TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Vol. 30, No. 12,879
We won’t vacate our seats, say defecting PDP reps From Adamu Abuh (Abuja) and Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) EMBERS of All ProgresM sives Congress (APC) caucus in the House of Representatives yesterday rose from an emergency meeting with the resolve that no member of the party would vacate his seat based on the directive of an Abuja High Court judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola. Also, the national secretariat of the opposition yesterday ordered its National Assembly members to ignore the decision by the court ordering them to vacate their seats. Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to
initiate the process of electing replacements for the federal lawmakers who defected to the APC. The Minority Leader in the House, Mr. Samson Osagie, who addressed reporters on behalf of the group, also dis-
• APC appeals judgment • PDP wants affected lawmakers replaced closed that the 39 APC members affected by the ruling have filed a notice of appeal
dated April 1, 2014 challenging the judgment of the court. Brandishing a copy of the ap-
peal filed by Mr. Mahmud Magaji (SAN) and copied the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and the Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, Osagie maintained that the judgment was not
worth adhering to since it, according to him, ran contrary to the rule of law. Flanked by some of the lawmakers affected by the decision, Osagie alleged that CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
NGE fundraising dinner holds April 10 - Page 4 Senators disagree on electronic voting, reject one-day general elections – Page 5
Delegate at confab raises concern over killing of Christians – Page 5 Lagos appeals court verdict on Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge toll – Page 7
President, Institute of Directors (IoDs), Eniola Fadayomi, (left); Yeye Oge of Lagos, Opral Benson; wife of Ekiti State Governor, Bisi Fayemi; Chairman, IoD’s Women Directors Committee, Stella Okoli; and former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Oceanic Bank, Cecilia Ibru, during the 2014 IoD’s Women Directors’ Conference in Lagos… yesterday. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU
Nigeria on high alert over Ebola virus ITH suspected cases in W Senegal, Sierra Leone • Denies outbreak of disease, confirms case of dengue fever and Liberia and 78 deaths in Guinea, Nigeria is on high alert over possible outbreak of Ebola virus, even as the country has confirmed an outbreak of Dengue haemorrhagic fever. Also, the World Health Or-
• Cautions on bush meat hunting, others
ganisation (WHO) yesterday declared Nigeria Guinea worm-free. The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and the Nige-
ria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) yesterday insisted that Ebola virus disease is not in the country, but warned Nigerians to watch out for
dengue fever, whose symptoms look like malaria in most cases. The ministry has, however, issued an alert on the early
signs of Ebola disease which had been reported in some African countries. Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, told reporters in Abuja yesterday that the case that was reported as Ebola in Nigeria was acCONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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PDP wants defecting lawmakers replaced CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 tually Dengue Fever, another deadly disease that mimics malaria and often mistakenly diagnosed as malaria. On Ebola, the Centre for Disease Control has asked people with symptoms of malaria or anything at all to go to the nearest health facility for check up and be sure that they don’t have any signs of Ebola. The Ebola virus causes a severe acute viral illness often characterised by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache,
and diarrhoea and vomiting. Ebola virus disease outbreak has a case fatality rate of up to 90 per cent. As there is no treatment or vaccine available, prevention is the most effective way to stop the transmission. Dengue fever is caused by a virus named Dengue Fever Virus (DFV). This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with potions such as headache, fever, exhaustion, sever muscle and joint pain,
swollen lymph nodes and rashes. Chukwu said the activities of the mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus, which transmit this virus, are being closely monitored nationwide by the Arbovirus Research Centre of the FMoH based in Enugu. Chukwu said: “As a follow up to the report of a section of the media of an outbreak of Ebola disease in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health wishes to inform the general public that laboratory investigation has revealed that it is a case of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and not that of Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever as erroneously reported. He noted that though it tends to ape malaria, other signs of Dengue fever include bleeding gums, bloody diarrhea, bleeding from the nose and severe pain behind the eyes, red palms and soles, which differentiate it from malaria. He stressed how laboratory tests are necessary for confirmation in each case. Chukwu further stressed: “The Federal Ministry of Health once again re-affirms that our laboratories at the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have the capacity to confirm this Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and other viral hemorrhagic fevers,
additionally, the ministry has intensified surveillance activities on this disease and all states’ ministries of health have been alerted. Any suspected case should be reported to the nearest health facility, including general hospitals, federal medical centres or teaching hospitals where non-specific and symptomatic drugs against this disease have been propositioned. “All our port health posts and border medical centres have been out on high alert to screen travellers from countries with confirmed Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever occurrences. Nigerian citizens travelling to these countries are advised to be careful and should report any illness with the symptoms to the nearest health facility.” Director, Centre for Disease Control, Prof. Abdulsami Nasidi, emphasised that Dengue fever could be managed even though it does not have cure too like Ebola and does not also have vaccine. He said it is not as deadly and, if properly managed, could save the life of the patient, as such, government’s decision to strengthen surveillance. On preventive measures, he stressed: “The preventive measures to Ebola are differ-
ent from that of Dengue. Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes, so, how you protect yourself from malaria is the same way you protect yourself from Dengue. The mosquito that transmits Dengue mostly bites in the evening, so, if you can go by these insecticidal nets, spraying and keeping your compound neat, and they also like to multiply in fresh water, especially water in containers and small drums and tyres in the house. “So, when it rains, it is good to keep away these tyres and other entrapped fresh water. Make sure you keep the environment clean and take away all containers and tyres all around you. On the prevention of Ebola as we have said many times is enhancing our surveillance on areas of high probability such as forest areas and areas where they eat bush meat, areas where you have a lot of bat. “I am not cautioning against the eating of bush meat but I am cautioning against the hunting for bush meat and processing it. Those who eat bush meat don’t get the disease, but those who hunt for it and process it get the disease. But those who eat smoked bush meat and not the cooked one might get the
virus.” World Health Organisation (WHO) in a statement said: “From more than 650,000 cases in 1988 to zero today, Nigeria has successfully stopped transmission of guinea-worm disease, also known as dracunculiasis. Thousands of volunteer polio vaccinators helped to check every household nationwide to ensure that there were no remaining cases before the country could be certified free of guineaworm disease in December 2013.” Guinea-worm disease (dracunculiasis) is almost exclusively found in poor, rural communities in low-income countries. It is a crippling, parasitic disease caused by a thread-like worm that grows up to 100cm long and migrates inside the body. Transmission occurs when people drink water contaminated with parasite-infected water fleas. Around one year after infection, one or more worms emerge from the skin through a painful blister, often on the leg. To soothe the excruciating pain, people often immerse the infected area in water. The worms then reinfect the water with thousands of larvae that are ingested by water fleas and the life-cycle starts again.
Nigeria denies outbreak of Ebola virus CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Justice Ademola veered off the course of the case before him in order to do the bidding of the PDP. Osagie claimed that the decision must have been masterminded by the Presidency to blur the picture of the level of decay and corruption in the polity from discerning members of the public. A text of Osagie’s presentation reads in part: “For us in the APC, we were not surprised because in the course of the proceedings, the same judge had earlier issued a preservative order as soon as the argument against his jurisdiction in the case was taken. “This was our first apprehension of the commencement of the case. Our fear was further confirmed when the judge, after granting the reliefs sought in the suit, went ahead to render an opinion on issues that were neither before him nor solicited by the plaintiffs. “Consequently, a section of the media and indeed the public have been misled by the court ruling into believing that the said judgment has effectively terminated the tenure of office of the affected members. This is not only untrue, but also a mere obiter dicta expressed by a judge who veered off the course of the case before him in order to do the bidding of the ruling party. “At best, the judgment has turned law on its head and cannot stand. Our colleagues have taken steps to appeal the judgment and we are confident that justice will prevail. In the meantime, we want to assure members of the public that there is no court judgment before the House directing any member of the APC to vacate his or her seat. “In any event, Section 68 (2) of the 1999 Constitution
makes it clear that satisfactory evidence must be presented to the House before any of the provision of Section 68 (1) can become applicable. At the moment, the APC in the House remains strong and focus on the need to provide necessary checks and balances to the rudderlessness of the ship of state as being piloted by the ruling party in this country today. “At a time when this government is unable to explain to Nigerians the whereabouts of huge missing funds; at a time when profligacy among ministers of this government has reached its crescendo; at a time when scores and thousands have been sent to their untimely graves under a scheme purported to be a recruitment sham; at a time when government assets in the power sector have been sold out with Nigerians experiencing more darkness than light; at a time when insecurity and insurgency have almost defied government emergency rule and at a time when misgovernance has taken centre stage while Nigerians have continued to wallow in abject penury, the PDP government has continued to run the country like the private fiefdom of those holding the reins of power. “Nigerians, we know, cannot succumb to the shenanigans of the ruling party that has plundered this nation for 15 years. The House of Representatives remains the bastion of hope of the traumatised and pauperised Nigerians and we shall not give in to the attempt of some of our PDP colleagues in collusion with a certain judge to turn facts and law on its head to achieve some sinister ends. “Finally, for the avoidance of doubt, let me state unequivocally on behalf our members that the import of yesterday’s ruling was that our 37 members cannot par-
ticipate in the removal of principal officers of the House, nothing more, nothing less. Every other pronouncement by the judge as to the status of our 37 members of the House were mere opinion, In any event, this judgment was given in vain and in ignorance of the House rules which governs the appointment of party leaders in the parliament. It is also an attempt by the court to meddle in the internal affairs of the parliament. This certainly is not the import of the doctrine of judicial review.” The national secretariat of the APC, in a statement by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, particularly asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to act urgently to sanction Justice Ademola for allegedly engaging in mischief that could bring the Bench into disrepute. The APC, which claims that Justice Ademola lacks the power to adjudicate on the issue of whether or not the 37 members of the House of Representatives can defect, disclosed plan to appeal the ruling on the basis that the judge’s perpetual injunction restraining the concerned lawmakers from participating in motions and debates in the House is unconstitutional and defeats the very purpose for which the members were elected into the House. ‘’Firstly, the question whether the House of Representatives members should vacate their seats was not a question before Justice Ademola for determination. The only question for him to determine was whether the APC members, with their numerical strength at that time, had the right to change the House leadership such as the Majority Leader, Chief Whip and their deputies. So, Justice Ademola had no business commenting on seats being
vacated. ‘’Secondly, it is highly unprofessional and unethical for one judge to delve into a matter that is subjudice in another court. A judge should not make comments on matters being litigated in another court. The question of seats being vacated or otherwise is being heard by Justice Ahmed Mohammed in the Federal High Court in Abuja who, March 29, 2014, said the issue was still live before him and is not ripe for judgment.’’ Rivers State PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah, in a statement endorsed by his media aide, Jerry Needam, said sequel to the ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday on the continued illegal participation in the proceedings of the House of Representatives by lawmakers that dumped the PDP platform to join the APC, the Rivers State chapter of the PDP wants such affected legislators to retire home immediately. Obuah enjoined the House of Representatives members from Rivers State involved in the alleged controversial cross-over to proceed home with immediate effect, having betrayed the people’s mandate. The PDP said it amounts to self-deceit to continue to hang around the green chamber, noting that “you cannot eat your cake and still have it.” The Rivers PDP noted that it’s in the best interest of the defecting lawmakers to take the court’s ruling in good faith instead of embarking on endless appeals that will still end up against them. “To this end, the party has enjoined INEC to begin to initiate the process of electing replacements for the embattled lawmakers. “This is a point of law and is unambiguously clear. So, it’s expected that as lawmakers, they should be the first to up-
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Constitutional flaws top agenda at confab From Adamu Abuh, Terhemba Daka and Karls Tsokar ELEGATES to the ongoing D national conference in Abuja appear poised to press for constitutional amendment as contributions yesterday reflected dissatisfaction with the present constitution of the Federal Republic. This is as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has thrown his weight behind calls for the devolution of power in the polity while former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, faulted the directive by President Goodluck Jonathan to members of the national conference not to discuss matters that could threaten the unity of the country. On commencement of the session yesterday at the National Judicial Institute, venue of the conference, the Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, said intervention from delegates on President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech at the inauguration would be welcome from delegates that were yet to do so from the previous day. Jonathan had said: “...over the years, well-meaning Nigerians have drawn attention to inadequacies in our current constitution...” Taking a cue for the call for patriotism and strengthening of national unity, the delegate that fired the first salvo of the day, Felix Ajakaiye from Ekiti State, admitted there were wonderful ideas contained in the law book but “most of them are not honestly implemented, things are not done right, let’s start doing the right things and things would be right with us.” Another delegate, Amos Akingba, in his contribution said the military imposed “a unitary government masqueraded as federalism. The issues of national question have really denied the people the needed development. At this point, the only legitimate principle that can change the course of our destiny is by changing the con-
• Atiku canvasses devolution of power • Kalu faults no-go areas stitution.” Alani Akinrinade, a delegate of the Federal Government, said it is better to throw away the 1999 Constitution that has given room for corruption with provisions like immunity clause for political office holders. “We must do what we can to ensure that we stop this culture of indifference, but march on together to overcome our difficulties”, he said. In corroboration, Abiola Akiode said “we can use this gathering to correct the wrongs that have been perpetrated for a long time. Power is not with the people again, the people in government must imbibe the attitude of patriotism and accountability. Governance must be done in transparent manner. “The constitution has excluded many people, women, children, and disabled people. We must do for this generation the right thing by rewriting a new constitution for Nigeria.” Prof. Dora Akunyili, who was asked to sit due to her condition but insisted on standing, read from a script that “millions of Nigerians are being discriminated against in most parts of the country on the grounds of state of origin. The country belongs to all Nigerians”, she said. Delegate Adamu Aliyu said trivialities are given priority as against more serious issues, “like immunity clause protecting public office holders and must be removed from the constitution.” It, however, soon became imperative to alert delegates that they were not at the conference to amend the constitution, but to analyse the speech by the President and his call for national unity. The President had said: “There are also those who believe that the constitution is not our problem but the political will to faithfully implement it...” Victor Attah, delegate from
Akwa Ibom State, said Nigerians “need physical and fiscal adjustments” that would shape the complexion of the country, because “the cleavages we have today are manmade instead of patriotism, there are disparities. It may be difficult, but we can remove them.” Dr. Iyorchia Ayu in his intervention said Jonathan’s speech “is a speech of a leader who is deeply worried about his country. He is worried about our unity and the direction the country is going, and also worried about democracy and level of development. “The people expect a lot from us because of our capacity as people who are serving or have served before, so they believe we have what it takes to make the difference. “However, I think we might be taking ourselves too seriously to think that we alone will be able to solve all the problems of Nigeria because I have heard some people here say, we will re-write the constitution of Nigeria. I don’t think we have such capacity. We can only make recommendations for the way forward. “In other words, we are going to produce a report which will be considered by people who also have a responsibility for the way forward. I think most of the recommenda-
tions we shall be putting forward have been recommended before, either as policies or issues for legislation. “And I think that the people who should have executed this are either the predecessors of the President or apparently the President himself or the National Assembly could not do this at the appropriate time. That’s why we are here today.” Both Ankio Briggs and Bishop Joseph Bagobiri alluded to constitutional flaws as being responsible for denying the country the much needed development. Bagobiri called for the neutrality of religion as he faulted Section 44 that makes provision for the setting up of Sharia courts without considering other religions, including Christianity. Delivering a speech at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, the former Vice President maintained that the concentration of power at the federal level is doing more harm than good. While acknowledging his initial stance opposing the constitution of the national conference, Atiku said that delegates should make the best of the opportunity. “I want to assume that a new and improved Nigeria is the goal, and I believe that any opportunity for people to talk is better than to fight.
Kutigi The national conference should focus on designing a political and governmental system that empowers local authorities and gives them greater autonomy to address peculiar local issues, and enhances accountability, while contributing to the general good of the country.” Arguing that the envisaged robust federal system would reduce the tensions that are built into the nation’s current over-centralised system, he noted that the current federal structure in Nigeria - which he termed unitary federalism - is a creation by and for the military governments of the past. “As more power was concentrated in the centre, the Federal Government appropriated more resources and expanded its responsibil-
Anti-terrorism war, others top agenda as Nigeria assumes UNSC presidency By Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor MARTING from the beneSforms, fits of Security Sector Repushing for greater collective action against terrorism and galvanising member-states to take the concept of co-prosperity
more seriously, are some of the more immediate tasks that Nigeria would embark upon as it again assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) yesterday. Nigeria is taking over the one-month rotational presidency from Luxembourg’s Ambassador Sylvie Lucas who held forte for the month of March. It is the fifth time since independence that Nigeria would be elected to serve on the most powerful decision-making organ of the UN charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. The country was elected a non-permanent member of the Security Council on October 17, 2013 and will now serve on the Council for the period 2014-2015. Nigeria previously served on the Council from 1966-1967, 1978-1979, 19941995 and 2011-2012. Nigeria’s return to the Council in January 2014, after having left only in December 2012, represents one of the shortest periods in the annals of the UN that a memberstate has spent between two terms on the Council. Diplomatic watchers think this is even more remarkable as it is occurring under the leadership of the same Permanent Representative, Ambassador Joy Ogwu. Nigeria currently holds the chair of two Security Council Committees: the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2048 (2012) concerning Guinea-Bissau, and the Ad-
Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa. The country is one of the three vice-chairs of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and one of the two vice-chairs the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1591 (2005) concerning Sudan. With the active support of all other members of the Council, Nigeria’s Mission in New York also said yesterday that Nigeria will use its monthlong presidency “to actively promote the cause of international peace and security in line with the principles of the UN Charter and the mandate of the Council.” Permanent Representative Joy Ogwu has in the past called for a reform of Nigeria’s multilateral diplomacy. The diplomat had similarly rooted for the desired situation whereby Nigeria’s troops and equipment engaged in the UN peacekeeping operations are without blemish. At a decoration of rank ceremony of one of Nigeria’s brightest military officers in December 2012 at the Nigerian House, New York, Ogwu noted that Nigeria needed reinvention as well as a sustenance of its ideology and doctrine which enabled the nation to pursue its decolonisation and African centrepiece diplomacy successfully in the years gone by.
ities. All of these were done in the name of promoting national unity. And the process was relatively easy as the unified command structure of the military ensured little opposition. “Therefore, fixing Nigeria, to me, will require reversing decades of over-centralisation of power and over-concentration of resources at the centre,” he said. Kalu, who spoke with aviation correspondents in Lagos yesterday on arrival from United Kingdom (UK), said: “Well, as far as I am concerned, the conference is a necessary evil that we must discuss our problems instead of keeping our problems in our mind. “It is good for us to discuss our problems, the greatest challenge that we have today is for people to discuss their problems, know what their problems are. But Mr. President was wrong in asking them not to delve into certain areas. There should not be a no-go area in the discussion of Nigeria’s unity. It is those things that will strengthen the unity of the country. We have fought one civil war and we can never fight the second civil war. No country that went for civil war twice survives. “So, I believe Mr. President did not think it out thoroughly. They should discuss everything, including the unity of the country as it will help us become one unified country.”
NGE fundraising dinner holds April 10 LL is now set for the April A 10, 2014 Nigerian Guild of Editors’ (NGE) fundraising dinner planned to raise N850 million for its eight-floor secretariat complex. According to a statement by the Chairman, Media/Partnership Committee, Chucks Oko, “the event, billed for Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, has President Goodluck Jonathan as the distinguished guest of honour, and all governors as special guests. Also, the All Progressives Congress leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will be the special guest of honour at the event to be chaired by former Petroleum Minister, Prof. Jibril Aminu. Former Ogun State governor, Olusegun Osoba, will deliver the keynote address, while the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, is chief host. Oko said that already, many governors and captains of industries have indicated willingness to attend the epochal fundraising ceremony. And restating the need for eminent Nigerians and corporate organisations to support the project, NGE President, Femi Adesina, said the proposed Editors’ Plaza would greatly improve the practice of journalism in the country as up-to-date facilities would be at the disposal of top professionals in the field to make them compete globally. “With the planned ICT Centre and training and retraining packages planned, we can only compete with the best,” Adesina stressed.
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News Reps panel summons, AGF, CBN, others over alleged missing N59.6b From Adamu Abuh, Abuja, O ensure accountability, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday summoned the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Jonah Otunla, to appear today to explain how about N59.6 billion Service Wide Vote in 2006 allegedly disappeared into thin air. Also to appear before the Solomon Adeola Olamilekanled committee are the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN), Mrs. Sarah Alade and the Executive Director of Finance, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Adeola (Lagos: APC) directed that the AGF bring along, among others, all bank transactions between July and December 2006, a copy of the Federation Account, copies of statements of accounts through CBN for the period under review. Apparently concerned by the un-cooperative attitudes of some of the officials involved in the transaction, he said his committee would no longer tolerate any excus-
Grand Knight, Mater Christi Sub-Council, Sir Bamidele Famure (left); Supreme Treasurer, Sir Lawrence Okonofua and Metropolitan Grand Knight, Lagos Metro Council, Sir Charles Mbelede during the celebration of the feast of Annunciation organised by Knight of St. Mulumba held at Marian Shrine, St. Agness Catholic Church, Maryland …yesterday.
es from some of the officials of the agencies involved that had been claiming “ignorant at one stage or the other. “ Yesterday, when the NNPC GM Accounts, Mr. Sambo Aliyu appeared before the committee, he tendered a letter written by the Budget Office in response to NNPC’s request to know the whereabouts of the missing fund. Aliyu disclosed that the budget office responded that the money was released to NNPC, adding that the money was not released in liquid cash to the best of his knowledge. Piqued by the response, members of the committee resolved to summon all the heads of the aforementioned outfits to shed further light on the issue. Mr. Dipo Fatokun who stood in for the CBN was also not forthcoming when asked to explain what he knows about the missing fund, saying: “We will need to get the mandates from the AGF.” Mrs. Tayo Toluwase, a director in the budget office also said she did not have all the relevant details on the issue.
Senators disagree on electronic voting, reject one-day general elections From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja EBATE on Bills seeking D introduction of an electronic voting method in the country practically split the Senate into two yesterday even as the lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to have all elections conducted same day. The senators were unanimous in their support of another Bill which seeks to
empower the President to appoint the secretary to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), contrary to the existing legislation that allowed the INEC chairman to appoint the secretary. The Electoral Amendment Bill seeking the introduction of a single day general elections which was sponsored by Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC, Yobe State) attracted more
attention as senators expressed fear that it could cause more problems. President of the Senate, David Mark, whose contribution came at the end of the debate, urged his colleagues to consider the capacity of INEC before introducing the one-day election. He lamented the inability of the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to correct what he called a mis-
normal in the appointment of the commission’s secretary. Senate leader, Victor NdomaEgba, argued that the one-day election option could generate serious constitutional problems. According to him, the arrangement could spell doom for democracy in Nigeria should there occur post election crises. Ndoma-Egba said it is better to always have the National Assembly election earlier on a different day so that should
there be a post-election crisis, Nigeria would be sure that the National Assembly is intact. “Again, because of our illiteracy level, holding elections in one day could lead to voter’s fatigue and voter’s confusion.” He is of the opinion that allowing INEC to use electronic machines to conduct elections would be more fruitful to the electoral process.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who sponsored the Bill on electronic voting, had argued that “while we appreciate the challenges of the use of electronic voting system in our infrastructure-deficit environment, the Bill seeks to grant the commission the latitude to use electronic voting system when it is ready with the appropriate capacity and technology to do so.”
Delegate at national confab raises concern over killing of Christians From Terhemba Daka and Karls Tsokar, Abuja ONTRIBUTIONS by Pastor C Emmanuel Bosun yesterday accusing politicians of manipulating religions as a tool to cause distraction all over the nation created an uneasy calm among delegates at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja. Effort by a delegate and former Governor of Kebbi State, Adamu Aliero to stop Bosun, a delegate on the platform of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) from going ahead with his submissions was turned down by the Deputy Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi who presided over the session. Pastor Bosun had bemoaned the wanton killing of hundreds of Christians across Nigeria, stressing the need for the conference to address the issue with a view to putting an end to the massacre and avert the resultant effect of a division of the country. His words: “Nigeria as of today is producing widows, orphans in thousands. Mr. Chairman permit me to show
you this stone. I picked this stone personally in a village called Dogo Nahawa in Jos at the mass grave of 501 Christians slaughtered in one night. They were not thieves and they were not criminals but were killed because they chose to be Christians. “Our country today is facing a terrible calamity as religion has become a manipulative tool that is being used to cause destruction all over the nation. This conference needs to address religion squarely before religion is used to scatter Nigeria. Mr. President in his speech on
pages 14 and 15 made reference to the need for us to review the constitution because it is inadequate. “And when we look at the issue currently on ground, the bloodshed that is all over Nigeria, we find at the root, constitutional inconsistencies. Section 10 of our Constitution says the government is prohibited from adopting any religion as state religion, and the same constitution gives room for establishment and funding of one religion. “In the 1999 Constitution Sharia is mentioned 73 times, Grand Khadi 54 times, Islam
28 times, Muslim 10 times and there is no single mention of Christ, Christian, Christianity or church. “Some mischievous elements have taken this lapse in the constitution to come to the ungodly decision that probably the state is an Islamic state, and wonder what Christians are doing here. “Hundreds of our churches are being burnt, Christians are killed and in fact it has reached the stage of genocide and I will cite just one example. “In just one denomination in Plateau State, the Women’s Fellowship as at 2001 had 500 registered widows. By 2008
In the 1999 constitution Sharia is mentioned 73 times, Grand Khadi 54 times, Islam 28 times, Muslim 10 times and there is no single mention of Christ, Christian, Christianity or church. Some mischievous elements have taken this lapse in the constitution to come to the ungodly decision that probably the state is an Islamic state so what are Christians doing there. Hundreds of our churches are being burnt, Christians are killed and in fact it has reached the stage of genocide and I will cite just one example. In just one denomination in Plateau State the Women’s fellowship as at 2001 had 500 registered widows. By 2008 they had 900 registered widows, as at February 2014 they have 25,000 registered widows. We have to talk to ourselves.
they had 900 registered widows, as at February 2014 they have 25,000 registered widows. We have to talk to ourselves. “There is the need for us, according to what Mr. President mentioned, for this conference to take a closer look at the constitution of Nigeria and make recommendations that will facilitate redressing every imbalance therein so that all the citizens in Nigeria can live peacefully and in harmony. If we set Nigeria on fire for whatever reason none of us will be able to live there. “We Christians do not hate the Muslims, we are prepared to live together in harmony. I live in the South-West in which Christians and Muslims live together and there is peace there. We want to see that peace all over Nigeria, in the North, South, East and West.” But raising a Point of Order to draw the attention of the presiding officers to a violation of the Conference rules, Adamu Aliero argued that the submissions by Pastor Bosun was
irrelevant to the discussions and capable of dividing the delegates, and called on the chairman to prevail on him to discontinue with his submission. “Our rules say a delegate must confine his contribution to the subject under discussion and may not introduce matters irrelevant thereto. My Chairman, the speaker is bringing issues not related to Mr. President’s speech. “We are discussing Mr. President’s speech and I, therefore, want the Chair to call him to order. He is bringing diversion, he is bringing issues that are very, very sentimental, he is bringing issue that cannot even be verified. He is dividing the house, I therefore call on the Chair to call him to order.” But ruling on the matter, the Deputy Chairman, Bolaji Akinyemi said: “I cannot uphold your point of order. “However, I appeal that there are a lot of grievances that have brought us here. This is for all to speak your minds. I therefore cannot uphold your point of order.”
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NEWS Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Yobe, Borno elders seek withdrawal of troops as emergency ‘fails’ From Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna), Njadvara Musa (Damaturu) and Chuka Odittah (Abuja)
Calm returns to Katsina community
NDIGENES of Borno and IofYobe states, under the aegis Borno-Yobe Forum, have
post in Ngelzarma town of Fune council area of Yobe State on Sunday evening, torching a primary school and telecom mast, before fleeing into Gujba Forests. The gunmen, according to an eyewitness, Baba Isa, came in pickup vans and motorcycles dressed in military uniform, and instructed some residents to enter their houses before attacking the military post with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol bombs. He said: “They directed all of us to enter our houses quietly without panic because the people of Ngelzarma are not their targets, but soldiers at the military post.” The Yobe Police Commissioner, Sanusi Rufai, confirmed the incident yesterday in Damaturu, stating that there was no loss of lives but that the primary school and a telecom mast were destroyed by the hoodlums. And following the ongoing
called on the Federal Government to withdraw military troops deployed to the area in the wake of Boko Haram insurgency in the North-Eastern region, stating that the emergency rule has failed to end the killings in both states and elsewhere in the region. Speaking in Abuja at a news conference on the crisis in the region, the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Al-Amin Daggash, asked the Federal Government to restrategise in dealing with the problem of incessant killings in the two states, noting that the emergency rule has so far failed to restore peace and security to the states. Meanwhile, calm has returned to Funtua in Katsina State after the violence on Monday following the protest by the youth against a teacher who allegedly profaned the name of Prophet Mohammed and his mother, Amina. The youth were said to have taken to the streets in Funtua chanting Islamic songs as they headed straight to a church, where they thought the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) teacher was hiding, and torched a part of it. Similarly, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists attacked a military
special military operation in Sambisa Forest and the hilltops of Mandara Mountains, four telecom firms in Borno State were shut down at the weekend. The shutdown began early Sunday and continued till yesterday, making MTN and Etisalat GSM networks more epileptic for calls. Speaking on the shutdown yesterday in Maiduguri, a top military officer attached to Special Military Operations (SMOP) sought residents’ collective support and cooperation in the ongoing operations against insurgency. He assured that the shutdown would be temporary but was an inconvenience the people had to bear for now. Also, he disclosed that the continuous aerial bombardments and surveillance in border areas with Cameroun and Chad were heightened at the weekend to prevent insurgents from fleeing their camps and hideouts.
The group, which said the “emergency rule has failed woefully,” also expressed concerns that government’s N2 billion, budgeted to tackle disturbances in the region, was too meager to root out the insurgents, but urged the establishment of a special intervention fund for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the zone as well as re-integration of the people affected by the crisis. While urging the Federal Government to immediately implement the recommendations of the Ambassador Usman Gaji Gatimari and Tanimu Turaki Presidential Committees, the forum expressed readiness to take its destiny in its hand if allowed, alongside the state government apparatus, to tackle the insurgency headlong. “The current state of emergency, which expires on the April 19, 2014, should not be extended because it did not serve the purpose for which
it was invoked,” the forum claimed. “This will enable the state governments to use their meager resources for the re-construction of the states as well as rehabilitation and re-integration of our people. “The emergency rule is not working. If it is not working, why retain it at the expense of people’s lives? We believe that the civilian JTF (military Joint Task Force) was making remarkable achievements ab initio. Let us go back to that strategy and see how to strengthen them to achieve security for our people.” Trouble started when the corps teacher in a private secondary and primary school Ideal International School, Funtua, whose students were writing examinations, was alleged to have mentioned the name of Prophet Mohammed and her mother, Amina, in one of the question papers. Meanwhile, the state’s Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Hurdi, who visited the troubled area yesterday, said that calm has
13 aspirants ask PDP to drop Fayose From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja EQUEL to the court verdict Sswer, that he has a case to an13 of the 16 contestants for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) slot to the June 21, 2014 Ekiti State governorship election have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to nullify the candidature of Ayo Fayose and replace him with Senator Gbenga Aluko. Addressing newsmen yesterday, the concerned aspirants, led by Aluko himself, who said he had emerged as the consensus candidate, said that allowing Fayose to retain the party’s candidacy could spell doom for it at the poll. According to Aluko, since Fayose is standing trial for some offences, the All Progressives Congress (APC) state government has planned to arrest him on the eve of that election to deny the PDP a candidate. He noted, however, that the 13 aspirants would remain committed to President Jonathan’s directive for a consensus candidate, therefore, they have chosen not to participate in the primary election. He urged the PDP national leadership to exploit the Electoral Act, which allows for substitution, to drop Fayose and save the party from losing the election, warning that many PDP members in Ekiti were ready to defect from the party, only awaiting a decision on the matter.
returned and advised the people to go about their normal and lawful businesses. Also, armed soldiers and police were on routine patrol and checks to ensure there was no further threat to peace in the town and environs.
Adenuga loses mother in-law LOBACOM’S Chairman, G Mike Adenuga’s mother in-law, Mrs Susannah Mebulaghanje Okome (Nee Sideso), has passed on. She died March 16, 2014 in Maryland, United States at 83. A statement last night said: “The families of the late Mr. Elijah Eghowa Okome and the late Jimmy Sideso announce the passing away of their wife, daughter, sister, mother, and grandmother. Mrs Susannah Mebulaghanje Okome (Nee Sideso) fondly called ‘Sister.’ “An industrious woman and a home maker, she was a founding distributor of ‘Hayes Headties’ in the 1960s. She was also a founding distributor and designer of Itsekiri ‘George wrappers’ at the then Brunsweiller popularly called ‘Jackel.’ One of her numerous designs, ‘Prestige’ was used in the opening of the National Arts Theatre in 1976. “Burial arrangement to be announced later. “She is survived by many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren amongst whom are: Roli Okome, Jolomi Okome, Tosan Okome, Philip and Tetsoma Onwuka, Ojimi Okome, Titilola Adenuga, Temiwumi Tope-Banjoko and Bemigho Okome.”
Don urges increased surveillance on radioactive waste HE Dean of Graduate T School of Natural, Applied and Medical Sciences, Uni-
Brand Ambassador, Big Brother Africa, Chris Asekomeh (left); Chief Executive Officer Studio 115, Elisha Atai; former President, Nigeria Guild of Actors, Ejike Asiegbu and Project Fame Ambassador, Joseph Benjamin at the fashion show of “Our Heritage Clothing” Ankara (African) unique prints by Augustina Akpan at Le Meridian Hotel Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO
Kidnap suspects die in failed rescue bid From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba WO suspected kidnapT pers, who were being driven to the Oleh Magistrate Court in Isoko South local council of Delta State, died from gunshots as their alleged accomplices engaged the escort in shootout in a failed bid to rescue them. A statement yesterday in Asaba by the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Celestina Kalu, explained that the fatal shooting took place last Thursday along Kwale Road at Olloh Ogwashi in Aniocha South
local council. According to her, a team of operatives from the Police Special Anti-Kidnap Squad from Asaba was conveying the two male suspects, Ogaga Enueme and Efe Edheki, to the magistrate court for arraignment for alleged conspiracy and kidnapping when it was ambushed. When the smoke cleared, Kalu said that the police vehicle was shattered while the two suspects were hit by bullets from the hoodlums but died at the hospital, where they were rushed for treatment. The Delta Police spokes-
woman said the deceased suspects were accused of kidnapping one Mrs. Vivian Obonyano, 55, on January 5, 2014, on her way from church along Asaba-Ase Road at Uzere. She assured that efforts were on to track down the fleeing bandits who attacked the operatives. She further stated that three notorious armed robbers that invaded the residence of a lady, Betty Johnson, on March 19, 2014, and robbed her of N80,000 have been arrested. According to Kalu, the hoodlums forced victim into the toilet and escaped. How-
ever, the police swung into action when a report of the incident was made, raided the suspected robbers’ houses and arrested three men - Oke Omoyibo of Kokori village, Uyomevwa Emmanuel and Felix Nigeria. She said that Omoyibo confessed to the crime and led detectives to their hideout, where one locally-made pistol, an English double barrel gun, a battle axe and three live cartridges were recovered. Kalu said that investigation was still on, after which the suspects would be arraigned.
versity of Port Harcourt, Prof. Gregory Avwiri, has called on the Federal Government to increase surveillance on radioactive waste in order to protect the lives of Nigerians and the environment. In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday, Avwiri said radioactive waste included waste materials generated from the application of nuclear technology in energy, medicine, agriculture and industry as well as the oil and gas sector. According to him, radioactive waste is hazardous to health and the environment, and increased surveillance on radioactive waste would help check illegal dumping of such materials in the country. “Remember what happened with the Koko dump. If there was enough surveillance, there was no way the dump would have gotten to Koko from the port. The Federal Government is trying to stop electronic waste coming into the country, but there is the need to also educate Nigerians not to buy secondhand electronics,” he said.
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Nasarawa Assembly sacks NASIEC officials
Airline operators chief charges govt over maintenance
From Msugh Ityokura, Lafia
By Ibe Uwaleke
ASARAWA State House of N Assembly yesterday sacked the chairman and all officials of the state electoral body, Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC). This came as part of the resolutions of the House directing the Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura to terminate the appointment of the NASIEC chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Modibbo and the entire commissioners of the commission. The legislators alleged gross irregularities in the just-concluded local council polls in the state, hence their resolutions to that effect. Majority Leader of the House, Godiya Akwashiki (PDP), who moved the motion posited that the announcement of the local government election results by the chairman of the commission was in violation of the provisions of the local government electoral law of 2013 as passed by the House. Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Ahmed Musa Mohammed said: “A vote of no confidence has been passed against the NASIEC chairman and members of the commission.” “Based on the provisions of Section 201(1) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the House, through a 2/3 majority resolved that the chairman and his members should be removed from office with immediate effect,” he said.
Wada sets up panel over alleged marginalisation of Yoruba From Kolawole Timothy, Lokoja OLLOWING perceived FYoruba-speaking marginalisation of people in Kogi State, Governor Idris Wada yesterday set up a committee to look into the issue with a view to addressing it. The committee, which has the Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi as chairman is expected to review all grievances tabled by the Okun Development Association (ODA) during a courtesy call on the governor yesterday in Lokoja. Wada said the Okuns are important integral part of the state, stressing that his administration will ensure that the perceived injustice is addressed when the committee submit its report. Earlier, spokesman of the association and former Minister of Health, Professor Eyitayo Lambo, said they were in Government House to commend the governor for his achievements for the past two years. Lambo said there was marginalisation of the Okun in the sharing of political offices by successive administrations in the state. The governor told the delegation that the issue of nonappointment of commissioner from Ijumu Local Council was the handiwork of leaders from the area who have refused to agree over the choice of a candidate.
HAIRMAN of Airline OperC ators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison, has
Governor Godswill Akpabio (left) testing water from the newly commissioned water project at Akai Egbughu in Mbo Local Council. With him is the Commissioner for Finance, Bassey Albert and others.
said that unless Nigeria establishes an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the country the aviation sector will not optimize the inherent potentials and benefits of the sector. Meggison said merely setting up a national carrier will not alone step up the development of the sector, as aircraft MROs have the capacity to create thousands of jobs and retain huge sums of money that indigenous carriers spend on the repairs of their aircrafts oversees. Speaking in an interview in Lagos yesterday, Capt Meggisson, who is also the President of JedAir, said setting up a aircraft maintenance facility in the country will assist to train the horde of aviation professionals in the country including aircraft engineers.
Lagos appeals court verdict on Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge toll By Bertram Nwannekanma AGOS State Government Lmally yesterday said it has forappealed against the judgment delivered by Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court on March 27, 2014, which held that there was no law to cover the toll being collected by the State Government. In the notice of appeal dated Friday, March 28, 2014, filed on the same date and made
available to the media yesterday, the State Government is challenging the decision arrived at by the Federal High Court to the effect that the fact of payment by its contractors to National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) was an admission by the State that the Federal Government had constitutional or legislative authority to regulate inland waterways throughout the country.
Consequently, the State Government wants the Court of Appeal to reverse the decision of the Federal High Court to the effect that there was no law enacted by the Lagos State House of Assembly authorising the State to impose tolls on public infrastructure in the state. According to the State Government, the Lagos State Public Private Partnership Law No. 2 of 2011 clearly empowers the
Government to specify the service charges, user fees or tolls which are payable in respect of designated public infrastructure or public assets. Apart from the Notice of Appeal, the State Government through an application dated and filed on March 28, 2014 in the Federal High Court, is praying for an order to stay the execution of the judgment delivered in the suit and to restrain the respondents from
giving effect to the judgment delivered pending the determination of the appeal filed against the said judgment. The processes have been served on all the parties to the suit and Thursday, April 3, 2014 has been fixed by the Appeal Section of the Federal High Court for settlement of record of proceedings . No date has been fixed for the hearing of the application for stay of execution.
sword but truth is mightier than the pen itself because when you say the truth as a journalist you earn a reputation to yourself.” Continuing, Okojie also urged journalists to leverage on the freedom of media in the country to discharge their duty appropriately. According to him: “There is a freedom of speech to a large extent in the country for there is no doubt about it.”
“The freedom you have is to a large extent within the law of the land itself,” he added. The NUC Executive Secretary urged the media chiefs to keep their reporters long in their beat in order to ensure that they master their beat very well. “So, we are appealing to your editors that they should leave you long in your beat so that you understand who you are reporting on very well,” he said.
No press freedom in Nigeria, says Iredia From Kanayo Umeh Abuja
• NUC chief tasks journalists on professionalism
ROM a former Director of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) yesterday came a damning verdict: there is no press freedom in Nigeria. Dr. Tonnie Iredia made this assertion in Abuja while delivering a lecture entitled: “The Freedom of the Press and the Law” at a media lunch with education correspondents. According to Iredia ,”There is no freedom of the press in
Nigeria and quite a lot of people do not understand that. I thought the cap word should be freedom and not law. Most of us think that we are free because issues have not been tested in court.” “So, to this end journalists must be very sure of what they report,” he advised. Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission
(NUC) Prof. Julius Okojie at the forum tasked journalists to observe strictly the ethics of the profession in the discharge of their duty. Okojie, who stressed that reporters who report accurately earn good name for themselves, said, “you have the freedom to report the truth and I always tell people that the pen is mightier than the
Court orders Enugu ministry to supply rights group contract records From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE Federal High Court, sitT ting in Enugu and presided over by Justice D.V Agishi held yesterday that the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2011 is applicable to Enugu State and all other states of the federation. It ordered the Ministry of Health, Enugu to supply within 21 days to the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), documents and records in respect of the award of contract for the construction of the Enugu Diagnostic Centre. The court further held that the FOI Act is applicable to
both federal and state institutions, adding that public officers of the states are subject to the Act. The ruling was sequel to a suit brought by the South East Zonal Office of the CLO over refusal of the Enugu State Ministry of Health to make available records for the award of contract for the construction of Diagnostic Centre, pursuant to Clause 2 of the Act. CLO had in a letter dated October 27th, 2011 by its Zonal Director, Olu Omotayo, asked the ministry to furnish it with details of the contract located at the old Trade Fair site, fol-
lowing its alleged abandonment after funds had been made available for its execution. It had prayed the court for an order of mandamus directing the ministry to supply the records and documents in respect of the contract awarded for the building and completion of the Diagnostics Centre. CLO also prayed for a declaration that the failure of the ministry to supply the records and documents in respect of the contact was wrongful and contrary to the provisions of Clause 2, 4 and 8(5) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
The state government in their defence to the suit had maintained that they have no obligation under the Freedom of Information Act to provide the information sought. It further contended that Enugu State was yet to adopt the Freedom of Information Act or enact same as its laws and that the Federal High Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the suit. Ruling on the suit, Justice Agishi stated that FOI Act covers the whole of Nigeria, stressing that the aim was to “encourage accountability, transparency and Rule of
Law”, adding that, “the beauty of the Act is that it places public interest above personal interest.” The court completely agreed with CLO Counsel, Omotayo, that the terms and nature of the FOI Act was intended to be a complete statement of the law and does not need a state law to be operative. The court ordered the Commissioner for Health, Enugu State to within 21 days supply to the applicant records and documents in respect of the contract awarded for the building and completion of the Diagnostics Centre, Trade Fair Complex, Enugu.
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Oshiomhole flays arbitrary charges by electricity firm, commissions road PPARENTLY reacting to conA sumers’ complaints, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo
Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) could not operate in chain process by collecting money for services not rendered. The governor noted that as someone elected by the peo-
ple to represent their interest, he could not be silent on issues involving exploitation by any company. He urged the management of BEDC to invite officials of NERC to his office within two
weeks for further deliberations. The governor also directed the company to stop the disconnection of consumers in the interim. Earlier, Mr. Kaduna Eboigbo-
dion and Mr. Olu Martins, representing the civil society groups, said that BEDC collects a fixed charge of N750 per prepaid meter monthly whether there was electricity or not.
State yesterday criticised the arbitrary energy tariff and fixed charges by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC). Oshiomhole said in Benin at a tripartite meeting between the government, civil society groups and management of BEDC that the charges were “exploitative”. He said that irrespective of who generates tariff or distributes energy, the fixed tariff and estimated charges by the BEDC were “irresponsible and exploitative” to consumers. The governor said the essence of privatisation was for an increase in entrepreneurial efficiency. He said: “You (BEDC) will recall that the first day I formally received you in my office, I made some factual statements that the essence of privatisation was the increase in entrepreneurial efficiency. “I think l also mentioned that now that the Federal Government has hands off NEPA or PHCN, it was incumbent that you improve on your service delivery to consumers, failure of which would spark revolt. “This is exactly what is happening today,” he said. Sales Strategy Manager for Greece and African, HP, Assif Mohammed Karim (left), Managing Director, HP Africa and Greece, Stefanos Giourelis Oshiomhole said the National and Managing Director, HP Nigeria, Ime Umo, during the Hp Impact in Nigeria press briefing in Lagos…yesterday
Obiano moves to rid Anambra of criminals, boost food production From Chuks Collins, Awka furtherance of his pledge ItortoN around turn the agriculture secin the state from the current farming season, Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano yesterday held a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina. The move, according to details from the Government House, Awka, was due to the governor’s conviction that agriculture would provide food and jobs to thousands of the state’s citizens. Also, the Joint Task Force set up by the governor has commenced operations with a raid on some criminal hideouts in major markets in Onitsha. Over 20 persons were consequently arrested for sundry
• Group tasks gov on job creation offences ranging from selling and smoking Indian hemp to armed robbery and kidnapping. In another raid, persons alleged to belong to the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were apprehended in Awada, Onitsha. The Commissioner of Police, Usman Gwary, said the commitment of the government and the Joint Security Task Force to rid the state of crime and criminality is total and non-negotiable. Governor Obianor had last week set up a joint security task force comprising the Police, Navy, NDLEA, Army, SSS, among others, to synergise and jointly combat the grow-
ing criminal activities across the state, especially in Onitsha. In another development, a non-governmental organisation, Transparent Leadership Initiative (TLI), has charged
Governor Obiano to endeavour to focus on his inaugural speech, which it believes, is capable of taking the state to the next level if followed diligently. The group’s state chairman, Chief Felix Odimegwu, stated in Onitsha yesterday: “We lis-
tened to Willie Obiano’s inaugural speech with rapt attention and after a careful analysis, especially the area of job creation, security and agricultural transformation, noted that the new governor is ready to transform the state.”
NBA petitions IG over murder of lawyers in Warri From Chido Okafor, Warri HE Nigerian Bar AssociaT tion (NBA), Warri branch, yesterday petitioned the Inspector General of Police
(IGP) over the horrific murder of two of their colleagues last Friday and asked that justice be done to the case. The lawyers were ambushed and killed on their way to court by armed men. The association, in a statement yesterday signed by Ben Oji and S.G. Ediagbonuvie, chairman and publicity secretary, expressed dismay over the worrisome situation in which their defenseless colleagues, Horace Eguono Diafioghor and Samuel Ekwuaghanju, were assassinated along the busy Ughelli/Oleh road in Delta State. In the statement, the Warri NBA pointed accusing fingers at the police, who its members claimed, were always threatening the deceased to withdraw from the defense of an accused person. The NBA said the two lawyers were defense counsels to an accused person who was standing trial before the High Court in Ozoro, for the alleged kidnap of the son of the Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Uvuzorie Macaulay. The association maintained that on the fateful day, the
case was fixed for ruling at 12 noon in respect of an application filed by Dafioghor and in view of that, the court waited till about 2 pm and when the defense counsel did not show up, the judge delivered the ruling. “In this circumstance, it would appear that Dafioghor, who was driving in his car was ambushed, moved from the major road the side road and brought out of the car with Samuel Ekwuaghanju, and they were shot at close range”, the statement read. The body, while claiming that their colleagues were assassinated, pointed out that Diafioghor had repeatedly complained about threats to his life and warnings to withdraw from the case, adding that some of these threats were traced to the police. “This dastardly act cannot be allowed to go like that; it is sad indeed that a lawyer could be killed for providing legal representation to a party in a case. Such an action is probably intended to frighten and intimidate lawyers, it would not succeed.” The NBA Warri vowed to liaise with the national secretariat of the body to ensure that justice is done.
Court frees two gay suspects in Bauchi From Ali Garba Bauchi AUCHI State Upper Shariah B Court has discharged and acquitted two suspects, Usman Sabo and Hafizu Abubakar, arraigned over alleged homosexual activities. In his judgment yesterday, the presiding Sharia Court Judge, Aliyu Elyaqub, said they were discharged over inability of the prosecution counsel from Bauchi State Commission to prove his case with genuine evidence. Elyaqub said since there was no witness that saw the accused committing the alleged offence and the accused pleaded not guilty, they were discharged under Section 28 of the Criminal Procedure Court of Bauchi State Sharia Law 2001. In their separates reaction, the two accused persons thanked the Almighty Allah who set them free and vowed that they would never forgive or forget their enemies who put them into the trouble. The Commissioner, Bauchi State Hisbah, Alhaji Jibrin Danlami Hassan, when contacted, said the Commission has done its best in its effort to sanitise the society and to ensure justice for all.
Police arrest 40 touts in Sokoto From Eric Meya, Sokoto OLLOWING the recent inFsquad auguration of the special for quick response against political thuggery and street urchins, the Sokoto State Police Command has so far arrested 40 miscreants. The state Police Commissioner, Ahaji Shuaibu Lawal Gambo, told newsmen that 23 of them have already been charged to court while the remaining 17 were undergoing further investigation. According to him, 10 persons, who were arrested for throwing stones at the state governor and others, were still being searched for. He reiterated his warning that the police would deal ruthlessly with any politician or political party encouraging their use in the state. While appealing to the youth to avoid being used for criminal activities so as not to compromise their future, he assured that the Command was willing and determined to provide the peace that Sokoto State deserves.
Straight Talk with Kadaria makes debut on Channels TV, others NEWS and current affairs A show, Straight Talk with Kadaria, will begin featuring at 7.15 pm today on Channels TV. According to Reinvent Media Limited, producers of the programme, the show is a 45minute news and current affairs programme set to air on Channels Television weekly and will also be aired on radio and be available online to a global audience. The host for the programme is respected Nigerian journalist, Kadaria Ahmed. Mr. Elue of Reinvent Media says “based on the feedback we received for the pilot of the show, we know it will become one of the leading current affairs programmes in the country and will attract a large and varied audience.”
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WorldReport China’s Xi seeks peace in Europe but silent on Ukraine HINESE President, Xi C Jinping told Europe yesterday that Beijing opposed intervention in other countries’ affairs but he declined to directly criticize Russia for its annexation of Crimea. Xi also assured European leaders that China was a close ally committed to the continent’s peace and prosperity. Ending his European tour with a speech in the Belgian city of Bruges, Xi said he considered China’s relationship with the European Union as Beijing’s priority and praised its commitment to a lasting peace that China would also seek to uphold. He said that while the memory of foreign invasion and bullying had never been erased from the minds of the Chinese people, “I have come to Europe to build a bridge across the Eurasian continent.” Xi’s speech to dignitaries including the Belgian king and prime minister were his only public remarks during three days in Belgium. Though short on specifics, Xi, the first Chinese leader to visit the EU headquarters in Brussels, promised that
Beijing is focused on ensuring non-intervention in other countries’ affairs - an apparent reference to Russia, which is seeking to sell natural gas to China. Beijing has been cautious not to be drawn into the struggle between Russia and the West over Ukraine’s future but Xi suggested it would not encourage Russian aggression in Ukraine. “China follows a policy of peace. China is committed to non-interference in other countries,” Xi said. China is a central player in the Ukraine crisis but has frustrated the European Union with its silence over Russia’s annexation of Crimea, abstaining in a United Nations Security Council vote condemning the move on March 21. At an EU-China summit in Brussels on Monday, the European Union’s top two officials, Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso, pressed Xi on Russia and the Chinese leader said he “believed in the territorial integrity” of countries, according to EU officials briefed on the
meeting. The EU has offered a trade and aid deal to Ukraine to bring it closer to the union, angering Moscow, which considers the country its own and sought to include it in a Russian-led Eurasian customs union. Ousted Ukrainian President, Viktor
Yanukovich rejected that trade deal in November in favor of cash from Moscow, triggering protests that led to bloodshed in Kiev and his flight to Russia. Xi used his speech to reiterate China’s desire for a multibillion euro free-trade deal with the EU - a long-held Chinese goal but one that di-
vides Europe because of China’s policy of helping its state-owned enterprises to dominate foreign markets. Europe is China’s most important trading partner, while for the EU, China is second only to the United States. Trade between the EU and China has doubled since 2003 to more than 1 billion
euros ($1.4 billion) a day. But the bilateral relationship has been bedeviled by a series of trade rows ranging from steel and wine to solar panels. China’s ambition to produce more sophisticated products to compete with European goods also unnerves some Europeans.
South Korea cautions North against ‘senseless’ attacks on Park OUTH Korea has urged the official KCNA news agency. for unification of the Korean the attacks on Park have been S“senseless” North Korea to stop making The attacks have ostensibly peninsula and urged the notable for their repeated allupersonal attacks on President Park Geun-Hye following a series of increasingly vitriolic diatribes published by Pyongyang’s state media. A government statement called on the North to “act discreetly” in line with a recent cross-border agreement for the two countries to stop slandering one another. “The North is showing senseless behaviour in using unspeakable language to attack our head of state’s diplomatic activities,” it said. The tone of the criticism has become pointedly more personal and coarse in recent days, both in the editorial pages of the ruling party newspaper the Rodong Sinmun and
been a response to speeches Park gave during a recent tour of Europe, saying Pyongyang’s nuclear material could end up in terrorist hands, and warning of a possible Chernobylstyle disaster at the North’s main Yongbyong nuclear complex. In Berlin, she spoke of the lessons Germany could provide
North to give up its nuclear weapons. “Park Geun-Hye’s nonsense gibberish and ugly behaviour... leave us disgusted and disillusioned,” the Rodong Sinmun said yesterday. Park’s predecessor, Lee Myung-Bak was also the target of highly personal criticism by the North’s state media, but
sions to her gender as the South’s first woman president. “Park put thick makeup on her old, wrinkled face and rambled on,” was KCNA’s verdict on her address in Germany. “She can’t dump her true nature of the peasant woman who babbles to herself at home.
UN to evacuate 19,000 Muslims in CAR
HE United Nation’s T refugee agency said yesterday it was prepared to help evacuate some 19,000 Muslims at risk of attack from mainly Christian militias in the conflict-torn, Central African Republic (CAR). “What we don’t want is to stand by and watch people being slaughtered,” UNHCR spokeswoman, Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba told reporters in Geneva. She pointed out that socalled anti-balaka militias controlled major routes to and from Bangui as well as a number of towns and villages in the southwestern part of the country.
They posed a particular threat to Muslims in the PK12 neighbourhood of the capital, in Boda, Carnot and Berberati to the west and Bossangoa further north, she said, lamenting that “we fear for the lives of 19,000 Muslims in those locations”. “UNHCR stands ready to assist with their evacuation to safer areas within or outside of the country,” she said, pointing out that so far “the only thing keeping them from being killed right now is the presence of (international) troops”. UN staff were heading to the town of Bemal in the north yesterday to discuss
possibly relocating Muslims there, but Lejeune-Kaba said it was difficult, since locals feared welcoming evacuees could attract unrest to their area. The chronically unstable Central African Republic sank into chaos after the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels who had helped topple president Francois Bozize a year ago refused to lay down their arms and went rogue. Their campaign of killing, raping and looting prompted members of the Christian majority to form the anti-balaka vigilante groups, which are also accused of atrocities.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Politics THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Outcome will affect 2015 polls, says Ugwu-Oju The President of the Southeast-SouthSouth Professionals (SESSP), Emeka Ugwu-Oju, believes that the outcome of the National Conference will “definitely” have something to say about the 2015 polls. He told Kodilinye Obiagwuin Enugu that the delegates should let their conscience set the boundaries for them. HY were the Southeast, South-South W Professionals not selected as delegates at the zonal level to the national conference? There are other professionals at the conference. Inasmuch as we have made our views known to the national conference, as far as the need to have a new constitution for Nigeria is concerned, we take our lack of presence in good faith. We think we were missed out in the delegates’ selection process. Besides the support for a new constitution, what other issues are agitating SESSP? The way Nigeria is presently structured has made it run at a sub-optimum level. We are concerned about what it takes to be a Nigerian citizen because presently, we don’t know what it is. This is a country where you have indigenes and non-indigenes; a country where residency has no political value. This is a country where there are many ethnic nationalities and yet we are running a federal system in name only and not in practice. The country will not work under such circumstances. So, we have said that we want a federation that will work for the federating units and give them the opportunities to fulfil their potentials and at the same time be patriotic. We think that the structure of the country tilts towards the sharing of wealth rather than the creation of wealth, and this is faulty. Right now, the politico-economic struggle is about how each constituent part will be in the resourcesharing formula. What has kept some states viable so far is not their internally-generated revenue from taxes and sundry incomes, but revenue from elsewhere, especially the Federal Government. We reckon that this is probably why it is not possible for the governors to be accountable to their citizens who voted them into power. The people are not seen as contributing financially to the upkeep of the government, even when it is argued that the federal allocation belongs to everyone. If we were in a country structured to create wealth and take care of the citizens from the wealth created, things would be different. We also want the six geopolitical zones to be the federating units and accorded the powers to create as many states as they like and can
Ugwu-Oju cater for, knowing that they won’t wait for the Federal Government to provide for them. We want a situation where revenue from oil will be used for capital expenditure and not for recurrent expenditure, which the taxes should take care of. Although this conference is not for ethnic nationalities, how do you expect delegates to vote on issues? Many people, including SESSP, wanted an ethnic nationalities conference, but since this is not the case, we have to watch out to see the lines of discussion. In a nation of ethnic nationalities, it is perhaps strange that we pretend that to talk about ethnic nationalities is not decorous. The reality is that talking about our ethnicities is a fundamental issue. If the national conference does not work, I shudder to think of what will happen to this country
in 2015. Some people can keep deceiving themselves, but if the national conference collapses, we might as well forget the 2015 elections. COULD the delegates work round the guidelines drawn by the Federal Government, the convener, and give Nigerians a new constitution? The delegates should be answerable to their conscience and do what is right for the country and not what someone else says is right for the country. They are delegates because they are supposed to have an idea on how Nigeria should work. If in the sum of how Nigeria should work, they find the enabling framework of their conference inadequate, they should set it aside. At the end of the day, what we want is something that should put Nigeria on the path of greatness, progress and inclusive development. The delegates should not be hamstrung by instructions or guidelines from any party or quarters if they think the instructions will not help them do their job, which is to come out with a new constitution. Many Nigerians believe and are expecting this new constitution, which will be the platform to make things work again in he country. At a previous conference, the National Reform Political Conference, the matter of derivation caused a section of the delegates to stage a walk out. Do you expect such a situation this time around? One way of avoiding such a situation is to insist on looking at oil not as different from other natural resources. Eventually, it will depend on the commitment of the delegates to come to terms with the contentious issues. The discussions around natural resources have been causing underdevelopment instead of development. I pray the conference should be able to work out a formula that will enable us to look at the revenue from oil from the standpoint of what is right, equitable and just and take oil revenue a catalyst for development and not a reason for fighting. Those on whose land the oil is found should be allowed to control it. When they are allowed to, they can better manage and live with the environmental degradation. Right now, this is at the heart of the fighting and feeling of injustice. How do you view the significance of the discussions at the national conference on the nation’s unity at a time the country is celebrating its centenary? We should stop playing the ostrich. Right now, Nigeria is a country only in name. We have every reason to question our sense of unity. For instance, virtually everybody living in the Northeast part of he country will be wondering if they are part of a country. Many people in the South see events in the
Northeast as not their business. Concern crept in when it was reported that some students at the Federal Government College were killed. Most people realized just then that the victims might not just be only people from the Northeast. Nigeria is not a country the way citizens want to see their country. Ordinarily, people should be concerned when tragedy strikes any part of their country, but that is not the case right now. This is something that should be addressed at the conference. Also, the matter of whether the unity of the country is negotiable or not is something that has to be discussed. Sometimes, it is as if people are waiting for the actual disintegration of the country. This is not how it should be. However, as they discuss this matter in the conference, I dare say that if what will bring peace is having different countries within Nigeria, so be it. This conference is for keeping the country together, but if they can’t, then something has to give. Our prayer is that if and when it gives, may it not be violent, especially in the light of the spate of violence in parts of the North. With suggestions for a unified agenda between the South-South and Southeast at the conference, what do you think of collaboration among delegates and a zonal agenda? I think that the Southeast and South-South virtually have the same agenda. They might not have arrived at the agenda by sitting down together but it turns out that if they have so many similarities, then the agenda is almost the same. Again, it is almost similar with the agenda of the Southwest. In that light, it can be said that the South have one agenda. The agenda is hinged on the call for true and fiscal federalism, devolution of power, state or regional police and for the six zones to be the federating units. Are there rooms for regional integration between the Southeast and South-South? There are actually quite a lot only if the states will create the synergy, which will transform the two regions or zones into one huge economic hub. If the infrastructure reflected the realities of the Southeast/South-South economy, a case like Tinapa will not be what it is today because it is seen as a one state project. But if it were seen as a common project of a region, with a population of 45 million people, then it would have been different. How has SESSP impacted on the political economy of the zones? We are continuously evolving and our main agenda is to get the economy of the regions to be the most prosperous and competitive in the country over the next 20 years. We are reaching out to stakeholders, to see that this vision is actualised. Our responsibility
Ignore Sultan’s protest, cleric tells Jonathan By Chris Irekamba HE General Overseer of Vineyard T Christian Ministries, Archbishop John Osa-Oni, has condemned the protest by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who led some Muslim leaders to the Presidential Villa in Abuja last week. The Muslims leaders had gone to President Goodluck Jonathan to register their grievances over the composition of the delegates to the national conference, which they said was skewed against their faith. Archbishop Osa-Oni also described as barbaric the call by the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha, one of the delegates representing the National
Council of Traditional Rulers at the conference, to lead his people to join the Republic of Cameroun. Archbishop Osa-Oni told The Guardian on telephone that the protesters should understand that Nigeria is a secular state and therefore, they should put religion aside when it comes to national issues. Calling on the Muslim brethren to reconsider their utterances, the General Overseer said: “The national conference is not about any religion but about the entirety called Nigeria. “In Nigeria, there are Christians and other sects. You can’t be putting pressure on the President because this country is neither about Christians none any religion. “This country is not for Muslims and
Osa-Oni it is not for Christians; it is for everybody. Nigeria belongs to everybody. “The national conference is not
about the two most prominent faiths in Nigeria to stay together; that is not what the conference is all about. “I’m shocked because this is the second time that this kind of thing is happening. And now they went to Aso Rock to put pressure on the President. Pressure for what?” The Archbishop, who was visibly angry, called on President Jonathan to ignore such visit and call to secede, saying this is not about Christianity or Islam. “It is about how Nigeria can live together, and develop as a country; that is what the conference is all about,” he said. According to him: “We have been clamouring for a national conference for many years, both Christians
and Muslims and other sects. “But for you to suddenly wake up to say, ‘well, the composition does not favour one particular religion,’ it is not all about religion.” Archbishop Osa-Oni noted that there was no way Nigeria could move forward “if our emphasis is on religion all the time when it comes to national issues.” “We are talking about the affairs of Nigeria and thank God, we have a listening President, who on his own convened this national confab and somebody is making it sound as if we are talking about religion here,” he said. “There is no way Nigeria can move forward if we continue to talk about religion, religion all the time. It’s unfair.”
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 13
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Referendum not before N’Assembly, say Reps From Terhemba Daka, Abuja HILE delegates at the National W Conference are still debating the mode of voting to adopt at the end of the conference, the House of Representatives has cautioned that it should not be dragged into joining the argument on the issue of referendum. It said there’s nothing before the Parliament on the matter. The House also stated that the conference reports could only be subjected to a referendum if the Constitution was amended to accommodate it. “There is nothing before the House of Representatives to suggest that the Constitution would be amended to accommodate the issue of referendum,” the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Victor Afam Ogene, said at the weekend. During a submission on the issue of referendum at the conference at the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja, conferees, including Joe Okei-Odumakin of the Civil Society Group, had insisted that the delegates should take the decision immediately. She spoke in support of previous speakers, who argued that the outcome of the conference be submitted to a referendum. Dr. Joe Nwaogu from the Southeast supported her. Former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, made persuasive inputs when he reminded the conference that delegates lacked the required legal backing to take such a decision. Nnamani referred to President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech at the inauguration of the conference, which urged the National Assembly to fast track the amendment of the 1999 Constitution, to create room and give legal backing to issues of referendum, if required. “At present, we do not have any legal backing to do it,” Nnamani emphasised to the attentive delegates, adding that Nigeria is governed by the rule of law that is anchored on the 1999 Constitution. “We are not here to draft a new constitution,” he said, stressing, “we can make suggestions towards constitutional amendment.” “Let us only do those things that we are capable of doing. We were not elected to this forum; we were appointed. This is not a Constituent Assembly.” Supporting that position, Robert Awudu said that the job of the delegates would have been done when decisions were taken and the report submitted to the President. Dr. Magayi Danbatta said as faulty as the process that brought it about could be, members of the National Assembly were elected representatives of the people. “But we were not elected; we are not representing anybody; we were appointed by the President. Ours is to report back in a manner that is consistent with our mandate.” Former Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, said the powers of the delegates should begin and end with the conference.
So, if you are talking about referendum, there is nothing before the House of Representatives today suggestive of altering the constitution, as it has to do with referendum. And were it to come, subsection 3 of the same section 9 talks about four-fifth of members of each House of the National Assembly voting for such a provision, after which it is also turned over to the State Houses of Assembly for another two-thirds, which aggregates to 24 states.
Tambuwal “Let us simply recommend to the President. We should stop where we are supposed to stop.” In his contribution, Musa Elayo Abdullahi said though the conference could advice on what should be done, “this body was set up by the President; it has no place in law. At the end, we report to the President.” PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan had made a U-turn on the need for a referendum while inaugurating the National Conference in Abuja, stating that the decision of the conference would be made available for a referendum. “Let me at this point thank the National Assembly for introducing the provision for a referendum in the proposed amendment of the constitution,” Jonathan said during the inauguration. But reacting to the issue last week on the position of the House of Representatives on the matter, the deputy spokesman of the chamber, Victor Ogene, explained that there was nothing before the Parliament suggestive of altering the constitution, as it relates to the issue of referendum. Ogene stated that the House swore to uphold the constitution of the country, which has clearly defined the mode through which its provisions could be altered. “As a House, the only document we swore to uphold is the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If you go to Chapter 1 Part 2(9), it clearly prescribes the mode through which you can alter any of its provisions. “That section clearly outlines the process, and the process is simply: safe for section 8 that deals with creation of states, section 9 of the constitution states that for any section to be altered, you need a two-thirds majority of each House of the National Assembly and another two-thirds of the State Houses of Assembly, which amounts to 24 states. “So, if you are talking about referendum, there is nothing before the House of Representatives today suggestive of altering the constitution, as it has to do with referendum. “And were it to come, subsection 3 of the same section 9 talks about four-fifth of members of each House of the National Assembly voting for such a provision, after which it is also turned over to the State Houses of Assembly for another two-thirds, which aggregates to 24 states. “So, to answer your question, nothing on referendum is before the House of Representatives.”
14 | Wednesday, April 2, 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 Jonathan’s right tone for confab RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s speech at the inauguration of the P Constitutional Conference was not only well thought out and well delivered, it is significant in a lot of respects. First, it portrayed the President as sure-footed and clearheaded about this project. This is cognizable from the way it addressed all existing prejudices against the conference, making a strong case for its desirability, notwithstanding what became of similar efforts in the past. The President, to a reasonable extent, was right when he said that the current effort would afford Nigerians the opportunity of a home-grown, people-driven constitution that will reflect maximum consensus in a manner that is truly autochthonous. This addresses people’s grievances against the 1999 Constitution, often described as the creation of the military without the input of the Nigerian people whom it was meant to serve. The speech is also notable for recognising the pride of place, occupied by the citizens in a democracy, evident in the President’s concession that sovereignty belongs to the people notwithstanding the existence of the legislature and the executive which, according to him, are subordinate to the people, a reason why none of the two arms ought to see the conference as undermining its powers or relevance. This observation is particularly remarkable for addressing the obnoxious view that the conference is a needless usurpation of the constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly and so an affront to it and the Nigerian Constitution. Secondly, he left no one in doubt about his sincerity of purpose regarding the conference. Again, through the inaugural speech, he reiterated his conviction about the ‘no go area’– the indivisibility of Nigeria without necessarily harping on the word. The ‘no go area’ as contemplated by government and read out by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, offended the sensibility of Nigerians who did not mince words in condemning the idea. But the President said as much without creating the same problem, without allowing the wounds earlier created to fester and without sustaining the damage. It was, therefore, apt for its damage control. This time around, it was a subtle appeal to build consensus round it by appealing to the conscience of the delegates to see Nigeria as a united nation and to think out ideas on how to improve on its weaknesses. At the end of the speech, no one should be in doubt that the conference was not set up to broker the balkanization of Nigeria, whatever the nature or dimension of the challenges or acrimony or degree of mutual distrust and intolerance between the ethnic nationalities may be. It is hoped that the delegates would digest the President’s inaugural speech thoroughly, regardless of political differences or affiliation and would be willing to see it as a lamp unto their feet as they navigate through the difficult journey of righting the enormous wrongs of the past in a nation beset with fundamental and seemingly irreconcilable differences and unending agitation among the diverse ethnic nationalities and power centres that make up the country. And just like the President, the delegates also know or are presumed to know what they want out of the conference. They are sufficiently apprised of the circumstances that necessitated the convocation of the conference and need little reminder about its importance. A majority of the delegates agitated for it and celebrated government’s positive response to their agitation. The President made it clear in his speech that the convocation of the conference was in response to the popular agitation of the Nigerian people. One can only hope that the delegates would see themselves as true representatives of the Nigerian people and for that reason make the best out of the conference in a way that their names would be engraved indelibly in the minds of Nigerians. There should be no room for selfish agenda or self-positioning in a way likely to compromise the essence of the conference. As the conference takes off in earnest, it bears repeating that the delegates owe Nigerians the important duty of taking their assignment seriously. The conference should not be seen as a jamboree or an opportunity to play to the gallery. It is a lifetime opportunity to engrave their names in history. Even when they fail to do what is right, their names would still find their way into the book of infamy, historic still, in a way, as a set of Nigerians who were opportune to rewrite the history of the country but failed needlessly. Truth is that their failure would invariably portend grave foreboding for the country. For sure, it will rake up issues, which if left unresolved would compound existing problems and accentuate the widening of cleavages. The outside world would become convinced that the giant of Africa and the most populous black nation on earth, cannot manage her own problem. The failure of the conference would, therefore, have left the country abysmally worse off, making the labour of the nation’s heroes past to be in vain. Worse still, the cynics would have had the last laugh. President Jonathan has, of course, set the right tone. Whatever the delegates decide to make of the conference, it is certain that Nigerians will never forget them, for good or for ill.
Politics of Presidential Jet IR: It was sad and embarSwatch rassing for us as a nation to the President abandon his jet following his visit to Minna, Niger State for a PDP North Central rally. But it was equally sad and even more embarrassing watching a debate on this issue in the House of Representatives. Sometimes, one wonders why we spend tax-payers’ money to maintain some of these representatives who don’t even know what their jobs entail. It is unfortunate the Chairman of a House Committee chose this opportunity to exhibit his un-representable skills for his constituency and Nigeria. One thinks he is a deep disgrace to himself and his party. Why are people always changing the goal post whenever it is convenient for them and suits their arguments? We keep seeing some of our leaders shamelessly refer to America when citing examples and want to compare Nigeria and how things aren’t working here. But in this case now the Honourable had shifted the goal post and cited UK and her Prime Minister, labouring to claim that the British leader hops on commercial aircraft when travelling. He was so myopic and forgot that we run a Presidential system like the Americans which we so much love to copy and the U.S. President is flown on Air Force one to help him execute the functions of his office. Besides, he rightly claim also
there are 10 aircraft in the Presidential fleet as if the President uses all at once. An unbiased observer should know that our Vice President, Senate President and some other top government functionaries are entitled to the Presidential fleet except two aircraft specifically dedicated to the use of the President. In America that we love referring to Barack Obama has two large aircraft for his specific use and many other medium size jets together with about 19 helicopters, besides there are many other aircraft in the American Presidential fleet for
the use of the Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defence, etc. So why do Nigerians hate themselves this much just in the name of politics and to criticise? So if our Presidential jet is bad, must we allow our leader to be embarrassed and humiliated in such ways all in the name of politics and being an opposition party or do we desire our President to also “taste” a plane crash so we can be thrown into national mourning? Shame on most of us • Diana-Abasi Alphonsus Udoh , University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Forest of death In Ibadan IR: Ibadan is a place of four reported by The Guardian of million people. From time Sunday, March 23, 2014 and Simmemorial, Ibadan is best Tribune. It is bad that some ugly known and credited for accepting everyone, regardless of creed or race who wants a peaceful and accommodating place to live, work, and settle. Ibadan is free from any form of religious rancour or intimidation. It is in fact an African city. No discrimination of any kind was recorded even when Agbekoya stepped into Ibadan politics to redeem the oppressed farmers, or during the operation “Wetie”. Political thugs, those who did not drag themselves into the turmoil were never hurt. Today, one becomes concerned about the news of “Forest of death in Ibadan” as
characters could invade Ibadan with little or no resistance from the authority. Those elements who imbibe destruction of life into their culture must be fished out immediately and handled appropriately in line with the gravity of the offence committed. We have now reached the crossroads in our development when the need to register the unemployed in our cities is imperative. Governments must make some form of token available on a monthly basis to those who register. The need for vigilance should be escalated. • Oladimeji Aborisade, Lagos.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Opinion Remodeling the Presidency By Anthony Akinola HE great Nnamdi Azikiwe had his own speT cial “political anthem” when campaigning in the old Western Region populated by the Yoruba. He often sang in Yoruba, to the applause of his audience, a song saying we should build our house on a rock because the one built on sand gets easily washed away. The history books tell us of great nations that have collapsed because many fundamentals were swept under the carpet. Had the defunct Soviet Union followed the path of the United States of America by putting appropriate democratic structures in place, rather than indulging in many decades of sloganeering, it might have survived until today. Nigeria can only learn from the history of others if its own is not to be a continuation in the chapter of failed nations. There are things to admire in American political history, not least the pragmatic solutions the founding fathers offered to controversial issues when the nation was transforming from a confederacy to a federal union in the latter part of the 18th century. The introduction of a bicameral legislature to reconcile the fears of smaller states about the dominance of larger ones is an act of exceptional ingenuity. The device might have looked comical at some stage but share commitment by a succession of disciplined and purposeful politicians has seen the arrangement survive more than two centuries of political practice. It is not likely one would find a reference to political parties in the American Constitution, not least because the institution of political parties was one development that came afterwards. Today’s Democratic and Republican parties are mere electoral machines, parties that hold different meanings to different people in the 50 states of the federation. The Amer-
ican political parties are not ideological in the same context that most European political parties are. When it is said that the American elected politician does not vote strictly along party lines it is principally because of the diversity of interest in the American society. If, for instance, one is from a tobacco growing state, he or she has no business supporting a bill proposing a ban on smoking in public places. The line between the Republican party and the Democratic party is very thin, hence their peaceful co-existence over the years. The Nigerian political parties, on the other hand, have yet to develop a character, as politicians still display the type of loyalty that makes prostitutes look like devoted housewives. Contemporary America may be as heterogeneous as Nigeria but it is not an ethnically divided society. As Nigeria is approaching an election year the reality of the society is fast blowing onto the surface. The noise has been about the next president coming from the South-South, the South-East or the North. It would be dishonest or ill-informed to assume the presidency is not an issue in Nigerian politics. It is indeed a big issue and will remain so until it is boldly addressed in a new Constitution. Contentions over leadership have been responsible for the Civil War of 196770 and many other crises experienced in recent years. The writer once said in an article, and he is repeating it here, that the single institution that can hold Nigeria together or tear it apart is that of the presidency. The main reason why groups scramble for the presidency in our type of society is not because of the expectation that the political leader or president will favour his or her own group over and above others. Groups
want the presidency for psychological reasons – be it the psychology of domination, or that of not wanting to be subservient. The renowned constitutional lawyer, Professor Ben Nwabueze, once said emphatically that the quest for a Nigerian president of Igbo origin was not an aspiration that could be abandoned simply because there was one president from somewhere else who was developing Igbo roads or even transforming every Igbo citizen into a millionaire. It is in the nature of ethnic politics that one group measures its own progress in society against the successes of rival groups. The Yoruba did not consider the candidacy of General Olusegun Obasanjo favourably in 1999, not least because his only challenger in the then presidential election was a preferred kinsman. He won the presidency outside of Yoruba constituency. However, when Obasanjo sought re-election in 2003 and had non-Yoruba contenders as his opponents he won massively in his ethnic constituency. The Yoruba-dominated Alliance for Democracy (AD) tactically refused to present its own presidential candidate in order to boost Obasanjo’s ethnic support. The facts of our politics are there for all to see. Issues can only be resolved when they are addressed. The issue of state creation was once a crippling phenomenon in Nigerian politics. Political parties were formed to actualize group aspirations for separate states or regions. The United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC) and the United Independence Party (UNIP) were examples of such one-issue oriented political parties of the First Republic. In fact, agitation for state creation provoked large scale violence in some areas of the Nigerian Federation. Successive military governments did well to address this once-disturbing issue and the Nigerian Federation is
all the better for it today. Nations differ from one another and so also does the temperament of their occupants. There could not have been a state of California with a population of 35.9 million existing alongside a tiny Wyoming of 506,500 in our own society. What about the possible agitation by governorship and senatorial aspirants for our own California to be split into 10 or more states in order to accommodate their ambitions? With states tending towards equal sizes, can we honestly say today that bicameral legislature holds the same relevance and significance for us as it does for the nation that invented it? It serves no useful purpose for us to want to do things the way Americans do, if our circumstances call for something different. The argument that a potential president should be intelligent, competent and patriotic cannot, in any way, be faulted. However, those with such qualities can be found in all the geopolitical zones of the Nigerian federation. The time will come, and it may not be long, when we see conventional wisdom in a remodeled presidency that is made up of an elected leader from each of the geo-political zones. The position of president who combines the functions of Head of State with that of the Chairmanship of the Collegiate can be based on rotation. Because of the belief that Nigeria is one important nation of the world whose political leader deserves a face, the preferred model here is one in which a zone holds on to the position of Head of State and therefore, the title of President for the duration of a single term of whatever number of years the Constitution prescribes. Members of the Collegiate will be entitled to seek re-election. When we have done this we will have built our nation and its democracy on a rocky foundation. • Akinola wrote from London, UK
Cold war talk: Why Putin won’t slink back By Simon Jenkins E know where this is likely to end. We will accept Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea. Sanctions will be quietly dismantled, Moscow will reassure Kiev with a deal on neutrality. NATO will agree no further eastward expansion. The G7 will again become G8; and Crimea will join Tibet, Kosovo, East Timor, Chechnya, Georgia and other territorial interventions which history students would struggle to remember. But how do we get from here to there? We all seem much wiser about Russia and Ukraine than we were a month ago. Vladimir Putin is not Hitler and Crimea is not Sudetenland, despite the efforts of Russophobic chestbeaters to pretend so. He is a dictator, brutal, proud, controlling, intolerant of criticism and infused with obsessive patriotism. But we get on fine with the Chinese politburo. The triumphalism of western diplomacy towards Russia since 1989 is now seen as the provocative taunting not just of Putin but of all his still-benighted nation. Putin’s Ukraine expert, Sergei Glazyev, declared in 2008 that any further moves to integrate Ukraine with the West would lead to “social and economic chaos”. Russia would act for sure to protect what it saw as its security interests. NATO ignored such warnings, declaring that Georgia and Ukraine “will become members of NATO”. The EU flirted ceaselessly with Kiev. The West cheered on last month’s coup against Ukraine’s corrupt but elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. To Putin, it all rolled up into his version of the Cuban missile crisis.
The West’s brinkmanship over Ukraine seems inept. The Guardian’s Shaun Walker reported from Moscow’s inner sanctum that those round Putin were as baﬄed by the West’s actions as they were surprised, even shocked, by their leader’s impulsive reaction. The Crimean occupation was not long planned. It was Putin’s response to the West’s rejection of his coalition compromise for power-sharing between Kiev and the eastern region after the Kiev coup.
The veteran political scientist, John Mearsheimer, wrote in the New York Times two weeks ago that if ever a country was needed as a buffer between the West and Russia, it was Ukraine. The West made “a fatal mistake in backing the [Kiev] protesters” in their coup. It was strategically inept. Russia had lost an empire and was unlikely to accept a further tightening of its zone of interest in Ukraine. Sanctions were not an issue. “When vital interests are at stake,” wrote Mearsheimer, “countries are invariably willing to suffer great pain to ensure security.” The West’s brinkmanship over Ukraine seems inept. The Guardian’s Shaun Walker reported from Moscow’s inner sanctum that those round Putin were as baffled by the West’s actions as they were surprised, even shocked, by their leader’s impulsive reaction. The Crimean occupation was not long planned. It was Putin’s response to the West’s rejection of his coalition compromise for power-sharing between Kiev and the eastern region after the Kiev coup. Putin was hurt and angry, his pride especially wounded by criticism of his beloved Sochi Olympics. Anyone who thinks the Olympics are not about politics can think again. As Putin’s general in Crimea boasted, the invasion must be all right as “the international community trusted Russia to hold the Olympic Games”. Had Putin’s compromise been accepted, so an aide reports, Crimea would still be in Ukraine. In his passionate, if paranoid, speech in Moscow last week, Putin wondered at the West accusing him of “violating norms of international law”, given its own military interventions. Western countries seemed to believe “that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right”. He must have gasped as Britain’s David Cameron returned from a friendly visit to Israel and attacked Russia’s invasion of neighbouring territory as “unacceptable”. When did Downing Street demand even a referendum on the West Bank? It seems it cannot spell the word hypocrisy. In contrast to the posturing and empty rhetoric in London and Washington is the calm voice of Germany’s Angela Merkel. We hear that she and her foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, have been reading Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers, an analysis of the countdown to the Great War. Steinmeier invited Clark to Berlin to debate the topic. Imagine a British politician reading such a book, let alone acting on it.
Clark traces the way highly charged relations between states trap players into losing room for manoeuvre. They caricature their foes and turn their backs on compromise. Merkel grew up in East Germany under the KGB’s lash and has tried to see Putin through Russian eyes. She sees the absurdity of Barack Obama preaching international law at Russia, of punishing it over Crimea while scheming to bring Ukraine into the western camp. She sees the 1914 danger, of vague ultimatums, unenforceable red lines and ill-considered alliances. Putin emerges from this crisis not as clever and calculating but as an emotional, scary figure, lonely and alarmingly bereft of checks or balances. His seizure of Crimea has been popular and, in the scheme of things, no big outrage against international order. But the sabre-rattling along Nato’s eastern border is as provocative as were the careless antics of NATO and the EU in Kiev over recent years. Putin too needs a bridge over which to retreat. The cold war dinosaurs who still tramp the corridors and editorial columns of London and Washington seem almost to pine for the virile certainties of 1945-89. Russia must “pay a heavy price” for Crimea, if only to make cold warriors feel good. That is unlikely to incline the bear to slink back to its cave. Crimea must be a classic instance of a great power wrestling inside the shrunken straitjacket of imperial retreat, as Britain did, far more violently, half a century ago. As the Russian expert Susan Richards points out in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, Crimea is the most painful and potent symbol of Russia’s lost glory. “It was backdrop for more great scenes of Russian culture than anywhere outside Moscow or St Petersburg,” the resort and inspiration of Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov and others. Its donation to Ukraine in 1954 was never likely to last. NATO remains a bulwark against Russian revanchism, already dangerously close to Russia’s border. Putin claims to understand it, and fiercely disavows any change to that state of affairs. As for Ukraine, we can chide Russia over respect for sovereign borders, if we have the cheek to do so. We can tell Russia to behave better towards small countries. But Putin will not return Crimea to Ukraine. Trying to make him do so is ridiculous. The real job is somehow to get out of this mess. I imagine Putin agrees. • Jenkin’s article was first published in The Guardian (London).
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
16 Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Opinion This injustice will not stand By Leonard Karshima Shilgba ROUBLING times are here in Nigeria. The MinT ister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina announced on Wednesday, March 25, 2014 a decision of the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the VicePresident, Namadi Sambo: “Due to incessant clashes between nomadic Fulani cattle herders and farmers, the Federal Government of Nigeria has decided to set up a committee to work out modalities for establishing grazing reserves “across Nigeria”. Let me state here what the Minister cited as advantages of the grazing reserves. I would add my commentary to each “advantage” cited: • Grazing reserves would help to check the smuggling of arms and ammunition across Nigerian borders by foreigners who come into the country disguised as cattle grazers. Comment: It makes no sense to think that a purely immigration problem can be solved by an internal creation of grazing reserves. In comparative narrative, I see no rational nexus between stopping smuggling in of cocaine and creation of internal cocaine colonies across the country. Don’t you think establishment of such cocaine colonies would rather instigate more smuggling of the substance? This comparison pointedly illustrates what the government is trying to do. Setting up of grazing reserves “across the country” is certainly not the solution for arms and ammunition smuggling across our borders; it is securing of our borders that will do. It is outright stupidity to consider removing a rash on the hand by cutting off the hand. The establishment of grazing reserves would require taking away of land from indigenous communities. Any government that has failed to secure the borders of a sovereign nation it is mandated to defend is irresponsible. President Jonathan’s government has established a familiar pattern of handling problems – running away from the obvious solution. For example, it considers complete removal of fuel subsidy as the solution to the abuse of fuel subsidy funds. The government lacks the courage to punish offenders that it refers to as a “cabal”, and has instead decided to punish hapless Nigerians because, in its estimation, they cannot bite. I must warn though, that we the Tiv people will bite. We will not allow grazing reserves for Fulani cattle herders on any inch of Tiv land. Our forebears got us this land as far back as the 18th century AD when there was no Nigeria. And no Nigerian government will take it from us. Section 25 of the Nigerian Constitution provides that a Nigerian by birth must belong to a community indigenous to Nigeria, even though timelines for such inclusivity of communities “indigenous” to Nigeria have not been given (1900, 1914, or 1960?). Accordingly, every Fulani
cattle herder who claims to be a Nigerian by birth (and not Chadian, Nigerien, Cameroonian, Senegalese, etc.) must find land in their state of origin (as all Nigerians by birth have them) and establish a grazing reserve there. In fact, their state governments can help them to so do. When some governors in Nigeria established “Sharia law” in their states, they claimed that was what their people wanted and that it would be restricted to those states. In the same way, if their Fulani herdsmen need grazing reserves they should establish for them within their states and not “across Nigeria.” The Federal Government cannot afford throwing up crises by this foolish policy. It is historically evident that nomadic Fulanis are not indigenous to Tivland. A Kongo proverbs says: “Your area of influence should only affect the things that concern you,” for they say, ‘The community solves community problems.’ A word is enough for the living! The Lamido of Adamawa said on Thursday, March 26, 2014, on the floor of the on-going National Conference that his kingdom “extends to Cameroon”, and that he could be easily “assimilated” if he decided to go and reside there. What is the point? The Fulani people in Nigeria see nothing wrong in bringing in cattle herders from other African countries such as Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Senegal, etc., to graze in Nigeria. Establishing grazing reserves across Nigeria for Fulani cattle herders will mean the gradual take-over of land from indigenous communities in Nigeria! • “Issues such as increasing population of cattle, coupled with influx of foreign cattle from Nigeria’s neighbouring countries as well as urbanization, resource degradation, were behind the need for the new government policy... We have a rising population of livestock, not only in Nigeria but also from our neighbouring countries. A lot of animals are coming in from Chad and several other places leading to a large population that our current capacity cannot cope with.” This statement is one of the most unimaginable statements by a government official on the issue so far. So, Nigeria has decided to make herself the grazing reserves for cattle from other African countries because we are the “Big Brother”? This statement is clear evidence that government is not interested in controlling our borders – at least the northern borders – which have been left porous without security. Tiv people are opposed to their land being used as grazing reserves for Fulani cattle. We are traditionally farmers. We used to move from place-to-place to farm. But the realities of population increase and competition for land have forced us to adopt modern ways of farming. Should Tiv people also insist that the Federal Government provide “farming reserves” for Tiv farmers “across Nigeria” in order to stop Tiv people slaughtering and butchering the natives
who resist us? Should the Ijaw nomadic fisherman also be provided, through government executive or administrative action “fishing ground reserves”, “across Nigeria”, so that they can practise their traditional business of fishing? Should the Igbo trader be provided by the Nigerian government “shopping reserves” “across Nigeria” so that they will do their business? There is always a bigger problem that is created by a “solution” that is not thought through. The Inspector-General of Police, himself a Fulani man, spoke in a highly provocative manner a few days ago about the slaughter of the Tiv people on their ancestral land by the Fulani stock. He also said there must be grazing reserves and revival of “grazing routes” for his brethren’s cattle before the attacks on Tiv people and other Nigerian natives would end. In fact, he is so proud of “providing security” for the Tiv people in “their huts and bush houses” that he is relaxed about my people being butchered in those “huts and bush houses” that he “has provided security” for since when the attacks started “ten days ago.” I ask President Jonathan to call this man to order. Tiv people have lost confidence in his ability to help secure Tivland even as the Nigerian Constitution does not allow us to establish our state or community police even though we have the ability and resources to do it. We, the Tiv people, are concerned that the Inspector-General of Police, Minister of Defence and National Security Adviser are all traditionally linked to the Fulani herdsmen who attack Tiv people and other Nigerians at will while they stand by with pretentious efforts that have not calmed down the situation. The Benue Commissioner of Police is also a Fulani man, and the murder of Tiv people on their land is going on unabated. I demand, for a start, that the Benue State Commissioner of police should be replaced with a Benue citizen. We need to be realistic about issues of policing such as community policing, and at least the Commissioner of Police in every state should be an indigene of such states. Here is the emerging scenario: Fulani herdsmen attack host communities in Nigeria on their ancestral home, dislodging whole communities, and then the Inspector-General lends his voice in support of establishing grazing reserves across Nigeria. Not long after, the National Economic Council under the leadership of the Vice-President, also of the same cultural affinity with the aggressors, sets up a committee to work out modalities for establishing grazing reserves “across Nigeria” through an executive action that would be unconstitutional. Section 42 (1) (b) of the Nigerian Constitution states that: “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, re-
ligion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person: • Be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, place of origin, sex, religions or political opinions.” If Nigeria is a country of laws; if there is any reason in the corridors of power; and if the Nigerian government does not want to be an accomplice in the pogrom of inestimable proportion that will certainly result from its irrational knee-jerk approach to solving the Fulani aggression and assault on innocent Nigerians, then, the committee that has been set up by government to consider “modalities for establishing grazing reserves across Nigeria” should be quietly stepped down. Contemplating such is contrary to the constitutional provision cited above. Any executive or administrative action that gives any privilege or advantage to the Fulani cattle herders that is not given to the Tiv farmer, Ijaw fisherman, Igbo trader, etc., is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect, and shall be resisted and opposed by the Tiv people and other Nigerians who feel the same about it. There would be no peace; it cannot be enforced. The Fulani herdsmen and their government officials do not have the monopoly of violence. I must also warn the governor of Nasarawa State, Almakura that he must not work against but rather work toward the return of Tiv people to their ancestral lands in Awe, Doma, and Keana local governments. It is his responsibility to facilitate the peace and security of citizens of his state whom Tiv people of Nasarawa State are part of. The aggression of the Fulani has left thousands of Tiv people as refugees in their country. What is the Federal Government doing? Even a serving Tiv federal minister is technically a refugee since his ancestral home in Guma Local Council Area has been destroyed, including the headquarters of his local government area, Gbajimba; and the Federal Government is only talking of seizing lands in Nigeria, including Tivland, to establish grazing reserves for the aggressors? Are we being taught now that violence pays? Can the Federal Government cope with the emergence of another militia group that senses injustice? We, the Tiv people, will fight injustice with all we have got, especially the type that threatens the extinction of our race. We have no other choice. The only thing that gives me an academic claim to the Nigerian nationality is my ethnic group (according to Section 25 of the Nigerian Constitution). All Tiv congressmen and women at both state and federal levels and delegates at the National Conference must understand that their claim to Nigeria will end with the demise of their Tiv nation. This is a call to duty! • Karshima Shilgba, a ‘Sad Nationalist’(SaN) wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org
More money for education? Start with tax By Manos Antoninis HERE are 250 million children around the world who either T don’t go to school, or attend school but aren’t learning anything. When we talk about paying to fix that problem, we tend to talk about aid. But with better policies and the right kind of help, poor countries could be contributing a lot more themselves. Above all, we need to get serious about tax. How realistic is it to expect poorer countries to find more money for education? A new policy paper from the Education for All Global Monitoring Report team shows that not only could low and middle income countries step up their efforts, but that doing so could raise an extra $153 billion for education spending in 2015. That’s how much governments in 67 low and middle income countries could be making available by next year if they increased their tax-raising efforts modestly and devoted a fifth of their budget to education. These reforms are realistic because sustained economic growth has increased the resource base that many poorer countries can rely on domestically to finance their education strategies. Many countries furthest from the Education for All goals, however, do not sufficiently tap their tax base. To guarantee their citizens’ right to education and use education’s power to transform lives, it is vital that countries put in place strong fiscal policies, backed by budget policy reforms to allocate an adequate share of public spending to education and promote equity in its distribution. Our new policy paper focuses principally on the measures necessary to increase tax revenues so that these targets can be met. One guide to how well countries tap their tax base is the ratio of tax to gross domestic product. It is estimated that countries need
to raise 20% of their GDP in taxes to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Few low and middle income countries manage to mobilise domestic resources on this scale, however. Among those that do, many do not allocate a sufficient proportion to education. Of the 67 countries for which data are available, only seven raise 20% of GDP in tax and devote 20% of spending to education. Namibia, which raises 24% of its GDP in taxes and allocates 22% of its government budget to education shows that such goals are attainable. Aid to education will still be crucial for quite a while. Many of the world’s poorest countries cannot expect domestic taxes alone to provide the financing needed to meet the EFA goals in the near future. In some middle income countries, however, such as Egypt, India and the Philippines, there is far greater potential to mobilise domestic resources for education. This is not to say that change can happen overnight. It took European economies a century to increase their tax revenue from 12% to 46% of GDP. However, the structure of the global economy is different today and new technologies make it easier to build the foundations of a long-term tax development strategy and accelerate growth in tax revenue. What are the concrete measures that governments can take to raise more tax revenue? Our policy paper highlights three: reducing tax exemptions, tackling tax evasion and diversifying the tax base. While low and middle income countries as a group rely heavily on tax revenue from corporations, many of them forgo considerable revenue from businesses by granting too many tax exemptions. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, these exemptions can amount to the equivalent of 5% of GDP. Tax evasion is another scourge of poor countries that desperately need to raise more money. For many of these countries, tax eva-
sion results in resources being used to build personal fortunes for the minority elite, rather than strong education systems for the benefit of the majority. Some individuals and companies avoid taxes legally by moving money to tax havens. The Tax Justice Network estimates that between US$21 trillion and US$32 trillion is hidden by rich individuals in more than 80 tax havens. Taxing capital gains on this wealth at 30% would generate revenue of between US$190 billion and US$280 billion a year. If 20% of this revenue were allocated to education, it would add between US$38 billion and US$56 billion to funding for the sector. While domestic political will needs to be the main force behind tax reform and increased allocations to education, donors can play an important complementary role. Between 2002 and 2011, just one per cent of total aid was directed to public financial management and less than 0.1% of total aid supported tax programmes. Yet by one estimate, every dollar of aid to strengthen tax regimes could generate up to US$350 in tax revenue. International partners also need to build a stronger multilateral tax transparency regime to tackle tax evasion and unethical aspects of tax avoidance. For African Finance ministers meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, it was an opportunity to tap the vast potential offered by better-functioning tax systems. So do global leaders meeting in Mexico in mid-April for the first high-level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. Such efforts would go a long way towards ensuring that children are in school and learning by 2015, and would provide a solid base for funding more ambitious goals after 2015. • Antoninis is acting director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report, UNESCO.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 17
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
TheMetroSection ‘Why renal disease is on the increase in Nigeria’ ESPITE the awareness, D there is upsurge in patients with kidney failure and disease, what is the problem? There may be so many factors that may be responsible for kidney failure. First and foremost the disease condition of the victim/person matters. A lot of people are now prone to non-communicable diseases such as diabetics and hypertension known to affect the kidney as complications especially diabetes. Secondly, there are so many people that do not really have diabetes control, either check off control. A lot of people do not know their blood sugar status whether it’s normal or not. It is an opportunity to always look at the background. The backgrounds started from knowing your basic sugar level from there you know whether it is within acceptable range. If you conduct random assessment of blood sugar of some people over 60% will not know they have elevated blood sugar that will be a bill up of effect on kidney. In the nearest future those people will now come down with renal condition. Apart from that infection could also play a part. Infection may be from childhood or could also be acquired in adult life. Infection could also damage renal track, could also damage the kidney. Dietary problem can also be another issue for example protein dietary. Another effect on the kidney could be excessive exposure to metals. Metals in terms of cream that we use, some of these body creams contains metals like mercury which may damage the kidney and even soaps some of these thing have been known to have adverse effect on the kidney. There are a lot of environmental factors that may also be involved. The common one that people should do is to always check their health status. You said some soaps and cream have heavy metals that can damage the kidney; can you shed light on this? These are heavy metals; it’s one of the products in soaps and creams, especially the bleaching cream. If these metals are applied of the skin there is a way the skin absorb these metals into the body and from there it gets into the kidney. Long term usage or exposure to these metals can cause kidney damage. In
some environment exposure to lead could also damage the kidney. Even in our own household paints contains metals like mercury if you are exposed to it too much it could have effect on the kidney. What they used in manufacturing these things contain heavy metals if you are exposed to it too much it can affect the kidney. How many teaching hospitals currently offer kidney transplant? The pipeline is being on in some places, some are planning to kick-start. It is currently being undergone in the country by many hospitals soon others will join. How is UUTH coming to the aid of people with renal failure? Currently we have one of the highest number of patients within the South/ South/ South/East, our dialysis is very busy, we have more than 10 machines dialyzing up to 70 people a week. We have large turn out of patients coming to our kidney centers. Still like any other disease condition, it’s still bound to have some complications, which may result in death. We are not saying somebody will just die; renal failure can lead to death especially if it’s at a terminal stage but in some cases people can also respond to the dialysis. The process of dialysis is not final solution to kidney disease. The final solution should have been kidney transplant. Dialysis is just a palliative way of trying to control the toxic that should have been excreted by the kidney, which the kidney cannot do. There are some people may be because of lack of resources or may due to tiredness, they default in coming. As a centre we are trying to cope, we have drugs and people from the South South, South East, even neighboring country like Cameroon come here for dialysis. How can we curtail this disease? Prevention is better than cure. We can prevent manifestation of this disease in the first place. If you know hazards that can lead to renal failure it’s better to afford it. Others could be environmental hazards or what we eat or what we use especially in the areas of cosmetics, or lifestyles which will allows us to afford certain disease condition like hypertension and diabetes that can result in renal condition.
Chief Medical Director of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) Akwa Ibom State, a consultant physician and President of the Nigerian Thoracic Society, Prof. Etete Peters, spoke with AYOYINKA JEGEDE in Uyo on why renal disease is on the increase in the country and the need to maximize the opportunity of the World Kidney Day to create awareness and educate Nigerians on how to prevent the condition and what to do when they are affected. Excerpts:
Peters We want to encourage people to have regular medical check up from time to time if there is any problem these things could be detected early and medical treatment will be given early. When you don’t know your health status, the disease can set in resulting in complications and may become late. Celebrating a day like world kidney day will give opportunity for health talk, checking your health status, counseling as well as testing. Also, there are other relief factors which can be picked up by regular check up like obsessed people can be advised on weight loss and dietary habit How can the government come in? The government can come in by putting up necessary framework measures in place for policies to function very well. For instance provision of facilities as well as provision of manpower. We need
trained manpower like Nephrologists these are doctors that specialized in treatment of renal diseases. We need to train them and encourage them. Also we need to set up more renal centers with facilities to do transplant. The government should also intervene in the cost of the dialysis, if there is any way the government can intervene in the areas of consumables making it very cheap for people to access. People could be encouraged we know a times that money could be the factor hindering patients from coming out for dialysis. However, we are happy that the current administration is doing that, President Godluck Jonathan has put a lot in the transformation agenda of the health care delivery. We are cueing into it. Very soon we’ll embark medical tourism because a lot of Nigerian will need look
inward for all these cases like kidney transplant. A lot of Nigerians have been embarking on capital flight for kidney transplant. What is your view? Very soon so many centers will be doing kidney transplant. Though for now, we may not have sufficient centre, with the effort of the federal government through the federal ministry of health and all other agencies. Very soon there may not be any need for people to travel to get renal transplant. Kidney transplant could be gotten in Nigeria. Another problem is awareness. A lot of people are not aware, they just wake up and want to travel abroad, It’s better and encouraging to first of all look inward to know what could be obtain within the environment it’s not necessary to rush out of the country, it’s better to look inward to know what could be obtained within our teaching
hospitals. Federal government has put in place a lot of measures to check that very soon these capital flight for renal diseases will be curtailed. When our institutions have changed and people’s mentality has changed capital flight will not be there again. World Kidney day, what your advise to Nigerians? We want all Nigerian to use the opportunity to evaluate their renal status. It should afford everybody the opportunity to know their renal function status by going to the hospital to do a renal function test and also test their urine. Also, looking at all other things that may likely affect the healthy status of a kidney, that will also include various disease conditions that can lead to either renal failure like diabetes, hypertension or in term of dietary habit that might also affect or physical habit. You are currently on your second term as the Chief Medical Director, what have been your achievements? My plan is to take this hospital to the next level. In terms of the health care delivery this is the only tertiary institution in the state and we are faced with enormous challenges trying to take care of up to over four million people. My plan is to complete basic infrastructural needs of the institution because without these infrastructural needs there is nothing much we can do. We are working tirelessly to ensure these projects are completed and commissioned within shortest possible time, another important thing is to now provide more diagnosis equipment and therapeutic equipment within the system. We have started that, we have gotten CT scan, more dialysis machines and incubators. We have double bed spaces expanding to 500-bed hospital. My administration has established comprehensive health care centers in all the three senatorial districts in the state to reach out to rural people. In area of manpower training we have put that in place to deliver better healthcare to the people.
Abia establishes 152 TB centres, registers 1470 cases, treats 1305 From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia total of 152 Tuberculosis Centers are said to be functioning in Abia state while 1305 that is 82 per cent out of the 1470 diagnosed and registered infected persons were treated of the disease in the state in 2013. The 152 centers comprises 41 for diagnosis, 109 for treatment, one for referral and research including a chest
clinic equipped with modern diagnostic equipment located at Amachara General Hospital, Umuahia. These were revealed to The Guardian during an interaction with the State Health Commissioner, Dr. Okey Ogah, to mark this year’s World Tuberculosis day in his office with the state Tuberculosis Control Officer Dr Okorie Onuka and state Family Health
International (FHI) 360, Dr. Mrs. Justina Ifeorah, in attendance. According to the Commissioner, though there is commendable progress in TB Control, the are challenges in the programme that include patient default, low case detection, increasing TB/Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) co-infection and emerging threat of resistant strain of TB bacteria.
He reiterated that TB diagnosis and treatment are free of charge in the state stressing especially if victims or potential ones present selves for early diagnosis at designated centers located across the state According to the state TB Control Officer, there are 109 Directly Observer Treatment (DOT) and 48 Microscopic Centers (MC) in the state where needy persons can
access free TB information including diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, the Family Health International 360 Programme Officer Dr Ifeorah said that out of the 3000 TB Infected persons targeted for identification in the state in 2013, only 1470 were so done adding that FHI has been collaborating with the state Health Ministry to detect TB infected Persons
adding that 18 Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) centers are in place while 12 others will soon be added . The people of the state were consequently urged to take advantage of the existence of these centers across the state to know their TB status and get treated if diagnosed hence “diagnosis, treatment and cure are free of charge especially when detected early.”
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
METRO Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Chevron rewards winners of Ikomi essay competition From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba HEVRON Nigeria Limited C where Mr. Chris Ikomi worked for years till he died still found time to remember him 15 years after he passed on in the line of duty, during the crisis in Warri, Delta State in 1999. From the recent outpouring of emotion at the 13th edition of the Chris Ikomi Memorial Essay Competition in Asaba, it could be gleaned that though Chris, (as he was fondly called) may be dead his memory lingers on. And for their tireless efforts in essay writing, six lucky pupils in junior and senior secondary schools in the state were rewarded with various sums of money. While Master Oyemachi Ebubechi of the Delta Steel Technical High School, Orhuworun emerged winner in the senior category; Master Edem Joshua triumphed in the junior category. Each took home N50, 000. For the second position, the duo of Miss Chukwuju Ogechi of Graceville College, Asaba and Master Glory Ozonuwe, also of DSC Technical High School won in the senior and junior categories respectively. They were rewarded with N40, 000 each while Master Arogundade Onome of Irri Grammar School finished third in the senior secondary school level. Obe Godwin of James Welch Grammar School, Emevor, won in junior school category. They got N35, 000 each. According to Delta State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, the competition was an indication of the indispensable
legacy, which Ikomi left behind. Muoboghare conceded that the sponsors were keen on changing the psyche of youths in the country and steering them away from violence through meaningful engagement in creative writing. He said that the choice of secondary school students was the company’s strategy to work with at the vulnerable population, by “catching them, young” as the phrase goes. The commissioner said: “Without mincing words, I wish to state that it is an ideal way to manage conflict and to instill in youths, the ability to articulate essential life skills and knowledge for self empowerment and nation building via creative thinking and writing.” Lauding NNPC and Chevron for providing a platform for secondary schools, Muoboghare said that Ikomi, a former staff of NNPC/Chevron died during an inter-ethnic crisis in Warri in 1999, which has become peaceful as people could now move around freely due to the committed effort of the government, which started during Governor James Ibori’s administration. He stated that the company’s gesture at immortalising the late Ikomi was not a wasted venture adding that the ministry would continue to collaborate with them. Mr. Jolomi Ikomi, on behalf of the Ikomi family expressed satisfaction with the award ceremony and thanked the ministry as well as NNPC/Chevron for deeming it fit to immortalise his late brother.
Chief Executive Officer, Global International College, Mrs. Abolaji Osime (middle) with the representatives of United Kingdom universities, during the recent 4th annual Global International College’s UK, USA and Canada fair
How LASU projects support learning, by Lagos officials By Ujunwa Atueyi OT only will the massive N construction work going on in the Lagos State University (LASU) change the architectural landscape of the institution when completed, it will also make learning more rewarding and enjoyable as obtainable in other world-class institutions. Presently, the students of the institution, particularly the engineering students have been benefitting from the construction work at the campus which doubles as practical knowledge transfer programme. The State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr.
Obafemi Hamzat, who disclosed during a recent inspection tour of project sites in the school, stressed that the knowledge transfer remains highly imperative, as students need to see how designs and quality construction works are done. And so embracing best practices in the building profession by students will boost the human capital development of the country. Though, this is coming at the heels of chaos and turbulence heightened by the new fee regime, which has been controversial from the beginning till date, Hamzat said the structures springing up from the institution are entirely funded by the state govern-
bring Chinese contractors to do some things when our students can do same, if intelligently and accurately groomed.” He however, regretted that crisis and series of protests have slowed down the work to an extent, noting that a peaceful community promotes commitment and progress. Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Aderemi Ibirogba, who was also part of the inspection team said: “There is no point running an institution where your own child cannot attend, we want to bring LASU to the level that all over the world we can present our certificates. Presently, LASU is the first institution in Nigeria and West Africa that is running transport as a course. When all these projects are completed, learning will be enthusiastic and fulfilling.” He said for the country to rise above the educational challenge and poor output of students, the era of training scientists and other professional courses using theoretical approach must seize. Some of the projects inspected during the exercise include, the seven-storey senate building, the four-storey central library, Faculty of Management Science Complex, Faculty of Science Complex and the twin Faculty of Law lecture theatre. Others were LASU radio complex, students arcade, Faculty of Education twin-lecture theatre and secondary school for staff children, among others. Some of the projects are technically completed, some nearing completion while some are expected to be ready before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof John Oladapo Obafunwa, says that the ongoing transformation project, which will enhance learning to a large extent, will also be extended to Epe and Badagry campuses. He said the LASU radio would be used majorly to train students in the School of Mass Communication, who will soon be moved to the main campus.
ment as the present administration is determined to build a university that will stand the test of time and be well respected across the globe. Affirming his satisfaction at pace of work, he said, “I am okay with the pace of work. This that is the way it is programmed because learning is going on in the campus as well. As an engineering student in the University of Ibadan, I didn’t get to see concrete till my fourth year. Here we involve students in the construction works. Even, during the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge, we brought 84 students to also take part. The knowledge transfer aspect is important to us, and we cannot continue to
Task force explains revocation of private schools’ licences in Kano From Abba Anwar, Kano HE decision to cancel T licenses of all private schools in Kano State was principally to avoid undereducation of pupils and noncompliance with the national curriculum document by schools among others the Task Force on Private Schools in the state has said. Kano State had over 3, 000 private schools of which less than 1, 000 are registered. According to the Chairman
of the task force, Baba Umar, the revocation involved schools with provisional and non-provisional licenses operating in the state. Umar, in an interview with The Guardian maintained that the withdrawal was to pave way for the creation of a benchmark through which government would be able to monitor the activities of school owners. “We need to have a society where there are qualified teachers in our schools,” just
as the schools must be located in conducive environments and be above board in the area of sanitation. The chairman who deplored the fact that some schools were charging student abysmally high examination fees ranging from N60, 000 to N80, 000 for just no reason, also added that “before the revocation of all certificates of operation, so many of the (certificates) in operation were fake.”
To put an end to this, he stressed that henceforth, “no other government staff would be allowed to process and grant approval to any private school as the law provides that only the Education Commissioner can approve the operation of private schools.” The chairman assured that the task force was, among other things, out to bring back the lost glory of schools in the state and also bring solace to distraught parents.
Some owners of private schools, who spoke to The Guardian, expressed satisfaction that the era of sub-standard schools in the state had come to and end. One of them, Mallam Saminu Abdullahi, stated that, “We are happy with the new arrangement initiated by the Kano State government. We realise that the decision was made in good faith and we will continue to support similar efforts in that direction.”
Abia, 18 other states form Michael Okpara varsity’s workforce From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia NDIGENES of 19 of the 36 Iforce states constitute the workof Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture (MOUA) Umudike, Abia State. And as at 31st July 2013, indigenes of host state topped the list of employees in both the academic and non-academic staff of the federal owned institution in both the senior and juniors cadres. The clarification via a statement released by the school became necessary following allegations in some quarters that staff recruitment in the institution was either lopsided or did not reflect federal character. Also, while the Chancellor, who is also the Tor Tiv, Dr.
Alfred Akawe Torkula (CFR) hails from Benue State, the Governing Council’s Chairman/Pro Chancellor, Prof. Anya O. Anya, is from the host state. Other principal officers and their states of origin are the Vice Chancellor Prof. Hilary Odo Edeoga-from Enugu State; the deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Dominic Okpara from Ebonyi State; the Registrar, Dr. Azubuike Nwokocha from Rivers State; the school’s librarian, Dr. Ahiaoma Ibegwam from Imo State while Mr. Ukachi Eluwa, the school’s bursar is also an indigene of the host Abia State. According to records, Abia State indigenes constitute 81.61 per cent of the school’s teaching staff, 51.76 per cent
of senior non-teaching staff, as well as 87.45 per cent of senior staff and 74.80 per cent of the junior staff. Neighboring Imo State ranks second as its citizens (as at July 2013) constituted 58.44 per cent of the teaching staff, 21.05 per cent of senior non-teaching staff, 30.27 per cent of senior staff and 15.60 per cent of staff in the junior cadre. Enugu State ranks third with 21.94 per cent of the teaching staff, 11.03 per cent of senior non-teaching staff, 15. 82 per cent of senior and 3.75 per cent of junior staff while Anambra State was ranked fourth with 16.26 per cent of teaching staff, 3.06 per cent of senior non-teaching, 5.33 per cent of senior staff and 0.86 per cent of jun-
iors staff. While Ebonyi State is ranked fifth with 5.13 per cent of teaching staff, 3.98 per cent of senior non-teaching and 5.73 percent of senior and 2.32 per cent of junior staff, Akwa Ibom State is placed sixth on the log. The state has 1.95 per cent of senior teaching, 0.92 per cent of senior non-teaching staff as well as 2.09 per cent of senior and 1.30 per of junior staff. Delta State indigenes constitute 2.30 per cent of the teaching staff, 0.92 per cent of senior non-teaching and 1.78 per cent of senior and 0.43 per cent of junior staff respectively. It is placed seventh on the log. The next ranking states in that order are Ogun, Rivers, Edo, Kogi, Ondo, Oyo, Benue,
Cross River, Osun, Lagos, Kwara and Ekiti. The statement debunked the insinuation in some quarters that gave the false impression that recruitment of staff of all categories by the university was either lopsided or did not reflect the federal character of Nigeria. The Governing Council of the school had, after its 57th meeting recently, and in a bid to set the records straight, stated that “as at 31st July, 2013, Abia State indigenes were the highest employed in the institution even as it promised to continue to respect the national status of MOUA in its statutory operations, adding that Abia state being the host state, will also enjoy certain rights and privileges.
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Business Nigeria, Sao Tome may start oil production at JDZ By Sulaimon Salau FFORTS may have comE menced towards activating oil production in the Joint Development Zone (JDZ), being operated by Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe, after an agreement by the partners to reinvigorate the Joint Development Authority (JDA). The JDA, in a categorical statement recently, said, “oil and gas production in the area might begin within the next 18 months.” The authority is also planning to adopt the latest technology that would enhance the production activities in the oil rich zone. According to the statement, the decision was made at the 22nd meeting of the joint ministerial
council held recently in Abuja, where the JDA’s headquarters are located. The statement signed by JDA President, Arzemiro dos Prazeres and Executive Directors, Luís Prazeres and Kashim Tumsah, said: “Important decisions were made such as approving new technology for surveying and production of oil and gas in block 1 that will allow production to begin within an 18-month period,” The JDA also approved a review of the legal framework for the joint development area, “to attract new investors and relaunch operations in the area,” It however, scheduled a meeting in Sao Tome for May to discuss fishing resources and security in the area.
The statement also said that the JDA cannot be considered to be “a failed project” because its has not, “after 12 years, reached the targets it set out at the beginning.” The JDZ had earlier been scheduled to begin production in 2010, but the goal was not realisable due to some issues that militated against further implementation of the project. The treaty for joint oil exploration in the zone, signed in February 2001, divided revenue from the area as 60 per cent for Nigeria and 40 per cent for Sao Tome and Principe. The project faced the first hurdle few years later when Nigeria accused the Sao Tome government of trying to make the sign-
ing of the contract unviable, a charge denied by the Sao Tome authorities. The Sao Tome government said that Nigeria was attempting to pressure it into finishing the contract process, without being aware of alleged last minute changes implemented by one of bloc 4’s operators. Since then, oil production has not started in the waters of the nation, even as future oil revenues are expected to revolutionise the Sao Tome’s economy. The largest expectations for a future oil production in Sao Tome and Principe are so far connected to the joint development zone of 34.504 square kilometres. The zone is located close to some of the region’s major oil producing areas in the exclusive territorial
Executive Director, Agusto & Co, Yinka Adelekan (left); Chief Executive Officer, Capital Markets Authority Rwanda, Robert Mathu; East Africa Regional Representative Agusto & Co, Edward Olajide and Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Stock Exchange Limited, Celestin Rwabukumba, at a recent Market Development Seminar on Credit Ratings, organized by Agusto & Co, in Kigali, Rwanda.
waters of Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. The presence of similar geological conditions in
the Nigeria-Sao Tome zone has made experts assume that the joint zone holds between six
‘Local content development imperative for job creation’ By Sulaimon Salau HE quest to further T strengthen local participation in the oil and gas industry has been described as a veritable tool to tackling the growing unemployment in the country. The Group Managing Director, Arco Group, Alfred Okoigun, who emphasized this as at a dinner of the just concluded oil and gas conference in Abuja, said the Federal Government has a critical role to play in the quest to boost local content in the sector, as well as ensuring strict adherence to the provisions of the Act. Okoigun, who expressed his displeasure about the slow pace of integrating the indigenous players in the sector, urged the government and private sector to be geared towards the laudable objective. Making reference to Royal Dutch Shell Group’s role in growing local capacity in Malaysia, he said this can be replicated in Nigeria, with requisite political will. “If Shell had done such a wonderful job in Malaysia, why was that kind of endeavour not replicated in Nigeria? Could it be that the Malaysians acquired the skills due to the concern of their government in the exploitation of their natural resources? Or was it because Malaysia had stable government over a long period of time and so the government was focused on ensuring that the citizens of the country reaped the benefits of the collabo-
ration with Shell?” “Conversely, Nigeria was during the period facing intermittent changes of government under the military era and so the country must have lost an opportunity that Malaysia exploited with her stability. It would appear then that as long as the oil majors paid their taxes and carried out other statutory responsibilities, they felt fulfilled. “The government should have been doing more at that time. If they had done so, maybe Nigeria would have been exporting locals as experts to other countries by now. As it is today, we are still struggling to grow local capacities in the oil and gas industry, an achievement that had been recorded in other parts of the world,” he said. The Arco boss applauded the Federal Government for initiating the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Law in 2010, and urged Nigerians to take advantage of the law to grow Nigerian companies to be viable participants in the industry. He made a reference of his company, Arco Group that has been working with Total towards the realization of the objectives of the Law. “Our relationships with other oil majors are showing signs along the same direction. I would like to appeal to all concerned to recognise the changing trends in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and facilitate it instead of looking for loopholes to circumvent it.
Govt to declare five inland container depots as full ports By David Ogah and Moses Ebosele HE Federal Government may have concluded plans to declare the five proposed Inland Container Depots (ICDs) in five different locations in the country as ports of destination and origin for goods. That means they will operate as full fledged gateways, with their own facilities, as sea or river ports when they become operational. Meanwhile, to curtail alleged capital flight in the maritime sector, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has announced plans to strengthen its partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello, said the planned upgrading of ICDs was to make the dry
. Renews fight against capital flight in maritime sector ports attractive to direct foreign and local investments. According to him, if the dry ports were put in place without the proper legal framework, they would be like the existing bonded terminals or warehouses where goods cannot be consigned, The NSC boss said declaring the dry ports as ports of destination and origin for goods would bring shipping facility to the door step of the people in the hinterlands and at reduced cost “The ministry said ICDs must be declared as ports of destination and origin to bring shipping to the door step of the people and to cut cost. That is, they will be customs ports that will have NDLEA, Police and other agencies involved in clear-
ing,” he added. Enumerating the advantages of the inland dry ports, Bello said the government could use them as catalyst for export as they will be connected with rail lines for quick evacuation of goods to the seaports. The planned port facilities, he said, are expected to generate direct or indirect employment, as they would encourage emergence cluster of industries around them. According to him, some land locked countries have been waiting for the take off of the dry ports, as they are willing to make Nigeria a transit area for their goods. Bello said all component aspects of freight are being confirmed with the CBN as
part of measures to curtail capital flight, fraud and other economic crimes. “We (NSC) have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CBN. We have been working together for the past two years. We know how it is and how much it will cost. We are doing the same thing with other charges that have foreign exchange component” He commended reported reforms of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), explained that a viable rail system is expected to boost the operations and activities of ICDs. While appealing for the cooperation and support of all stakeholders, Bello said all decision would only be taken after consultation.
Bello, who spoke on sundry issues said: “We have the capacity. Over the years, Nigerian Shippers’ Council has developed capacity. I don’t think there is any agency in the transport industry that will have the qualification of staff of the Shippers Council as far as commercial shipping is concerned. We have had people trained in transport economy. We have port operators. We have logistics and don’t forget, Shippers Council is an economic institution. “The first Managing Director of Shippers Council came from the Central Bank. All the past Chief Executive of Shippers Councils have developed the institution. It is a versatile institution. It is an economic institution. The orientation, the culture of staff of Nigeria Shippers
Council has made it most qualified and the most equipped to handle this very important assignment”. According to Bello, there is the urgent need to satisfy clamour by Nigerians for efficiency is the delivery of Cargoes especially when compared with other jurisdiction. He added: “The private sector is the engine room that will propel reforms in this sector. We need some economic regulations. Economic regulations simply means the government will have its eyes and ears in tariff and issues like competition. The idea is to prevent monopoly. We cannot replace public monopoly with private monopoly. There must be competition”.
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Money Tax practitioners and money laundering challenges Money launderers have been described as “smart,” especially in taking advantage of every opportunity, including tax evasion and probably, colluding with tax practitioners. CHIJIOKE NELSON writes that the new campaign from the nation’s tax body may be a readiness test for its members. not enough for members of a professionIforTalisall.body to have practicing licence once and There is a moral and ethical burden on the body to monitor each practitioner to the extent that re-certification would be done as regularly as practicable. This will ensure that members are not only in tune with global best practice at all times, but also uphold the tenets and ideals of the profession. This, perhaps, sums the story of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CITN)- the nation’s sole tax administrator, practicing and licensing body. For a certainty, the taxman plays a dual role- to the government on the one hand and to the taxpayer on the other hand. It is therefore, expedient to ensure that tax practitioners perform their duties professionally within the ambit and dictates of the laws of the land, as well as in tandem with the Charter of their professional body. However, the global menace- money laundering, which has eaten up many economies’ resources, designated uncomplimentary titles to some countries, with solutions to nipping it in the bud becoming elusive, has also advanced to the stage of exploring every opportunity to perpetrate the ugly act. Perhaps, extending a fellowship to tax practitioners may be a window or fresh vista to maintain status quo. CITN President, Mark Anthony Dike, at the tax practitioners stakeholders forum, in Lagos, said there could not have been a better time other than now to organize a forum of this nature, intended primarily to bring tax practitioners and stakeholders together to discuss issues of concern in the profession and for the body, adding that the forum was the first of such in the institute’s existence. “Members are the greatest asset any association can boast of and the level of respect and attractiveness of every profession derives principally on the ability of its members to meet the needs of the environment where they operate in an efficient and effective manner. It is therefore, important that we strive at all times to continually improve our work ethics, enshrine best practices and offer top notch services to our clients, government and all stakeholders. “Recent developments as it concerns government policy changes, challenges in the operating environment and the need to constantly adapt to enable the institute meet the needs of all stakeholders necessitated the convening of this forum. These include roles of tax practitioners as spelt out in the CITN Act; issues of tax practice and ethics; and statutory requirements by regulatory bodies such as, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit; the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, among others,” he said. But CITN Past President, Gabriel Foluso Fasoto, explained that tax practice is the vocation of rendering professional tax advice, including the preparation and submission of tax returns, advice on tax planning, representation and defence of taxpayers before the authorities and courts and the provision of overall advice in the area of taxation and complimentary accounting and legal services. Highlighting the moral burden on tax practitioner, he said that ethic is a set of principles of right and wrong behavior guiding, or representative of, a specific culture, society, group or individual. It is the morality of an action. Ethics are the standards governing the conduct of a person especially a member of a profession, hence tax practice ethics are rules and standards governing the conduct of the members of CITN, because they are the only people legally allowed to practice taxation profession in Nigeria as at today. He noted that these rules and guideline, classified as professional rules and practice guidelines has a connecting link with the fight against money laundering. He reminded tax practitioners of the institute’s rules and guidelines: “Members must comply with the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended, (Harmonised Act no. 11 of 2011 and Act no. 1 of
2012). In particular, members are expected to bear reporting responsibilities to the National Advisory Council against Money Laundering or the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) in the areas of rendering of currency transaction reports; and rendering of suspicious transaction reports. “A member shall be liable and may be charged for professional misconduct to the CITN’s Disciplinary Committee if he supports, aids, abets or participates in money laundering activities or terrorists financing. Every member has an obligation to promptly report through CITN to SCUML any money laundering activity that comes to his knowledge in the course of his professional practice provided that no report will be made if it cannot be factually and professionally substantiated.” Perhaps more morally obligatory is CITN’s rule, which urged members to strive to know their clients well to be able to discern the nature of their businesses. This means that each member should devise a Know Your Customer checklist and administer on each client. He pointed out that the course of integrity would compel any member not to knowingly or recklessly supply information or make any statement, which is false or misleading, or knowingly fail to provide relevant information. Integrity also means that a member should not act if he considers that the fulfillment of his client’s instructions involves a risk of assisting in a criminal activity. Certainly, money laundering is one. In the fulfilment of the professional obligations, a member who is invited to undertake professional work by a prospective client is under no obligation to act, indeed, he should decline to do so if he believes he would be unable to comply with the identifications requirements set out in the anti money laundering guidance. In assessing the risks relating to the client, the member should consider the potential client’s personal circumstances, business situation, financial standing, and source of funds, integrity and attitude to disclosure in regard to compliance with taxation law. Each member should also proceed with caution when deciding to accept instructions from a client who refuses to give the existing chartered tax practitioner permission to disclose
appropriate information about the affairs. The money launderers are likely to test the integrity of tax practitioners with huge amount in respect of this development Taxes are calculated by income level and money launderers will never disclose the amount they have because that would also mean reporting themselves to the authorities. But membership of tax practitioners must do nothing to assist a client to commit such criminal offence, or shield the client from the consequences of having defrauded the government of tax or of having been negligent in regard to direct or indirect tax matters. The institute has always encouraged its members to record the basis for client acceptance. For example, a member who is invited to undertake professional work in place of another Chartered Tax Practitioner, particularly where any tax compliance services are concerned, should before accepting the appointment, request the prospective client’s permission to communicate with the existing Chartered Tax Practitioner. If this permission is refused, member should decline to accept the appointment. It is moral and ethical responsibility upon each member to rid the country of various midemeanors. However, the Acting Director, Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, Eno Mathew Obun, reiterated that the Nigerian Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime is encapsulated in the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended. According to him, the law requires a number of obligations to be discharged by AML/CFT stakeholders to ensure successful implementation of the regime. “No economy can grow where money laundering is endemic. Its prevalence distorts macro economic policies and indeed is inimical to the growth of democracy. This explains why the law has saddled, not only law enforcement authorities, but also some key professionals and businesses (including tax practitioners) with the joint responsibility for its control and detection. “Money laundering is defined as the process by which criminals attempt to conceal the origin and ownership of the proceeds of their criminal
No economy can grow where money laundering is endemic. Its prevalence distorts macro economic policies and indeed, is inimical to the growth of democracy. This explains why the law has saddled, not only law enforcement authorities, but also some key professionals and businesses (including tax practitioners) with the joint responsibility for its control and detection.
activities, allowing them to maintain control over the proceeds and, ultimately, providing a legitimate cover for their sources of income. “It is a process used to disguise the proceeds of crime and to allow criminals to move those proceeds around without the funds being identified and confiscated as illegally acquired. “Money laundering is called what it is because that perfectly describes what takes place – illegal, or dirty, money is put through a cycle of transactions, or washed, so that it comes out the other ends as legal, or clean, money. In other words, the source of illegally obtained funds is obscured through a succession of transfers and deals in order that those same funds can eventually be made to appear as legitimate income”. Obun pointed out that crimes such as bribery and corruption; embezzlement and fraud; smuggling of human beings; robbery, extortion and counterfeiting currency; tax evasion, kidnapping; drug trafficking, illicit arms trafficking; prostitution, sexual exploitation, are part of money laundering operations. “These crimes produce large profits, creating the incentive to ‘legitimize’ the ill-gotten gains through money laundering and when a criminal activity generates substantial profits, the individual or group involved must find a way to control the funds without drawing attention to the underlying activity or persons involved. “Criminals do this by disguising the sources, changing the form, moving the money to a place where it is less likely to attract attention and presently, the international community has reacted to the issues of money laundering through various instruments,” he said. The United Nations in 1988, adopted the Convention Against Illicit Traffic In Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances– the focus of this international instrument is clearly on drugs and it seeks to enhance law enforcement effectiveness in the suppression of drug trafficking. The Basel Committee, the same year, issued a statement on prevention of criminals’ use of the banking system for the purpose of money laundering. The statement’s basic purpose is to ensure that banks are not used to hide or launder the profits of crime, with basic principles- Know your customer, Compliance with laws, Co-operation with law enforcement agencies, policies, procedures and training. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was created in 1989 at the Paris Summit of the Head of States or Government of the seven major industrialized nations (Group of Seven or G – 7). The mandate was “to assess the results of cooperation already undertaken in order to prevent the utilization of the banking system and financial institutions for purpose of money laundering, and to consider additional preventive efforts in the field, including the adoption of the legal and regulatory systems so as to enhance multilateral judicial assistance.” The body was in the country in the third quarter of 2013 for assessment and delisting of Nigeria in their grey book. Obun however, pointed out that tax work covers a broad range of activities from routine compliance work to complex tax planning, which involve processing and submission of returns to the tax authorities, advisory and structuring of tax affairs in a tax efficient manner. These can sometimes involve the use of trusts, offshore entities and tax favourable regimes. He noted that Nigeria, having domesticated FATF recommendations in Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and implementation Guidelines, require reporting entities and businesses to comply with certain regulatory obligations like registration with SCUML; limitation to make or accept cash payment; customer identification; surveillance on certain transactions; preservation of records; internal control; policies and procedures; awareness raising and training; obligation to report transaction above threshold; and report of suspicious transaction activities. There is no doubt that CITN as a body and its memberstax practitioners, are included.
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THe gUArDiAN, Wednesday, April 2, 2014
‘Corporate corruption hindering growth, sustainability’ Stories by Chijioke Nelson He Chairman of Nigeria T economic Summit group (NeSg), Foluso Phillips, said corporate corruption being perpetrated through various avenues, including the supply
chain, has created ripples beyond the initial compromises, triggering survival, growth and sustainability challenges. Phillips, who made the disclosure at the United Nations global Compact (UNgC)/NeSg workshop supply chain trans-
parency challenge, added that the promoters of businesses at all levels recognize that supply chain is very strategic to business success. According to him, from preproduction through production is a long chain carrying
Sterling Bank’s initiative targets workplace experience TerliNg Bank Plc said its getS(grFW) ready-For-Work Concert initiative is aimed at helping graduates to immediately fit into work life, even as plans have been concluded to hold the second edition of the yearly event on Saturday, in ibadan. Briefing newsmen in lagos yesterday, the bank’s Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Abubakar Suleiman, said the scheme was conceived to strategically help the lender actualize its Corporate Social responsibility (CSr) drive in human capital development. He pointed out that the exercise is one way of bridging the skills gap in the nation’s employment market, adding that it will also change their mindset towards entrepreneurship by encouraging self employment rather than employment after school. Suleiman said the bank discovered that majority of young people that joined the bank from school could not relate with the people at workplace through emails or put together presentations when the need arises. Speaking at the pre – event press conference held in lagos, the leAP Africa executive Director, iyaduni Olubode and Managing Director, Frontiers international limited, Muyiwa Afolabi, commended the bank for investing in the future of
youths in the country through the scheme. Olubode said that the programme would go a long way in preparing the minds of “our youth on challenges in the workplace and help build the required confidence to engage professionally and instill in them the confidence to communicate and relate with their colleagues.” However, Afolabi noted that the programme is life transforming and capable of changing the mindset of participants about their future. “The mindset of an average Nigerian youth when going to school to acquire degrees is to finish the programme and join an institution that will give the best pay to guarantee the future,” he said But Suleiman said the concert/seminar, being the first of its kind, would address undergraduates, Corps members and fresh graduates on setting off their careers properly, which in turn, not only increases brand awareness, but also gains the lender a market share in the youth market. However, eligibility for participation at the event planned for 2,500 attendees is determined by a pre-registration on the bank’s website. Sterling Bank assured that the concert would be held quarterly to project the financial institu-
tion as a brand that believes in Nigerian youth and entrepreneurs. “The concert will be moved round different states across the country to increase anticipation and reduce a common place factor,” he said.
products and services to the market, which determines how successful an investments will be, raising critical issue of how business transactions support sustainability processes. “Of course business integrity and transparency are key factors in sustainability. Corporate corruption creates ripples beyond the initial compromises and goes on to exert extraordinary impacts against business survival, growth and sustainability. Many businesses are exposed to corruption risks through their supply and distribution networks. “Anti-corruption is one of
UNgC’s 10 sustainability principles meant to promote business growth to scale. it therefore requires that businesses engage in transparent transactions at every point and promotes the emerging inter-governmental and non-governmental responses against corruption in the corporate arena. “The Nigerian local Network of the United Nations global Compact (UNgC) is currently hosted at the offices of NeSg, with activities aimed at implementing the Siemens integrity initiative and drum up collective action coalition against corruption within the
business community. “This workshop is to aid businesses further in strengthening their commitment and deepening their oversight capacity on their supply chains to ensure integrity and transparency in their overall processes,” he said. The NeSg boss said the group focused on issues like corruption and integrity, with the whole idea of raising the level of awareness of the business community on certain things that help to sustain organisation into the future. “They are not all very tangible, but they are also very important about the character of an organisation,” he added.
Dr. Wayne Bertlett of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (left); President of Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Alhaji Sakirudeen Labode; First Vice-President, Anthony Nzom; and David Fitzgerald of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland, at a two-day Workshop on International Financial Reporting Standards, in Lagos, last weekend.
OLLOWING an earlier launch in FTuesday, London, the United Kingdom last what3words.com has launched its location finder app in Nigeria. The app allows users to pinpoint their specific location and communicate it in just three simple words. what3words has made this possible by dividing the entire globe into 57 trillion, 3m x 3m squares and assigned each square a unique three
New app pinpointing locations in three words debuts in Nigeria word address. The words have been chosen at random, with more common words used in densely populated areas, and less familiar words used in more remote areas. “Telling people three simple words is much easier than giving a full address and explanation of how to find a precise location,” says what3words chief
executive, Chris Sheldric K. “It is also much more memorable.” The app has been modified to make it quick and easy to use. According to Kala Dikibo, director, Harley Reed Nigeria, local partner of what3words: “For example, if you wanted to communicate the location of your birthday party to friends and family, simply
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2014
send them the three word location via voice, SMS, email or social media, and all they have to do is enter the three words into their what3words app to find the venue.” The app has the potential to put an end to long-winded address descriptions. “So no more turn left at the roundabout, then turn right after the eatery and it is the red building at the
end of the road on your left, as a simple three word address will suffice,” Dikibo said. Users have the added option of registering a particular location of relevance to them such as their home or office with a ‘one-word’address. “This is a fun way of allowing users to be creative and personalise and own their location,” Dikibo adds. The app is available free at the app store and google play for android’
Mid-market mobiles to drive device growth HE growth of the mobile phone market in 2014 T is projected to come from the lower end of the premium phone market and the higher end of the basic phone market, according to new research from Gartner. Overall, mobile shipments are expected to increase 4.9 per cent over the year to reach 1.9 billion units by the end of 2014, with further growth to two billion projected for 2015. According to the Principal Research Analyst at Gartner, Annette Zimmermann, while the lack of compelling hardware innovation marginally extended replacement cycles in 2013, we’ve witnessed an upgrade path in the emerging markets, stressing, “Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe have all upgraded their phones, which will help to compensate for mature market weakness in the near term.” Gartner said that the worldwide tablet market is forecast to grow 38.6 per cent this year as overall adoption continues to grow faster in markets outside North America. Shipments are expected to reach 271 million units by the end of this year, up from 195 million last year, and are forecast to reach 349 million in 2015. With the adoption of tablets been largely concentrated in the U.S., with the dominance of Apple,” Gartner’s Research Director, Ranjit Atwal said: “Market dynamics in other regions are different, as the uptake of lower cost, smaller, non-branded tablets, becomes more apparent.” Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs are forecast to total 277 million units in 2014, a 6.6 per cent decline from 2013. This decline, according to Gartner should continue into 2015, with shipments forecast to drop to
263 million. “The traditional PC category continues to decrease, with only about two-thirds of notebook and desktop replacements remaining within this category,” said Atwal. In the operating system market, Gartner said iOS tablet growth has slowed in North America and suggests that Apple will need to reinvigorate its replacement cycle. Worldwide, iOS/Mac OS accounted for 241 million devices (including PCs) in 2013, up 19 per cent, and should reach 286 million this year, rising to 324 million in 2015. Windows is
showing slower growth (just four per cent) to reach 339 million devices this year, rising to 379 million in 2015. But it’s Android that is dominating the OS sector, with an expected 1.171 billion units this year – breaking the one billion barrier – up 33 per cent on 2013, and a forecast increase to 1.358 billion in 2015. Worldwide combined shipments of devices – PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones – are projected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014, a 6.9 per cent increase from 2013. Gartner said that sales of traditional PCs would continue to hamper the
overall growth of devices, and substitution from PC to tablet will decline. As the overall device market starts to saturate, the increasing pressure on margins would continue and vendors would look at different ways to cope with the ongoing issue of lower margins. “Tablet substitution of notebooks will start to dissipate from this year onwards as consumers and businesses align the right device with the right usage pattern,” said Atwal. “As they do this, we will see where dedicated devices (such as tablets), or hybrid devices (detachable or convertible devices), fit in the overall portfolio of devices.”
Intelsat, Vodacom offer sub-Saharan Africa broadband connectivity By Adeyemi Adepetun LOBAL satellite service provider, Intelsat G and telecommunications firm, Vodacom have inked a deal that will boost broadband connectivity across sub-Saharan Africa. Under the agreement, Intelsat will provide a managed broadband service to Vodacom. The solution is expected to strongly position Vodacom to offer a differentiated broadband service targeting the small office/home office (SOHO) and small/medium enterprise (SME) users across sub-Saharan Africa. Accordingly, the growth of SMEs in Africa is viewed as a critical component in driving the continent’s further economic development, job creation and increase in GDP. In order to support that growth, SMEs will need consis-
tent broadband connectivity to help ensure that their businesses thrive in an already complex and competitive landscape. Chief Operating Officer, Vodacom Business, Vuyani Jarana said: “Our agreement with Intelsat will enable Vodacom to provide our SME and enterprise customers with high quality, reliable, secure and cost-effective connectivity. Under the agreement, Intelsat will provide Ku-band satellite broadband capacity to Vodacom on Intelsat 28 at 32.8ºE and deliver a fully integrated and managed solution, powered by Hughes broadband satellite technology. The solution will enable Vodacom to manage its service platform and determine the service levels while maintaining direct engagement with their SOHO and SME customer base. In addition, the scala-
bility of the platform supports Vodacom’s plan to offer broadband service to millions of potential customers across Africa.” Jarana explained that when the Intelsat 33e satellite enters service, scheduled for 2016, Vodacom will be able to seamlessly access a high performance overlay that will provide additional throughput for its busiest regions, adding that the Intelsat EpicNG open architecture and flexible broadband platform will enable Vodacom to leverage its existing infrastructure and enhance Vodacom’s Satellite Connect (VSC) product line. “This will result in the delivery of more reliable, secure and cost efficient broadband connectivity to the SOHO/SME market across sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and the DRC,” he stated.
Intelsat’s Regional Vice President, Africa, Grant Maraisstated, “This new and innovative solution demonstrates Intelsat’s leadership in satellite broadband connectivity. “We worked closely with Vodacom to address their future business demands, providing capacity through traditional wide and high-throughput satellite spot beams to locations where our customers need it most. It also reinforces our ability to work with our customers such as Vodacom to anticipate their emerging business demands and tailor our broadband solutions to best fit their business needs and economic model. We look forward to working closely with Vodacom and Hughes to bring the next generation of satellite broadband solutions to the African SME market.”
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28 i-Tech & Telecoms Wednesday, April 2, 2014
NCC allays fears over telecoms devices
Cheki.com hits 30, 000 car listings on website
From Saxone Akhaine, North Bureau Chief and Adeyemi Adepetun, Lagos HE Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) have laid to rest the widespread speculation in the country that the use of mobile phones was injurious to users’ health, saying that the use of the mobile devices was hazard free. The commission stated this at the weekend, in Zaria, Kaduna State when the officials created an avenue where all mobile telecommunication service providers met their subscribers and also used the opportunity to dispel the speculations over the health implication of the use of mobile phones. Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah while responding to questions from subscribers at the consumer parliament held at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria pointed out that not even telecommunications service providers’ masts have health hazards. Represented by the commission’s Deputy Director of Consumer Affairs, Dr. Femi Atoyebi, the NCC Vice Chairman explained, “there has not been any scientific prove that, radiation from mobile phones is harmful to the health of subscribers.” He also noted that telecommunication masts had recommended height, stressing, “the commission always ensure strict compliance to, in order to prevent harmful radiation from getting down to
By Ijeoma Opara HEKI, Nigeria’s online car website, has announced hitting 30, 000 vehicle listings on its website, a landmark achievement in the auto industry in Nigeria. The online car advertising firm had over 98, 000 cars advertised since they started operations in 2011. It also ranks higher than any other online car advertising website on the popular alexa.com a commercial website which provides traffic data around the world. The firm also said that it had over a 120,000 registered users on its platform. Speaking on how the company got to be popular in the auto industry, the General Manager,
• Plans special numbering service licensing the conditions to be met by interested firms included a comprehensive feasibility report, among others, on the proposed services. It informed that forms are already on the commission’s website. In a related development, the commission has also announced the availability of frequency slots in the 3.5GHz band in some states of the federation. NCC, which stated that the frequency would be licensed on state-by-state basis, listed Abuja and 27 other states.
As it is now, for someone to be affected by radiation from masts, that person must have climbed the mast naked. If such radiation is so harmful, all the people in United States of America would have died, because they have been using them for a long time ago. human beings and animals around.” According to him, “as it is now, for someone to be affected by radiation from masts, that person must have climbed the mast naked. If such radiation is so harmful, all the people in United States of America would have died, because they have been using them for a long time ago.” Besides, commenting on the essence of the programme, the NCC boss said that the consumer parliament was a necessary forum to subject telecom service providers to questioning from their subscribers. Meanwhile, the commission is prepared to license more firms that will provide special numbering services. Special numbering services is defined by the NCC as the provision of toll free, vanity num-
bering services, follow me, one number dial, conference call bridge, intenerated Voice Messaging, Voice Activated Dialing, Unified Messaging, Automated Call Distribution, Agent-AtHome, and any other services as may be approved by the commission. In the document signed by NCC’s Public Affairs Director, Dr. Tony Ojobo, the decision to license more firms for the initiative was in line with its mandate of facilitating access to and promoting competition in the telecommunications services industry in the country. Indeed, those expected to show interest and possibly apply for the license in the country are value added service providers, many of whom provide such related services such as short codes, short message service and alerts on several services. According to the documents,
SAP hinges organisation’s growth on technology OR organisations to overFdoing come the challenges of business, the need to complement their efforts with technology has been reiterated. According to technology solutions provider, SAP, businesses must adopt new technologies for their operations, stressing that such were capable of reducing costs, lag and complications in business processes. The firm said, “Technology has changed and transformed the way we think, act and the speed at which business results are achieved.” For instance, the dynamics of the Human Resources industry in Nigeria, it said, was rapidly changing and was now
faced with a shortage of talent, as well as other challenges including globalisation and striving to achieve more with less. “The expectations on the HR community are becoming more demanding. More than ever before the employee life cycle needs to become a closed loop – from hire to retire, hire to fire or hire to resign. This is where IT comes in,” it added. The firm said there were software solutions that provide integrated tools such as learning management, performance appraisal and succession planning to help HR professionals to reward, retain and promote current employees. This integrated solution, it
explained, enables organisations to make more informed decisions about the status of their talent pool, forecast future skill needs and proactively recruit new talent into the workforce. It said, “Now you just apply for a job on the company’s Web portal or via social media channels which are linked to the career site of an organisation. This is particularly important for the Nigerian market, where travelling long distances and waiting months before receiving an employment acceptance letter is a big challenge. Solutions like ERP Human Capital Management are helping companies to achieve these and more.”
Cheki Mrs. Tomi Hodonu said, “with 30, 000 listings on our website, we expire as many cars as we upload averagely every month, because we want to make sure our esteemed customers have a great experience. “Our online marketplace is as close to the physical marketplace out there. Mobile is important to us at Cheki because the use of mobile Internet is growing so rapidly in this part of the world.” On the spate of competition in the industry, she noted that they are not slowing down in any way, “we are growing as rapidly as all other competition but the advantage is that we have a huge head start and we understand the market in which we operate.”
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Lagos partners top global experts on innovation hub By Bankole Orimisan O attain the innovation hub status of West Africa, Lagos State government, in partnership with PRI Projected Development-an international financial advisory firm, has engaged top global experts to launch Innovative Infrastructure that would enable private sector to explore strategies in the State. According to the parties involved in the scheme, the relationship is aimed at making the state a Regional Centre of Innovation in West Africa at a two-day workshop held recently in Lagos. The former Israeli Chief Scientist and Senior Advisor to the World Bank, Dr. Shuki Gleitma, who spoke on how to advise the state on attracting global technological investment, said, Lagos is uniquely suited to become the innovation hub of West Africa. With the commitment of the Lagos government to increasing the infrastructure and ecosystem required to support and accelerate innovation, there is a real opportunity to leverage technology and innovation in order to leapfrog development in Nigeria.â€? Gleitma commended the vision of the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola for making the state a catalyst for additional investment into innovation, thus boosting job creation in a number of sectors, including agriculture, renewable energy and IT development. The Permanent Secretary in
Lagos State uniquely suited to become the innovation hub of West Africa. With the commitment of the Lagos government to increasing the infrastructure and ecosystem required to support and accelerate innovation, there is a real opportunity to leverage technology and innovation in order to leapfrog development in Nigeria. the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs. Nike Animashaun, expressed appreciation of the presence of Google, Fidelity Bank, Adlevo Capital, Microsoft and Konga.com at the forum. The attendance she said, is a proof, which demonstrated how the private sector can participate and benefit from investment in the innovation ecosystem. She added that Nigerian startups that have won international recognition for their business model such as Prowork and Simple Pay will also share their experiences in raising finances. The event attracted key players and experts in the private sector with leading experts on innovative ideas, including, Mrs. Feyi Boroffice, World Bank Private Sector Development Specialist, Yoram Halevy and CEO of Ofakim HiTech Ventures, a leading Israel Tech incubator. The workshop laid a foundation for fostering innovative ideas in Lagos and
participants were afforded the opportunities to know how the state can promote and support private sector investment in innovation through bridging the gap between R&D and Venture Capital, thereby making Lagos an attractive designation for private equity.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 29
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30 i-Tech & Telecoms Wednesday, April 2, 2014
‘Nigeria should spearhead Africa’s technological growth’ Dr. Evans Ejike Woherem is a computer systems expert. He was an Executive Director of IT & Operations at First Bank of Nigeria Plc, and Unity Bank Plc, from where he retired in 2011. Woherem is currently the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Compumetrics Solutions Limited, the Adviser-in-Chief of Ivory Learning Academy (a premier ICT training school), the Chairman of Caranda Management Services Limited and Digital Africa Global Consult, organisers of Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition, In this interview with ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, he spoke on challenges confronting ICT growth in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. You were at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES 2014 in Las Vegas, what were the major attractions? am bewildered and concerned that African countries do not seem to be in a hurry with regards to their positions in the world’s technology ranking. Africa is far below the rest of the other continents of the world in technology acquisition. Yet, the other continents, especially the Americas, Europe and Asia seem to be on steroids in acquiring and adopting new technologies. However, in Africa, there does not seem to be any sense of urgency at all. It is now commonly known that countries that have technological competence are more developed and economically competitive. They are at the higher pecking order of world development. There is a difference of course between making use of technologies invented and innovated by another country and actually being the inventing country. It is more rewarding to be one of the key inventing and innovating countries of the world in technology. This is what I mean as technological competence. In other words, it is not the mere purchase and use of technologies invented from abroad. So, what is there for Africa technologically? Since the evolution of the first and second industrial revolutions till date, Africa has been at the lower rung of the technology league table. Hence, Africa is the least developed continent economically and so the weakest in power, for there is a positive correlation between having technology and economic development. Europe, supported heavily by technology, started the first and second industrial revolutions with the US, and Asia followed, through Japan. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, a term coined by Jim O’Neil of Goldman Sachs, has awoken and is now also being reckoned with in the technology ecosystem. So we dare to ask: Whither Africa? Something must be done to correct the anomaly. Africa must wake up to the imperative of technology for our economic development. There is a new economic grouping in the making, the MINT (Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey). The acronym was first coined by Fidelity, a Boston Assets management firm, but was also popularised by Jim O’Neil. The MINT countries are being predicted to be the next set of emerging nations to be reckoned with in the world. We are glad that another African country, Nigeria, is among them. However, it must be noted that their predicted positioning in the world country development league table is not a given. It may or may not be actualized. It is merely a prediction for now. For Nigeria, it is largely due to the potentialities of the country. It, therefore, may or may not prove to be the case. It depends largely on the leaders of Nigeria to see to it that this happens. You talked about the MINT countries and their potentials; what is expected of Nigeria to lead this emerging economic bloc? For Nigeria to truly be a prototypical MINT country, there has to be a national sense of urgency for economic development, and so, for technological development in the country. In South Korea, in the 1990s, the government, industry and academia collaborated to come up with an economic development strategy that had Information Technology (IT) at its heart, and they underpinned it all by saying that whatever they need to do in order to grow economically and technologically, they need to do so “bballi bballi,” that is “hurry hurry,” in Korean. They thus recognised fully that in order to catch up, he who is behind needs to run even faster than he that is at the front, or he would be forever a laggard, a follower, a mimic or worse, the despised of the world. To get to the level of technological competence of the rest of the world, African countries need to run faster than they are running so far. This requires for our leaders to comprehend that reality and develop a sense of urgency for the development of technology and the economy. It needs to be done in such a comprehensive and holistic manner that all family members, construction workers, pupils at school, teachers, market women, taxi drivers on the streets, etc., should be aware of the development imperatives and the reasons for the sense of urgency for development in the country. The governments of African countries should do this as if our collective lives depend on it, for the people are ready. The people are indeed ready, for they have acquired most of the necessary conditions for the leapfrogging of development. What is left is the sufficient condition that can be engendered by the leadership of the country. Are they ready for this? Or are they satisfied with the status quo? The good news is that, at the level of the citizens, especially the youth, Africa is waking up rapidly. The youth are very much at home with technology. Many are very educated in science, engineering and technology. Africans in the Diaspora are highly competent in new technology. Many of them are making enormous names abroad especially in IT. So, together with Africans at home, they cherish and welcome technology and do not have any iota of the luddism of their fathers, mothers, uncles and aunties, who happen to be at the helms of the decision making in Africa. They are ready to not only use but to participate in creating new technologies, especially IT systems. Many of them in fact, belong to what Prof. Vijay Mahajan of McCoombs Business School of Texas University calls the “Cheater generation.” A generation that is very much at home with and talented at the use and development of technology. In fact, the youth of Africa, especially those living in the cities, are now practically at the same level of interestedness and ability in the use of new technologies as are the youth of the rest of the world. The only problems are to do with access to some of those new
Woherem technologies. This is because Africa is still one of the digitally deprived sections of the world. This can be seen in the percentage of Africans with access to new technologies. It is very low. Many Africans, about 50 per cent, still live in the villages, and even among the cities, many are too poor to afford some of the new technologies. However, the rate of adoption of the new technology products even in the villages and the ghettoes are staggering. Thus, I have no doubt that Africa is ready to adopt new technologies. African countries, as can be seen through the actions of their youths, are similar to people from other parts of the world with regards to interests in the use of new technologies. They are equally willing to participate in the design, development and production of new technologies. They are therefore, not just interested in the use; they are also interested in the development and production of the systems here in Africa. They also have the potential for the needed technical know-hows. What is handicapping them is the training, access to the skills and expertise to conceptualise, design, develop and mass produce the new technology products. What is needed is the enablement needed in terms of access to where to acquire the skills and the funds required for inventing and innovating new products. What does CES hold for the African continent? You know that CES is the “bazaar” and “Mecca” for new computer and electronic products. It is usually where key technology companies first debut their latest innovations, and where new upstart companies also go to show what they have created. It is therefore, where you feel the tempo of the world’s creativity in fashioning out the new products that we will live with, work with and play with in the near future. It is my first time for going to the CES. I have been to the Cebit that hold every March in Hannover, in Germany, which I also think very highly of. However, the CES is noted for being the platform for first showcasing new innovations. I could therefore, not wait to see the latest products that would become commonplace in the world from now to the next 12 months. I also recalled that just some two months ago, I participated in the executive program of the Singularity University (SU) in the Bay area of California, near San Francisco. The SU executive program gives you an epiphany moment or a peak experience. At the SU, you are literally taken to the mountain top to behold the future of the world, in terms of the emergent disruptive, exponential, empowering and even promethean technologies that inexorably will be the fate of the world or that we shall be living with in the short to long term. Thus whilst the SU gives you a deep insight into the emergent technologies the world is creating now in the laboratories of the world, mainly in the laboratories of the US and Europe, and that would become common place in the medium to long term, the CES shows you those that have already been fabricated, tested and that are already being steadily introduced in the market, or that will be in the market before the end of the year. With regards to the latter, it is not only US, Canadian and European companies that are the developers, even more so the Asians are, with a huge participation by companies from China. Going to the CES (with other colleagues from Africa), as well as my going to the SU, gave me the feeling that Africa was given a special goggle with which to stick our nose to the window pane of the innovation house of the world, in which, for now Africa, is not a participant, to peek at or observe the creative genius of the West and Asia. There, we see their creations in the form of products and technologies that would change our lives and our world in the near to long-term future and dream of one day being part of it all. We are today largely not part of that innovation house. The sad part of it is that our leaders do not seem to care or feel a sense of urgency for us to be part of the innovation house. Nevertheless, when many consumer products from the world’s innovation house come out, our leaders are often eager and one of the first to acquire them. What were in display at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES?
The 2014 CES was declared open by Gary Shapiro, the President and CEO of the CES, who pointed out that the 2014 CES was the largest ever with over 2million net square feet of exhibition space, involving over 3500 exhibitors, more than 150,000 industry professionals in attendance, including Industry affiliates, exhibitors and buyers and Consumer electronics enthusiasts. Looking at the about 3500 exhibition booths with the many products being exhibited, it is like we are now in a world in which innovation has gone mad. According to Gary Shapiro, CES is the gathering place for checking out what is to come and for showcasing the best of human creativity and ingenuity. It is where innovation comes to the market and where you behold the highpoint of the year. In fact, it kicks the year off for many companies. They go the CES and see all that are now being offered and use same to energize themselves, their companies, know what to buy in the course of the year, or what to learn and use to up the ante by enhancing their own creations. At the CES, both the disrupters and thought leaders come to do business and often times create totally new industries overnight. The industry is reinventing itself every day. Innovations go hand in hand with disruption. It is uncomfortable but it improves our lives. Thus, although resistance often is the case, it helps to create new jobs and change how we communicate, how we work, how we live and how we socialise or play. You see a lot of ways in which technologies are converging. To Shapiro, the CES brims with optimism for our future. It is designed so that new alliances can be formed and new innovations can be encouraged to make the world a better and more exciting place. It gives insight into the future. Whither Africa in all of these? It is so disheartening that there are no African exhibits. Next time there should at least be an African pavilion with at least 30 African companies exhibiting interesting innovations out of Africa. Digital Africa (DA) has arranged with the management of the CEA for this to materialise. We are therefore, looking forward to CES 2015, in which there would be an African Pavilion with about 30 African companies demonstrating their wares. Africa thus went to the CES 2014 largely as an observer, but in 2015, it would be as a significant participant. I am sure that the world will love and welcome this, and so, that the African pavilion will attract a lot of visitors. I am therefore excited about CES 2015, for if we achieve the goal of an African pavilion with 30 African companies exhibiting their world class innovative wares, Africa would then have formally been invited into the metaphorical house of innovation I referred to above, which for now we observe by sticking our nose and doing so with a given spectacle. The exhibitions and keynotes and other activities were happening in convention centres, hotels, etc. The hotels were so huge they have huge malls, gaming/gambling fields, loads of restaurants, seminar rooms, exhibition halls, conference rooms, gyms, etc. There were buses to convey participants from one hotel to another and to the convention centres. There were daily newspapers cum magazines on the event. There were a huge number of journalists, rooms for journalists, restaurants, bookshops, etc. The organization was meticulous and everything ran without hitches. Going forward, what kind of new technologies do we expect to see now? Looking at the plethora of products exhibited at the 2014 CES, we can clearly see that we have come a long way, from mainframe computers to mini computers, workstation, PCs, laptops, PDAs, tablets, smart phones, and now to wearable products with sensors that enhance the monitoring of bodies or that provide us with more information. We now have the convergence of different systems or product paradigms or technological trajectories. A TV is no longer just a TV, it can now do internet and function as a radio, clock, etc. Thus, a computer, radio, watch, phone, camera among others are no longer just what they used to be. The lines between them are now all blurring. We have entered an age of mass customisation. You can receive goods with your name or personal needs customised into them. Everything we can think of is now about to start being linked to every other thing in the world through the Internet. In the past, only computer servers were interconnected into the Internet. Then eventually our laptops, tablets, smart phones also got connected. Now every other thing imaginable are about to start being linked to the internet, leading to a world of internet of everything, i.e., in which everything you can think of is linked to the internet, be it our fridges, light bulbs, doors, gates, bodies, cars, golf bags, air conditioners, cookers or ovens. The installed base for interconnected devices is approaching two billion. Then 3D printing will completely change how we manufacture and distribute products. It will greatly personalize it. Cars and vehicles of all sorts will be able to drive themselves, changing our roads, the concept of having chauffeurs, and bring about an era of cars on demand. It would then indeed become Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”. You can create your own products, put trackers on pets, children and on ourselves. We are digitising everyday objects including Multidimensional screen expansion -expanding and enhancing of spectrum of screens in terms of colour, size and resolution. Ultra High Definition TVs will revolutionise our TV screens, which can be used to go to the Internet as well as play games. Syncview TVs, in which two or three people can concurrently watch their different programmes or films on the same TV with the use of
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 i-Tech & Telecoms 31
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ISPON gets new head, tasks govt on software growth FTER four successful years ministration would in the A of two terms as the Presi- next two years focus strongly dent of the Institute of Soft- on driving intellectual prop-
New president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Pius Okigbo Jr (left) and immediate past president, Chris Uwaje at the formal handing over ceremony in Lagos, on Monday.
SMEs tasked on online protection By Adeyemi Adepetun HILE fraud is most prevaW lent in companies with more than 100 employees, the effects of this menace are often magnified within the Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs). It is on this basis that CheckPoint Software Technologies Limited and Secure and Trusted Alliance Services Limited (STA) have urged SMEs to protect their businesses from any form of threat use of the Internet can cause. According to these two firms, SMEs in Nigeria were currently not doing enough to protect their networks, saying the high level of neglect had made them the targets of some fraudsters. Speaking at a forum in Lagos to address basic Internet threats to businesses, the Man-
aging Director, STA, Biodun Jagun said most SMEs believed they were too small to be targeted for any attack, while some others felt they had sufficient protection in place already. He said in some quarters, there were also perceptions that cyber security was too expensive and complex to tackle for the SMEs. Quoting The Wall Street Journal, Jagun said studies had shown that most SMEs that suffered a cyber attack could not recover. “Some SMEs have small IT workers with no security training; some don’t know where to start from; and some have relaxed the culture and lack formal security policies”, he stated To worsen this, he explained that some security solution available in the market are
overly complex, while also stressing that the situation had continued to evolve with more sophisticated security threats coming on board. He pointed that SMEs now represented the best Return on Investment for cyber criminals, stressing that unfortunately, lack of budgetary allocation for security technologies by SMEs had continued to prevail. This rising challenge, according to Jagun, has informed the development of the Check Point 600 Appliance solution for the SMEs in Nigeria. He said Check Point 600 appliances deliver proven enterprise-grade security in a simple, affordable, all-in-one security solution to protect your employees, your applications and your data from
Nokia X smartphone enters Nigerian market OKIA has announced the N introduction of the Nokia X Smartphone into the Nigerian market a few weeks after it was launched to wide acclaim at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The dual sim android compatible device comes with a fresh, tilebased user interface inspired by the Lumia family as well as Fastlane to simplify and enhance the consumer experience. Addressing trade partners at the launch ceremony which was held in Lagos at the weekend, the Head of Marketing, Nokia West and Central Africa,
Debbie Shepard explained that the Nokia X device combines beautifully crafted design, quality hardware with access to the android app ecosystem to provide consumers with an affordable dual SIM smartphone in a range of exciting colours. “We believe this unique combination will resonate with consumers around the world and set a great precedent for the level of quality that can be achieved in the fast-growing, affordable Smartphone segment. Users will enjoy signature Nokia experiences including free* HERE Maps, with true offline maps and integrated turn-
by-turn navigation, Microsoft services such as Skype, One Drive and Outlook email as well as chat applications including BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and WhatsApp” she said. Speaking further she noted that “ The device comes with a 10.4mm slim, durable monobody design further enhanced by 4” scratch-proof display and an exchangeable back cover that come in a variety of statement colours. The device runs on the Nokia X Software Platform and is powered by a 1Ghz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.”
Firms hold seminar on IT for traffic management O help stem rising traffic ofT fences and general road indiscipline, StarTraq Limited UK, a traffic offence management and enforcement company in collaboration with Data Sciences Nigeria Limited, an indigenous IT company in Nigeria, will be organising a one-day seminar and demonstration on the many practical ways of capturing, processing and administering of traffic infractions in accordance with enacted laws. The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, will chair the event, which is scheduled to
hold in Lagos tomorrow. A statement from the organisers informed that practical demonstration of how traffic infractions can be detected and checkmated will be provided by Tele-Traffic Ltd UK, providers of traffic enforcement systems including cameras with over 98 per cent coverage in UK and Ireland working in synergy with StarTraq Limited UK, providers of the StarTraq Dome, a traffic software technology that offers dynamic offence and management enforcement (DOME) services. To the Managing Director of
Data Sciences Nigeria Limited, Aniekan Etiebet, traffic abuses were rampant and ever growing in Nigeria’s major cities and other fast growing commercial centres as the country recorded a surge in urban growth. “One way to address these challenges on our roads is to bring technology to bear on traffic regulations and enforcement. That is why we believe urban centres such as Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Uyo and Port Harcourt among others can begin to benefit from these globally tested solutions.”
cyber-theft for small offices like yours. Indeed, reports have it that many small business operators leave themselves wide open to online fraud simply because they have limited IT skills. ‘Hackers look for vulnerable businesses and people, they don’t care about size, they just care that you are vulnerable.’ Besides, a recent study showed that 32 per cent of businesses operating online have been victims of fraud, with banks losing over $2 million a month to online fraud.
ware Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Chris Uwaje, on Monday, in Lagos, passed the leadership baton to the new head of the institute, Pius Okigbo Jr. ISPON represents the interests of the national software engineering and services developers’ community in Nigeria. At the handing over ceremony, Uwaje who urged the new president to continue to advocate for indigenous software growth in the country, stressed that it had become highly imperative for President Goodluck Jonathan to support local content development in various sub-sectors of Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology. Uwaje said, “software development may not succeed in Nigeria, unless President Goodluck Jonathan speaks, use, sleep it.” According to him, as an emerging market, Nigeria held greater potential to become technology hub of Africa if the right environment was created, favourable policies and high patronage were demonstrated. Taking a cue from Uwaje, Okigbo Jr, who promised to work harder and ensure more development around software in the country, stressed that a lot more needed be done to move the software sector forward. Okigbo Jr, who is the chief executive officer of InfoSoft Technology, said that his ad-
erty right and local content development. He explained that development around local content could to a greater extent help the young nascent industry. “We want our indigenous talent to deliver solutions across all the sectors of the economy.” Okigbo Jr. informed that ISPON, under his leadership would work closely with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, financial institutions, and the oil and gas sector to ensure software solutions get patronage. Like Uwaje, the new ISPON president noted that government must support the sector if indigenous software must grow. “We have come to realise that apart from appropriate policies, government must buy into this idea. They are the greatest stakeholder in this project,” he stated. According to him, he would use his office to among other things, champion fair pricing of indigenous software, work against negative perception of the sub-sector and advocate a curriculum that would give software development an edge. The new president called attention to the dynamism and strength of the new NEC, observing that its configuration reflected an eclectic mix of industry leaders in software and services across economic sectors from start-ups to mature
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34 i-Tech & Telecoms Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Fresh sanctions loom on Lagos telecoms mast owners By Adeyemi Adepetun HE Lagos State Government T has threatened to impose fresh sanction in the form of fine on all telecoms operators, over refusal to submit the accurate list of telecoms masts of each operator to the state. General Manager, Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit (UFRU) Joe Igbokwe, who gave the hint in Lagos, said, “the state government is worried by the discrepancies in the figures of masts submitted by some of the operators, and the refusal of other operators to submit any list.” UFRU is the Lagos State Agency responsible for the supervision of all installed infrastructure in the state, including telecoms masts. Igbokwe said that UFRU would embark on the numbering of all telecoms masts in the state and warned that any operator whose figure varied from the actual number of masts it operated in Lagos, would attract a penalty of N5 million per mast. He, therefore, called on operators to be honest in submitting the list of their operated telecoms masts in Lagos, without further delay. Igbokwe who also frowned at
the recent collapse of a hollow type communications mast belonging to Access Bank, located in its Idimu branch in Agege, Lagos, said UFRU would begin decommissioning of all hollow type masts and towers in the state after April 30th this year. He explained that banks, insurance companies, government agencies, oil companies, ICT companies, hotels, schools, and other small users of communications masts had ignored the state government’s ultimatum to replace old and dangerous hollow type masts with galvanised steel masts. Recounting the dangers of hollow type masts, Igbokwe said that many people had lost their lives and property worth millions of naira to collapsed masts in the state, insisting that all users of communications masts must replace them with galvanised steel masts. He however commended GTBank, Zenith Bank and Wema Bank, for showing serious commitment in complying with the directives of the state. Listing some of the telecoms operators that were yet to submit their lists to UFRU, The General Manager said that
Recounting the dangers of hollow type masts, Igbokwe said that many people had lost their lives and property worth millions of naira to collapsed masts in the state, insisting that all users of communications masts must replace them with galvanised steel masts. Globacom, MTN, Airtel, Etisalat, 21st Century, IHS, Helios Towers, among others, were yet to submit the list of the current number of telecoms masts they were operating in the state. “Globacom has not visited our office since the signing of the agreement between Lagos State and telecoms operators on the reduction of telecoms levies and fees in the state. One of the operators submitted a particular list and after three weeks, it returned to submit yet another list, with conflicting figures and this will not be tolerated,” Igbokwe said. Giving reasons why operators had to submit lists of telecoms masts in the state, Igbokwe said that the idea would help the state monitor and supervise all existing and new masts in the state. According to him, the recent
agreement reached between the operators and the state, had reduced the cost of existing masts permit to N600, 000 and new masts permit to N850, 000 per mast. Each mast has a yearly renewal fee of N30, 000. Lagos State Government recently signed an agreement with telecoms operators, under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON). In that agreement, Lagos State slashed the levies for Right of Way and telecoms infrastructure such as masts by 80 per cent. Worried that operators had refused to comply with the state directives, Igbokwe said that he had hoped that the operators would reciprocate the good gesture of the state government by cooperating with the state.
MTN introduces new Internet initiative on roaming S part of its effort to ensure A Internet accessibility at the most affordable rate while
Wife of Nassarawa State governor, Hajia Salamatu Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (left)Chief Executive Officer, Mainasara Comm. Ltd, Boniface Okwu; Airtel Nigeria’s Zonal Business Manager, North, Lynda Umeh and Regional Operations Director, North, Olufemi Oyewole at the commissioning of the new Airtel Express Shop along Makurdi road in Lafia, Nassarawa.
IBM selects Abuja, 15 others for smarter cities grant By Bankole Orimisan IGERIA’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and 15 other cities globally, have been selected by IBM for its Smarter Cities Challenge for 2014. The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant programme that sends teams of some of IBM’s most talented experts to select cities and regions worldwide to provide expertise on the most critical issues faced by communities today. IBM will therefore be helping 16 cities and counties around the world this year to address issues ranging from clean water, healthy food, and revenue generation, to job development, efficient transportation, and public safety. To this end, IBM has named
recipients of its Smarter Cities Challenge for 2014. For these pro bono consultative engagements, IBM teams are studying a local issue chosen by a winning municipality. They spent three weeks in the region gathering and analyzing all relevant data and reports, while meeting in person with dozens of members of the government, citizen, business, and not-for-profit communities. In doing so, they gathered diverse perspectives about the factors involved and potential solutions to the opportunity at hand. At the conclusion of these studies, IBM would presents comprehensive recommendations for addressing the issue in line with recognised “best practices.” This would followed weeks later by a more detailed, written plan for its implementation.
Smarter Cities Challenge was originally conceived in 2011 as a three-year grant programme, but highly positive feedback and significant results have encouraged IBM to extend the initiative. In its first three years, IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge deployed 600 experts on sixperson teams that provided strategic and practical advice to 100 municipalities. These highly prized three-week engagements, each currently valued at $500,000, have helped local government address key challenges. Given that effective local governance today relies on the coordination of multiple municipalities, IBM made regional governments eligible for the grant programme this year, not just cities. With the previous participation of 100 cities, the Smarter Cities Chal-
lenge program now also offers winning municipalities access to fellow leaders with whom to consult on similar issues, so as to share strategies that have been effective elsewhere. IBM will work with municipalities this year that seek its input on projects such as the following; improving transportation options by connecting roads, bike paths, sidewalks and rails, protecting the environment with better water quality, collecting revenue, lowering costs and managing budgets more efficiently, leveraging local industries and natural resources for tourism and economic development, making more nutritious and affordable food available in urban neighborhoods, harnessing the sun and converting waste products into electrical energy among others.
roaming, MTN Nigeria has slashed its data roaming rate with the introduction of its new roaming package tagged ‘Roam like Home with MTN One World’. The MTN One World rates will enable MTN prepaid and postpaid subscribers, who travel out of the country, to have access to the Internet on their mobile phones and send text messages, paying a standard home rate of five kobo per kilobyte and N4 per SMS, as if they are in Nigeria. This service is available in any of its 19 operating countries. The Chief Marketing Officer of the company, Larry Annetts, explained that the key strategic focus for the new tariff plan was to ensure data communication at the most affordable rate on the go. “We are always committed to deliver a new world of digital experience to our customers and the thrust of this initiative is to ensure friendly roaming tariff rates, where our customers who travel to any of our 19 operating countries can still feel at home, brows-
ing at a standard home rate of five kobo per kilobyte. “Our customers traveling to Ghana, Cameroun, Republic of Benin, South Africa and other MTN operating countries can continue to update their profile messages, share pictures and great moments on social networks, as well as read their emails and browse the internet without any differential in data cost.” Apart from the data rate, customers can also enjoy same SMS home rate of N4, affordable call rates and other affordable friendly roaming services that MTN offers. Speaking on how to enjoy the new MTN One World, Annetts explained that subscribers neither needed a migrating code, subscription fee nor airtime deposit, as they “automatically qualify to use and enjoy the rates while roaming in any of the 19 MTN operating countries. All this required is to ensure that data is turned on while roaming. Subscribers roaming on MTN OneWorld can also conveniently check their account balance and recharge via MTN Nigeria’s available top up options.”
NCS members to pay yearly dues with Remita solution HE Central Bank of Nigeria tiative in compliance with the T (CBN’s) cashless policy got CBN’s policy, SystemSpecs has a boost at the weekend when waived its normal standing orthe management of SystemSpecs, the Nigerian softwarehouse giant behind Remita, offered waiver to the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), which afforded over 10, 000 members the opportunity to remit their yearly dues through Remita. With this development, NCS individual members would issue standing orders via Remita to their respective banks, and the banks would remit the various payments to NCS’ bank accounts. To demonstrate its commitment towards ensuring that NCS members fully embrace the electronic remittance ini-
ders fees for NCS members for the 2014 yearly dues. The Managing Director/CEO, SystemSpecs, John Obaro explained: “With this gesture, our objective is obvious. We want to reduce people’s need for handwriting cheque. We want to reduce the need to make payments using physical cash. For routine payments like membership fees, subscription payments etc, you do not have to keep writing cheques all the time. Individuals can use Remita to handwrite a cheque normally or issue standing order payments. These are what the CBN’s cashless policy is about.”
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 i-Tech & Telecoms
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OneCard collaborates with Lekki Concession Company NECARD Nigeria, the inO novative fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)
A Teleprensence room
‘Simcard registration curbing crime rate’ By Bankole Orimisan HE regulator of the teleT coms sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said the registration of subscriber identity modules (SIMs) in the country has drastically reduced the spate of criminal activities in the country. The Director, Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, who spoke on the sideline at the opening ceremony of this year’s edition of Securex Exhibition, held in Lagos, said cases of people using their mobile phones to send threat messages, requests for ransom and extort people have stopped because they have realised that they can no longer hide under the cover of anonymity provided them under the previous dispensation. According to him, “all SIM cards in the country have been
registered. No subscriber can use any SIM card without first registering it. So, when people use their mobile phones to perpetrate criminal activities, they are sure to be apprehended by security agencies. This has been made possible through the SIM card registration exercise implemented by the NCC,” he said. Earlier in his opening address, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Eugene Juwah expressed worries over the increasing sophistication of criminal activities in the country, arguing that while those in pursuit of high technology solutions are not relenting in efforts to break new grounds, criminals are also becoming more ingenuous in their attempt to run away from the long arm of the law. Represented at the event by Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Tony Ojobo, Juwah said
this development had made it near-impossible to totally wipe out criminal acts from the earth’s surface, adding that even in developed countries, criminals continue to perpetrate their evil acts. He said “one of the most worrisome aspects of high tech crime is its dynamism and sophistication. While those in pursuit of high tech solutions are busy working hard to crack new dimensions, the perpetrators keep increasing their pace and sophistication escape justice. This is why it has become impossible to wipe away crimes and such activities and actions that pose threats to the security of our lives and properties. This is why even the most sophisticated parts of the world are not immune to the dangers posed in an unsecured society.” He stressd that as the regulator of the telecoms industry,
ActivEdge implements SmartStream Solution in Zenith Bank By Bankole Orimisan CTIVEDGE Technologies A has implemented SmartStream’s Corona TLM Reconciliation solution in Zenith Bank of Nigeria Plc. The bank’s objective for adopting the solution is to eliminate errors, secure timely completion of transaction, centralise all reconciliation process in one single system, focus more on exceptions management and operational risk, and attain high processing efficiency. George Agu, chief executive officer of ActivEdge Technologies, distributor and local implementation partners of SmartStream observed that at this crucial time when banks are working with lower margin, more regulatory pressure and high complexity; there is high demand for efficiency in back office operations. Richard Okafor, project manager of Zenith Bank, observed that everyone wants to be part of a success and went further to thank the team from ActivEdge Technologies, SmartStream and his colleagues for the extra effort
that they have put in to achieve such a great result starting from day one. “The bank has always been ahead of the pack in Nigeria and with this whole reconciliation process now automated, we are now going to focus on growing our business and providing unmatched services to our customers since the load of back office operation has become minimal.” He commended the ActivEdge Technologies team in particular for being very pro-
fessional in meeting the deadline set for go live on this project. SmartStream Technologies has over 40 per cent market share in the entire reconciliation market space globally providing reconciliation, exceptions management, gL substantiation, cash and liquidity management, corporate event Action management, transaction Fee and invoice management to over 2000 corporates in the last 40 years.
the NCC will continue to collaborate with other relevant security agencies in the country ensure that the security of lives and properties are guaranteed for the wellbeing of all the people living in the country. According to him, one practical step taken to curtail the spate of criminal activities perpetrated through the use of mobile phones was registration of all subscriber identity modules (SIMs) in the country. He said “the implementation of all SIM cards in the net-
work to provide clear identity for telecom users is one clear step in this direction. It was our solution to the level of crimes associated with the use of phones. Ordinarily, phone services have been designed to provide solutions to our communications needs but criminals have capitalised on this to also dislocate the society. Our response to this security need included the provision of a foundation for verification of citizen identification which is needed for national planning and a secured nation.”
Cyber Africa Innovation Awards announces nominees for 2014 RGANISERS of Cyber Africa O Innovation Awards transatlantic media company have announced the nominees for the 2014 edition. The biannual event now in its third edition, celebrate and give recognition to the achievements made by young people, organisations, entrepreneurs and governments using technology to drive the continent’s digital inclusion. The Cyber Africa Innovation Award formerly known as the Africa Information Society Merit Award is a showcase of the very best innovation in science, technology, and ICT and enterprise. The 2014 edition coming up on May 18, now have new categories added. The new categories are meant to accommodate tech and en-
terprise innovators not leaving out consumers and other sectors such as manufacturing, FMCG, agriculture, governance and education. In a statement made available to journalists, Group Cocoordinator of the Cyber Nigeria Forum & CAIA 2014, Dr. Bayero Agabi said the CAIA has become a Stamp of authority, authenticity, recognition and quality to the entire industry judging from quality and quantity of attendance and partnerships. Agabi added that the platform provides an excellent opportunity for Nigeria’s digital community to network and reinforce relationships with partners in other sectors as the forum cuts across entertainment, creativity, business and education.
CWG launches investor relations website OMPUTER Warehouse C Group (CWG) Plc is happy to announce the launch of her new investor relations (IR) website. The website, which was launched to meet the information needs of investors, Stock brokers and journalists, was developed, hosted and maintained by NASDAQ OMX. The NASDAQ OMX-hosted IR website incorporates the look and feel of Computer Warehouse Group’s corporate
website, providing visitors with a seamless experience. It is targeted at increasing the benefits to investors, providing the investor with unparalleled transparency, combined with a personalised online experience, and facilitating return visits. It provides the exact information for identifying opportunities and to advance valuation, a goal that all stakeholders share. The contents of the website
site incorporate the following: a financials and press room, which includes news releases, official logos; executive information, and corporate information. It will also include, SEC filings, complete SEC page with filings made available as discrete categories of documents. First Call analyst estimates to provide the same industry recognised data that professional investors’ use when
gaining a perspective on corporate financial earnings forecasts. This page includes Earnings Comparison, Price Earnings (P/E) Comparison, Analyst Ratings, earning per share (EPS) trends and revisions. Stock Quotes tocommunicate share value is one of the most important functions of the IR website. Options include current and historical stock performance, stock splits, and benchmark comparisons.
company that provides top up solutions on multiple platforms has announced the execution of a service agreement with Lekki Concession Company (LCC). By this agreement, motorists registered with LCC’s uniquely popular eTag electronic toll collection device can now top up their toll account through any of the three channels of the firm, namely MyTopUp Nigeria, MyTopUp Business and Direct TopUp. MyTopUp Nigeria is a secure web (internet) platform, which is designed to enable top-up of all prepaid accounts at once using debit or credit cards. MyTopUp Business is a robust service designed for corporate customers that allows them to top-up bulk accounts simultaneously in a quick and secure manner. The third service, Direct TopUp, is designed for retailers and it involves the use of branded mobile agents whose responsibility it will be to assist new and existing eTag customers to top up their toll accounts. The Chief Executive Officer, OneCard Nigeria, Alhaji Ahmad Baba, said the partnership with Lekki Concession Company was another demonstration of ‘the fact that his company was innovating in a meaningful way.
Airtel unveils premier club By Faith Oparaugo N a bid to build robust Itomers, network for its cusAirtel Nigeria has unveiled its prestigious Airtel Premier Club. Speaking about the event, the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya stated that the company is committed to creating opportunities that will offer platforms for reasoned discourse and also set the tone for the continuous growth and development of the Nigerian economy. According to him, “at Airtel Nigeria, customer-centricity is embedded in our DNA, forming a harmonious blend with our corporate vision of becoming the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians. We are passionate about promoting constructive dialogue and also partnering with our esteemed stakeholders to realise their dreams and aspirations.”. He noted that rewards and recognition is Airtel’s humble attempt to make our most valued customers feel special. There will be periodic ‘pleasant surprises’ like a free trial of a product or the privilege to experience a new service/product before anybody else gets a chance to even hear about it. We aim to bring a smile to our customers faces.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Maritime Enhancing port terminals through classification
By Moses Ebosele
OR almost 10 years, private investors have dictated the pace of activities and operations at Nigerian port terminals under a concession agreement. Under the arrangement, private terminal operators ensure passage of goods through the ports, provide cargo-handling equipment and maintain infrastructure, among others. The development, which has since 2006 compelled the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) to assume the status of landlord, also defined its roles to include safety, security, supervision for port planning and development, environmental issues, nautical management of the channels and waterways like lighting and dredging activities. Indeed, prior to the concession exercise, bidders were invited to take advantage of the individual features of the ports especially in the area of classifications and designated handling. However, as the concession journey takes shape, terminal operators are coming under intense economic and financial pressure, leading to what is now referred to as scramble for cargoes by all means. The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) had in 2004 announced through the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) that out of numerous applications, not less than 86 local and foreign private investors have entered the initial bid for the concession programme for port terminals in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Onne, Warri, Sapele, and Koko. The ports were then in poor state and falling short of all indices for measuring efficiency and performance. According to observers, the 2004 scenario is currently playing out itself as some terminal operators are allegedly making effort to out-
Okonjo-Iweala wit one another in a bid to attract more cargoes not putting into consideration port configuration and characteristics. Meanwhile, as Nigerians await the passage of the Transport and Harbour Bill, which is expected to give legal backing to the regulatory functions of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), observers are of the opinion that terminal operators should be encouraged to concentrate on their area of specialization as enshrined in the concession documents. For example, they argued that terminals that have handled oil and gas cargoes and facilities over the years should be allowed to consolidate on their area of expertise and strengthen. They also argued that right from inception, bidders were notified of individual features of the port terminals, pointing out that there is a huge difference between Oil & Gas terminals and general cargo terminal. General cargo terminal handles goods designed for convenient movement from one location to the other such as cartons, crates, and bags, among others. On the other hand, Oil & Gas terminals flaunt special features because of its peculiar demand and activities.
The need for caution and sustained specialisation may have prompted the Federal Government to designate some port terminals for Oil & Gas. Speaking at the 2012 Oil & Gas Forum in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, President Goodluck Jonathan commended investors’ confidence in the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone (FTZ), at the Onne Port Complex. He explained that there was need to make more investors know the investment opportunities that are available in the FTZ. Also, as at 2012, not less than $2.3 billion had been invested by the concessionaire in Onne Port, Integrated Services Nigeria Limited (INTELS) while about $5.4 billion has been reportedly generated as revenue and paid into the coffers of the Federal Government through the operations of the various firms in Onne Port. The fund, according to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, was generated into the coffers of the Federal Government through the management of NPA and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). Located within a dedicated OGFZ, Onne Port Complex is regarded as a success story under the Federal Government PublicPrivate-Partnership (PPP) in the
Umar maritime sector. The stride recorded at Onne Port may have prompted calls on the Federal Government to grant INTELS and other investors the opportunity to replicate the success story at other locations. As part of measures to sustain its operations, the management of Intels, recently pledged to give priority to issues associated with Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) in 2014 business year. Reviewing its 2013 operations and projection for 2014, the company also challenged its employees to drive NSE from “top down so as to achieve its purpose”. According to Intels, managing health, safety and environment gives the organisation “a significant opportunity to reduce costs from damages and reduce risks to employees, improve standing among clients and stakeholders, better corporate reputation and increased productivity. It also demonstrates to the employees that top management is committed to the organisation’s health, safety and environmental policies. “This type of leadership involves interaction between leaders and followers to safely achieve organisational goals and vision”, said Intels, adding, “Workers look up to their supervisors and manage-
As Nigerians await the passage of the Transport and Harbour Bill, which is expected to give legal backing to the regulatory functions of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), observers are of the opinion that terminal operators should be encouraged to concentrate on their area of specialisation as enshrined in the concession documents.
ment for direction and guidance especially as it has to do with their safety in the workplace”. The company said when leaders demonstrate commitment in this regard through visibility at the work site and leading by example, developing open, honest and trusting relationships with the workforce, paying attention to the welfare of the workers, establishing harmonious relationship with subordinates, setting realistic goals and maintaining performance level, “then the organisation is bound to have an organisational climate where workers are confident of the organisation and will be willing to go the extra mile to sustain good HSE performance in the organisation”. According to Intels in-house publication, ‘Safety Guardian’, 2014 “will require our continuous proactive safety intervention to excel”. The publication also outlined some achievements attained by the company in 2013 especially in the area of training. For example, Intels Nigeria Limited in collaboration with the Orlean Training Academy conducted several trainings (External and Internal) within the first and fourth quarter of 2013. The company identified the training as “Aviation Telephony, Basic First Aid, Fire Warden, Defensive Driving, Slinger Signaler, Forklift Truck Operation, Working at Height, Crawler Crane and Lifting Equipment Inspection. Others are “Rigging Loft Attendant, Confined Space Awareness, Risk Assessment, Behavioral based Safety, Chemical handling, Hands-free Lifting awareness, Near miss Reporting, Material Cargo Handling, fall prevention, Cargo lashing, Forklift Safety, Hand injury Prevention, Operational Procedures, Train the Trainer, Excel, Word”, among others.
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APM Terminals explains $220m investment on port equipment Stories by Moses Ebosele OT less than $220 milN lion has been invested by APM Terminals Apapa Limited to upgrade its facilities and acquire modern container handling equipment. Meanwhile, vessel-waiting time at the port facility has reduced from 28 days in 2006 to less than a day under the present dispensation. In a paper presented at a forum put together by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Chief Commercial Officer of APM Terminals Apapa, Neil Fletcher, said since the old Apapa container terminal was concessioned to the company in 2006, APM Terminals has
invested and worked hard to ensure efficiency in service delivery. According to him, the terminal now handle an average monthly throughput of 50,000 TEU’s, adding that a new administrative building and container examination facility designed to meet the high demand for physical inspection of cargoes is underway. Explaining further, Fletcher said: “We are building a new three story building which includes 200 square meters of new offices for Customs in Apapa.” Fletcher who spoke on sundry issues said: “We waive storage charges on anything we are responsible for. We get 10 to 15 requests a day for waiver and out of those request, 90 per cent
start off by saying, we know it is not your fault but can you help us? That is what I get. If it is our responsibility, we will waive. We waive for scanning and physical examination cargo that was not positioned within 48 hours. Most of them are not our fault but we still waive the charges.” Meanwhile, Fletcher has described APM Terminals Apapa as “the largest, best equipped terminal in West Africa”. Fletcher, told delegates at the just concluded 12th Intermodal Conference and Exhibition held in Lagos that the leading terminal operator is a multi-user facility having 10 shipping lines calling at its terminal. He said the terminal is fully ISPS compliant and is the
first container terminal to introduce RTGs (Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes) operations in Nigeria. He said when APM Terminals took over operation of the Apapa container terminal in 2006, vessel waiting time was up to 30 days while the container yard had no markings, was waterlogged and filled with debris. He also said that the general condition of equipment of equipment at the terminal pre-concession was generally poor while buildings within the terminal were obstructing consolidated stacking and reducing capacity. In his address, President of LCCI, Remi Bello, urged the government to address issues of duplication of
responsibilities by the agencies operating at the nation’s ports. Bello said: “There are concerns about weak regulatory framework to protect port users. There are reports of high charges by shipping companies. There are reports of under-hand activities by officials within our ports. In all of these, the importers and private sector get to bear one burden or the other. “Again, real economic activities and the overall development of the country are constrained. For an import dependent economy like Nigeria, getting our ports (which is a major gateway to the country) to work efficiently and eliminate all the bottlenecks is a germane to a successful and
prosperous economy” he said. On his part, head, post clearance audit, Zone A, Nigerian Customs Service, Comptroller Basir Abubakar, said the trading community in most cases do not like comments and sharing their issues with the customs, adding that, the customs have a transparent management. “The Nigerian Customs Service is going ten years ahead of the trading community, trading community in most cases do not like comments or sharing their issues with the customs. We have a transparent management today, you can walk up to any customs office, particularly, the area Comptroller which deals directly with the public.”
CMA CGA Vessel
NPA partners UKHO, task investors on deep seaport O successfully update T hydrographic data and information on Nigeria’s navigable channels, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) has announced plans to partner the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO). Already, NPA and UKHO have commenced preliminary meetings and contacts aimed at reviewing and updating all existing hydrographic survey charts. The Managing Director of NPA, Habib Abdullahi who spoke at a meeting with UKHO head, Rear Admiral Tom Karston in Lagos described the partnership as “timely and appropriate”. According to Abdullahi, an update on the nation’s hydrographic chart is expected to capture recent strides recorded in the maritime sector by the Federal Government and the Private Sector. He told the visiting UKHO head that it was regrettable that a number of recent progress reports on the improvement draught of the nation’s channels and innovations by the private sector, especially in the development of the deep seaports are not noticed by the world maritime operators as they are not captured in recent hydrographic charts”. The NPA Boss also pledged to work in close collaboration with the UKHO to ensure that both organisations mutually
benefit from the relationship, which dates back several years ago”. On his part, Karston said NPA and UKHO have common government and commercial outlook, adding that he was in the country to establish long-term port development plans with Nigeria. He said the United Kingdom Hydrographic office collects data on maritime boundaries, seaports channels across the world; produce charts to assist ships in navigating nations and maritime waters. Meanwhile, the NPA boss has advised investors to take advantage of available opportunities especially in the development of Greenfield deep seaports in the country. Abdullahi has also identified efficient port services and upsurge in cargo throughput in the nation’s seaports as some of the positive impact of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the nation’s ports. He identified a reduction in cargo dwell time in ports operations, improved vessel turnaround time as well as the availability of deeper and safer navigation channels as other positive impact of the PPP in the nation’s seaports. Presenting a paper entitled “The Public Private Partnership & Port Efficiency: The Nigerian Experience” at the just concluded 12th International Africa Conference & Exhibition held
in Lagos, Abdullahi reiterated that the PPP has brought improved port infrastructure through the rehabilitation, and upgrading of port operation technologies and the development of Greenfield. He identified a number of investment opportunities in the nation’s seaports, adding that such opportunities are in the areas of Channel Management, Pilotage and Towage Services and Independent Power Project. According to him, other investment opportunities are in the areas of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and Greenfield Port Developments. Abdullahi, according to a press statement issued by Assistant General Manager (Public Affairs), Musa Iliya, explained that increased participation of the private sector has been a key ingredient in improving the fortunes of Nigerian Ports, adding that several areas still exist in the nation’s seaports that are open to further private sector participation, especially in the greenfield deep seaport developments. Earlier in his presentation, the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar said Nigeria has been carrying out a number of reform measures aimed at enhancing the operational efficiency in the various
ports. He also informed the gathering that the Federal Government has concluded plans to assist Niger Republic and other landlocked countries in establishing sustainable transit transport systems. According to Umar, a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is being considered by the Nigerian Government on how to facilitate the clearance of such transit goods in the Nigerian seaports. Umar explained that through the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, efforts are being made to facilitate the transit of Niger Republic bound cargo through Nigerian Seaports. The minister said feasibility studies are also on going for the construction of rail lines linking Katsina to Maradi in Niger Republic and from Maiduguri to GamboruNgala to link-up Njamena in Chad under the Port Sudan rail project. Umar re-affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to what he identified as “current global effort in enhancing security and disaster risk reduction strategies in our territorial waters”. The minister described Nigeria as a key player in the coordinated and comprehensive activities that integrate all efforts aimed at promoting the objectives through
information sharing and joint maritime surveillance operations with our neighboring countries. “In terms of regional support and cooperation, Nigeria appreciates the special development needs of the landlocked countries in establishing sustainable transit transport systems particularly in the construction, maintenance and improvement in their transport, storage and other transit related facilities”, said Umar. According to the minister, maritime sector remains a key sector of the economy, “whose enormous potential deserves continuous harnessing in order to meet the expectation of Government and the Citizenry. “Over the last two years, Nigeria has been carrying out a number of reform measures aimed at enhancing the operational efficiency in the various ports. “For instance 24 hours operation has been achieved in the Lagos Ports where more than 60 per cent of our port activities take place. For the long term, the Federal Government is making concerted efforts towards ensuring the development of Deep Sea Ports in the Country. “This is the ultimate solution to the current port congestion as the cargo handling are presently beyond their designed capacities. “The Federal Government
has recently approved the Development of the Lekki Deep Sea Port here in Lagos which is expected to handle bigger vessels, and also create employment. The Port is to be developed under Public Private Partnership (PPP) Initiative”. Other proposed Deep Sea Ports are Ibaka Deep Sea Port in Akwa Ibom State, Badagry Deep Sea Port in Lagos, Olokola Deep Sea Port in Ogun and Ondo states, Ogidigbe, near Escravos in Delta State, which is expected to be the Hub for Gas Revolution initiative of the Federal Government and Agge Deep Sea Port in Bayelsa State. Umar said: “I wish to use this opportunity to reiterate the Federal Government’s commitment to the resuscitation of the Calabar Access Channel. As you are aware, Government had earlier approved the establishment of Calabar Channel Management Company, a joint venture between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Niger Global Limited in order to guarantee the sustainability of the Calabar Channel. “This Joint Venture arrangement is similar to the ongoing Lagos and Bonny Channel Management Companies that are effectively maintaining and managing the channels”.
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38 Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Industry Stakeholders seek adoption of renewable energy in real sector By Femi Adekoya ITH demand outweighW ing supply in the nation’s energy sector, especially in terms of electricity, stakeholders in the real sector have urged government to explore alternatives in the area of renewable energy sources. Specifically, the stakeholders, comprising of the Odu’a chambers of commerce of commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ODUAccIMA), the Nigerian Association of commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NAccIMA) among others, urged government to start developing and designing ways to reduce and probably stop the use of fossil fuels in order to achieve economic growth. With manufacturing heavily dependent on stable energy supply, the stakeholders stressed the need for early adoption of efficient energy sources to meet growing energy demands. President, NAccIMA, Alhaji, Mohammed Abubakar noted
that until Nigeria starts looking away from the dependency and usage of fossil fuels, not much would be achieved in its quest to drive economic growth and development. Abubakar during a leadership workshop on alternative source of energy organised by ODUAccIMA recently, said rapid development of renewable energy and energy efficiency is resulting in significant energy security, climate change mitigation and economic benefit, noting that, in international public opinion survey, there is a strong support for promoting renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. He said for the southwest region to sustain its leadership role in the area of commerce and industry, it must be ready to promote and utilize renewable energy delivery and create economic empowerment and transformation in the rural and urban population in all spheres of life. He explained that renewable energy has the ability to lift
the poorest nations to new levels of opportunities for a prosperous and sustainable future maintaining that its development will no doubt reduce the nation’s dependency on oil and gas while making investments less expensive if properly harnessed. Abubakar who was represented by the National Treasurer, NAccIMA, Thomas Awagu said the workshop was a pointer to the fact that the economic transformation of the nation can only be achieved when the Organised Private Sector (OPS) take up their responsibilities of advocating and partnering
government on germane economic issues. “While many renewable energy projects are large scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas and developing countries,” he said. Also, President, ODU’AccIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson said it was about time Nigeria started looking away from fossil fuel saying that most economies of the world have started developing and designing ways to reduce and even stop the usage of fossil fuels. Lawson stated that research
has shown that there is a direct correlation between energy consumption and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) generation maintaining that, it is verifiably apparent that the trend globally now is for the economy of important nations to inject a significant percentage of renewable energy into their energy mix, rather than total dependence on fossil fuel energy sources. "It is therefore time for all lovers of this great country, who desire to see the southwest take place amongst the comity of regions, making global economic impact and
relevance, to rise to the responsibility of vigorously exploring other reliable, available, accessible and affordable sources of alternative energy needed for the economic production process in particular and other sectors in general for growth and development of the region, “she said. In her words, “We need not overstress the fact that energy, which is critical in global economic advancement, is of national challenge today. The truth also remains that government cannot do it alone, neither can the OPS for the chambers of commerce."
SON certifies lubricant firm’s processes By Femi Adekoya MMAScO International A Limited, a lubricant producing company, has received the ISO certificate by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in confirmation of its conformity with quality standards in its production processes in the country. With the certificate, the regulatory body thus reckoned the company as one of the leading oil lubricant companies in West Africa. For a firm operating in a market dominated by foreign brands, the firm’s management of the company, and other stakeholders in the lubricant market, applauded the recognition. To commemorate the event, which took place in Kano, the company also introduced a new product and promised its customers to always maintain standard. In a statement made available to The Guardian, the Director General of SON, Joseph Odumodu, said with ISO International Standards certificate, Ammasco products are confirmed safe, reliable and of good quality. According to the SON boss, who was represented by Suleiman Kawu the ISO’s
endorsement also provided strategic tools that would enable the company to increase its productivity. Earlier, the SON’s delegation had toured the company’s facilities in Kano, and expressed satisfaction with the company’s production processes, saying, “We are indeed impressed with the facilities we have seen on ground. This attests to the fact that Ammasco has got ISO certificate on merit. Ammasco has proven its worth in terms of upholding standards and professionalism. We expect other indigenous companies to learn from what the lubricant producing organization has done. We are really impressed and we urge Ammasco to keep it up,” Reacting to the achievement, the chairman of the company, Alhaji Mustapha Muhammad said Ammasco is well positioned to access new markets, with greater opportunities to penetrate other African countries as it aspires to compete in free and fair global trade. Already, the company boasts of an ultra modern lubricant plant in Kano for the blending of all brands of lubricants with an installed blending capacity of 30,000 metric tonnes.
Secretary to Kano State Government, Rabiu Suleiman Bich (left); Commissioner of Commerce, Abubakar Danburam Nuhu; Executive Director, Ammasco International Limited, Auwal Mohammed; Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the company, Alh. Mustapha Ado Mohammed; and representative of the DirectorGeneral, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Suleiman Umaru Kawu, during the official presentation of NIS ISO certificate by SON to the company in Kano.
Govt commends Notore’s production, distribution system By Femi Adekoya HE Minister of Agriculture T and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has commended the efforts of Notore to bring farm inputs, which had eluded rural farmers to their doorstep. Meanwhile, the company has expressed plans to develop the capacity of over two million farmers across the country and expose them to modern farming techniques between now and 2015. Adesina made the statement during the official opening of the Al-Yuma Ventures state-of-the-art warehouse in Jigawa State and launch of the Notore Small Pack Distribution Enhancement (SPaDE) project.
According to a statement, the Minister assured that the Federal Government will continue to assist agro-allied industries with a view to empowering them to contribute positively to the agricultural growth and economic development of the nation. Adesina who spoke through a director from the Ministry, Alhaji Yahaya Tanko, described the firm’s innovative ideas as formidable steps in moving the nation's agriculture forward. He said the innovation brought about by the intervention of companies like Notore will remain unquantifiable, considering their role in bringing fertiliser and other farm inputs closer to local farmers.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director and chief Executive Officer of Notore, Onajite Okoloko, stated that the company as an ago-allied company remained committed to making inputs available to farmers at the grassroots across the country. "The Notore fertiliser plant is currently the only Urea fertiliser plant in Sub-Saharan Africa. We currently produce Urea and blended NPK fertiliser products. We are also proud to say that we operate an effective and world-class supply chain structure with over 100 Distribution Partners reaching 1.8 million farmers across Nigeria," Jite Okoloko said. Okoloko said Notore is determined to make fertilis-
er available and affordable to the farmers, contrary to what was obtained in the past when the commodity was made the exclusive preserve of the privileged few. "Our effort, with the support of our distribution partners, has made it possible for every farmer to lay their hands on the 1-kilogramme fertiliser packs, 10-kilogrammes fertiliser, and if the value of what they intend to do with it increases, then they can graduate to 50-kilogrammes fertiliser if they like. "We are also planning to reach out to farmers through our tricycles, which we intend to use to supply our products to the most remote villages in the state," he said.
Ashaka cement stakes €513 million on expansion project From Mathias Okwe (Assistant Business Editor, Abuja) ITH a stake of €500 milW lion (about N100 billion) on its new plant in Gombe State, Ashaka cement Plc would be expanding cement production capacity in the country by another 2.5 million metric tonnes.
chairman of Ashakacem Plc, Alhaji Umaru Kwariranga, while unveiling the company’s plans noted that arrangements have been concluded for the commissioning of the plant by President Goodluck Jonathan, adding that the move is expected to aid the economy of the North generally and particularly the
North East through job creation that can lead to addressing the insecurity in the area. According to him, the expansion would boost employment generation, increase the number of jobs available at the plant from the current 630 to over 2500, and improve production capacity from approxi-
mately one million tonnes to four million tonnes. Kwariranga said the expansion would introduce newer grade brands of products but maintained that the 32.5 grade of cement was still globally acceptable for general application. He also argued that it was not true that the 32.5 grade brand of cement was
responsible for building collapse but other extraneous factors as there are no incidences of building collapse in the North where its products are the market leader. "We are taking investment to North East, that is Gombe that is worth over N100bn. The value of setting up that plant of 2.5 million metric tonnes of cement and a
whole power plant is 513m Euros. And as I am talking to you, we are ready for the ground breaking ceremony, all the issues of logistics have already been concluded, we have got the approvals from our board and we have already appointed and engaged the contractor to aid the process.”
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014 INDUSTRY 39
Govt, fair rally investors on funding for entrepreneurs O further boost entrepreneurial schemes in T Nigeria, the Federal Government and Angel Fair West Africa (AWFA) have rallied investors on
the need to boost seed funding for small businesses in the country. With the potential of the continent’s consumer spending, expected to grow beyond $2.4 trillion, the Federal Government urged investors to take advantage of growing opportunities in the country, especially ones offered by small businesses. To this end, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has promised to support angel networks aimed at bringing entrepreneurial businesses and active investors across Africa to drive entrepreneurship growth and development in the continent . Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga said about 50 percent of the nation’s development is dependent on entrepreneurship stressing that developing small businesses in Africa is vital for the ever growing demands of the world. Aganga during the inaugural ceremony of Angel Fair West Africa (AWFA), organised by the Lagos Angel Network (LAN), an exclusive network of angel investors providing early stage, seed funding and mentoring to start up entrepreneurs, said the fair would create the platform for small businesses in the country to boost industrialisation leading to economic growth. “This fair is coming t a better time when Africa is central for investment in the world. Investors
are in the right place and we also have to start thinking as one. The world needs the African market,” he said. “We have a lot of investment opportunities in this continent because Africa has the highest middle class rate in the world and Nigeria is one the six fastest growing economies by the year 2020,”he added. An angel and business mentor, Tomi Davies of Lagos Angel Network said the aim of the fair was to create a platform to bring start up busi-
nesses in contact with investors pointing out that the fair would avail businesses needing up to $50,000 or less and half a million dollars or above to meet with investors to help develop their businesses. “There are not many angel investors in Nigeria. This fair is to create awareness for people to know that such opportunities exist. To have the Minister keynote this event is a welcome development because as the chief promoter of Nigeria's huge potential for investment he has
an enviable record of presiding over the most significant growth in private sector non-oil investments into the country in recent history so I am sure both investors and entrepreneurs will be happy to hear his views,” Davies said. He added that the event would have 20 specially selected early stage businesses pitching to investors from LAN, Angel Africa List (AAL), Ghana Angel Investor Network (GAIN) and the Africa Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA).
‘How SMEs can harness e-Commerce to aid market access’ ITH the rise in smart phone use and W Internet penetration in Nigeria, online marketing has been identified as a classic example for start- ups in enhancing their ease of doing business in the country. Director, Enterprise Development Centre of Pan Atlantic University, Peter Bamkole, made the observation as a guest on Fidelity SME Forum, noting that there are now a number of online malls that have remodeled retail businesses in the country. In a statement made available to The Guardian, Bamkole said: “Our people in the logistics business are doing massive operational work. So a small person that may not be able to afford a rent or an outlet in Victoria Island suddenly has an outlet online that is
accessible to everybody in the entire world. People are beginning to benefit from that and because of mobile technology and all the associated technology, they receive payments on time, they are able to get the goods delivered and this was how online stores have been able to develop in such a very short time.” Bamkole, further stated that any business must make sure that whatever product or service they are providing is of high quality, saying “Once you have that, then you need to integrate into different networks. Again, make sure that you are also able to connect to some distributive systems.” Sharing his experience in the field at the recent Market Access launched in Enugu, he explained that Market Access Nigeria is a platform the centre offers small and medium scale enterprises, other-
wise called triple helix platform. Bamkole explained: “What that means is that you have on one hand government, on the other hand you have the private sector and on the third hand you have the academia. “We represented the academia, then starting with us at the conception of the programme is Etisalat and then we have the government of course. The whole purpose is to bring big organisations to be in contact with small and medium organisations. That way, it’s just not about networking but seeing how they can key into their value chain. “There are a lot of testimonies also. It’s a very safe relationship environment and people get to know one another with not only the intention of having a business relationship but for also mak-
Leveraging product packaging to address cement industry challenges In marketing and market development, packaging is the “dress” on the product and can play a role in whether the product sells in a new market or to new customers. With firms seeking new alternatives to differentiating their products in a cluttered market, FEMI ADEKOYA examines how players in the cement industry are exploring opportunities in product repackaging to address standardisation crisis rocking the industry. N the wake of the crisis in the Nigerian cement Igame industry, there has been a barrage of blame among manufacturers, regulators, interest groups among others. In all, a seemingly consensus was reached—there are no sub-standard cement products in the market but a misapplication of the product by the end users, especially, block moulders. To address this challenge, relevant stakeholders commenced efforts at addressing the confidence crisis in the Nigerian cement industry, especially in the face of the rising frequency of building collapse across the nation. For some, the need to review cement standards and the building code is key, for others, introducing a higher quality product and enlightening consumers remains better option. For instance, arguments in favour of the production of a higher grade of cement border on such move mitigating the effects arising from the economic value abuse of the product in terms of water-cement ratio as against international standard and quality benchmark. On the other hand, reviewing the commodity’s standard and building code is believed, would help in addressing unethical use of the product. With these positions, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) recently, commenced a process to review the standards of locally produced cement, while manufacturers continue to explore alternatives to address the growing concern. Exploring the repackaging option Consumer insights have shown that when presented with a large range of choices to fulfill a need, it is in human nature to become confused, thus the inability to quickly make a choice. According to such insights, while spending too much time comparing the plethora of options we are presented with, the functional differences between each of them soon become blurry. Once the functional differences lose importance, the peripheral aspects take precedence. This means that whichever product’s advertisement, spokesperson, or packaging colour stands out favorably in our minds will most likely influence our product purchase. This further reinforces the pivotal role packaging plays in the branding process of a product, especially in attracting customers and providing customers what they are looking for when they take the product home. It is in recognition of this that Dangote Cement
Popular cement brands in Nigeria Plc officially unveiled and repackaged its 42.5 higher grade of cement into the market. The Group Managing Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Devakumar Edwin, who presented samples of the new product in Lagos, recently, said the launch by the company was to show the company's commitment to the safety of human lives rather than maximising profits alone in the country, maintaining that incidences of building collapses in the country do not only destroy lives and properties, but also bring about huge economic losses to the nation. Edwin said most of the building collapses in the nation were caused by varied factors among which poor quality cement remained significant; pointing out that the lifetime investment by Dangote was to further demonstrate the company's effort to guard against unfortunate incidents of failure of buildings and the attendant loss of lives and property. He said to contribute its quota towards checking the spate of building collapse in the country, "Dangote has stopped the production of the 32.5 lower cement grade," saying as a corporate organisation, it values human lives rather than just making money. According to him, "This is why we are focusing heavily on 42.5 cement grade, because we believe as a responsible organisation, human life is more precious than making profits. The introduction of Dangote 42.5, 3X cement, is not to dominate the cement industry but to follow the acceptable global trend, which has also been adopted by West African countries like Ghana, where the focus is shifting
towards the 42.5 cement grade as the preferred quality of cement for building and construction activities." Describing the features of the Dangote 3X 42.5 cement and the differences between the 32.5 and 42.5 cement grade, the Group Chief Marketing Officer of Dangote Cement, Oare Ojeikere, stated that the 42.5 cement grade is 30 per cent stronger than the 32.5 cement grade, adding that the 3X is specifically designed according to the block maker's specification. He said a higher grade of cement is vital in putting an end to building collapse in the country, adding that it was about time Nigeria joined other countries in the sub-region to move away from 32.5 cement grade to 42.5 cement grade. According to him, the 3X, which stands for "Xtra strength; 'Xtra life and Xtra yield" is the brand name for the Dangote 42.5 cement grade now sold in 50 kilogramme bags across the country. He stressed that because of 3X's higher strength characteristics, 42.5 grade cement gives higher yield than 32.5 to users in situations where strength is not a crucial factor. Improved value proposition at a lower cost Customers of Dangote Cement Plc, especially those from the South East region of the country, would this week, purchase the commodity at a discounted rate in the spirit of the 25th Enugu International Trade Fair. According to a promo being run in some media, visitors at the fair would have the opportunity to buy the commodity at N1, 660 per bag from Monday, March 31 till April 6, 2014. According to South East Regional Sales Director, Dangote Cement, Tunde Mabogunje, Dangote cement customers will have the opportunity of
buying the discounted product at the priced of N1,660 at the company’s pavilion within the Enugu Trade Fair Complex. He said the promo allows customers to buy a minimum of 50 bags of cement or a maximum of 100 bags of cement at the factory price instead of the existing policy, which requires purchase of several trucks of cement at factory price. "Two or more people can come together to buy 100 bags. We are partnering Access Bank, Fidelity Bank and Zenith Bank whose representatives are at the Dangote pavilion. Customers will pay and get tellers/codes from any of the stated banks' representative. Collection of the product will take place the next day at Dangote Cement depot at Emene." Director-General of the Enugu Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture, Emeka Okereke, said the promo would enrich the fair and attract visitors, even as he commended Dangote Cement on the initiative saying the promo will without doubt bolster the fair and increase patronage. Regulatory approval on repackaging move SON’s Director General, Dr. Joseph Odumodu commended the company for abiding with the agency’s rules in displaying the grade of cement on the bags, including the agency's logo. Odumodu, who was represented by an enforcement official of the agency, Adeoye Onipede, disclosed that indigenous cement manufacturers had been given full certification by the standards agency to produce the high quality cement.
40 Wednesday, April 2, 2014
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GUARDIANENERGY ‘Benefits of distributed generation in Nigeria’s electricity sector’
NOSDRA woos JTF over oil spills, Bayelsa wants stiffer penalties
Mobil to build 575mw power plant in Akwa Ibom ENERGY/43
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2014
NPDC flow station
NPDC increases production from OML40, 42 By Roseline Okere HE Nigerian Petroleum DeT velopment Company Limited, NPDC (a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has produced its first oil from Opuama oil wells in OML 40 in the onshore of the Niger Delta which was shut in by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria in March 2006. Besides, the company has increased production from OML 42 from 25,500 barrels per day it recorded before it took over the operatorship from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in 2012 to 35,500bpd. The Manager, External Relations Department, Ugo Atugbokoh, said in a statement at the weekend that the company successfully re-opened two Opuama oil wells with a combined production of
2,500 bopd. According to him, on taking over the operatorship, NPDC focused on the restoration of production by the replacement of corroded in field flowlines, refurbishment of the 30,000 barrels of liquid per day production flowstation and the repair of the 36km oil export pipeline, including the replacement of all corroded and damaged sections. Atugbokoh stated: “With the successful restart of production, NPDC will now progress its field development plan. It is anticipated that production will increase to 8,000 bopd by the end of 2014. Local contractors carried out the entire development work. This further illustrates the company’s commitment to the Nigerian Content Policy of the federal government. “OML 40 is one of the assets that were divested from Shell
and NPDC took over the operatorship in January 2013. It is therefore a welcome development to achieve this first oil within one year of operations. “OML 40 is jointly owned by NPDC (operator) and Elcrest Exploration & Production Nigeria Limited.” Dwelling on the company’s achievements from OML 42, Atugbokoh said that the well had recorded significant milestone in the history of Batan production even when SPDC was operating the asset. He listed the milestone to include zero Lost Time Incidence; conclusion of engagements with the host communities in OML 42 for Freedom to Operate (FTO), engagement of Operations and Maintenance Contractor for Batan Flow station and the putting in place over 40 service contracts for the sustenance of Batan Flow station operations.
He added that the company had also repaired the Ajuju 1S flow line to secure about 1,200bopd crude oil production; repairing of Ajuju 6T flow line to secure about 1500bopd
crude oil production; sustenance of Batan Flow station production at about 30,500blpd (13,800bopd) from 13 strings and the hooking up of Batan Flow station
Houseboat to the Flow station Gas Generator to reduce diesel consumption by 500 litres per day.
Deep Offshore to attract more FDIs to Nigeria By Sulaimon Salau N indigenous Oil and Gas A Services Company, Deep Offshore Services Nigeria Limited is set to buoy the nation’s economic landscape with the construction and expansion of the Onne Port Complex, Federal Ocean Terminal, oil and gas Free Zone, Onne referred to as ‘ Onne Port Complex Phase 4B’. Deep Offshore is a technology driven company already attracting interest in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Onne Oil and Gas Free
Zone by the proposed development of facilities for Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) integration, fabrication and construction yards, container terminals and jetties that will generate future employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerians with skills and potentials to work in the facilities. The Deputy General Manager, Deep Offshore, Dominic Onwuchekwa, who was addressing delegates at the company’s pavilion at the Nigerian oil and gas conference, that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), awarded the contract for the development and expansion of the Phase 4B project to Deep Offshore, with the concession to develop and manage the project for 25 years after initial development period of seven to eight years. He described the Phase 4B port development project as a perfect platform to support deep offshore activities
with the aim of developing the best construction and fabrication infrastructures in West Africa oil and gas regional hub. “This is a unique platform for construction, fabrication and integration activities for the Deep water support projects, adding that investors in the area of Oil & Gas business, fabrication and FPSO integration yards among others, will be encouraged by Deep Offshore Services Nigeria Limited to develop their facilities in the zone,” Onwuchekwa said. He explained that there were still opportunities for more investors to take the advantage of the unique facilities that would be developed in the Onne Port, oil and gas Free Zone, especially companies that offered marine and logistic services for a better returns on their investment considering the proximity of the Onne Port Complex Phase 4B to prospective clients.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014 ENERGY 42
‘Benefits of distributed generation in Nigeria’s electricity sector’ By Roseline Okere LECTRICITY supply to conE sumers in Nigeria has for long remained very disconcertingly poor and grossly very inadequate. Today nearly every Nigerian household and business concern owns at least one overworked fossil fuel electricity generating set that serves to generate needed power at the numerous outages, albeit unsatisfactorily. Though the intensified commendable efforts of the current Federal Government has within a short period increased generation significantly, the current total generation level of less than 6,000 megawatts, remains far from satisfying the basic power needs currently estimated at over 20,000MW, nor has it resolved the regular outages. Today, there are no significant renewable energy utilityscale electricity generations in Nigeria. There has however
been some recent publicised attempt at commercial generation of electricity from solar PV technology. Electricity generation from renewable energy sources has become a significant complementary input of total grid stock of many countries. In the developed economies, all those efforts that appear as unnecessary fuss on electricity generation from renewable energy sources have been strategically patterned into veritable sources of significant portion of total utility electricity stock through the Distributed Generation schemes. Over time, as a result of strategic implementation of well-designed Distributed Generation (DG) programmes, most developed countries have achieved significant levels of electricity generation from small sized renewable energy holdings. Solar Thermal Electricity Promoters Association of Nigeria (STELPAN) believes that Distributed Generation (DG) is
the key to Nigeria’s electricity crisis. President/Fellow of the association, Mas Uanikhehi described DG as a scheme that employs small sized units typically in the range of 3 kW to 10,000 kW owned by private citizens or bodies to generate electricity primarily for direct consumption needs, with all
excess generated over needs exported into the grid on established benefits. Uanikhehi Solar regarded Photovoltai (PV) electricity generation options as the most employed technology amongst most distributed generation schemes the world over because of it lends to easy and uncomplicated electricity
generation and management. He disclosed that distributed generation method is actually displacing the more costly grid electricity in some developing countries. “With distributed generation, the need for costly grid transmission line reinforcements and management is significantly reduced.”
Uanikhehi said that Japan, Australia, China and India have one time or the other embraced the use of distributed generation to tackle the issue of electricity supply. Speaking on the availability of ideal levels of electricity generation resource such as wind;
CONTINUED ON PAGE 43
Ghana ratifies petroleum pact with CAMAC From Laolu Akande, New York HANA’S legislators have G ratified the country’s petroleum agreement between Camac Energy Ghana Limited with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Base Energy Ghana Limited, and GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited (GNPC Explorco), covering the expanded shallow water Tano block offshore Ghana in the Gulf of Guinea. The company said in a statement that the ratification of the agreement followed approval by the Government of Ghana, and a review by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines, Energy and Petroleum. Camac Energy Ghana Limited holds 60 per cent of the interest; GNPC Explorco holds 25 per cent, and Base Energy holds 15 per cent. The statement disclosed that the interest held by Camac Energy Ghana Limited will be owned 50 per cent by CAMAC Energy Inc. and 50 per cent by an affiliate of CAMAC International Limited. The expanded shallow water Tano block consists of three discovered fields, and comprises 1,508 square kilometers
(370,000 acres) in water depths ranging from 55 meters to 116 meters (180 feet to 380 feet). It is located 15 kilometres to 35 kilometres (9 miles to 21 miles) offshore Ghana, and is bounded on the North by the Ghana Coastline, on the west by the Maritime Border with Cote D’Ivoire, on the South by the Deepwater Tano block which hosts the Tweneboa, Enyenra, and Ntomme (TEN) Fields, and on the east by the West Cape Three Points Block which hosts the Jubilee Field and Teak-Akasa discoveries. Existing discoveries in the block include the North Tano oil and gas field, the CTS-1X gas discovery, the NWT-1X oil discovery, and the South Tano fields. Speaking on the achievement, CAMAC Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kase Lawal said that the ratification of the agreement is a major step towards the realisation of the growth aspirations of CAMAC Energy. “We believe that it will also result in value creation for all stakeholders, and subject to economic evaluation, a fast track development plan of the discovered resources will be pursued,” he said.
The Commandant Joint Task Force (JTF) Major General Emmanuel Atewe (left); and Chairman, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Major Lancelot Anyanya (rtd), during a courtesy call on the JTF Commandant at, Pulo Shield in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State.
NOSDRA woos JTF over oil spills, Bayelsa wants stiffer penalties By Sulaimon Salau HE war against environmental degradation was intensified recently when the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) sought the collaboration of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta to tackle pollutions in the region caused by oil spills. Also, the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson has advocated stringent environmental laws to protect the environment against crude oil pollution and other activities occasioned by oil exploration in the oil producing region. The development came to fore when Chairman of NOSDRA, Major Lancelot Anyanya (Rtd) paid a courtesy call to the state government and JTF recently.
Schneider Electric supports ‘Go Green’ initiative By Roseline Okere CHNEIDER Electric, the global specialist in energy management, has unveiled the 100 teams that qualified for the semi-finals of the Go Green in the City global student challenge. In the first year of Africa’s participation in the global competition, three teams emerged from Nigeria and 10 teams emerged from the continent. This year, over 12,000 students from over 462 universities participated in the challenge. One hundred teams from over 462 universities emerged from the competition group stages to participate in the semi-final phase of the competition. The competition for the top 100
was even fiercer this year, as the total applications almost doubled compared to the 2013 edition. As in previous years, candidates will present a case study focusing on energy solutions for cities, with the support of a Schneider Electric mentor. Working in teams of two, with at least one woman in the team, students will devise viable solutions for energy management sectors critical to cities, such as; home, university, retail, water and hospital. The 2014 edition of Go Green in the city opened the challenge to countries across the globe, increasing the accessibility of the program to students, especially
from Africa and Asia-Pacific. For this edition, 12, 581 preregistrations were received from students in 143 different countries. “This increase in participants supports the statement that future engineers and leaders are more and more aware that the increased demand for energy will have to be balanced with social progress and environmental protection,” said Karen Ferguson, executive vice president, Global Human Resources, Schneider Electric. “Schneider Electric is delighted to interact with these young talents coming from all over the world, to find solutions to meet the energy challenges of our cities,” she added.
Anyanya, according to a statement signed by the spokesman of NOSDRA, Henshaw Ogubike said the essence of the visit was to solicit their support in tackling the menace of oil spillage caused by third party interference. He said the roles of JTF and NOSDRA were interrelated and thanked the JTF for their critical assignment of providing security for oil installations and the entire region. “These criminal activity is a major concern to NOSDRA because of the damage to ecosystem, which the Bayelsa governor said is equivalent to environmental terrorism. “The support of JTF commander and his officers and men to NOSDRA in terms of provision of security that enabled us to visit all our target areas within Bayelsa state is highly commendable. “Operation Polu Shield has diminished the influence of criminals in this region and this your support to NOSDRA
has given me a sense of camaraderie,” Anyanya said. Also, the Director General, NOSDRA, Sir Peter Idabor noted that the activities of JTF have had a significant impact in reducing criminality in the oil fields and by implication spill incidents and improved security in the region. Idabor recommended appropriate disposal of crude oil captured from vandals and criminals rather than being burnt. He said that the agency could avail its expertise to the agency to ensure that recovered stolen crude would not pose threat to the environment. Commandant of the JTF Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, charged Anyanya to bring his professionalism and competence to bear in his assignment and to justify the confidence reposed in him. The commandant said that the JTF have zero tolerance for pipeline vandalism. He appealed to the perpetrators of this oil theft to think
twice, and affirmed that the health hazard of oil spill and that it will not be a good legacy to our children. Governor Dickson of Bayelsa State, also said an environmental summit would be organised soon to discuss ways of mitigating the effects of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the region. He expressed his administration’s commitment to collaborate with NOSDRA to facilitate the speedy passage of the amended act of the agency, which has undergone its first and second readings at the National Assembly. Emphasising the need for oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to protect the environment, he decried the way and manner the environment was being abused. Dickson, who referred to the practice as ‘reckless abandon,’ describing Bayelsa as the most fragile and highly compromised area.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 ENERGY 43
Mobil to build 575mw power plant in Akwa Ibom IPMAN warns warring By Roseline Okere HE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued licence to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to build a 575megawatt power station in Eket – Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. According to NERC, the license was issued by after all stipulated requirements were met by the company. The Vice Chairman, NERC, Muhammed Lawal Bello acknowledged the significant stride taken by the company and assured them that, “NERC’s mandate is to ensure availability and reliability of electricity.’’ Chairman/Managing Director Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited - Mark Ward, described the occasion as a momentous one that has been a long time coming and thanked NERC
for the spirit of collaboration. He added, “the project provides a unique opportunity in the sense that there is ready fuel supply and connection to the grid.’’ This development brings the number of major oil companies to three who are already playing major roles in the electricity industry in Nigeria. The two other oil companies, Shell and Agip are already contributing 642 megawatts and 480 megawatts respectively to the national grid. Mobil Producing Nigeria is one of the largest oil producers in Nigeria. The company commenced operations in Nigeria in 1955 under the name Mobil Exploration Nigeria Incorporated (MENI). MPN operates a Joint Venture with the Federal Gov-
ernment of Nigeria, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The Federal Government has a 60 per cent share, with the remaining 40 per cent being MPN. A series of projects by the joint venture are targeted to increase the current average production level to above one million barrel per day. The East Area Additional Oil Recovery project represents a major investment in a mature operation to extend field life, increase oil recovery and eliminate non-routine gas flaring by injecting produced gas. The East Area project’s 18,000-tonne EAP Gas Compression Facilities platform was set in place at the end of 2005, and set a world record when it was installed in open water using Float-Over Technology.
The Natural Gas Liquids (NLG II) project, which has capacity to contribute 45 KBD of natural gas liquids to our total production, is an expansion of the NNPC/MPN Joint Venture’s successful Oso-NGL project, and involved the engineering, procurement, construction, start-up and commissioning of an offshore NGL extraction platform, undersea pipeline infrastructure and expansion of the JV’s existing onshore fractionation and storage facilities at Bonny River Terminal. Together with the NNPC, MPN maintains a very active community relations programme. It has made substantial contributions in the areas of health, education, sports, water supply, electricity and roads, especially around its operational bases in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states.
parties against fuel crisis By Roseline Okere HE Western zone of the T Nigeria Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) appealed to all warring parties to find ways to resolving the crisis to avoid another fuel scarcity in the country. The Chairman, Western zone of IPMAN, Olumide Ogunmade gave the warning after the zonal council meeting held at the zonal headquarters in Ikeja on Monday. Ogunmade, who reads the resolution arrived at the zonal meeting to journalists, urged the national executive council led by Alhaji Aminu Abdulkadri to give the association the much needed direction is the first step in resolving ongoing fuel scarcity in the country. The chairman said that IPMAN western zone has passed a vote of confidence on the Abdulkadri-led executive. He warned that the crisis fuelled by some factions, who are non-members may trigger fresh fuel scarcity if the association, especially the other zones failed to play their role. Ogunmade said that said
that the current crisis is a needless one, adding that western zone will prefer to support a president that emerges through the electoral process of the association. “IPMAN Western zone would continue to support the national executives led by Abdulkadri to organise a free and fair election on or before the expiration of their tenure in May. “The legitimacy of the national president of IPMAN would better be enhanced when the voice and votes of members count on whosoever becomes the next president,’’ Ogunmade appealed. He said that the leadership of IPMAN western zone played a vital role in the crisis that rocked the national executives in 2011, adding that they brokered peace among the warring group. The chairman said that prior to the reconciliation that IPMAN western zone poked in 2011, IPMAN was able to speak with one voice or articulate its position properly, adding that this led to the reconciliation of all parties in 2011.
Talevera explains role in Nigeria’s crude oil swap arrangement By Roseline Okere ALEVERAS Petroleum has debunked media reports that Nigeria loses $8 billion yearly through its involvement in crude oil swap arrangement. The company, which engages in barter arrangement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said in a media statement yesterday, that Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) was misquoted in the said report. The Senior Trading and Supply Executive of Talereras, Leonard Kwentua, what NEITI presented and explained at that hearing was that there is no cost efficiency in the transactions with the offshore processing organisations. According to him, “in the said report, 152,308,878 litres was wrongly listed against Taleveras in the Crude Oil Swap Arrangement, after verification of the NEITI report made available, the NEITI report had listed 52,308,878.00 in USD Value and not 152, 308, 878 litres as grossly misinterpreted in the media.” Kwntua explained that Taleveras supply of Gasoline under the swap arrangement are on- going activities and accounts are reconciled quarterly to determine what is
Past President of National Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, (NALPGAM), Chief E. Aguele (left); National President of NALPGAM, Basil Ogbuanu, Managing Director, Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Haruna Momoh, and Executive Vice Chairman, Techno Oil Limited, Mrs. Nkechi Obi, at the NALPGAM conference in Lagos.
Benefits of distributed generation in Nigeria CONTINUED FROM PAGE 42 sun; bio fuel etc. He stated, “by location, Nigeria is a tropical country, bathed by the sun in all seasons. Annual Insolation in all area of Nigeria ranges between 3 to 6 kW-hr per square meter. “This level of insolation disposes the country to being a very viable location for solar projects. Nigeria has ideal preconditions; growing economy, a growing population, an increasing energy demand and an intensive solar radiation around the year. “Recognised need for electricity generation from renewable sources. For many developed economies, the primary purpose of embracing the DG scheme lies in energy security and the drive to reduce the destructive effect of carbon emission. For Nigeria, the primary goal of DG scheme will be strictly for energy security through the generation of needed electricity, all other environmental-concern goals are secondary. “Everywhere the DG scheme has been successfully and viably implemented, the onus for the provision of DG friendly environment, policies and incentive is primarily the governments to fully discharge.
“With government financial guarantee and supports, DG will remain generally affordable in Nigeria.” Uanikhehi said that beyond calling for investors, the Federal Government of Nigeria should establish clear enabling policies and attractive incentives that will have very willing investors falling over each other for investments places in the renewable energy sector. He listed the benefits of the scheme to include increase in power generation in short time at minimal ado and cost; it holds no prejudice or threat to all existing solar electricity generation efforts; distributed generation technology thrives in mutual compatibility and as compliment to all other existing power generating efforts and would easily yield desired results within a short period in Nigeria; as proven in all countries where properly implemented stimulates huge participatory interest of all citizens. Other benefits, he said are that the participation interest generated by DG derives from the attractive irresistible incentives that flow from the firm policies developed by each implementing country.
“The participatory interest generated by DG incentives give rise to increased number of individual generation which results in substantial level of added grid electricity. “DG scheme has the potentials to increase grid electricity level within a relatively short period. 4,000mw installed generation was achieved in Japan within 8 months. DG saves on the enormous cost of labour and management of a single large-size conventional plant. “DG completely rules out all problems associated with gas pipeline sabotage and vandalism. Unlike all conventional large grid electricity generating plants, a breakdown of a single localised DG system does not create a general systemic outage of the grid. Unlike all conventional large grid electricity generating plants, investment in DG systems are privately borne by individual owners. “DG generation have no need for long distance transmissions and hence saves an economy the huge investments costs on maze of transmission lines construction and management. DG has the ability to localise, even personalise, the understanding of
energy use. “Every DG system owners appreciate electricity generation issues and tend to understand the need for efficient power usage and management. “A successfully implemented DG programme would go beyond the years of trite powergeneration promises as it would remain indelible in the minds of all Nigerians, as acknowledgeable reality of government’s seriousness of purposes.”
oversupplied or under supplied. This barter arrangement, he noted, is a major factor responsible for the sustainability of supply and availability of Gasoline across Nigeria. He stated, “International Financial Institutions are very sensitive to sensational media reports and most recently these inaccurate reports do more harm than good in structuring finance for petroleum product supply into Nigeria. “Furthermore, it is on record that Taleveras is one of the most active supplier of refined petroleum products in and out of Africa as a whole and in particular Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) under the Duke/Taleveras arrangement, we are often than not, used as a performance example. Secondly, for the swap transaction, there is an underlying security in form of a standby letter of credit in Favour of PPMC, so if you don’t deliver the products, PPMC are in a position to cash your letter of credit, these letters of credits are issued in favour of PPMC by first class banks and must be bank confirmed prior to an offtake of the crude, so in essence no letter of credit, no lifting of crude.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
44 Wenesday, April 2, 2014
In partnership with
NIGERIAN CHAMBER OF SHIPPING
NPA HOSTS THE 12TH INTERMODAL CONFERENCE The biggest and most established annual Container Ports, Shipping and Transport Logistics Exhibition and Conference event on the African continent. HE 12th intermodal conference held at the T Oriental Hotel Lagos from the 26th - 28th of March, 2014, hosted by the Nigerian Ports Authority has come and gone. It is the biggest and most established annual Container Ports, Shipping and Transport Logistics Exhibition and Conference event on the African continent. The event premiered with a Technical Site visit to Tincan Island Container Terminal and the APM Terminal, Followed by the opening ceremony of the Conference and Exhibition by the Minister of Transport, Honourable Idris Umar and other dignitaries. The two days Conference Programme featured 35 world-class conference speakers addressing topical issues and challenges on global transportation and logistics attended by a gathering of 700 senior executive harbour masters, harbour engineers, port engineers, maintenance supervisors and procurement decision makers together with the world's leading shippers, cargo owners, importers/exporters, shipping lines, freight forwarders, logistics companies, ports, terminal operating companies, railway operators, port equipment and services suppliers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The Director General of Nigerian Chamber of Shipping Mrs. Ify Anazonwu-Akerele was also present at the Conference where she delivered a speech on “WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO BUILD AN ATTRACTIVE MARITIME ARENA IN
NIGERIA” wherein she pointed out the Marine potentials and resources in Nigeria and the need for the utilization of these resources by Nigerians. She also identified the need for an effective and efficient transportation in the Maritime Sector and the need for Government intervention to reduce the cost borne by the local operators by introducing Subsidies, Tax incentives and many more just as is being practiced around the world. She also corrected the impression going round that The Nigerian Customs was Anti Local Content, stating that the act of high duties levied on Nigerians who acquire Vessels
is itself Anti Local Content as such policies would not encourage prospective investors in the Maritime sector to Acquire Vessels if they consider the high Duty they would have to pay just because the Vessel is resident in Nigeria. Furthermore, she encouraged Indigenous operators to take advantage of the CVFF and Loan Facilities most banks have made available for the acquisition of Vessels. This would Promote Local Content, Create Jobs for Nigerians and Increase government Revenue. Lastly, in a bid to ensure that the four arms of the Cabotage Law are realized, she noted that there was the need to invest in the area of Ship
Building in Nigeria. The Navy where able to build two Ships and she believes with the right encouragement there would be more Ship Yards in Nigeria. Mrs Anazonwu- Akerele reiterated that the purchase of vessels by the Nigerian Ports Authority in aiding the Navy combat sea robbery and crimes on Nigerian waters is a commendable act. However, she looks forward to day where these Ships would be built in Nigeria by our Local Ship yards e.g. the Naval Dock Yard and not a case where we have to import them.
The Historic MV Queen Ofonime Christened The 14th day of March 2014, marked a great milestone in our journey of local content in the Maritime Sector with the reception ceremony for a NIGERIAN OWNED offshore Platform Supply Vessel (PSV) with Dynamic Positioning II (DP2) capability and length Overall (LOA) of 87.5 metres, the biggest of its kind in West Africa. The Christening Ceremony of MV QUEEN OFONIME which was graced by top notchers in the
... A Wholly-Nigerian owned Offshore Platform Supply Vessel comes on stream Maritime Industry was performed at the Naval Dock yard Ltd., Ahmadu Bello way in Victoria Island. The vessel owned by Beneprojecti Nigeria Limited a wholly owned Nigerian Company with over 10 years experience in the oil & gas industry, was financed by Fidelity Bank Plc, a confirmation that the financial institutions in Nigeria have what it takes to finance ship acquisi-
tions in Nigeria where the laid down requirements are met. The crème of the society including Senators, Top Government Functionaries, Bank Directors, Captains of Industry, and our own Director General, Mrs. Ify Anazonwu- Akerele were delighted to see a realization of a great Nigerian vision and the culmination of a zestful effort by the Board and Management of
BeniProjecti Ltd. This is a tacit and concrete demonstration of the ideals, preachments and advocacy of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping that with determination and a strong eye on the horizon, we can attain enormous achievements and better our shipping and exploit our local content prospects. Ofcourse, the Cabotage
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From the Desk of the
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 45
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
DIRECTOR GENERAL Dear Reader, ELCOME to another edition W of our bi-weekly journal on Maritime issues. Today, the Nigerian Maritime Industry as we know it has witnessed a tremendous innovation in its journey of promoting Local Content. Such innovations include but not limited to, the rehabilitation of our ports by the introduction of the Private Public Partnership Agreement structure (PPA), the acquisition of vessels by Nigerians (QUEEN OFONIME), the building of ships by the Nigerian Navy, the conclusion of the Nigerian Maritime EXPO (NIMAREX), the hosting of the one of the world’s largest and most established annual Container Ports, Shipping and Transport Logistics Exhibition and Conference for the first time in Nigeria (12th intermodal African Conference) just to name a few. Going from the above events, we can say our relentless efforts and dedication have been fruitful. Stakeholders in the maritime industry are beginning to take up the mantle in ensuring Nigerians not only take part in the commercial areas of the Maritime sector but also making a conscious effort to encourage investment in the Sector. The Cabotage and Local Content Laws brought about a new regime to the Maritime sector but rather that reap its benefits we witness a laxity in the enforcement of its provisions. Stakeholders in the maritime industry have stressed the need for a successful implementation of the Cabotage law in the country to fast-track activities in the industry. It is our expectation that with all hands on deck, the policies concerning the growth of local capacity within the Maritime Sector will all come into active manifestations. We have sharpened our arsenal and are prepared to indulge you in our top of the shelf training programmes this year. The ABC of Shipping and the Understanding Cabotage & Local Content in the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry will come as hot as ever with a bias for Banks and Financial Institutions. Also, our novel PGD and Certificate programmes in Maritime. Oil & Gas will kick off this quarter at the Niger Delta University (NDU), Amasoma, Bayelsa State. Financial Institutions, Oil companies, Maritime Organisations and Government/Public sector organizations are enjoined to grab the opportunity with both hands. We are just poised to positively affect our Shipping and Logistics sphere of business in the quest to strongly support the development of our National Economy. We welcome and encourage you to send in your relevant topical articles. Please join our boat. Welcome!! Happy Reading God Bless.
IFY ANAZONWU-AKERELE Director General Nigerian Chamber of Shipping Info@nigerian-shipping.org
What needs to be done to build an attractive Maritime Investment Arena in Nigeria Being the text of a paper presented by MRS IFY ANAZONWU – AKERELE Director General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping at the just concluded 12th Intermodal African Conference held in Lagos Nigeria. In today’s interdependent and globalized world, efficient and cost effective transportation systems that link global supply chains are the engine fueling economic development and prosperity. With 80 percent of the global trade carried out by sea and handled by ports worldwide, the strategic economic importance of maritime transport as a trade enabler cannot be overemphasized. The trade competitiveness of both developed and developing countries depends heavily on effective access to international shipping services and port networks. Nigeria is known to be endowed with one of the greatest maritime potentials in the world. With a coastline of 823 kilometer and navigable waterways of about 4,000 kilometer, Nigeria is no doubt a force or should be a force to be reckoned with in the maritime industry. This assertion is further accentuated with her abundant human resources of about 160 million people living in a massive land mass of 923,768.64 square kilometer. The country is also blessed with huge natural and mineral resources such as oil, gas, coal, tin, bauxite, iron oil, agricultural produce etc, which presupposes that it has abundant cargo to be lifted , especially through sea It is therefore pertinent that Maritime operators, especially the indigenous ship operators, should take advantage of such huge maritime potentials to thrive. Unfortunately, indigenous shipping operations do not benefited from the huge maritime potentials of the country. It is their foreign counterparts that have a large share of the commercial activities in the Maritime Sector. The Maritime industry as we know is facing a new and complex environment that involves both challenges and opportunities. Of all the prevailing challenges, however, the interconnected issues of finance, security, capacity, skill, climatic change and environmental sustain-
ability is perhaps the most prevailing. Turning to the opportunities, these include – naming but a few – greater source of revenue for the government, improved transport network, job opportunity, growing diversification of sources of supply, international trade/access to new markets, acquisition of skills and technology, deeper regional integration and cooperation facilitated by agreements, partnerships and an enabling policy framework. This paper shall not only focus on the problems faced by the stakeholders in the maritime industry but also proffer genial ideals that would ensure the industry attains a desired level of sustainability there by attracting prospective investors from far and wide. SHIPPING FINANCE/ CAPITAL AND GOVERNMENT EMPOWERMENT Despite the role of maritime transport in the development process, not much attention has been given to this area of shipping until lately. The acquisition of ships is very complex and highly capital intensive. It takes a lot of time and money to build and acquire a vessel. A study showed that Ship owned in about 35 developing countries of the world accounted for about 94% of the world merchant fleet used in maritime transport in 1990. This means that Nigeria and other developing country account for the remaining 6% of the world’s merchant fleet. (This is very poor but on the increase) Efforts of successive governments to stimulate the growth and development of indigenous ship operators is yet to yielded the desired result as factors such as ineptitude, poor policy implementation, unfavorable operational environment, lukewarm regulations and sanctions have marred such efforts. This I am pleased to say is being addressed positively. In a bid to promote the indigenous maritime business, the Cabotage Act was passed into law and it gave birth to the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF) which was ini-
tiated to enable the indigenous ship owners to acquire vessels and compete with their foreign counterpart. Currently six indigenous ship owners have been shortlisted as beneficiaries and we wait with abated breath for the actualization of the disbursement of the funds. Another problem is that investment in shipping does not yield quick return. Hence most investors do not find the sector very attractive to invest in. Worse still, the very few businessmen who venture into the business do not have access to foreign loan due to the fact that they do not possess suitable collateral in the right place to secure such loans. In addition, the effect of the exchange rate of the local currency to the internationally accepted dollar is a major challenge. The Nigeria’s local currency (Naira) is not strong against any major international currency. The huge exchange rate difference thereby widens the ability of a local shipper to acquiring a vessel either from the banks or the international stock exchanges. Consequent upon these problems, it falls on the Nigerian business entrepreneur who intends to go into shipping to use own funds. But then, how much can they really raise and invest into a highly capital intensive venture like shipping. There is a whole lot of difficulty in capital formation in developing countries including Nigeria. What is the average per capita income in developing countries compared to the developed world and how much out of this can they really save and for how long can they save to be enough to acquire a vessel? GRANT OF SUBSIDY AND INCENTIVES BY THE GOVERNMENT All over the world, the burden of vessel acquisition and financing is made easier by intervention of the government -even in the most developed shipping countries- to ensure the development of national maritime industry which such government considers to being vital to
their overall national economic development and growth objectives. The primary objective of government subsidy and incentives is to attract shipping companies to invest in the Industry and to retain their existing capacity by making the business more profitable and attractive. Subsidies could be granted to shipping companies operating in Nigeria to enable them purchase new vessels or refurbish old vessels. This trend has been applied in many EEC countries and has produced desired result e.g. giving a special operating subsidy to Local ship owners upon attaining a set minimum level of performance, provision of cheap credit and direct cash transfer to indigenous ship owners in order to acquire new vessels, cover up their losses etc Given the pervasive impact of finance on shipping in Nigeria, the federal Government must be prepared to emulate the good initiatives of other countries by subsidizing very heavily, the cost of financing ship, particularly acquisition and maintenance. Furthermore, due to the high cost of operation in the shipping industry, the government can also provide some incentives which will help to reduce operating or running costs. They could be in various forms like granting of various reduction of port charges to indigenous carrier, exemption from the payment of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency levy by indigenous carriers, generous allocation of Cargo all year round by government parastatals to boost their earnings and enable them to repay their loans in due time. In the developed world, shipping businesses are usually given very favorable and attractive investment incentives but the reverse is the case here. The tax rate of 45% on taxable profit applicable to other busi-
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... A Wholly-Nigerian owned Offshore Platform Supply Vessel comes on stream CONTINUED FROM PAGE 44 and the Local Content Laws are there to ensure the success of Ship Acquisition by local Operators. We just have to appreciate the combined efforts of the National Assembly, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), NNPC-NAPIMS, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Fidelity Bank Plc. and some of the local banks to grow local capacity in the Maritime Sector. This is definitely the beginning of greater things to come.
46 Wenesday, April 2, 2014
AT NIMAREX 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Maritime Labour Convention 2006: Mandatory Provisions of social protection and welfare for Seafarers By Otunba Kunle Folarin, Chairman National Seafarer’s Welfare Board
AT NIMAREX 2014: (3rd right) Hon Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar; (3rd left) Gen. Raji Rasaki (representing Gen IB Babangida, Chairman NIMAREX 2014 EXPO); (2nd right) Barr Mrs Margaret Orakwusi, Chairman NIMAREX 2014 Planning Committee; (1st right) Mallam Habib Abdullahi, MD/CEO, Nigerian Ports Authority; (2nd left) Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, DG/CEO, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and (1st left) Chief Isaac Jolapamo, National Chairman, Nigerian Indigenous Shipowners Association
The Minister of Transport flanked by special dignitaries
Launching of the NIMAREX Book
INTRODUCTION One of the oldest professions in the world is seafaring. Modern civilization anchored on global trade, communication, the mobilisation of people and use of technology between and from all places in the world presents a formidable environment. The seas and waterways account for over 80% of the earth surface and Perhaps harbour well over 70% of worlds resources both living and mineral wealth. Contacts and carriage of these resources which are so vital to sustenance of life and economy of all nations of the world are facilitated by men and women who over centuries have met and weathered the challenges of seafaring in different regions and countries of the universe. Through various stages of evolution, political, economic and social developments. As the construction and configuration of ships changed, so were changes in the demand of skills and challenges that face seafarers as they navigate the oceans and rivers daily in the pursuit of their work. Seafarers have to change and adapt to new methods demanded by different ships, different waterways and new societies and regions of their ports of call. They contend with the weather at sea and the climatic conditions of the time. They face long hours of work and days at sea. They work for ships of different nationalities and comply with national laws of their host ports. They risk their lives at every hour; they leave a port for another all in the name of pursuing their professional callings with increases in piracy and attacks in both familiar and non familiar regions and sea lanes. The international maritime organisation (IMO) and the international labour organisation with governments, ship owners seafarers owners and other parties have on tripartite levels adopted various conventions which directly deal with issues that are relative to seafarer’s welfare and rights. It is therefore mandatory that the articles, recommendations and codes of those conventions receive full compliance at regional and international levels. International labour organisation (ILO) conventions and recommendations The international labour organisation (ILO), Adopted various conventions and recommendations for the welfare of seafarers. The most prominent one is convention 163 and recommendation 173. There are others also by the international maritime organisation (IMO). The principal aims of the conventions and recommendations are to secure guarantees against various malpractices that infringes on the well being and fundamental rights of seafarers. Article IV of the convention is the key to the full understanding and interpretation of the appropriate provisions that are mandatory for compliance. • Every seafarers has the right to a safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards. • Every seafarers has a right to fair terms of employment. • Every seafarers has a right to decent working and living conditions on board • Every seafarer has a right to
health protection, medical care, welfare measurers and other forms of social protection. • Every member shall ensure, within the limits of its jurisdiction, that the seafarers employment and social rights set out in the preceding paragraphs of these articles are fully implemented in accordance with requirements of this convention. Unless specified otherwise in the convention, such implementation may be achieved through national laws or regulations. Through applicable bargaining agreements or through other measures or in practice. The following titles and regulations of the maritime labour conventions 2006 are worthy of note Title 2 : Conditions of Employment Regulation 2.1 Seafarers employment agreements Regulation 2.2 wages Regulation 2.3 Hours of work and hours of rest Regulation 2.4 Entitlement to leave Regulation 2.5 Repatriation Regulation 2.6 Seafarers compensation for the ship loss or foundering Regulation 2.7 Manning levels Regulation 2.8 Career and skill development and opportunities for seafarers employment. Title 3: Accommodation, Recreational facilities, food and catering Regulation 3.1 Accommodation and recreational facilities Regulation 3.2 food and catering Title 4. Health protection, Medical care, Welfare and Social Security Protection Regulation 4.1 Medical care on board ship and shore Regulation 4.2 ship owners liability Regulation 4.3 health and safety protection and accident prevention Regulation 4.4 Access to shore – based welfare facilities Regulation 4.5 Social security. ISSUES OF SEAFARER’S WELFARE Amongst the various issues of concern regarding the welfare needs of seafarers, the principal ones are: EMPLOYMENT AND PAY RATES • The differential between wages applicable to seafarers engaged on regular flags varies greatly when compared with those paid by ships of FOC (Flag of Convenience). The disparity in wages is even greater for seafarers from Developing Countries. • HEALTH AND SAFETY Medical facilities on board Ocean going vessels and those on Coastal Trades should meet the minimum standards recommended by the World Health Oganisation (WHO)and in line with ILO guidelines. • SAFETY OF SEAFARERS • on duty is paramount an important aspect of condition of contract. Internationally acceptable safety procedures and facilities should be guaranteed in all work areas both on board and ashore. • DISTRESS SITUATION In situation where ship is abandoned or involved in accident or subject to legal detention, crew members on board such vessels must be guaranteed minimum comfort and assistance through immigration and repatriation to their Home ports. • Sea farers must not be made victim of situations beyond their control particularly on matters
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What needs to be done to build an attractive Maritime Investment Arena in Nigeria CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45 ness is same that is applicable to shipping companies. There is no concession or subsidy applicable to shipping because it is not classified as a pioneer business or agro. Investment, grants and allowances for shipping business in Nigeria are not different from those enjoyed by ordinary companies. Under such a harsh fiscal regime, investors would naturally prefer to invest in the other sector of the economy that are less risk prone but with very high yields at very short periods. The financial sectors investment in the acquisition of vessels has until very recently been non-existent in this country. Currently, most Banks today have Maritime Desk, this is a welcome development. The effort of agencies such as Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the creation of International Maritime Bank of Nigeria to provide funds for the shipping industry is to be commended and sustained. Hopefully, it will see the light of day. SHIP BUILDING & SHIPYARDS IN NIGERIA There is a need for requisite technology and industry for ship construction in Nigeria. Presently, Nigeria has little ship building facility namely Niger dock, Naval Dock Yard ltd, West Atlantic Shipyard, STARZ ltd or even a steel manufacturing company. The implication of this is that all the materials needed to build a ship will have to be imported. What obtains today is that ships are being purchased from foreign ship yards and brought down to the country. TRAINED MANPOWER, FACILITIES AND REPORT In the Nigerian maritime industry, a lot of experienced hands are retiring without adequate arrangements for their replacement. There are still not enough training institutions and facilities for ship person-
nel and seafarers. There are less than ten universities and polytechnics in Nigeria offering courses in shipping and related activities in the country today. Knowledge needs to be expanded; it is from knowledge that we get expertise. We need institutions that would not only undertake degree programs in Nigeria but institutions that are accredited and would issue internationally recognized certificate. Furthermore, it is essential that we have training vessels and berths, as Graduates of the Maritime Academy Oron do not have the facilities where they can undergo practical experience locally before furthering the course. The maritime industry is a green area and if we want investors, we must show that we have both the requisite skills and capacity to thrive in the industry. There is a need to have a basic understanding of the commercial nature of shipping business and the resultant ability to determine demand, make appropriate forecast, determine competitor’s strength and to evolve a policy of competitive advantage. Having to use expatriates would not only cost more but also reduce the income coming into the country. FORMAL DATA BASE There is a need to have a structural frame work in the maritime industry, an up to date database of all the stakeholders, practitioners and vessels in the sector. In Europe, there is an association called the Oil Companies International Maritime Forum (OCIME); just as we have the Nigerian Ship Owners Association (NSA) The OCIME created a data called Ship Inspection Report Program, so that if any IOC wants to use any vessel, they need not go to the vessel owners to inquire of the ship, but rather go into the Ship Inspection Report or database and pick a ship that meets the required standard or purpose. Consequently, as most indigenous
ship owners are not part of this organization, most IOC would not engage their services. Hence, there is an urgent need for Nigerians or even Africa to have its own data base, in order to meet up with the ongoing trend around the world. INFRASTRUCTURAL FACILITIES The existence of infrastructural facilities is not one that should be neglected either by the government or the end users of such facilities as it is necessary for the development of the economy of a country. There is a synergy between all modes of transportation the failure of one automatically affects the other. The navigational aids and the beacons in our water ways and sea approaches are poor and outdated. Thankfully there is a turnaround in our port system as opposed to what existed before There are certain basic amenities that need to be put in place to foster any business. These amenities aid the smooth running of the business, making it possible for one to concentrate on making back the investment made in a business. More so, the end users are to develop a maintenance culture, to ensure the infrastructures put in place by the government are well managed and used for their intended purpose. West African nations are rapidly developing their oil and gas infrastructure to capitalize on existing assets and exploit new offshore discoveries. These assets can serve as the driver of long-term economic development in these countries, boosting industry, creating thousands of jobs and bringing in billions of dollars of foreign investment. The world evolves constantly and the maritime sector in Nigeria should not be left out. We need to gain back the business opportunities that we have lost to other neighboring countries and to do that we need to put in place a system that works.
SECURITY This is another fundamental and global issue in the maritime sector. Nigeria again topped the list of countries in the Gulf of Guinea where piracy and sea robbery held sway in 2013. According to statistics released by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in its 2013 analysis, Nigerian pirates moved further afield last year and ventured far into waters off Gabon, Ivory Coast and Togo, where they were linked with at least five of the region’s seven reported vessel hijackings. The annual report further showed that Nigerian pirates and sea robbers accounted for 31 of the region’s 51 attacks, taking 49 people hostage and kidnapping 36, more than in any year since 2008. As stronger counter-piracy measures have developed in East Africa, criminal organizations have come to see coastal assets in West Africa as soft targets. The result is that the waters of the Gulf of Guinea are now the most dangerous in Africa for merchant. Already, seafarers are becoming increasingly wary of using Nigeria’s territorial waters. Consequently, Insurance premium to Nigeria have skyrocketed. In some instances, goods meant for the country have had to be diverted to Benin Republic or even Togo, just as the insurance premium paid on Nigerian-bound ships has gone up astronomically. The corollary is that goods shipped into the country are rather costlier. Currently, NIMASA in collaboration with relevant security agencies as well as the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Air Force to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Navy are working tirelessly to reduce sea robbery to the barest minimum through these collaborative efforts. Only well-coordinated efforts among different national agencies and international navies will reduce crime incidents on our waters.
Unless it is tackled quickly and effectively, piracy and illicit crimes on our waterways could do serious damage not only to Nigeria’s oil and gas industry but also the Nigerian economy, slowing development for years to come. ADVOCACY!!! More Conference and Exhibitions These conferences will provide an avenue for better marriages in form of partnerships between Nigerians and her foreign counterparts The Nigerian Maritime Expo and Conference (NIMAREX) is one of such conference essential to Advocacy & Exposure. NIMAREX is a 3-day annual international exhibition & conference conceptualized to be the meeting point for players in the maritime industry in West Africa. An ideal forum to showcase products, new technologies, services, networking and unlocking real business opportunities. Nigeria needs to be visible on the international platform, portraying a positive image. This positive image is what would encourage investors all over the world to invest in the Nigerian Maritime Industry. Our aim is not to chase the foreigners but to ensure that Nigerians are fully equipped with the skills and knowledge required to develop our maritime sector. A Form of transfer of knowledge and acquisition of technology should exist. I believe Nigeria has what it takes to be the hub of maritime trade in West Africa, but first, we must work towards it with all determination, casting aside every set back and short comings and holding steadfast to our goals. The maritime sector is one area where the nation’s income should flow from steadily without hindrance. It lies basically on the government and the stakeholders in the maritime sector to build a sustainable and attractive maritime arena and the rest is history.
Maritime Labour Convention 2006: Mandatory Provisions of social protection and welfare for Seafarers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 46 of dispute between ship owners, chatterers and local authorities. • DISPUTES Disputes sometimes occur during voyages which might lead to strike actions by seafarers such disputes must be resolved in accordance with the terms of the Contract of Engagement or through arbitration. • PROCEDURE OF WORK All tasks allocated to seafarers must be strictly according to the articles and terms of Their Contract. Any variation must be mutually agreed and not imposed. All seafarers must be covered by Accident and Health Insurance including the period of approved shore leave. • VACATION AND SHORE LEAVE Seafarers must be entitled to Annual Vacation in cases of permanent Engagement and reasonable leave relief in other cases of engagement. • REMITTANCES Arrangement must be made to give opportunity to seafarers to remit funds to their families while the process of such services must not be encumbered by bureaucracy or other adminis-
trative delays or bottlenecks. • RECREATION Adequate recreation facilities should be made available on board and at port cities. The ITF Trust Fund has always supported the provision of shore recreation comfort for seafarers at many regions. • RETIREMENT AND TERMINAL BENEFIT As much as desirable a person plan should be organised as a regular procedure for all seafarers to be jointly funded by contributions from both the employer and the seafarer. This provision is without prejudice to National Programme (National Insurance or Unemployment Scheme) that is operating in individual Seafarers country. • TRAINING AND RETRAINING • In view of the recent demands for competence, all cadres of seafarers must have the benefit of re training in order to be compliant to the new order and also to be trained in new skills which will ensure his continuous employment. INTERNATIONAL & REGIONAL OBLIGATIONS ON SEAFARERS WELFARE Governments, shipowners, manning agents and other con-
tracting parties Governments through various specialized agencies like NIMASA in Nigeria should take the issues of seafarers welfare seriously and address them as national, economic and social policies. Inspection of on board facilities should also be regularly performed. Shipowners and manning agents should engage in all best practices in both human and material resources management particularly in areas of fair wages without disparity. Health and safety standards and facilities, disputes resolution, prompt attendance to distress situation and provision of welfare facilities for seafarers should receive prompt attention. CHALLENGES OF THE NEEDS FOR SEFARERS WELFARE IN NIGERIA • Low capacity in skill • In adequate training capability • Lack of competiveness in the global market • Lack of structured wages & salaries • Weak inspectorate policy of compliance with ILO conversions • Weak institutional capability • Inadequate enforce-
ment of the provisions of the cabotage • Lack of opportunity for sea training • Lack of local capacity to employ seafarers • Inadequate Structure and procedures to deal with incidents of distress at Sea and injuries while at work. • Addressing issues of seafarers employment and conditions of service • Establish a strong and professional cadre for compliance inspection • Maintain an up to date registry of seafarers identity • Track the location of seafarers employed on local coastal and foreign flag vessels. Encourage the training of seafarers with skills and qualification for competitiveness in the Global market. • Enforce the provisions of the Cabotage Act and minimise the application of the waiver clause. • Provide welfare schemes for seafarers at all Nigerian major seaports. In Lagos, Port Harcourt , Calabar and Warri. These provisions to include seafarers centres, Sports facilities, internet and other com-
munication. Equipment, vehicles and official and voluntary personnel should be provided to see the needs of seafarers both local and foreign • Pursue legislation for a mandatory port due on every ship calling Nigerian Ports as it is done in many countries including Ivory Coast. • Create & Develop awareness in the country with focus on shipping companies, Federal Government, state and Local Governments of the potential of seafaring with opportunities to provide careers , gainful employment and stable incomes that could ensure a secure future and arrest the restlessness of the teeming Youths in the country. • Organise regular seminars and other public awareness campaigns to expose the potentials and opportunities in seafaring • To encourage public and multinational companies to see the needs of seafarers. • To engage qualified & experienced academics and professionals in all Government agencies with mandate for Maritime Administrations and development. AGENDA FOR SEAFARERS WEL-
FARE: THE WAY FORWARD The way ships are constructed, the method of sea work, international and national laws and conventions relating to shipping and marine services are changing and will continue to change. The environment and challenges that the industry and seafarers face and will continue to live with in the foreseeable future are enormous. Shipping and the sea will continue to be the most economic and preferred mode of international trade transport. We should therefore be decisive in tackling issues that are critical to achieving on enduring success of the combination of utilising both human and natural resources for this purpose. All issues that are critical factors in the business of shipping and the sea and those who man the process must be addressed with prompt attention. A solid marriage made of the family of all contracting parties to the affair of seafaring that is governments, ship owners, manning agents, port authorities and seafarers is mandatory and desirable. This is the way forward and indeed the only way.
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MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY
AS AT 01-04-2014
PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com
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AS AT 01-04-2014
NSE’s market capitalisation depreciates by N117 b Stories by Helen Oji OLLOWING price losses Fbluechip incurred by major companies, equity transactions on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) closed on a downward note, as market capitalisation depreciates by N117 billion. Yesterday, the two key indicator of the NSE ; market capitalisation and the All-share index depreciated by 0.94 per cent. Precisely, the market capitalisation of listed equities dropped by N117 billion or 0.9 per cent to N12.329 trillion from N12.446 trillion recorded the previous day. Also the NSE All Share Index went down by 364.96 basis points from 38748.01 points traded the previous day to 38383.05 points. A review of the transactions for the day showed that investors bought 389.840 million shares worth N4.864 billion in 4494 deals against 396.506 million shares valued at N3.792 billion 4155 deals. Dangote Cement led the losers table, shedding N6.93 kobo to close at N235.00 per share while Guinness Nigeria Plc trailed with a loss of N5.00 to close at N195.00per share.
Larfarge Wapco, Cadbury Nigeria Plc and Nigerian Breweries declined by N5.00, N3.55 and N1.98per share to N104.50 , N75.00 and N151.00per share. On the contrary, Forte Oil topped gainers table, adding N4.79 kobo to close at N101.29 per share. International Breweries followed with a gain of N2.48 kobo to close at N26.68 per share. UAC property gained N2.35 kobo to close at N25.38 per share. Other companies that appreciated in price were Zenith International Bank and GTBank which enhanced by N0.95 kobo and N0.80 kobo respectively to close at N20.95 kobo and N26.30 kobo. Further analysis of yesterday’s trading activities showed that GTBank recorded the highest volume of activities exchanging 65.532 million shares valued at N1.696 billion, Zenith Bank followed with account of 40.613 million valued at N844.092 million while Capital traded 35.809 million shares cost N93.824 million. Access Bank Plc sold 32.769 million worth. N243.986 million and UBA traded 26.287 million shares valued at N184.283 million.
NAHCO posts N8.1b revenue, N1.1b PBT in 2013 • Proposes 30k dividend per share HE Nigerian Aviation T Handing Company Plc nahco aviance- has posted a revenue of N8.1 billion in its 2013 operations, against N7.4 billion achieved in 2012. Specifically, the company’s performance for the 2013 financial year released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed a revenue of N8.1billion, higher than N7.4billion recorded in 2012 while profit before tax (PBT) rose from N853million to N1.1billion, an increase of 32 percent. The company’s earnings per share also increased by 33 percent, from 48kobo to 64kobo during the year under review. According to a statement signed by NAHCO’s Chief Finance Officer, Chinwe ChijiNnorom, the strong performance was due to stringent cost containment strategies adopted in the year and also to revenue increase which
What Happened? The NSE All-Share index depreciated by 94bps (0.94%) and closed at 38,383.05. This represents a year-to-date performance of -7.13%. Market Capitalisation also depreciated 0.94% to close at N12.329 trillion. Total value traded increased 28.27% to N4.864 billion and total volume traded decreased 6.71% to 369.84 million units.
Where? At the close of trading, the banking sector represented 70.18% of the total market value traded, while the breweries sector represented 10.67% The Top 5 stocks as a % of total market value traded were: GUARANTY (34.88%), ZENITHBANK (17.35%), NB (10.47%), FBNH (6.49%) and ACCESS (5.02%). On a volume basis, the Top 5 most traded stocks for the day were: GUARANTEE (65.53m), ZENITHBANK (40.61m), UBCAP (32.77m), UBA (26.29m) and FBNH (25.33m).
CEO, NSE, Oscar Onyema
was as a result of the previous year’s investment in cargo modernization programe. The statement explains that the proposed dividend of 30k per share reflects a dividend yield of five percent due to every shareholders of the company . The Group Chairman Suleiman Yahyah, last year, assured its shareholders that ‘NAHCO will begin to reap the benefits of its expansion, modernization policy as from 2013 with a focus on Africa.’ NAHCO had recently, obtained a license to operate a Free Trade Zone in Lagos. It has consequently established a company to manage the FTZ licence. The company has also registered its operations in Liberia, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire pursuant to its diversification strategy and is working to establish its presence in more African countries.
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Midweek Arts Another peep into Fagunwa’s literary legacy at OAU By Gbenga Salau T is like the world patiently waited for 50 Ibrated years after his passage for him to be celeas a legend. Last year, some groups with members drawn from different parts of the world gathered to host a three-day conference, where Fagunwa’s works were interrogated from different perspectives. And precisely last week, the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife held The Fagunwa Colloquium and Art Exhibition. At the programme were literary and cultural enthusiasts who when given opportunity to comment applauded Fagunwa in very fine and colourful words. The host of the conference, Professor Gbemisola Adeoti, in his address, stated that even though largely fictional and vividly surrealistic in the main, the universe of Fagunwa’s novels has some concreteness to the audience, especially the Yoruba reader who shares the same cultural background with the author. He noted as a growing up child, children who listened to or read any of Fagunwa’s five novels, the character and places were so real as they were painstakingly described in details by the author, sometimes with a robust sense of humour. “Indeed, to us, Igbo Irunmole, Oke Hilahilo, Aginju Idakeroro and Igbo Elegbeje-Ode seemed to be some steps away from the door and those weird creature. The ultimate didactic ends of the works bring them close to folktales told by the moonlight, making them timeless and universal. The works proved to be valuable instruments of socialization then.” Adeoti argued that a careful examination of his novels would show that he is much of the contemporary because of the works in a welter of symbols and images, paint the picture of modern world with the present and enduring strokes. “After all, are we not being forced daily on an expedition to Mount Langbodo with the harsh and precarious conditions of existence in Africa? How far away is Nigeria from Ilu Ero eyin with its upside down and topsy-turvy values? “The universal and fresh tropes of Fagunwa’s works inspired this attempt to look back with contemporary eyes, at the writer, his writings and contributions to human society. What lessons can be learnt by the present generation? How can we harness the values embeded in the works to achieve the goals of good governance, development and stability.” He maintained that it is in the fulfillment of the mandate of the institute of linking gown with the town that it is providing the platform for scholars, artistes, publishers and others to come together for a robust and multi-dimensional dissection of the phenomenon that is Fagunwa. “In recognition of his qualities as a visual artist who paints with words, graphic pictures of peoples, events and places in his novels, the Institute of Cultural Studies collaborated with the Department of Fine and Applied arts to assemble art works with major focus on the forest environment in an exhibition entitled, Inside African Forest. Adeoti observed that Fagunwa was a lover of the environment whose vision predates that of modern day eco friendly campaigners. “The exhibition presents in different shades the inspiring ambience of a creative world. One thing that is obvious from here is that, though he wrote in his indigenous language, Yoruba, Fagunwa is a writer for many seasons. “Five novels survived him but the novels have made statements that thousands of encyclopedias cannot cover in terms of espousing Yoruba philosophy, issues in the sociology of the Yoruba child. Within his works, you will discover that before the advent of westerners, the Yoruba had had rich and dynamic culture. So Fagunwa’s work is refreshing and universal.” According to him, the choice of the title of the exhibition is deliberate to point attention to the environment and the kind of ambiance that inspired Fagunwa. “So, in our
Works on display at Inside African Forest show own way, we are saying that people should pay attention to their environment and it is when they have knowledge about the environment that they can create character and situations. “We have also invited school children who may gain one or two lessons, in terms of creativity. Who knows, we may have another Fagunwa; writing in the indigenous language. We are also emphasizing the fact that the indigenous language is not inferior to English or any other language and we should encourage the use of indigenous languages because that is where our true emancipation lies. The chairman of the Colloquium, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, in his speech paid glowing tributes to Fagunwa highlighting the richness of his creativity as displayed in his works. He believed that there is need to nurture new Fagunwas, which was why he instituted an award for the student with the best creative writing in Yoruba. Also commenting how they encountered Fagunwa through his works, Chief Jimi Solanke, Yemi Elebuibon, Professors Tola Badejo and Adeleke Adeeko all eulogized Fagunwa. Elebuibon said that embedded in his works are words of wisdom while Solanke talked about the characterization of the characters in his works with many of them having attributes that the readers could easily remember. Adeeko noted that scholars have barely begun to scratch the surface of his works. Fagunwa’s wife, Elizabeth thanked God and Fagunwa’s family for making life pleasant for her after the death of her husband. She said that her husband wrote the books to make others excited and happy and not for material gains. After the opening ceremony, the chairman of the occasion left the guests to exhibition session where different arts paintings were on display. In his paper, The Art of Music in Fagunwa Narrative as gleaned from his appreciation of Fauna and Flora, Rev Fr. Prof Thomas Makanjuola Ilesanmi of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University, said that every human being is a product of particular fauna and flora as human beings live in, breath air of, eat and drink the fauna and flora in one form or the other but only very few people are productively conscious of the realities. “Many people take them for granted and allow themselves to pass through the fauna and flora without understanding their language and music. Such people just exist without contributing anything positive to their immediate environment. They do not perceive the avalanche of beauty around them.”
The late Fagunwa According to Ilesanmi, in his time and locality, Fagunwa was unique because he saw more than his co-human being saw and understood the language and music of nature. “Based on the tools made available to him, he recorded the messages of all the beings around him in the creation of literary genre which we today call Fagunwa’s literary tradition.” With emphasis on the art of music in Fagunwa’s narratives, Ilesanmi paper underscored the writer’s traditional conception of music as drum language, chants, recitations and songs– the ingredients of Yoruba cultural music. “The notion of usefulness of musical instrumentation is considered along with the vocal influence on music which the various musical instruments try to mimic to a certain extent. The music nomenclature of Fagunwa’s literary heroes has a lot to offer for the success of his herculean journeys.” He concluded that not only human beings are influenced by music in Fagunwa’s novels, animals and spirits controlling the mysterious forests and rivers are all bent to the tune of music for life satisfaction. In the presentation, Domesticating Psychology in Yoruba Discourse using the Viewfinders of D. O. Fagunwa’s Narratives, Professor O. S. Elegbeleye of the Department of Psychology, OAU, highlighted the priority given to norm compliant behavior in the Yoruba culture where all available avenues such as folklores, moonlight tales, narratives, direct instructions were utilized to impact the younger generation. Elegbeleye observed that the five important psychological perspectives that constitute
the focus of the study to be cultural, individual, situational, social group and life span perspectives, acknowledging the expertise of Fagunwa as a narrator and master at graphically weaving the Yoruba language to convey his message. Professor Sotunsa Mobolanle of the Department of Language and Literary Studies, Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, in his paper, Fagunwa from perspective of gender: A reading of Ogboju Ode Ninu igbo Irunmole, argued that male heroic features of bravery, strength, courage, valour and gallantry are imbued with epic dimensions and foregrounded while many females are associated with sorcery and necromancy. “Interestingly, both the epic masculinity and demonic feminity are deconstructed within the novel.” She concluded that while apparent gender politics was at play in the characterization pattern of the novel, deconstructionist tendencies in the novel creates harmonic balance in the gender portrayal. In a chat, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Fagunwa Foundation, Chief Olu Falomo noted that Fagunwa’s writing is a combination of writing about his environment and introducing a lot of imagination. “If you have ever been to Oke-igbo, you will understand what I mean but he did not live in the bush in Oke-igbo. And I did not know from his background that he went farming or hunting on the hill but he had a lot of imagination. These are stories based on imagination built on environment. It is the combination of the two that had made him so loved.” He described his works as just wonderful stating that anyone who has ever read will understand the depth of thought that went into them. Falomo disclosed that he was a very close friend to Fagunwa’s first son, which made him to be close to the papa and the family. According to him, when he was writing all the books, they knew he was writing but they were so young to appreciate it. “All we knew was that he was our father and gave us money when we wanted, we used his car more than he did. He is certainly one of the greatest writers and everything that formed his background went into this book. I wished we could have such imaginative writers coming up. “The environment is such that young writers can produce works as brilliant, if not more brilliant than Fagunwa. We thank God for his life, 50 years after he passed on, we are still remembering, singing his praise, analyzing his works as if he wrote those mater-pieces yesterday.”
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Sports Ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup
C.O.D United begin partnership talks with Sporting Lisbon
No automatic shirts for Nations Cup heroes, says Keshi From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja UPER Eagles’ Coach, Srevealed Stephen Keshi, has that only players currently fit for the challenges of the Brazil 2014 World Cup will make his team to the Mundial Coupe, just as he has dismissed the idea of adding new players to the pool he has been working with since he took the job. Speaking in Abuja yesterday, Keshi said the fact that some players were in the team to the 2013 Nations Cup did not mean they would make the squad to Brazil, adding that the coaches would be guided in their selection by only current form. Saying there would be little no room for any new player to break into the team, unless he sees an exceptional talent better than any of the stars he has been working with, he added: “We have been trying to build a team since the past two years when I came on board, so I don’t see any reason why we have to tear the team apart by looking for newer faces to make some people satisfied. “We have a pool of players already on ground and all that we need to do is to continue building on that, but it doesn’t mean that if you were in the team when we won Nations Cup that you must be in the team to the World Cup.
“If I see anybody better than you, I will take him. Sorry it is not for me, it is for the country and for Africa because we are going there to defend Africa, to defend Nigeria and to defend our pride. So there are a lot of things at stake and I will not negotiate for that.” Keshi reaffirmed his confidence in the ability of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses to serve Nigeria well at the World Cup despite their lack of playing time in their clubs. He said he was optimistic that the friendly match against Scotland in England in May would afford the duo the opportunity to shape up for the rigours of the World Cup. “Yes, it is a kind of a problem that Mikel and Moses are not playing regularly now, but as I keep saying, what I saw of Moses against Mexico shows that he is still in good shape, he is sharp. “ I would have loved him to be playing every week but if I can have him and bring him up a little bit before the World Cup, the level would go up and that is why I am happy we have some friendly matches to play, where we will make some corrections before the World Cup. “Mikel also looks sharp so I am not really worried, I have seen Mikel play some matches for Chelsea and he was looking good,” Keshi assured.
FFICIALS of C.O.D United O Football Club of Lagos will be in Portugal on the invita-
Super Eagles’ John Obi Mikel (right) pulls away from Yaya Toure of Cote d’Ivoire during their 2013 Africa Cup PHOTO: AFP of Nations quarterfinal game in South Africa. Nigeria won 2-1.
Don’t derail Keshi’s World Cup plan, Obuh cautions NFF By Alex Monye ORMER Flying Eagles Coach, FNigeria John Obuh, has called on the Football Federation’s (NFF) Technical Committee to stop interfering in Coach Stephen Keshi’s efforts to select quality players for the 2014 World Cup, saying that the row between the Federation and the coach was capable of derailing the team’s preparations for the championship. In a chat with The Guardian yesterday, Obuh said he was dismayed that the NFF put the Eagles’ boss to unnecessary
challenges and warned that the present disagreement on players’ selection is a big setback for the Eagles. He charged the committee to allow Keshi to carry out his duties as the Eagles boss, stressing that the success of the Super Eagles in Brazil would be determined by the type of support given to the technical crew and players in their build up to the competition “The NFF technical committee should leave Keshi alone to do his job. The attack on Keshi would derail Eagles’ prepara-
tions for the World Cup. NFF has no right to impose players on Keshi. This is because if he fails nobody in the NFF would be penalized. “Keshi has no job other than the Eagles at present. So he needs the World Cup glory more than the NFF. I don’t understand why the federation’s technical committee would always come out and say they are not interfering in Keshi’s selection, but every time we read on the pages of the newspapers that they would not accept some players in the Super Eagles. Who is fooling who?’’ Obuh asked.
Quadri, Offiong get opponents at ITTF world tourney ORTUGAL-BASED Aruna P Quadri, Edem Offiong and two other Nigerian players will begin their campaigns today at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-approved World Tour tagged Spanish Open. Being the fourth ITTF World Tour for Quadri, while Offiong is making her first appearance in the tournament as part of her build up to this month’s World Championship in Japan. Other Nigerian players taking part in the five-day championship include Kazeem Makanjuola and Ganiyat Olatunde-Aruna. In the draw released by the organisers yesterday, Quadri has been drawn in Group 10 of the preliminary round alongside Spain’s Carlos Franco and Jersey’s Joshua Band, while Offiong has been pitched against Russia’s Yulia Prokhova and England’s Hannah Kicks in Group seven of the women’s singles.
Makanjuola, who is yet to win a match at some of the tours attended so far, will tackle Spain’s Alfredo Carneros and Venezuela’s Nelson Villanueva in Group 13 of the men’s singles event. Olatunde-Aruna, who is making her second appearance in the ITTF World Tour will confront India’s Shanim Kunaresan, Bulgaria’s Kutsiaryna and Spain’s Elena Lopez for a place in the main draw of the women’s singles. Aside the singles event, the players will also compete in the preliminary stage of the doubles event tomorrow. Quadri’s first group match will be against Jersey’s Band on table one today, while Makanjuola will also be in action against Venezuela’s Villanueva on table three. Quadri and Makanjuola will play their last group match tomorrow to know their fate in the singles event before
turning to the doubles event. Quadri, who arrived Almeria city, venue of the competition on Monday said he was sure of making to the main draw having narrowly missed out from
playing in the last 64 at the Kuwait, Qatar and German Opens. “I think I need to raise my game in Spain because my Spanish opponent is a familiar foes I played against dur-
ing the European Table Tennis Union Championship recently. I won 3-2 and I hope to repeat same feat in Spain on Wednesday (today),” Quadri said.
DStv BB: Dodan Warriors survive Falcons’ scare By Adeyinka Adedipe Dodan Warriors Basketball Club of Lagos survived a late rally from Kwara Falcons to win 63-62 in their rescheduled week two DStv Basketball League game, which took place at the sports hall of the National Stadium, Lagos. The Warriors led throughout the game, but inexperience, according to the Coach Chris Nomigo, nearly cost them the game. The Lagos team led by 11 points with two minutes to the end of the game, but allowed the Ilorin team to reduce the deficit and almost take the game to overtime. Nomigo told The Guardian
that the Falcons gave a good account of themselves with their beautiful and tough display, which saw them finishing the game strongly. “The Falcons gave us a scare. They were very tough and didn’t give up until the final buzzer. This same team defeated last season’s second placed team, Union Bank. So, I can say that the Falcons are not pushover,” he added. Nomigo stated that his team is a blend of old and new players, who are yet to be moulded into a winning team, but assured that with time the team would become the toast of the fans.
“It is difficult right now because we are trying to build a team that can withstand the demands of the modern game. We must ensure that the old and new players are blended to produce the right mix. And to achieve this, we employ new approach in every game. “ According to the coach, the team’s target for this season is to qualify for the final Eight play off in Lagos and better its third place finish last season. “Though we are yet to gel into a team, we will do our best to qualify for the Final Eight and take our place among the elites in the country.”
tion of Sporting Lisbon, as both clubs look to forge a partnership. The executive director, Sola Aiyepeku and the director of football, Mick Wild, will both be in Portugal for a week where they are expected to hold talks with Sporting’s top officials and undertake extensive tour of Sporting facilities and general operations. Speaking on the trip, Aiyepeku said the club is excited at the prospect of adding Sporting Lisbon to its list of partners. “We have been in talks with Sporting for a while, but things are now speeding up. They have asked us to come and see how they operate for a week and talk about how we both can collaborate as our conversations over the past few months have revealed that we both have quite a bit to benefit from being partners. “It is a trip we look forward to and hopefully, we should be able to make an announcement soon,” he said. Wild said he is excited at seeing how Sporting run their entire football structure, as it is a chance to learn a thing or two.
Organisers unveil Remita Corporate Champions Cup logo, trophy on Friday RGANISERS of the O Corporate Games in Nigeria, MedaVision, will kickstart the 2014 season with the unveiling of the logo and trophy for the Corporate Champions Cup sponsored by Remita, an e-payment solutions platform. The event, which will hold on Friday at Cornerstone Building, Obalende, will also witness the draw for the eight teams that have been slated to participate in the competition. According to Executive Director, Projects and Activations at MediaVision, Jimmy Sogbesan, the Corporate Champions League will feature winners and runners-up of the 2013 Industry Games, covering the Nigeria Bankers Games, Nigeria Telecommunications Games, Nigeria Insurance Games and the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FCMG) Games. Wild cards have been offered Total Nigeria from the Energy Sector. Sogbesan said, “MediaVision is proud to have secured the partnership of Systemspec Limited on the platform of the pinnacle of corporate games in Nigeria and to flag off this partnership, there will be a press conference where we will unveil our partners, unveil the trophy, the logo and hold the draws.”
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 SPORT
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Woods pulls out of the Masters with back injury
Torres set to start against PSG ERNANDO Torres is likely FChelsea’s to be tasked with leading forward effort in the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Paris StGermain after the Blues travelled to France without the injured Samuel Eto’o. Eto’o, who has scored 11 goals this term, all of them at Stamford Bridge, suffered a hamstring injury early in the 6-0 defeat of Arsenal on March 22 and has not yet recovered. Demba Ba, the other striking option, has been used sparingly this term. Left-back Ashley Cole (knee) continues to be absent as Chelsea, the 2012 European Cup winners, bid to bounce back from Saturday’s loss at Crystal Palace which saw boss Jose Mourinho concede defeat in the Premier League title race. Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are ineligible having represented Benfica and Basle earlier in the competition, but Ramires is available despite his continuing domestic suspension for his sending off in the controversial loss at Aston Villa. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Petr Cech’s deputy, has travelled despite
not being able to take his place on the bench at Selhurst Park due to illness. Young Dutchman Nathan Ake has travelled with the squad. Mourinho’s first European match as Chelsea boss in his first spell was a 3-0 win at PSG in September 2004. However, the mega-rich Parisiens are a different proposition now. PSG are unbeaten in 28 European home matches, since Hapoel Tel-Aviv won 4-2 in the UEFA Cup group stage in November 2006. • Culled from Sportinglife
champion Tiger FafterOUR-TIME Woods will miss the Masters having surgery on a pinched nerve in his back. The world number one missed his usual warm-up, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, because of back spasms. “This is frustrating, but it’s something my doctors advised me to do for my immediate and long-term health,” said the 38-year-old American. “It also looks like I’ll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation.” Woods, who will miss his first Masters in 19 years, won his maiden Augusta title in 1997 and also claimed the Green Jacket in 2001, 2002 and 2005. A statement on the 14-time Major winner’s website said
the surgery was a success but he had failed to “make the necessary progress” to play at Augusta and would need rest for the “next several weeks”. Woods added: “I’d like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters. “It’s a week that’s very special to me.” Woods aggravated his back in March’s WGC-Cadillac Championship after withdrawing from the Honda Classic. He has suffered a string of injuries since 2008, missing two Opens, a US Open and a PGA Championship, but he has been present for every Masters since making his debut as an amateur in 1995.
There’s no doubt we’re the underdogs, Klopp admits ORUSSIA Dortmund boss, B Jurgen Klopp, needs no reminding his side are underdogs as they prepare to face Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final. Much has changed since Robert Lewandowski became the first player to score four goals in a semi-final last season when Dortmund knocked out Real. Even the then Real coach Jose Mourinho had Dortmund down as favourites for a tie
they won 4-3 on aggregate to set up a Wembley final with Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich. Lewandowski’s goals in a 4-1 win at the Westfalenstadion put one Dortmund foot in the door of the final, but with the Poland striker suspended for tonight’s quarter-final first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, the boot seems to be on the other foot this time around. “Given our budget and the injuries we’ve got, there’s no doubt we’re the underdogs,”
said Klopp to Spanish sports daily Marca. “Real have added some class players in (Gareth) Bale and Isco.” In addition to being without the suspended Lewandowski, who returns for the second leg at the Westfalenstadion next week, Dortmund are also deprived of Ilkay Gundogan, Neven Subotic, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Sven Bender and Marcel Schmelzer, but they are not grumbling. “It’s one of our strengths that we don’t complain so much about it,” said captain Sebastian Kehl to Kicker magazine. “Of course it’s an extreme situation we are in, but we’ve coped extremely well with it so far.” It is a situation Real are quite happy coping with too and
their coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose Paris St Germain side fell at this stage of last season’s competition, is keen to seize this opportunity. “Robert Lewandowski is a big loss for them,” the Italian said at a press conference in Madrid. “But they have PierreEmerick Aubameyang, who can take advantage of Lewandowski’s absence. “He’s a great player and I remember him well from last year when he was at St Etienne.” Ancelotti can also remember last season’s semi-final tie between the two sides, a game which delivered a result which surprised him, but which just showed how open the Champions League can be. “They were strange matches,”
he said. “In the first leg, I felt Real controlled the game well in the first half, but what happened in the second half was incredible. “Things like that can happen in the Champions League so we’ve got to be warned.” Real, who are still searching for their historic 10th European Cup title - the Decima - will be without the injured Marcelo, who will be replaced by Fabioa Coentrao. The three-pronged attack of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema which saw off Dortmund’s local rivals Schalke in the last round should lead the Spaniards’ search for a second-straight elimination of Westphalian opponents. • Culled from Sportinglife
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
By Anthony Onugba T is often said that nothing is hidden under the sun and all things done in secret will be revealed some day. These are the words on which those denied justice hinge their hopes; the hope that the truth will be revealed one day and justice, served. However, what happens when we see the truth all around us, as clear as day, and do nothing about it? What happens when those who are responsible for the darkness that has engulfed our nation feast all day long, pretending not to notice that they have failed this generation and many to come? What happens when shame vanishes from the vocabulary of those who are supposed to be our role models and all that is left is their endless display of arrogance emanating from hearts which had been hardened against those who look up to them for guidance? What happens when Age fails us? Age, here, refers to our elders and leaders. They are the ones who have held the country hostage for so long a time now. They say they have the country’s best interests at heart and this alone, according to them, is what motivates them to ascend to leadership positions. They claim they would use their wealth of experience and foresight to lead the nation on the path of development where every citizen can afford basic education, food and shelter. However, their promises have been nothing but a mirage as the citizens groan under bad leadership and failing societal structures. Crime reigns supreme and corruption governs all. The citizens are impoverished and cannot even feed themselves while Age deceives us with projected economic growth on charts that have no impact on the common man. Can Age not see that charts and bars are not parallel with the reality of the nation today? Can Age not hear the constant complaints of the citizens over the media? Can Age not realise that they have failed and need to make amends before it is too late? Age doesn’t have to visit the hospitals to know that healthcare is far from affordable to the common man and even if it were affordable, for reasons best known to Age, medical equipment are anything but available. Where equipment is available, they are not functional and where they are functional, only a few know how to operate them. Age would not experience this because Age jets out of the country to treat common cold. Age would rather trust a stranger in a foreign land with his life than trust his fellow citizens. Age had promised that healthcare would be available and affordable but if the situation is as he promised, why does Age not visit our hospitals? The irony is that even the hospitals situated in the place where Age works is seldom visited. With various schools situated under trees, Age send their children out of the country to schools built with commitment and hard work. Age care less about the educational sector and the whole sector can collapse as long as their own children are not affected. Age can vote hundreds of millions towards feeding themselves but cannot vote same to construct schools and pay teachers adequately. Teachers lack motivation as a result of little issues which Age can take care of. Age has failed the education sector. To remedy it, the first step is to make sure that all the children of Age do not fly abroad for studies and while at home, they should be made to attend public schools. It is Age that ought to implement these but of course, they would not. Age is a reckless spender of funds for causes which are a far cry from the needs of the citizens. Age uses government funds to construct a house in which he would dwell in for the same amount of money that can construct over two hundred houses for low income earners. Foolishly, their errand boys would justify this by saying that the personalities of the people who would reside in these houses were taken into consideration, hence the huge cost associated with the construction of just a house or their Banquet Hall. Why can’t Age
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The failure of age
build houses and rent them out to the masses at very affordable prices? Why can’t Age provide an affordable housing scheme for those who would want to own a house? Why can’t a young graduate be a house owner even if he would complete the payment for the house in 20 years? Ironically, Age build houses they would never reside in and also build for their children who have no interest in such. The effect is a lot of vacant houses litter every-
where. A drive around Aso Drive in the FCT is all the confirmation one needs. Why can’t Age enact a law which would compel the owners of unoccupied structures to pay a certain amount as tax? Why can’t Age seize such properties and auction them to those in need? Your guess is as good as mine. Have you experienced firsthand, observed or heard of the pain Age inflicts on their citizens with regard to housing? Once they find any
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plot of land they like, they go to any unreasonable length to make it theirs or share them out to friends and boot leakers under the pretext of over-riding public interest! Age have no qualms of conscience when it comes to demolishing near complete housing units, not minding the sweat and blood of civil servants and pensioners that have gone into those buildings. A case in point is the Minanuel Estate, Airport Road, Abuja, where an almost completed 500-capacity housing unit, was demolished by the paraphernalia of Age without batting an eyelid. How about the demolition of supposed ‘illegal settlements’ without providing alternative accommodation for thousands of legal citizen hitherto rendered homeless? Age seems to derive joy and some kind of sinister satisfaction in seeing his people suffer. How else can one explain the heartlessness in the practice of watching people settle in an area for years, making it their home, only to be uprooted the next day without an alternative plan for them? In most parts of the world, such exercises are never done without first putting in place a better structure for the settlers. Age jets out of the country at will and is aware of all these. But do they bring such knowledge to bear on our country? Not at all! There are good roads where Age resides and these roads are well constructed with traffic and street lights. The same is not the case where the masses reside. In the towns where the masses live, there are hardly ever any good roads and street lights are fantasies. The roads there are often not wide enough for the daily heavy volume of traffic they encounter. For instance, in the FCT, the Nyanya -Keffi Road is the only road that connects commuters to Nyanya, Karu, Mararaba, Keffi, Jos, Bauchi, etc. This road witnesses unimaginable traffic jams during peak hours daily. People often sleep on the road in the event of even a minute accident as a result of the traffic, not to mention the number of lives lost on this road regularly. This road has been this way for years now but our visionary Age has not done anything to alleviate the plight of those who use this road on a daily basis. Age has promised to construct an alternative road but the realisation of that is left only to our imagination. Does the inability to solve simple traffic congestion not show in itself the failure of Age? What about the siren blaring vehicles used by Age to force poor motorists off the road? Confronted with traffic jam, Age does not hesitate to jump to one-way lanes and drive against traffic. Is that leadership by example? Has Age given us any example worth emulating? Is it not often said that the child usually does greater things than the parents? If this is the case, then our youths would definitely exceed the antecedents of Age in terms of failure. What this portends is that the worst is yet to come for when Age passes on the baton to youths, the society as we know it, may cease to exist. One way to avoid this is to give youths a positive example to emulate. Currently, if you turn your searchlight on the home affairs of Age, you will see that most of their children are taking after them in unimaginable dimensions. This rot can be reversed if Age chooses success over failure, selflessness over selfishness and humility over pride. While it cannot be said emphatically that every Age has failed, there are some who are committed towards growth and development and have provided leadership worthy of emulation. The few youths who have not been swallowed by the virus of greed look up to these few but unique set of committed Age for guidance and when the time is ripe and one or more of these selfless thinking youths are in the position of Age, this country may just become Heaven on Earth. • Onugba works with Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, Abuja.