is good for accounting and other professions, it must be good for journalism. Unscrupulous investors who cannot support a new media project for a period of not less than one year should be stopped from using the Fourth Estate as a route to the corridors of power or fame without any plans of sustaining the investment. How can this be done? Once there is an agreement in principle, the relevant trade and professional bodies including NUJ, NPAN, Broadcast Organisation of Nigeria (BON) can undertake pre-project appraisals to determine capital adequacy, cash flow projections, conditions of service and training programmes. Not just anyone can set up a pharmacy shop, medical clinic or accounting firm without the clearance of relevant bodies in Nigeria. Why would just anyone float a media organization with much greater sociopolitical impact on the society without any form of scrutiny? Beat associations do not need to be banned because of their potential benefits to the profession and the society. But a more creative approach of periodic performance reviews and re-assignments should be undertaken by media managers to forestall the compromise of reporters or collusion between reporters and their beat hosts. A maximum tenure of two years on the same beat is a reasonable guide. It is not the business of beat associations to give awards and the trend should be firmly halted. The restoration of the glory of the press should not be left to the journalists alone, though they have the major stake. Everyone – news sources, employers, trade and professional bodies – has an obligation to aid the journalist in the course of his work without compromising or exploiting him. If a brown envelope is not offered, there would be no temptation to accept it. If salaries are promptly paid, the tendency to extract income by other means will subside. The unions and trade groups should regulate their members and rise up in their defence when they are subjected to abuse. Only then can Nigeria have back her vibrant press that was once one of the best in the English speaking world. • Concluded. • Isiekwene is a Lagos-based communications consultant and trainer.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 17
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
TheMetroSection Man bags 51-year jail term for stealing N14m • Another gets N5 million compensation for losing arm N Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court on A Monday sentenced one Taiwo Ojo to 51 years imprison for stealing N14 million belonging to the Traditional Council of Obas. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state counsel, Mr Akintayo Arogundade, told the court that the accused committed the offence in September 2008 and April 2009 at Ilawe-Ekiti. He said that the accused was facing a 12-count charge bordering on stealing, cheating, forgery and fraud. Arogundade said that the accused forged the signature of His Royal Majesty, Oba Oladapo Oyebade, the Ologotun of Ogotun-Ekiti, by signing his signature on payment vouchers. The prosecutor alleged that the accused also forged the signature of Oni Joseph, the Secretary of the Traditional Council of Ekiti Southwest Local Council. According to him, the accused used the signatures to withdrew N14 million from the Traditional Council account of the Ekiti South-west Local Council. In his plea, the counsel to the accused, Mr. Kayode Akinwumi, urged the court to tamper justice with mercy and be lenient with his client. The Chief Magistrate, Ropo Adegboye said in his judgement that the accused was guilty of the offence as charged, following evidence of the prosecutors, including Oba Oyebade. He sentenced the accused person to two years imprison on count one to three and five years
on count four to twelve, saying the sentence would run concurrently. In another development, man gets N5 million compensation after losing an arm to a waste machine at West Coast Investment Limited, Joshua Ejiyere smiled home Monday after a Lagos High Court, Igbosere ordered the firm to pay N5 million
compensation. Trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Adebajo gave the order in a suit filed by the amputee against the firm, after upholding the claimant’s submission that the defendant was negligent in its operation of the machine. Ejiyere had approached the court presided by Justice Ebenezer Adebajo claiming that he lost
his right arm in the process of feeding waste into a machine owned by the defendant. He claimed that he sustained the injury while working on the machine because another employee of the firm suddenly turned on the machine which was off at the time he commenced work. He prayed the court to order the company to pay him N10 million for losing his right arm and also pick the bills of his medical treatment. But in their submission, the firm prayed the court to dismiss the suit on grounds that the claimant was a trespasser and not its employee, adding that the person who caused the accident was no longer on its employ. In his judgment, Justice Adebajo who acknowledged that the claimant was not an employee of the firm, however, dismissed the company’s claim that he was a trespasser. Citing evidence given in the cause of trial, Justice Adebajo held that the claimant was invited to West Coast’s premises. “Being a person legally in the premises of the first defendant, the company owed the claimant a duty of care. “The duty of care was breached when the first defendant’s employee (second defendant) switched on the machine without any warning,” the court held. Holding that the defendants conducted their affairs negligently, Justice Adebajo ordered them to pay the claimant N5 million as general damages as well as pay the cost of his treatment running into over N500,000 as
Flood threats: Assembly reiterates special status call for Lagos By Wole Oyebade HE Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday reiterated the call T for a special status for Lagos State, considering its several kilometres of shoreline and attendant danger of flooding. The call was made in respect of the prediction that Lagos, among other states, is on the brink of heavy flooding come 2014 rainy season. The meteorological agency has predicted that the rains would again come in torrents in the coming months and Lagos among others, are more at risk. Lagos Assembly, in a statement on Monday, said giving special status to the coastal state would help her cope with environmental challenges of yet another flooding in 2014 and beyond. The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity, Segun Olulade, added that the status was also necessary for its economic and social importance to the country.
Olulade argued that calling for special status for Lagos was a fair course, “devoid of sentiment and in the interest of Nigeria as a nation.” The lawmaker representing Epe II Constituency, said: “Special status indicates that the Federal Government will give priority and special focus to Lagos matters. “We consider Lagos as a special place for the entire Nigerians. Looking at the population, every ethnic nationalities from all villages in Nigeria is represented in the population of Lagos. The State records over 100 fresh immigrants from all other States on daily basis. They settle down and live in the densely populated society with growing population hovering around 26 million presently.” He said further that Lagos also serves as economic hub for the nation and former federal capital. Lagos accommodates over 70 per cent of multinational companies, diplomatic offices and key Federal government facilities such as the sea ports and international airports to mention.
“Lagos connects Nigeria to the rest of the West African sub-region via the ECOWAS international road on Badagry axis. Looking at all of these, this is not a State the Federal Government should allow to swim in the murky waters of environmental challenges, security threats, housing problems and many more,” he said. Olulade stressed that the gloomy prediction that Lagos would witness stormy period in 2014 and beyond due to climate change, should imply to Federal Government that “a serious economic challenge is imminent for the country.” He, however, urged the Federal Government to “drop all political toga” and for once, support the motion for special status for Lagos, which has been raised by Lagos Lawmakers at both Senate and House of representatives. “For example, in the United States, the former capital, New York City is accorded equal status with Washington D.C, the U.S. capital. If possible, the Federal Government should make it an executive bill and ensure Lagos is treated fairly given its peculiar position in the nation’s economic growth and development,” he said.
ASCON Oil boss distributes one million books to students in Lagos By Odita Sunday S part of its Corporate SoA cial Responsibility, the management of ASCON Oil Company has distributed no fewer than one million books to students of University of Lagos. The book entitled ‘Student Unusual’ and written by Ayo Ogunjimi was distributed to students of University of Lagos at the Afe Babalola Auditorium, UNILAG Campus, Akoka, Lagos. Managing Director of ASCON Oil Company, Mrs. Grace Olowofeyeku, who supervised the distribution, said: “It is our dream to see youths transformed through education and knowledge. “What kind of future do you foresee for the continent of Africa in 2050 and beyond? How proud will Africa stand among other continents of the world? How low will it have to bow its head in intimidation and inferiority?
“I ask these questions in all humility, and with the personal conviction that these are questions all of us must strive to answer, not just through words, but also through deeds as well. I would love to see an Africa that has its story re-written. “I would love to see an Africa with enough to meet the needs of its inhabitants and more than enough to give to other continents of the world that may be in need at that point in time,” she said. She said her intention is to see an African continent where young people would make a difference and contribute to the growth of world economy. She said: “I would love to see an Africa where young people make all the difference, exploring the possibilities of their potentials without hindrances and contributing significantly to the building up of wisdom value for the world at large. “It is my dream to see the average African youth trans-
Chairman of ASCON Oil company, Alhaji Gwadabe Aliko (left), representative of the Nigerian Television Authority Network Centre, Ibadan, Mr. Kunle Ajala, General Manager, Lubes and Specialty Products of ASCON, Dr. Adeyinka Akinbami and Head of Human Resources of ASCON, Mrs. Henrietta Otoabasi-Akpan formed, through deliberate spirit of enterprise will have to “You and I, the custodians of measures, from the one that the wealth of the nation today, be fully embraced.” looks for jobs that are will have to lend our weight to She urged the government nowhere to be found, to that this dream and this ideal. Coland custodians of Nigeria’s which strives to create jobs. wealth to lend more support to lectively, we will have to do all “An average African youth youths in order to bring out the in our capacity to teach the will have to catch the so-called entrepreneurial spirit in them. young ones how to move and entrepreneurial bug and the how to excel. According to Olowofoyeku:
“We will need to support and promote the spirit of enterprise among our youths, who are the custodians of the future of this continent. This is the conviction that led to the decision of ASCON Oil to support the publication of this book, ‘Student Unusual’ written by one of the most resourceful young men I have met in recent times, Ayo Ogunjimi. “Packed with home-grown tips and case studies that challenge our young people to start thinking and acting in a direction that is responsible, it is our desire at ASCON Oil to have this book sponsored into the hands of, at least, one million youths spread across the continent of Africa. “ It is our way, at ASCON Oil, to show that we are a company that serves a cause greater than profit, and to give back to a society that has given us so much.”
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
18 Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Briefs Florence Ihem Ajunwa for burial Friday UNERAL rites for Ms Florence Ihem Ajunwa, who died on March 11, 2014 at the age of 52, began on March 29, 2014 with Service of Songs at her residence, 2 Church Close, off Powerline, Ilasa, Lagos while the burial will take place on Friday, April 4 at noon at her father’s compound, Okoro Mbachu, Umuegbe, Isiala Mbano, Imo State.
Taekwondo Federation boss, Ashiru, loses mum HE President, Nigeria TaekT wondo Federation (NTF), George Ashiru has lost his mother, Princess Funmi Ashiru-Suinner. Ashiru was leading the Nigerian team to the World Junior Taekwondo Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei when the incident occurred in United Kingdom (UK). It was while her mother was in hospital that Ashiru led Team Nigeria to the World Cup, Grand Prix as well as the World Juniors during which she passed. He had to leave Taipei during the tournament to attend to his family. The late Ashiru-Suinner was the first female President of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Kaduna State, and was until her demise the President of the Alumni Association of the United States Government Leadership Programme and also a graduate of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS), Kuru.
Women tasked on roles on Mother’s Day By Adebisi Olonade IGERIANS have been N urged to appreciate and celebrate mothers every day. The Managing Director of RWells Media and Advertising Company Limited, Jibe Ologeh, made this observation during the celebration of Mother’s Day on Sunday at the Cinema Hall, National Theatre Iganmu, Lagos, saying that “we have not been appreciating and celebrating our mothers well enough.” At the event tagged “Mother’s Day Fiesta,” organized by R-Wells Media and Advertising Company, Ologeh noted that being a mother was honourable as no live is born without a life being lost. “A mother of one died once, mother of three, three times. For your mother to have you, she had died for you,” she explained. “Raising children right from the tender age, till he/she grows up to become an adult, is a big role and responsibility and it has not been easy for a woman to undergo such a difficult task. So, they should always be celebrated.” She, however, said the event was not only to appreciate and celebrate mothers but to also send signal to mothers who don’t know the value of motherhood. “We are celebrating women because mothers have been found wanting in their roles, and toda,y we are reminding them of being good mothers before chasing anything else. Women should wake up to their responsibilities because they play meaningful roles in nation building,” she noted. “You are first a mother before you are any other thing, even if you have to first sacrifice your career. If you fail to be a good mother you have failed in all. As a mother, you stand for your child, care for their needs.” According to Ologeh: “If women perform their duties well, there will be less men who batter women and less
Mother of the Year, Publisher, Today’s Woman Magazine, Adesuwa Onyenokwe and other awardees at the Mothers’ Fiesta organized by R Wells Media and Advertizing Company Limited at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos…on Sunday PHOTO: ADEBISI OLONADE school dropouts,” pointing out that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Speaking during the occasion, wife of the Lagos State governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture, Omotayo Olabanjo, said she loved women who were hardworking and ambitious but advised them to first perform their primary duties of motherhood “as being a woman entails the virtue of bringing up children and joggling motherhood with work.”
“The idea is for everyone to play their part to ensure that the future of their children and indeed women is bright, equal, safe and rewarding, so sow your quality time,” she added. Adenike Ogunlewe, who represented the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope Adefulire, advised women not to let anyone get them depressed. “You are the architect of your own happiness. Happiness is not by mistake but a deliberate act,” she said. Publisher of Today’s Woman Magazine, Adesuwa
Onyenokwe, who is mother of six children, was crowned the Mother of the Year. “It is so funny that the only reason people noticed me in the past was because I have several children and here I am today, receiving an award for being a wonderful mother of six,” she said with enthusiasm. Speaking after her crowning, Onyenokwe advised women on number of children and good parenting, saying: “I am not asking people to give birth to six children but whatever God gives you, take. It wasn’t easy bringing them
up, three are now graduates and we are still struggling with the rest.” Another mother, Adanma Ibekwe, said she was so happy to be celebrated by not only her biological children but also children from different places. She said “a good mother provides a stable and strong foundation for her children to develop.” Another mother, Mariam Danladi said the event was, indeed, a way to showcase all the challenges, struggles and success story of a typical mother.
Courts convict six persons over child -trafficking Ashiru-Suinner
Sobo, 65, for burial UNERAL rites for Otunba Tiwalade Sobo, who died recently at the age of 65, began yesterday with a service of songs at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Fountain of Life Sanctuary, Ladipo Oluwole Street, off Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos. There will be lying-in-state at Ikenne Local Council on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at Ikenne Local Council compound, Ogun State, at 11.00am AChristian wake holds same day at his residence, IroluRemo, Ogun State at 5.00pm. He will buried on Friday, April 4, after a funeral service at All Saints Anglican Church, Irolu Remo, Ogun State at 10.00am. He survived by his wife, Mrs. Alake Sobo, children: Olufunke,Eniola, Funmilola,Abiola and Damilola and many grandchildren.
years imprisonment, following his conviction by an EVERAL courts have conAbuja Court for unlawful carvicted six persons for var- nal knowledge of a 12-yearious jail terms across the old girl, an offence country for engaging in punishable under section child abuse offences, the 13(1) and 18 (b) of NAPTIP Act National Agency for the Pro- of 2003. hibition of Traffic in PerThe accused person was sons and other Related found guilty of deceitfully Matters (NAPTIP), has said. taking a child from her parA statement by the head of ents with the guise of providcommunication of the ing guardianship, but he agency, Arinze Orakwe, in sexually exploited the child. Abuja yesterday said a 45The presiding judge, Justice year-old man, Magnus P.O. Lifu, sentenced the acIheanacho, was sentenced cused to two years imprisonon March 27, 2014 to two ment without option of fine From Collins Olayinka, Abuja
on both counts, which is also to run concurrently. Similarly, the agency secured a conviction on March 17, 2014 for another case of sexual exploitation of a minor under section 13 (1) of TIP Act of 2003. The accused person, Aminu Nasiru, was sentenced by a judge in the Federal High Court of Kano to one-year imprisonment without an option of fine. Other convictions secured were also presided in the same Federal High Court in Kano, which sentenced one
Hassan Kabiru to three years imprisonment and another Isah Dahiru, who got one year jail term as both sentences were without option of fine. Both convictions were on March 19, 2014, for taking an 11-year-old out of her lawful guardianship, an offence punishable under section 19(1) of TIP Act of 2003. A case of domestic servitude also ended in the same court on March 24, involving one Osavize Adanini, who employed the services of an 11year-old girl as a domestic
help without her family’s consent. The accused was, however, sentenced to two years imprisonment or with an option of N20,000 fine. Orakwue said the agency has noted the high level of incidences of such cases of child exploitation but reiterated that these convictions would send a clear signal to other criminalminded people who engage in such degrading and dehumanizing crimes, as NAPTIP would continue to work towards seeking justice for trafficked victims.
Centre debuts to help children with cerebral palsy By Olasinde Toyin CENTRE for sufferers of cerebral palsy has been established in Lagos. Cerebral palsy is a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination (spastic paralysis) and/or other disabilities, typically caused by damage to the brain before or at birth. The new outfit, called the Cerebral Palsy Centre is established in conjunction with Heritage Bank as a measure of cushioning the pains families go through
raising children with cerebral palsy. Speaking at a lecture organized by the centre, chairperson of Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs, Mrs. Tolu Animashaun, said disability is not the end of the world; as such, children with disability should not be looked down upon in society. “They deserve to be embraced and encouraged with tender care.” Also speaking, the Deputy by complication during Director, Physiotherapy of the General Hospital, Isolo, child labour, infections, failMrs. Jumoke Smith, said Cere- ure of the brain to develop bral Palsy (CP) can be caused properly or neurological
damage to a child’s developing brain. Founder of the centre, Nonye Nweke, said ‘’her vission is to establish a center for children with cerebral palsy as a way of assisting them to realise their full potential through qualitative early medical intervention and therapeutic education. “One of the biggest challenges that confront families having children with CP in our society is what to do with the child to live a near normal life. This, through my little quota, I have been able to
provide my little help, which is free of charge for children with cerebral palsy,” she added.
Cerebral Palsy (CP) could be caused by complication during child labour, infections, failure of the brain to develop properly or neurological damage to a child’s developing brain.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 19
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Focus With little respite, consumers endure poor services Despite the existence of the Consumers Protection Council (CPC), Nigerian consumers are being short-changed by corporate and government organisations daily, with little hope of redress. ITUNU AJAYI examines why the CPC has not been effective HE average Nigerian consumer is under a very heavy burden. T Everywhere he turns, there seems to be no respite. He pays his electricity bills every month, yet he does not enjoy the facility. He pays his water rates too, but his taps are always dry. With his hard earned money, he loads his mobile phone with airtime, yet, he cannot make a successful call for three minutes without experiencing an interruption. Most times, he has to redial over and over again. Apologists define this as “network problems.” He obtains a valid ticket for a scheduled flight from one part of the country to another, yet, when he turns up at the airport as scheduled, the flight is delayed for several hours and sometimes, cancelled outright. He is left stranded at the airport. He gets neither an explanation nor an apology. Asking for a refund will be unthinkable. He also pays his subscription fees, in advance, to a foreign, popular Digital Satellite Television company, to enable him watch various programmes; yet, he hardly enjoys the services he pays for. Whenever it rains, for instance, he is automatically shut off due to poor signals. He neither gets a refund for the number of hours lost nor receives any bonus. Yet, whenever his subscription expires, the company wastes no time in cutting him off. This is the burden of an average Nigerian; short-changed at every turn in his own country, while the authorities look the other way. Paradoxically, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), established by Act 66 of 1992, has the mandate to protect consumers. With its commencement of operations only in 1999, the CPC has the mandate to, among others, eliminate hazardous products from the market, provide speedy redress to consumers’ complaints and undertake campaigns for increased consumer awareness. When the council’s current Director General, Modupe Atoki was appointed in May last year, one of the things she did was to put a “strategic plan” together, which she reasoned, would enable the CPC respond favourably to the yearnings of Nigerians. She engaged some consultants to handle specific areas in the agency. And with over 35 years experience in the legal profession, particularly in corporate and human rights aspects, expectations were high that errant corporate organisations that operate with impunity would have, by now, been docked, disciplined and made to pay fines that would go directly to the pockets of aggrieved Nigerians. But this is not yet the case. For instance, at a meeting Atoki held with some telecommunication service providers and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) officials in Abuja recently, journalists who demanded to know the number of successfully prosecuted cases of service providers in respect of poor services were disappointed. There was none. The operators listed the challenges they have in the Nigerian market place, but the DG insisted that they had no excuse not to satisfy Nigerians. In any case, over $9.3 billion (N1.5 trillion) was generated by the operators in 2012 alone. Recently, MTN’s spokesman, Mr Wale Goodluck, said the largely South Africanowned mobile operator reported revenues of N793.614 billion in its 2013 business year. The amount was a marginal 5.31 per cent rise from the N753.578 billion recorded in 2012 and 4.70 per cent above revenues posted in 2011. The DG said: “From the record of complaints filed at the CPC, the commonest challenges confronting consumers are poor network service, unsolicited services, unlawful deductions, wrong billing, exploitative automated services, unauthorised SIM swaps, poor internet service and poor customer service.” She explained that the NCC had, at various times, imposed fines against the telecom companies for poor service delivery, noting that in as much as this measure could serve as a deterrent to the operators, it however does not directly assuage the condition of the consumers who are denied value for money on a daily basis. To celebrate this year’s Consumers’ Right Day under the theme: Fix our Phone Right, the CPC organised a road show to sensitize the people on their right to proper telephone services. According to Atoki, it has become imperative for the agency to wake Nigerians up from their state of apathy, where they accept anything irrespective of the inconveniences they are faced with. But the question begging for answer is: After the road show, will telephone services be improved in the country? Some Nigerians also have a grouse with Multichoice. A subscriber, Mrs Titilayo Adetifa told The Guardian that Multihoice should put in place, a billing system that would allow subscribers pay for only the services they enjoy in a ‘pay as you go’ manner, as against the current practice in which subscribers also pay for services they did not enjoy. She said: “What happens during the entire period when one is not at home to watch the cable network? Most people leave their homes for work early in the morning and do not return until the evening. So, what happens during all the period they are not around? The bill keeps reading, but that’s not fair. “And sometimes, when you are at home and there is no light to watch, what do you do? Put on your generating set just because
of DSTV? Or would one not attend to other issues just because he or she subscribed to DSTV? These are the issues government should raise with all these service providers. They are not being fair to Nigerians, and to make matters worse, the moment your subscription expires, they immediately cut you off, not remembering those periods they could not give signals. Can they do this in their country?” The CPC’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Abiodun Obimuyiwa told The Guardian that the agency had embarked on some steps to ensure that Nigerians get value for their money since the current DG assumed duty. He explained that the perception of Nigerians about the agency not doing much, especially in the area of telecoms, was as a result of the agency’s decision not to treat complaints individually but collectively, to produce an overall solution that would cover all areas of complaints. He said because of the magnitude of complaints from telecoms consumers, trying to solve them one after the other would overwhelm the agency. He said the agency has secured a redress for a consumer who had an issue with Arik Airlines. He cited the success story in the case involving Ethiopia Airlines, which abandoned its passengers on the tarmac and was made to apologise publicly to the affected passengers via the media. This he said was achieved within the period Atoki assumed office. He continued: “Besides, we are able to get the CFAO to give a brand new vehicle to a consumer who had earlier bought a vehicle from the company but was not getting satisfaction from it. She complained to us and we were able to get her a newer model from the company. “The issue of Coca-cola too is in the public domain. A consumer bought two cans of spirit and they were half filled and he felt that there was something wrong with the drink. We
When the council’s current Director General, Modupe Atoki was appointed in May last year, one of the things she did was to put a “strategic plan” together, which she reasoned, would enable the CPC respond favourably to the yearnings of Nigerians. And with over 35 years experience in the legal profession, particularly in corporate and human rights aspects, expectations were high that errant corporate organisations that operate with impunity would have, by now, been docked, disciplined and made to pay fines that would go directly to the pockets of aggrieved Nigerians. But this is not yet the
received a complaint and we went into full-scale investigation. We found out that NBC had not been doing things in line with best practices. We are also currently investigating Aero Contractors because it allegedly abandoned 50 passengers sometime ago. That one too is on -going and I am sure that the outcome of that investigation would also be made known to the public. “What the DG is trying to do is to look into sectorial redress. For instance, even last year, she addressed the media alongside the NCC and everyone jointly agreed that consumers must be treated right. Right now, some agencies of government have set up Consumer Protection Units (CPU) in their respective offices.” In a telephone conversation with the coordinating spokesperson, of aviation parastatals, Yakubu Dati, he stated that the CPU at the NCCA addresses issues relating to problems encountered by passengers. He said: “We have what is called the passengers’ Bill of Right, which spells out all the rights the passengers have and the penalties in terms of the airlines infringing on those rights. We have them in every FAAN airport in the country where consumers can lodge their complaints.” He likened the existence of the directorate vis-à-vis the functions of CPC to Nigeria having the Police Force, the Federal Road Safety Commission, which he said have the ultimate goal of keeping Nigeria roads and citizens safe. He continued: “At the end of the day, they all have their different functions but NCCA is a regulator in the aviation sector and part of the things they regulate is some of the issues that have to do with passengers’ right. So, whatever they are doing does not stop what CPC wants to do. But for the airlines, the NCCA is in a better position to monitor what happens in the aviation sector. They had a lot of success last year. Some Nigerians who were not able to board flights were refunded their money.” At a public hearing on two bills for an amendment to the CPC Act in the House of Representatives on July 18 last year, the DG presented a memorandum where she highlighted the challenges hindering the council from providing services to the public the way it ought to. Jonathan Zwingina had made an attempt for the amendment of the CPC Act in 2003 by sponsoring a bill in the senate to that effect. The bill was read three times between October 2003 and April 2008. Having been duly passed by the senate, the bill then received the concurrence of the House of Representatives in May 2007, which sent it for presidential assent. The bill was however not assented to by Olusegun Obasanjo before he vacated office. This led to the bill being presented afresh to the 6th senate in 2007, which never concluded work on it and till date, the bill is still before the present senate. At the public hearing, Atoki called for a bill to repeal the CPC Act and replace it with a totally new one. Also on a scheduled visit to the speaker House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal on November 11, last year, Atoki intimated the speaker on the challenges facing the council and the need for an urgent workable legislative framework that would assist it in the discharge of its duties.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Business Nigeria declines to seal trade pact with EU By Ade Ogidan, Business Editor XPECTEDLY, the Federal Government has declined to sign the trade liberalisation agreement being pushed forward by the European Union, under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Economic Community Of West African States(ECOWAS),after due consideration of its impact on the economy. The government had earlier expressed reservations over the pact,due to vital clauses in it that could be harmful to the nation’s
economy. The Minister of Trade,Industry and Investments,Olusegun Aganga explained during a working lunch in honour of the Director-General, United Nations Industrial Development Organsation (UNIDO), Li Yong, that certain provisions of the agreement, which Nigeria was expected to sign at the ECOWAS Heads of States meeting in Yamoussoukro, Cote D’Ivoire, last week, were not in the overall best interest of the country’s economy. Under the EPA, the
European Union(EU) wsa expected to immediately offer the 15-member ECOWAS and non-member state Mauritania full access to its markets. In return, ECOWAS will gradually open up 75 per cent of its markets, with its 300 million consumers, to Europe over a 20-year period. Technical negotiations even wrapped up last month with the EU offering a 6.5 billion euro (about $8.94 billion) package over the next five years to help ECOWAS cushion the effects and costs of integrating into the global economy.
The ECOWAS countries involved in the deal included Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Niger and Togo. But Aganga pointed out that “the EPA agreement was not even ready for endorsement by the Heads of State and Government. During the meeting last week, Nigeria raised 10 objections to what was presented to us and the Summit of Heads of State ratified it. “Consequently, a commit-
Company Secretary, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc, Chinedu Eze (left); Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu; President/Chief Executive Officer, Obinna Ufudo; and Director, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor during the eighth yearly general meeting in Lagos, yesterday.
tee from Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana and Senegal looked at the issues raised by member states, particularly Nigeria, and came up with a proposal. When we went into the meeting, the whole idea was to endorse it, but of course, we had various reservations concerning the agreement based on our model and the feedback we got from our private sector.” He added: “One major reservation was that the way the agreement was done, which of course they expected us to sign, would not be in the overall interest of the Nigerian economy over the long term. For instance, in the area of market access, the EU wants us to open our market by 75 per cent over a 20-year period. “This appears harmless because over the first five years, there will be no major impact because they will open all their doors for us to export to Europe. However, the problem here is that currently, we are not exporting much to Europe and so the benefit will not be significant.” The minister explained that, given Nigeria’s current condition as an import-dependent economy, it would be counterproductive to completely open its doors for imports without first of all developing its industrial sector to compete globally, especially in those sectors where the country has comparative and competitive advantage as provided in the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan recently launched by President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Another major point we raised was that those items that were in Category D, and excluded in the 25 per cent, should include those areas and sectors that we want to develop in line with the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan. Some of those areas are already under Category C and D, meaning that they are the sectors that the EU wants us to liberalise imports. If we do that, it will have a very negative impact on the NIRP. “Nigeria is the biggest country in the ECOWAS and we are already producing some of those goods that they want us to liberalise their importation. Also, what this means is that, not now, but from 2025 to 2026, based on the items that have been included and excluded, there will be significant loss of revenue to the government. There will be loss of jobs, investment and loss of even the ECOWAS market,”he said. Aganga, however, stressed that it was important to remain as one unit in the ECOWAS region, saying that “even if they import those items into our neighbouring countries, they will end up in Nigeria and this will have negative impact on the Nigerian economy. So, it is important for us to work together as ECOWAS members and not to allow EPA to divide us.” Speaking during the event, Yong pledged UNIDO’s unflinching support towards the growth and development of Nigeria’s industrial sector in line with the organisation’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development programme.
Transcorp targets N65 billion revenue in 2014 By Helen Oji RANSNATIONAL Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) is projecting an increase in revenue from N30 billion in 2013 to N65 billion for the 2014 financial year end. Besides, the company targets to increase output from Transcorp Ugheli power plant to 700mw by December 2014, from the current N360mw. The Chairman of the company, Tony O Elumelu, while addressing shareholders during the eight yearly gen-
To increase Ughelli power output to 700MW next year eral meeting of the company in Lagos yesterday, explained that the company posted a revenue of N25.2 billion, against N15.8 billion achieved in 2012 while profit after tax stood at N9 billion, up from N3.9 billion in 2012. The per centage increase in gross earnings, according to him, is 60 per cent while profit before tax rose by N129 per cent. The Group’s total assets rose from N99.5billion in 2012 to N149.4billion during the period under review, which repre-
sent an increase of 50 per cent . Elumelu explained that the improved performance was due to the company’s acquisition of Ugheli power plant, which , the largest generating power generating facility. Elumelu said: “the past year for Transcorp has been exceptional; we launched new businesses and projects and expanded existing ones. The results of our efforts have become visible and are rightly being acknowledged by our stakeholders, including
the investing public. Looking ahead, we expect the company to continue on this growth trajectory and the board has set a target of profit before tax of N30bn for management for 2014, which we believe is very achievable.” He explained that power output from the plant has increased from 160 mw at which it was handed over to the company to the current 360 mw. He added that the company has concluded plans to increase the output from
360MW to 700 MW by December 2014 through embarking on an extensive ‘rehabilitation’ exercise. Our investment in this sector is transformational, as it will usher in a new area of economic growth and development in Nigeria and create economic growth and prosperity for all our stakeholders. “For our oil and gas business, we have put in place a world class management team and are committed to developing the synergies between our natural resources portfolios and our power interests, creating an integrated energy
approach.” He explained that the company would commence production on the existing oil bloc: OPL 281 before the end of 2014 while construction work would commence on Transcorp Hilton Lagos next month. “In 2014, we intent to intensify our efforts in advancing the different construction projects to achieve our 30-month completion target. When these projects are completed, Transcorp will have the largest number of hotel rooms owned by any investor in Nigeria.”
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BUSINESS Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Zenith Bank approves Amangbo as successor to Emefiele By Ade Ogidan HE Board of Directors of Zenith Bank Plc has approved the appointment of Peter Amangbo as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer-designate of the bank,with effect from June 1. Amangbo takes over from Godwin Emefiele who has been appointed the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The appointment is however subject to confirmation by the apex bank. Amangbo has over two decades of experience with Zenith Bank, gaining experiences in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, Business Development, Credit and Marketing, Treasury, Financial Control and Strategic Planning and Operations. He was appointed to the board of the bank and its subsidiary companies in 2005 and was a pioneer Non-Executive Director of Zenith Bank UK. Before joining the banking industry, he was a senior consultant with PriceWaterhouse where he covered assignments in financial services, manufacturing and general commerce. Amangbo, according to a statement from the bank,
“brings the experience and expertise to meet the current competitive banking challenges that require constant innovation through proven leadership and team-building skills, an exceptional ability to drive product, process and customer service improvements and a talent for building partnerships with key business decisionmaker. “He also has demonstrable ability to motivate, mentor and lead talented
senior professionals and to direct cross-functional teams and was part of the team that drove the strategic planning and successful execution for positioning the bank as one of the best in the country. His exemplary leadership continues to make significant contributions to the banks growth.” As an Executive Director of Zenith Bank for the last nine years, Amangbo was responsible for the supervision of corporate and com-
mercial banking, corporate finance, trade services and all the subsidiaries of the bank. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Zenith Insurance Ltd, Nigeria, Zenith Pensions Ltd, Nigeria, Zenith Capital Ltd, Nigeria and Zenith Bank, UK. He was a member of the board of Interswitch Nigeria Ltd from 2005 to 2007 Amangbo is an alumnus of INSEAD and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered
Accountants of Nigeria. He holds an MBA from the Warwick Business School and a B Eng in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Benin. He took courses on Strategic IQ Program, Strategic Thinking and Management for Competitive Advantage and Execution in Action The Art of Turning Strategy into Action at the Harvard Business School, Wharton School of Business and
HSM, New York respective-
FCMB posts N18.2 billion profit before tax CMB Group posted a profit before tax (PBT) of FN18.2billion in its 2013
operations, against N16.2 billion achieved in 2012. Specifically, the bank’s performance for the financials for the year ended December 31, 2013, showed a profit before tax (PBT) of N18.2billion, representing an increase of 12per cent while Net revenue rose to N84.2billion, a 16 per cent increase when compared to the previous year. The group also returned to dividend payment, with proposed dividend of 30kobo/share. According to the company, successful execution of retail strategy, growth of
Declares 30k dividend The bank’s performance for the financials for the year ended December 31, 2013, showed a profit before tax (PBT) of N18.2billion, representing an increase of 12per cent while Net revenue rose to N84.2billion, a 16 per cent increase when compared to the previous year. bancassurance and FinBank merger synergies provided necessary revenue growth impetus. Deposits grew by 11per cent to N715 billion, aided by 21.1per cent growth in current and savings accounts, while fixed deposits declined during
the year. Consequently, the bank’s funding mix has improved, with current and savings accounts now accounting for 73.9per cent of total deposits, which saw a reduction in the bank’s cost of funds during the year in spite of the fact that interest rates remained high throughout 2013. Loans and advances also grew by 26 per cent to N451billion, even as retail lending, oil and gas and power sector financing
were the largest contributors to this growth. The bank’s total assets (excluding contingencies) now stand above N1trillion. Individual and SME banking combined, now accounts for 44per cent of total deposits, 32% of risk assets and 19% of profits. During the year, the UK subsidiary, FCMB (UK) Limited, according to the bank, was granted approval by the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) to commence deposit taking activities for businesses and corporate organization, expanding its existing stock broking and corporate finance activities. The Managing Director of the bank, Peter Obaseki said; “2013 saw the Group being able to record appreciable growth in profits and resume dividend payments. Returns
on average equity and average assets fell by 4.3per cent and 16.6per cent, respectively, over the 2012 full year level, as a result of higher tax. The Group Managing Director/CEO of FCMB Limited, Ladi Balogun, said; “In spite of the challenging regulatory environment which moderated profit growth, 2013 saw our commercial and retail banking activities benefit greatly from the merger that was concluded in 2012. “Specifically, the improved liquidity profile of the bank provided an adequate buffer against the cash reserve withdrawals, and the enlarged branch network enabled us to achieve over 66per cent growth in retail loans, 22per cent growth in current and savings account balances and acquire over 400,000 new customers. “he said.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 BUSINESS 23
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Customs in Nigeria, Benin, Cameroun, others to streamline checkpoints By Moses Ebosele HE Nigeria Customs T Service (NCS), in collaboration with its counterpart in Benin Republic, Cameroun, Chad and Niger has resolved to streamline
the operation of checkpoints through the use of professional tools. According to the various Customs commands, there is need to adhere strictly to the provisions of transit protocols in the regional eco-
nomic groups. A communiqué issued at the end of a meeting held in Abuja and made available to The Guardian at the weekend called for regional trade and need to foster professionalism in
Customs operations. To this end, the leadership of the Customs commands also called for the setting up of dedicated desks in “our Customs administrations to address the issues and challenges related to
CIBN reiterates commitment to money laundering, terrorism eradication From Toyin Olasinde HE Chartered Institute of T Banker of Nigeria, (CIBN) has expressed its commitment to tackle the menace of money laundering and terrorism in the country. Speaking at the conference, the President, CIBN, Segun Aina, said that money laundering, terrorist financing and identity theft management constituted the greatest threats to the smooth functioning of the economic and financial systems of any country. He added that research carried out by the World Bank and IMF, estimated that between three per cent and five per cent of global GDP had laundered, an estimated $2.17 - $3.61 trillion annually (U.S. State Department). This is cause for grave concern,
especially as some of the laundered funds are used to finance terrorist activity. Aina said that one of the major ways of reducing the global body on anti money laundering and counter financing of terrorism, should be for banks and other financial institutions to conduct much-needed due diligence on customers, which was an essential ingredient for success. His word: “Personal identification documentation, being worked on separately, by the Bankers Committee and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will become complementary and essential tools, in the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism, as it provides financial institutions with a muchneeded tool for the identifica-
tion of customers and verification of relevant customer documents.” Also speaking the President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ismail Aderemi Bello said that identity theft had been in form of stealing someone’s identity in which someone pretended to be someone else by acceding someone’s identity. It is a method usually used to gain access to resources or obtain credit and other benefit in that person’s name. Terrorism financing and money laundering is often linked in legislation and regulation, terrorism financing and money laundering are opposite in concept. “Money laundering is the process where cash raised from criminal activities is made to look legitimate for integration into financial sys-
tem whereas terrorism financing cares little about the source of the fund,” he said. He added: “Money laundering is a major problem for the Nigerian economy especially because the money ends up abroad and those that are returned are used unproductively. With a population of 170 million, Nigeria can hardly be described as a rich country.” Bello said: “In addition to normal anti-money laundering controls, banks must focus on the terrorists funding angle using knowledge derived from the data bank of case study now available. Banks must focus on not just name matching with sanction, data bases but also with other know your customer high rate data bases on good property vendors.
NAMA asks airspace managers to sustain safety record By Ibe Uwaleke IRSPACE managers at the nation’s airports have been charged to sustain the current drive for high quality air navigation service delivery to airlines in line with the transformation agenda of the federal government. The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam, made the charge on yesterday in Ilorin, Kwara State at the quarterly meeting of the airspace managers from 26 airports across the country. The NAMA boss told the managers that the agency as an air navigation service provider in the West African sub- region, could not afford to lack behind in the provision of quality services if the agency must be relevant in the 21st century. Abdulsalam stressed that the management would do everything possible to ensure that most of the glaring operational challenges at the various stations would be tackled systematically to enhance effective operations. He assured the airspace managers that staff welfare would remain the focus of his management saying, “acquisition of modern technology without prerequisite training will amount to nothing.” The CEO, therefore, charged the managers to key into the corporate vision of the agency of becoming one of the leading air navigation service providers in the world. The Chairman of the forum, Remi Olajire in his opening speech, remarked that the gathering of the airspace managers would afford them to exchange notes on operational achievements and challenges and to proffer possi-
ble solutions where applicable. The host Airspace Manager, Godfrey Ebele Abaneme while pledging total loyalty and commitment of his colleagues to the new managing director,
called for aggressive revenue drive at all the stations to achieve the desired corporate goal of a robust agency. Those who were at the meeting in Ilorin included the Director of Finance, Mrs.
Clara Aliche, Director of Human Resources, Dr. Uwem Akangson, Director of Administration. Dr. Ibrahim Saleh and the General Manager, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mrs. Matha Sule among others.
transit trade among the proximate countries.” Other resolutions reached include need to “Collaborate with partner government agencies to reduce non-tariff barriers associated with movement of goods across borders, and implement fast tack concessions for compliant traders in line with international best practices.” It added: “Establish focal points within our Customs administrations to communicate within our region movement of goods and pursue on-going projects related to interconnectivity of our computer systems.” Other resolutions include: “Communicate significant seizures and method of concealment among our Customs administrations to enable us build formidable risk profiles of crossborder operators. “Use ICT tools to facilitate exchange of information between our Customs administrations, establish clearly the documents and
instruments that will be exchanged between our Customs administrations to ensure transparency and work towards conclusion of mutual administrative assistance agreements among our administrations. “Commended the joint border patrol currently in operation between Nigeria and Niger and urged the other countries to make consultations with their governments to seek necessary approvals to extend same to the rest of the region, work out the modalities, supporting logistics, as well as the command and control structure. “Call on national governments to support joint cross borders patrols through the provision of adequate vehicles and equipment. “Expressed support for current efforts to establish joint border posts between countries in the proximate region, and take concrete actions to put in place the modalities for actual implementation,” among others.
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24 BUSINESS TUESDAY, April 1, 2014
Why Nigeria needs to diversify its
Bisa Williams is the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the United States Department of State, responsible for West Africa and African economic policy issues. She had served as U.S. Ambassador to Niger Republic from 2010 to 2013. She was the Coordinator for Cuban Affairs in the Bureau for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the Department from 2007 to 2010 and also served as acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs covering Central America, the Caribbean and Cuba in 2010. Williams was in Nigeria to be part of the Nigeria Economic Summit organized by the Economist Magazine in Lagos. Before her departure on Wednesday, she spoke with some selected media on Nigerian economy vis-à-vis the huge potentials that abound in the country. OLALEKAN OKUSAN was there. Why are you in Nigeria? was invited to participate in the Economic Forum organized by Economist Magazine, which is about the economy of Nigeria and the attraction and interest that the international community has in Nigeria. I was delighted to be part of it because the United States and the government as well our private sector share very great interest in Nigeria. So that was the first part of the visit but I decided to take advantage of being in Lagos to get my own better sense of this part of the country. I have met with young people, business people and elected officials to get a sense of how the people of Lagos feel about Nigeria. How you are preparing and feeling about the impact of international community economics enthusiasm in Nigeria as well as how you are preparing for the general elections in 2015. It has been a very refreshing and stimulating visit. How is U.S. helping Nigeria to curb oil theft and pipeline vandalism? I was part of the team that came to Nigeria in December 2013 at President Jonathan’s request after he met with my President, Barrack Obama to help assess what we thought was happening in the Niger Delta with oil theft. We met with the oil companies and the authorities that are responsible for securing the waterways. We also met with the governors of the region as well as the local people to get their perspectives. We also met with government ministries in Abuja and on return to Washington we developed a report which we have delivered to your government with our assessment of what is happening down there and things that the Nigerian government can do to stop the ugly trend. Most of our assessment actually coincided with what your own analysis came up with. So the
assessment of the problem and ways to approach it are well known. The issue is really the application of accountability, rule of law, transparency in receipt and documentation. How can the trade imbalance between U.S. and Nigeria be addressed? Nigeria is the second largest Africa trade partner that U.S. has, second only to South Africa. Nigeria is probably the largest beneficiary of the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). `it is true that the majority of Nigerian goods that you export to U.S. under AGOA are oil-related products. If you take out the oil products, you still have a respectable degree of export but not nearly as many as we have hoped for under AGOA. So I think there are a couple of things we need to think about when you think about trade from Africa or from Nigeria specifically. Number one, Nigeria needs to diversify tits economy because you have put your marble, which is oil in one basket and you are complaining about not having any other marble to play around with. Well, you need to divert your attention and interest, invest your money in producing things and other things that can be exported. You certainly have the creative, resources and human resources to produce other things than oil. The burden is not on us but it is on you to give us something else to choose from, which is also very important. The other things you need to think about is to use that creativity you have to look around you because your greater market is really the African market. If you invest a little investment in improving the infrastructure as well as the procedures to get your goods from Nigeria to other Africa countries, you will probably have greater proceeds
than you would in trying to get that number of goods to the American market. And that is one of the reasons that President Obama has focus on economic issues for Africa, which is known as the Trade Africa Initiative, which is really focused on improving intra Africa trade. It is intended to breaking down the barriers to cross border whether is standardizing customs, procedures or improving rail and road lines as well as the short links in the length of time to get merchandise across land boarder. We are focusing first on East Africa but the principles hold throughout Africa. Thirdly, the productive capacity of Nigerians to then export their manufacturing goods throughout the region is tremendous. It is a capacity that has not been fully exploited by Nigerians. Nigeria hopes to be the one of the 20 largest economies by 2020 and how feasible is this for a country whose economy largely depends on oil and foreign goods? In diplomacy, they often caution us against looking into a crystal ball and predicting. I will not dwell on whether Nigeria can be among the largest economies in the world. I will rephrase this way that if I were a Nigerian and anyone wants to pose a question to me challenging what I can do as a Nigerian, I will just recast the question and say why not? In other words, there seems to me that there are a lot of potentials in this country whether it is human, natural resources, creativity, landmass. There are a couple of opportunities and one of them is what we talked about in New York City last week that it is estimated that by the year 2040, the population of Nigeria will be larger than the population of China and India, that means you will be the largest most populated country in the world. That also means that you will have human power to have produc-
TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 25
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economy, by Williams, U.S. envoy tive capacity that can certainly increase your GDP, if in fact your human capacity is educated and trained you can use it to diversify your economy. Another stand that is depressing and promising for Africa is that 60 per cent of the arable land in sub Saharan Africa is unexploited and agriculture is something that Nigeria specifically could exploit and you are not because you have this goldmine of oil and you are just focusing on it. You can become broad basket using new and green technologies consistently re-transferring of waste materials from bio products. There are all kinds of green jobs that are available that Nigerians should have automatic market for. I was at a meeting with some of your governors and officials in Washington recently and they were talking about economy, farming, oil, value-added, transformation and food processing. Nobody talk about e-commerce, services sector and various kinds of employment and money-making initiatives that come about when you have access by engaging in an internet. You need certain basics for that and another of the initiatives that our government is working on with yours and with your private sector is the Power and Africa Initiative, which is to double access to energy and electricity within a 10-year time frame. But essentially to bring to sub-Saharan Africa 10,000 megawatt and what will be available to Nigeria will depend on the deal that are made, but certainly with the resources and human capacity but you have to catch up in developing the infrastructure that will support it. There are investors, American and international companies, and certain institutions that are poised ready to help make that happen and they are waiting on decision by your government to ensure that the regular trade framework is in place and that the planning that need to be done on your national side is done so that distribution lines are connected to generation facilities. It does not take a lot, but it takes a concentrated efforts and it takes some political decision-making. I think your government is poised what to do certainly, American investors are asking for. As a former Ambassador to Niger Republic, do you think the five-nation summit been proposed by Nigeria involving neighbouring nations like Niger, Chad, Cameroun and France will help solve the insurgence of Boko Haram? I think it is very important that those five countries get together to look at what happening regarding the Boko Haram Insurgence because they (Boko Haram) have been able to take refugee in neigbouring countries. They have been active in northern part of Nigeria and there has to be a way for countries that are affected to come together and talk. Is that going to solve the problem? But I do hope there will be a discussion on how better to cooperate within each other to look at boarder security and this will certainly be beneficial. It is our sincere hope that What is your view on corruption in Nigeria? Corruption is extremely widespread in this country and there is no polite way to say this. And it is extremely unfortunate because this is a country with tremendous resources and intelligent people who donâ€™t have to be corrupt because they are always credible enough to be successful, resourceful and to live in abundant. But the fact of the matter is that it is not what is happening. Also, the fact of the matter is that corruption is disincentive to international investment as well as to American businesses. We have laws and there is one called Foreign Corrupt Act, which we implement and American businesses are well aware of this. Nigerians ought to be proud of their country and who they are as well as their image internationally but not to just laugh about it and say, this is how it is in Nigeria. I think this should not be acceptable. The US bi-national agreement focuses on four areas, which are good governance and transparency, energy reforms and investment, regional security and Niger Delta as well as food security and agriculture; how beneficial would you say this agreement has been between Nigeria and US? We just had bi-national meeting three weeks ago and we sent the number four person from the State Department to lead our delegation at the meeting. It was highly successful that we were able to hear quite a few
Williams things and we brought in civil society to talk about good governance. We are good friend with Nigeria and we consider Nigeria as a pivotal nation. We employed our tools such as the Binational Commission with our partners like Nigeria because we consider them foundation stone. In our view, it is a very constructive relationship and it is important to have a dialogue and you get the right level of policy attention coming in from our government and so we will say they are quite productive. How do you think Nigerian women can be involved in the critical aspect of the economy? I met with some very engaging and successful women entrepreneurs in Nigeria that had participated in the programme that my government had sponsored called the African Women Entrepreneur Programme (AWEP), which helps African business women with business tactics but also create networks for them to know each other within and around countries in Africa. But I asked about the climate for women businesses and they said you could be successful, but there is a certain glass ceiling for their businesses. It is harder for women who have businesses to get a loan from the banks than it is for men even if that women business is far more successful and has a proven track record. For a country of a more sophistication of Nigeria, that really should not be. But I will say this, the women that I met were extremely dynamic and determined. It is an uphill struggle and the Nigerian women are very far ahead than some of their counterparts in other parts of the continent. That is why there are programmes that we have to support women businesses and to introduce them to other successful women businesses and other successful American businesses whether they are male or female that are in investing sector so that they can share, the best practices, perhaps develop joint partnership or training opportunities. That is what we are trying to do to strengthen the capacities of those women businesses. Women business people and women employers tend to take their proceeds and re-invest those proceeds in their
community, family by strengthening the economics foundation of their family and community. This is a very important substantial asset to a community and we like to support this. What is United Statesâ€™ perception about the 2015 elections? Nigeria is a fascinating and dynamic country and there is a great deal of interest in your election. Our government is expecting and we are looking forward to the election to be credible, fair, transpar-
ent and non-violent and this will be key even for Nigerians. Nigeria is such a model to other younger democracy in your region and others in the continent. That is our position and also the position of private sector in order for this country to attract new investment. You have to give a sense that you wanted new investment and you will be able to have institutions and the reliability and capability to deal with it. What is going to be the level of support from US on the elections? Nigeria is one of the wealthiest countries in this continent and Nigeria is quite capable of handling its election. We will definitely have observers and we have been meeting with all segments of your society to talk about how important we consider this election to be for Nigerians, how important for them to be peaceful. How important it is for Nigerians within the voting age to exercise their franchise and rights. Your government has not necessarily indicated a real need for support. We have met and whenever we had conversations with your politicians, government and civil societies, a lot of focus is on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the commission has the resources that they need that in your procedure 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. So there might be an opportunity perhaps for a tremendous support for INEC but I am not even sure that your government is asking for this. You have the structure to organize 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 their 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.
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Business Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Marketers threaten strike over shut-down of NIPCO depot By Sulaimon Salau
ONCErNED petroleum C marketers, under the aegis Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), yesterday threatened to mobilise for an industrial action over the purported shut down of fuel loading depot belonging to the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO). The development may further worsen the fuel scarcity experienced recently, as the depot serves as major product channel for the independent marketers and
provides throughput services for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The Guardian’s visit to the depot yesterday showed that the loading bay has been completely shut, while administrative operations were also distorted. long queues of tankers waiting to load fuel could also be noticed, while the aggrieved drivers were wearing a disappointing face. The officials of NIPCO alleged that the facility was indiscriminately shut by the National union of Petroleum and Natural Gas
Workers (NuPENG), who were suspected to be acting on the script of a faction of the controversial leadership of IPMAN. The action has denied several vessels from discharging products at the depot for onward distribution to various parts of the country, as sources confirmed that the company’s vessel and that of NNPC fully laden with Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) were lying idle on the waters, after being denied discharge. Worried by the situation, the chairman of the concerned marketers, Abidemi Agunbiade, said the shut-
down of the company might worsen fuel scarcity and jeopardise the investment commitment by marketers. He said the IPMAN members would resort to close shop in a solidarity action, if the matter is not urgently addressed. According to Agunbiade, “if the company is not reopened before the close of work today (Monday), we concerned marketers under the aegis Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) will not hesitate shut down our stations nationwide.”
Transactions on NASD OTC market hit N107m By Bukky Olajide AluE and volume of V trades of transactions on the National Association of Securities Dealers [NASD] Over The Counter [OTC] market, as at end of March 2014 hit, 107 million and 418,665 respectively in 54 deals. The figure is up from 78 million and 245,665 respectively in 38 deals that had been transacted by the end of February 2013. Indeed, 75.9 per cent of these deals were done on the shares of
Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, which has seen a 70 per cent capital growth from 250 when the market opened to 425 as at end of March 2014. The Chief Executive Officer of the NASD Plc, Bola Ajomale had announced that in the first nine months of operation, his organisation made some achievements that heralded the growth and potential for an expansion of the Nigerian capital market: Ajomale stated that “the
market community continues to grow and we have registered over 90 participating institutions to operate on the market. This includes brokers, advisers and custodians.” According to him, investors have started dematerialising paper certificates, reducing them to digital form and making them more secure and more easily transferable. Current levels of dematerialisation are approximately three per cent of issued shares in 13 companies.
Head of Finance and Operations in NASD, Titus Oladunni, said one of the first steps in developing a reliable and safe market is to make sure there is integrity in transactions. ‘’By dematerialising securities from the certificate form, we are ensuring that deals will not fail. We expect dematerialisation levels to increase significantly in the future. NASD believes these figure will increase as awareness of the market builds’’, he said.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Business 27
Unity Bank to restructure board SON presents firm with certificate AJOR restructuring ongoM ing in Unity Bank Plc will see some of the leaders of the old guard at the institution relieved of their positions, while younger and more dynamic seasoned bankers would take over. In line with the vigorous reengineering and repositioning of the bank, further decisive steps to shed the weight of the old hands and bring in well-versed economic and banking professionals into its fold has reached a final stage. Sources close to the bank’s board hinted that at a meeting, which held in Lagos recently, the Board disclosed that with the resignation of the former chairman, Alh. Numan Dambatta, a career civil servant, the bank will be sending the name of Alh. Lamis Shehu Dikko as substantive Chairman of Unity Bank Plc to the Central Bank of Nigeria for approval. Dikko, a professional seasoned banker who has vast and extensive banking experience and financial background and who was also an intricate part in the consolidation process that led to the establishment of the Bank, will bring to bear his many years of experience and wide contacts to the current reorganisation and rejuvenation of Unity Bank. Until his confirmation by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Thomas A. Etuh a Non-Executive Director of the Bank will hold fort as the Interim Chairman. Alhaji Dikko holds a B.Sc. Degree in Economics from Queen Mary’s College, University of London. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School for
In line with the vigorous re-engineering and repositioning of the bank, further decisive steps to shed the weight of the old hands and bring in well-versed economic and banking professionals into its fold has reached a final stage Management Development. He is currently Chairman of Infrastructure Bank, a Director at Enterprise Bank and Legacy Pensions among others. The restructuring of the Bank had started last year with the nomination and subsequent approval of the new Managing Director/CEO, Henry James Semenitari as well as the appointment of two new Executive Directors, Arese Alonge and Abubakar Abba Bello, all seasoned bankers with many years of extensive banking accomplishments. Reports also say that in addition to the two Executive Directors, the Bank has made further infusions into its core operations team in the last couple of weeks. For Instance, former Head, Remedial Assets of Access Bank comes on board as Head, Loan Recovery while Bakwunye Sunny Obijieze has also joined the Bank as Head, Treasury. He was until taking up this new appointment, the Treasurer at United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) from 2010 to 2014. The Bank has also acquired the services of Anyalenkeya Benedict Uzoma who is now Head, E-Business after relinquishing his former appointment as Head, Channels of FCMB. Industry watchers confirm
that the Bank’s new Management is poised to ensure greater profitability for the institution and all stakeholders. The Bank is also aggressively pursuing the provision of banking products and services directly to individual customers, leveraging on an integrated multichannel approach and a massive drive for the adoption of its internet and mobile banking platforms. It will also expend a considerable amount of its resources on the Agency Banking model to reach the population of unbanked Nigerians as part of its financial inclusion drive.
the weekend in Kano, Director of Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, who commended the company for the giant stride noted that achieving the ISO system certification is a demonstration of conformity of management resolve to internationally acceptable standard requires. The DG, who spoke through a director in the organisation, Umar Kawu said the need to sustaining quality products and services and divulges the market from substandard brands SON compelled the organisations to establish management frame that would guarantees quality services to customers taste. Odumodu added that “any company today that want to gain a respectable position in the market place will have to work hard to satisfy its customer’s needs and be ready
From Murtala Muhammed, Kano General HE Standards Organisation T of Nigeria, SON, has presented Ammasco International Limited with certificate of International Standard Organisation, ISO 9001 2008. With the new attainment, Ammasco International Limited is now ranked among the class of quality management system currently certified companies in Nigeria. However, in line with the tradition of SON, the accreditation is only a stepping-stone as corporate entities that scaled this stage are placed on six-month surveillance audits to fully ensure level of sustainability and effectiveness of the implementation of the quality management system. Presenting the certificate to Ammasco International at
for further challenges. That is more reason we in SON makes it mandatory for organisation to establish and implement a robust management frame work that would improve customers satisfaction. This is a giant stride in the pursuit of excellence to provide quality services to clients and it is worthy of commendation.” The SON DG reminded Ammasco not to rest on its current strength while urging the management to redouble efforts to surpass the celebrating fit. Chairman of Ammasco International, Alh Mustapha Ado Muhammed said the company is working hard to sustain its milestone as one of the fastest growing oil company in Africa. He commended major marketers, distributors and stakeholders for remaining with the firm.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Business 29
PwC lauds Igbokwe’s leadership qualities RICEWATERHOUSECOOP“Ken led the drive to build P ERS (PwC) Nigeria said that our Advisory practice and he it experienced considerable understood the need for us to
Managing Director, Fouani Nigeria Limited, Mohammed Fouani(left); Director, LG Electronics West Africa operations, Hyun Woo Jung; and Assistant Product Marketing Manager, Home Appliance Division, LG Electronics West Africa operations, Sreenath Babu, during the official launch of LG Evercool Refrigerator, in Lagos.
Ogun riles at co-operative societies on failure to computerise operations By Adeniyi Idowu Adunola GUN State government O has expressed dissatisfaction at some cooperative societies operating in the state that are yet to computerize their operations. The State Commissioner for Community Development and Co-operative Societies, Chief Duro Aiyedogbon expressed government’s dissatisfaction while declaring open a one-day seminar with the theme:” Standardization of Co-operative Accounting Reports For Members” Understanding,” organised by his ministry for members of co-operative societies and unions in the state, in Abeokuta. The commissioner said in a statement by the Head of Media in the ministry, Mr. Ayokunle Ewuoso, co-operative societies and unions that fail to computerise their operations stood the risk of not achieving economic prosperity while the management of such societies equally stands the possibilities of loosing their reputation. He said “the introduction of computer system and software packages have digitalised the world socially and economically, simplifying the activities and operations of many organisations, thus making processing of data and retrieval of information possible in speed time. “Co-operative societies in our dear state should not be left behind the digital world as attainment of sustainable economic prosperity by societies and union does not come by accident.” Aiyedogbon further stated that the call became imperative because it was incumbent on the societies to keep correct and up to date records of operations by the management committee, members and stakeholders noting that government observed that some societies and unions were shirking in their responsibilities of keeping and maintaining statutory books of accounts, records and documents. “When these records are available, they are haphazardly kept, poorly prepared and shabbily presented with lots of ambiguities, thus hamper-
Co-operative societies and unions that fail to computerise their operations stood the risk of not achieving economic prosperity while the management of such societies equally stands the possibilities of loosing their reputation. The introduction of computer system and software packages have digitalised the world socially and economically, simplifying the activities and operations of many organisations, thus making processing of data and retrieval of information possible in speed time ing easy understanding by member recipients, as well as, distorting the usage and application of such data and other information contained in the document by general populace and research institutions,” he noted. The commissioner pointed out that the seminar was aimed at standardising the procedures for preparation and presentation of cooperative organisations accounts and other management reports in a way that such would be self explanatory with little or no ambiguities for better and easy understanding. In his remark, the President, Ogun State Co-operative Federation Limited, (OGSCOFED), Alhaji Abdulrazaaq Ola Balogun said the seminar was apt, adding that OGSCOFED had observed many wrongs in the past concerning the ways and manners some cooperative accounts were prepared by the staff of such societies. He alleged that leaders of such societies connived with the workers to influence the report while many were ignorant due to lack of education and managerial skills. He said it has now become mandatory that there must be uniformity in the preparation and reporting of cooperative accounts in the state adding that the use of accounting software should be introduced and implemented by cooperative leaders.
growth under the leadership of Ken Igbokwe, the out-going senior country partner/chief executive for PwC Nigeria. The Country Senior PartnerDesignate, Uyi Akpata made the assertion at the send-off dinner, organised by PwC in honour of Igbokwe, who will be retiring from the company on June 30, 2014. Speaking at the event, Akpapta described Igbokwe as ‘a force of nature’, possessing drive and energy in abundance. According to Akpata, “Ken has led PwC Nigeria over the last ten years, a period in which we have more than quadrupled our revenues in real terms and also achieved more than a three-fold increase in staff numbers. His drive and passion have been infectious across the firm as our people have been challenged to be the very best.”
have a say in the public sector. He believed that our Assurance practice should be about much more than statutory audit. Ken’s vision as PwC Nigeria’s country senior partner will survive his retirement and help us to thrive for years to come.” He pointed out that Igbokwe, as a brilliant and well-rounded individual who knows something about everything and can hold a discourse on almost anything, exhibits great passion in sharing the PwC experience with our clients and staff. Also, the Territorial Senior Partner for PwC Africa, Suresh Kana, said it was a great pleasure working with Ken Igbokwe. Kana, who was represented at the event, described Igbokwe as “an integral part of the successful integration of our African firms.”
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014 BUSINESS 31
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BlackBerry sinks into financial loss as revenues plunge TRUGGLING smartSBlackBerry phone manufacture, saw its fourth
quarter revenues plunge by nearly two thirds as the company continued to see handset sales slide. The company reported that fourth-quarter revenues were down by 64 per cent at $976 billion, compared to $2.7 billion a year ago. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 37 per cent for hardware, 56 per cent for services and seven per cent for software and other revenue. The company also posted a net loss of $423 million compared to a profit of US$98 million a year ago. The company was hurt by a write-down of $382 million and charges of $148 million. Excluding those oneoff issues, the adjusted loss from continuing operations was $42 million. During the fourth quarter, approximately 3.4 million BlackBerry smartphones were sold through to end customers, — down on the six million units shipped a
year earlier. Of the BlackBerry smartphones sold through to end customers, approximately 2.3 million were BlackBerry 7 devices — suggesting that the company is still struggling to persuade customers to switch to its BB10 OS. The company had already taken a write down on its BB10 inventory in the previous quarter. “We have significantly streamlined operations,
allowing us to reach our expense reduction target one quarter ahead of schedule,” said John Chen, executive chairman and chief executive officer of BlackBerry. The company is targeting break-even cash flow results by the end of fiscal 2015. Following recent investments, it is sitting on $2.7 billion in cash to see it through to the turn around, if it happens.
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New accounting standards not negotiable, say ANAN, ICPA, others By Chijioke Nelson and experts SforTAKEHOLDERS have expressed the need the global economies to embrace the trending accounting standards to enthrone transparency, renew lost confidence in financial statements and stimulate growth. The President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Alhaji Sakirudeen Labode, who advocated the application of International Accounting Standards for transparency in financial statements, noted that it is the only way forward. Labode, made the call in a statement made available to The Guardian, after a two-day workshop organised by ANAN and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (ICPA), on International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS), at the Nassarawa State University, Keffi, at the weekend. “If we truly desire to drop the toga of a developing country and join the league
of developed nations, our reporting system must swing along the lines of the credible path. That will also lead to transparent presentation of financial positions through application of the standards. “Many governments introduced IPSAS because it is considered to be good and transparent. While some adopt the standards wholesale, some adopt and modify the system, but the bottom line, however, is its universality. “The use of IPSAS is steadily becoming more widely spread and increasingly relevant in public sector accounting around the world,’’ Labode said. According to him, though the task of learning and applying what seemed a completely new set of Financial Reporting Standards in public sector is daunting, it is necessary to make our impact felt and the consequential output of our efforts relevant, understandable and comparable. “Being associate member of IFAC places enormous responsibility of training on both members and staff
upon our shoulders on which we must not waiver no matter how intimating the challenges might be,’’ the ANAN president said. The Co-ordinator of the workshop and the Assistant Registrar, Technical, ANAN, Dr. Micheal Ayeni, said that the connotation of the international accounting standard was meant to ensure credibility of financial statement and cannot be achieved without a thorough understanding of its benchmark. “One of the beacons of these benchmarks used as a pathfinder to a credible financial statement is the international public sector accounting standard (IPSAS), which we are about to demystify today,’’ he said. Also, a Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, Dr. Wayne Bartlett, recalled that the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) established IPSAS in 1996 through a Public Sector Committee, adding that in 2003, IFAC finally established the IPSAS Board.
Executive Director, Finance, Standard Chartered Bank, Yemi Owolabi; Executive Director (left); Client Coverage, Standard Chartered Bank, Remi Oni; Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, Bola Adesola; Chief Executive Officer, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Diana Layfield and Head, Consumer Banking, West Africa, Carol Oyedeji; at an economic summit held in Lagos.
Govt insists on courier firm’s ban in Nigeria By Adeyemi Adepetun and Faith Oparaugo HE Federal Government T has remained adamant on the ban handed over to Aramex International Limited, following its alleged indictment for unethical practices and maneuvering of Nigerian courier companies. Following the ban, the Jordan based courier firm, an integral part of Global Distribution Alliance (GDA) has been restricted from undertaking courier businesses either directly or indirectly through any courier firm registered with the Nigerian Postal Service(NIPOST). Announcing the ban to journalists in Lagos, Assistant Postmaster General of the Federation and Head of Courier Regulatory Department of NIPOST, Dr. Simon Emeje said that NIPOST would enforce the ban in accordance to the Postal Act Cap. 127 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, to sanitise and ensure a level playing field in the courier industry in N i g e r i a .
He said: “We are empowered by the Act to regulate the activities of courier companies, amongst other responsibilities. So, we thereby notify all courier operators in Nigeria and the public that Aramex International LLC Ltd has been banned from undertaking courier business either directly or indirectly through any courier company registered with NIPOST.” Emeje, while explaining prelude to the ban, said that Aramex transacted courier business outside Nigeria and had entered franchise agreement with some registered courier companies in Nigeria at different times. However, the ban, he said, became imperative as a result of incessant reports of unethical practices including breaches of agreement, non-payment of cost of clearance and delivery of shipments, transacting courier business with other courier companies without recourse to contractual agreement despite the fact that the franchise agreement was exclusive and non-transferable, among other issues. “Aramex has been placed under surveillance and you are required to report to the
Courier Regulatory Department if you notice any courier business undertaken by Aramex for our further action,” he admonished courier operators. Meanwhile, Managing Director, ABX World and former representatives of Aramex Int’l and GDA in Nigeria, Captain John Okpaku nodded in agreement with CRD, adding that the firm (ABX world) had lost close to $6 million while doing business with Aramex. He said that ABX World had entered into franchise with Aramex International as a member of GDA. Of late, he said, Aramex had not kept to its part of the agreement hence ABX World has pulled out from the operations. Okpaku added that in spite of this, ABX World still remained a member of GDA, it would not condone Nigerian courier companies been surcharged at the international fronts. “We must protect our people. We must protect Nigeria’s sovereignty. Nobody should come here to tell us how to operate. Aramex at a time was bragging that no body could restrict them from bringing parcels to Nigeria.
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Appointments Challenges of regulating Hr practices in Nigeria
Famuyibo By Yetunde Ebosele and Wole Oyebade N every profession, there are Iwhat those who don’t practice they preach, like medical doctors that are chain-smokers, law enforcement officers who on regular basis flout traffic rules and regulations, among others. For instance, civil service, as a professional group, is entirely dedicated to supporting the government in the development of a strong, united and virile Nigeria. It applies extant rules and regulations to guide the day-today conducts of its workers. but when it comes to implementation, civil service often flouts its own rules of engagement and turns “unprofessional” in its conducts. An instance that would not go away just yet is the ill-fated Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment exercise, which killed about 20 applicants. Concerned analysts are unan-
Haastrup imous that government has again fall out of line in keeping the rules, by exempting an all-important body like the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) and their scores of consultants trained to manage human resource both in the public and private sector. A cross-section of Human resources personnel, labour leaders and economists condemned the recruitment as “unprofessional, unacceptable and ridiculous.” Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the consultant that handled the recruitment exercise for allegedly not following civil service laid recruitment procedures. CIPM’s President, Victor Famuyibo, in a quick reaction faulted the “money-for-job” syndrome as an abuse of office, unprofessional and scandalous.
Bukar-Goni It is granted that if the NIS and supervising Ministry of Interior had been a managing board or football team, it would have been sacked or relegated for the disastrous outing. However, the question still lingering on minds of analysts is the extent of involvement of the apex regulatory body for human resources management (CIPM) in such public sector mass-recruitments. They ask: How many of the NIS consultants are CIPM certified? And to what extent is CIPM certification a condition for qualifying as Hr manager in NIS and the entire civil service settings? Members of the CIPM also expressed similar concern recently in Lagos, at the 45th Annual General Meeting of the institute. According to them, government may have failed to keep its own rules of human resources management, but “to what extent has the insti-
Founding CEO of FHN, ‘Labi Ogunbiyi, leaves HE bOArdS of Afren and T First Hydrocarbon Nigeria (FHN) have announced that after nearly a decade with the company, Constantine Afolabi (‘Labi) Ogunbiyi is leaving the firm. . In a statement issued to that effect, the boards expressed gratitude to Mr. Ogunbiyi for his leadership and dedicated service to their respective companies over the years. According to the statement, “Mr Ogunbiyi has been a core member of the executive management team since Afren’s inception and assisted in establishing Afren’s business from the early days of Afren’s existence. . He has occupied various positions in the company from Special Assistant to the Chairman and General Counsel, to Associate director and Executive director and Member of the board. As Executive director he was responsible for business development and led Afren’s team
in negotiating certain key Nigerian acquisitions and capital raisings. . In 2011 he was appointed as Founding Chief Executive Officer of First Hydrocarbon Nigeria Ltd, and played an instrumental part in the establishment of FHN, its capital raising efforts and its acquisition of interests in OML 26 and OML 113 in Nigeria. . On his part, Ogunbiyi states: “I am extremely proud to have been a part of the establish- Ogunbiyi ment and evolution of Afren their support and assistance and FHN and to have been a over the years.” . part of their incredible sucChief Executive Officer of cess. From small and humble Afren Plc, Osman Shahenshah, roots to becoming the leading says: “We would like to thank Nigerian and independent ‘Labi for the instrumental role E&P players in Africa with a he has played in the evolution world class management of both Afren and FHN into team, I am safe in the knowl- leading players in the edge that they could not be Nigerian and African oil and better positioned for further gas industry. We wish him the growth. I will remain a pas- best of success in all his future sionate advocate, interested endeavours as he seeks to and ready to support however replicate the success we have I can. I would like to thank the enjoyed in the indigenous board and my colleagues for E & P sector in Africa.” .
tute projected itself, to prominence and fair recognition in the private and public sector?” CIPM, with a vision to be the foremost people management institute in Africa and respected across the world, is set up by the act of parliament to regulate Hr practice in the country. The institute is to promote excellence in the acquisition and application of knowledge
and skills by practitioners thereby contributing to sustainable national development. Citing this mandate, a member of the Institute, dr. Haastrup said CIPM ordinarily, should handle more recruitments both for the private and public sector. He added, “since that role has been taken from CIPM, as
shown by the NIS recruitment scandal, the CIPM ought to make policy statement in this regards and should advice the government appropriately on the matter. The government has set up a committee to investigate the matter but it is also quite unfortunate that CIPM is also not represented on the committee. It is high time we had projected the CIPM better into the public sector,” Haastrup said. He commended the Institute for strides it had made in the year (2013) under review, though expressed worries that the CIPM had not been given due recognition by the government, which is the highest employer of labour today. Haastrup would not spare CIPM of some blames too, as he observed that the apex Hr regulatory body might have been contented with running it affairs within the private sector alone. An indication of where the balance currently tilts, he said, could be seen in the constituent of the CIPM leadership – all faces of the private sector. Love Eziema added that it was time CIPM had gone closer to the government circle, stress-
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Don calls for gender-friendly policies in Nigerian versities From Niyi Bello, Akure S a way of addressing what she termed as “masculinisation of the academic”, a university don and Director, Centre for Gender and Development Studies of Ekiti State University (EKSU), AdoEkiti, Professor (Mrs.) Olabisi Aina has called for the introduction of gender policies for each Nigerian university. Aina, in a lecture titled: “Women in the Nigerian University System: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects” delivered last Friday at the 2014 Iju Public Affairs Forum organised by Ladipo Adamolekun, a professor of Public Administration, said there was a wide gender gap within the Nigerian academic environment. Setting the tone of discussion around the theme of the lecture in a gathering of academics and public administrators including former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran at the town hall of the sleepy community of Iju, Akure North local council of Ondo State, Aina provided some gender statistics that show low women involvement in teaching and administration in the 128 universities in Nigeria. She traced the persistence of gender inequality in the country’s Ivory Towers to the extension of patriarchy
“More Nigerian women are also moving into the Board rooms, taking vital business decisions alongside their male counterparts because of their educational credentials. Expectedly, this number will continue to increase with the high wave of women now yearning for university education.” and other gender stereotypes in the larger society to the academia that has remained male-centric, the failure of governments at various levels to pay attention to gender priorities in education budgets and institutional and environmental factors. These environmental factors according to her could be seen in gender-unfriendly teaching and learning environment and genderbased violence within the university system, which she called on operators of the system to address. She therefore proposes gender mainstreaming “as a tool for institutional and social transformation in the university system” with an explanation that each university should invest in its structural transformation to support gender equality and that individual academics should abandon traditional value orientations that support gender inequality. Apart from these, she also urged “promotion of a gender-friendly, inclusive and
secure teaching and learning environment, bridging gender gaps in student’s admission and staff recruitment and promoting increasing participation of women in decision-making at all levels.” Despite the challenges however, the university don admitted that the university education has recorded significant achievements for Nigerian women saying “today, educated Nigerian women are making strides n various professions, including nontraditional female professions such as engineering, aviation industry, extractive industry, architecture, and computer science among others. “More Nigerian women are also moving into the Board rooms, taking vital business decisions alongside their male counterparts because of their educational credentials. Expectedly, this number will continue to increase with the high wave of women now yearning for university education.”
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Regulating HR practices in Nigeria CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 ing that the HR body could not continue to be laidback in the light of the progress made over the years and pride of place HR practitioners are assuming in the world. According to Eziema, “the government should understand the importance of our regulatory role in the issues bothering on HR. Since they would not listen to us, we should make some noise about it, bringing some professional rascality if need be.” Apparently in agreement with earlier speakers, another member of the institute said besides the recurring decimal of having unqualified HR practitioners and non-registered member of the Institute assume offices of personnel manager both in public and private sector, most worrisome is that the public sector is yet to recognise the CIPM course certificates as one of the conditions for promotion. “Go to National Postgraduate College of Medicine and see what I’m talking about. They care less for the rules guiding HR practices in the country. So, how would anyone convince me to still come to the institute and acquire more qualifications, when it is not a necessary condition in the civil service? These are some of the challenges that the body must really address, if we are to scale up our progress.” Famuyibo, in his address, had earlier said by virtue of its Charter as the apex regulatory body of Human Resource practice in the country, CIPM must up its ante on advocacy and
regulation, adding that practitioners must play this script much stronger and take a more than casual interest in topical issues affecting the profession. He said there was no doubt that the CIPM leadership is too private-sector oriented. “Everybody here is the face of the private sector but we were more or less voted into office and there must be something the private sector has that is unique. “But again, the point is taken that we need to push it especially at the Abuja end. We are working on this agenda.” Famuyibo explained that the Institute was already working with the branch chairmen of CIPM to be more visible at the state-level. “This is because at the end of the day, it is all of those heads of service from the state that assemble at the national council on establishment. If you already have them as happycampers with yourself, when they get to their meetings they will easily pass the message across.” Continuing, he said, “we have also set up an accreditation committee especially for this purpose and for the first time, we decided not to have yet another Lagos-based committee, but as one based in Abuja and also very careful in selecting the headship of the committee.” On having more members from the public sector, Famuyibo added that it was the issue that was considered when “we said let us stop being arrogant, but open up our arena and go after all of
those CIPM qualified people”. He said, “if you want to police the entire country, it becomes impossible. In big organisations in oil and gas or manufacturing sector, you’d sometimes see a brilliant engineer, through the management succession process be considered as the best person to handle human resource. “Unfortunately, they never see a brilliant HR person and make same the next production manager. That will never happen. It’s always our garden that people feel more comfortable to encroach and that is how a medical doctor would find himself as Head of Administration. “We will not go after that institution telling them not to put the fellow there. But we will go after the engineer or the doctor that has assume the office, and encourage them to belong to the CIPM. We will then have the opportunity to train him and work with him and be in tune. “For us, that is the new thinking and I can assure you that since we started on this journey, we have recorded tremendous success. Yes we have the law on our side, but how many of such organisation would we go to right the wrong? So, let us start our thinking process and get more people into the net, so we can work with them. Leadership of the institution also sees the need to self-regulate the practice, to ensure that its members go about their HR business in strict adherence to its code of conduct. .
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ANAN tasks members on professionalism By Chijioke Nelson HE President of the T Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Sakirudeen Labode, at the weekend, said the association would not tolerate mediocrity in its implementation of accounting s t a n d a r d s . Labode said this in Lagos while declaring open a twoday workshop on the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). “We cannot tolerate mediocrity and we will not. Therefore, we all must be up and doing to demonstrate the acumen that we claim to posses. “You must be versatile in the new standards so that you do not run foul of the law that stipulates that all financial statements must be IFRS or IPSAS compliant by 2013 and 2016 respectively,” the ANAN president said. He said that the training would afford members of the association to opportunity to play the association’s signature tune, which was training, training and retraining as an avid believer in the cliché “lifelong learning.” According to him, the association would not be weary of developing the capacities of its new members, “because our new policy thrust is now benchmarked on quality assurance of the services provided by our members to their clients as experts in their field of
endeavour.” The accountant explained that the IFRS, though novel in the Nigerian environment, had been in existence in other climes several years before now. He said that the international accounting standards board had the responsibility of conceptualizing and crafting Accounting Standards to be adopted for use by various countries or jurisdictions around the globe. Labode recalled that the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) was established in 1982 as a private sector initiative by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and became a government agency in 1992. “By 2003, the membership of the body was enlarged to accommodate ANAN. The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), which inherited the assets and liabilities of the NASB, came into existence by the enactment of the FRCN Act in July 2011. “I make bold to say that the making of the FRCN was not without the contribution of our association because we were ably represented on the Road Map Committee for the adoption of International
Reporting Standards by our own Dr. M.A. Ayeni, while two other members of the association represented different organisations in the committee,” Labode said. He expressed appreciation to the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) Ireland for its unalloyed support to the association. But the Coordinator of the Workshop, Dr. Michael Ayeni, said that for any professional to stay afloat and be worthy of the calling, such a professional must relish in training as a believer in life-long learning principles. “The International Financial Reporting Standards that we are about to demystify today and tomorrow, were crafted to strengthen the faith of stakeholders in the financial reports prepared by us. “Some other groups that dissected them have expressed their professional opinions, thus making the reports dependable and reliable as a decision-making tool. The significance of the IFRS can therefore not be overemphasized no matter how many times we call members out for training,” Ayeni said. Speaking on the topic
“Introduction to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS),” Dr. Wayne Bartlett, said that IFRS was aimed at developing a single set of high quality accounting standards that require transparent and comparable information in general purpose financial standards. Bartlett said that the IFRS
Interpretation Committee was appointed to assist the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). “It provides timely guidance on newly-identified financial reporting issues not specifically addressed in the IFRS. IASB includes technical staff drawn from a number of countries including U.K., U.S.A., Ghana, and
South Africa. “Except when IFRS permits or require otherwise, an entity shall disclose comparative information in respect of the previous period for all amounts included in the current period’s financial statements. This shall include both narrative and financial information,” he said.
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42 APPOINTMENTS Tuesday, April 1, 2014
NANS tasks PTDF on entrepreneurial empowerment From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE National Association T of Nigerian Students (NANS) has urged the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) to go beyond training manpower development for oil and gas sector to delve into
entrepreneurial training for students. The National Vice President of the association, Ahmad Jibril, who stated this in Abuja when he and other members of the executive of the association, paid a courtesy visit on the Executive Secretary of the
PTDF, Dr. Oluwole Oluleye, explained that the new initiative will lessen students’ dependence on white-collar jobs that are unavailable. He added, “as the relationship unfolds, we will be coming to you with ‘not money demanding activities’ but either for the provision of resource persons to present lectures on specific areas of importance to students in form of workshops or seminars that will teach students how they can be self-dependent because we don’t want a life where every graduate in Nigeria will graduate and look up to government for jobs.” He also informed that the association has resolved to harmonise all its differences to become an indivisible entity that is credible enough to partner with responsible institutions such as PTDF in the pursuit of education and development of students across the country. Jibril posited that Nigerian students are now united in their struggle to ensure that their future is protected. “I will tell you categorically that, the days of NANS that runs a faction is gone, the days of the kind of NANS that goes from office to office in search of money is gone, it is now a constructive student force that believes in doing what is right to set the nation aright,” he said. He pointed out that the new NANS is determined to
I will tell you categorically that, the days of NANS that runs a faction is gone, the days of the kind of NANS that goes from office to office in search of money is gone, it is now a constructive student force that believes in doing what is right to set the nation aright. synergise and partner with responsible institutions such as the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, whose activities support growth and opportunities for Nigerian students and youths. The NANS vice president explained that the association is motivated by the credibility of the institution in the award of scholarships and other trainings to deserving Nigerian students from within and outside the country, as well as, the giants strides the executive secretary has taken to reposition the agency to be more responsive in the execution of its mandate of developing institutions and human capacities for the oil and gas industry since his assumption of duty in May 2013. He added, “nominations were called during our last meeting where your name and institution came up, and after validation of information obtained by our search team, we came up with a list of people that deserves our honour. In your case if you permit me I
will like to call you a “Radical Technocrat” basically because of the kind of life you lived especially in your days as executive secretary of PPPRA. “In fact on your assumption in PTDF you did something that attracted the attention of NANS and that’s, when you skipped the 2013 scholarship. We were concerned, but on detailed enquiry we realised that, the justification was basically to make life more conducive for those that are already studying under PTDF scholarship abroad and to us that is a sign that, what ought to be done should be done well and we are fully in support of that.” The NANS national vice president presented an “Exceptional Service Award” to the executive secretary as a mark of appreciation to the Fund for its works. In his response, the executive secretary thanked the NANS leadership for the honour they have done to him as a person and the institution he represents. He describe the award as a
morale booster and an attestation of the impact of PTDF activities in the last 13 years of its existence in the provision of relevant manpower that will take over the country’s oil and gas industry. “We are grateful that we are being recognised for the activities we have been undertaking and certainly we feel we have made a great impact in the number of students that we have trained to take over the oil and gas industry. Mr. President is also very much interested. As part of the transformation agenda, those who distinguished themselves in academics with first class degrees are automatically sent abroad for Master’s and doctoral programmes. Those, who have 2.2 are not totally left out, and this shows Mr. President’s interest in ensuring that adequate local manpower is created to take over the industry in the nearest future.” The 2013 scholarship, he maintained was combined with that of 2014 because of the situation he met on ground “what I met on ground was not so palatable, a lot of students were owed, we couldn’t pay, we had no funds to pay and I felt at that point there is absolutely no need taking additional students though I was under pressure to do so. I want to make sure that those on our scholarship abroad and in Nigerian universities are paid as at when due.”
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Govt to establish youth development fund From Kanayo Umeh, Abuja HE Minister of Youth T Development, Boni Haruna, has announced plans by the federal govern-
ment to establish National Youth Development Fund as part of measures to encourage self-employment among young Nigerians.
The minister who disclosed this when former members of the Adamawa State House of Assembly from 1999-2007 paid him a courtesy visit in his office in
Abuja, maintained that the fund would not only support youth programmes, but also facilitated a -coordinated approach to youth empowerment and entre-
Agi decries low quality of lawyers From Anietie Akpan, Calabar Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi has raised alarm over the future of law practice in Nigeria, describing most graduates from Nigerian universities and Law School currently as “half baked”. He said this is not peculiar to law alone but several other professions, adding that it’s an indication of the falling standard of education in the country. Agi who is widely speculated to be eying the governorship seat of the state in 2015 in a chat with some journalists in Calabar said, from his findings, there was a decline in the quality of graduates that the Law School was churning out and feared that if the trend was not checked, Nigeria law courts would in the near future no more witness intelligent arguments based on good research. He said that current plans to review the curriculum was in order saying, ‘’there is a problem with our educational system today. The fall in the quality of law graduates today is a reflection of the general fall in our education. There is a problem with our universities, secondary schools and primary schools. We need to go back to the basics and get things right. ” Agi said that young lawyers were in a haste to make it “hence they were not ready to understudy their senior colleagues, a development that was not helping the law profession as both the bench and bar were worried over the trend and called for an inward assessment of the situation. Agi who described himself as an unrepentant optimist maintained that he was in support of National Conference, pointing out that it was one avenue that Nigerians from different ethnic nationalities and interest groups could sit down to discuss issues of common interest and chart a way forward. “National conference is a welcome development. I must commend President Goodluck Jonathan for this bold step. The very existence of this country is being threatened by the utterances of some prominent and not so prominent persons. Jonathan has given us the opportunity to say what we have against one another. It is a good thing that he’s done. Let’s make use of this opportunity.” He joined the president in appealing to the National and State Houses of Assembly in passing into law the bill on referendum so that resolutions of the confab could be subjected to a referendum if need be so that they stood the test of
time and have legal backing. Commenting on his 2015 governorship ambition, the legal luminary said that he was still consulting and that the response to his aspiration had been impressive noting that after attempting to run for the chairmanship of the old Ogoja Local Government Area in 1987 and governorship election in 2003, he was now better prepared to succeed
Governor Liyel Imoke who has done very well especially in area of health, roads and education. He said: “I have always fought for Cross River State. I formed the Cross River Redemption Movement, which checked the excesses of the Ibim Princewill administration. That government sold our agricultural estates for peanuts while the Cross River share of money in Midland Bank
was used to buy exercise books and pens at a time our students in London were being repatriated for inability to pay fees. “If you think I have the capacity to succeed Governor Imoke then support me. There’s need for courage and capacity to surpass what Imoke has done. If the people think that I have the capacity to be governor I won’t shy away from it.”
preneurship. His words: “Last week, we had our ministerial meeting here, where we have been reviewing a bill that has been considered by the President towards the establishment of a National Youth Development Fund. I want to assure you that as soon as we go through this process; once this funding is in place, it will afford the youth the opportunity to access it and develop their skills, develop their capacities, the spirit of entrepreneurship. The focus now is not about what you read, but what you can do to add value to the economy and even live best on you own skill.” He added, “what we are doing here is to chart a cause that will make the future more reassuring to the Nigerian youth and we have
very competent officers, themselves mothers, fathers who are very committed to ensuring that this ministry discharges its statutory mandate for which is was establish. Haruna also underscored the importance of the ministry in the affairs of the nation, declaring that it is the most critical and sensitive ministry given that its mandate covers over 65 per cent of the country’s population, who are in the age bracket of 18-35 years. In his remarks earlier, leader of the delegation and former speaker of Adamawa House of Assembly, Abubakar Abdulahi promised, “we do undertake to mobilise the youths for the purposes of their positive and progressive development for you ministry.”
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NECA prioritises employment generation policies From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE Nigeria Employers’ T Consultative Association (NECA) will pursue and support motions that are aimed at employment generation and efforts at curbing cost of governance in the country, its President, Richard Uche has said. The NECA boss, who disclosed this in Abuja, also cautioned against the emergence of what he termed ‘tyranny of the minority’, which may stifle the resolutions of the confab. Uche said that the agenda of NECA at the conference was to seek policy discourse that would promote the generation of massive employment for the Nigerian youths as well as ways of curbing the cost of governance. He added: “Our agenda at this conference is to support any discourse that will promote provision of massive jobs for the unemployed and most importantly to seek ways of reducing cost of governance and curb corruption in the system.
“We will also be interested in the way Nigeria should go on deregulation as a policy. Employers are also not happy about the continued spending of about 70 per cent of the national budget on recurrent expenditure rather than on capital expenditure that can promote infrastructure for economic growth. “In the 80s, it used to be 30 per cent for recurrent and 70 per cent for capital. Employers have continually said that government should leave business to the entrepreneurs to run.” Uche, who is also the Chairman of Pro Health, Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO), also explained NECA support for full deregulation of the downstream of the oil and gas sector to liberate more investment into the sector. He said: “We in NECA have always supported deregulation because of so many factors. Our position is informed by the fact that it (regulation) allows festering of corruption, promotes inefficiency and stifles the
much-needed massive investment that is needed to drive the sector successfully. “The short-term argument would to say it will result into price increment, but the long-term effect is much more than mere price increment. If deregulation is allowed, massive jobs will be created, more opportunities for investments in various tiers of the chain and above all, it eliminates corruption. We have seen this scenario unfolded in the banking sector, aviation sector and recently the telecommunication sector. What is needed is a strong regulatory framework to ensure effective compliance to the regulations.” Uche, who is also a member of the national conference, explained that the minority might have unwittingly been empowered by the proponents of 75 per cent voting system. His words: “With the 75 per cent voting, what happened when there is 74 to 26 voting? That means that the minority will overwhelm
the majority by simply spoiling their show. Because it will be very clear that no decision can be taken until 75 per cent is gotten. The reality will then be that the minority will even be more powerful than the majority of the people. Care must be taken to strike a balance
between not allowing the majority to lord themselves over the minority but also balancing the equation so that the minority will not become tyrannies.” He then declared that adoption of consensus on most of the issues would
help united Nigerians and explain hitherto unacceptable positions to opposition. On issues that consensus cannot resolve, Uche called for scaling of issues and allocate percentage base on their importance to national course.
Akpabio, Umar bag transport awards Example’ was delivered by Authority, recognition of their out- Transport the Managing Director of Round Table ItheNstanding contributions to Nigeria Lagos Metropolitan Area growth and develop- among other Transport ment of all modes of the transportation sector comprising water, air, road and rail, the Akwa-Ibom State Governor, Goodswill Akpabio and the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, are to be conferred with awards during the fourth coming Nigeria Transport awards and lecture. Scheduled to be hosted at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, the annual event according to a news statement is hosted by Transport Day newspaper and supported by Nigeria
stakeholders. The statement said: “Beside the Akwa Ibom State governor and the Minister of Transport, other dignitaries expected to grace the occasion include the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Osita Chidoka and the National President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Major General Umaru Usman, among others. “It would be recalled that a lecture titled ‘Multi-Modal Transportation: the Lagos
Transport Authority, Dr. Dayo Mobereola at the Nigeria Transport awards and lecture last year.”
Odunsi partners NDE to empower constituents By Tunde Akinola lawmaker who repreA sents Ogun West Senatorial District, Akin Odunsi in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has trained no fewer than 22 youths from the senatorial district in what is known as “Eazy Biz Entrepreneurial Scheme”. Addressing participants at the handing-over of trade tools to the beneficiaries in Ayetoro, Ogun State, Odunsi noted that the gesture was focused at making the youths self-reliant and employers of labour, even as he described the launch of the EazyBiz scheme as the first of its kind in the state. “The EazyBiz scheme, which is the first of its kind in this part of the world is geared towards giving the youth the opportunity of providing payment solutions to the people through ticketing, recharge cards, lottery, PHCN bills among others. If this particular exercise succeeds, we hope to launch similar exercise next year,” Odunsi said. According to him, the EazyBiz Entrepreneurial Scheme gulped the sum of N15 million with each of the participants having trade tools worth N600, 000 and initial start-off capital of N50, 000. “This programme, just like the 120 youths we trained last year, still aimed at taking some youths off the labour market. If only the local, state and federal governments can take vocational, technical and skills acquisition trainings very serious, then the issue of unemployment will be greatly reduced. On our part, we hope to still train another set of 120 youths from the Senatorial District in different entrepreneurial skills starting from May 2014,” Odunsi said. In a similar vein, the Ogun State Coordinator of NDE, Femi Oyenekan said that its agency had shouldered the responsibility of training the skill acquisition beneficiaries in all they need to know to pilot a successful business. He noted that if such programme were adequately put in place from time to time, youths would abandon thuggery and all forms of criminal activities.
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NAAT decries laboratory decay in tertiary institutions From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE National Association T of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has bemoaned the obsolete state of teaching laboratories across tertiary institutions in the country. National President of the union, Suleiman Sani, disclosing this in Abuja at the foundation-laying ceremony of the national secretariat of NAAT, said the development is threatening the quality of teaching and l e a r n i n g . However, he expressed optimism that the infrastructural development fund disbursed to the universities recently would help reverse the trend. His words, “we are not where we want to be in terms of availability of teaching and practical
equipment. The association is very sad by this ugly development. We have made presentations to the government on the dilapidated state of our laboratories. This happens and the number of students keeps increasing on annual basis. “In a practical session, the scenario is often that the space is small for the number of students, few equipment with some of them obsolete and dysfunctional. This is the scenario playing out in our tertiary institutions nationwide. But in all of these, we expect that the NEEDS assessment that has been put in place by the government will reverse the trend. We are also hopeful that the funds that were recently released to the universities will be used judiciously for the
UNICAL graduates 500 on skill acquisition From Anietie Akpan, Calabar OT less than 500 final N year students of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) have graduated from the University’s Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC). The students are the first graduands of the compulsory training programme of the University for all final year students. Some of the skills offered at the centre include water treatment, brewing, photography, paper production, tailoring, crop farming, printing, satellite installation among others. Speaking at the graduation ceremony at the University’s International Conference Centre, the Director of the centre, Prof Usang Bassey, said the centre was established to make students look beyond white -collar jobs. He said, “the entrepreneurship centre was established to make students look beyond the one stretched white-collar job mentality and become more proactive.” He charged the fresh and pioneer graduands to indulge in critical thinking, recognise business opportunities as well as take interest in teamwork in order to
make headway. On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Ekondo Microfinance Bank, Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong expressed his firm’s readiness to partner with the centre on mentoring. While urging the university graduands to think less about white-collar job, he said his bank would partner the centre in order to mentor and encourage deserving graduands. Ekpenyong said, “may be if they (graduands) submit their business plans and we are satisfied, we would take about 20 per-cent of them for mentoring and other necessary assistance.” Speaking further, Ekpenyong, who chaired the occasion, harped on the need for entrepreneurs to be proactive in identifying business opportunities, adding that every given opportunity must be relentlessly pursued for an entrepreneur to succeed. He applauded the University of Calabar management for going beyond theory to practicalise teachings, adding that critical thinking, focus, creativity as well as internal motivation are required for an entrepreneur to stand the test of time.
Atunwa charges student union leaders on development From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin. PEAKER of Kwara State House of Assembly, AbdulRasak Atunwa has described Nigerian youths as potential change agents in the country. Besides, he said the future of Nigeria, as a nation would be determined by the present generation of the youths, “therefore, you are to take up your rightful position always and contribute meaningfully to the growth of this nation.” Atunwa gave the advice in Ilorin while receiving the Students Representative Council of the Students Union Government of
University of Ilorin led by its Speaker, Kabir Alawaye, The speaker explained that the students should exhibit highest level of discipline, good conduct, and commitment to their educational pursuits. He added, “we are now in a competitive world, youth must be more focused and avoid acts inimical to the attainment of their educational goals.” The speaker assured that the State House of Assembly under his leadership would be more responsive to the yearnings of the people to further make participatory democracy meaningful to the people of the state.
betterment of learning and scholarship. With the money arriving very soon, NAAT has directed its members in various universities to work with the authorities to develop standard laboratories that can compete with any laboratories in the w o r l d . ” Sani, who lauded the Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof. James Adelabu, for granting the land upon which the national secretariat would be built, said the association is expected to spend about N400million for the four floors complex. “The N400million national secretariat is solely financed and executed by our members in NAAT. The design was also done by our members and because the association is a small one at least for now, we are also executing the project through direct labour. We plan to execute the project in phases and we also intend to have our next del-
egates’ conference, which is slated for next November, in the building.” Suleiman also urged unions especially in the education sector to adopt the spirit of dialogue with all the stakeholders to ensure productive academic calendars. He added, “because we said we are not confrontational does not mean we easily give in. our elders taught us to always present our case on a roundtable, discuss it and reach agreement. Even if we go on strike, we will still come back to the table to discuss the contesting issues. This does not also mean we will not embark on strike when pushed to do so.” Sani also expressed the reservation of the association on the implementation of 2009 agreement with government saying, “NAAT is not satisfied because some of our members have not been paid
their earned allowances completely. But we are hopeful the agreement will be implemented because we are in talks with government. Between now and the end of next month the implementation monitoring committee will meet to review the payment so far and submit the report of the payment made to Mr. President for necessary action.” Speaking at the occasion, the Vice Chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof. Adelabu said the university is working on ensuring accreditation of courses that are not accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC) towards accreditation. He also lauded President Goodluck Jonathan for demonstrating personal commitment towards the promotion of academic excellence in the university by approving the construction of critical infrastructure.
“We are working to ensure that the nonaccredited courses are accredited very soon. We are putting structure on ground to ensure this is done in a speedy manner. We are hopeful that the process will be completed very soon. We have new lecture theaters and laboratory complex that are all geared towards the success of the accreditation exercise. We have also advertised calling on contractors to do pre-qualification for some of the projects that are estimated to cost about N3billion that President Goodluck Jonathan approved for us to do. “Indeed there is another project that is estimated to cost about N2.6billion that we are working on. So, putting all these together, we can conveniently say we are on course to ensuring the accreditation process will be a success,” he stated.
Professionals seek ways to reduce unemployment HE Professional waiting for vacancies,” he successful professionals, could come together and T Excellence Foundation of s a i d . who were ready to promote contribute meaningfully to Nigeria has expressed its determination to help solve unemployment problems through the development of professionals for different sectors of the economy. Founder of the foundation, Chief Dipo Bailey said this during the induction ceremony of new members into the foundation. “There is shortage of professional manpower in the business sector of this country. We want to encourage and support the young ones to do professional exams and be empowered to become job providers instead of only
He worried that statistics revealed that in 2012, about 50 million of youths in the country were unemployed and subjected to different forms of hardships. According to him, PEFON would continue to recognise individuals who have excelled in their various professionals, and also acknowledge successful businessmen in the country, who have been able to create jobs for several professionals currently doing well in their chosen endeavours. Bailey said that the foundation needs more of the
the visions of PEFON. He also said that the foundation plans to set up funds for sponsorship to assist some less privilege students, most especially in the rural areas, to achieve their goals of becoming professionals. The PEFON founder said that it would identify with the Federal Government in the area of infrastructure, health and education among others. The Chairman, PEFON, Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi said there were many brilliant youths in the country, but that if some professionals
the country, it would make things better in the society. He observed that there was a challenging environment in the nations economy and that there was a need to organise things better to make the country a better place. The chairman stressed the need for PEFON members to continue to increase their advocacy so that their existence would be better announced in the country. Special Guest of Honour at the induction ceremony, J.K Randle said that professionals should be the ears
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Labour Leadership tussle tears IPMAN apart From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE long queues for fuel may return in most parts of the country as leadership tussle is threatening the cohesiveness of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
While Obasi Lawson, who was hitherto the South East Zonal Chairman of IPMAN is laying claims to the leadership buoyed by the court judgment he obtained from the Federal High Court Port Harcourt, the current President, Aminu Abdulkadir,
claimed that his terms in office has not expired. Obasi alleged in Abuja that Abdulkadir reneged on a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed and also claimed that the agreement reached with Abdulkadir to conduct an
Industrial Court reserves ruling on SSATHURAI suit From Niyi Bello, Akure HE National Industrial Court sitting in Akure, Ondo State has reserved ruling till April 9 on an application brought in the course of a suit filed by the Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRAI) against the appointment of Dr. Sunday Osasu Olotu as the Chief Medical Director of the Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu, Benin City. In the case with suit number NICN/LA/219/2013, which commenced last year after being brought from a Benin High Court, with the Federal Ministry of Health, the minister of Health, attorney-general of the federation and minister of Justice, as well as
the Management Board of the hospital as defendants, the duo of Comrades Kennedy Oriakhi and Theophilus Osifo, the Chairman and Secretary of the Uselu Branch of SSAUTHRAI, prayed the court to declare Olotu’s appointment as illegal, null and void. The unionists in their statement of claims said that the emergence of the first defendant was not made in accordance with the extant laws guiding such appointment and that the second and third defendants, the Federal Ministry of Health and the minister, should adhere to recognised regulations of the institution. The court had earlier ruled, after assuming jurisdiction over the matter, in response
to an earlier application that removal of SSATHURAI from the list of litigants cannot jeopardise the course of the case. However, SSATHURAI through its counsels, claimed that the duo of Oriakhi and Osifo have no locus to file the case on behalf of the union as they were not authorised to do so and that the association itself was not aware of any case against the management of the hospital. Attached to the application was an affidavit in support deposed to by Moshood Oladimeji Akinade, who claimed that, “the second and third claimants are impostors and impersonators parading themselves as Chairman and Secretary respectively of the Uselu
election in 2014 was not honoured. He said, “the MoU we signed said that Aminu will handover in 2014 and that election be conducted in some offices. Aminu did not honour anything stated in the MoU. He went ahead to change the constitution of IPMAN and fraudulently registered a new constitution in CAC without carrying all members along and made himself the life trustee chairman, and stated that the board of trustee will control the leadership of the association. We kicked against it and after exhausting all avenues to ensure that he implements the MoU failed, we then went to court.” Obasi also faulted Abdulkadir assurance of
abundance of products saying, “Abdulkadir is deceiving the public by claiming tussle will result in scarcity. IPMAN does not have the capacity to import product, the quarterly allocation given by PPPRA to IPMAN does not have up to two per cent of total importation the country requires. MOMAN and DAPPMAN are the people doing the importation. IPMAN only have one tank farm in Lagos. IPMAN members buy from them and sell in their stations.” He added that he will rectify the situation when he fully assume office as the National President of the association by ensuring that IPMAN has more tank farms across the country. But Abdulkadir has refuted the claims of wrongdoings as enunciated by Obasi, saying,
“we have a timetable for conducting our elections, which have been slated for May this year. Everybody knows that Obasi was expelled from IPMAN due to his anti-association activities. How comes he is the only one briefing the press in one-room without having anybody on his side from IPMAN. But here we are, there are all the zonal, depots and other national officers here present.” Speaking on the wrangling, a former President of IPMAN, Tunji Adeniran called for an end to the crisis. He submitted that all presidents of IPMAN did emerge through electioneering processes and decried the resort to law courts to resolve leadership disagreements.
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One massacre too many By Aminu Waziri Tambuwal
Excerpts of an address by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at a special session of the House to remember students and other Nigerians killed through terrorism. Y dear Honourable colleagues, our reunion at times like this has always been one of joy for accomplishment of a civic responsibility. However, on this day, it is with the greatest sense of anguish that I welcome you back. On February 25, 2014, the very day the House adjourned Plenary, Nigeria suffered a horrendous terrorist attack that struck a fatal blow at the heart and soul of the Nigerian nation and desecrated values that decent peoples of all nations hold dear. On that night, about 59 students of Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, were killed in the most heinous manner. Some of our future national leaders were mowed down in gruesome circumstances in their sleep. Some were shot dead while many were burnt beyond recognition. That day was a day that will live in infamy in the history of this nation. When innocent, harmless and defenseless women and children become the targets of these heartless murderous bandits; when the lives of sleeping children are so callously snuffed out, it becomes clear that these agents of terror have murdered sleep and they henceforth deserve none. Whatever grievances the terrorists harbour against the government of Nigeria, Nigeria’s innocent children have nothing to do with them. Nigeria’s children bear no responsibility for either policy making or policy implementation in Nigeria. It is, therefore, an act of cowardice worthy of ringing condemnation to target the children, to strike at those who are not only innocent but are also unable to strike back or defend themselves. There can be no reason, no justification and no acceptable excuse for this act of mindless brutality. Whatever message the terrorists set out to send to the Nigerian government has been drowned out by the cries for justice by the blood of these innocent martyrs. It is to remember these innocent children and other victims of violence in this country, that the House has declared today “A day of mourning,” to express our collective outrage on these killings that have gone on for far too long. My dear Colleagues, please travel with me on an imaginary journey to Federal Government College, Buni Yadi. Picture the scene as the terrorists creep into the hostels and the children begin to wake up one after the other, with their eyes heavy with sleep, each of them convinced that this is some nightmare. Picture the chaos in the rooms and the terror on the faces of the children as they watch the murderers attack the first set of students, the ones nearest to
the entrance, and the students begin to realise that what is happening is not a nightmare but a reality far harsher that any nightmare the mind of a child can construct. Hear the panic in the voices of the children as they begin to scream for help, from God, their parents or security. But no help will come tonight. Feel the unbearable horror of this night, and hear the fading cries of these children as they finally succumb to the murderous onslaught. Finally, my dear colleagues, imagine that it is your own child in the hostels at Buni Yadi on this hellish night! I can still hear the voice of the father of Aliyu Yola, one of the victims of the school massacre, crying, “Aliyu was scared to go back to school after the last holiday. I forced him to resume not knowing he will never
come back to me again.” As Jodi Picoult writes in her book, ‘My Sister’s Keeper’, “In the English language there are orphans and widows, but there is no word for the parent who loses a child.” Dear colleagues, please let us rise for a minute silence in honour of the murdered children of Buni Yadi and of the many valuable Nigerians that have been lost in this needless orgy of violence. May their innocent souls rest in perfect peace. Today is not a day to apportion blames. It is a day for the expression of our sense of personal and national loss. But it is also a day for us to look for concrete solutions. In my brief statement immediately after that attack, I warned that Nigeria is running out of excuses for our failure to live up to our responsibility to
protect our citizens. Today, I wish to amend that comment and declare that we HAVE run out of excuses. We no longer have any excuse for our inability to protect our innocent defenseless children from gratuitous violence. In recent times, it seems the nation wakes up every morning to the sad news of one gory tale of bloodletting and killing of innocent Nigerians or another: in the North East States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe; in the North Central States of Benue and Plateau; and in other parts of Nigeria. We wake up to the disturbing news of daring and dastardly attacks on our military establishments resulting in the dissipation of our military infrastructure and the destruction of the lives of the heroic Nigerians who have commit-
ted their lives to the defense of our territorial integrity. In Maiduguri, for instance, expensive military aircraft and equipment and whole military barracks have been lost in addition to the loss of men and women of our military and other law enforcement agencies. We wake up to the chilling news of the total annihilation of innocent, law-abiding families and entire communities in the most callous, reprehensible and bizarre fashion. This cannot continue. We must rise up collectively and decisively to stop these orgy of deaths, destruction and waste. ECTION 14 of the SRepublic Constitution of the Federal of Nigeria provides that the security and welfare of our people is the primary purpose of government. In making this provision, the
Constitution places a duty on all of us here and everyone else entrusted with the mandate of governance and representation to place a high premium on the security of lives and property of Nigerians. By this parameter, the Nigerian government must rise to the occasion. And by government, I do not mean only the Executive. We in the Legislature are also part of government. And we cannot therefore merely join in the chorus of lamentations. Our duty is to act swiftly and decisively in the protection of the citizenry. In the past, this House had initiated and supported all measures needed to combat terrorism in the country. Since active terrorism started manifesting itself, the House has taken the following steps:
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One massacre too many CONTINUED FROM PAGE 69 • We have passed over 20 resolutions on the issue of national security. • We amended the Anti-terrorism Act, 2011 to strengthen the Security Agencies. • We have appropriated huge sums of money for the Security Agencies. • Only recently, January 30, 2014 the House, in making its recommendations for Constitutional Amendment, voted to include the National Security Agencies and the Nigeria Police on the First Line charge for purpose of ensuring their financial independence and timely release of funds when appropriated. While we await the completion of the constitutional amendment process in which we have thus sought to remove
the funding bottleneck that impedes the operational effectiveness of our security institutions; we must, in the interim, adopt definite measures to ensure that the security agencies have all the support they need to put an end to this longrunning orgy of bloodbath so that Nigerians can sleep with both eyes closed. That is the most basic service citizens expect from their government. My dear colleagues, let us not forget that we have in place a State of Emergency in the three affected North East states. Yet, the killings have continued unabated in spite of the gallant efforts of our security forces. It is therefore clear that we need to come up with other ideas for a solution. There are certain questions that this House must now ask.
• How do we ensure that the welfare of our military is effectively administered and that they have the appropriate equipment to execute their hazardous assignment? The sad events of recent weeks have once again made Nigerians ask whether moneys appropriated for the welfare of our security forces are properly administered. • How do we strengthen the intelligence gathering capabilities of our intelligence agencies? • How do we encourage the Nigerian Police Force to institutionalise Community Policing as a framework for engaging local communities in a partnership for checking crime and terrorism? • What about integrating local security structures into the regular security windows of
the Nigerian Police Force with the federal, state and local governments supporting them with necessary resources? • Is it perhaps time for us to revisit the idea of State Police? • How do we develop an institutional framework for securing the land through a neighbourhood audit where a tab is kept on every member and every housing structure whether completed or uncompleted? A fully engaged and strongly organised local population would not allow terrorism in their community or across their territory. Nigerian citizens must therefore be mobilised to take back their communities. Intelligence gathering will improve tremendously if the Police tap security structures at the local levels effectively.
• How do we institute a form of ‘Marshall Plan’ to effectively address the economic circumstances of the affected regions? Such a measure will serve to check youth restiveness, unemployment and mass poverty. The private sector also has a huge role to play in this. • What about our traditional rulers, religious leaders and other stakeholders? Does the government now need to intensify engagement with these elders to take advantage of their unique position, wisdom and influence? These few suggestions are only intended to serve as stimuli for further discourse. I challenge my colleagues and other Nigerians to come forward with other ideas and solutions on how we can, as a nation, address this situation. The involvement of the citizenry in the fight against terrorism is a vital issue. For the campaign against terrorism to succeed, the people must get involved. A crisis of this magnitude is beyond the capacity of any government to resolve on its own without the support of the people. Whenever the stability and survival of a nation is threatened, the most potent weapon in repelling the threat is the active engagement of the people of that nation. I humbly appeal to the Nigerian people to join in this struggle for the soul of our nation and embrace, as a sacred duty, the mission of restoring peace and stability in Nigeria. We must draw from the heartbreak of Buni Yadi, and other areas affected by mindless violence, an inspiration to rededicate ourselves to the cause of nation building. One hundred years after Nigeria was amalgamated into one country, there are Nigerians who would still prefer to emphasise and celebrate our differentness and blame the British for amalgamating us, rather than embrace the reality of our oneness. At this stage of our journey of nationhood, all Nigerians should be highlighting the
ties that bind us. We should be promoting the elements of our common heritage and emphasising the imperatives of our common destiny. In the light of a heart-wrenching tragedy like this, our people must now see that those political, sectional and sectarian differences that have made it impossible for us to present a united front against our challenges are petty and selfabsorbed. If a tragedy of the Buni Yadi magnitude does not bring us together as one nation, if the loss of our innocent children whose only offence was that they went to school to gain education and wisdom in preparation for a future of service to Nigeria and humanity does not unite us in grief, then we need to ask ourselves if we truly meet the basic spiritual requirements of nationhood. We cannot claim to be one nation, if we cannot find unity in grief; just as we cannot claim to be a great nation when we are incapable of preventing horrendous attacks on our children peacefully asleep in their beds. As a people, we are known to be our brother’s keeper. Terror has never been in our character and with God on our side, we shall surely defeat this minority tribe of violence. Let us therefore arise with a single-minded resolve that the Buni Yadi massacre is one massacre too many and we shall tolerate no more. My dear colleagues, - Our nation is in mourning, and it is in urgent need of consolation - Our nation is in pain, and in urgent need of healing - Our nation is puzzled, and in urgent need of answers - Our nation is disillusioned, and in urgent need of reassurance. As the elected representatives of the people, it is our duty to offer that consolation, administer that healing, provide those answers and furnish that reassurance that our people need to make them continue to believe in the Nigerian nation.
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Tambuwal gave a speech Jonathan cannot give By Martin Nwoko T was purely by chance that I found myself in the chamber of Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Tuesday 11th March, 2014. A wise man once said that it is often by chance that we are present when real history is being made. Now I know what he meant. That morning, I had gone to the National Assembly to sit in on the appearance of the Minister of Petroleum Resources and her team before the House Budget Committee. I had looked forward to another series of tales by moonlight. It was while already at the NASS premises that I learned that the House was resuming from break that day and had indeed declared the day a Day of Mourning in honour of the school children massacred by Boko Harm at Federal Government College Bunu Yadi in late February. I recall that the first thought that occurred to me when I heard this was to wonder whether the Senate would think of making even such a symbolic gesture. I wondered, not for the first time, how it is that the House of Reps always tends to identify with the issues of the ordi-
nary Nigerian far more readily than the Senate. I remember wondering if perhaps this had something to do with the respective leadership of the two Chambers. House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal has consistently shown himself to be a man with his finger on the pulse of the people. Little did I know that in thinking these thoughts, I was being prescient. For before that morning was over, I was going to receive a crash course on the quality and substance of Aminu Tambuwal as a man and a leader. That morning, unbeknownst to me as I took my seat high up in the gallery of the House chamber, Speaker Tambuwal was about to give the speech of his life, as it was characterized by a clearly emotion-overwhelmed man sitting next to me in the gallery. Addressing his colleagues on the mindless massacre of innocent students and on the general insecurity across the nation, the Speaker gave a speech that would move a heart of stone. I was not surprised to notice that a good number of the Honourable members, especially the female members, were sobbing quietly. It was
not just one factor that made Tambuwal’s speech a huge success. It was a combination of factors: the timing, the content the tone, all pitch perfect. But for me, from the beginning of the speech to the end, it was Tambuwal’s demeanour that caught and held my attention. He gave the speech like a man in pain. He came across as not merely narrating other people’s pain but also addressing his own anguish. He did not stand before Nigerians as a neutral, mercenary spiritual warrior stepping forward to combat and exorcise demons that are tormenting other people. Rather he came across as a man for whom the fight is personal; a man wrestling with demons tormenting him just as mercilessly as they are tormenting his people. He did not sit there mouthing mere platitudes. Rather he channeled the raw emotions of a whole nation. And, even more importantly, he channeled the raw emotions in his own soul. In his speech, the Speaker descended with Nigerians into the depths of their grief, and then lifted them up again onto a higher ground from where he invited them
to look into the horizon and see in their not-too-distant distant future the glimmers of a normal life of peace. He took Nigerians into the besieged hostels of the school at Bunu Yadi and forced us to witness with our own eyes the horror that transpired that night. After showing us the horror, and acknowledging our justifiable despondency, he reassured us that there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. However, he made it clear that to reach that light, all Nigerians must work together to clear the debris that make further progress along the tunnel possible. He urged us to focus on what is best in us as a nation while inviting us to turn our backs on what is worst in us. The speech Tambuwal gave that morning is the sort of speech that Nigerians are hungry to hear every time they confront afresh the recurrent nightmare of terrorism. It is the sort of speech the leaders of a nation should give to their people whenever they find themselves swimming against the fast flowing tides of despair. Specifically, it is the sort of speech citizens of any nation expect and deserve to hear
Tambuwal from one leader in particular: the President of their nation. Unfortunately, the Tambuwal Speech is a speech Nigerians have never heard from their own President. It is the sort of speech President Goodluck Jonathan has never given to Nigerians despite the torrents of Nigerian blood that have seeped into the soil during the Jonathan presidency. More disturbingly, one suspects that the Tambuwal Speech is not only a speech that Jonathan has never given, but is indeed a speech that Jonathan can never give, for the simple reason that he does not have it in him. President Jonathan has shown himself to be incapable of embodying the grief of Nigerians. He often appears incapable of conveying solemnity even in the most solemn occasions. He seems to lack the acumen to tap into and channel the raw emotions of his people towards the building of a more cohesive nation. Sadly, President Jonathan has never really come across as truly cognizant of the trauma Nigerians have suffered as a result of Boko Haram terrorism and other violent manifestations of deep national malaise. How could he when the people around him are more concerned with telling Nigerians who and who said they would make Nigeria ungovernable
for President Jonathan? The result is that whenever the President gives another one of his infamously banal speeches, many Nigerians yawn and turn away, convinced once again that that the man simply does not get it. On Tuesday, 11th March 2014, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal gave a heartfelt speech that convinced Nigerians that he gets it. As I descended from the gallery of the House of Reps afterwards, my one regret was that Speaker Tambuwal’s blockbuster speech had been restricted to the chamber of the House he leads. I was convinced the speech deserved a wider audience. It deserved to be presented to Nigerians in a national broadcast. A speech like that is one that Nigerians deserve to hear directly from the mouth of their leaders. Such a speech would go some way to restore the faith of Nigerians in the ability of their leaders to feel their pain. And if their President is unable to give such a speech, it becomes the duty of any other capable national leader to step up and give the speech. House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal stepped up that morning, and gave one heck of a speech. •Nwoko is a Lawyer based at Abuja
Succour for flood victims OLLOWING the 2012 flood Fmany disaster that ravaged parts of the country, Eternit Limited, one of the leading manufacturing companies in Nigeria, as part of its corporate social responsibility, appealed to the Edo State government to provide an empty space for the company to erect a ‘dry construction’ building for the victims. Anegbette, one of the most affected communities, was chosen by the government for the building to be located. According to Adeniji Kayode, Eternit’s General Manager (Marketing), “the state government gave us Anegbette, a community in Etsako Central Local Government Area, which was one of the several places affected by the flood disaster. The project, he further stated, was completed within a few weeks because ‘Dry Construction’ is a specially designed pre-cast concrete
slab. He said “the materials used for the construction were high quality durable products that meet international standard.” He recommended ‘Dry Construction buildings as being the most suitable for flood-prone areas and assured that Eternit would replicate the same in other parts of the state, if given the chance by the government. At the presentation ceremony, Malvis Bemigho, the General Manager (Business development), said: “The building was constructed to meet the need of flood victims and showcase ‘Dry Construction buildings which are flood friendly.” Responding on behalf of the community, Hon. P.O. Akienobor, the secretary to the king’s palace, and Amagbor S.A, the Chairman Flood Disasters Committee in Anegbette, commended Eternit for the gesture.
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MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY
AS AT 31-03-2014
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NSE sets new minimum operating standards for dealing members By Helen Oji HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has set new minimum operating standards for all dealing members licensed by the bourse, effective January 1, 2015. The new standards cater for all three classes of Dealing Members (broker dealers, brokers and dealers) and address the five broad areas of manpower and equipment; organizational structure and governance; effective processes; global competitiveness; and technology. According to Ms. Tinuade Awe, Head of the Exchange’s Legal and Regulation Division, the NSE has undergone tremendous transformation over the last couple of years and intends to extend these ‘forward-moving traits’ to the dealing members. “Our objective is to transform the operators now with set minimum operating standards in a concise manner that is both easy to comprehend and implement. We intend to ensure that the Broker Dealers, Brokers and Dealers have very robust controls, strong governance framework and sustainable operations that will enable them compete on a global scale for the benefit of the investors and the Nigerian capital market” said Awe.
“The capital market is very dynamic with a diverse mix of local and foreign investors who can invest with the confidence that the Dealing Members operate pursuant to clearly defined standards that are comparable to those to which broker dealers in other climes operate. We simply cannot afford to be inferior to anyone in terms of size, skill, technology or organizational governance of our market participants” she added. The Head of Broker Dealer Regulation, Olufemi Shobanjo noted that “The investors will be given an extra degree of protection because the operators they will be dealing with will be very robust, strong institutions that are properly run with good controls and globally acceptable processes.” “Another thing this also ensures is that the Nigerian capital market as a whole is sustainable with better investor confidence and even prospect companies that might want to list on The Exchange will be warmer towards us if a strong Dealing Member firm is able to give better information and better quality advise while aptly walking them through the process of listing in our market” he stressed.
CSCS chief tells investors to use credible portfolio managers By Bukky Olajide NVESTORS have been advised to be savvy in choosing their portfolio managers to ensure their resources are not entrusted with credible, efficient and well capitalized operators. Chief Executive Officer, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Kyari Bukar gave this advice at the weekend during the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) Bi-Monthly Forum hosted by CSCS in Lagos. Bukar, who spoke on the theme: ‘Role of Central Securities Clearing System in The Nation’s Financial Sector’ said investors needed to be fully informed about the market and companies where they are putting their capital. He said: “The most important thing for a market like this is to have an informed investor. The investors needed to be informed for them to exercise their choices. There is need to enlighten investors to enable them make the right choices for the future,” he said. According to him, there is also need for investors to regularly check their accounts with the CSCS, as such would update them on the performance and position of their investments with brokers. He said the automation of brokerage business has reduced the cost of operation for most operators. Automation, he said reduces cost of operation for companies. “The most important thing is that investors should be in control of their money or go for collective invest-
What Happened? The NSE All-Share index appreciated by 109bps (1.09%) and closed at 38,748.01. This represents a year-to-date performance of -6.25%. Market Capitalisation also appreciated 1.09% to close at N12.446 trillion. Total value traded decreased 6.45% to N3.792 billion and total volume traded decreased 11.53% to 396.46 million units.
Where? At the close of trading, the banking sector represented 66.37% of the total market value traded, while the breweries sector represented 14.29% The Top 5 stocks as a % of total market value traded were: ETI (15.91%), NB (13.21%), GUARANTY (13.15%), STERLNBANK (9.82%) and ZENITHBANK (9.15%). On a volume basis, the Top 5 most traded stocks for the day were: STERLNBANK (150.89m), ETI (45.69m), UBA (29.94m), FBNH (21.55m) and GUARANTY (19.58m).
ment scheme. Still, investors need to beware and invest in portfolio managers that are credible, efficient and have all the necessary capital to be in the position to sale their assets,” he said. He said both the big and small operators have gone retail, meaning that they can accommodate both big and small investors after getting their processes fully automated. “Previously, if it is not large volume, brokers may not efficiently service the system. But with automation of operations, some of the big stockbrokers have through automated system, have realized that servicing the customer, whether they have N1, 000 or N10 billion, is usually the same. Stock brokers now require very little efforts in servicing the investors. There must be a code that the industry must develop to serve all investors,” he said. Kyari explained that the CSCS is implementing the transaction cost analysis because it wants to understand the total cost of each transaction to an investor. He said that investors buy shares to make money and are always concerned about fees and other cost of transaction that follow each deal. “Investors pay fees when they are buying shares and when exiting. We need to benchmark ourselves, against other markets. Since foreign investors look at the various markets, and apportion their resources to them accordingly, depending on many criteria, there is need to be competitive with cost,” he said.
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Quote of the week “Everything good in life is either immoral, illegal or fattening.” – Nicole Richie
NJC’s recommendation as prerequisite for Chief Judge’s appointment The suspension of Justice Peter Nwachukwu Nwoke Agumagu, the newly sworn- in Chief Judge of Rivers State by the National Judicial Council (NJC), last week raised some constitutional questions in the appointment of judicial officers in the country. BERTRAM NWANNEKANMA reports that the scenario created by the NJC’s action might have revealed a constitutional lacuna in the appointment of judicial officers as well as reinforce the clamour for judicial autonomy in the country.
FOCUS August 19, 2013 when the immediSIcheINCE ate past Rivers state’s Chief Judge, Justice Ndu, proceeded on retirement, after meritoriously service, the Rivers State judiciary has not been the same. Controversy has been trailing the appointment of his successor While the state governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi wanted Justice Peter Nwachukwu Nwoke Agumagu, the President, Customary Court of Appeal, Rivers State as the Chief Judge of the state, the National Judicial Council (NJC), recommended Justice Daisy Okocha of the State’s High Court for the position, which was, however, bypassed by Governor Amaechi. This action, however, created a stalemate, which led to a lawsuit initiated by the Attorney General of Rivers State against the NJC at the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court. The state’s Attorney General in the suit challenged the refusal of the NJC to recognize the person appointed by the governor of Rivers State as the Chief Judge of the state. However, in a judgment delivered by Justice Lambo Akanbi on March 18, the court held that the NJC could not compel a state governor to accept its recommendation. To back up his judgment, Justice Akanbi stated: “The body that is most suitable to make recommendation of a nominee of a chief judge of the state is the state Judicial Service Commission (JSC), because it has local knowledge of the most suitable candidates than the National Judicial Commission.” He pointed out that the National Judicial Council (NJC), in advising the governor on who to appoint as the new CJ, simply based its earnest counsel on one premise and did not consider the fact that the nation’s constitution also recommends that if a judge serves up to 10 years, he could be considered for the position of a CJ. The judge thus ordered that Justice Agumagu, be sworn-in as the new CJ of the state. Armed with the judgment, Justice Agumagu was promptly sworn in as Rivers State Chief Judge by the governor after lawmakers loyal to Governor Amaechi hurriedly screened him. The swearing-in was, however, without the approval of the recommendation of NJC as provided by the constitution. Before then, the governor had on August 20, 2013, sworn- in Justice Agumagu, as Rivers Acting CJ. The action precipitated a suit by Kengena Unity Forum (KUF), led by Boma Goodhead and Ajenyanate Samuel, in which they challenged Agumagu’s appointment. In the suit, they contended that the state governor erred by appointing an acting CJ for the state from the Customary Court as against the provisions of the Constitution
Etteh that the most senior judge from the state High Court should be saddled with the responsibility of being in charge of that exalted office in all the states of the federation. The same Justice Akanbi in his judgment on February 19, 2014, invalidated the appointment of Justice Agumagu as the acting CJ of the state. Apart from invalidating his appointment as acting Chief Judge, the judge also directed the state governor to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution on the appointment of acting CJ for the state. Justice Akanbi said the 1999 Constitution was explicit on the appointment of a state Acting Chief Judge. He said: “The question as to who qualifies to be appointed as acting Chief Judge of the state has generated a lot of needless controversy. The provision of section 271, sub-section 4, of the constitution is very clear, explicit and without ambiguity. It says the governor shall appoint the most senior judge of the High Court. “The question is: Who is my noble Lord Honourable Justice P.N.C Agumagu, and where does he belong? Is he a judge of the High Court of Rivers State, appointed pursuant to the provision of Section 270, sub-section 1 of the Constitution, or a judge of the Customary Court of Appeal under Section 280, sub-sec-
Politicians must give due regard to the constitution. The constitution is the basis for civil rule. If the very foundation of civil rule is being trampled upon with impunity, such politicians are championing the cause of de- democratisation of the Nigerian polity.
Ibekwe tion 1 of the same Constitution? I have evidence before me unchallenged that his Lordship, my Lord, the Honourable Justice P.N.C Agumagu is a judge and, indeed, the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of Rivers State. “The inevitable conclusion I have reached is that His Lordship, the Honourable Justice P.N.C. Agumagu is not qualified as a state High Court Judge hence he is not suitable and unqualified to be appointed as Acting Chief Judge of the High Court of Rivers State. “The only consequential order, I should make in the circumstance is to direct the governor to comply with the constitutional provision on the appointment of an acting Chief Judge of the State High Court as provided under Section 271, sub-section 4, of the 1999 Constitution. That shall be the judgement of the court,” he concluded. The president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Okey Wali (SAN) had after that judgment, appealed to the governor to, in the interest of the litigating public, the Bar and the Bench, swear- in the most senior judge in the Rivers State judiciary as the acting Chief Judge of Rivers State without prejudice to whatever his reaction might be to the judgment, while putting in motion the machinery to appoint a substantive Chief Judge for Rivers State. Also a former President of the NBA, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), faulted the state government for recommending a judge in a different court as a chief judge. But that was never to be. However, in suspending Justice Agumagu last Wednesday, the NJC in a statement from the acting Director of Information in the NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, said the council took the decision at an emergency meeting on
Wednesday. The statement explained that Justice Agumagu’s appointment was illegal, as it did not comply with the provisions of section 271 of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulated that a state governor must appoint a Chief Judge on the recommendation of the NJC. The NJC stressed that it did not recommend Justice Agumagu for appointment as the state’s Chief Judge. Apart from the suspension, Justice Agumagu is also facing dismissal as the NJC has queried him, asking him to explain why he should not be dismissed as a judicial officer for failing to abide by his Oath of Office. The statement reads; “At its 10th emergency meeting, which was held on March 26, 2014, the National Judicial Council under the chairmanship of Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, considered the purported appointment, confirmation and swearing-in of Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu as the substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State on March 18, 2014. “In the course of deliberations on the matter, Council noted that it is expressly provided in Section 271 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) that the appointment of a person to the Office of the Chief Judge of a State shall be made by the Governor of the State on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to the confirmation of the appointment by the House of Assembly of the State. “The National Judicial Council did not at any time make any recommendation to
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NJC’s recommendation as prerequisite for Chief Judge’s appointment CONTINUED FROM PAGE 81 the Governor of Rivers State that Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu, President, Customary Court of Appeal, be appointed the substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State. “Council, therefore, resolved as follows: “That the National Judicial Council does not and will not recognise Hon. Justice P.N.C. Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers State. “That the general public and all concerned in the matter, particularly the Governor of Rivers State, the Rivers State House of Assembly, the Judiciary in Rivers State, be notified and informed that the National Judicial Council will not deal with Hon. Justice P.N.C. Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers State. “That a query be issued to Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu to explain in writing within four days, why he should not be removed from office as a judicial officer for his failure to abide by his Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution and Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“In the meantime, Council in exercise of its powers under paragraph 21 (d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, has suspended Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu from Office as a judicial officer with immediate effect.” Although, what Section 271(1) of the constitution allows NJC to do as far as the appointment of judicial officers is concerned is to merely suggest or to advise the president or the Governor as to whom he should appoint, it was silence if the recommendation was not followed. Thus, the stalemate in the Rivers State Judiciary can be avoided by getting the appropriate authorities to amend Sections 271 and 281 of the Constitution (as well as other Sections of the Constitution which makes executive (the president) the appointing authority. Reacting on this situation, a renowned Lagos-based labour lawyer, Enobong Etteh said the suspension of Justice Agumagu was a good omen for the preservation of the sanctity of our grundnorm, the
Why should an Attorney General of a state advise a Governor to swear-in someone as a Chief Judge when he knows that the requisite recommendation of the National Judicial Council has not first been obtained. What is wrong in swearing- in the person duly recommended by the NJC?
Justice Mukhtar(CJN) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. According to him, some strange and autochthonous things are happening in Rivers State. “If it is not the Legislature sitting in the Executive Chamber, it is a judge being appointed without the recommendation of NJC. How can a Judge, who was not recommended by the National Judicial Council, be appointed a Chief Judge of a State by an elected and law- abiding governor in this Republic? That’s strange. That’s unfortunate. “ For the avoidance of doubt, this is what section 271(1) of the Constitution says: “The appointment of a
person to the office of Chief Judge of a State shall be made by the Governor of the State on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of the appointment by the House of Assembly of the State.” “Where, in that section, does a governor derive the powers to appoint a person not recommended by NJC as a Chief Judge? “Politicians must give due regard to the constitution. “The constitution is the basis for civil rule. If the very foundation of civil rule is being trampled upon with impunity, such politicians are championing the cause of de democratisation of the Nigerian polity.
“Amaechi may be a ring leader but there are many of them around the corridors of power”, he added. Etteh, who said action of the NJC was good for the Judiciary in the country, said, “ that the NJC, the Constitutional watchdog of the Judiciary, stung on this occasion like a bee. It’s good for our democracy. It’s good for our judiciary. “It serves as a strong warning to politicians at all levels that the NJC will not stand by and watch the denigration of the hallowed institution of the Judiciary. But if any politician should have high regard for the Judiciary, it should be this Rivers State Governor, a creation of judicial decision without election. The same institution that judicially interpreted the laws of our country to enthrone him as governor, has now administratively interpreted the constitution to stop a flagrant infraction of the same Constitution. This is the beauty of justice. It is blinded to the colour, status or personality of those that come before it. A good deterrence I must say”, he added. The astute lawyer, however differentiated the situation in Abia and Adamawa states, where they have acting chief justices, saying: “The provisions of Section 271 are yet to be invoked. “I am sure the NJC will act
the same way. An acting Chief Judge is different from a substantive Chief Judge”, he added. Also, another Lagos lawyer, Mark Ibekwe, endorsed the decision of NJC. Referring to Section 271 sub-section 1 of the constitution, which provides that the appointment of a person to the office of a Chief Judge of a state shall be made by the governor of the state on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of the appointment by the House of Assembly of the state, Ibekwe said the “recommendation of the National Judicial Council is a condition precedent before such appointment.” “Was the condition precedent fulfilled? Any action taken without fulfilling condition precedent amounts to a nullity. “Why should a judge reading the clear and unambiguous provision of Section 271 rule that the recommendation of the National Judicial Council is not a condition precedent for the appointment of a Chief Judge of a state? Why should an Attorney General of a state advise a Governor to swear-in someone as a Chief Judge when he knows that the requisite recommendation of the National Judicial Council has not first been obtained? What is wrong in swearing in the person duly recommended by the NJC?” he queried.
Stalemate in Rivers State judiciary : A dissenting view from NJC’s By Iheanyichukwu Maraizu HE news that a Federal T High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had made a pronouncement on the controversial appointment of the Chief Judge of Rivers State came to me as a welcome development. This is because I thought that with the pronouncement, the stalemate that has been witnessed in the state judiciary since August 19, 2013, when the immediate past Chief Judge proceeded on retirement, has finally been broken. However, with the suspension of Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu, the newly sworn in Chief Judge of Rivers State by the National Judicial Council (NJC), it is apparent that the stalemate is far from being over. The Hon. Attorney General of Rivers State had sued that NJC at the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court challenging the refusal of the NJC to recognize the person appointed by the governor of Rivers State as the Chief Judge of the state. In its judgment, the court held (and rightly in my humble view) that the NJC could not compel a state governor to accept its recommendation. In other words, that the governor of a state is not bound by the recommendation of the NJC in appointing a Judicial officer. The word “recommend” is
an English word. Therefore, to appreciate the position of the Court in this matter, there is a compelling need to look for the dictionary meaning of “recommend”. According to the Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary of Current English by AS Hornby (5th edition) Page 974 the word recommend inter alia means to suggest a course of action, to advise. Now Section 271(1) of the 1999 Constitution provides that “the appointment of a person to the office of Chief Judge of a State shall be made by the Governor on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council…” Going by the Dictionary meaning of “recommend” as quoted above, what the constitution expects the NJC to do as far as the appointment of judicial officers is concerned is to merely suggest or to advise the Governor as to whom he should appoint. The question that follows is, where on earth has a suggestion or advice ever been made mandatory on the person being advised or to whom the suggestion is made? There is no gain saying the fact that a person to whom an advice is given has an unfettered right not to accept that advice. The same, this is applicable to a suggestion. It is on this basis that I fully agree with the judgment of the Federal High Court on
Justice Agumagu this issue. The stalemate in the Rivers State judiciary is, therefore, avoidable because if the governor rejects the suggestion or advice given to him by the NJC as to whom he should appoint, the NJC can recommend another person or find a way of convincing the governor to accept its recommendation. Being combative as the NJC appears to be is not the solution to the problem. The solution lies in getting
the appropriate authorities to amend Sections 271 and 281 of the Constitution (as well as other Sections of the Constitution, which makes the President the appointing authority) so as to make the NJC the appointing authority. This is where I expect the NBA to step in. By making the Executive (as personified by the Governor and the President) the appointing authority, the Constitution has unwittingly subordinated the judiciary to the
Executive. This situation is anomalous and should not be allowed to stand. If the judiciary appoints its own officers, it can then submit such names to the legislature for confirmation. This is one sure way of strengthening and guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary. A situation where governors and the president are made to appoint judges, has made many judges to see them (governors and President) as their bosses. Such judges are, therefore, afraid of giving judgment against the executive even in deserving cases. As long as the executive remains the authority that appoints judicial officers, NJC’s role in such appointments will remain advisory and any attempt to impose its advice on the executive will not only be an exercise in futility but will also lead to the type of ugly situation being witnessed in Rivers State today. The suspension of the Chief Judge of Rivers’ State by the NJC is, in my respectful view, not the best action to take in the circumstance. This is because it is capable
of leading to a deterioration of an already bad situation. The governor of Rivers State is not ready to heed the advice of the NJC. The latter itself is determined to assert its authority. Now that two elephants are fighting, it is the grass that will obviously suffer. Simply put, the stalemate in Rivers State judiciary is an ill wind that blows no one any good. Now that the matter is before the Court of Appeal, the NJC ought to have awaited the outcome of the appeal before taking any step. If the judgment stands on appeal, so be it. In that case, the NJC will have no choice than to kowtow to the rule of law. If, however, the judgment is upturned, the NJC will have its way. I will, however, be surprised if the judgment is upturned. Unless and until it is set aside, the judgment remains valid, binding and subsisting. It must, therefore, be obeyed. See Madumma Vs Jambo (2001) 15 NWLR 461at 467 ratios 7 & 8. . Maraizu practices law in Abuja
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Temporary... Lasting for a while or meant to last for a limited time only: Nwokike v. Commissioner of Police (1998) 2 FHCLR 74 at 80
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Lagos DPP exonerates cleric of complicity in murder charge From The Courts Stories by Bertram Nwannekanma HE Lagos Directorate of T Public Prosecutions (DPP) has exonerated the General Overseer of Perfect Christian Mission, Surulere, Lagos, Pastor Sign Ukoha Fireman, of complicity in the murder of 12year-old virgin, Bose Ogoja, on December 30, 2013. Pastor Fireman’s exoneration was contained in a legal advice issued by the DPP to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), M.A.K. Smith Street, Yaba, Lagos. The Legal Advice, referenced LJP/HOM/2014/19/10, was dated February 27, 2014 and signed by Director, DPP, Olayide Eboda, on behalf of Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. According to the document, the DPP could not establish case of murder against Pastor Fireman, but it found one Ikechukwu Friday Egbo culpable for the murder Ogoja. The legal advice issued to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, SCID, Yaba stated: “I am directed to refer to your letter
with Ref. No: CB: 3514/LSX/D4/VOL.01/32 dated January 27, 2014, together with the duplicate file forwarded to this office for the issuance of legal advice. “After a careful consideration of the facts contained in the duplicate file, this office is of the opinion that a prima facie case of murder is established against B1-Ikechukwu Friday Egbo only”. Citing the case of Ochemaje v. State (2008) 45 WRN 1 SC, the DPP said the ingredients of murder were clearly stated, which include the fact that: “the deceased had died; the death of the deceased was caused by the accused and the act or omission of the accused person caused the death of the deceased, which was intentional with the knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm is its probable consequence”. Making reference to the case of the State v. Ogbubunjo (2001) 2 NWLR (Pt. 698) at 576, the DPP stated that the facts in the case file revealed that the suspect tricked the deceased, a 12-yearold to the uncompleted building and strangled her. “The suspect claimed he was asked to strangle a young girl
Ipaye, Lagos AG and bring her excreta. “He intended to kill the girl and he carried out his intention, but luck ran out on him when he was apprehended by the security men of the building where the incident occurred”. “It is trite law that where there is a free and voluntary acceptance of guilt, it is positive and direct, it is sufficient to warrant a conviction, as stipulated in Idowu v. State
(2000) 12 NWLR (Pt. 680) 69. “In view of the foregoing, this office shall prosecute the suspect, Ikechukwu Friday Egbo, at the state High Court for the offence of murder. On the other hand, the second suspect is to be released forthwith if still in custody as no case is disclosed against him”, the DPP stated. Speaking on the advice, counsel to Pastor Fireman, Peter
Oboyi, said the suspect, eighteen-year-old Ikechukwu Friday Egbo, was discovered to have allegedly strangled the girl to obtain her faeces for ritual purposes. According to him, Egbo admitted that he had wanted to become rich like his peers and had approached his pastor personally after years in his church without breakthrough. The suspect, he said, had claimed that Pastor Fireman told him the way to achieve his financial breakthrough was to get him the faeces of a virgin and had promised him the sum of N100,000 if he achieved the task. But Fireman’s counsel, said the claims against his client were all fabrications as the suspect had never met with the pastor neither did he know his apartment. According to Oboyi, in the course of investigations by the police, it was discovered that the suspect, Egbo, was not close to Pastor Fireman and does not know him as he claimed. He said the suspect also does not know the street, number and colour of the house of the pastor that he claimed to be
washing his cars. Iboyi further said that the mother of the suspect confessed to the police that some people were using her boy to lie against the pastor and that it was based on the Police investigation, that the DPP found Egbo culpable of the murder of Bose. Also in his reaction, Pastor Fireman said the DPP’s advice to the police was not unexpected “because I knew I was innocent”. According to him, it was discovered that Egbo was not living with me and had never lived with me. “In fact, during the investigations, the suspect could not name the address or colour of my house where he claimed to be living. “Investigations also revealed that Ikechukwu Egbo was a serial rapist of little girls with multiple cases at the Badagry Police Station and was discovered that in December before the incident, he was still at Badagry prison for a case of rape”, he added. The pastor, however, ruled out suing the police over his arrest, saying he was treated humanely and was never molested or accused by the police.
Judge’s elevation stalls suit against bank over alleged N400 million loan EARING on a suit filed by a H Lagos-based educational services firm, Management Science Centre Limited, against First Bank Nigeria, over a writ of execution issued out by the Lagos High Court on alleged N400 million credit facility was last week, stalled by the elevation of Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie to the Court of Appeal. The matter was earlier scheduled last Monday for the hearing of a Motion on Notice brought by Management Science Limited and its managing Director, Mr. Daniel Isimoya, against First Bank, its solicitor, Mr. Osaretin GiwaOsagie and the deputy Sheriff of the Lagos High Court before the news of the judge’s elevation. In the motion, the claimants, through their counsel, Moses Omorogbe, are seeking for an order to set aside ex debito justitiae , the writ of execution issued out of the Lagos High Court as well as an order setting aside the execution of the judgment wrongly carried out on January 9, 2014 in pursuance of the said writ of execution. They also seek an order restraining the respondents from taking further steps in levying execution against the properties of the applicants and an order directing the court’s sheriff to release the moveable assets of the applicants attached pursuant to the writ of execution as well as restore them back to possession of the property on 4-6 Odegbami Street, off Adeniji Jones, Ikeja, Lagos. The motion supported by a 42paragraph affidavit deposed to by Mr. Daniel Isimoya was predicated on the grounds that the property is not mortgaged to the respondents and that there is no judgement debt pending against the applicants as well as that the execution was carried out without the leave of court. According to the affidavit, the applicants averred that some times in 2006, First Bank Plc
granted loan facilities to Management Science Centre Limited as follows, N160 million term loan, N40 million Standing Over draft and a N200 million Bank Guarantee. Mr. Isimoya alleged that in breach of the loan contract, the Bank (first respondent), cancelled the N200 million Bank Guarantee and the fully collateralised Standing Overdraft and debited the term loan account with fictitious, illegal and un-authorised withdrawals. According to him, the first claimant’s several demands for account reconciliation were turned down by First Bank and the bank, against all banking rules and practice, allegedly classified un utilised overdraft and a Bank Guarantee it did not crystalise and demanded for repayment. Aggrieved by the alleged wrongful action, Management Science Centre Limited and its Managing Director filed a suit in 2010 ask-
ing for damages for breach of contract as well as a declarative and injunctive reliefs against First Bank and its solicitor. The matter was, however, referred to the Lagos MultiDoor Court House for amicable settlement. The defendants did not file any defence or counter- claim for any specific amount against the plaintiffs in the said suit. Consent judgment was, however, delivered in the matter on July 9, 2012 with no judgment sum awarded to the bank and no order for the payment of any specific amount of money made by the court against the first claimant in favour of the bank. In the judgment signed by Justice Adefope- Okojie, First Bank and its solicitor, Osaretin were ordered to revalidate the title of claimants’ property on Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos. The bank was ordered to provide the fund for the revalidation exercise. Parties were also directed to meet and recon-
Justice AyotundePhilips, Lagos CJ cile the differences in the account in order to ascertain the actual indebtedness, if any, of the first plaintiff to the bank. The claimants, however, in the motion stated that the defendants are in contempt of the court for their failure to pur-
sue the are validation of the property’s title and for refusing to allow account reconciliation to be done in defiance of the order of the court. They, therefore, urged the court to set aside the wrongful execution and restore them to
the possession of the premises, alleging that the execution was wrongful and that the defendants’ actions have disrupted the activities and operations of the first claimant as well as deprived it and its schools of the use of the premises. Meanwhile, the claimants have filed a notice of consequences of disobedience of court order against First Bank Group Managing Director and Chief Executive, Mr. Stephen Olabisi Onasanya, the Bank’s Company Secretary, Mr. Olayiwola Yahaya, the Bank’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Adebayo Adeleke Adelabu, Head Legal Services of First Bank, Mr. Raymond Chukwuezugo Mgbeokwere, Head, Classified Asset Management First Bank, O. A. Adetona and the Bank’s solicitor, Mr. Osaretin Giwa-Osagie. The respondents are yet to file their responses, while the file has not yet been assigned to another judge following the elevation of the trial judge.
Court orders status quo on suit against GT Homes, Primewaterview Falade traced the issues culIyabo Kasali of a dants for more time to file document of title registration acceptance of the offer, he JTafaUSTICE Lagos High Court sitting in their objections to the suit on for the said two apartments paid the required 50 per cent, minating in the filing of the Balewa Square (TBS) has the ground that they were described as Block H, P/H 700 thereby fulfilling his obliga- suit to a number of events restrained GT Homes Limited and Primewaterview Limited from conspiring to sell two separate apartments located at Safecourt Estate, Ikate in EtiOsa Local Council of Lagos State. The judge, who adjourned further hearing in the matter till May 9, 2014, also ordered parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by a customer of Primewaterview claiming ownership of the apartments, equally directed lawyers in the suit to educate their clients on the consequences of disobedience of court order. Justice Kasali’s order followed the request of counsel to the first and second defen-
just briefed by their clients at the last adjourned date. In the suit, the customer, Olanrewaju Falade, had dragged GT Homes and Primewaterview to court over alleged fraudulent conspiracy to deny him ownership of two apartments in the estate, which he had duly paid for. He also filed a motion for interlocutory injunction restraining the first and second defendants (Primewaterview and GT Homes) from preventing him from gaining access to the apartments pending the determination of the suit. Falade in the motion seeks an interlocutory injunction restraining the Registrar of Titles of Lagos State Lands Registry from accepting any
and Block H, Flat 601 pending the determination of the suit. Also in an affidavit in support of the suit, the claimant recalled that sometime in June 2010, he received an offer letter from Primewaterview, which was the joint developer of the Safecourt Estate with Safetrust Limited, for subscription for sale of one unit three-bedroom serviced apartment. The term of the agreement in the offer letter was that upon acceptance of offer, a down payment of 50 per cent was required while the balance 50 per cent would be due upon completion and delivery of the apartment in the conditions stated in the offer. The claimant added that in
tion as required in the offer letter. He also made a 50 per cent down payment for another one unit five-bedroom Penthouse apartment with maid’s room attached in the estate. In furtherance of the subscription and payments, the claimant said he was issued with notices of provisional allocations in respect of the two apartments, and upon full payment for the two apartments, he was thereafter issued notices of final allocation on September 12, 2013 by Primewaterview. He added that he carried out various installation works including installation of air conditioners, and painting within the two apartments.
that included Primewaterview’s failure to deliver the estate, despite making payments additional to the offer prices as demanded, and the fraudulent assignment of his apartments without his knowledge or consent, and that of other subscribers to GTHomes by Primewaterview under a private memorandum. GTHomes, a subscriber to the apartments just like the claimant, fully aware of the beneficial interests of the claimant, fraudulently executed another term of settlement entered as a court judgment on his apartments despite the fact that he had duly paid for the apartments in question.
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A good marriage is where both people feel like they’re getting the better end of the deal.” –Anne Lamott, Joe Jones
Legal perspectives of marriage (18) Paternity and modern science OW is child support enforced if a H parent does not pay? The state and federal governments have a variety of techniques for enforcing payments of child support. The most common is a wage deduction, by which the employer sends a portion of the parent’s wages to a state agency, which then sends the money to the parent who has custody of the child. A federal law requires that after 1994, all child support orders must provide for an automatic wage deduction unless the parties have agreed otherwise or unless a court waives the automatic order. The state also can intercept the federal and state tax refunds of persons who have not paid support. Liens can be placed on property, such as real estate and automobiles. A parent who has not paid support can be held in contempt of court, which may result in a fine or a jail term. In addition, a parent who has not paid support can lose his or her driver=s license or professional license. State’s attorneys or district attorneys may help with collection of child support, though their efficiency varies from district to district. Child support enforcement is a matter of increasing federal concern. Under the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992, it is a federal crime to willfully fail to pay child support to a child who resides in another state if the past-due amount has been unpaid for over one year or exceeds $5,000. Punishments under the federal law can include fine and imprisonment. A parent may not reduce child support payments without a court order: the unpaid amounts will accumulate as a debt, even if a court later decides that there was a good reason for the reduction. To what extent is child support not paid? The Census Bureau reports that only about half of the parents entitled to receive child support receive the full amount that is due. About one-quarter of parents to whom support is due receive partial payments, and the other one-quarter receive nothing at all. The Census Bureau estimates that each year, about $10 billion dollars in court-
ordered child support is not paid. In addition to that, there are several million mothers who have not obtained orders of child support for their children. A high proportion of those women had children out of wedlock. What legal remedies are available if a child is abducted by a parent? Abduction of a child by a parent is a crime under federal law and the laws of most states. Local police, state police, and in some cases the FBI can help in locating missing children. Parents who abduct their children also can be forced to pay the expenses incurred by the other parent in trying to find and return the child. To recover such expenses, a parent usually would need the help of a private attorney. Grandparents and Stepparents What are grandparents’ rights to visitation? Although all states have statutes allowing grandparents to seek visitation with their grandchildren, in June 2000, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that will make it more difficult for grandparents to obtain court-ordered visits with their grandchildren. In the case of Troxel v. Granville, Justice Sandra Day O. Connor, writing for a divided Court, held: As long as a parent adequately cares for his or her child (i.e., is fit), there will normally be no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further ques-
tion the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent’s children. The scope of the Supreme Court’s decision is uncertain. The Court certainly believed that parents should be given more deference on decisions with whom the child will associate than was provided by the Washington State law. The Court, however, left open the possibility that some grandparents would be entitled to obtain court-ordered visitation. Such visitation might be allowed, for example, if the grandparents can show that they had a particularly strong relationship with their grandchildren, such as perhaps when the grandparents had raised the grandchildren for a number of years before primary custody of the children returned to the parents. May courts award grandparents custody of their grandchildren? A. Yes, but usually only if neither parent wants the children or if the parents are unfit. Courts examine such factors as the grandparents’ age, health, and ability to care for the children. Courts will not deny grandparents custody because of their age, as long as they are healthy. Some custody disputes between grandparents and parents arise when the grandparents have been raising their grandchildren for a considerable length of time under an informal arrangement. The grandparents may have become the “psychological parents” of the grandchildren by the time the parent or parents seek to regain custody. In this circumstance, courts in many states will allow the grandparents to retain custody, even if the parents are fit. Mediation What is mediation? Mediation is a process in which the parties to a divorce (or some other dispute) try to resolve their disagreements outside of court with the help of a mediator. The mediator cannot force a settlement, but tries to assist the parties to clarify their interests and work out their own solution. A STEPPARENT’S DUTIES AND RIGHTS The responsibilities of a stepparent depend on state law. A stepparent usually is not liable for a spouse’s children from another marriage, unless the stepparent has adopted the children.
Until then, the children’s biological parents are liable for their support. Some states, however, make stepparents liable for the stepchildren’s support as long as the stepparent and stepchildren are living together. A stepparent who does not adopt a spouse’s children normally may not claim custody of them if the marriage ends in divorce, although some states allow a stepparent to seek visitation and even custody. Stepchildren usually do not share in the estate of a stepparent, unless the stepparent has provided for the stepchildren in a will. However, unmarried stepchildren under eighteen may receive supplemental retirement benefits or survivor’s benefits under Social Security. In divorce actions, mediators often are involved in custody and visitation disputes. They also can handle property disputes, support disputes, and other issues. If the parties resolve their disagreements through mediation, the attorneys for one or both of the parties still may be involved in finalizing and approving the agreement. Is mediation mandatory in divorce actions? That depends on the rules of the local court. Many courts do require mediation of custody and visitation disputes—the mother and father must talk with a court-appointed mediator to try to resolve the problem before putting their case before a judge. The mediator cannot force a resolution, but the parties can be told to try mediation before coming to court. What is the professional background of divorce mediators? Most mediators are either mental health professionals or attorneys. Many mediators, particularly those associated with court mediation services, have degrees in social work or psychology. Private mediators (which the parties may choose to hire) often are attorneys, although many are mental health professionals. Mediators who are mental health professionals are not serving as therapists, and mediators who are attorneys are not serving as attorneys. Instead, they are professionals who are trying to help two (or more) people work out their differences. What are the advantages of mediation? Mediation often is cheaper and quicker
than taking a case before a judge. A good mediator also can help the parties build their problem-solving skills, and that can help them to avoid later disputes. Most people who settle their cases through mediation leave the process feeling better than they would have felt if they had gone through a bitter court fight. What are the disadvantages of mediation? Mediation can be a problem if one or both parties are withholding information. For example, if the purpose of mediation is to settle financial issues and one party is hiding assets or income, the other party might be better off with an attorney who can vigorously investigate the matter. Mediators usually are good at exploring the parties’ needs, goals, and possible solutions, but mediators do not have the legal resources of an attorney to look for hidden information. Another problem with mediation can arise if one party is very passive and likely to be bulldozed by the other. In that situation, the mediated agreement might be lopsided in favor of the stronger party. A good mediator, however, will see to it that a weaker party’s needs are expressed and protected. Some mediators may refuse to proceed with mediation if it looks as though one side will take improper advantage of the other. Some professionals think that mediation is not appropriate if the case involves domestic violence. One concern is that mediation will just give a forum in which the abuser can harm the victim again. Another concern is that victims of physical abuse are not able to adequately express and protect their own interests. However, other professionals believe that disputes in families with a history of domestic violence still can be mediated, particularly if the abused party is not significantly intimidated by the other party. Finally, if mediation does not succeed, the parties may have wasted time and money on mediation and still face the expenses of a trial.
FG’s tourism programme violates Supreme Court’s authority, says Lagos AG By Bertram Nwannekanma HE Lagos State Attorney General, Mr. Ade Ipaye, has described recent attempts by the Federal Government to implement tourism projects in states across the country as unconstitutional. Ipaye noted that by interfering in tourism, the Federal Government was deliberately disregarding the clear pronouncement of the Supreme Court in the case of Attorney-General of the Federation v. Attorney-General of Lagos, which was decided only last year. He revealed that on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, the Minister of Culture and Tourism informed the National Assembly that the Federal Government required N25 billion to implement the country’s Tourism Master-plan. The Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mrs. Sally GashataGumti, he said, has also gone to the press recently with the tourism plans of the Federal Government for implementation in states. The Lagos Attorney-General recalled that ‘on July 19, 2013, the Supreme Court in the case of Attorney-General of the Federation v. AttorneyGeneral of Lagos held that the power or jurisdiction of the Federal Government on tourism matters, as specified in Item 6(d) of the Exclusive Legislative List (1999 Constitution), was limited to the regulation of tourist traffic’.
Ipaye said that by this judgment, the Supreme Court interpreted this as covering only the entry and exit of international visitors through visa and immigration regulations, and concluded that regulation of tourism in Nigeria was a residual matter within the jurisdiction of state governments. To support his viewpoint, the AG of Lagos quoted from the lead judgment delivered by Justice Galadima, where the Justice of the Supreme Court said: “In my view, the dictionary definition of ‘Tourist’ and ‘Traffic’ would according to my own understanding of simple and natural meaning of the two words. The words ‘tourist traffic’ used in Item 60(d) of the second schedule of the Constitution, alludes to the ingress and egress of tourists from other countries. These are international visitors or foreigners. In the light of the foregoing, the contention of the plaintiff that matters pertaining to the regulation, registration, classification, grading, of hotels, motels, guests houses, restaurants, travel and tour agencies, and other hospitality and tourism related establishment are matters within the Exclusive Legislative List, cannot be sustained. In effect, the Federal Government lacks the constitutional vires to make laws outside its legislative competence, which are by implica-
Adoke, AGF tion residue matters for the State Assembly: the National Assembly cannot, in the exercise of its powers to enact some specific laws, take the liberty to confer power or authority on the Federal Government or any of its agencies to engage in matters which ordinarily ought to be the responsibility of a state government or agencies. Such pretext cannot be allowed to enure to the Federal Government or its agencies so as to
enable them encroach upon the exclusive constitutional authority conferred on a state under its residual legislative power.” Ipaye also pointed out that tourism and cultural festivals that take place in Lagos State, such as the Adamu Orisa, Black Heritage Festival, Lagos Carnival and New Year Countdown were promoted and funded by the Lagos State government without any input from the Federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture or its agency. He expressed the fear that money allocated from the federal purse to support festivals may end up with states perceived as friendly, to the detriment of others. The Lagos State Attorney General urged the Federal Government to pay more attention to the Police and Prison authorities, adding that poor funding of both federal institutions was putting pressure on the state security apparatus and adversely affecting the criminal justice system. He noted that a state like Lagos was already spending billions of naira to supplement federal agencies on security. Ipaye, therefore, called on the Federal Government to focus more on its core responsibilities instead of allocating funds to tourism, which is a local and residual matter for states.
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Using law to combat scourge of corruption Book Review By Gbolahan Gbadamosi PEAKING at the Accountability and Good SAbuja Governance Integrity Heroes Award in recently, the Chief of Staff in the office of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Kayode Oladele called on Nigerians and civil society organizations (CSOs) in the country to participate in the fight against corruption. Long before this clarion call, the current Rivers State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Chuma C. Chinye, has commenced his own way of confronting the scourge with the release of the books: “Compendium Of Nigerian Laws On Corruption Economic And Financial Crimes”. The books with Comments, Case law and Cross –References, has 11 chapters in Volume 1 and 16 chapters in Volume 2 with a total of 1,378 pages. The author revealed that to date in Nigeria, we have no fewer than 25 Federal Laws, touching on corruption, economic and financial crimes, containing several hundreds of criminalized acts. These, he attributed, to the “prevalence of corruption and economic crimes in Nigeria.” “Of course, the true situation is that a very few people (including the so- called elite of political, economic and professional leaders) are aware of the existence or contents of or, the court rulings and judgments which interpret the breath and depth of these laws. A natural consequence is that compliance is more in breach”, he lamented To him, if one can permit ordinary citizens of not being aware of these laws “but what happens when law enforcement officials (including judges, lawyers, the police and the motley of security agencies) created by the laws do not know the law or know of their existence?” The rhetoric question continues: How many police officers have seen or read the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment etc) Act or the Money Laundry (Prohibition) Act? 1) Does a National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) operative know of the existence of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act? To find answers to all these questions, Chinye, a legal practitioner of 25 years standing, a committed defender of civil rights and earliest members of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), reasoned that the way out is to make, if not all laws “on Corruption and Economic and Financial Crimes available and accessible in a codified form so that practitioners and scholars of law alike may readily find, study and utilize them. It is designed to promote the advancement of law practice and education in the areas of Corruption , Economic and Financial Crimes”. Chapter One in Volume 1 has “Advance Fee Fraud And Other Fraud Related Offences Act, which is an “Act to prohibit and punish certain offences pertaining to advance fee fraud and other fraud related offences and to repeal other Acts related therewith”. He regretted that like other anti- corruption laws, Nigeria would not a achieve significant result because “individuals and victims are usually reluctant and do refuse to blow the whistle. This is because there is inadequate mechanism for the protection of whistle blowers and witnesses”. He relied on the case of Wike Vs FRN (2009) LPELR – CA/A/85/6/2009. The author suggested that like in India, “It is important that appropriate legislative provisions for protection of whistle blowers and witnesses be introduced, either through amendments of relevant laws or through enactment of separate legislation”. The advancement of technology in this information age engaged the attention of Chinye here. The popular section 419 of the Criminal Code Act, C38, LFN 2004, which provides for the offence of “Obtaining goods by false pretences” featured prominently on Page54 and the entry of “yahoo yahoo” boys. ‘Bank Employees, Etc. (Declaration of Assets) Act is in Chapter Two where in Chapter Three he treated ‘Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act’ and lamented that with the provisions of this act, “the corrupt are rarely caught and even when caught, are left off with minor or no penalties. The government offi-
cials entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with corruption often do it in a most inefficient and strategic manner and this suits the political leadership, which patronizes corruption”. Other chapters in Volume 1 are: Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Act; Counterfeit and Fake Drugs And Wholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act; Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions)(Act); Criminal Code Act; Currency Offences Act; Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act while in Chapter Eleven of Volume One, Examination Malpractice Act complete it. From pages 542 – 612, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004, which led to the creation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was elaborately discussed. To him, section 14 (2) which allows for compounding of offences despite Section 174 of the 1999 constitution “is antithetical to the total fight against corruption. It has become the engine room for compromise through, which offences of economic and financial crimes are recycled by the anti-corruption agency itself. “ This clause, he argued laid the foundation for the controversial ‘plea bargaining’ system. Chinye in this chapter joined the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in which he is a member to condemn the inclusion of legal practitioners among the “designated non- financial institution in the course of their duties”. To him, “it is an infringement of the honoured Privilege enjoyed by the legal practitioner in respect of professional communication with a client”. The Act, he suggested, should be amended “to hedge the loopholes continuously exploited by defence counsel to frustrate prosecution efforts. The foregoing amendments were specifically designed to make the EFCC an independent watch dog of Nigerian democracy.” As stated earlier, Volume Two with 16 chapters commenced with Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Acts; Fiscal Responsibility Act; Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act; Freedom of Information Act; Miscellaneous Offences Act and Money Laundry (Prohibition) Act. National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act is in chapter 18; followed with Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Act; Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporations Act; Penal Code (Northern States Federal Provisions Act; Public Accounts Committee Act; Public Complaints Commission Act and Public Procurement Act. In Chapters 26 and 27 the author examined Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act and Trade Malpractices (Miscellaneous Offences Act respectively. Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Bank Act, which is an act “to provide for the recovery of debts owed to failed banks and for the Trial of Offences to Financial Malpractices in Banks and other Financial Institutions”, according to the author” has helped the economy of Nigeria on the financial sector. Debts owed to banks whose licenses have been revoked or which have been declared closed or placed under receivership or otherwise taken over by the Central Bank of Nigeria or the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation is now be recovered”. He, however, frowned at the maximum penalties of five years in section 15 of the act as “too small”. Explaining that the reason for the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act which was in response to “demands from the Nigerian civil society and international financial institu-
tions for more transparent and people centered management of public resources”, the misuse of the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government will impede the nation’s development and the only way out is “for Nigeria to implement the strict provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act”. On Freedom of Information Act, Chinye noted in Chapter 15 that Evidence Act, the Public Complaint Commission Official Secrets Act, Statistics Act and the Criminal Code Act places restriction on the implementation of the act. The Act (Freedom of Information Act), which yours sincerely had the privilege of presenting to the global lawyers during the 2011 International Bar Association (IBA) Conference in Dubai, UAE, according to the author is a tool “to hold public officers accountable to the people. The success of implementation of this Act is the joint responsibility of all- the government, the citizens, civil society and community organizations, media and the private sector”. The scourge of fake and counterfeit drugs and foods in Nigeria in 1990s, the author posited in Chapter 18 led to the enactment of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act, a power of the National Agency for food and drugs Administration and control (NAFDAC). Cited many cases, including the case of “MY PIKIN”, the author called for more genuine commitment in implementing the law. For Nigeria to achieve best value for money, the Public Procurement Act in Chapter 25, according to the author is “the manner in which the procurement process is carried out must give all internal and external stakeholders the assurance that the process is fair, less cumbersome and apples equally to all bidders…. The Bureau of Public Procurement should conduct procurement planning workshops before bid solicitations, which could guarantee that the plans are good enough to drive the procurement processes. The Bureau should also streamline its processes and procedure for obtaining Certificate of No objection and provide standard bidding documents…”. The book ends with Chapter 27 where Trade Malpractices (Miscellaneous Offences) Act was discussed. The book laced with decided cases, table of statutes and rules, list of abbreviations, bibliography and general index for readers makes compelling reading. For example, it made popular the Economic and Financial Crimes Law Report (EFCLR). However, on page 6, I observed the omission of
a word “NOT” in the judgment of Justice Mufutau Olokooha, of Lagos High Court in the case of an Advance Fee Fraud involving Adedeji Alumile (a.k.a Ade Bendel). The judge was quoted as follows: “The offence is an international embarrassment to the nation and the courts do (?) have mercy for such offence, to serve as deterrent to present generation and upcoming generation”. The word “prosecution” is spelt as “persecution” on Page 25 while I disagree With the author on page 55 that “the incidences of 419 and money doublers have significantly reduced. Internet scam, popularly known as “yahoo yahoo” though prevalent has become a less profitable venture today”. On Page 177, the learned author quoted the case of Queen V Ikor & Ors(1956) 1 ELRLP p. 9 credited to Elias CJN. To my mind, Elias became Chief Justice of Nigeria in 1972 and left three year later. How come he delivered a judgment in as CJN in 1956? I was on the same page with Chinye when he commented on Page 231 that “there are sufficient legislations dealing with the issue of corruption in Nigeria despite certain limitations inherent in them”. The more I comb the pages for short comings the less I see. I, therefore, adopt the submission of the learned Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba (SAN) in the Foreword ,who wrote among others, that “the work is timely and confirms the author’s determination to make a lasting contribution to the fight against corruption. I recommend it all as it is certainly will be mostly useful”. I add that all anti-graft agencies, especially EFCC should encourage the author by making the books available to all its operatives and the students in its college so that the concept of “ignorance of law is no excuse”, expressed in the Latin maxim- “ignorantia juris non excuse or ignorantia legis neminem excusat” as stated by the author. Page ix becomes extinct. These books have opened up vistas of information that are unprecedented in most of the previous texts in the history of this experiment in the country. • Gbadamosi, is an Executive Director, Centre For Media Law and Research (CMLR)
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Ondo generates N2.93b IGR in two months • Empowers Ilaje /Eseodo women, • Begins road, water contract in June FFORTS of the Ondo state Government to E increase its revenue has received a boost as it announces it generated N2.93 billion as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the first two months of 2014. Commissioner for Information, Mr Kayode Akinmade in a chat with newsmen in Akure, the state capital said the success recorded so far in the state’s revenue drive is as a result of the ingenuity and drive of the state’s Board of Internal Revenue. “Recall that while signing the 2014 budget, Mr Governor did mention that the state’s Board of Internal Revenue had been reorganised to drive the expansion of the state’s revenue base and the result of this is already manifesting” Akinmade said. Stating that that the marching order is beginning to yield result, Akinmade said report made available by the Acting Chairman of the State’s Board of Internal Revenue, Mr Kafaru Akinsehinwa indicate that the agency raked in N2.93b in the first two months of the year as revenue, adding that various steps have been taken by the Board to meet the N15billion target set for it by the government for this year. He said the target last year, was set at N12billion, but N10.1billion was realized. He hinted that Policies have now been put in place to also reduce leakages. Akinmade said the decision of government to reorganize the revenue generating board has led to it taking steps to further ease the process of tax payment in the state, thereby widening the tax net. He said, with more initiatives developed to further boost the state’s IGR, the state’s revenue in the next two months would be double what was realized in the first two months. One of the innovations developed to shore up the state’s revenue is the introduction of sales terminals across the state, he said. “By April, in collaboration with a bank, it will deploy 100 Point of Sales terminals across the state, which will make paying of tax as easy as going to a supermarket to make purchases, anywhere in the state.” Stating that only thirty percent of people in Ondo State pay taxes, the Commissioner said the Board is being restructured to be better able to carry out its mandate, with a new department created for the purpose of increasing the width of the tax net. “We have put in place some enabling laws, so that by the time we want to start enforcement, we don’t have a head-on collision with people. So once we have the law backing up whatever we are doing, we can move fast. “Our people have been going out, we’ve been talking to the people, we have been educating them, we’ve been enlightening them on why they have to pay tax, what they have to pay, when they have to pay and who they have to pay to.” He further mentioned that companies that have hitherto been shortchanging the state in terms of tax payment have been spoken with and have pledged to be transparent in their tax dealing. Reiterating the administration’s determination to make the State a reference point in the country, the Commissioner solicited support and cooperation of the people through prompt payment of taxes and levies particularly in this era of dwindling revenue accrued to states from the federation account. Meanwhile, Governor Olusegun Mimiko has distributed handsets to pregnant women in Ilaje /Eseodo area to integrate them into the Abiye safe motherhood programme of his administration. He also promised to kick off the asphalt overlay of the Igbokoda -Ugbonla road this week. Dr. Mimiko distributed the items during the commissioning of four projects at the local government at the weekend. He also promised to award contract for the supply of potable water from Aboto to Ugbolna before June this year. The four projects commissioned include
Mimiko a civic centre and community staff quarter in ugbonla under the state Community and Social Development Agency, basic health centres at Ebute ipare and Igbokoda, executed in collaboration with the office of the Millennium Development Goals. The Governor assured at the commissioning that all uncompleted developmental projects in the Council will be completed before the end of the year. He called on the youth to support the contractors handling the projects. Mimiko, who had earlier flagged off the campaign train of the Labour Party candidate for the April 2014 by-election in Ilaje/Eseodo federal constituency at Igbokoda, urged the people to vote enmasse for the candidate, Mr Kolade Akinjo, describing him as young, vast, energetic and purposeful with the interest of his people at heart. He used the occasion of the commissioning of the health centres to distribute handsets to pregnant women with a view to integrating them into the abiye safe motherhood programme of his administration and mentioned that the handsets would foster closer link between the pregnant women and their healthcare providers He noted that the health facilities are well equipped and functional to meet the health needs of the pregnant women. “Every pregnant woman registered at this facility will be able to enjoy abiye facilities through caller-user group. With this development, we ‘ll be. able to track pregnant women from conception to delivery. We have ambulances already provided and for our people in difficult terrain, we have -tricycles and boat ambulances for the people in the riverine area”. He said. Mimiko had also attended the 18th remembrance thanksgiving of the founder of Zion church of Nigeria, Saint Elisha Lene Ogunfeyimi, held at the church headquarters Ugbonla, where he described the late founder as a fulfilled servant of God with enviable legacy.
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‘Nigeria needs $2.5b yearly to meet MDG water target’ From Joke Falaju, Abuja
• Chides Senate on appropriation to sanitation
O boost access to sanitaT tion and water in Nigeria, the Minister of
ment partners. However, she urged the international community to increase funding so as to boost access to sanitation and water in Nigeria. Speaking in Abuja at the weekend during a courtesy call by the United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary, Jan Eliasson, Ochekpe said: “Funding has really been a major challenge to meeting the MDG target. We require about $2.5 billion but what we have now is
Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, says the country needs an annual investment of $2.5 billion to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) in that area. The required investment, according to her, is well over the annual $50 million appropriation by the Federal Government and $100 million from develop-
just about $50 million from the government and $100 million from development partners. That is just onethird of what we need.” She regretted that though Nigeria is well endowed in water resources, lack of access to portable water remains at a staggering of 71 per cent while sanitary improvement is at 41 per cent, though she attributed it to the growing population. “Whatever we are doing on the part of the govern-
ment in providing facilities, you find out that there are more people who need the facilities and we have to work with the state and local councils in overcoming some of these challenges,” she explained. To increase access to portable water in the rural areas, the minister disclosed plans by the Federal Government to provide 1000 additional boreholes, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan was
looking for alternative funding for the sector so as to increase water and sanitation coverage in the country. She urged the UN envoy to use his office to strengthen the profile of water and sanitation in the country so as to attract more funding from the international community. Meanwhile, she expressed dissatisfaction at the attitude of the National Assembly on appropriation
for sanitation. “Appropriation for the sanitation sector is usually struck out by the National Assembly. We often depend on investment from foreign donors, and this is not too good for the attainment of MDG,” she said. Eliasson had earlier noted that 1,500 children still die daily from diarrhoea, hence the need for government at all levels to take sanitation and provision of water for the citizens seriously.
Guber aspirants in Oyo, Delta assure electorates of better life From Hendrix Oliomogbe (Asaba), Cleopatra Eki (Lagos) and Kehinde Olatunji (Ibadan) HE number of aspirants T seeking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial ticket ahead of the 2015 elections in Oyo State swelled recently with the formal declaration of foremost engineer and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jogor Centre, a popular events centre in Ibadan, Femi Babalola. Meanwhile, the governorship ambition of the Chief of Staff, Government House, Asaba, Dr. Festus Goziem Okubor, received a boost recently when a group, Delta Central Political Movement (DCPM) endorsed him at its delegates meeting, with the Anioma Agenda also endorsing him. Also, former Minister of State for Education, Kenneth Gbagi, is preparing to contest the Delta State 2015 gubernatorial election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He pledged to improve the political landscape and ensure economic development of the state. Babalola, who was an aide to the state’s erstwhile governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, submitted his letter of intent to the party leadership at the PDP secretariat in the state capital. By his declaration, he automatically joins the likes of Alao-Akala; former Chairman of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof. Soji Adejumo; former deputy governor of the state, Azeem Gbolarumi and renowned engineer, Seyi Makinde. Others include, Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide; former deputy governor, Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja; former Senate Majority Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, as well as former Minister of Sports, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja. They all have earlier declared their intentions to run for the state’s gubernatorial race. At the declaration witnessed by several party supporters, Babalola stated that he was spurred to join the race because of his concern for the younger generation, who he lamented, that unlike his own generation does not have access to quality education and health care. He also presented an 18seater bus to the party.
Okubor’s endorsement in Agbarho came in response to the request by the Anioma Agenda, a political pressure group led by Chief Alex Onwuadiamu who sought DCPM’s support for an Anioma son or daughter to be governor of Delta State after the tenure of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. Onwuadiamu had in his speech at the well-attended event told his hosts that he and his entourage were at Agbarho to solicit their support for Delta North to produce the next governor of the state on May 29, 2015. Onwuadiamu said Anioma Agenda was pleased to observe that DCPM believes in equity, justice and fairness, adding that championing such a cause and remaining steadfast about it was not an easy undertaking. The National President of DCPM, Chief Olori Magege, commended Anioma Agenda for the visit and for soliciting for DCPM’s support for Delta North to produce the next governor, pointing out that the visit is the testimony of DCPM’s avowed commitment to the building of bridges across all ethnic divides in the state. Olorogun Gbagi, a criminologist, lawyer, tourism expert, industrialist is a dynamic leader of the Urhobo people, pointed out that the PDP, under the leadership of Governor Uduaghan has done well and he hopes to effect more changes and continue with the legacy of the party. He promised a viable economy through wealth creation and revenue generation, business development beyond oil, development of airport, seaport and cargo village, sustainable trade, market development and commerce, promotion of culture and tourism, generation of energy and power supply and public private partnership. Gbagi disclosed to The Guardian that he hopes to improve on the efforts of the previous PDP administration in area of security of lives and properties of the people in the state. Being a criminologist, he said he intends using contemporary technology to curb the crime rate. He also hopes to focus on early detection and prevention of crime in the state.
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Kwara leaps towards universal health coverage for citizens N March 12, 2014, the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah O Ahmed launched the scale up of the Kwara State Community Health Insurance Programme, giving access to affordable quality health care to at least 60 per cent of the rural population of Kwara by 2018. With this laudable milestone, the governor reinforces the ambition of his administration, underlined again at the Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage earlier this week, to realise access to quality healthcare for all citizens. The Kwara State government believes that the well-being of her citizenry is fundamental to the socio-economic development of the state and the nation at large. “Improving access to quality health services is of utmost priority on the development agenda of this administration. Unhealthy individuals cannot participate optimally in socioeconomic ventures and without health insurance their scarcely available resources are diverted to the treatment of illnesses,” said Governor Ahmed in his speech. The Community Health Insurance Programme was introduced in Kwara in 2007 and has since made significant progress. The Kwara programme is a public-private partnership initiative, involving Kwara State, Hygeia Community Health Care, PharmAccess Foundation, the Health Insurance Fund supported by the Dutch Government, as well as public and private healthcare providers in Kwara State. To date, nearly 80,000 people have enrolled in the programme, the majority of which are women and children, contributing to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. The 15 public and private health facilities now in the programme have been renovated and upgraded to acceptable standards. They have had over half a million patient visits since the beginning of the programme. A recent study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), proved the positive impact of the scheme on the population’s health. Also, according to new World Bank data, Kwara has even climbed to be the second performing state in Nigeria with respect to maternal and child care. Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu commented on the occasion: “The Kwara program has our full support. It is scaling-up to 600,000 low-income people in the rural communities of Kwara by 2018, with premium subsidies largely paid by the Kwara State Government. The results of the programme in combination with the efforts of the Kwara State Government have created an effective channel for the state to set the pace for other states interested in adopting this model of health care delivery, on the road to Universal Health Coverage for all Nigerians.” Representing the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the First Secretary of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Mr. Taco Oosterhuis, Senior Policy Officer Ms. Aaltje de Roos stated: “For the people of Kwara, the programme means you no longer have to sell a cow or a goat when going to the doctor. Good quality health centers are now accessible nearby and affordable to all.” Chairman of Health Insurance Fund, Mr. Kees Storm: “The commitment of the Government is truly inspiring. Scaling up the programme to the entire state is a dream come true and I am confident that it will be a success. This unique public-private partnership has proven that it can be done. We have created a workable model in one of the poorest states in Nigeria giving a growing number of people access to the quality services they need, in their neighbourhoods.” Governor Ahmed: “The worth and uniqueness of the Kwara State Community Health Insurance Programme cannot be over-emphasised, as it involves the provision of subsidised health insurance and accessible healthcare to the rural people, many of whom are below the poverty line; and the upgrading of healthcare facilities to ensure quality of healthcare.” For the coming years the Kwara State Government has committed considerable resources for the scale up of the programme in tandem with the Kwara State Strategic Health Development Plan 2010 – 2015 and this administration’s health reform. The ambition is to establish health service delivery points within 500 metres of all communities in the state. In furtherance of this pursuit, the administration has spent around NGN 4 billion to rehabilitate and upgrade five general hospitals to an ultramodern standard. It will also provide and improve 50 primary health care centres across the state every year. Above all, this scheme is scaling-up to 600,000 low-income people in the rural communities of Kwara by 2018; with premium subsidies largely paid by the Kwara State Government. The results of the programme in combination with the efforts of the administration have created an effective channel for the state to set the pace for other states interested in adopting this model of health care delivery, on the road to Universal Health Coverage for all Nigerians. Kwara State is one of the 36 states that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a population of approximately 2.6 million people. Kwara State was created in May 1967 as one of the first of 12 states to replace the nation’s four regions. The capital of the state is Ilorin, which lies 306km northeast of Lagos and 500km southwest of Abuja. Since 2009, the State Government has demonstrated political will and commitment to co-fund the Kwara State Community Health Insurance program across the three Senatorial Districts of State by covering premium subsidies and part of the upgrading activities for the healthcare providers. Hygeia Community Health Care Hygeia Community Health Care (HCHC) is a demand-driven, donor subsidised community health insurance scheme for
Ahmed low to medium income populations of Nigeria launched 2007. HCHC is currently running programs in 2 states of Nigeria facilitating “access to quality healthcare services for low income groups and communities” within the context of a health insurance scheme with subsidised premiums to facilitate the entry of individuals who were usually poor or had been impoverished by ailments. HCHC is a not-for-profit subsidiary of Nigeria’s frontline Health Services Group, Hygeia
Nigeria Limited.Health Insurance Fund Health Insurance Fund was founded in 2006 to build viable healthcare systems and the infrastructure to increase access to affordable quality basic healthcare for currently uninsured populations in Africa. In October 2006, the Health Insurance Fund signed a contract with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide affordable access to quality healthcare among low-income populations in sub-Saharan Africa through the introduction of innovative financing mechanisms (including health insurance) and the improvement of healthcare quality. First scheme was introduced in Kwara State in 2007. Since then similar health plans have been introduced in Tanzania and Kenya. The Health Insurance Fund is part of the PharmAccess Group. PharmAccess Group The PharmAccess Group, a Dutch not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving access to quality health care for people in sub-Saharan Africa. The PharmAccess Group mobilizes public and private resources for the benefit of patients and doctors through clinical quality standards, loans for clinics, health insurance and impact research. We leverage donor contributions to increase trust in the health system, reduce risk and lower transaction costs, paving the way for private investments. In Nigeria PharmAccess has been active since 2001 and the organization has currently implemented its approach in two Nigerian States.
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Sports Ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup
FIFA fixed qualifier in favour of Nigeria, Bishaw alleges • Tips Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana to excel OrMEr Ethiopia coach, Flaunched Sewnet Bishaw, has a scathing attack on FIFA, claiming the world football’s governing body conspired to see them miss out on a place at the 2014 World Cup. The Walia Antelopes failed to secure a ticket to this year’s Brazil showpiece after losing their qualifying play-off against Nigeria, with the Super Eagles winning 2-1 in Ethiopia before securing a 2-0 victory at home in the return leg. But Bishaw, who was relinquished of his duties with the Ethiopian national team following their failure at the African Nations Championship (CHAN), believes FIFA played a huge role in the side’s shortcomings, accusing them of “bringing the game into disrepute.” “FIFA didn’t want us (Ethiopia) to qualify (for the World Cup) because who knows Ethiopian football and who wants us to qualify when we were playing against the current African Champions,” the coach told Football411. “We played our hearts out and we wanted to win and qualify for the World Cup but FIFA didn’t like that. They awarded penalties for them (Nigeria), which were never penalties and these things happen because FIFA wants them to qualify for the World Cup. “It was a shame for Ethiopian
football because we fought from the (first) blast of the whistle to the end. For me, Nigeria didn’t deserve to qualify because they were aided by FIFA, which is not good for the game of football.” He continued: “You have to give room for all countries to compete in a friendly and fair manner but not what we saw in Ethiopia during the first leg and even the second leg - the second leg in Calabar was worst and we hope that FIFA will make things easy for emerging football countries that are doing very well in either qualifiers or a major competition, because if not they are bringing the game of football into disrepute.” Bishaw, who is currently in ghana as a special guest of the right to Dream academy for the launching of its new pitches in Akrade, tips ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to excel at the Mundial Coupe. Having left his position, he was rumored to be on the verge of joining a ghanaian club though it has emerged that he was only on a visit. Bishaw, who turned Ethiopia from also-rans to a strong African side, is confident African countries will excel at the World Cup and singled out Cote d’Ivore for success. “We have a very strong team that is capable of doing very well in the upcoming World Cup, African players are playing well in the European league,” Bishaw said.
Nigerian referees picked for CAF U-20 games rESH from a Confederation FOpeyemi, Cup assignment (Joshua Peter Edibi, robert Andugh Ferdinand udoh), where they handled Zesco united of Zambia match against Medeama of ghana, Nigerian referees will this weekend head to Abidjan to handle a CAF u-20 African qualifying match between Cote
d’Ivoire and guinea Bissau. The referees, Ferdinand udoh, Temitope Orowole Azeez, Issah usman, and Abdullahi Shuaibu will be supervised by Senegalese Ndiaye usman, who is the match Commissioner. Nigeria’s Flying Eagles have been drawn bye to the next round.
Super Eagles star, Emmanuel Emenike (left), tries to outmuscle an Ethiopian defender during their 2014 World Cup qualifier in Calabar. Ethiopia’s former Coach, Sewnet Bishaw, says FIFA aided Nigeria’s qualification for the Mundial Coupe.
No time for Port Harcourt girls, Dolphins’ says Togolese import IrlS, we are told, like them g tall and strong, but Dolphins’ Togolese import and lanky central defender, Joseph Douhadji, has advised Port Harcourt girls to look elsewhere for their fancy, as he is in the city on a strict mission: to improve his play through the Nigerian league, win a title to boost his profile and earn a call up into his country’s national team. This mission would broach no distraction, he declared. “I came to Nigeria to play
football. Nigeria is big league. Nigerian league has bigger character than Togo because Togo league is not professional. I learn here and improve myself, win a title here and get called up to my country’s national team. I do not have time for girls now because it will make me to go wrong way,” he said in his manageable English. With a brief stopover at robo FC in lagos when he arrived from Togo, Douhadji joined Dolphins last season, had dif-
ficulties adjusting to the new environment but he has now found his groove and says Port Harcourt is home and he is ready to blast. “I didn’t play much last season. I played about 10 games and I started slowly, coming in within minutes to the end of the game. The change to new place affected me last season. “Sometimes, I fell ill and sometimes I missed training, but I am now used to the environment and I am very ready
Keshi to release Eagles list next week By Alex Monye uPEr EAglES’ head coach, Stephen Keshi, is expected to release his 35-man provisional list for the 2014 World Cup next week having convinced the NFF Technical Committee on reasons for including some players in the provisional squad. Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, said the ‘Big Boss,’ who has already selected the players he needs for the first phase of the World Cup preparations, has been keeping close tabs on all the names on the list.
Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama is expected to be in Keshi’s list for the World Cup. PHOTOS:
•Technical Committee meets coach April 8 He revealed that Keshi was still awaiting the Technical Committee’s permission to commence preparations for the Mundial Coupe, noting that the former Togo manager was not under any pressure in terms of players’ selection for the World Cup. Alaiya said Keshi was keeping the names of the players listed for the World Cup preparations close to his chest because he wants to iron out some issues with the Technical Committee. ‘’Keshi will meet with the
Technical Committee to discuss the Eagles’ World Cup list and after that meeting, Nigerians will have the chance to see the names of players that would fight for shirts ahead of the World Cup. “There is no cause for alarm as the ‘Big Boss’ assessed the ability of all the players before inviting them to fight for a place in the Eagles team. “The Super Eagles camping and friendly games for the World Cup are arranged by the NFF. Keshi is not under any
to play. I have started regularly this season and I am looking forward to more and more games. I like it here in Port Harcourt. I enjoy good acceptance and good relationship with my teammates and my coaches. The people are friendly and I am feeling at home. I like the way I am treated. No discrimination. I am treated equally with others and the coach takes me like a son. Even when I make mistakes, he corrects me gently and kindly,” he said.
pressure in terms of players’ selection; he is in full control of the team,’’ Alaiya stated. Meanwhile, the NFF Technical Committee would meet with Keshi next week Tuesday to deliberate on the Super Eagles’ World Cup list preparations and also study the provisional squad list. According to the Technical Committee spokesman, Paul Bassey, the meeting, which was due to hold last week, was shifted to April 8 to afford Keshi ample time to prepare for the occasion.
92 SPORTS Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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NFF lambasts Sylvanus Okpala HE Nigeria Football T Federation (NFF) has blasted former Super Eagles’ Assistant Coach, Sylvanus Okpala for dragging the name of President Goodluck Jonathan, into his (Okpala’s) retrenchment by the Federation. Okpala at the weekend claimed that NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari had boasted that not even President Jonathan, can compel him (Maigari) to return him (Okpala) to the Super Eagles. NFF General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu was shocked at Okpala’s puerile effort to blackmail the NFF President. “Mr Sylvanus Okpala must come out clearly to tell the world at which forum the NFF President made such a statement. It is infuriating that a former employee of the NFF would go to that length to try and blackmail the NFF President and the Executive Committee. “Mr Okpala’s statement was wholly in bad faith and was a poor attempt at putting the NFF President in bad light. Alhaji Maigari is universally known to be, as a result of his background, respectful of persons in authority and
would never issue such a statement. “The NFF is taken aback that Mr Okpala also went ahead to say that the NFF killed his mother. How could we have done that? I remember quite well that when Mr Okpala lost his mother, the NFF issued a condolence message and even sent him a letter of condolence.” Amadu recalled the months before Okpala was employed as Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles, when he persistently asked the NFF to intervene in his contractual dispute with his then employers, Rangers International Football Club of Enugu. “The NFF President and members of the Executive Committee and Management went all out to back Mr. Okpala in his case against Rangers. It is regretable that the same man can turn around to be painting the NFF in bad light. “He is commenting on a case that is in court, which leaves him open to contempt. The NFF never wanted to comment on this matter but had to do so because Mr. Okpala is bringing the name of President Jonathan into this matter.”
U-17 Women World Cup Fallout
Ikhana advocates grassroots talent hunt for women football development By Alex Monye OLLOWING the embarrassing performance of the Flamingoes against Spain in the quarterfinal of the ongoing Costa Rica 2014 FIFA U17 Women World Cup last week, former senior women national team handler, Kadiri Ikhana, says Nigeria would continue to struggle in FIFA championships if the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the National Sports Commission (NSC) did not put structures in place to develop women football at the grassroots. Speaking on Nigeria’s performance in Costa Rica, Ikhana explained that the Golden Eaglets were able to win the men’s Under-17 championship four times because more attention was placed on youth football championships for the boys, adding that Nigeria has neglected the womenfolk in football development. Ikhana said the
Flamingoes has shown the world that Nigeria has what it takes to be among the top women footballing nations by qualifying for all editions of the cadet World Cup and getting to the quarterfinal round. But he wondered why the NFF continues to promote and partner with other stakeholders to organize Under-14 and Under-16 championships for boys without carrying along the womenfolk. He said the bane of women football development soccer is adequate sustenance of grassroots championship. “Women football in Nigeria is not in a dwindling state because the Flamingoes failed to win the U-17 championship. The major force behind the female U-17 team not going beyond the quarterfinal round is the fact that the NFF has refused to give the women the same attention they give the men in grassroots football at the U-14 and U-16 level.
Heineken House set for thrilling UEFA Champions League duels HE state-of-the-art T Heineken House Lagos is the place to be tonight and tomorrow when action resumes with crunchy first leg quarterfinal matches of the UEFA Champions League in four prominent stadiums in Europe. After mixed fortunes on the domestic scene for all the remaining eight clubs in the competition, Chelsea, with huge followership in Nigeria, looks set to be the star attraction at the Heineken House Lagos when the English Premiership title contenders play away to Paris St. Germaine at the Parc des Princes in Paris tomorrow night. Nigerian artist, Alexander Adegbola, popularly known as 9ice, is a staunch fan of the
club and as a guest in the Heineken House Lagos on the night the London side cruised into the quarterfinal stage of the competition, he has been able to galvanize more support for the side ahead of this crucial stage. “I love this club not just because the colour is blue, but the team plays good football and also achieves results every season... and today Chelsea is a global brand,” he remarked moments after Gary Cahill scored the second goal to put the match beyond adventurous Galatasaray in the return leg match at the Stamford Bridge. The artist, who paid glowing tributes to Heineken for the Heineken House Lagos said his experience was far above expectation.
Don’t stop us, two players of Warri Wolves seem to tell their challenger in a recent game. The team is blaming ‘CAF politics’ for the defeat in Tunisia at the weekend.
CAF Confederations Cup fall out
Warri Wolves blame ‘CAF politics’ for defeat, confronts Pillars By Gowon Akpodonor OR officials of Warri Ffered Wolves, the 2-1 defeat sufin the hands of Athletique Bizertin FC of Tunisia in the return leg of their CAF Confederations Cup at the weekend, “is one of those things” in the game of football. The loss sent Wolves out of the continental engagement this season and club officials and those in Delta State Sports Commission said there is no hard feelings, saying: “We will live to fight another day.” An official who spoke with The Guardian yesterday put the blame mostly on ‘CAF’s politics,’ but added that the team would go home and
prepare well for next season. “It is becoming too expensive to compete in CAF competitions going by the politics and even the role being played by the referees,” the official lamented. “Look at what the Sudanese referee did to our team in Tunisia. He killed us in this return leg, but like I said, we have to go back and plan for the future. We have accepted the defeat.” According to the official, the red card given to defender, Ike ThankGod, in the 31st minute was a ploy to weaken Warri Wolves after they levelled score at 1-1. “Like I said, it is becoming too expensive to compete favourably well in CAF’s com-
petitions. In Europe for instance, you don’t know where the referees for a game are coming from. That is the duty of UEFA. But in CAF, you have to take care of so many things, including paying for every penny spent by the referees. If you manage to win the trophy, what you get is $750,000 but you would have spent not less than half a billion naira to get to that stage. This is a government club and some people won’t understand where the money is going into. Sports do not give votes during election. I am not trying to give excuses, but the trouble is really much. CAF has to review a lot of things about this competition,” the official added. Warri Wolves is expected to
arrive Lagos this morning and move straight to Kano to confront Kano Pillars on Thursday in a re-scheduled Glo Premier league match. Meanwhile, Coach Paul Aigbogun has told the players to put the setback behind them and brace up for the challenge ahead. Wolves will be playing three league matches within seven days. They will face Pillars on Thursday in Kano, return to base to keep a date with newly promoted Giwa FC on Sunday at the Warri Township Stadium and then clash with Enyimba next week Wednesday in Warri. “We need to get good results in these matches starting with Kano Pillars on Thursday in Kano,” Aigbogun said.
DStv Basketball League
Union Bank, Dodan Warriors back to winning ways By Adeyinka Adedipe FTER suffering surprise losses in their last games, Lagos teams, Dodan Warriors and Union Bank Basketball Clubs got back to winning ways after securing vital victories in last weekend games in the DStv Basketball League. Union Bank (Stallion Boys) defeated homers, Royal Hoopers 68-63 in Port Harcourt to make up for the home loss against Kwara Falcons. The Stallion Boys had to be at their best towards the end of the tight encounter to secure the famous victory. The loss deepened Hoopers woes, which failed to honour
their opening league game in Lagos against Dodan Warriors. The former champions have struggled this term and would need the injection of cash into the team to stand a chance of making it to the Final Eight in Lagos. Dodan Warriors also put themselves in a good position by beating city rivals, Islanders 69-59. After losing its last game, the Coach Chris Nomigo tutored Warriors knew they needed to step up their games to beat Islanders, which they did in style at the sports hall of the Lagos Stadium. Police Baton recorded their
first win by beating Nigeria Customs, 55-47. The erratic Police team can hurt the best team on their good day and could be pummelled on another. However, this season has been a tough one for them having lost their opening three games. The Police boys will, however, hope that the latest victory will improve their fortunes. In the last game of the Atlantic Conference, Oluyole Warriors of Ibadan defeated Kwara Falcons 92-61; making it three win in four games. In the Savannah Conference, leading teams, Kano Pillars and Mark Mentors of Abuja won
their fourth consecutive games. Though it is still early days, the performances of both teams suggest that they are on their way to the Final Eight. Kano Pillars won away to Niger Potters 85-62, while Mark Mentors defeated Kada Stars 95-50 in Abuja. Apart from winning all their games, Pillars and Mentors are also Savannah Conference’s high scoring sides. In the other game, Bauchi Nets were beaten at home as they fell to Nigeria Immigration 65-70, while the game between Plateau Peaks and Gombe Bulls ended in a stalemate.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 SPORTS
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Flying Eagles get Morocco test NIGERIA U-20 team will engage their Moroccan counterparts in a twolegged friendly in Casablanca on April 9 and 11. The team, according to team spokesman Samm Audu, will depart the country for Morocco on Sunday, April 6, with a 20-man squad. The team has already regrouped in Abuja preparatory to a 2015 African Youth Championship qualifier in May. This followed a short break given the players after a month-long grueling screening exercise in Abuja. Coach Manu Garba has
called up 35 players, who have been booked into Serob Legacy Hotel in Area 1 Abuja. The seven invitees who are based overseas are also expected to join up with the rest of the squad this week. Team secretary Aliyu Auwal Ibrahim said letters to their various foreign clubs have been sent out to that effect. Nigeriais billed to face the winners of the qualifying match between Kenya and Tanzania next month in continuation of the qualifying tournament to be hosted by Senegal in March 2015. The Flying Eagles have won the competition a record six times.
I’ll be disappointed not to be at World Cup, says John Utaka Super Eagles FsaidORMER attacker, John Utaka has he would be disappointed if coach Stephen Keshi failed to pick him on his provisional World Cup squad. The 32-year-old Utaka is scoring again for Turkish club Sivasspor after a fiveweek absence caused by a hamstring injury. He was on the squad to both the 2002 and 2010 World Cups and on the back of his goals for Montpellier in the French Ligue 1, he was among the first strikers to be lined up by coach Stephen Keshi in 2011. Keshi is expected this week to make public his provisional squad for Brazil 2014. And Utaka told MTNFootball.com from his base in Turkey: “I will be disappointed if I’m not considered for the World Cup
because I’m still playing football and still available to play for my country. “But if I’m not picked, I will not hold any grudges.” He further said that with or without him, the Super Eagles will shine in Brazil, even tipping them to go all the way and make history as the first African team to win the World Cup. “We should reach the semifinal and why not even win the World Cup? “Nobody gave us a chance when we won the Olympics in 1996, but we beat the likes of Brazil and Argentina to do just that. “Also, see Ghana at the last World Cup – they were so close to reaching the semifinals, but for that missed penalty. “We just have to believe in ourselves and go for it.”
Flying Eagles Alhassan Ibrahim and Mustapha Abdullahi celebrate
Liverpool to host Tour of Britain Cycling IVERPOOL has been choLopening sen as the host city for the stage of the 2014 Tour of Britain on Sunday, 7 September. The city held stages of the event in 2006, 2007 and 2008 but will host the Grand Depart for the first time. The 130km (81-mile) stage around Liverpool will start and finish on The Strand and pass by the Three Graces buildings. “The opening circuit will be perfectly suited to the
sprinters,” race director Mick Bennett said. “This is a huge coup for the city,” said councillor Wendy Simon, Liverpool’s assistant mayor and cabinet member responsible for sport. “There’s a real momentum building for cycling in this city. The latest figures show more people than ever are using bikes here and there’s a real appetite for it at the moment.” The 2014 Tour of Britain will take place across eight days
between 7 and 14 September. Last year’s event was won by Sir Bradley Wiggins, although the 2012 Olympic champion may not defend his title as he could choose instead to race in the Tour of Spain, which runs from 23 August until 14 September. Meanwhile, Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead retained her UCI Road World Cup lead with second in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. The Olympic silver medallist, 25, was beaten by
Sweden’s Emma Johansson in the final sprint, with Belarussian Alena Amialiusik in third. Johansson outpaced her rivals in the uphill finish of the 123.7km (76.9-mile) course alongside Lake Maggiore in Italy. The third race of the World Cup, the Tour of Flanders, starts next week. The 2014 UCI Women’s Road World Cup consists of nine races between March and August.
Maritime Cup: Customs in good start, wins 2-1 By Gowon Akpodonor EFENDING champions, D Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday opened the
defence of their Maritime Cup title on a bright note, beating hard fighting Dominion Divine Freight Forwarders (DDFF) 2-1 in the opening match of the 2014 Ships and Ports Soccer Challenge. Dominion Divine had scored the first goal through Obinna Nwankwo through penalty in the 19th minute, but Customs equalised in the 37th minute through Abubakar Mikail. Customs scored its winning goal in the 82nd minute through Tenyon Yenne. Speaking during the opening ceremony, President General of the Nigerian Football and Other Sports Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, commended the organisers of the competition for introducing sports into the maritime industry. Ladipo, a clearing agent and former President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), said the competition would build the bridge of friendship and cooperation in the maritime industry. He charged the teams to
embrace fair play and give in their best in the tournament. “I am a clearing agent and I am proud to say it anytime. Many people think I make money in supporters club but they are wrong. The money I make as a clearing agent is what I even spend to promote the supporters club,” he said. On his part, Chief Executive Officer of Ships and Ports Communication Company,
organisers of the competition, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, commended the participating teams. Akinola said that the competition has come of age and has enjoyed the support of maritime industry operators and regulators. He said 12 teams are participating in this year’s competition. The teams are former champion Micura Stevedoring Services, Sifax
Group and African Circle in Group A, Nigerian Navy, Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited and ENL Consortium in Group B, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Shippers’ Council and Dominion Divine Freight Forwarders in Group C, and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mickey Excellency Clearing and Forwarding Agency and APM Terminals Apapa Limited
Chief Executive Officer of Ships and Ports Communication, Mr. Bolaji Akinola (left) President General Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo (dancing) and Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Maritime Cup competition at the practice pitch, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos yesterday.
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94 SPORTS Tuesday, April 1, 2014
UEFA Champions League update
Bayern is most in-form side in Europe, Moyes admits ANCHESTER United boss, M David Moyes, refused to be daunted after his side were
Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery (left), Dante, Xherdna Shaqiri, Croation striker, Mario Mandzukic and Bastian Schweinsteiger, during their training session for today’s Champions League quarter-final match against Manchester United. PHOTO: AFP
We have to win, not concede, Martino warns ARCELONA coach, B Gerardo Martino, is hoping his side can capitalise on
not concede to give us a margin of comfort to play in Madrid,” he told reporters.
playing the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal against Atletico Madrid on home soil. The two sides are locked in a La Liga title battle but will today divert their attention to continental matters. And Martino is hoping his side can claim an advantage to take to the Spanish capital next week. “We have to try to win and
“The first thing we have to do is win. “What we have to be careful about is Atletico’s counterattacks. “You have to know that there is a second leg, we have some space to score. We have to play with a lot of order and we’ll create more chances.” The Argentine went on to praise Atletico and the progress they have
made under Diego Simeone. “Of course Atletico played well against Athletic Bilbao to demonstrate what they are doing this season and last. The level has been the
It’s always fantastic to play in England, says Robben AYERN Munich midfield“We’ve got to watch out,” B er, Arjen Robben, cannot Robben said. “The media and wait to return to Old Trafford today night as the Champions League holders look to maintain their push for a successful defence of their crown against Manchester United. The 30-year-old Dutchman scored one of his best career goals at the venue almost four years ago, securing Bayern’s passage to the semifinals with a sweet volley. “It’s always fantastic to play in England,” Robben told fcbayern.de. “And Old Trafford has got something particularly special about it, a fantastic atmosphere. “As a footballer, you dream of playing Champions League quarter-finals in such atmospheres.” According to Robben, Bayern can expect their stiffest test yet against the Red Devils, even if the Bavarians are unbeaten in 53 Bundesliga matches and have only lost once in all competitions in the past 12 months. That defeat came to United’s city rivals Manchester City in what was nonetheless a dead rubber final group game for both sides, who had already qualified for the last 16.
public opinion is that Manchester are not in good shape and that we’re going through to the semis, but I don’t like that at all. “It’s going to be a tough duel. We’ve got to be at our best from the very first minute because you only need to get distracted for a second, and you lose against Man U. “If you lose concentration and lose the ball, then you get punished there.” Both sides will be without key players, with United deprived of Robben’s compatriot Robin van Persie and Bayern without midfielder Thiago. “It’s a shame that he’s (Van Persie) going to miss out,” Robben said. “Everybody wants to be involved when you get towards the end of the season and it’s painful when you can’t be - and I know that from experience. “Of course Van Persie has particular quality, but Manchester still have enough options up front: Rooney, Welbeck, Nani, Valencia. “Like I said, it’s going to be a difficult duel, but we’re all really looking forward to it.” •Culled from Sportinglife.com
same almost all season. They are still in two competitions and they are very strong and confident. “In the games that we have had to play against them they’ve shown they are a very tough opponent.” Martino played a straight bat to the controversy surrounding the refereeing decisions in the recent games against Espanyol and Real Madrid. “We have played with different referees, we can play in any game situation and regardless of the referee,” he said. “It seems that the wins are subject to refereeing decisions. I’m trying to stay out of the referee controversy, I have nothing to say, I think it is enough.” • Culled from Goal.com
drawn against defending champions, Bayern Munich, the most in-form side in Europe, in the Champions League quarter-finals. The task facing Moyes’ side was made that much harder after United were also drawn to play the second leg in Munich. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea will face Paris St Germain, but will have the second leg at Stamford Bridge. Real Madrid will face Borussia Dortmund, while there is an all-Spanish meeting between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Moyes admitted that Bayern were the tournament favourites, but insisted: “I was thrilled that we were in that draw and we’re in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. When we were 2-0 down to Olympiacos a week or so ago, I don’t think a lot of people were putting us through to the quarter-final draw. “So in a lot of ways it didn’t matter who I drew. But I’ve got to say I’ve drawn out the favourites and obviously the holders of the cup competition as well so it’s a really tough draw for us, but one that I’m looking forward to.” Winning the tournament outright now looks like United’s only chance of being part of Europe’s elite club competition next season and missing out could cost the club around £50 million. It is understood, though, that United chiefs are confident that rises in commercial income will make up for the financial impact and allow Moyes and the club to attract the top players. Pep Guardiola’s Bayern have been in amazing form this
season, unbeaten in the Bundesliga having won every match at home in that competition. Moyes can take some solace from the fact that the only two clubs who have prevented Bayern from winning at home this season were both English. Manchester City won 3-2 at the Allianz Arena, while Arsenal achieved a 1-1 draw in the last round. The two clubs were involved in that famous last-gasp victory for United in 1999 Champions League final, but Bayern took the honours last time they met, in the 2010 quarter-finals, when Arjen Robben’s volley at Old Trafford made it 4-4 on aggregate to send the German side through on away goals. Bayern director of sport, Matthias Sammer, said United’s threat should not be under-estimated, even if they are struggling in the Premier League. “It’s a highly attractive draw,” he told the club’s website. “They showed in the second leg of their last-16 game what they’re capable of. “On a good day, they are deadly. We must ensure they don’t have two good days. I’d say the draw’s manageable, but dangerous.” Chelsea’s draw against PSG will see Mourinho come up against his former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whom he managed at Inter Milan, before the Swede was sold to Barcelona. Ibrahimovic has spoken of his admiration for Mourinho, saying in his autobiography that he “was basically willing to die for” the Portuguese. Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said the club would treat PSG “with utmost respect”.
Today’s Champions League matches Man United v Bayern Munich 19:45 Barcelona v Atlético Madrid 19:45
Barcelona’s forward, Lionel Messi (middle) looks on during a training session on the eve of today’s Champions league quarterfinal first leg against Atletico Madrid. PHOTO: AFP
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014 SPORTS 95
Boxing: Is Tyson Fury the heavyweight new real deal? By Kuda Love HE Heavyweight division T has been in a slumber for so long that most fans of the sport don’t bother following it anymore. The dominance of the division by two brothers, who refuse to entertain the idea of facing each other, has dealt a severe blow to the appeal of the heavyweights. It doesn’t help that the Klitschko brothers, though boasting impressive knockout records, fight in a style as boring as it is effective. In the last few years, the level of competition has become so bad that the Klitschkos have taken to fighting boxers, who should have no business fighting for what used to be the most prestigious title in all sports. The heavyweight division is crying out for a savior, and I believe Tyson Fury may be the man to answer that call. The heavyweight division doesn’t need another dominant champion. We’ve spent the last decade or so matching under-armed fighter after under-armed fighter against the Klitschko brothers and watching them put on dominating performances. What the heavyweight division needs most are matchups that capture the imagination. Tyson Fury’s ability and style is such that he can be matched against any of the other top con-
tenders - Wilder, Haye, Povetkin, Chisora, Arreola, Stiverne, Solis, etc. - and it would make for a genuinely intriguing matchup. The sheer size of Fury - 6’0” and 255 lbs. - and his approach to fights, guarantees excitement. He is a fighter with so much confidence that he believes that he can physically impose himself on any fighter facing off against him. As a result of that mentality, Fury takes the kind of risks that give the fans interesting fights. There is also a vulnerability to Tyson Fury that adds an extra level of intrigue to his fights. He has been knocked down in fights against non-punchers Neven Pajkic 17-1 (5 KOs) and former cruiserweight champion, Steve Cunningham 26-6 (12 KOs). What does that say about his punch resistance? Not much if you ask me, but David Haye, Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis are recent heavyweights, who have gone on to good things despite being knocked OUT by boxers who weren’t exactly ferocious punchers. Look down the divisions and you’ll observe that Andre Ward and Guillermo Rigondeaux - two fighters sitting high on the pound-forpound list - have also been knocked down in their early fights only to prove surechinned at the highest level.
Admittedly, there is a lengthier list of fighters, whose bad punch resistance has limited their achievements, but the point here is that there’s no telling how a Tyson Fury fight is going to go. That established, it is clear that it would take more than a bit of luck on the end of a punch to defeat Tyson Fury. The man has guts; he is the kind of fighter that will get up as many times as his body will allow and still look to win the fight. In some ways, he embodies the spirit of heavyweight boxing in its hey day. Add all of that to the eccentricity he displays in the ring fighting Martin Rogan in the southpaw stance, the singing after his fight with Cunningham, and even punching himself in the face. Like him or loathe him, Fury does and says things that command attention, and that is exactly what the heavyweight division needs right now. Outside the ring, Fury has a Mike Tyson-esque penchant for the bizarre that stands him out. The countless hilarious interviews, endless goading of his rivals on twitter, the press conference antics and the quotables he gives us every time he opens his mouth, including my personal favorite Fury quote “[I am] the best fighter on the planet those Broners and Mayweathers would get knocked out by me if we fought.” Really Tyson? How
Fury (left) outclassed Kevin Johnson when the two heavyweights met in a 2013 challenge in Belfast. any fight fan could not love a man with as many funny (or dumb) things to say as Tyson Fury does, I don’t know. David Haye aside, no other current heavy weight has the same ability to engage the casual fans. I am not claiming that Fury is going to be a great, or that he is going to dominate the division. All of that remains to be seen. What is clear is that the heavyweight division has none of the luster it had during its golden era in the 70s. After a lull in the Larry Holmes era, the division needed a unique fighter to bring the excitement back and up popped Mike Tyson.
Now, after the lull in the Klitschko era, the division needs its next star, but this is an era like none before it. For the first time, European fighters are dominating the Heavyweight division. There have been more heavyweight title fights held in Germany than anywhere else in the last decade; a historical first. This gives Fury another incidental claim to being the heavyweight division’s best bet of re-emergence (in this era.) Fury is well placed to appeal to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Because of his fighting style and willingness to give the media the headlines they crave, the bar-
riers that prevented the Klitschkos conquering America should not hold Fury back, while he’ll always have a strong UK/European fanbase. However, it plays out for the heavyweight division over the next few years, Fury’s fortunes should be quite closely tied to those of the division. If he lives up to his potential and continues to entertain, then he just might turn out to be the heavyweight division’s saviour. If not, then the burden falls onto Deontay Wilder and others, who, though capable of shouldering the load, don’t have what Tyson Fury has. • Culled from www.fighthype.com.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
By Somefun Oluwaseun Ayodeji ROWING up as a boy, any time I was being prayed for or asked if I was going to become a president or governor, I would say no. I really do not know why, because the answer still stands same. Maybe it was because it just never appealed to me or occurred to me from the onset. I prefer being a technocrat or a social commentator. Recently, the not-too-different-from-the-badeggs or country cripplers Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that is the All Progressives Congress (APC), that has been going here and there discrediting all the moves of the present government, whether good or bad, of course, to gain political points which it has not, in some quarters or probably garnered little in others, released its so called “Ten-point agenda”. Not too long ago, the party let loose two of its mouth runners on the air, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and the interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. I was only tuning to different television stations that fateful Sunday evening to see what was on, lo and behold, I stumbled on FFK(Femi Fani-Kayode as he’s fondly addressed) being interviewed on Channels Television amidst other programmes. I decided to opt for that as I have at several times read the articles of the sound UK-trained lawyer on different blogs. Fortunately or unfortunately, he already decamped to APC, which I didn’t know had happened before that time. He was being quizzed about his time in service with President Olusegun Obasanjo, what the PDP is doing wrong and the like. This man sweet-talked his way out with statistics, which to him mattered most, which might be true anyway, but as the presenter of the show said and as most Nigerians would have thought, did the statistics have a trickle-down effect on Nigerians? Certainly not. At least I didn’t see anything. In all he did, he fought and sweet-talked his way through during the interview juxtaposing Obasanjo’s administration, in which he served, and Jonathan’s administration that has levelled grave corruption charges against him. In fact, a PDP member was introduced into the programme via phone conversation to respond to all FFK had said. Trust that such a person would always say the opposite while FFK also made sure he doused everything the man said. In my mind, I began wondering, why Nigerian politicians act like this: Liars, sweet-talkers— always wanting to attack the opposition at the slightest instance. My conclusion was politicians never change, they are all the same. Then came Lai Mohammed in his own television interview, too. Nigerians called in during the programme to ask “serious” questions. I couldn’t really sit to watch this but I overheard a man who called in say to him that Nigerians would hold him responsible for promises he was making and I particularly like that. Where am I driving at with all these? Nigerians know that all these gimmicks, tantrums and buck-passing are solely for 2015 and not for our sake. Not because they are really interested in improving the present worsening situation where lives no longer matter and the economy is going into a dip. Some people died not too long before the Centenary Day celebration yet the government went ahead. And you ask yourself: For what? Let me ask the President. Sir, don’t you think the masses who are uncared for should be the ones blowing the Centenary trumpet? But how would they, and who even cares? Is it when fuel is being hoarded in a country that is the fourth largest exporter of crude in the world? Is it when about 45 million Nigerian youths are jobless? An average Nigerian will say, “Na Centenary go put food for table abi na im go give me clothe make I wear? Centenary ko, Millenary ni, mtcheew.” That is if she/he knows something is on. I have not even spoken of our political parties and their lack of ideologies. We don’t know
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Lying politicians and race to 2015 mountain
what each party stands for. As a politician, you can just wake one morning and feel like defecting to another party and there you have it especially if you have been aggrieved in your party (like what I feel happened to the likes of
the New PDP members that made them leave PDP). To save time, my advice for the APC is that they should start now on a right footing by trying to convince the masses who have lost confidence
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To save time, my advice for the APC is that they should start now on a right footing by trying to convince the masses who have lost confidence in their leadership with positive actions. They should say how they intend to fight corruption, restore power and gain the peoples’ confidence. It should not be the usual “always replying everything PDP says
in their leadership with positive actions. They should say how they intend to fight corruption, restore power and gain the peoples’ confidence. It should not be the usual “always replying everything PDP says. Everyone knows they brought Nigeria to where it is today.” One can recall that even a one-time Minister of Defence has alleged that Boko Haram menace emanated from the PDP and should be settled by the party. The President himself has said that Boko Haram sympathisers or apologists were in his cabinet. It is surprising he has refused to address it from there. One can already sense that Nigerians will be very eager to vote and consequently boot out rubbish in 2015. Nigerians are yearning for fresh air, to see what another party will do differently from the People Deceiving People; what many derisively refer to as Poverty Development Party (PDP). What is being awaited is a party that will move this country forward and not just seize and wield power for personal aggrandisement of its leaders. Let him that hath ears and is wise hear and act on what Nigerians are yearning for. • Ayodeji E-mail: Justthinking54@gmail.com