Issuu on Google+

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vol. 29, No. 12,614

N150

www.ngrguardiannews.com

One shot, others injured as Rivers lawmakers clash • Reps ask N’ Assembly to take over state legislature, order redeployment of police chief • Senate deplores rift, to intervene, IG wades into crisis • ACN, Presidency, PDP trade words From Mohammed Abubakar, Bridget Chiedu Onochie,Azimazi Momoh Jimoh , Terhemba Daka (Abuja), Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt), Abiodun Fanoro, Seye Olumide, Bertram Nwannekanma (Lagos), Iyabo Lawal (Ibadan), AlemmaOzioruva Aliu (Benin-City), Joseph Wantu (Makurdi) and John Akubo(Dutse) HERE may be no end yet to Tthe crisis rocking Rivers

State as a street brawl erupted yesterday in Port Harcourt

between supporters of Governor Chibuike Amaechi and five lawmakers opposed to him, leaving many people injured. The fresh crisis prompted the

police to seal off the State House of Assembly. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has passed a motion asking the National Assembly to take over the

functions of the Rivers State legislature. The House also passed a motion directing the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to rede-

ploy the state Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu for “dereliction of duties.” Also, the Senate yesterday condemned the crisis rocking the House of Assembly, which culminated in a freefor-all on Tuesday, and agreed to wade into the matter. Already, the IGP has disCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

President Goodluck Jonathan (second left) and President XI Jinping of China inspecting the Guard of Honour mounted by the Chinese military during Jonathan’s visit to Beijing, China… yesterday. Story on Page 6

Boko Haram’s ceasefire won’t affect emergency rule From Mohammed Abubakar, Nkechi Onyedika (Abuja), Njadvara Musa (Damaturu) and Bashir Bello (Kaduna) F the ceasefire deal allegedly IFederal being brokered between the Government and Islamist group, Boko Haram, eventually takes effect, it may not affect the emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. The Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki (SAN), disclosed this yesterday.

• Its members now trust Jonathan, says Turaki • Gaidam begs military to restore GSMs in Yobe, others • CAN doubts group’s sincerity on peace • Cautions CBN, wants emir to release kidnapped pastor’s daughter He said that the acceptance by Boko Haram to sign a ceasefire agreement with the Federal Government was a demonstration of the trust the group had in President Goodluck Jonathan.

Turaki told reporters after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja that the ceasefire deal was an outcome of a series of painstaking discussions the committee members had been having

with the leadership of Boko Haram. He disclosed that the terror group took into account the sincerity of the committee and the President regarding the resolution of the issue of insecurity in the

North. He said: “Unlike their thinking that the committee was meant to serve as a trap for them, they realised that not only is the committee very sincere, government and indeed

Unpaid salary syndrome, a malaise defying cure - Pages 70/71

Mr. President is also very sincere about the whole process. They also took into account the fasting in the month of Ramadan and felt that they should give peace a chance so that our Muslim sisters and brothers will be able to perform their religious obligation this month without any harassment, without any fear of any bomb exploding and any firing at them while they are in their place of worship.” Turaki, who is also the Minister of Special Duties, pointed out that a frame-work whereby an agreement would be CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


2

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

NEWS

CAN doubts Boko Haram’s sincerity on peace CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 signed openly between the government and the separatist group was being put in place. “We will sign an agreement and we will make that public wherever and whenever we agree on the time and place and the international and local media, all Nigerians will be privy to it. It is something that will be done openly and transparently for everybody to know that indeed not only have we been speaking with the proper people but that there has been a lot of good faith on both sides of the divide. We have spoken with somebody who is second in command as far as Boko Haram is concerned and he has informed the media that he has been discussing with us with full knowledge and authority of Imam Abubakar Shekau and so we have no cause to doubt him. We have done checks on him, just as they have done checks on us also and we have realised that yes, we are dealing with the proper people and with the proper leadership of the organisation,” he said. On how long the ceasefire would last, Turaki said: “Of course, it is not something that is done for a specific period of time; it is something that should be forever. As far as we are concerned, it is something that has been agreed and I don’t think there will be any basis for anybody reneging on the agreement.” However, according to him, despite the ceasefire, the state of emergency would stay but in such a way that security agencies would be fully satisfied that normalcy has been restored. “Let us not forget the fact that with or without ceasefire, it is the serious and great responsibility of government to ensure that the lives and property of law-abiding Nigerians are protected wherever they are and in whatever circumstances. So, I

think it is the situations that will begin to unfold themselves henceforth that will determine whether the security agencies on ground will relax the period of the curfew and then ultimately they will advise the appropriate authorities whether the need has arisen for the state of emergency to be removed but I think that is not for the committee,” he said. On why Boko Haram continues bombing while the committee is still negotiating, Turaki said: “In the course of the negotiation of the ceasefire, that issue was raised by journalists and they denied that it was not their members who did it. But again as far as the commission of crime is concerned, security agencies anywhere will not rely on the confessions of denial of a supposed suspect as the basis for their investigation. I am sure Nigerian security agencies are very competent and they will look at all the facts and circumstances and then they will be able to carry out their investigation without bias, and then arrive at the final decision of who really was behind that unfortunate act. But they said and for us, it is left for the security agencies to determine that they were not responsible.” But the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Ortsejafor, has expressed doubt over the genuineness of Boko Haram as regards the ceasefire. Oritsejafor, who was asked whether the planned ceasefire agreement signals a new hope for Nigeria, said: “Which Boko Haram? There have been all kinds of people that claim to be Boko Haram, now there are two groups, the Shekau group and Ansaru group. Have you heard from them? Even if one person says I want peace, I drop my weapons, we will be happy but I still continue to ask which Boko Haram because we have seen situations in the past

where they told us that some people said they now want to reach truce and the next day we saw people killed there.” He spoke shortly after the ratification of his second term in office by CAN’s National Assembly in Abuja yesterday. The cleric, who called for more inter-faith dialogue, stressed the need for Nigerians irrespective of their faiths to forget the past, ignore controversies and give precedence to areas of common points. He said: “Together we are strong, divided we are weak. Together we can build the nation and reposition Nigeria and make it strong, united. We can reach out to our brothers in other religions, sit together and look for ways to stop terrorism. We must not lose hope; we must keep hope alive, God will not forsake Nigeria.” The CAN president stressed the need for Nigerians to work together to build a new nation, respect each other and get to the level where no one is judged by his religion, or tribe but by the content of his character. According to him, “peace will continue to elude us if we fail to uphold equity and justice in Nigeria.” He described his re-election as part of God’s plan to ensure that Nigerians have a strong nation, adding that CAN would continue to dialogue and speak against terrorism and corruption. “I see a great moral burden on me now but there is hope that things will get better,” he said. He urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other agencies of government to leave the churches alone. He warned that CAN could not fold its hands and watch churches being stampeded and asked to bring all sorts of documents or asked to go to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to obtain a form before they could operate their

accounts. Oritsejafor, who alleged that there was a report that a daughter of a pastor in Minna was abducted and was being kept in the house of the emir, called on the monarch to release her. On whether the Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria had pulled out of CAN as being speculated, Oritsejafor said it is fully a part of the association as “they” were well-represented at this assembly with over 23 delegates.” Also, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam yesterday pleaded with the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad, to restore the Global System of Mobile (GSM) Communications that had been shut following the declaration of state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states by President Goodluck Jonathan on May 14, 2013. The Yobe State governor made the call at the Government House, Damaturu, while receiving Sa’ad who came to sympathise with the Damaturu government and people over the recent attack on a secondary school at Mamudo where 31 pupils and two residents were killed by Boko Haram insurgents last Saturday. Meanwhile, Sheikh Ahmad Mahmud Gumi of Sultan Bello Mosque, Kaduna, has warned all prisoners who secured their freedom not to commit any offence that would take them back to prison. The cleric gave this warning yesterday at the Kaduna Central Prisons while receiving 17 convicts who were set free after their fines were paid by a Kaduna businessman, Dr. Shehu Mahdi. Gumi expressed dismay that some of the convicts who regained their freedom during the 2012 Ramadan went back to the crime world and were taken back to prison.

Reps ask N’ Assembly to take over Rivers’ legislature CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 patched a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) to Port Harcourt, to investigate the crisis in the state. But the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) blamed President Goodluck Jonathan for the crisis and urged the National Assembly to immediately commence impeachment proceedings against him. But the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faulted the ACN’s call. Similarly, criticisms have continued to trail the crisis as human rights organisations, bodies and prominent Nigerians have condemned the violence. Yesterday’s violence was triggered by an attempt by four of the anti-Amaechi lawmakers led by the lawmaker representing Ogu/Bolo Constituency, Mr. Evans Bipialaka, and three others to resume legislative duties. Bipialaka who was during a mock session on Tuesday pronounced speaker by four antiAmaechi lawmakers had fixed sitting for 8.00 a.m. Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House, Otelemaba Amachree had also announced that the 27 proAmaechi lawmakers would

reconvene by 10.00 a.m. yesterday. But before Bipialaka’s group could commence their sitting, thousands of the governor’s supporters under the aegis of the Ikwerre Youth Movement stormed the Assembly complex threatening a showdown with the anti-Amaechi lawmakers. And fearing a violent reaction by the anti-Amaechi lawmakers’ supporters, the police asked everyone to vacate the premises. Amid this, scores of soldiers arrived in Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and ordered everyone to comply with the directive. To disperse the crowd, the police had to fire several canisters and deployed APCs near the Police Headquarters which is just a few metres from the House of Assembly on Moscow Road and another one near the Port Harcourt City Council secretariat. Having been dispersed by the police, the anti-Amaechi lawmakers and their supporters moved from NIPOST office area to Station Road near Government House. Suspecting that the antiAmaechi lawmakers were planning to storm the Government House with their supporters, the governor’s

loyalists quickly swooped on them. In the ensuing melee, the two contending groups hurled bottles and stones at each other. One pro-Amaechi supporter was shot in his scapular and rushed to hospital. Amid the violence, policemen arrived and started firing teargas and chased Amaechi’s supporters into the Government House. Several persons sustained injuries in the ensuing violence. Tension immediately enveloped the state capital, forcing banks along Station Road, Bank Road and Azikwe Road to close. The clashes also forced many civil servants to hurriedly desert the state secretariat. Mbu, accompanied by some senior police officers and scores of anti-terror policemen, later arrived at the entrance to the Government House to assess the situation on ground. A statement by the Police spokesperson, Mrs. Angela Agabe, on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, warned that the prohibition of public procession remained in force. The police threatened that they would prosecute anyone caught protesting in the state. Also, the 26 pro-Amaechi law-

makers in a statement denied that Amachree was impeached as the speaker. Relying on Section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution following the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance introduced by Albert Tanimu Sam Tsokwa (PDP Taraba), the House of Representatives said it would henceforth take over the legislative duties until normalcy returns to the House of Assembly. Leading a debate on the motion supported by 18 other members, Tsokwa, who is Chairman, House Committee on Business and Rules, expressed concern that the Rivers State Police Command which had pledged to provide security for the sitting of the state’s legislature did not stop the violence. On their part, the senators reached the following resolutions: “• That the Senate condemns in strong terms the crisis in the Rivers State House of Assembly, which portends danger for our democracy. “• That the Senate mandates the Committee on States and Local Governments to forthwith investigate the remote and immediate causes of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 6


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

3


4

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

NEWS | 5

News Police declare 17 wanted over killing of officers in Bayelsa

Governors task Muslims on tolerance, forgiveness at Ramadan

From Willie Etim, Yenagoa UTHORITIES of the Bayelsa State Police Command yesterday declared “a notorious criminal, ‘Virus’ and 17 others involved in the April gruesome killing of 11 Policemen along the waterway of Lorbia community” in the state wanted. The police command, in a statement in Yenagoa and signed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Alex Akhigbe, said the persons wanted were found culpable and involved in the killing of the policemen. They are all identified as beneficiaries of the ongoing amnesty programme of the Federal Government. The indictment of the alleged killers of the policemen was said to have been made possible with the arrest and continued interrogation of one of the suspects identified as Jackson Feutubobai, known along the creeks as Jasper.

will include investment loans, reforms, advisory, and guarantees.” The statement listed other areas of collaboration for the AfDB with Power Africa to include Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), “a joint initiative between the African Development Bank and the government of Denmark comprising of resources of up to $56 million for unlocking investments in small and medium-scale renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects.” Okoye said SEFA is structured as a flexible multi-donor/multi-purpose platform to support the access to sustainable energy agenda in Africa, and one of Africa’s instruments under the UN-championed Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative. During the AfDB’s 2013 Annual Meetings in Marrakesh, the USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, Earl Gast, was said to have announced an initial $5 million pledge to SEFA as the first part of a multi-year commitment to the Fund.

From Saxone Akhaine (Northern Bureau Chief, Kaduna) and Iyabo Lawal (Ibadan) S Muslims begin fasting in this year’s holy month of Ramadan, Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (Kaduna) have urged them to imbibe the spirit of tolerance and unity in order to peacefully coexist with other Nigerians and build a united country. In a Ramadan message to residents of his state, Yero said, “the time has come for us to unite and embrace one another as brothers and sisters created by God to exist in peace and harmony in Kaduna State. “Muslims should use the period of Ramadan to seek forgiveness from others and also forgive those that have offended them in order to gain from the salvation of the Almighty Allah”. Yero argued that “as Muslims, we are all aware of the importance of Ramadan as a holy month when Allah forgives his servants of their shortcomings. I call on all Muslims and indeed all citizens of Kaduna State to use this period to also forgive one another of all misgivings that happened in the past. “Let us use this holy period to come together in warm embrace of genuine reconciliation, peace and love. It is time to join hands in building a truly united and peaceful Kaduna State that will ultimately evolve as one of the most modern industrially developed states in Nigeria.” large. In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, Ajimobi congratulated Islamic faithful for witnessing the Ramadan this year. He admonished them to attune their minds to the messages of love, brotherliness and peaceful co-existence inherent in the month of Ramadan, urging them to always be their brothers’ keepers in whatever they would be doing.

demic Staff Union (COEASU). The lawmakers’ intervention was at the instance of the Ministry of Education. Ministers of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai and her Labour and Productivity counterpart, Emeka Nwogu reportedly attended the meeting. Moro told newsmen that FEC deliberated on the ongoing strike by ASUU and frowned at incessant strikes, calling for more interaction between government and teachers to stop the industrial action. “We believe that ASUU should find other means of reacting to issues rather than resorting to strike which is inimical to the progress of the education sec-

tor. “It affects the children, who now seek education in countries as small as Benin Republic which constitutes a waste of national assets.” Faggae claimed that ASUU received an invitation via a text message from the Deputy Clerk, Senate Committee on Education on July 3rd, 2013 to attend a meeting with the Senate Committee on Education. The meeting was slated for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at Meeting Room 323 of the National Assembly. It was rescheduled on Monday by the same official for 1p.m. on Tuesday at a different venue in the new Senate Building.

A

Africa’s economic report for launch today From Anthony Otaru, Abuja HE 2013 Economic Report of Africa jointly produced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) will be launched today in Abuja. UNECA and AUC are to collaborate with the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA) for the launch. A statement by Dr. Ebere Uneze yesterday read that the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will deliver the keynote address at the public presentation to be held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, starting at 9 a.m. today. According to the statement, this year’s report will focus on taking advantage of Africa’s commodities to industrialise the continent in a bid to produce growth, jobs and economic transformation.

T

Lagos Assembly seeks passage of State of Nation Address Bill By Wole Oyebade O strengthen good governance in the country, the Lagos State House of Assembly has joined in the campaign for speedy passage of the State of the Nation Address Bill currently before the National Assembly. Members of the Lagos Assembly yesterday urged their colleagues at the federal level not to hesitate in vetoing Mr. President’s powers, if he refuses assent to the bill in due course. The lawmakers took exception to the allegation of inconsistency by the Presidency on provisions of the bill, adding that “the bill does not in any way contradict or undermine the principle of separation of power, but an expansion of the frontiers of democratic practice, which allows for accountability, checks and balances among the three arms of government.”

T

A

Security men erecting barricades against protesting youths over Rivers House of Assembly crisis in Port Harcourt … yesterday.

New U.S. initiative to boost electricity supply in Africa takes off RESIDENT Barack Obama P has launched a new fiveyear U.S. presidential initiative aimed at supporting economic growth and development by increasing access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable power in Africa. According to a statement, the programme known as “Power Africa” was designed as a multi-stakeholder partnership among the governments of the United States of America, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia, and the African private sector. It states that the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has been a key partner in the design of the initiative and will continue to be during its implementation. Praising the AfDB at the launch of the initiative in Tanzania during his Africa Tour recently, Obama said: “I want to thank the African Development Bank for its partnership, as well as many companies that have stepped up with commitments, including some here.”

The U.S., through its development agencies and with close collaboration from the AfDB, is said to have identified a number of priority power transactions across the six main focus countries where interventions will enable them reach significant milestones in the next 12 to 18 months. Already, a major investor in the energy sector, the AfDB will scale funding for energy production, transmission and distribution infrastructure, cross-border power pools, as well as government policy and regulatory reforms. The Bank will particularly emphasize reforms for national power utilities, many of which are in need of better business models and financial reinforcement. According to a Senior Investment Officer at the African Development Bank, Mr. Obiora Okoye, who spent a few months in Washington DC working with U.S. agencies on the design of the Power Africa initiative, the main financial source for the bank’s assis-

tance to the energy sector in the Power Africa countries is the African Development Fund (ADF), which is its concessional window. “The ADF contributed $1.4 billion out of the bank’s $1.6 billion over the last five years in the six priority countries’ energy investments, ‘’ the statement reads. Okoye went further to say the AfDB expects to allocate as much as $3 billion over the next five years. “This will leverage at least four times more investments in the energy sector. The AfDB’s interventions

Okoye

FEC pleads with ASUU to call off strike From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja HE national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday denied media reports that it snubbed the invitation extended to it by the Joint Committees on Education of the National Assembly to appear before them to resolve the disputes arising from the ongoing strike. The denial came as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) rose from its weekly meeting with a passionate appeal to the university teachers to call off their strike in the interest of Nigerian youths and education generally.

T

• Union denies snubbing NASS members Interior Minister, Abba Moro, during an interaction with State House Correspondents after the deliberations of the Council, said the government was concerned about the persistent disruptions in the academic calendars of the nation’s tertiary institutions and appealed to ASUU to call off its current strike to pave the way for meaningful dialogue. A statement in Abuja by the President of the Union, Dr. Nasir Isa Faggae, rather put the blame of their sudden departure from the National

Assembly on shoddy handling of the exercise, which ought to have produced a lasting solution to the lingering nonimplementation of the 2009 agreement the union entered into with government. Faggae’s clarification was in reaction to the claim that ASUU leadership walked out of the venue of the meeting with the National Assembly because of another meeting with the leaderships of academic unions of other tertiary institutions, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and College of Education Aca-


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

6 | NEWS

Nigeria, China sign pacts on trade, others By Wole Shadare (Lagos), Mohammed Abubakar and Omotola Oloruntobi (Abuja) S part of his economic shutA tle to China, President Goodluck Jonathan and his host, President Xi Jinping of China, yesterday endorsed in Beijing, five agreements covering financial, trade, economic, technical and cultural relations between the two countries. The agreements, which were initialed after bilateral talks between the two leaders and their delegations, include the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Financial Cooperation in Support of Nigeria’s Economic Development and a Preferential Buyer Credit Agreement for Nigeria’s Four Airports Expansion Project. Others were a new Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between Nigeria and China, an Agreement on Mutual Visa Exemption for holders of diplomatic and official passports from both countries and an Agreement for the Prevention of the Theft, Illicit Import and Export of Cultural Property. But the President used the opportunity to regret the recent

forceful change of government in Egypt and called on the ruling leaders in that country to work towards restoring the country to democratic rule. Speaking before the commencement of the talks, President Jonathan thanked President Jinping and the people of China for the warm reception accorded him and his wife, Patience, since their arrival in Beijing on Tuesday. A statement from the Office of the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, quoted the President as re-stating the commitment of Nigerian government to sustaining and developing the strategic partnership between Nigeria and China for the mutual benefit of the two countries and their people. He said in spite of the many positive developments in bilateral relations between the countries in recent years, there was still ample scope for increased trade and direct investment from China in Nigeria. President Jinping assured President Jonathan that China would continue to work with Nigeria in all possible areas in furtherance of the develop-

ment agenda of both countries. Earlier in the day, President Jonathan met and invited senior executives of several Chinese conglomerates to initiate fresh investments in Nigeria or increase existing ones, saying that the Federal Government was committed to doing all within its powers to expand

Nigeria’s domestic manufacturing capacity. Those the President met with included top executives of Huawei Technologies Limited, China Great Wall Industries, ZTE Corporation, the State Grid Corporation of China, the NIC/SINOPEC/CGC Consortium, the China Railway Construction Corporation and the

Landslide on Oron Axis of East-West Road in Akwa Ibom…yesterday

China Harbour Engineering Corporation. At a breakfast meeting with African Ambassadors to China, President Jonathan reaffirmed his conviction that African countries needed to strengthen their institutions of democratic governance to guarantee political stability and sustained development.

PHOTO: NAN PHOTO

Senate deplores Rivers’ crisis, to intervene CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 crisis in Rivers State House of Assembly and report back within one week. “• That the Senate resolves that in the interim, all parties to the crisis maintain the status quo and refrain from any action capable of jeopardising the security of lives and property in Rivers State, among others. “• That the IGP should take immediate step to address the issue of the broken rela-

tionship between the Governor of Rivers State and the State’s Commissioner of Police”. Abubakar, who fielded questions from State House Correspondents shortly after he conferred with Vice President Namadi Sambo yesterday, vowed that whoever was found to be fanning the embers of political hatred and crisis would be summarily dealt with. He also said that any police officer who, by the DIG’s in-

vestigation, found to be taking sides with any of the feuding parties would be brought to book, saying that he would not pre-empt the work of his second-in-command that is now in the state to investigate the matter. In a statement in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the ACN alleged that by his abhorrence of the rule of law and majority rule, the latest indication of which is his unmistakable support for a group of renegade lawmakers who are fomenting trouble in Rivers State, the President has become a clear and present danger to the country’s democracy, and must be shown the way out in accordance with the Constitution. The party decried the anarchy that is now reigning in Rivers, simply because the five renegade lawmakers have the backing of the Presidency, which has emboldened them to take extra-constitutional measures to try to remove the

majority-backed Speaker of the State House of Assembly. But addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said: “It is very sad for anybody to think that President Jonathan would fight with the governor of Rivers State. The governor is too small an entity for the president to fight with. To avid watchers of Nigerian politics, President Jonathan has not shown himself as a person who will deploy his immense constitutional powers against any governor or democratic institution to achieve personal goals. “Once again, this position of the ACN is another condemnable, extremist and fundamentally flawed position by the opposition party.” In a statement, the PDP’s Acting National Publicity Secretary, Tony Caesar Okeke, described the ACN’s call for the impeachment of the president as “malicious and the height of political irresponsi-

bility.” The party accused the opposition of seeking to aggravate the situation in Rivers State for selfish reasons. The PDP said it was appalling that the ACN would always seek to distort facts to the extent of trying to link the president with the situation in Rivers State all in a desperate bid to tarnish his image and bring him to public odium. Among those who deplored the crisis are the United Niger/Delta Energy Development Security Strategies (UNDEDSS); the Jigawa State PDP, Edo State ACN, National Coordinator, Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr Junaidu Mohammed; rights activists and lawyers, Femi Falani,(SAN), Oladipo Okpeseyi(SAN) and Ebun Adegboruwa. Others are Convener of Nigeria Voters Assembly (VOTAS), Mashood Erubami, and a former Lagos State Police Commissioner, Abubakar Tsav.

NPC urges stiffer penalties for sex offenders • Judge refuses to name date for final judgment on rape case From Anietie Akpan (Calabar) and Tunji Omofoye (Osogbo) HE National Population T Commission (NPC) has called on the Federal Government to formulate and review policy that would make it easy for the government to thoroughly investigate and prosecute men who are in the habit of sexually harassing teenage girls so as to put a stop to this deviant behavior. Chairman, National Population Commission, Eze Festus Odimegwu, who made the call while speaking at the 2013 World Population Day (WPD) in Calabar on Tuesday, urged the government to mete out great stiffer penalties for sex offences, stressing that demographic aid health

survey shows that adolescent fertility in Nigeria in 2008 stood at 121 live births per 1,000 births. He said the figures are very high, considering the fact that other African countries have drastically reduced adolescent fertility rate, adding that Nigerian fertility haywires as a result of teenage girls being harassed on daily basis by deviant men. According to him, such incidence have often times led to unwanted pregnancies, which in turn, lead to population explosion, stressing that unless draconian measures are taken, such heinous crimes would continue to raise its ugly head. He added that the conventional two-year jail term met-

ed out to offenders was not enough to deter other men from committing sex offences. Odimegwu pointed that if government was interested in addressing the problems, it should first of all map out the strategy that would drastically reduce poverty among adolescents. Meanwhile, to avoid undue interference, Justice Oyejide Falola of Osun State High Court yesterday refused to announce the date for the final ruling on the case of rape instituted by a former National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, Miss Helen Okpara, against a traditional ruler in Obokun Local Council of the state, the Alowa of Ilowa-Ijesa, Oba Adebukola Alli.

Olofa appeals against removal From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin HE Olofa of Offa in Kwara T State, Oba Mufutau Esuwoye, has challenged Tuesday’s Court of Appeal judgment removing him from office and installing on the throne instead, Adegboye Keji, a contestant from Anilelerin Ruling House. Esuwoye, who is from Olugbense Ruling House, through his counsel, Rafiu Lawal-Rabana, yesterday filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court, expressing the dissatisfaction of the claimant with the judgment of the Appellate Court ordering his removal as the Olofa. The appeal was premised on four grounds as follows, that: • The lower court erred in law when it held that the ascendancy to the stool of Olofa is rotational between the two ruling houses; • The court erred in law when it held that the curse placed on the Olugbense family (the male line) by their progenitors from further ascending to the throne of Olofa is not fair and repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience when same was not case put forward by the claimant; • The judgment is against the weight of evidence; and • The proposition to file more grounds of appeal on receipt of the judgment record of proceedings.

NAFDAC seeks regional co-operation to fight fake foods, drugs From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja IGERIA is seeking greater collaboration from other countries in the West African region for more effective control of counterfeit and substandard foods and drugs. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which met with some officials from Sierra Leone in Abuja yesterday, said better results could be achieved with countries coming together to form a common front on the issue. Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, said: “One of the factors that encourage fake and substandard drugs in Nigeria is that we have low manufacturing capacity.

N

Tinubu urges House caucus to reinstate Bamidele By Tunde Akinola ATIONAL leader of Action N Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has urged the Ekiti caucus at the House of Representatives to rescind the decision to suspend their leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, over his insistence on contesting the gubernatorial election in the state. Tinubu in a statement yesterday that the news of the purported removal of Bamidele came to him as a surprise. “The decision of the members of the Ekiti House caucus in this regard truncates on-going efforts at reconciliation, notwithstanding the fact that the party’s leadership is working hard to reconcile all sides,” he said. He noted that what took some members of the leadership of the party to Ekiti State recently was a continuation of the process of appeal and reconciliation.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

News 7

Gas leak pollutes Bayelsa community From Willie Etim, Yenagoa URRY and fear have pervaded Ikarama community, located near Taylor Creek in Yenagoa local council of Bayelsa since Monday, when it was exposed to a strange odour suspected to be oozing from large-volume mixture of crude and gas in the area. The strange gaseous discharge was coming barely three weeks after another gas leakage caused an explosion in Ogboinbiri community in Southern Ijaw council area of the state. It is reported that the leakage occurred in an

F

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State (left) and Comrade Patrick Ikosimi, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) at a meeting between the NUT and the state government on the Teachers’ Special Allowance … yesterday.

Govt inaugurates 12-man universal health team

VC seeks decentralisation of powers

From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja

Says Egypt’s crisis cannot affect Nigeria

N its bid to expand universal health coverage in Nigeria, the Federal Government has set up a 12-man technical committee expected to work on the frameworks that would culminate in a Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage later this year. Inaugurating the committee in Abuja yesterday, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said it had increasingly been acknowledged worldwide that the most important strategy to improve the health outcomes of any nation “is to provide its citizens an unfettered access to health services when the need arises.” Represented by the General Manager, Planning and Research, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Kenneth Korve, Chukwu said the country was taking a number of steps to ensure that all its citizens were covered in the health insurance scheme.

I

Court rules Sept 20 on Delta’s claim to ownership of Ibori’s $15m bribe From Abosede Musari and Lemmy Ughegbe (Abuja) USTICE Gabrael Kolawole of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed September 20, 2013, to decide ownership of the $15 million (4.6 billion) allegedly offered the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, by the former governor of the state, James Ibori, in 2007 to compromise his investigation. The money has been lying in the custody of the Central Bank and is currently the subject of legal tussle between the EFCC and the Delta State Government, which is claiming ownership of the money, while the EFCC is asking the court that it be forfeited to the Federal Government. While other claimants have since abandoned their pursuit of the money, Delta State continues with the claim. At the resumed hearing yesterday, the EFCC closed its case, urging Justice Kolawole to dismiss the Delta government claim and order its final forfeiture in line with provisions of section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.

J

By Tunde Akinola

ICE Chancellor of AdekunV le Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, Prof. Olufemi Mimiko, is not swayed by the opinions and feelings being thrown up at the ongoing constitutional amendment by the National Assembly, as he noted that the process is laced with a “heavy dose of politics and politicking.” He also dismissed the insinuation that the recent and ongoing political developments in Egypt could have negative effects on Nigeria and some other African countries. In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, the Professor of International Relations and Comparative Political Economy felt that, as the country struggles with the politics of constitutional amendment, what would guarantee its survival is to drive in the direction of decentralisation and true federalism, not further concentration of power. According to Mimiko, Nigeria is a thoroughly heterogeneous social formation that

cannot be successfully administered on the crutches of a unitary constitution as Nigeria had tried to do “unsuccessfully” these past years. “Some of us that are not exactly warm any more about the idea of a Sovereign National Conference since extant democratic structures were emplaced had thought the National Assembly would be able to do the needful in moving Nigeria in the right direction via the constitutional amendment process,” he said. “It has done well, however, in throwing out the idea of new states, as I think it is almost irresponsible to be talking of new states in the circumstances in which existing states are virtually completely unviable and are so structurally weak in relation to the centre, to make the idea of a true federal system a mirage.” The situation in Egypt would certainly encourage anti-democratic forces lurking around the corners all over the continent, but that every country has its own peculiarity and would not admit of

the same solution. However, he noted: “The development may serve as some form of progress by contradiction, in that it may make the democratic opposition and indeed the entire civilian ruling elite more responsible, both in government and in opposition, knowing that going for the broke in the opposition’s single-minded pursuit of power may simply serve as a beckoning light onto anti-democratic forces moving to and fro with their own agenda.” Mimiko commended the Federal Government for condemning the situation in Egypt, stating: “I think the Presidency has done the right thing by condemning the coup and leading the African Union to stand by its rules in suspending Egypt by reason of the coup d’etat. “Ordinarily, one does not expect Cairo to be happy about this. But apart from the fact that the layers of cooperation between Cairo and Abuja are not so broad, the relationship is not so robust on a good day, and partly because Egypt feels more comfortable being Arab than being African, not much damage is going to be done to existing relationship.”

Appeal Court rejects Kogi CPC’s bid to unseat Wada From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja HE Congress for ProgresT sive Change (CPC) yesterday suffered a major setback in its drive to unseat Governor Ibrahim Wada, as its candidate in that election, James Ocholi (SAN), lost his case at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which dismissed his appeal. In a unanimous verdict, the court also dismissed a similar appeal filed by the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). Delivering their decision, Justice I.T.A. George-Mbama held that the issues raised in the two appeals were electoral matters that should have been taken to the electoral tribunal for adjudication. Consequently, he said the trial court was on a firm judicial wicket in dismissing the suit and thereby upheld the trial court’s decision. In reaching the decision to dismiss the

case, Justice George-Mbama frowned at the two appellants for filing two separate appeals even though they jointly filed the case as plaintiffs before the high court. According to him, both lawyers and parties should avoid overburdening the court by filing separate appeals when they could have filed just one. According to the court, “the second appeal is similar to the one earlier decided. The parties are the same. “At the lower court they were together. They have similar interest. They still have the same interest even in the appeal. It is therefore surprising to see them file different appeals. This is an unwholesome practice as it had overburdened the court. “The mere fact that a federal agency is a party does not make it a case for a Federal High Court. It is the issue in dispute and the law that deter-

mine jurisdiction.” George-Mbama wondered why they failed to file their petitions before the tribunal, only waiting for Wada to be sworn in and then went to the Federal High Court to challenge his election. He observed that both appeals were challenging Wada’s election and his qualification to contest the governorship election in Kogi. Citing Sections 285 (2) of the constitution, the judge held that such case could only be heard at the election tribunal, not the Federal High Court. He also cited Section 138 of the Electoral Act, which states the ground on which an election can be questioned. “Where a court lacks the competence to determine a matter, an appellate court will uphold the decision of the high court declining jurisdiction,” he said. “We hold that the trial court was right in holding that it lacked jurisdic-

Agip onshore oil field facility near the Taylor Creek oil well. Spokesman of Ikarama Development Committee, Mr. Washington Odoyibo, said in Yenagoa on Tuesday that the community noticed the development since Monday and regretted that the oil firm was yet to respond to it. “The sound from the spill site could be heard even from our community, especially in the night when the community is relatively quiet. That confirms that it is a really serious spill,” he noted. “It was on Monday that one of our community ladies returned from the bush and told us that there was a very serious oil spill spraying like gas into the air, along Agip pipeline. “As per the cause of spill, you can see with me that it is not easy to get closer to the spill point because of the way the whole environment is covered with crude oil fumes,

hence one cannot even guess the cause.” According to him, members of the community were avoiding the leakage site for safety reasons and there were concerns about fire and inhalation of the toxic gas. When contacted on phone to comment on the development, Agip spokesman, Mr. Tajudeen Adigun, declined comments. However, the Head of Operations at the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr. Adeyinka Adewumi, said the agency was yet to get a report on the incident. And also reacting on the issue, the Head of Field Operations, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) in Bayelsa, Mr. Alagoa Morris, urged oil firms to lessen the pressure on the pipelines to reduce the discharge into the atmosphere.

Maina wants accessible buildings for disabled persons From Omotola Oloruntobi, Abuja INISTER of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, has urged the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, to make his office complex buildings accessible to persons with disabilities (PWDs). Speaking during her visit to his office in Abuja, she said the removal of all barriers would create an inclusive and accessible society for all, hence the need for awareness creation on the plight of persons with disabilities. Maina said that accessibility and inclusion of PWDs were fundamental rights recognised by the United Nations Convention on the rights of PWDs as pre-requisite for the enjoyment of oth-

M

er rights, adding that Nigeria, as signatory to that convention, recognises that barriers are central to their effective performance. According to her, evidence show that when barriers to inclusion of PWDs are removed and they are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits. To that end, the Rehabilitation Department of her ministry has continued to formulate and implement policies, provide assistive devices and job placements, among others, to better their welfare, she said. Responding, Aji invited Maina to join him in pressing the Federal Civil Service Commission to reserve a percentage of job positions for PWDs.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

8 | NEWS

Anxiety, as Ebonyi PDP plans to disqualify council aspirants From Leo Sobechi, Abakaliki HERE is unease in Ebonyi T State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following indications that the party has finalised plans to disqualify some aspirants from the forthcoming council polls in the state. Sources within the party disclosed in confidence that apart from prohibitive and nebulous fees aimed at excluding a lot of aspirants, the party plans to screen out some aspirants on suspicion of possible collaboration with the opposition ahead the September 25 polls. The state Chairman of PDP, Mr. Ugorji Ama-Oti, told journalists yesterday that the party would field the right candidates in order to win the council polls, disclosing that while form for chairmanship sells for N400,000, vice chairmanship and councillorship aspirants would pay N150,000 and N70,000 respectively. However, the controversial fees include a deposit of N3 million by chairmanship candidates and purchase of party memorabilia worth N100,000.00, in addition to freebies for local council and ward executives. Speaking during their State Executive Council (SEC) meeting yesterday, Governor Martin Elechi disclosed that the party would assess the behaviour of chairmanship and councillorship contestants to ensure they were fit to occupy such positions.

‘How poor funding, obsolete equipment fuel electricity system collapse’ From Emeka Anuforo (Abuja) and Ali Garba (Bauchi) ESPITE repeated assurD ances from the Federal Government to improve the status quo, inadequate funding, obsolete equipment and other challenges militating against the smooth operation of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have not abated, the management of the corporation has said. However, to buoy workers’ productivity despite the challenges, the new management of TCN has introduced employees’ reward system as part of strategies to check system collapse and ensure greater stability in electricity supply to

• Expert advocates geothermal reservoirs to check outages consumers. According to the agency, which is responsible for evacuating electric power from generating companies and wheeling it to distribution companies, the reward system is the initiative of its expatriate Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Don Priestman, whose firm, Manitoba Hydro of Canada, has a three-year management contract for the firm. Meanwhile, a hospitality and tourism management expert, Mr. Timothy Matthew Oladimeji, has advocated the use of geothermal reservoirs as alternative energy sources

in combating the frequent power outage in the country. Delivering a paper at a seminar on “Exploitation of Geothermal Reservoirs for Tourism and Sustainable Energy Development,” Oladimeji, who is also a lecturer at the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Bauchi campus, told the members of staff and students of the institute yesterday that geothermal energy would be economically viable as replacement for petroleum products in the country. While stressing the need for government to invest in geot-

hermal surveys to locate geothermal energy resources in the country, he tasked companies and the Minister for Energy to consider the continuum between tourism and sustainable energy in the country. According to him, “geothermal energy is a renewable resource, and production from individual geothermal reservoirs can be sustained for decades, even centuries, and compared to other types of power plants, geothermal plants have relatively little effect on the environment and have been successfully oper-

Celebrations in Jalingo, as govt sacks indicted officials From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo ESIDENTS of Jalingo yesterR day took to the streets wild with celebration as Taraba

Benue ACN leaders in crisis over ACP chair From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi RISIS is said to be simmerC ing the Benue State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), where the Chairman, Abba Yaro, and the party’s deputy governorship candidate in the 2011 elections, Abubakar Usman, are said to be at loggerheads over who becomes the state chairman of the merging All Progressives Congress (APC). The Guardian learnt that the crisis became real following indications that the APC would soon be registered, as Yaro began skimming to become the chapter’s chairman. However, Abubakar, who hails from same Benue-South Senatorial District with him, is said to be strongly opposed to Yaro’s ambition on the ground that his kinsman has not shown the needed leadership qualities as ACN chairman. Nevertheless, a source within the party also revealed that apart from the stiff opposition to his candidature by his kinsman, Yaro rushed to the leader of the party in the state and Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, accusing Abubakar of plotting to take over the leadership of the party from him, a development that sparked off a faceoff between Akume and Abubakar. When contacted, Abubakar denied the allegation that he was working against Akume’s continuity as state leader of the party, stating that Yaro’s grouse was that they wrote to the leadership of the party requesting that the state working committee should compel Yaro to present the party’s financial position.

ated in farms, in sensitive desert environments and in forested recreation areas.” And though geothermal reservoir also contains higher concentration of minerals and chemicals than acquifier, which is used for drinking water, he said “the resource base (estimated total amount of energy) of geothermal energy is larger than the resource bases of coal, petroleum, natural gas and uranium, with appreciable economic and commercial benefits to any society or nation. At the inaugural reward ceremony in Abuja yesterday, Priestman said that funding and equipment, among others, have been strangulating the operations of TCN. He urged the workers to remain dedicated, resourceful and innovative in the discharge of their assigned duties in order to enhance good service delivery.

Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola (right); the Commissioner for Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Muyiwa Ige and Country Manager, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), Mallam Kabir Yari, during the official kick-off of the State of Osun City Consultations Structure Plans Projects in Nine Cities, in Ilesa…on Tuesday

Court rejects stockbroker’s bid to quash theft charge By Bertram Nwannekanma USTICE Adeniyi Onigbanjo of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, yesterday fixed ruling for July 15 on the motion brought by the former managing director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank Plc), Dr. Erastus Akingbola, seeking to quash the theft charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). However, he struck out a similar application by a stockbroker, Bayo Dada, on the ground that it was an abuse of court process. Justice Onigbanjo hinged his decision on Dada’s counsel’s insistence to resist the prosecution from relying on the counter-affidavit it filed against Akingbola’s application for his motion. Onigbanjo, in a short ruling, said the defence’s decision and filing of the motion on July 9, which jeopardised the court’s trial schedule fixed in February, amounted to an abuse of court process. The duo is being prosecuted for alleged theft of N47.1 billion belonging the bank. In a motion on notice dated July 4, 2013, and filed by his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Akingbola urged the court, presided by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, to strike out the entire charge dated May 4, 2011, as unconstitu-

J

• Ruling on Akingbola for July 15 tional, incompetent and illegal. He also sought an order quashing and/or striking out counts 1-14, 19, 23 as contained in the charge, as well as discharging him. The motion, brought pursuant to Sections 6(6) and 211 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Sections 249, 252 and 253 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2011, was predicated on several grounds, including that

the prosecutor did not secure the fiat of the Lagos State Attorney-General to lay the charge, and that none of the counts disclosed a prima facie case against him. In the motion, supported by a 20-paragraph affidavit and a written address dated July 4, 2013, Olanipekun argued that the counts were not just repetitive, duplicitous and oppressive but that his arraignment constituted gross abuse of court process, as the

proof of evidence did not disclose any case against him. Akingbola formulated two issues for determination mindful of Section 211 of the constitution, alongside Sections 249, 252 and 253 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos (ACJL), whether the Federal Government could lawfully bring and prosecute any charge or information relating to the offence of stealing under Section 390(7) of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State against him.

State sacked its Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ambassador Emmanuel Njiwah and others. Njiwah and five commissioners were sacked by the Acting Governor Garba Umar following their alleged roles in the diversion and misappropriation of the Federal Government’s N400 million given the state to purchase and distribute relief materials to the victims of the 2012 flood disaster. They were the Commissioners for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Anthony Jellason; Education, Yakubu Agbazo; Water Resources and Rural Development, Rebo Usman; Women and Youth Development, Charity Jonathan Green, and Works, Transport and Housing, Jonah Angyo. On hearing the announcement yesterday, The Guardian observed that residents of the state capital, Jalingo, rolled out drums to celebrate Njiwah’s removal, claiming that he had not been too useful to his community despite being in government for over 20 years.

Youth unemployment, militancy threatening 2015 elections, says report From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE rising youth unemployment and unavailability of permanent voters’ register, as well as the continued existence of militant groups are formidable threats to the peaceful conduct of the 2015 general elections, says a group, CLEEN Foundation. Giving the report in Abuja yesterday, the Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation, Mrs. Kemi Okenyedo, said the issues considered risk factors in the report included socio-political and economic structures of the regions, activities of non-state actors and gender, as well as vi-

T

olent spots, proliferation of small arms and light weapons. The report, entitled: “First Security Threat Assessment Towards Preparation for the 2015 General Election,” anticipates keener contests at the federal level with the emergence of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and at the state level, where many incumbents would be vacating their offices after two terms. The report frowned at the seemingly slow pace of activities at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other concerned

agencies, especially at the state level even when political activities were on the increase. “Despite the increasing political activities, there is no indication that INEC and other relevant agencies are doing much at the regional level in preparation for the 2015 elections,” it noted. “The voters’ register is yet to be updated; relevant amendments to electoral laws are yet to be carried out and there seem not to be election-specific security plan and strategy for the region (northern Nigeria) despite its history of electoral violence.” It noted that in states that are

notorious for security breaches and experiencing the menace of Boko Haram, no action was being taken to forestall the breakdown of law and order during the polls. It also highlighted the political gangs disguising as vigilance groups in the South-West as a cause for concern. And in the South-East, the report observed that though many of these groups had been dismantled officially, such as Bakasi Boys, some have been fingered and implicated in cases of assassination, armed robbery, kidnap and communal violence.


9

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

WorldReport ‘What Nigeria will gain from Jonathan’s visit to China’ As President Goodluck Jonathan leads a high powered Nigerian multi-sectoral delegation to China, with a desire to build on the strategic relations started eight years ago, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Deng Boqing speaks with Foreign Affairs Editor, OGHOGHO OBAYUWANA, on Nigeria’s business with China today.

hat is the current state of W the Sino-Nigeria bilateral relations? China-Nigeria diplomatic relations enters the 43rd year in 2013. Ever since the beginning, we on both sides have been endeavouring to promote our communication and cooperation. In 2005, our close ties were upgraded to a strategic partnership. Ever since then, our relations have witnessed rapid development. High-level exchanges remain active and our political mutual trust enhanced. Also, the economic ties have been strengthened, bringing mutual benefits to people of our two countries. People-topeople communications and cultural exchanges between our two sides have been fully dynamic, ensuring vigorous interaction and enhancing mutual understanding between our two peoples. This visit by President Jonathan to your country, what are the expectations of the two countries? What are the likely milestones that could be described as achievements when a review is done? Well, at the invitation of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Jonathan is paying the visit from July 9 to 12. It has been five years since the Nigerian President visited China. During this current visit, it will be the first time for our top leaders to meet after the new Chinese President assumed office. During his stay in China, President Jonathan is to meet his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, and other Chinese leaders. The two parties will exchange views on bilateral relations as well as on international and regional issues of common concerns, consider new channels and approaches to boost ChinaNigeria cooperation in political, economic, cultural and other fields, and sign a few documents of cooperation. Now, I strongly believe President Jonathan’s visit to China will further consolidate the traditional friendship between China and Nigeria, enhance strategic mutual trust, expand pragmatic bilateral cooperation as well as promote the further development of China-ECOWAS and China-Africa relations. There are agreements lined up to be

Boqing

signed for infrastructural development, power and much else. They are for the overall benefit of the two countries as we will be able to see later. Where are the strengths of the bilateral relations between Nigeria and China, what are the identified areas of cooperation? Over the past 42 years, China and Nigeria have been making great achievements. Our two countries have been forging ever-closer economic ties. Nigeria is now the third largest trade partner of China in Africa. In 2012, the trade volume between the two countries reached USD 10.57 billion, and by the end of last year, China’s non-financial direct investment in Nigeria accumulated to USD 8.7 billion. In the financial sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria is the very first one in Africa to include Chinese currency RMB in its foreign exchange reserves, with a view to building strategic and mutually beneficial relationship with key Chinese financial institutions. Our cooperation in science and technology has made Nigeria the first African country that boasts of satellite navigation capacity. In 2011, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)

launched Nigerian Communications Satellite 1R, which has thereafter met Nigeria’s requirements on communications, broadcast, navigation and broadband access and also provided services for Africa, Europe and Asian continents. Like I said, people-to-people communication and cultural exchanges are an integral part of our bilateral relations. Both countries enjoy ancient civilisations and splendid cultures, and we could often find similarities in our value systems and world views. However, we still want to know more about each other. In the just concluded African Arts and Crafts Expo, the Chinese delegation showcased the exquisite Chinese handicrafts, most of which are acknowledged as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage; Two Confucius Centres have been founded in Nigerian, namely in Lagos University and Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Besides, a “Nigerian Culture Week” in China last year impressed quite many Chinese people. What is the extent of involvement of Nigerians in the operations of Chinese companies in Nigeria so that there can be indigenous ownership of the projects, etc? The Chinese government always encourages Chinese

I strongly believe President Jonathan’s visit to China will further consolidate the traditional friendship between China and Nigeria, enhance strategic mutual trust, expand pragmatic bilateral cooperation as well as promote the further development of China-ECOWAS and China-Africa relations.

companies going abroad to localise their teams and shoulder due social responsibilities. And indeed, most Chinese companies in Nigeria have been aware of the importance of localisation ever since they came here. And accordingly, they have been trying to integrate the local people into their projects. So far, Chinese companies in Nigeria have employed over 100,000 Nigerians, and a lot of Nigerian employees have been acknowledged for their contributions to Chinese companies here in Nigeria. Let me give you an example. Once I was invited to a prizeawarding ceremony held by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Limited in honour of its employees who have been working in the company for over 10 years. What impressed me most is that, among the 10 employees getting the award, five of them are Nigerian natives and by the time they had already been part of the management of the company. Localisation is one of the secrets of CCECC’s success here in Nigeria. What kind of help is China offering to Nigeria in order to address the country’s security problem and rising insurgency? China and Nigeria have a lot in common. Both our cultures attach much importance to ‘forgiveness, tolerance and resilience.’ Nigerian government has already taken various means, including dialogue, to tackle the current situation of insurgency. I believe the Nigerian government and people will work out its way to solve the problem. During the years, China has engaged in promoting infrastructure building here and increased direct investment in Nigeria, creating jobs for Nigerian people and boosting the economic development of Nigeria. In a sense, all these contributions help stabilise the Nigerian society. Can you give us an update of the collaborative efforts between the Nigerian and Chinese governments to assist in bringing back the Nigerians trapped in Chinese jails? It’s been quite a while the programme started. Negotiations between relevant departments are underway. Personally, I sincerely hope that both sides could reach agreement as soon as possible. But I should point out that this could be very complex, as it involves judicial procedures and calls for the cooperation and coordination among different ministries, for example, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Justice, etc.

Tribal king says Mandela is conscious FTER visiting Nelson A Mandela in hospital, the King of his Thembu tribe, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, yesterday disclosed that the global icon “is conscious and recognises visitors.” “He is well,” the tribal king said, giving an upbeat, but cautious account of the 94year-old’s condition. Dalindyebo, who is also a nephew of the former South African president, added: “He could not talk, but he recognised me and made a few gestures of acknowledgement, like moving his eyes.” He said his uncle was “assisted in many ways,” and was attached to lots of tubes. “He is under a lot of support. I’m sure it’s the kind of support that he needs,” he disclosed. Dalindyebo had travelled from his village in the Eastern Cape to see Mandela, who has been receiving treatment for

a lung condition for more than a month. He arrived at Mandela’s Pretoria hospital with a delegation of traditional chiefs to “pay their respects to the great leader”. On Tuesday, an official government update described Mandela’s condition as “critical but stable,” as members of his family gave positive accounts of his health. Doctors are said to have ruled out turning off his life support machines unless there is serious organ failure. Dalindyebo is among Mandela’s family members who have become embroiled in a spat over the final resting place of the Nobel peace laureate. He has accused Mandela’s grandson, Mandla – who was forced by a court to return the remains of three of Mandela’s children – of disgracing the family name.

Egypt orders arrest of Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders HE office of prosecutor in T Egypt has ordered the arrest of the leaders of ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, charging them with inciting violence that saw 55 of their members shot dead. Coming a week after the army toppled Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, agency reports indicated yesterday that the bloodshed on Monday has opened fissures in the Arab world’s most populous country, with levels of bitterness unseen in its modern history.

Reacting yesterday, Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad, said the announcement of charges against leader Mohamed Badie and several other senior figures was a bid by authorities to break up a vigil by thousands of Mursi supporters demanding his reinstatement. In addition to Badie, prosecutors ordered the arrest of others including his deputy, Mahmoud Ezzat, and outspoken party leaders, Essam ElErian and Mohamed ElBeltagi.


10

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

Politics ANAMBRA 2014:

Ubah’s entry raises the stake I am in the governorship race because the present Anambra State government is not the type of government we want in the state. We want a government that will develop the state in the real sense of the word and not a government of deceit. I am offering myself to serve the state, to bring about real development and positive changes. There is no proper accountability in the use of state funds and it will shock you to know that there has been no state audited account for the local governments from 2011 to date.

By Omiko Awa

C

APTAIN of industry and owner of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Dr. Patrick Iheanyichukwu Ubah, has raised the ante with his intention to contest the November governorship election on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) in Anambra State. But before pitching his tent with Labour, over 10 political groups, including the Peoples Democratic Party and All Nigeria Peoples Party in the state, reportedly tried to woo him to their side. Even as he acknowledges that the battle for the Government House, Awka, is among four political parties — LP, PDP, APGA and ACN (APC) — he is emphatic that victory is certain for the LP partly due to the following reason(s): “The APGA is in crisis. PDP is in crisis. ACN or APC is in a trance. So, what remains is Labour (Party).” He also believes that he will “outshine other candidates aspiring to use the same platform to achieve their governorship ambitions during the party primary.” Ubah made these declarations recently while addressing a huge Ubah crowd of supporters at the party office in Nnewi North local council of the state after he had formerly registered for the LP at his Otolo Ward I of the council. He said his ambition would be better served in a party with one spirit, and which is people-oriented and associates with the yearn-

ings of the masses. Ubah has entered the race in the run-up to the governorship poll due to his worry about the “slow pace of development and the poverty level in Anambra State.” Hence, he has taken a leave off business for poli-

tics, as, according to him, “to turn things around in the state,” the same way he has done in the oil and gas sector, where his company has remained a major player since 2007. His entrance into the murky waters of Anambra politics has however been lauded by many indigenes of the state, especially professional groups and traders, who always throng any of the places he goes to, as a way of supporting his political ambition. In line with this enthusiastic support, the Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac Town, Lagos, came under intense human and vehicular movements recently when Anambra indigenes involved in 58 different trade groups across Lagos State swarmed the facility for a night out with the governorship hopeful. Through the aid of a projector, Ubah used the avenue to showcase some of his numerous groundbreaking achievements in the oil and gas industry, as well as his philanthropic gestures across the globe. Addressing the forum, the governorship aspirant said: “I want to let you know that it is time to give back to my people in appreciation of what

God has done for me. I am going into Government House to work for the socio-economic development of Anambra State. “It is my willingness to sacrifice all that I have, to liberate Anambra from the shackles of poverty and deprivation that has turned me against some group of people in the State, and I will not cease to go into politics to add value to the lives of the people and to make Anambra State the glory of the nation.” On plans to industrialise the state, which is noted for the enterprise of the people, Ubah said: “I am not only going to attract foreign investors from India, China and Turkey to Anambra, I will build industries and create avenues for people from different parts of the world to come and buy our locally manufactured goods. “I will create a two-parallel government that will cater for both administration and business. For, while the business side will generate above N4 billion monthly, the administrative side will solely see to the day-to-day running of the affairs of the state.” Ubah also informed that special attention would be paid to security, youth development, healthcare, education and agriculture, water, tourism and sports. He pledged to make Anambra State another food basket of the nation by partnering with countries such as Israel to embark on mechanised farming and making the people, especially the youths, to go back to farming. “We shall partner with Israel and others to transform agriculture and make the state a food basket,” he said. “We shall replicate what the South Africans are doing in Kwara State, because we have a fertile riverbank along the River Niger and with this, we will make farming enticing for the youths to go into.” The Lagos event was recreated later in Ogbunike, the hometown of the late former Senate President, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, where Ubah was treated to an elaborate reception. Different groups of people, including traders’ associations and commercial motorcyclists, accompanied his motorcade to the Committee of Fathers’ Club headquarters, chanting his traditional title, Ebubechukwu Uzo Nnewi. Addressing the crowd, Ubah said: “If elected governor, I will not only put an end to kidnapping and armed robbery, I will also pay civil servants the expected minimum wage, develop housing estates for people to move from their shack-shelters to permanent houses aside from beautifying the cities and villages as part of initiative to clean up the messes that abound everywhere in the state.” With his growing profile, Ubah, who has been described as “the hurricane” by some of his spectators because of his immediate impact in the political scene of Anambra, “has become an issue in the state,” said a respondent. Although some of his kinsmen would not want him to participate in the election, many


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

11

Anyaoku speaks on basis Nigeria’s foreign policy HAT is the W Commonwealth of Nations? When and where was it inaugurated and by whom? Are there any obligations and advantages in membership of the organization? Answers to the above question and many clarifications on the basic plank of Nigeria’s foreign policy since the country gained political independence from Britain in 1960 will be provided to the congregation of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja on Sunday, July 14, 2013 at a lecture beginning at 4.pm. On hand to give the lecture will be one of Africa’s best known international civil servants and the first African Secretary General of the Commonwealth, 80-yearold Chief Eleazar Chukwuemeka Anyaoku. Born at Obosi, in Anambra State, Chief Anyaoku was

educated at the University College, Ibadan where he studied in a college scholar, graduating with a London University honors degree in classics in 1959. Three years later, he married Miss Ebionla Olubunmi Solanke, the union is blessed with four children. Chief Anyaoku was Nigeria’s External Affairs Minister in 1983 before a military junta seized power from President Shehu Shagari at the end of that year. Among the highlight s of his 34 year service to the Commonwealth of 54 nations was his role in making the Commonwealth an active agent for promoting democracy and human rights and his seminal role in the processes leading to peace and democracy in Zimbabwe, Namibia and in particular South Africa. Chief Anyaoku has had extensive international

Anyaoku exposure and service. Among many positions held by him are: distinguished visiting fellow at the Centre

Ubah’s entry raises the stake interest groups, including the youths, market women, prominent politicians, and even traditional rulers are clamouring for him to involve yourself in the state politics for the desired change. Giving reason for supporting Ubah, an indigene of the state, Ugochukwu Amadi, said: “This is the greatest philanthropist we have ever seen; he has surpassed others. And if given the chance to rule Anambra as governor, our problems will be over because he will do more than he had done while in private business.” Also commenting on Ubah’s ambition, Chief Agunwa Anaekwe, the Third Republic Speaker of the House of Representatives, said: “The business mogul has the exposure and the business clout to become the governor of the state,” adding that having invested heavily in Lagos State and other parts of Nigeria, the time had come for him to replicate the same in his home state. While pushing that the criterion for anybody aspiring to lead any state should be based on track record, Anaekwe said that the only way to put to an end to the present imbroglio in Anambra politics would be “to identify with one who has a track record of performance in the community, state and country in general.” Multi-millionaire businessman and philanthropist, Chief Arthur Eze, said his decision to give his blessings to Ubah was because he saw him as the most reliable person to govern the state after Governor Peter Obi of the APGA. Eze said he was convinced about Ubah’s genuine intentions for Anambra people and therefore, there was the need to give him the necessary support. He observed that Ubah had consistently used his personal resources to empower many people, including the less-privileged across Anambra, adding that such was the kind of person the state needs to direct its affair. “Whoever I say will be governor of this state will be the governor, because most of these people you see are not interested in the welfare of the people,” Eze said. Ubah reinforced this confidence recently at a meeting in Abuja. “I want it to be on record that I made this official declaration to contest during this meeting with Ikoro, an umbrella association for all the practicing Igbo journalists in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” he said. “I want to make it clear that I am not seeking to become the governor of Anambra State because of selfish interest, but to build industries, provide employment for our discouraged youths that are joining kidnapping in droves out of hopelessness. “I will network with security operatives to reduce crime to zero level in the state. I want to provide employment by building industries. I have plans of building at least 50 factories across all the local government areas. Education and healthcare are also among the things I would focus on.” He said that if elected governor, he would triple the state’s revenue base without tasking the people, “but through avenues many governments have either ignored or are ignorant of.” In order to achieve his ambition, Ubah said his camp had begun a sensitisation campaign, but

appealed to the media, “to urge the government of Anambra State to leave me alone.” He added: “I’m very sure that if there is a free and fair election in Anambra State, I will have a landslide victory with at least 70 per cent of the votes. “I am only nursing an ambition to govern Anambra State and that does not mean an automatic ticket to be declared governor of the state.” Responding to those allegedly casting aspersions on him, he said: “I am ready to render my service. Those behind all the media war and online assassination of my character, image and person have taken the joke too far. “But I am happy that our people are loving me the more and giving me the hope that I will win the election no mater the evil plans against me.” On his recent harassment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ubah said: “It is all about Anambra State politics. My detractors are afraid of my acceptance by my people and have since resorted to doing anything humanly possible to stop me. I know their game plans and will reveal them in due course. “However, I will only advise their agents to borrow a leaf from the words of God, which says, ‘Touch not my anointed and do my prophet to harm.’ I will leave my able God to expose them in due time.” On the Anambra State government, Ubah noted that, “some of the claims by the present administration of developing all the sectors of the state in the last seven years are only on the pages of the newspapers, radio and television, as there are nothing really on ground to attest to the claims.” “I am in the governorship race because the present Anambra State government is not the type of government we want in the state,” he said. “We want a government that will develop the state in the real sense of the word and not a government of deceit. “I am offering myself to serve the state, to bring about real development and positive changes. There is no proper accountability in the use of state funds and it will shock you to know that there has been no state audited account for the local governments from 2011 to date.” He promised to conduct local government election within 90 days of assuming office, if elected governor next year. On Anambra State’s volatile politics, Ubah said: “I strongly believe that life is about styles and everyone has his or hers. As a businessman, I have played the big time politics anybody can stand, which includes home politics, business and boardroom. And being in the oil and gas sector, I have what it takes to play the politics. “I believe in adding value and creating dynamics in any capacity I find myself, which is what we are doing and will continue to do through the Ifeanyi Ubah Project 2014. “I have been mobilising people for grassroots support and with the encouragement I am getting so far, we are on the winning side.”

for the Study of Global Governance at the London School of Economics (2000/2006); president of the Royal Africa Society with headquarters in London (2000/2006); president of the Royal Africa Society with headquarters in London (2000/2007), International president of the World Wide Fund for Nature with headquarters in Switzerland and operations in over 100 countries (2001.2009). He is currently the chairman of the President Advisory Council on International Relations in Nigeria, a trustee of the British Museum and patron of the Nigerian Museum, chairman, Orient Petroleum Resources Plc in Nigeria. Besides, he has received decorations from Nigeria

(CON, CFR and a recipient of one of 50 special awards to mark Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary) and the highest national civilian honours of Cameroon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Namibia, Republic of South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago’s Trinity Cross (TC) as well as an honorary Knight of the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) from the Queen of England in 2000. The freedom of the City of London was also bestowed on him in 1998. In 2003, the University of London established a professional choir in his name the Emeka Anyaokjo Professor of Commonwealth Studies at its Institute of Commonwealth Studies. He is a holder of 32 honorary

doctorate degrees from universities in Britain, Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, the Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, South Africa and Zimbabwe. His publications include The Missing Headlines (by Liverpool University Press in 1997) his memoirs The inside Story of the Modern Commonwealth (by Evans Brothers Limited in 2004) and The Racial Fact or in International Politics (by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in 1977). A biography of Emeka Anyaoku, The Eye of Fire, written by the Canadian author, Phyllis Johnson, was published by African World Press Inc. and reprinted in Nigeria by Spectrum Books Limited in 2000. Among his many grand breaking achievements, Emeka Anyaoku as Commonwealth Secretary General, was the first African Chief Executive of a global inter governmental organization, long before Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan at the United Nations; the first African international president of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), an office previously held by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the first African to have a professional chair named after him in a British university, and the first African instead of the British Museum. Chief Anyaoku’s lecture is this year’s third in the quarterly series of life testimonies sponsored by the AVMCC’s elite society. The Torchbearers, under the generic title “God in my life”


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

12

TheMetroSection Reconstruction of Lagos-Ibadan Highway • Residents of Ibafo, Mowe, Arepo, Magboro, others want service lane in project design By Godfrey Okpugie, Deputy Lagos City Editor OMMUTERS in the dormitory towns C along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway axis near Lagos have expressed divergent views on the contract recently awarded to two notable contractors to reconstruct the road. The residents who bared their minds on the issue include those residing at Arepo, Magboro, Ibafo, Asheshe, Mowe and Redemption Camp areas. The government recently awarded the contract for the reconstruction of the Lagos-Sagamu end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, while RCC Nigeria Ltd is to handle the Sagamu-Ibadan axis. While Julius Berger is expected to expand the highway from Sagamu interchange to Ojota in Lagos, into three lanes on either side, RCC’s task involves the reconstruction of the existing two lanes from the interchange to Ibadan. Berger is also expected to construct a flyover and interchange at the Redemption Camp of the Redeemed Christian Church of God to solve the frequent traffic gridlock on that portion of the road. No mention was made about the provision of service lanes on the new road to cater for the buses and taxis commuting the teeming populace living in rapidly emerging urban communities along the road. President Goodluck Jonathan, who performed the contract commencement ceremony at the Sagamu end of the road, stressed that government was determined to address the sorry state of the expressway. According to the President, the expressway is one of the busiest and most important roads in the country with over 250,000 vehicles plying it daily and more than 50 per cent of the economic activities of this country revolve around Lagos and Ogun states, which jointly with Oyo State, host the infrastructure. While stressing that the highway is of great socio-economic importance, not only to Nigeria, but also to the people of

A

HE remains of Madam T Christianah Adenimi Aderonke Akintelure, who died recently in Lagos at the age of 83, will be buried on Saturday, July 13, 2013 at Igbotako in Okitipupa Local Council, Ondo State after a funeral service at the St Pius Catholic Church in the town at 10.00 am. Guests will be entertained at the compound of one of the sons and deputy governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Otunba Paul Akintelure, off Ode-Aye Road, Igbotako.

Akintelure

Anyaoku speaks at Archbishop Vining Sunday

The traffic snarl on the route Africa, he said that the state of disrepair of the road, the recurrent fatal accidents, unprecedented traffic jams and security breaches, compelled the government to award the contract now in order “to deliver the road and bequeath to Nigerians a better and more durable road after 35 years when the first construction was made and commissioned in 1978.” Reacting to the new contract, Dele Segun, a surveyor who resides in Ibafo, said that the fact that the President came personally to perform the commencement ceremony of the road construction work indicates that he is determined to put a stop to the current deplorable condition of the road. Sonny Ilobe, an engineer who said he lives at Magboro community along the expressway, also pointed out that the fact that the notable contractors who first constructed the road 35 years ago are the same now re-engaged to do it again is an indication of government’s

sincerity. Ilobe, however, expressed concern about the three lanes on each side of the road from Sagamu Interchange to the Lagos end. He said the three lanes would have been a welcome development if the whole stretch from Redemption Camp to Lagos had not been a built-up area. He declared: “Though I’m delighted about the contract, my only worry is about the three lanes that the new road would have on each side from Sagamu interchange to Ojota. If the expressway is done that way and the three lanes on either side are meant for fast moving vehicles, it then means that no provision is made for the teeming commuters using the road on a daily basis.” “When the road was constructed in those days, it was done through thick jungle where there were no houses. But today, urbanization has spread from Lagos to as far as the Redemption Camp

area. All the people living in the built-up areas have forcefully (because there is no option) turned the road into a high street where commercial buses and taxicabs stop to pick or drop passengers at random. Trailers drivers have also because of lack of space to pack their trucks, turned the edges of the road to a parking lot.” “If the same road is now expanded to three brand new lanes on either side for fast moving vehicles, will that not endanger the lives of those that would be using the high-speed motorway to stop and drop commuters?” he queried. Ilobe said provisions ought to be made for service lanes on either side of the road for commercial buses and taxis. John Okafor, a retired road construction expert explained the differences between an expressway and other types of roads. Expressway, he said, is a major divided broad highway for high-speed traffic. It has few or no intersections. In Germany it is known as autobahn.

Drug baron abandons cocaine, as another suspect excretes 54 wraps of drugs By Odita Sunday SUSPECTED drug trafficking syndicate at the Murtala Muhammed International airport yesterday abandoned cocaineweighing 5.9 kilogrammes The drug was detected by men of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos led by its commander, Mr. Hamza Umar. The drug was carefully hidden inside industrial equipment originated from Panama, Central America. The discovery was made just as a

Briefs Akintelure for burial

suspected drug trafficker excreted 54 wraps of cocaine he ingested in Brazil. NDLEA Commander at the Lagos Airport, Hamza Umar told The Guardian that the cocaine consignment was left unclaimed. “The luggage was imported from Panama. When nobody came forward to claim ownership, we invited other security agencies and carried out a search. It was in the process of searching that the cocaine was discovered inside industrial equipment. A 36-year-old man, Onyema Watson Goodman Nnamdi, was also apprehended in connection with the

ingestion of 54 wraps of cocaine weighing 875 grammes. Both seizures weighed 6.775kilogrammes,” Hamza said. The suspect said that he wanted to get married with the sum of $4,000 that he was promised. Chairman of the Agency, Ahmadu Giade, promised to investigate the illegal shipment and expose those behind it. He said: “Drug barons have no hiding place.. This case shall be thoroughly investigated and those that are responsible will be exposed and brought to justice”.

He urged members of the public to support the anti-narcotics campaign in the inter-

est of humanity. He said the suspect would soon be charged to court.

Brief

July 14, deliver a lecture on ‘God In My Life ‘ at the main auditorium of Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral , Oba Akinjobi Road, G.R.A. Ikeja at 4.00p.m. It is organised by Porchbearers Society/ Rt. Rev James Odedeji is chief host while the Rev. Canon M. Abraham-Odumuyiwa is host.

Prize-giving Day at J.NISSI HE 2013 Speech/ Prize Giving T ceremony of the J. NISSI Children School holds today at the Clam Event Centre plot 1-5 clam Avenue Ikeja, Lagos.

Sakutu, 70, for burial HE death has occurred of T Johnson J. Sakutu , a steadfast member of God’s Kingdom Society and two-term chairman of the League of Freedomites, at the age of 70 . Sakutu worked in Unilever Organisation and Mandilas Limited before he incorporated Johnson White United Ltd., a civil engineering firm that executed many laudable projects.

Lions District 404A1 gets new governor Olumuyiwa Tokunbo Jegede has been elected the District LtheION Governor of the new District 404A1, Nigeria. He was elected at multiple district convention held in Oshogbo last month and will be formally sworn in at the Lions Club International Covention scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany. Also, his formal presentation to Lions and benefactors shall take place in August in Ondo State. Jegede, who is the current Vice District Governor of Lions Club International, District 404A, is the current and pioneer chief Executive if Orange 94.5 FM, Akure. The Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Segun Mimiko, appointed him in 2012, following his years of meritorious service to Ondo State Television Corporation.

Photonews

Airline Services and Logistics (ASL) Directors, Jumoke Ogundare (left), Otunba S. K. Onofowokan; Chairman, ASL, Dr. Patrick Dele-Cole; Company Secretary, Shade Ogundare; Managing Director, Mr. Richard Akerele; a Director, Mr. Alfred Rigler and Peju Shebioba during the ASL yearly general meeting in Lagos…recently.

ORMER Secretary General of FEmeka the Commonwealth, Chief Anyaoku will on Sunday

Sakutu

Mukoro, 81, for burial rites for Major FwhoUNERAL Joseph Ono Mukoro (rtd). died at the age of 81, begin today with a service of songs at his residence 2A, Imohwe Street Ekiugbo Ughelli, Delta State. He will be buried tomorrow after a funeral service at New Bethlehem African Church, Ekiugbo at 10am. Outing service holds on Sunday at the same church.

The couple: Mr. and Mrs. Moyosore Ogunnusi (middle), their parents, Otunba Yomi Ogunnusi, and his wife, Emmanuela Ogunnusi; Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (right) and Mrs. A. Giwa (left) during the wedding at Catholic Church of The Presentation, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos ...at the weekend.

Mukoro


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11 , 2013

METRO 13

Olowu steps in as District Governor, Rotary Int’l District 9110

Susan Omotosho (left), past District Governor and Chairman, Juli Pharmacy, Prince Adelusi Adeluyi, Rotary International President (2002 – 2003), Jonathan Majiyagbe, immediate Past District Governor, Omotosho decorating the incoming District, Olugbemiga Oluwo while right is Mrs. Olowu .

Past President, Rotary Club of Palmgrove Estate and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Alex Thomopulous (right), past President, N.G. Patel, president-Elect, Venugopal Jajoo and President (2012 – 2013), Suman Ramesh at the event

PHOTOS: ISAAC TAIWO

By Isaac Taiwo HE former District Governor (2012 – 2013), Rotary International, District 9110, Nigeria, Kamoru Omotosho has handed over the baton of leadership to his successor, Olugbemiga Olowu. Olowu is the new District Governor (2013 – 2014). In his valedictory message during the official installation ceremony at the MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos, Omotosho expressed happiness of a fulfilled period of service, having touched a lot of lives and successfully ran programmes that moved the club forward,. He prayed that the incoming administration would be able to continue where he stopped. Commenting on how his administration was able to engender peace in various communities, Omotosho said the issue of maintaining peace was a global phenomenon while his administration tried as much as possible to ensure that peace was achieved and maintained in various communities. “A lot of communities noted for riot, controversy and violence were visited and situations normalized, Sura Market being an example. “Projects we run in the way of assisting the less-privileged are ways of blocking every loophole that can lead to violence and consequently, ensure a lasting peace. “This is also the reason we solicit for handsome donations up to N300,000,000 for the in-

T

coming administration with a view to executing its various projects without stress,” he said. In his acceptance message, Olowu said he was happy, challenged but also fulfilled, having been in the Club for 30 years, impacting on the society before receiving the mantle of the leadership office. “As a District Governor, I have to put in everything as well as ensure that I carry on other members with me and involve everyone in one service or the other in accordance with the theme for the Rotary year. “Strict observance of the FourWay Rotary Test, which mandates members to render equitable service and recognize every profession is also very vital,” he said. Olowu declared that during his tenure, he would be focusing on maternal and child health; water and sanitation and disease control and prevention, partnering with medical practitioners and others already on ground to assist him. He added that his programme would include giving 25 schools good drinking water with pipes fixed at various points in their school premises. Others include giving micro-credit to women and youth who would want to start business. “The goal is achievable since we expect more money from Rotary Foundation and friends of Rotary abroad to execute our programme,” he

Brief Ogun begins second Ramadan essay competition HE Second Edition of Ramadan Essay Writing/Quiz CompetiT tion for public students has commenced in Ogun State with a call on the students to reflect on the teachings of Allah and live together in peace and social harmony. Organised by the wife of the Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun and the Spouses of Ogun State Government Functionaries Association (SOSGFA), the competition involves school in the 20 local councils. The Quiz & Qur’an Recitation Competition, which involves Junior Secondary Schools with only one contestant per school for each of the competitions, would take place in selected schools in all the 20 local councils in the state on Saturday, July 13, 2013.

said. On the issue of polio, Olowu said, there was only one percent remaining to cover and come 2014, the problem of polio would be a thing of the past in Nigeria. Also, speaking during the occasion, Rotary International President, 2002 – 2003, Jonathan Majiyagbe said the club’s functions included awarding of scholarship to “students who are in need, to make life better for those who are crippled with poverty,” adding that there was need for improvement in standard of education in the country. Majiyagbe disclosed that Rotary in Nigeria had spent over one billion dollar fighting polio and also asserted that the nation was very close to eradication of polio. “I can tell you that we are very close to the eradication of polio but for the difficult areas where we have Boko Haram in Gombe and Bornu. Possibly, by next year, we should be saying “Bye Bye” to polio in Nigeria, he said Majiyagbe advised Olowu to follow his footsteps. “I have been a good Rotarian, which led to my being the first African to be President of the world body. If he wants to do well, he should follow my footsteps. He is my nephew and I believe he will succeed,” he said. The District Governor nominee, District 9125 in charge of 22 States in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, Mike Omotosho, said: “Our emphasis in Rotary is on eradition of polio as well as raising funds to execute this and other projects. “We are experiencing a brickwall in reaching out to some communities in the Northern part of the nation and what we are doing to overcome this is to involve Imams, Emirs and youth leaders to sensitize the people that what we are doing is for their sake. “We had 26 cases last year, which had been pruned down. I can assure you that we are close to total eradication,” he said.


TheGuardian

14 | THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

Conscience Nurtured by Truth

FOUNDER: ALEX U. IBRU (1945 – 2011) Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it. Uthman dan Fodio 1754-1816

Editorial On the UK, Nigeria ‘bond’ T

HE recent proposal by the British government to impose a £3000 financial bond on UK visa applicants from Nigeria and five other countries of the Commonwealth is discriminatory, humiliating and on the surface should be seen as a grand design to continually subject Nigerians to repeated abuse. Nigeria, of course, has appropriately and unequivocally declared it as unacceptable. The British Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced the plan to introduce the Australia-style visa bonds for visitors from six countries considered to be ‘high risk’ by the British government. The six countries are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Ghana. In the proposal, intended to take effect from November, some visitors from those countries would be required to pay a £3,000 visa bond when they receive their visas. If the visitor overstayed, he or she would forfeit the money, but would be refunded when the visa holder left the country. The proposal intends “to undertake a very small scale trial of the use of financial bonds as a way of tackling abuse in the immigration system,” and “it would affect only a very small number of the highest risk visitors”.  Pray, what percentage of 180,000 Nigerian applicants, for instance, constitutes a small number? Who are the high risk visitors? Are they students who provide a sizeable chunk of the income generated by the British government? Or business persons? How are they to be determined? Besides its adverse effect on education and tourism, trade and business relations, an implementation of the visa bond may nudge relations between Nigeria and UK toward a diplomatic row. Since Independence, the relationship between Nigeria and Britain has subsisted on a pretentious and lopsided colonial kinship that was destined to face and has faced testy times in its historical development. In 1961, barely a year after Independence, Nigerians, led by the vibrant students union movement, successfully protested an Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact that required the British government to set up military bases in Nigeria. Another diplomatic row surfaced in 1975, when the General Murtala Muhammed regime, through its Afro-centric foreign policy sustained an illustrious campaign against the Apartheid regime of South Africa that was backed by Britain and other western nations. Following Gen. Muhammed’s death, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo nationalised the assets of British Petroleum to protest apartheid and also pave the way for Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. Still another diplomatic row followed in 1984, when the Gen. Muhammadu Buhari-led regime, having been implicated in a failed attempt to clandestinely cargo Second Republic minister, Umaru Dikko, who was exiled in London, engaged the British Government in a row that led to the recall of their respective high commissioners. Not long after, Britain imposed visa requirements on Nigerians after another diplomatic tension made Nigeria walk out of the Commonwealth. In the same vein, Gen. Sani Abacha’s odious reign and his execution of human rights activist and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others resulted in another diplomatic row that led to Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth in 1995. Given this current action against Nigeria, the Federal Government should, in line with the Principle of Reciprocity, respond to the UK Government appropriately. Foreign Minister Gbenga Ashiru was right when he said: “No country has a monopoly of treating Nigerians with disrespect; we too can hit back”. Now is the time to make the point and ensure that this obnoxious proposal is jettisoned. If the UK authorities are genuinely desirous of curbing abuse in their immigration system, they have more adequate mechanisms in place to address that problem. Resorting to a discriminatory visa bond is a cheap, exploitative, nasty and punitive measure against Nigeria. Being a member of the Commonwealth, Nigeria does not deserve this dis-respectful treatment. However, this should not be misconstrued as an uncritical support for both the indefensible lawlessness of many Nigerians abroad and the failure of past and present political administrations to make Nigeria home for Nigerians. Some Nigerians have often unconsciously transferred the accustomed culture of illegality, graft, mediocrity and corruption of this country into an unfamiliar terrain. Desperate, ill-prepared and often averse to the organised structure of governance in which they found themselves in foreign countries, they, before long, began to fall foul of the law of their host countries; and the backlash became the ill-treatment and image-battering that have befallen Nigerians. Also, as many respected Nigerians have stated, the dwindling reputation of the country abroad is not hinged on isolated cases of some dubious individuals alone. In the last decades, successive governments have cumulatively made Nigeria a bad brand. Repeated economic brutality, political emasculation, indiscriminate human rights violation and blatant denial of rightful desserts by their leaders have made Nigerians an embattled, impoverished species perpetually seeking refuge anywhere else. As a fallout of its profligate and inept leadership, which has crippled the economy and denied the people of simple basic amenities, Nigeria has unjustifiably become a land of suffering, poverty, anguish, pain and hopelessness, thereby forcing desperate citizens, especially the young, to flee the country at the slightest opportunity. A government that requires its citizens to be treated with respect by foreign governments must set an example by first protecting the interest of its citizens at home. With this visa bond proposal of the British government, it should also be clear to gullible and desperate Nigerian youths that there are no greener pastures anywhere. The grass is green only wherever it is made so. And so, as Nigerian leaders are urged to create an enabling environment for things to work, Nigerians with transformational potential should come home and seek to make a difference.

LETTERS

Lagos BRT: A withering brand The much admired Lagos Stem,IR:Businitiated Rapid Transit (BRT) sysby Lagos State former governor, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu and launched by the current governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) some five years ago, is heading towards an open brand pit. A brand, which has been applauded by all and sundry, for bringing some resemblance of morality, respect for orderliness and bringing us close to what is obtainable in other metro cities, is being awash by neglect and decadence. The Lagos BRT, first came to being in March, 2008, under the managerial capacity of Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA). LAMATA was created in 2002 with the mission to “transform the state transport system by facilitating an enabling environment.” In a concessionaire arrangement, LAGBUS Asset Management Company (which is owned by the Lagos State Government) and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Cooperative, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), etc are active participants in the BRT project. The Lagos State Government as the main stakeholder maintains the BRT lanes (segregated, bypass, yellow lane etc), while the concessionaires procure and maintain the buses. As at today, both the state and the concessionaires have failed woefully in their respective responsibilities. While Lagos State government failed to maintain the roads and sustain

policies bordering on effective service delivery, the concessionaires are worse off with badly maintained buses. The buses which were either painted in blue or red in some cases at the beginning had air-conditioner, fans and even treat commuters to “parlour rides” with movies on flat screens television while they commute to their destinations, but now all that are things of the past. The inability of the management to strategically make sure there is timed and chained flow of buses at their respective terminals have made commuter lose valuable and unquantifiable human time queuing for never arriving buses! An average pilot time to wait at BRT terminals today stands between 30minutes to 1 hour. It is even a disaster during rush hours. Since Lagos BRT is taunted to be “the first of its kind in subSaharan Africa, and the first example of a comprehensive and an integrated approach to

improving public transportation”, one would have expected some standard in service delivery. Despite monetary review in the area of ticketing from N50 to N70 and N100 to 120, human capital maximisation, a bus agent used to ride in every bus until recently, the quality of service delivery has spiral downwards and persistently moving below acceptable mileage. One thing the handler of the scheme must realise and realise fast, is that, service delivery is what determines brand optimisation. And brand failures are byproducts of daunted service, breach of trust and capacity to deliver in record time. With over 300 high capacity buses worth over N300 million in advert placement per annum, it would be insensitive on the part of Lagos State government not to salvage this enterprise before a postmortem is required. Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni, Lagos.

Re: For the attention of General Buhari IR: On April 22, 2011, The Slished Guardian Newspaper puban article on page 51 titled “For the attention of General Buhari” wherein certain allegations were made against General Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged role in the violence emanating from the elections. The publication was based on information which we believed to be reliable at that

time. Since the publication, however, we now have reason to believe that certain parts of the story were not verified to be correct before the publication. We assure General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) GCFR of our highest esteem and regret any distress or embarrassment which the said publication may have caused him. — Editor


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

15

Business Appointments P27 PCI seeks increased public spending to boost job generation

Transactions on PoS terminals hit N89.2b in 16 months By Adeyemi Adepetun LTHOUGH, the quantity of facilities remains few and currently rattled by poor service challenge in the country, Nigerians were still able to record about N89.2 billion transactions on the Points of Sales (PoS) terminals within the last 16 months, The Guardian has learnt. Indeed, even as the Central Bank of Nigeria flagged-off the second phase of the cash-less economy initiative, fears were being expressed that the hydra headed challenges of poor service quality and shortage of terminals may dog the process. According to volume and transaction value statistics obtained by The Guardian, from December 2012 to May 2013, from about 2.94 million volumes, Nigerians transacted about N45.6 billion on PoS terminals, thereby underscoring growth in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Cash-less economy initiative. Furthermore, between November 2011 and November 2012, after the CBN mandated the Nigerian Interbank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) to serve as the Payment Terminal Service Aggregator (PTSA) for the financial industry as part of the cash-less Lagos initiative, PoS activities on NIBSS Central Terminal Management System (CTMS) recorded over two million successful transactions valued at N38.6 billion occurred. Therefore, this makes the PoS transaction values in the country within the last sixteen months to amount to N89.2 billion from over two million volumes. Interestingly, in the first year of adoption in the country, NIBSS Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Adebisi Shonubi said PoS transactions in the country grew by a monthly compound growth rate of 83 per cent and 89 per cent in volume and value respectively, saying “this signifies gradual acceptance and adoption of PoS payment channels as an alternative to cash. However, indications emerged early this month at the commencement of the second phase of the cash-less economy that there have been acute shortages of PoS terminals in the country. This came about as the number of registered merchants, who are currently yearning for PoS devices, now outweighs the number of PoS devices that have been deployed in the country so far. The Guardian learnt that while the cumulative number of PoS deployed and connected to the NIBSS’s CTMS stood at 117, 412, as at April 2013, registered merchants hoping to get the PoS devices are about 184, 182. This was also confirmed by the Executive Officer, Shared

A

•Services still dog by poor connectivity Services, Governors’ Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ms Monica Adoghe, at the just concluded 2013 Card and Mobile Expo organised by Intermac Consulting Limited in Lagos. Adoghe, who pointed out that the increase in the number registered merchants beyond the deployed and connected PoS was an indication of the readiness of the Nigerians to accept the cash-less initiative, however, said the shortage had been caused by the Nigerian Customs, “for delaying PoS devices clearing at the ports.” She also noted that that all sorts of PoS devices would have flooded Nigeria but that the CBN had selected only four Payment Terminals Services Providers (PTSP), to deploy the devices in the country so as to ensure that only internationally- acclaimed firms were allowed to do the deployment. On the benefits of the “Cashless Lagos”, which has entered its second phase and taken to other states including Abia, Anambra, Rivers, Ogun, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Adoghe said by the end of December 2012, “we have reduced industry of cost cash handling by 30 per cent.”

According to her, recent commissioned studies by the regulators to assess the progress being made particularly in the cash-less Lagos initiative showed that 85 per cent of peo-

ple in the state are now aware of the cash-less scheme, saying that there had been continuous drop in the volume of cash in the circulation. With the challenge of availability of terminals still very much in contention, findings also revealed that about 75 per

A

were currently active due to lack of General Packet Radio Service, popularly known as GPRS, which is provided by the telecommunications operators. This invariably has led to increase in poor connectivity

CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and representative of the Chairman, Federal Inland revenue service (FIRS), Mark Dike (left) and Director, Non-Oil Tax, FIRS, Ohagwa Innocent, at a sensitisation workshop for professionals in Abuja, yesterday.

‘OPEC’s production declined by 310,000bpd in June’ By Roseline Okere GGREGATE production from members of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fell by about 310,000 barrels a day, as violent protests slashed about 200,000 barrels a day from Libyan production while oil theft cut 70,000 barrels a day of Nigerian output. This was contained in the organisation’s monthly report released yesterday. Total OPEC crude oil production averaged 30.38 million barrels per day (mbpd) in June, representing a decline of 0.31 mbpd, when compared with the previous month. OPEC crude oil production, excluding Iraq, average 27.32 mbpd, a drop of 0.28 mbpd over the same period. Nigeria, Angola and Iraq, led the crude oil output decrease, while crude oil production from Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates experienced the increase in June. But Nigeria’s crude oil production has declined further from the 1.930 mbpd recorded in the Month of May to 1.861mbpd in June, representing 69.7 per cent decrease from the previous month’s production.

cent of the PoS terminals deployed for the cash-less Lagos initiative were inactive as at May. A CBN source claimed that about 120 terminals have been deployed in Lagos, but findings showed that only 25 per cent of the total PoS in Lagos

•Nigeria’s output down by 70,000 bpd OPEC’s natural gas liquids and non-conventional oils are expected to grow by 0.21 mbpd in 2013 to average 5.87 mbpd. “In 2014, OPEC natural gas liquids and non-conventional oils are projected to increase by 0.15 mbpd to average 6.01 mbpd. The expected growth in 2014 is expected to come mainly from Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates”, the report added. According to the monthly report, the total developing countries’ oil supply is expected to average 12.55mbpd in 2014, representing growth of 0.32mbpd over this year. This increase, it noted, is expected to come mainly from Latin America, supported by growth in Brazil and Colombia, followed by Africa and other Asia, while the Middle East’s supply is seen to decline in 2014. It stated: “Africa’s oil production is expected to average 2.40mbpd in 2013, an increase of 80tbpd over the previous year and an upward revision of 15tbpd from the previous month. The upward revision came from the South Sudan and Sudan supply fore-

casts, as the two nations as the two nations reportedly agreed to continue the flow of oil. “Africa’s oil production in 2014 is also forecast to average 2.49 mbpd, an increase of 90tbpd over 2013. Oil supplies from Chad, Congo, Egypt and South Africa are expected to remain steady in 2014, with minor declines of up to 20tbpd. This comes on the back of supplies from Ghana, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea are forecast to increase slightly in 2014, supported by such developments as the Jubilee and Anguille, and Alen projects”. OPEC projected that world oil demand will surge by 1.04 million barrels a day next year, an increase of around 300,000 barrels compared with the growth predicted for the current year. OPEC, whose members produce more than one in three barrels consumed in the world each day, says it won't benefit from rising oil demand. It sees demand for its crude next year declining by about 300,000 barrels a day to average 29.6 million barrels a day.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

16 BUSINESS

Path to industrial development in Nigeria, others by Dangote By Bola Olajuwon RESIDENT of Nigerian Stock Exchange and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, on Tuesday, led captains of Nigerian industry in canvassing the need for the nation and other African countries to leverage on their respective rich resource endowments to drive growth in the productive sector of the economy. Dangote, who was the guest speaker at the Business Lunch of NEPAD Business Group-Nigeria (NBGN) with the theme, “The

P

Growth and Challenge of the Manufacturing Sector,” asserted that global experience had proved that no nation can transform into a great and industrial economy without the contribution of the manufacturing and private sectors. To achieve the desired growth, the African richest man emphasised that the manufacturing sector needs to contribute a lot more to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. Dangote, who was represented by his Chief of Staff,

Joseph Makoju, an engineer, told the audience which included Chairman of MBGN, Chief Chris Eze, Senior Special Adviser to the President on NEPAD, Dr. Tunji Olagunju; President Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chief Kola Jamodu; Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in Ogun State, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, chief executive officers of banks and other organizations, called on government and other stakeholders to confront headlong, challenges affecting the sectors. The industrialist noted that local value addition has to increase, to facilitate wealth creation, generate employment, develop skills and improve living standards. However, he noted that the past decade has been one of robust and sustained economic growth in Africa in spite of turmoil in the global economy. “The continent is now home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world (six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world over the period 2001–2010 were in Africa). The African economy has more than trebled since the turn of the century,” he said. He based the economic outlook on improved macroeco-

nomic environment in the area of political stability, economic reforms, good governance as well as availability of abundance of raw materials, enormous agricultural potential and rich variety of energy sources. Dangote, among others, asked Nigeria and other African countries to look into high cost of doing business and chronic power problems as well as high transportation costs, which he said, have been increasing the costs of goods by at about 75 per cent in some landlocked countries. He also called for the establishment of well located and fully functional industrial clusters, provision of affordable and accessible long term development funding, resuscitation and expansion key transport arteries, especially public-private partnership in rail transport and in road construction/management and inland waterways as well as more efficient border management – land, air and sea. He also highlighted that policy-makers should put in place attractive sector specific incentive packages – and periodically benchmark incentive regimes against regional and global peers, and re-orientation of citizens to patronise locally made goods.

PoS services still dog by poor connectivity CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 and downtime. But a Chief Executive Officer of one the Telecommunications Operator, who doesn’t want to be quoted in an interview with The Guardian, said they are yet to receive a formal complaint on the said challenges. In an interview with The Guardian, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Electronic Payments Providers of Nigeria (EPPAN), Mrs. Onajite Regha said efforts are on to address the PoS challenges in the country. Regha, who agreed that the major challenge revolves around having strong connectivity on the PoS terminals, said:

“Our members have been meeting with the telecoms operators because there is so much we can do with them. Most importantly the regulators of both the financial and telecommunication industry, that is the CBN and NCC are working together to ensure that the payment industry get the much needed support from the telecoms operators.” The EPPAN CEO further noted that the association, whose mandate is to drive the adoption of alternatives to cash and create a secured payment environment and improve electronic payment services delivery, adding that there is a synergy among all stakeholders to ensure the success of the process, especially as the second phase has started. “Only recently, on behalf of NIBSS, E-PPAN carried out a sensitization exercise for electronic payment channels. We are working with NIBSS also in various other committees for the assurance of effective payment system especially in regards to risks and security”, she stated. Attesting to the fact that there are several issues affecting the distribution of PoS in the country, Regha said that the challenge is insurmountable and all stakeholders are working to address every gray area that may pose a stumbling block to the success of the process in the country. She noted that the plan is to segment the country into different levels and then provide the channel that best suits a location in terms of available infrastructure and cost. “PoS distribution will have to be done the way it can be financially viable and we must look beyond retail in PoS, the small machine is capable of doing so much more even full fledge branchless banking. “We will keep educating our members and our stakeholders and we will continuously push for people to adopt electronic payment”, she said.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

17


18

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

BUSINESS

19

Govt partners UNIDO on investment monitoring for industrialisation From Itunu Ajayi, Abuja HE federal government on T Monday, entered into a partnership agreement with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), to launch and develop an investment data that would afford investors in the Nigerian economy to interface online, patronise local suppliers and service providers and create interactive forum with researchers and other stakeholders. Speaking at the launch of the Investment Monitoring Platform (IMP) in Abuja, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, represented by the Minister of State, Samuel Ortom, said that it had become imperative for the country to have a well placed interactive database that would facilitate interaction amongst investors as the country was far becoming number one investment hub in the African continent where investors could own a hundred per cent of their investments. Ortom said that with indicators such as the stability of the macro economic environment, stability of the exchange rate, the consistent average seven per cent in economic growth in the last 10 years and the country’s low debt to GDP ratio coupled with the country’s having one of the highest growth rate and highest return environment, it remained a strong and stable destination for investments. Making comparison with other economies, Ortom maintained that the enabling environment investors enjoyed in Nigeria could not be found elsewhere in the continent. His words: “Foreign investors can own 100 per cent of their investments in the country. There is also a generous tax holiday for investments in key sector, robust capital allowances and legal code that allow foreign businesses to repatriate 100 per cent profit and dividends. Many of these incentives are not matched anywhere in this region.” He said that Nigeria as a nation had moved beyond incentives and was building up both the hard and soft infrastructures required making it easier to invest and operate in Nigeria, noting that part of the soft infrastructure was the availability of accurate and useful investment data. Ortom added that investment data was necessary in the effort the federal government was

making at industrialising the raised by intending investors. country as the request for it usu- This, Ortom said, would guide ally topped questions usually the decision making process

and put Nigeria at par with oth- always been the desire of ECOW- framework of the African er industrialised countries of AS and other interest groups to regional investment promothe world, adding that it had key into the IMP within the tion programme.


20

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

21


22

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

23


24

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

25


26

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

27

Appointments PSI seeks increased public spending to boost job generation From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE Public Service T International (PSI) is mobilising governments, global financial institutions and regional development banks to increase spending in public service as a means of boosting employment

generation, the General Secretary of the global body, Mrs. Rosamaria Pavanelli has said. The PSI scribe, who was elected in Durban, South Africa last November, became the first woman general secretary of the organisation in its over 100 years of existence,

told The Guardian in Abuja, that PSI was deliberately empowering its affiliates to engage governments and employers meaningfully for the benefits of its members worldwide. She said: “We work to strengthen capacity of our unions. We also look out to

making our unions and affiliates to be strong in terms of lobbying, media relation, beneficial yet uncompromising negotiations with governments and employers. At global level, the PSI is lobbying the United Nations agencies, financial institutions such as the International

Managing Director of Trustfund Pensions Plc, Mrs. Helen Da-Souza (left) and Chairman of the board, Mrs. Ngozi Olejeme at the yearly general meeting of the company, held at the Nicon Hilton Hotel, Abuja…recently.

Creating new avenues to employment through job fairs By Tosin Fodeke ITH an employment W index of just above 20 per cent and thousands of Nigerian youths graduating every month, the growing need for more dynamic approaches to tackle the persistent national challenge of unemployment cannot be over stated. This problem, which is not Nigeria’s alone but the world over, is being engaged with more vibrant approaches. One of such approaches is called job fairs, which is now being used to create networking platforms for employers and recruiters to meet with prospective job seekers. The job fair approach usually involves organisations bringing together companies to a central location where resumes can be collected and business cards can be exchanged on tables or in booths. Career centres often sponsor such events; job fairs provide a convenient location for students to meet employers and perform first interviews. Because of the tough economy at the end of first decade of 2000 in more

developed countries, an increasing number of senior citizens are attending job fairs to apply for jobs. All the efforts made to curb unemployment in Nigeria point to the fact that for a country of about 150 million, tackling the problem with more versatile approaches needs to be applied. Attending a job fair allows job seekers meet with employers at a convenient location, usually a large conference centre as it gives them the chance to meet with representatives from a variety of companies - like “one stop shopping” at the mall. The company representatives will provide information about general career opportunities as well as specific details on current openings. It is against this backdrop that only recently the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in partnership with the federal government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment (FMITI) and Career Solutions Africa organised a one-day entrepreneurship and career

fair in Lagos and Abuja. One of the biggest challenges that businesses face is attracting skilled workers who can help the business achieves its goals. Job fairs are common recruitment channels that present several potential benefits to the companies that attend them. The job fair illuminated the wide career choices available, as a wide exchange of graduates, employers, Youth Corp members, and recruitment advisory companies all mingled hoping to strike lasting favourable employment deals. The uniqueness of fairs is that private sector and ministries, department and agencies from the public sector collaborated to tackle the issues of youth employability. Seminars by Leap Africa, Fate Foundation, Speedy Meals, Urban Baze, Dadachi Consulting, Konga, OLX, TechDivaz, for the various job seekers were part of appetisers to the event as over 50 employers and recruiters from leading national and multinational companies met with job seekers.

Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the regional development banks that have fundamental roles in addressing investment policies as well as the spending policies of governments across the world.” Pavanelli identified outsourcing, unbridled privatisation by most countries of the world, cut in public spending, sub-contracting of services as major challenges confronting the service industry. “The major challenges that the PSI is confronted with at this time are privatisation policy, cut on public spending, outsourcing and subcontracting of services. In Nigeria, the on-going effort at privatising electricity has pitched our affiliate, Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) against government and also that suffering of non-academic staffers as reported by NonAcademic Staff of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) because of privatisation and outsourcing of services. “Often times, outsourcing translates to low quality of services delivered to the citizens-the users, low quality standard of living for communities, low pay and low working conditions for workers that we represent. These cannot be said to signal development, progress and sustainable growth. We

believe that boosting the economy means investing in public services, knowledge and capability of expertise of public service workers,” she stated. Welcoming the scribe to NASU House in Abuja, the National President of NASU, Mrs. Ladi Illiya, paid tributes to Pavanelli for her doggedness and her decision to visit Nigeria at a time the country is passing through security challenges. Illiya said that Pavanelli’s struggled against privatisation, reforms, job cut, corruption, abuse of human and trade union rights, high taxation, sectoral work, the deliberate refusal of employers to honour agreements freely entered into with unions were steps that were heading in the right direction and, therefore, urged her not to weary in her pursuits. She identified the refusal of the owners of private educational institutions to allow unionisation in their establishment that runs contrary to the ILO conventions as well as extant labour laws.  In his speech, the President Africa PSI, Peters Adeyemi, said that the challenges of affiliates in the African region had been presented to the visiting general secretary and expressed hope in the ability of the scribe to proffer solution to the challenges in the nearest future.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

28 APPOINTMENTS

Experts hinge economic growth on retail, empowered middle class By Wole Oyebade N empowered middle A class and a competitive retail system will be instrumental if Nigeria must grow its economy and account for the high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa. Executive Vice President, DMSRetail International, Matt Parmaks, said this in Lagos at the weekend as he xrayed the potentials of retail business in Nigeria vis-à-vis the influx of international retailers into the country. Parmaks, who spoke at the just concluded DMSRetail West Africa training in Lagos, observed that Nigeria, with about 170 million population had huge potentials comparable to any country in the world, stating, “as the middle class gets developed, Nigerian economy is going to explode.” Parmaks noted that one of

the strengths that United States had was its population being 300 million and a relatively strong middle class that spent on continuous basis. “So, U.S. has continuous support from that internal economy without dependence on external economy. I see such potential in Nigeria too, with a developed middle class that can spend. More so, Nigeria has natural resources. “Nigeria is a sleeping giant in Africa, as far as I’m concerned. It is only a matter of few years that Nigeria will surpass South Africa in terms of GDP, becoming the number one country in Africa with the highest GDP. That is why a lot of attention is being paid to Nigeria right now,” he said. Parmaks observed that the developing middle class population, among other factors were attracting international

retailers to the country, and local retailers must aspire to be competitive to remain relevant. He urged about 30 executive officers present at the training to ensure satisfaction of their workers towards developing a good customer service culture. “What we are seeing here is great potential for Nigeria retailers, to improve and come up to the world standard level and that is what we are doing with this training programme. “We have to do that very quickly because Nigeria is growing very fast and there is a lot of international attention to Nigerian market. Before you know it, all the international retailers will be here and local retailers have to be ready for steady competition that is coming in the nearest future,” Parmaks said. President, DMSRetail West

Heritage Bank partners BDAN on capacity building By Chijioke Nelson ERITAGE Bank said that it H was putting measures in place to partner with the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN), in an effort to achieve it objective of industry-wide capacity building. BDAN, an umbrella body of non-executive directors of banks, was established to provide a forum for improving the knowledge and competence of bank directors, thereby promoting corporate practice within the banking

industry in the country. The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Ifie Sekibo, disclosed this when BDAN organised a luncheon to welcome new members from Heritage Bank, Jaiz Bank, FSDH Merchant Bank and Rand Merchant Bank. Speaking at the luncheon, the Director of Heritage Bank, Alhaji Jani Ibrahim, commended BDAN for its leadership role in the banking industry, saying that Heritage Bank would part-

ner with the association in its various activities to achieve its objectives. “I think this is where we need to make our mark and also prove our mettle. This is where stakeholders and members of the public should run to and not continue to run to the central bank, because this is the highest policy level as far as bank governance is concerned. I hope that in our programmes in the future, we should be able that address issues that matter to public interest.

Africa, Joseph Ebata added that the Nigerian retail sector had witnessed some growth in recent years. The sector, according to him, was undergoing changes with international supermarket brands’ entering into the country and establishment of new malls such as The Palms in Lagos, the Tinapa Shopping Centre in Cross

River State and the Ceddi Plaza in Abuja, the Polo Park Mall in Enugu State. Ebata also noted the ongoing transformation of informal markets into more modern facilities. He said that there was the construction of the Oluwole Urban Market & Multifunctional City Centre, the new Tejuosho Market, in Lagos State, the Ilorin Ultra-

Modern Market in Kwara State and so on. “The first major sign emerged in 2005, with the coming in from South Africa retail group Shoprite. Others like Spar in partnership with the Artee Group, Addide, Woolworth, have since joined the train, with many more looking forward to doing business in Nigeria.

FG disburses N60m SURE-P fund to Edo beneficiaries …Monarch tasks youths on change From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City HE Federal Government T recently disbursed about N60 million to 3,000 beneficiaries of the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P) in Edo State, under the Community Services and Women Empowerment Programme category, with each beneficiary getting N20, 000 for the months of April and May, 2013. Edo State chairman, SURE-P, Lucky Imasuen said that the beneficiaries were earlier in March paid N10, 000 each, totalling N30 million. Imasuen said distribution of forms for second batch of the programme, for which he said 2,000 people have been pencilled down, would commence as soon as Abuja gives the green light to do so but strongly denied allegation that only members of the State Peoples Democratic Party benefitted from the programme, saying, “This is not true, beneficiaries of the programme cut across political affiliation in Edo State. Also, the payments cut across the 18

local government areas of the state. “You will recalled that when the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan increased the pump price of petroleum products last year, he promised that whatever accrued from it will be spent to provide relief to Nigerians. He is the President of Nigeria, even though he was elected on the platform of the PDP.” He said, “The money that is being disbursed is the federal government own share of SURE-P; it has nothing to do with what the states are doing with their own share, which is not our business, as we are not working for them.” Meanwhile, the Benin monarch, Oba Erediauwa has called on Nigerian youths to make themselves agent of positive change just as he lamented the situation when youths expected to be leaders of tomorrow engaged in activity that undermine development and democratic principles. The monarch stated this when he addressed a youth group; Rural Youth Volunteer Association (RYVA) led by

Emmanuel Esiene who paid him a courtesy visit on its upcoming programme that would engage youths that would be drawn from the 54 countries of Africa. The Benin Monarch said there could be no meaningful development when violence becomes the order of the day even as he urged youths to eschew every form of violence and embrace peaceful means to achieve results rather than be a tool of wan tom destruction. Esiene said the event tagged: All African Youth Reunion/Camp with the theme: African Youth and Entrepreneurship would afford youth from different parts of the continent to come together to learn new skills in and focus on ways peace can be achieved in Africa without violence, saying so far 10 countries have indicated interest. He appealed to the Oba for his blessings and assistance towards a successive event just as he said the Governor of Kogi State Idris Wada, would be the sponsor of the event in Abuja.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

APPOINTMENTS 29

NSE acquires N38m software for capacity building From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE Nigeria Society of T Engineers (NSE) has acquired software packs worth N38.1million to boost the practice of engineering profession in the country. President of the NSE, Mustafa Shehu, stated this in Abuja at the society’s second quarterly dinner where 39 engineers bagged the prestigious Fellows of the Society. The NSE boss said that the software, which was received from the information communication technology giant- WorldviewAutodesk of South Africa, has already been deployed

to the Engineering Practice Resource Centre (EPRC), which is the education arm of the society. He pledged the society’s continuous commitment to assisting members in the area of continuous professional development in order to remain relevant within the global engineering family. Shehu also disclosed that the NSE has formally launched a community engineering programme, aimed at bridging the gap in expectations from the public, through quality service delivery. “The programme is an unconventional way of

delivering services by engineers to their immediate community; a new frontier of engineering partnership and practice for the overall benefit of the Society”, he added. The NSE helmsman enumerated the performance indicators of the new programme to include involvement of engineers in patching of potholes on urban highways and rural roads, repairs of drainage systems, career talks in schools and teaching of science-related subjects in the respective communities where engineers live and operate from. The president, at the event, conferred 39 engineers with the Fellowship of the society,

signaling their entry into the league of elitist professionals in delivering value services to the development of the nation. He charged the recipients of the Fellowship to see their elevation into the high-ranking echelon of engineering profession to contribute their quotas to the development in the profession in the country. He said: “I want to implore you to see this conferment as a wake-up call; a tonic to galvanise you and increase your interest in and contribution to the growth and development of the engineering profession and nation in general.”

A

regarding a two-day workshop, explained that the new training model comes courtesy of the globally renowned ‘Leadership Challenge campaign’, which seeks to liberate the leader in everyone. He added that the workshop, which made its debut in Nigeria, had 30 participants who applied the assessment tools, which focuses on five core practices common to all. “We believe that teams, businesses and even the world get better when ordinary people enable those around them to achieve extraordinary things and that is what we hope to achieve in Nigeria”, he stated

We believe that teams, businesses and even the world get better when ordinary people enable those around them to achieve extraordinary things and that is what we hope to achieve in Nigeria Also member of Diversity Leadership Consultants and lead Facilitator at the workshop, Mr. Stephen Hoel, explained that the model turns the abstract concept of leadership into easy-tograsp practices and behaviours that can be taught and learned by anyone willing to step up and accept the challenge to lead. According to him, these are basically the five things people do to have great leadership experience, even as

By Toyin Olasinde IGERIAN youths have been advised to maximise the opportunities that come their way by believing in their aspiration, self-determination and creativity.     Giving this advice at the launching of a new motivational book titled: “The Goodness in Problems”, in Lagos, recently, Ufoma Iseh, the author of the book, explained that what motivated her to write and published the book was the social vices and challenges within the society, pointing out that youths should cultivate the habit of putting their potentials to test and harness opportunities within the soci-

N

ety. According to her, the new book would go a long way in shaping the focus and redirection of Nigerian youths to have self-belief. She advised youths to stop blaming the government for the woes in the nation’s economy rather to identify and discover their potentials by creating new things that will move the country forward. Her words: “The goodness in problems shares with us the ability to open our eyes to the countless business opportunities that lie in the problems we are passing through as long as we can discover our self, optimising your talents and be creative.

Jonathan pledges to strengthen ‘you win’ scheme

Firms launch new leadership training model By Tosin Fodeke S part of efforts to improve leadership coaching standards in the country, two professional services firms have pioneer a new training model designed for every category of the society. The new model tagged, Five Practice Steps of Exemplary Leadership, was recently launched in Nigeria at a training workshop organised by WJLLP, a professional services firm, in collaboration with an international firm, Diversity Leadership Consultants and Iris Consulting. Chief Client Officer of WJLLP, Weyinmi Jemide, who spoke to the media

Author tasks Nigerian youths on self-employment, empowerment

“Leaders passionately believe that they can make a difference”. He stated: “Accomplishing extraordinary things in organisations is hard work. To keep hope and determination alive, leaders recognise contributions that individuals make. In every winning team, the members need to share in the rewards of their efforts, so leaders celebrate accomplishments. They make people feel like heroes.

RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan has pledged the determination of his administration towards empowering Nigerians youths by eradicating unemployment . He, therefore, pledged to strengthen the recentlyintroduced ‘YouWin’ programme aimed at encouraging young and enterprising Nigerians with resources to establish their own business. Speaking during the display of goods produced by some beneficiaries of the first batch of the Federal Government YouWin programme recently, the President said the desire of his administration was to ensure that Nigerian youths

were gainfully employed, noting that the concept was succeeding. The Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, who led the team of young entrepreneurs to the display, said they were selected out of the 1,200 Nigerian youths who participated and won in the YouWin competition last year. The successful ones were granted between N1 million and N10 million to establish their businesses. Jonathan said he envisaged a Nigerian where there are equal opportunities for all Nigerian to excel irrespective of their ethnic, religious or geographical or other primordial considerations.


30

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

31


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

32

ScienceGuardian ASTRONOMY With J.K. Obatala

The singularity is upon us (2) VOLUTIONARY rules” are the requirements of group “E survival—which, for species on Earth, means producing, rearing and protecting offspring. Natural conditions,

An artist’s impression of the Kepler-62 star system as seen from the Earth-like planet “f”, which scientists believe could support life. PHOTO: SETI/PA

Fresh probe for aliens By Chukwuma Muanya with agency report HE search for aliens or T rather extraterrestrial intelligence has taken a new twist with the launch of a network to promote academic research in the United Kingdom (UK) relating to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). The UK SETI Research Network (UKSRN) brings together academics from 11 institutions across the country. The network’s Patron is the Astronomer Royal, Professor Martin Rees. UKSRN presented current activity and consider future strategy in a session and panel discussion at the National Astronomy Meeting in St Andrews on Friday July 5, 2013. UKSRN covers a broad spectrum of research topics, including potential methods for detecting signals, the linguistic challenge of deciphering messages, the probability of an extraterrestrial civilisation interacting with Earth and the longevity of civilisations. Also, scientists at the Centre for SETI Research in the United States (US) are listening in for radio signals from the stars that display signs of technology and intelligence. The search is being conducted from the Allen Telescope Array, a collection of small sixmetre wide dishes in the Cascade Mountains of northern California. The U.S. scientists searching for extra-terrestrial intelli-

gence are targeting a star system containing two potentially habitable Earth-like planets. Astronomers are turning an array of space telescope dishes towards Kepler-62, a star smaller and dimmer than the Sun about 1,000 light years away in the constellation Lyra. A pair of so-called “superEarths” has been detected within the “habitable zone” of the star, the orbital region where temperatures are just warm enough to allow bodies of surface water such as oceans and lakes. Although no-one knows what the planets are made of, they are believed to be rocky. One, Kepler-62f, is thought to have a radius about 1.4 times greater than the Earth’s. The

other, Kepler-62e, is estimated to be 1.6 times larger. The planets’ parent star is around two billion years older than the Sun, raising the possibility of intelligent life more advanced than it is on Earth. Both will be priority targets in a new SETI programme focusing on habitable zone worlds. They were discovered by United States National Aeronautic Space Agency (NASA’s) Kepler space telescope, which has so far detected almost 3,000 candidate planets outside the Solar System. A fifth of these are believed to be “super-Earths” between 1.25 and twice the size of the Earth. Kepler, launched in 2007

with 42 dishes, will ultimately comprise 350 receivers operating round the clock. Kepler is designed to detect planets by looking for the minute dimming of starlight as they pass in front of or “transit” their parent stars. By studying the effect and the length of the transit, scientists can work out a planet’s size and probable orbit. The research suggests that both planets are solid and likely to have mostly dry rocky surfaces or be oceancovered water worlds. Three other planets close to the size of the Earth are also thought to be orbiting Kepler-62, but not in the habitable zone. SETI is the collective name for a number of activities CONTINUED ON PAGE 55

‘Agency, Senate, Reps committed to space, science, technology development’ By Chukwuma Muanya HE Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Seidu Onailo Mohammed; Chairman Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Senator Prof. Ajayi Boroffice; and Chairman House Committee on Science and Technology, Akinlade Abiodun Isaiq, have reaffirmed their commitment to the development of Space Science and Technology for the overall benefit and

T

• Kogi lauds Jonathan on Seidu Mohammed re-appointment as NASRDA DG interest of Nigerians. Onailo at a special lecture on space application to mark his recent re-appointment as the DirectorGeneral/Chief Executive Officer of the Space Agency by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, said he is committed to holding the reins of NASRDA for the next five years and steer the agency towards realising the 25 year space road map as charged by the President. Boroffice congratulated his successor for his re-appoint-

ment, stating that his achievements within this short period especially in the launch of two satellites cannot be overemphasized and is indeed laudable. The chairman Senate Committee on Science and Technology succinctly underscored the importance of science and technology to the country’s development. “Never has there been any country that made headway in economic growth, relying solely on CONTINUED ON PAGE 55

on our planet, favour groups that can solve survival problems through adaptation, from one generation to the next. The English naturalist, Charles Darwin, termed this selective pressure “natural selection,” because, in the long run, nature will eliminate groups that are incapable of adjusting to new requirements for obtaining energy and shelter, selecting mates and rearing offspring. Among lower organism, these adjustments or “adaptations” are affected, over time, through biological mechanisms called positive mutations—beneficial changes in the chemically coded messages (DNA sequences) which parents pass to their offspring as “genes”. But among higher life forms, particularly primates, culture compliments chemistry. What individuals learn from their parents, through peer group interaction and by observation or study, is just as important as their genetic heritage – more so, in the case of humans. Notes Vinge, “Animals can adapt to problems and make inventions, but often no faster than natural selection can do its work...(But) we humans…can solve many problems thousands of times faster than natural selection. “Now,” he continues, “by creating the means to (find solutions to problems) at much higher speeds, we are entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals”. Two points ought to be underscored. One is that the singularity is not necessarily seen as a fearsome and insidious force that is encroaching from some unfathomable void, hell-bent on vanquishing humanity. Quite to the contrary, scholars, scientists, intellectuals, computer engineers, and the like, in the industrialised countries, are looking forward to it – even working towards it. Throughout Vinge’s essay, he refers to this impending transformation of Earth’s biology as “progress”. “If the technological Singularity can happen,” he counsels, “it will. Even if all the governments of the world were to…be in deadly fear of it, progress toward the goal would continue...In fact, the competitive advantage – economic, military, even artistic –…is so compelling that…(to forbid) such things merely assures that someone else will get them first”. Secondly, the logic, if not the rules, of Einstein’s special theory of relativity seems applicable. The singularity is not likely to be the same for all observers. How nations and races are affected, may well depend on their “inertial frames” –on how socially and industrially evolved they are. The projected emergence of a global culture, based on highly advanced technology, under the control of superintelligent computers, may be an approaching reality in the Western world. But for Black people, on and off the African continent, a negative “singularity” has long begun to set in. Not only that, but if the impending computer-driven transformation affects us in the same manner as the industrial and scientific processes which, from the 15th to 19th centuries, drove first the slave trade, then European exploration and colonisation, Africans are in problem! Caught napping then, we seem never to have fully awakened, from our collective slumber. The Caucasian and Mongoloid races are agents of history, creators of the new world order. Africans are, by contrast, historical objects – swept this way and that way, in the whirling winds of global change. Still, the transformation doesn’t have to be negative, even for Blacks – a point I’ll pick up on, after painting a broader and more detailed picture of the future, as seen through the eyes of key white singularity exponents. I’ve cited Vernor Vinge (a science fiction writer and retired professor of mathematics and computer sciences at San Diego State University) extensively. But the singularity concept pre-dates Vinge. John von Neumann, the late U.S. mathematician and game theorist, introduced it in the 1950s. Most contemporary futurists agree on the basics. But there are variations, which I will outline briefly, for perspective. Perhaps the best known prognosticator, after Vinge, is Ray Kurzwell, Director of Engineering at Google – who is closely identified with the “accelerating change” thesis. Radical increases in artificial intelligence, resulting from enormous computing power, will speed up change to such an extent, Kurzwell warns, that it will revolutionise the way humans live and die. By 2045, he recently predicted, humans will be able to upload their minds into computers, so that a person’s consciousness survives his biological death—resulting in what Kurzwell terms “digital immortality”. • To be continued.


33

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

NaturalHealth Want to lose weight cheap, fast? Drink one litre of water daily expensive gym FdietORGET memberships or ‘miracle’ pills, researchers have

How adequate nutrition boosts mother, baby development

found the cheapest way to lose weight is by simply drinking more water. A study has found adults who drank two cups before a meal lost around 4lb pounds)/1.8 kilogrammes more than a group that didn’t drink the extra water. The research was included in a review of 11 different studies looking at impact drinking water can have on diets - with three showing clear evidence that consuming more water helps increase weight loss. Brenda Davy, a professor at Virginia Tech in the United States who assisted in the review, said that water could help ‘squelch’ the feelings of hunger and help dieters reduce their calorie intake. This is backed by another study, which found that women who increased their water consumption while they dieted lost more weight than those who kept it below one litre a day.

‘Anti-smoking policies will prevent seven million deaths worldwide by 2050’ NTI-TOBACCO policies realA ly do stop people from smoking and save millions of lives, a new study finds. Tobacco control measures enacted in 41 countries between 2007 and 2010 will prevent about 7.4 million premature deaths by 2050, according to the study published June 30 in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation. “It’s a spectacular finding that by implementing these simple tobacco control policies, governments can save so many lives,” study lead author David Levy, a professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said in a medical center news release. Levy’s team used a modeling exercise to predict the number of lives that will be saved. The measures the countries implemented include: protecting people from tobacco smoke, offering smokers help to quit, warning people about the dangers of tobacco, banning tobacco ads, promotion and sponsorship, and raising taxes on tobacco. “In addition to some 7.4 million lives saved, the tobacco control policies we examined can lead to other health benefits, such as fewer adverse birth outcomes related to maternal smoking, including low birth weight, and reduced health-care costs and less loss of productivity due to less smoking-related disease,” Levy added.

Breast feeding... remains the best food for infants from birth to at least six months and protects the mother against breast cancer

An undernourished mother produces a small (thin-fat) insulin resistant baby. If this baby remains undernourished in postnatal life, the cycle is propagated. If the thin-fat insulin resistant baby is over nourished, it becomes obese and hyperglycemic. An obese and hyperglycemic mother produces a ‘macrosomic’ baby at higher risk of obesity and hyperglycemia. Thus, the intergenerational insulin resistance diabetes cycle is propagated through a girl child. Rapid transition shifts the balance from under-nutrition to over-nutrition and contributes to escalation of the diabetes epidemic. Improving health of a girl child is of paramount importance in controlling the diabetes epidemic. By Chukwuma Muanya AN what mothers eat C before, during and after pregnancy determine the health and development of their offspring even up till adulthood? In fact poor maternal nutrition has been linked to the rising cases of non communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, stroke, heart and kidney failures, mental disorders, violence, and suicidal tendencies in offspring. A team of medical experts comprising of obstetricians and gynaecologists, paediatricians, nutritionists, clinical chemists, nurses and midwives, dieticians at a nutrition seminar and launch of Frisomum Gold, the first maternal milk in Nigeria, by FrieslandCampina Wamco in Lagos on Tuesday said adequate maternal diet will help meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 of significantly reducing maternal and under-five mortality rate. The nutrition seminar is tagged “Optimising Baby’s Development through

Nutrition, Before, During and After Pregnancy.” The experts that included a professor of Pathophysiology and Clinical Chemical Analysis at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, Frits Muskiet, Associate professor and consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH)/Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM), Adetokunbo Fabamwo, President Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN), Prof. Ngozi Nnam, former President Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN), Dr. Dorothy Esangbedo, proffered solutions that will enhance the nutritional status of the Nigerian mother and child. They said that fetal growth and development are influenced by the nutritional and health status of the mother in the period before she conceives and her state of health at the time of conception; and that mother’s pre-pregnancy nutrition affects intrauterine growth and birth weight, and under conditions of deprivation, a vicious cycle can be set up

which perpetuates malnutrition generation by generation. They, however, said that most Nigerian women were malnourished because they were not eating enough fish, fruits, vegetables, were not adequately exposed to sunlight to produce vitamin D and were physically inactive. The medical experts said it is becoming increasing difficult to meet daily nutritional requirement during pregnancy and hence the need for a nutritional supplement with essential nutrients, specifically formulated for pregnant and breast feeding women. They also said mother and child need prebiotics and probiotics supplementation, which supports gut health and immune defense in addition to relieving constipation, a major concern during pregnancy. Muskiet in his presentation said: “An undernourished mother produces a small (thin-fat) insulin resistant baby. If this baby remains undernourished in postnatal life, the cycle is propagated. If the thin-fat insulin resistant baby is over nour-

ished, it becomes obese and hyperglycemic. An obese and hyperglycemic mother produces a ‘macrosomic’ baby at higher risk of obesity and hyperglycemia. “Thus, the intergenerational insulin resistance diabetes cycle is propagated through a girl child. Rapid transition shifts the balance from under-nutrition to overnutrition and contributes to escalation of the diabetes epidemic. Improving health of a girl child is of paramount importance in controlling the diabetes epidemic.” Muskiet said supplementation of female mice with methyl dietary constituents such as folic acid, vitamin B12, betaine and choline, which are replete in Frisomum Gold, from two weeks before conception until weaning permanently changed offspring risk of developing diabetes and cancer. He said that mothers became depleted with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), that is Omega 3 fatty acid during Continued on Page 51

Persistent coughing for weeks linked to lung cancer ATIENTS with a cough lastP ing more than three weeks will be urged to see their doctor under a lung cancer campaign launched in United Kingdom. Fewer than one in seven of the 38,000 new cases every year are diagnosed early enough for effective treatment by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Health officials say that, while the survival rates for other forms of cancer have dramatically improved over the past 30 years, they have remained almost static for lung cancer. On average patients will live for just five months after diagnosis compared with nearly ten years for cancers affecting the bowel and breast. This makes it by far the deadliest form of the disease in England – with a death toll of 28,000 lives a year. There are a total of 38,000 new cases every year but only 15 per cent of adults are diagnosed at the ‘early-stage’ when it can be effectively treated by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. The British National Health Scheme (NHS) officials say that while the survival rates for other forms of cancer have dramatically improved over the past 30 years, they have remained almost static for lung cancer.

‘Cousin marriage, older mothers double birth defects risk’ ARRIAGE between first M cousins can more than double the risk of giving birth to a baby with a congenital anomaly (example, heart and lung defects, Down syndrome), although the absolute risk is low, according to a multiethnic study of more than 11300 babies from the city of Bradford in the United Kingdom (UK), published in The Lancet. The high level of consanguineous marriage (marriage between blood relatives) within the large Pakistani community in the study accounted for nearly a third (31 per cent) of birth defects in babies of Pakistani origin. A similar but expected increased risk in older mothers (over 34 years of age) was seen among white British women. “It is important to note that the absolute increase in risk is small (from three per cent to six per cent), meaning that only a small minority of babies born to couples who are blood relatives or older mothers (older White British mums have an increase in risk from two per cent to four per cent) will develop a congenital anomaly’, cautions lead author Eamonn Sheridan from the University of Leeds in the UK.


34

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

SCIENCE HEALTH

35

African leaders to review strategies against AIDS, TB, malaria at Abuja +12 12 years on, there is a need to take stock and assess the extent to which this commitment and targets have been achieved in order to chart a way forward. “In this regard, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be hosting his fellow Heads of States and Government to the Abuja +12 Summit on HIV/AIDS TB and other Infectious Diseases from July 15 to 19, 2013. By Chukwuma Muanya demonstration of his ItheNcommitment to reversing trend of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in Africa and particularly in Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan will from Monday July 15 to Friday July 19, 2013 host his fellow Heads of State and Government to the Abuja +12 Summit on HIV/AIDS TB and other infectious diseases. Abuja +12 means 12 years after the 2001 Abuja Summit on HIV/AIDS, TB and Other related Infectious Diseases (ORID) where African leaders pledged amongst other things to place the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria at the forefront and as the highest priority issue in their respective national development plans. The theme of the Abuja+12 Summit is “Ownership, Accountability and Sustainability of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Response in Africa: Past, Present and the Future.’’ Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, at a press briefing over the weekend said the Summit is appropriate given that HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria remain major causes of morbidity and mortality in Africa and continue to pose serious challenges to socioeconomic development and human security in the continent. Anyim said the main aim of the Abuja+12 Special Summit is to review the status of implementation of the declarations and frameworks for action from the 2000 Abuja Summit on Roll Back Malaria; the 2001 Abuja Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases (ORID); and the 2006 Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, TB and ORID. He said this Special Summit will adopt a set of actions to enhance the continent’s response and effort at reversing the impact of these diseases by ensuring universal access to services and strengthened health systems. Anyim said the special summit is principally aimed at taking stock of and reinforcing the commitment made by African Heads of States to reverse the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Africa. He further explained: “Confronted with the consequences of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other related

infectious diseases on population and development in Africa, the African Union organised a Summit of its Heads of States and Government on Roll Back Malaria in 2000 and Summit on HIV/AIDS, TB and other related Infectious Diseases in 2001. These summits culminated in the Abuja Declarations of Commitment on Malaria and HIV/AIDS respectively. “Furthermore, they set a target of allocating at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to the improvement of the health sector. A follow up meeting was held in 2006 and these commitments were reaffirmed.” Anyim said 12 years on, there is a need to take stock and assess the extent to which this commitment and targets have been achieved in order to chart a way forward. “In this regard, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be hosting his fellow Heads of States and Government to the Abuja +12 Summit on HIV/AIDS TB and other Infectious Diseases from July 15 to 19, 2013,” he said. Anyim said Nigeria expects a high level decision on reinforced government response and action to deliver on the Abuja commitments to address HIV, TB and Malaria as well as strengthening the health systems of AU member states. Anyim said he has no doubt that this special summit will go a long way to refocus attention not only the issues of HIV, TB and Malaria which is the mandate of this summit but also on the continuum of care along the life cycle. “A continuum of care that acknowledges the interconnectedness of the socio economic factors in the life cycle, that goes from the home to hospital and work place empowering men, women and children for appropriate care and creating a healthy and strong Africa,” he said. Director General of the National Agency for the

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim (middle); Director General National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Prof. John Idoko (right); and Director National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe, at a press briefing on the upcoming Abuja +12 Summit on HIV/AIDS TB and other infectious diseases held over the weekend in Abuja Control of AIDS (NACA), Prof. John Idoko, said the Abuja+12 summit will go a step further to review the effort of the continent at addressing its HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria; and the impact of this response on the health system. Idoko said the special summit will review the status of Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) on the continent as well as efforts to achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and defining Africa’s health priorities as the dialogue for the post 2015 development agenda unfolds. Key participants will include national delegates comprising the Presidency; Representatives of Ministries of Health, Finance and Economic Planning, as well as National AIDS Councils; Malaria Control Programmes; TB Control Programmes; Maternal Newborn and Child Health

Programmes; Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Regional Health Organisations (RHOs); Regional Economic Communities (RECs); the UN and its Specialized Agencies; Development Partners; the AU Commission and other AU Organs and Programmes; Representative of the Private

Sector; and representatives of professional bodies amongst others. Meanwhile, the outcome of the 2001 Abuja Summit was Africa’s contribution to the June 2001 UN General Assembly Special Session on AIDS which adopted the Declaration of Commitment on AIDS.

Also, the 2006 Special Summit prepared the Africa’s Common Position following its review of the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on AIDS. The Common Position was presented at the June United Nations General Assembly

Continued on Page 53


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

36 SCIENCE HEALTH

FG, states partner to reduce mother- to-child HIV transmission

Firms take breast awareness campaign to school By Tony Nwanne VER 30 students last O week benefited from a one-day breast cancer awareness campaign that was put together by the Initiative for Peacebuilding and Social Change (IPSC), who joined forces with Optimal Cancer Care Foundation to fight the disease. The event took place at The African Church College of Education, Agege, Lagos. The essence of the awareness campaign according to the organisers is to continually stress the need to create awareness on how avert the deadly disease through daily and self examinations, with the view to checking the spread of the disease. Speaking at the event, Dr. Femi Olaleye, the Managing Director of Optimal Cancer

Care Foundation, while delivering his keynote address noted that the relationship between age and the risk of developing breast cancer is becoming more paramount among older women, but recent studies and reports seems to indicate the rising incidence of advance breast cancer in young women at an alarming rate. “Most young women are now being diagnosed with cancer that had spread to the liver, lings, brain by the time of diagnosis and we as an organisation has taken it upon ourselves that we will draw the attention of people to the danger of breast cancer and at time the same time educating the public, most especially the female folks on how to detect and prevent it and the scourge.”

Guinness Eye Centres in Lagos, Anambra get new equipment EADING alcohol beverage LNigeria company, Guinness Plc. has donated eye

Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammed Ali Pate (right) presenting the plague for the Bill and Melinda Gate Immunisation Leadership Award to the Winner and Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, while the Executive Director National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Gana Mohammed (middle) observes at Government House Calabar... recently From Anietie Akpan, Calabar HE Minister of State for Health, Dr Mohammed T Ali Pate, has said that his ministry was out to forge a strong partnership with the 36 states for the prevention of mother to child transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the country.

Pate during a courtesy call on the Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, recently in Calabar said: “It is possible for Nigeria to save one million of lives of our women and children from preventable causes of disease and death through simple interventions before the year 2015. “As part of that effort, the federal government has embarked on partnership

with civil society, private sector, state and local government since the federal government alone cannot accomplish the task. “On this we have been embarking on multi-state visit to push for this partnership, and we have seen commitment to this project on the part of state governments. In Cross River for instance, through the prevention of mother to child

Voluntary blood donation still below 10 per cent, say experts By Joseph Okoghenun and Wole Oyebade EVEN years to the end of SOrganisation the World Health (WHO) 100 per cent voluntary blood donation 2020 target, experts have said that Nigeria is yet to achieve 10 per cent voluntary non remunerated blood donations. Executive Secretary of Lagos State Blood Transfusion Committee (LSBTC), Dr. Modupe Olaiya, who made the observation in Lagos recently during Cadbury Nigeria Employees Voluntary Blood Donation initiative organised by Cadbury Nigeria for its staff, said many Nigerians are unwilling to donate blood voluntarily because of some misconceptions surrounding blood donation. The haematologist listed some of the misconceptions to include fear of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among other infections, fear of developing fever after blood donation, fear of excessive weight loss and sexual failure. Olaiya said such fears have

held down Lagos State to record just 7 per cent of voluntary non-remunerated donations, against WHO’s 80 per cent voluntary nonremunerated donations 2012- target. She said that paid donors were causing a lots of problems in the blood donation drive as they often falsify information at the detriment of the healthcare system, but added that extra care were being taken to ensure that all blood donations are adequately screened before transfusion. Cadbury Medical Adviser, Dr. Segun Dosumu, said that the Cadbury Nigeria Employees Voluntary Blood Donation drive was parts of the firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and a away to boost blood supply in the state. Dosumu said the importance of the initiative could never be faulted as he said that many patients die needlessly because of lack safe blood in hospitals, adding that a high number of blood supply in hospitals are from paid donors who often times mar safe blood drive.

Cadbury West Africa Human Resources Director, Mr. Emmanuel Imoagene, listed the benefits of blood donation to include healthy heart condition, improved production of new blood cells and reduction of cancer risk among others. WHO Melbourne Declaration had called for action to all governments to achieve 100 per voluntary non remunerated donations by 2020 as the cornerstone of their blood policies, in accordance with World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions WHA28.72 and WHA58.13. But in 2009 the health body said that “ more than 30 years after the first World Health Assembly resolution (WHA28.72) addressed the issue of blood safety, many countries still lack consistent supplies of sufficient safe blood to meet the needs of their health care systems. Family replacement and paid donation continue in many countries even though there is convincing evidence that they are both less safe and that their use can inhibit progress to a safer system based on 100 per cent voluntary non remunerated blood donations (VNRBD).”

transmission of HIV, about 6000 lives can be saved.” He added: “We seek to improve access to affordable health care services. Through prevention of mother to child transmission, immunisation, campaign on polio eradication amongst others, we can prevent children and mothers from dying. “In 2012, we were able to save about 218, 000 lives were saved through the federal government various intervention services like child health care services, subsidy investment programme, various immunization programmes, maternal and child health week.” Responding, Imoke enumerated various interventions on health sector, which Cross River has embarked upon, and harped on the need for total reform in the sector. He commended the federal ministry of health for its commitment to health care services, but stressed the need for the government at the centre to strengthen the tertiary health institutions too. Imoke said: “In Cross River state, we strive to ensure the availability of health facilities for at least 300 households. Due to our dedication to health care delivery, our budgetary provisions are statutory for health.” Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, said: “All hand must be on deck. There must be deliberate efforts to fight HIV prevalent and other health challenges. “Subsidy Investment programme is providing interventions on maternal and child health, community health, midwife, immunisation, polio vaccination and others.”

care equipment to Guinness Eye Centres in Lagos and Anambra states. The company donated Haag-Streit Diagnostics slit lamps to the Eye Centre in Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos State and a Mindray Anesthesia Machine to the centre at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Onitsha annex, Anambra State. Head, Sustainability and Responsibility, Guinness Nigeria Plc., Mrs. Adrianne Nwagwu, said the donation of equipment to the Eye

Centres were in line with the corporate philosophy of the company to positively enrich lives in the communities in which it operates. Nwangwu said: “Guinness Nigeria Plc is a good corporate citizen that continues to invest significantly in initiatives and partnerships which make a positive difference to vulnerable groups. This is our approach to giving back to the community, and we consider unfettered access to primary eye care which ensures treatment of preventable causes of blindness to be of significant benefit to the populace.”

UNICEF, Unilever partner to reduce maternal, child deaths By Aderonke Alabi and Kayla Grage N a bid to foster hygiene, Iproviding basic nutrition as well as enabling environment in Africa, Unilever has partnered with United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children group to deliver transformational change that will impact millions of lives around the world and by extension Nigeria. Speaking at an event to mark the 2013 Red Balloon Day in Lagos, recently, the Managing Director of Unilever Nigeria Thabo Mabe, said it is a culture in Unilever to contribute its quota to finding solution to

social issues. “Unilever Foundation is the arrow head of our initiatives at meeting our ambitious target of helping more than one billion people globally to improve their health and thereby create a sustainable future which is an important commitment of Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). “Over 800 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation and clean toilets, while 1.1 billion people still practice open defecation, more than 3.5 million children underfive years old, die from diarrhea and acute respiratory infections annually.

IFC, AFC workers host walkathon to support sickle cell research in Nigeria TAFF members of S(IFC), International Finance a member of the World Bank Group, and the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), are jointly hosting a walkathon to raise awareness about sickle cell anemia, and to generate support for research as well as other institutions caring for people affected by the sickle cell condition. The staff-led initiative tagged ‘Let’s be Sickle Smart Walkathon 2013’ is supported by The Sickle Cell

Foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Food Concepts, Custodian Insurance, ARM Properties and Sixth Sense Manifesto. The Sickle Cell Walkathon will cover a seven-kilometer distance and is scheduled to start at 6:45am on Saturday, July 13, 2013, from the National Museum Onikan, Lagos Island. Participants are asked to register online at http://bit.ly/LetsBeSickleSm art where further details can be obtained.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

37


38

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

39


40

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

41


42

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

43


44

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

SCIENCE & HEALTH

45

US ex-official advocates inexpensive cervical cancer screening From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja

• Plans to bring Michelle Obama to boost Nigerian campaign reach advanced state

ORMER Director of the United States Centers for FDisease Control and

Training Program (NFELTP in Abuja yesterday, also pledged to support the nation’s work in this area. Gerberding, who is also the President of Merck Vaccines at Merck and Co. Incorporated in the US, emphasized that Nigeria, could actually eliminate cervical cancer. Her words: “Now, it is possible to not only prevent cervical cancer through effective vaccination of girls but also to detect it early through screening methods that are very inexpensive and then if something suspicious is seen, very early treatment that is also incredibly inexpensive. So already in Nigeria, the screening and treatment

Prevention (CDC), Dr. Julie Louise Gerberding, has praised Nigeria’s efforts at bringing the issues of cervical cancer to the forefront, but called for access to inexpensive early screening to enable early treatment. Meanwhile, Nigeria is looking to using the influence of Gerberding to bring US First lady, Michelle Obama to Nigeria to boost the local campaign against cervical cancer, information from Ministry of Health has said. Gerberding, who spoke at a visit to the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and laboratory

capability is being demonstrated and it is a remarkably a quality program, maybe the highest quality program I’ve seen in my travels in Africa. “There is a potential now in Nigeria as the vaccination opportunity evolves and the capacity to do that improves, as the screening clinics can scale and bring more women into access that someday it will be possible to think about a Nigeria where no woman has to die from cervical cancer. This country could be cervical cancer free.” She hoped that the day when Nigeria would be talking about cervical cancer elimination would come soon, and stressed: “I promise you this: I will do everything in my per-

sonal power to try to be supportive of that.” According to her, “Prevention of cervical cancer is important because it is one the leading causes of cancer among women, particularly young women and the disease is worse when women also have HIV infection. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV, the Human Papilloma Virus. It is acquired through exposure in people who are sexually active. If the virus persists, it eventually causes early stage pre cancer then early cancer, then devastating cancer. Unfortunately in Nigeria and other countries, most women are not diagnosed until the cancer is

severe and there are very limited opportunities for treatment and relief. “It is going to take a long time and you have to have all the legs of the chair. You have to have the vaccine. You have to have the screening. You have to have the treatment and you have to have the leadership. I see Nigeria beginning to have the capacity to excel in all four of those areas. That is very exciting to me and as my President of Merck’s Vaccine’s r, I intend to do everything I can and to help my company do everything it can to be relevant and useful to Nigeria as they approach this problem.”

Obstacles to national health insurance, by Danesi, Ewenla By Wole Oyebade IGERIAN government may have got its footing right with the relaunch of the national health insurance in 2005, but eight years down the line, the scheme is still plagued with a number of problems. Professor of Medicine at the College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL), Mustapha Danesi and Managing Director (MD) Ultimate Health Management Organisation (HMO), Lekan Ewenla among others said on Monday that health insurance is the future of healthcare in Nigeria, though must first address contending issues facing it. Among the challenges observed are poor awareness on its importance among the public, persistent mutual distrust between the HMOs and the care providers and poor managing capacity among executives of the HMOs. Danesi, who spoke at the official opening of the Ultimate HMO Lagos office, noted that in the light of current happenings in the country today, healthcare that is funded by a pool of resource (as in insurance) is the future of quality care in Nigeria. “It is the only way people can be guarantee health,” he said. Danesi explained that incidences of stroke – that has become one too many in the country today – unfortunately affects the poor who cannot afford the care cost outof-pocket. “But they don’t have to sell everything they have to get care services because a little of N2000 per head can take care of that. Which is why I know that health insurance, through the HMOs is the future for this country,” Danesi said. He, however, added that the since the relaunch of the scheme in 2005, only 3.5 per cent of the population are still covered by insurance, leaving 96.5 per cent paying out-of-pocket. The reason, according to him, is that the common man and people that matter – policy makers, opinion leaders even healthcare practitioners – are yet to see the sense in health insurance, failing to drive it to eminence. Besides, there is mutual distrust among the HMOs and

N

the service providers on resource sharing and prompt service delivery. “I found that the HMOs too have not fully understand actuarial principle in insurance, in a way that it will benefit all parties. That is one of the areas where capacity development would help, because when fully understood, health insurance will thrive in this country. “We really need to train the workforce. If 80 million Nigeria are to enroll today, it is not certain our HMOs can handle it. Ghana already has 70 per cent coverage. By the time we have 50 per cent in Nigeria, it will be better for us all. So really need to be prepared,” he said. Danesi commended the management of Ultimate HMO for widening insurance coverage across 36 states of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Ultimate service is a national HMO accredited on July 6, 2009. It has over 30,000 enrollees and N400 millionshare capital. In his view on health insurance, Ewenla said there is the need for clear definition of roles for stakeholders in the health insurance industry. “Let us know the role of the NHIS, role of the HMOs and let the individuals key into their responsibility.” He said further that the law, currently under review, should make insurance compulsory for every Nigerian as it is currently done for pension services. “I still strongly believe that either it is made compulsory or not, the individual HMO still have a lot of sensitisation and strategic marketing to do. Realistically, the best way to go for the country is health insurance,” Ewenla said. The MD noted that about 85 to 87 per cent of Nigerians are in the informal sector and in need of coverage. “This is why Ultimate HMO’s coming to Lagos is one of our cardinal objectives to drive fantastic healthcare packages, especially for the informal sector. We now have packages for private schools, private security practitioners, safety-plus for construction workers and insurance for travelers among others. “The beauty is that all our

packages are research-based. They are targeted at the needs of the people, covering basically all issues handled at the primary healthcare and others in both secondary and

tertiary heath care levels. The primary focus is to save life. “Our programme in Lagos is going to be a wow because we are partnering with the state government and rele-

vant ministries to provide for the informal sector. They have the database. We are not going to the street to market but working with those that are ready to partner with us,” he said.

Noting that national Centers for Disease Control was he single most important aspect of protecting health in a country, she praised the Nigerian model for its growth and work. Her words: “All over the world, I have seen lots of models but having strong national CDC is the most important thing and its thrilling to see the Nigerian CDC and the leadership here but it’s even more impressive to see how quickly the Nigerian CDC has established the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP). These programs exist in many places but what is unique here is the size of it and how fast it grew, the reach of it, the fact that every state is included and represented and third, the complexity, and the excellent science that is being applied to work at not only infectious disease outbreaks but also chronic disease injuries and poisonings so this already, just having only four classes in the curriculum has created an enormous infrastructure for public health in Nigeria.


46

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

47


48

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

SCIENCE HEALTH

49

Prevention of heart disease HE treatment of heart disease is in its prevention. This is T among the chronic degenerative diseases that takes a long time to manifest. Like most of the other diseases,

Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State (right); Executive Director and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Ado Muhammad, and other officials, after presenting Nigeria Governors’ Immunisation Leadership Challenge / Bill & Melinda Gates Award to Captain Wada as the best performing Governor on Immunisation in the North-Central Zone… recently.

NNMDA decries lack of funds for healthcare delivery By Tony Nwanne EARTH of adequate D funding has continued to hamper the growth of some major government agencies in the country due to the delay in release of budgeted subventions to health and research institutions in the health care sector of the country. This was said during the visit of the House Committee on Science and Technology to the Nigerian Natural Medical Development Agency, NNMDA, on Monday, by the Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology, Abiodun Akinlade, who noted that the Federal Governmentowned medical facilities in Lagos State and in the country in general needs to be duly funded to enable them function properly. He lamented that infrastructure and equipment in research institutions could not be upgraded and new ones could not be purchased due to lack of funds in the outgoing financial year. According to him, “in NNMDA, we discovered a number of obsolete equipment, likewise other institutions that we inspected. We discovered that funds that were budgeted for facilities upgrade and infrastructure were delayed and in some cases they were not released till this year. So, there is the urgent need to release funds for these agencies to perform”. “To ensure that these institutions are not handicapped in carrying out their duties in 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan and his team, most especially, the finance ministry, there is the need for urgent release of funds if we want the budget to impact positively on Nigerians and move research forward in the health sector.” Akinlade blamed the slow release of funds budgeted

for the poor research and scientific progress that was recorded in the year. He warned that failure to adequately fund these medical research agencies would increase the influx of fake, substandard and counterfeit drugs into the country.

Akinlade stated that improved funding of research findings carried out by the agencies would drive local production of drugs that could adequately combat diseases such as malaria. Meanwhile, commenting

on the visit, the DirectorGeneral, NNMDA, Mr. Tamuno Okujagu, said poor funding and lack of support from government were factors militating against the development of natural or traditional medicine in the country.

Atilade makes case for alternative medicine By Adeniyi Adunola EMBERS of the M Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Practitioners and stakeholders, drawn from all over Nigeria met in Ikeja, Lagos urging the Federal Government to pay more attention to the alternative medicine for cheaper and very effective Medicare. The meeting held at the Lagos Airport, Ikeja was attended by a cream of top alternative medicine practitioners, and convened by National President of the Association of Physicians of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Prof. Magnus Adeyemi Atilade.

Atilade was elected as the leader and the spokesman for the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioners and Stakeholders at the meeting. In his opening address, Atilade said the meeting was convened as a gathering of eminent professionals with characteristics of caring for the sick, coupled with nationalistic and patriotic tendencies, which he explained hopefully, was the reason they chose the alternative medicine profession and field of service. “We the practitioners should cooperate with the Federal Ministry of Health and the officials of Medical Council of Nigeria to work towards the opening of the Federal

College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Abuja, Lagos, and Enugu,” he said. He, on behalf of the practitioners and stakeholders, commended the Health Minister, Prof. Onyebuchi, the Federal Ministry of Health officials and officers of the Medicine council of Nigeria for their initiative and the very successful meeting at the Federal Ministry of Health Ministries Conference held recently in Abuja. According to Atilade, the minister was forthright, unbiased, accommodating, and very cordial. “He (minister) stands to be commended and appreciated by all CAM practitioners,” he

PATHS2 advocates for passage of National Health Bill From John Akubo, Dutse HE Partnership for T Transforming Health Phase II (PATHS2) National Programme Manager, Mike Egbon, has challenged Nigerian politicians, traditional institutions and religious leaders to put health issues at the front burner of political agenda by ensuring that the national health bill is passed and assented to. Egbon who spoke at a mega community mobilisation and engagement in the Jigawa State Health for All Initiative of the DFID under PATH2, which took place in Ringim, said any country that is not healthy can never

think of development. It may be recalled that the earlier passage in 2011 was preceded by a massive protest by Nigerian women at the National Assembly because they are aware that about 55,000 women die yearly from pregnancyrelated causes in Nigeria. As if that is not enough, up to one million Nigerian children under the age of five years are also victims of preventable death. He appealed to the traditional leaders to impress it upon the National Assembly to pass the health bill in to law. “I am talking about health bill here today because the traditional institution, our

royal fathers can make the National Assembly pass that bill. The legislator present here today can also raise motion in Jigawa State House of Assembly to make sure that the health bill is passed.” He indicated that if the health bill is passed, it will ensure that at least a good percentage of our national budget is used for health services, saying that it is important that every stakeholder support these activities. The national programme manager said development is a stage when a state or country stops receiving aids and starts giving out aids to others.

heart disease begins with warning signs, which indicate that all may not be well with the heart, In other words, the heart may be said to be in a state of disease. Angina, pain in the left side of the chest, over the heart may be a sign that all may not be well with the heart. Last week I listed some risk factors like hypertension, which should all serve as a wake up call for us to pay very serious attention to what information the heart is giving. Also, dehydration and pain over the chest should be an indication for us that the heart is being affected. Heart disease is a lifestyle disease that is cause by the quality of what we eat and how much water we drink. The heart is one organ in the body that should be nourished with a variety of vegetables, fruits and grains. There are specific vitamins and minerals in these food sources that are particularly necessary for the good health of the heart. The heart is one organ in the body that we should constantly eat certain diets primarily to ensure its good health and perfect working condition. There are at least nine categories of nutrients that keep the heart healthy if consumed in the proper way. These nutrients are sourced from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and fish. The different categories are as follows: Water The body should be well hydrated to prevent cholesterol build up in the arteries. As I have often recommended, ionised, alkaline water is the one of choice. Make sure you drink sufficient water daily. By sufficient water daily, I am talking of 8 to 10 glasses daily for an otherwise healthy individual. Antioxidants Antioxidants are elements that are capable of releasing electrons to free radicals in other to stabilize them and prevent them from destroying the heart or any other organ, cell or tissue in the body. Examples of antioxidants that support the health of the heart are vitamins C and E and minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Also, there are plant chemicals like polyphenols. Phytosterols These are plant sterols that are similar to cholesterol. They act like cholesterol but do not have the same effect as it. They reduce blood cholesterol. Polyphenols These are plant chemicals that lower LDL cholesterol, lower the blood pressure and as antioxidants protect blood vessels from free radical damage. Examples of polyphenols are the flavonoid polyphenols like catechins, flavonones, isoflavones, anthrocyanins, resveratrol etc. Phytoestrogens Found in flaxseed, phytoestrogens have a weak oestrogenlike action. They lower the LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides They prevent blood clots and also lower the blood pressure. Carotenoids Alpha and beta carotenoids, lycopene and lutein. They are antioxidants that protect the heart. Omega 3 fatty acid There are two major sources of omega 3 fatty acids. One is from fresh, cold water fish such as tuna, salmon, herring and mackerel. Flaxseed and walnut are the main plant sources of omega 3 fatty acid. They protect against heart disease by preventing plaque build up on the walls of arteries. Other properties of omega 3 are; increasing High Density Lipo-protein (HDL) ‘good’ cholesterol and reducing Low Density Lipo-protein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. They also reduce blood clot formation and lower the blood pressure. Vitamins Apart from the antioxidant vitamins, the B complex vitamins prevent artherosclerotic plaque formation and increase blood level of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Minerals Minerals that play a positive role in the health of the heart are potassium, calcium and magnesium. Fibre Found predominantly in vegetables and fruits, fiber help to lower the level of cholesterol in the blood and liver. They are of two types: soluble and insoluble fiber. The insoluble fiber is not absorbable and so function exclusively in the intestines where they bind to bile salts and cholesterol and excrete them out of the body. Next week Thursday, I shall bring you a list of 25 foods that you need to take regularly to ensure your heart is healthy and that there is no fear of heart disease.


50

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

51

‘Adequate nutrition boosts mother, baby development’ Continued from Page 33 pregnancy and especially in lactation. Muskiet, however, said the situation could be better addressed by eating whole fish not drugs. “Eat a variety of fish preferably oily ones at least twice a week. Supplements could be considered in consultation with the physician,” he said. He added that Nigerians especially Lagosians Muslim women were not getting enough vitamin D and that black people needed ten times the amount of sunlight exposure compared to white people to get the needed vitamin D. Muskiet explained: “The vitamin D status has deteriorated globally. The smoke cloud in some Nigerian cities such as Lagos prevents the ultraviolet rays from the sun reaching the inhabitants. “A study of the Fulani of northern Nigeria found that most of the foods are not good sources of vitamin D. Being Muslim, the women have limited benefit from vitamin D-generating sunlight due to their dress habits. Thus, childhood rickets is common in the region.” He added: “Abundant sunshine in your country is no guarantee fir vitamin D sufficiency. But enjoy direct sunshine in moderation.” Muskiet concluded: “One of the best things you can do for your children is to give them an excellent intra-uterine start.” Fabamwo said fetal growth in utero even from the time of conception is now known to be crucially affected by nutrition and to have effects throughout life; and nutritional status of young children determines to a considerable degree their educability and intellectual development. The gynaecologist said nutritional status of a woman before conception is related to the birth weight of her child. “Deficiencies of energy, fatty acids and micronutrients in women either before conception or very early in pregnancy have all been implicated in causing low birth weight infants, infertility, fetal structural defects and long term diseases,” he said. Fabamwo further explained: “It is known that acquiring a desirable weight and diet during the weeks before and around conception is highly recommended. “In developing countries, where a lifetime of very low micronutrient intake exists, it is important to reverse these low intakes long before conception. Reversal shortly before conception, though not as effective, is nevertheless worth the while.” He said like in pregnancy, adequate nutrition of the mother during lactation is of vital importance. “In the first few months of life, infant derives all the nutrition from the mother’s milk. Exclusive breast feeding means that the infant does not need anything apart from breast milk in the first six months,” Fabamwo said.

The consultant obstetrician concluded: “The demands of pregnancy necessitate additional dietary requirements. Poor maternal nutritional status is related to adverse birth outcomes. In pregnancy and during lactation, adequate and appropriate intake of calories, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals is important. “A well balanced diet would ordinarily provide the dietary requirements of pregnant and lactating women minus iron and folate. Lack of knowledge of pre-pregnancy nutritional status of women makes a strong case for micronutrient supplementation in pregnancy and during lactation. Pre and probiotics may play an important role in the development of a healthy immune system of infants.” Managing Director FrieslandCampina Wamco, Mr. Peter Eshikena, said the organisation’s pioneering and leadership position in the Nigerian dairy market led to the unique innovation and introduction of Frisomum Gold. Marketing Manager of the company, Mr. Shraman Jha, said the product, which is a global brand present in 22 countries of the world, would go a long way to support maternal and child health in Nigeria. Senior Brand Manager, Mrs. Ronke Osho, said Frisomum Gold also contains Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) for child’s early brain development. New recommendations published by international experts in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine state that infant formula should include DHA omega-3 and AA omega-6 to guarantee a correct eye and brain development. DHA and AA are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) that are critical for infant and childhood brain development1. DHA not only is a structural component of cerebral cortex and retinal photoreceptor cell membrane, but also involves in several physiological functions including membrane integrity. DHA is therefore required for visual and neurocognitive development. AA is a cell membrane component and also a precursor of signaling molecules such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Consequently, AA plays its roles in widespread physiological processes including cell signaling, regulation of vascular tone, sleep/wake cycle and inflammatory response. DHA and AA are synthesized in the body from dietary essential omega-3 (alinolenic) and omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid), respectively. During pregnancy, the DHA and AA required by the foetus are provided by the mother through the placenta. Postnatally, these nutrients are acquired through human milk and the level of milk DHA increases in women supplemented with DHA.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the issue of concern thus became the need to optimize fetal development, a concept which embraces a broad set of considerations including the health of the mother before and during pregnancy; the length of gestation; the size of the newborn for his or her gestational age; whether fetal development has been disrupted; and whether the infant is exposed to a nutritional, physical and emotional environment that maximizes its potential for growth, development and a healthy life. “Accordingly, birth is seen as a single event in a continuum of development and change that starts at or before conception and extends into adulthood, and in which earlier experience can have effects on subsequent function throughout all stages of the life-cycle. “The global burden of death and disability as a result of impaired fetal development is huge. Although the burden is particularly high in developing countries, it is also a significant concern in developed countries. The promotion of optimal fetal development should result in improved outcomes for early and later survival, morbidity and other measures of human capital. This in turn will enhance population social and economic health and well-being.


52

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

SCIENCE HEALTH

African leaders gather for Abuja +12 Continued from Page 35

Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) meeting in New York, United States. In addition, the African Union (AU) Commission, in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and World Health Organisation (WHO) committed to Accelerated Action Towards Universal Access to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria services in Africa by 2010 as the continent’s contribution to the global process spearheaded by a Global Steering Committee. The “Abuja Call for Accelerated Action Towards Universal Access to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Services in Africa” of 2006 reinforced action by AU Member States against the three diseases by implementing the Abuja action plan based on a vision of “Universal Access to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Services in Africa by 2010. In 2010, a five-year review of the “Abuja Call” acknowledged the progress achieved by several member states in the control of HIV AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, recognising that gaps remain particularly in terms of population access to treatment, care and support, resource mobilization, and in strengthening the health system. However, significant challenges continue to confront Member States in the bid to achieve the objectives of the “Abuja Call” and the MDGs by 2015. Indeed poverty and related socio-economic issues hinder effective access to services and contribute to huge unmet needs. According to NACA DG, on the continent, only 54 per cent of those eligible for Anti Retro Viral (ARV) treatment have access and only 10.9 per cent of children under-five years who suffered from malaria during 24 hours were treated according to national guidelines. He said the emer-

gence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is a major concern given the significant costs involved in its treatment. According to a statement AU Commission signed by the Director, Department of Social Affairs, Amb. Olawale Maiyegun, despite efforts across the continent health systems continue to require further strengthening and the institutionalisation of accountability mechanisms. “Progress with regards to maternal, newborn and child health remain below set targets and significantly undermine development on the continent. Consequently renewed commitment at the highest level is critical to reinforcing action to facilitate the delivery of desired results,” the statement reads. The objectives of the Abuja + 12 special summit include to: • review the progress and achievements in the attainment of the targets of the 2000, 2001 and 2006 Abuja Summits, in the framework of the MDGs; • review and identify factors that underpin the persistent burden of HIV, TB and

Malaria on the continent; • identify gaps, constraints and challenges to the achievement of the Abuja and health related MDGs targets; • obtain renewed commitment by African Leaders to address these challenges including through its African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) for driving the government’s renewed commitment; and promoting health and wellbeing in Africa; and, • articulate Africa’s position to relevant global forums especially the ongoing dialogue on defining the post 2015 development agenda. The expected outcomes of the Summit include: • high level decision on reinforced government response and action to deliver on the Abuja commitments to address HIV, TB and Malaria, as well as strengthening the health systems obtained; • renewed commitment to explore the platform of the AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) and the APRM to facilitate Government’s action and accountability to the commitment made at the

Hypo supports good health for mothers, children By Eno Bassey FIRM, MultiPro A Entreprises Limited, makers of Hypo Super Bleach, in demonstration of its commitment to the general health and wellbeing of families in Nigeria, has partnered the Lagos State Ministry of Health in the first of phase of the 2013 Maternal Newborn and Child (MNCH). The MNCH programme is a collaboration between the Federal Government and the States’ Ministries of Health to speed up the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals 4 & 5. The programme kicked off recently in Lagos with the state Health Ministry admin-

istering free doses of the Pentavalent vaccine, which protects against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hemophilus Influenza and Hepatitis B. At the grand finale of the MNCH programme took place in the Lagos recently, women and children came from various Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) across the state. Lagos State Deputy Governor of Lagos, Mrs. Orelope Adefulire, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Riskat Akiode, as the guest speaker, advised women to take adequate care of their health.

53


54

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


SCIENCEGUARDIAN 55

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

UK, US lead search for extra-terrestrial intelligence CONTINUED FROM PAGE 32 undertaken to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. SETI projects use scientific methods in this search. For example, electromagnetic radiation is monitored for signs of transmissions from civilisations on other worlds. Some of the most well known projects are run by Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the SETI Institute. Since the United States government withdrew funding for SETI projects in 1995, projects have been primarily funded by private sources. There are great challenges in searching the cosmos for signs of intelligent life, including their identification and interpretation. SETI projects necessarily make assumptions to narrow the search, the foremost being that electromagnetic radiation would be a medium of communication for advanced extraterrestrial life. A part of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence involves the analysis of the implications of extraterrestrial contact for humanity, culturally, scientifically, technologically, and socially. Numerous contact scenarios have been created by scientists who are involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence in order to better contextualise what may eventually occur when humanity is contacted by an extraterrestrial species. These studies reveal that the result of extraterrestrial contact will be

strongly governed by the benevolence or malevolence of an extraterrestrial civilisation, how advanced it is technologically, and whether or not such a species sends robotic probes to contact humanity, as opposed to radio signals from a centralised source, as well as biological similarities and differences between humanity and the extraterrestrial species. Coordinator of UKSRN, Dr. Alan Penny, said: “We hope that the existence of the network will excite interest from people in the UK astronomical community that have been thinking about SETI and encourage them to contribute their work. In this session at NAM, we are presenting the whole range of UK SETI activities to the community and hope that it will promote a wider understanding of, and activity in, this subject.” Dr. Tim O’Brien from The University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory will describe the capability of the UK’s recently commissioned e-MERLIN array of seven radio telescopes for SETI projects and report on progress in initial test observations. “The first proposal to search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilisations was actually inspired by the construction of the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank,” said O’Brien. “We went on to take part in the SETI Institute’s Project Phoenix from 1998 to 2003, searching for signals from about a thousand nearby stars. At that time the equipment required to sift

through the data was expensive and unusual, but our modern telescopes are potentially capable of conducting these type of observations as a matter of course.” The e-MERLIN array, which includes the Lovell Telescope, is connected by optical fibres and spread over 217 km from Jodrell Bank to Cambridge. This multi-telescope approach offers potential for distinguishing true extraterrestrial signals from interference generated here on Earth, a key problem for all radio SETI projects. O’Brien is excited about future prospects, “It’s early days for this new SETI work at

Jodrell but we think that using e-MERLIN, and future facilities such as the Square Kilometre Array, we could make an important contribution to the search for intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe.” Dr. John Elliott of Leeds Metropolitan University is a researcher on the nature of communication: how language structure can be identified, and methods for subsequent decipherment and dissemination. He has analysed over 60 human languages, which cover all the different types of systems, as well as non-human communication, such as robots and dolphins. Elliott believes that

by understanding our analytical capabilities for communication, we can develop strategies for extra-terrestrial message discovery and understanding. “Suppose SETI succeeds and we detect a technological beacon. Any message is unlikely to be written in Martian English, so standard decipherment/decryption techniques used by the military and security agencies are not going to help much. To put the challenge into context, we still have scripts from antiquity that have remained undeciphered over hundreds of years, despite many serious attempts,” said Elliott.

Elliott’s research focuses on whether there is something unique to communication phenomena, irrespective of the source, that makes them distinguishable from other signals in the universe. “By looking beneath the surface veneer of the arbitrary sounds and symbols used, we can ‘see’ the language machine itself: its mechanisms, constraints, and evolutionary forces of efficiency and compromise that shape it. By understanding these structures, it should be possible to glean information on the intelligence of the message author,” said Elliott.

Senate, Reps promise to champion space, science, technology development CONTINUED FROM PAGE 32 the availability of natural resources without the full utilisation of the available human resources in the area of space science. We have no other choice. We will just be day-dreaming if we fail to harness the use of science and technology for our development,” he said. Boroffice reassured the Director–General, of Senate’s support for the agency all times, given the agency’s immense contribution to the socio-economic development of the Nigerian populace. Akinlade commended the Presidency for reposing confidence once again on Dr. Seidu Onailo

Mohammed by granting him a second term to continue in his developmental capabilities in Space Science and Technology. He described the launch of the satellites as a technological advancement and movement towards development for Nigeria. He stated that it was a noble achievement and great attestation to the success story of the country’s Space Programme and this was made possible with Dr. Seidu Mohammed as director-general. He urged him and his management team especially in his second term to utilise the opportunities maximally, so as to boost the nation’s development. He

emphasized that acquiring technology and using it for development was not the exclusive preserve for the developed countries. Akinlade added that Nigeria’s modest efforts at breaking into the orbit of space science and technology are quite laudable, pointing out that the Federal Government must spare no efforts to sustain the current tempo of development, to keep the nation abreast with trends in the developed world. To this end, he promised the agency that he will use his good office to request the Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, to do more in area of budgetary provision

for the agency to enable it actualise its laudable projects and programmes. Mohammed is an astute scientist who since his assumption of office has steered the activities of the agency in a productive manner, such that the agency has recorded numerous achievements and has gained enormous acceptance among space faring nations across the globe. Worthy of note is the launch of three satellites in 2011, namely Nigeria-Sat X, an indigenous satellite, Nigeria-Sat 2 and NigComSat IR. The launch of these satellites has received applause and commendation from various quarters in the global community.


56

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


57

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

Education Review of teacher education curriculum is NCCE’s greatest achievement, says Junaid The National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) was established by an Act in 1989 to, among others, lay down the minimum standards for all teacher education programmes . It supervises all the Colleges of Education in the country and also carries out accreditation exercises. The Colleges have the mandate to produce teachers for the Basic Education sub-sector. They also award the National Certificate in Education (NCE). In recent time, the quality of teachers has been a hot topic among stakeholders, especially against the backdrop of students’ poor performances in public examinations. The commission’s Executive Secretary, Prof Muhammad Junaid spoke extensively to ROTIMI LAWRENCE OYEKANMI in Abuja last week, on the commission’s multifaceted efforts to improve teacher education and other issues. Excerpts: How has it been since your appointment as the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education in 2007? T has been well and it has also been very challenging. The first two things I had to address on assumption of office were the issues of relevance and quality of teacher education. I came in, in 2007 and that same year, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) came up with the new Basic Education curriculum. Three years before that, in 2004, the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act was enacted. The Act recognizes four levels of education: Early Childhood and Care; Primary; Junior Secondary: Adult and Non Formal education. At the same time, the new teacher education policy came out in 2007. Although, it was not published until around 2010 or so, when it was presented by the Minister, but it was already in the offing by 2007.  That new policy also stresses the need for the provision of specialist teachers, that are level specific rather than subject specific. Earlier also in 2003, the National Council on Education (NCE) took a very bold decision to raise the minimum teaching qualification in the country to the NCE (National Certificate in Education). Now, all these antecedents are implications of the teacher education curriculum, because the previous curriculum was based on the earlier conception of the NCE, being a programme for the progression of teachers in the junior secondary schools. The UBE rule has made it mandatory for Early Childhood and Care Education to be provided and the new teacher education policy also stresses the need for the provision of specialist teachers in these four levels of basic education. Now, that marked the point of departure from the old teacher education curriculum to a new one, because added responsibility was given to the NCE teacher, who now has to go down to another level to teach Early Childhood and Care Education. My first task on assumption of duty was to harmonize the NCE Minimum Standards with the new Basic Education curriculum, which we accomplished in 2008, because the teachers we produce in the Colleges of Education are supposed to deliver the Basic Education curriculum, whereas, the curriculum that we had, up to 2007, was based on the Junior Secondary School curriculum. Even at that time, I felt that harmonization wasn’t enough. We needed to come up with new programmes that would produce levelspecific teachers. So, we embarked on the

I

Prof. Junaid restructuring of the teacher education curriculum, to address this new basic teacher needs in the basic education subsector. We now have to come up with a new NCE programme for Early Childhood and Care Education, another NCE programme for Primary Education, another for Junior Secondary Education and an additional one for Adult Literacy and NonFormal Education. Also, I felt it was necessary to expand the scope with the provision of specialist teachers for children with special needs. Currently, we only have one College of Education (Special) and you would agree with me that there is no way just that one college can produce the number of teachers needed by the entire country to teach children with special needs. So, we are encouraging Colleges that can and have the facilities on ground, to begin to mount NCE Special Education programmes, in addition to the other regular programmes.  Do you agree with the argument that Colleges of Education should be converted to degree awarding institutions? I think Colleges of Education have their own mandate and that is to produce teachers for the Basic Education level. Already, many of our Colleges are operating what we call dual mode. The do the NCE and they also offer degree programmes in affiliation with established universities. But this is already affecting the NCE provision, because most of the students aspiring to go to those Colleges

just want to go and read the B.Ed (Bachelor in Education) programmes, and the Colleges are using the same resources that are meant for the NCE for the B.Ed programmes. They are not getting anything additional, and this is affecting the mandate of the Colleges. There is no harm in doing it with the ratio that favours NCE programmes, but if we encourage more Colleges to go degree awarding, before you know it, there won’t be any College of Education offering NCE programmes again. On the aggregate, what is the major problem the Colleges highlight when they come for meetings with the NCCE? The major problem they have is getting enough students. Students don’t find the Colleges attractive enough, except those who cannot gain admission into the universities; they take the Colleges of Education as a last option. The ultimate for students still remains the university degree and that is the reason why the Colleges are agitating for degree awarding status so that they can attract more students. But as long as the mandate of the Colleges is to produce teachers for Basic Education, then NCE is the prime qualification they should focus on. There was a time the commission wanted to embark on the ranking of the Colleges. How far has it gone on that? Not very far,  because our attention is focused much on the restructuring of the new teacher education curriculum. We are also addressing issues of quality. In addition to the issue of quality, there is a natural fol-

When we initially adopted the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme in 1976, it was done without any preparation for the teachers that would man the numerous schools that were established. And it was the first time that we would have teachers that were not qualified teach in the schools. We now came up with emergency teacher training colleges, that would produce the teachers that would be man the schools. It was called “emergency,” and that means a reduction of the period of training for teachers. For the first time! That affected the quality of teachers and teaching

low up. We came up with this new accreditation programme for NCE-awarding institutions. Until now, accreditation takes place only once in five years. In a period of five years, maybe two years later, we go for re-accreditation, and it is done by an external regulatory body. But with the new accreditation Tool Kit, we are encouraging Colleges to do their own self institutional accreditation exercise and they can do this as many times as they wish. We have pulled down the wall of separation between the accrediting body and the institutions being accredited, by making these quality Tool Kits available, and which would enable them carry out accreditation by themselves. And this will be useful for capacity building for staff and the quality assurance unit. What’s your prescription as the minimum qualification for anyone that aspires to become a Provost of a College of Education? The minimum qualification is a Master’s degree. Of course, Provosts that have a master’s degree may feel intimidated by many other Chief Lecturers that already possess their PhDs. The trend now is, most provosts are holders of doctorate degrees. Although, it is not the minimum qualification, but it’s in the majority of cases. How would you react to an allegation by the NERDC that the NCCE has not been cooperating in the implementation of the Basic Education curriculum? It’s a wild allegation. Since 2008, we had harmonized our own teacher education curriculum with their basic education curriculum. And even now, my Director of Academic programmes has made two trips to the NERDC to collect the new basic education curriculum, so that we can align it with our own teacher education curriculum. So, we have always cooperated. And this was even at our own instance, not at the instance of the NERDC, because I came from the background of the reform that started in 2006. I led the Transformational Task Teams on Curriculum and Teacher Quality.

CONTNUED ON PAGE 58


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

58 EDUCATION

Review of teacher education curriculum is NCCE’s greatest achievement, says Junaid CONTNUED FROM PAGE 57 At the time I assumed duty here in April 2007, the commission had already completed its own five-year periodic review of the Minimum Standards, and was going to press. I stopped them. I said, we cannot go to press with a curriculum that is not aligned to the new curriculum of Basic Education, produced by the NERDC, and this was what led to the harmonization that was accomplished in 2008 and which produced the fourth edition of the Minimum Standards that is currently being implemented in the Colleges of Education and all the NCE awarding institutions. So, as far as I am concerned, it is an unsubstantiated allegation because they (NERDC) are aware that we have done this. There is also the insinuation in certain quarters that there is a duplication of duties between the NCCE and the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI). The National Teachers’ Institute, in its mandate, is allowed to provide education through Open and Distance Learning (ODL). One of the things they are doing is offering the NCE programme through the ODL mode, and  we are supposed to carry out oversight functions over them. Is the NTI involving the NCCE in the implementation of its own NCE curriculum? They are supposed to implement our own curriculum. Even when we met for a meeting on the repositioning of the NTI, we made that point to them and we conduct accreditation of their Study Centres. So, they are under our regulation. They are trying. Are Colleges of Education still relevant in these modern times? Of course they are! The Universal Basic Education Law, which is specific about Universal Basic Education, stipulates the four levels that I have outlined. The Colleges are relevant to Basic Education in terms of production of teachers. Universities are citadels of knowledge and sometimes, they can be esoteric in the things they do and they may not necessarily address the needs of teachers in the basic education sub-sector. But Faculties of Education in the Universities are also producing teachers for all the levels. We now have a situation in which degree holders are competing with NCE holders for teaching appointments in primary schools, especially among the private ones. Where does this leave the NCE holders? I think it is a gradual process of transition. The minimum teaching qualification in the country used to be Grade II. But we have outgrown Grade II. The NCE is now the minimum qualification. And in the future, it is going to be outgrown, and the B.Ed (Bachelor’s degree in Education) will become the minimum qualification. However, many public schools in the states, especially around the extreme northern parts, can’t even find NCE holders. The policy sets the minimum; it didn’t say you must stop at the minimum. You can go for the maximum, which is the PhD. If you can have PhD holders teaching in primary schools, all well and good. If we look at the Learning Outcomes in the public primary schools across the country, they have been negative. Some pupils, after completing primary education, cannot even write their names. The communiqué issued at the recently concluded National Council on Education (NCE) meeting declared that less that 10 per cent of the country’s primary school teachers have ICT knowledge. People say pupils in public schools are not doing well because teachers are not well grounded. Do you agree? Well, the effect of what we are doing now will be felt in years to come. You have to implement the new programme, before you can begin to feel its impact. You shouldn’t forget where we are coming from. The deterioration in the quality of teachers and teaching began, not today, not yesterday, but over 30 years ago. When we initially adopted the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme in 1976, it was done without any preparation for the teachers that would man the

numerous schools that were established. And it was the first time that we would have teachers that were not qualified teach in the schools. We now came up with emergency teacher training colleges that would produce the teachers that would man the schools. It was called “emergency,” and that means a reduction of the period of training for teachers. For the first time! That affected the quality of teachers and teaching. In 1999, we repeated the same mistake. Without any preparations for teachers, we embarked on the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme. This is good; it’s an international high profile policy that Nigeria committed itself to. But it also requires preparations. You have to prepare for the teachers. Where are you going to get the teachers that would teach in the schools? You have to multiply the teachers, because you are multiplying enrolment and the schools. But what we do first is, we multiply enrolment and schools, then we begin to think about teachers. This was how the NTI came about in 1976, as a stop-gap measure, to produce teachers for the teeming number of schools that were unmanned by qualified teachers. And don’t forget that states are culprits. Although, there may be holders of NCE around, states prefer to employ under-qualified people to teach in their schools. How would you define an ideal primary school teacher in the 21st century? An ideal teacher should be someone who is trained and motivated. Someone who is committed to the profession and who also is IT (Information Technology) compliant. He is in teaching because he wants to be a teacher. This is, for me, the ideal teacher. The fundamental problem of teaching and teachers today is simply the unattractiveness of the profession. And that is why you don’t find the best brains in the profession because teachers are not well paid, the conditions under which they serve are not favourable, so many people shy away from it. Even those who trained to be teachers are trying to run away from the profession. For me, the best should train to become teachers and the rest can be trained for any other thing because teaching is the mother of all professions. Whatever you are – a journalist, doctor, an engineer, you were produced by a teacher. So, what we should do is to arrange it in such a way that teachers are the best paid professionals in the country and that would attract the best brains to come into teaching. The conditions of service should be made favourable and attractive. If you were to recommend what it would take to motivate teachers, in terms of salaries and conditions of service, what would you say?  I cannot tell you how much would be enough. But one thing I can say is, if teachers in any state are the best paid civil servants, if they earn the highest, if the Housing for All Teachers Scheme, that was propagated during the reform is adopted by all the states, so that if you are a teacher, it becomes easier for you to own a house, whether through mortgage or other means, then the teaching profession will attract the best. What has been your greatest challenge? My greatest challenge, initially, was to get the people here at the NCCE to accept that we need to move away from the old curriculum to the new one. When I assumed office, they had concluded the review, but I said it was not okay because it was done in isolation of other happenings in the country – the antecedents; the new teacher education policy, the new Universal Basic Education Law and curriculum. The people here said they had done everything that should be done. I said it was not enough, let’s take it to the open for discussion. We had a meeting of experts and stakeholders where we discussed all the issues and the roadmap for teacher education, since the rise in the minimum teaching qualification; since the UBE Law; since the new teacher education policy. So, the initial challenge was changing the mindset of people here and also in the Colleges. I remember at one point, I met a deadlock in the restructuring programme.

Junaid

Junaid

Lecturers in the Colleges felt that we were trying to narrow the scope of teacher education and make them redundant, so that eventually, they would lose their jobs, because I was emphasizing the refocusing of the Colleges on the basic teacher needs in the basic education sub-sector. Those who read Political Science and Economics, and are teaching in the Colleges of Education, felt as if they were going to lose their jobs with the new programme. There was a strong resistance initially, but when we opened it to public discussion and interactions with the lecturers and the unions, eventually they were able to come to a consensus and accept the need for us to change our course. Secondly, as is usual with all organisations, funding is a constraint. But government has been doing very well in terms of provision of funding to Colleges, for infrastructure, staff development. If you go to some of these colleges now, if you were just dropped from the air to a campus like the Adeyemi College of Education,  and you see the transformation in terms of

infrastructure, you would think that you are in a university. How have you been coping with the unions, academic and non – academic? They have been very supportive actually, both academic and non academic. What I realized from the beginning is that, partnership with them would promote the course of the system. We’ve been working together. And you know our own sector has been relatively peaceful What would you describe as your most important achievement to date? The review of the teacher education curriculum, making it relevant to Basic Education, the sub sector it is supposed to serve and refocusing the Colleges to address that mandate. And also, the provision of the accreditation Tool Kit for NCE-awarding institutions. It’s the first of its kind. What would you like to be remembered for? As someone, who tried in his own modest way, to transform the teacher education sub sector in a way that it would be respected; bringing back the quality that used to be there.

I cannot tell you how much would be enough. But one thing I can say is, if teachers in any state are the best paid civil servants, it they earn the highest, if the Housing for All Teachers Scheme, that was propagated during the reform is adopted by all the states, so that if you are a teacher, it becomes easier for you to own a house, whether through mortgage or other means, then the teaching profession will attract the best


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

59


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

60 Education

Stakeholders appraise NECO, students state reasons for low opinion

Examination time By Mary Ogar HE stakeholders’ retreat, organized by the T National Examinations Council (NECO) in Lagos recently to shore up its image and seek answers to the various challenges facing it, has produced some useful lessons. Against the backdrop of plans by the federal government to prune down the number of Ministries, Parastatals and Agencies (MDAs) to save over N28 Billion between 2012 and 2015, suspicions are rife that NECO may, indeed, fall under the hammer. Not too long ago, a false alarm, raised by some newspapers that the examination body had been scrapped immediately provoked a robust debate between those who wanted NECO hacked down and others who want it to survive. While the idea of an indigenous examination body may be appealing to many, the challenges of running a body like NECO came under focus at the forum, with the theme: “Repositioning NECO for more Effective Service Delivery: A Collective Approach.” Stakeholders brainstormed on the way forward in addressing challenges like capital funding, security, examination malpractice, human assets and capacity; access to examination venues, logistics, ICT deployment and infrastructure among others. Another issue of concern was NECO’s wide mandate, which allows it to conduct the national Common Entrance Examination; examination and certification of students in both the junior and senior secondary schools; and the continuous assessment instruments for junior and senior secondary students.  Participants included members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), National Parents Teachers’ Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS); secondary school principals under the umbrella of the All Nigerian Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) and pupils, particularly those in SS 2. The Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Education, Mr. Aminu Suleiman expressed dismay over what he described as contradictory policy measures in the education sector, such as the attempt to scrap or merge NECO with another body. He said: “apart from the attendant confusion, it (NECO) could not be phased out by fiat, because NECO was established by an Act of Parliament and only a repeal of that Act could pave the way for the new plan. I believe efforts should be intensified by the government and other stakehold-

er to reposition the council, because the issue really, is not in the number but the value addition and service delivery.” Also, NECO’s Registrar, Prof Promise Okpala who was represented by the Director, Quality Assurance Department, Mr. Adolf Nebechukwu, said the decision to take the issues to the public domain was intended to get new ideas on how to reposition the council for better service delivery. “NECO is a child of necessity that has revolutionized examinations in Nigeria,” he said. “We have improved on the usual 90 days of releasing results to just 60 days. We are mindful of the challenges of our graduates, such as poor communication skills and lack of performance in the world of work. If the foundation is faulty, then the structure cannot stand. Our goal is to grade each student according to his or her level of performance.” Rather than embark on sensitization missions, a Professor of Education, P.A.I. Obanya, advised education agencies to instead embrace participatory dialogue, where “the views of all stakeholders could be taken into consideration.” Insisting that education must be designed to change the system, Obanya, in his presentation, reiterated that change cannot occur in just releasing billions of naira and setting up parastatal after parastatal. He submitted that the system of examination in the country should be revamped to enrich it, through improvement in performance. His words: “In all learning, it is the basics that matter. When you find out that people are not performing and you keep on going with the same old curriculum, then there is a problem. We should have what we call responsive pedagogy and attend to each problem or issue. For instance, you are teaching in a rural school where there is no science equipment, how do you expect high performance in the sciences?” Regretting the mass failure syndrome in the country, he noted that education must be liberalized to cater for greater number of children and find a lasting solution to the challenge of logistics. He said: “Decentralization is the name of the game. We live in a world where things are changing so fast, where you have to remain afloat to become competitive. In a competitive world, you have to continue to reposition. One way to do that is through a mental type of perceptual evaluation, which has to do with the person who designs the programme, the person who implements it and the person who benefits from it. If you

Okpala

Suleiman

ask for each person’s opinion about NECO, those of us who are teachers and parents will have one perspective; my grandchildren too will have their own perspective and that is why it is good not to exclude any group.” Rather than continue to emphasize on certification, he advised that the country should explore other uses of examinations and reinvent the system. He continued: “This is not about renovating the offices of NECO, but to improve what they do. What should the society do to help NECO? We talk about mass failure in examinations, but examination failure is a symptom of education failure and education failure is a system of examination failure. Our value system has been turned up side down. Religion is not only taught but also caught. The same thing with values: they are caught and not taught. “A society that disrespects teachers cannot expect miracles to happen. It is not a question of paying teachers more; it is a question of people respecting you for rendering a service to the nation. We as parents need to provide educative home. For the students, you have to learn, study and cram. Learning is a habit that should be cultivated.” In his paper, the Vice Chancellor, Sokoto State University, Prof Nuhu Yaqub, asserted that examinations should be a veritable instrument for assessing the extent to which student comprehend what they are taught in school, rather than being just a true test of a student’s ability. Some students also expressed their opinions about NECO. Folasayo Adegbola, an SS2 student at Queen’s College, Lagos, who would be writing her final examination next year, stated that students still view the Senior School Certificate Examination being conducted by NECO as a “minor,” because of the low level of attention given to it by government and schools. She said: “In my school, less than half of the population that sit for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) being conducted by WAEC bother to write NECO exams. And the fact the school and teachers themselves don’t take the (NECO) exams seriously has somehow reflected on students’ attitude towards the examination. In my opinion, government should make NECO examination competitive by creating more awareness.” Deborah Okoye, also from Queen’s College, said: “ I don’t consider NECO exams as serious because of the low level of enthusiasm, especially after writing the WASSCE. The tempo of the (NECO) exam is very low, supervision is not

strict, hence, students can cheat. NECO should get more hands and improve on security during the conduct of its examination to minimize examination malpractice.” Chigoziri Onuoha, from Randle Senior Secondary school, Apapa, Lagos reasoned that since the some state governments pay for students to write WAEC’s examinations, students feel reluctant to write NECO’s examinations because their parents can hardly afford the fee. He added: “Most times there is no regulation on the amount paid for NECO examinations and the fees keep increasing, depending on the school. There is no uniformity. In my school, where you have over 50 students writing WASSCE, you would find only about 20 students sitting for NECO exams. After all, why should we pay more for the same certificate? You just have to pick the best.” Onuoha was also of the view that that since some state governments pay for students to write WASSCE, they should also patronize NECO. According to him, this move would lure more students to sit for NECO’s examinations. Abiodun Oyedeji, also from Randle Senior Grammar School said: “ NECO is a national examination body and is at par with WAEC. Their certificates are both prerequisites for admission to a university. Government is responsible for the entire problem we have in education. For example, there is disparity between HND (Higher National Diploma) and BSc (Bachelor of Science) graduates. My concern is, why would some state governments pay for students to write WAEC’s exams and not pay for NECO’s? That means there is already a form of disparity encouraged by the state governments.” Oyedeji advised that the management of NECO should liaise with school principals to create awareness on its examination and deploy more invigilators and inspectors as monitors during its examinations. Damilola Alashela, from Ilupeju Senior Grammar School is NECO’s fan “since it (NECO) releases results on time for students to know their fate when applying to universities for admission.”  He however suggested that NECO should fortify its methods of curbing examination malpractice. Abiodun Irewolede, also from the same school said: “Examination malpractice falsifies a student’s ability. There is so much desperation to get good results that the means no longer matter. All these have to do with gaps in learning and laziness.  A student who knows his parents would be willing to pay for examinations, automatically would not study.”

Nnamdi Azikiwe varsity divided over ASUU’s strike From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka HE crisis rocking the T Nnamdi Azikiwe University’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) deepened on Tuaday following clashes of lecturers belonging to two contending factions, over the conduct of the 2012/13 second semester examination. It was gathered that two

factions each led by Professor Maduabuchi Dukor for the ASUU/NAU Progressives and the local chapter of ASUU, led by Professor Ike Odimegwu, had emerged at the institution and are both struggling for supremacy. Problem started when the faction led by Dukor, which pulled out of the ongoing ASUU national strike, tried to conduct the second

semester exam as scheduled, against the determination of the rival Odimegwu group to enforce the strike. The ensuing melee allegedly disrupted some examinations while lecturers and students were ordered out of examination halls. And as the rift continued, confusion reigned supreme. However, security was beefed up at the Faculty of Social Sciences to ensure

that all the scheduled examinations, including the a course titled ‘Statistics for Political Science’ , scheduled for the day were held successfully. But at the multi purpose hall of the new permanent site, the situation was different. It was alleged that strike enforcers aborted some scheduled examinations, by forcefully locking the examination hall and

chased out the students. Many students who had earlier arrived at the new permanent site to write their examinations were seen clustering in groups and discussing the development, while other loitered within the premises. The University management, in collaboration with the members of the ASUU Progressives, have now resorted to fixing and con-

ducting examinations at the time when it would not be possible for the strike monitoring team to disrupt activities. Some students of in various departments have however expressed the fear that the strike might affect their academic programmes adversely. They pleaded for an end to the dispute , urging the federal government to mend the fence with ASUU.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

EDUCATION 61

ESSPIN supports 30 mission schools with N50 million HE Education Sector T Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) – funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) is supporting about 3,000 children from poor families in Enugu State, to have access to quality primary education through its Challenge Fund scheme. The scheme is intended to benefit children from poor rural communities and urban slums, especially pupils who dropped out of school as a result of poverty. ESSPIN is piloting the scheme in 30 mission primary schools in Udi, Ezeagu, Enugu South, Enugu North and Nkanu West Local Government Areas (LGAs), in partnership with the Enugu State Christian Missions, which are represented by the Catholic, Anglican and Methodist Education Commissions. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on April 19, 2011 by ESSPIN and the Missions, and witnessed by Enugu State Scholarship and Education Loans Board, guides the implementation of the scheme. The scheme offers benefiting children free tuition and school supplies such as uniforms, books, bags, shoes and writing materials. Funds are also provided for the procurement of teaching aids and improvement of facilities in the 30 schools. The schools are further assisted with continuous in-service training and support of the headteachers and teachers, as well as capacity development of their respective School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs). ESSPIN has expended over N50 million on the scheme, now in its second year. Commending the scheme, Venerable David Agbo, Education Secretary, Enugu State Anglican Education Commission, said: “ESSPIN’s Challenge Fund is the exact package we had in mind

when we tried to set up a scholarship scheme. But it was not as well packaged as what ESSPIN has offered us. ESSPIN’s design gives us a clear guide on what the package should be – strictly on merit.” Since the take-off of the scheme, the 30 mission schools have witnessed remarkable improvements in the competence of their headteachers, teachers and effectiveness of their SBMCs. School enrolment, pupils’ attendance and quality of teaching and learning have improved. The success of the scheme has stimulated Enugu State Catholic, Anglican and Methodist Education Commissions to begin the roll-out of the School Improvement Programme (SIP), which ESSPIN is promoting, in 151 primary schools across the State. This is aimed at replicating the quality achievements recorded in the 30 Challenge Fund schools.

The scheme offers benefiting children free tuition and school supplies such as uniforms, books, bags, shoes and writing materials. Funds are also provided for the procurement of teaching aids and improvement of facilities in the 30 schools. The schools are further assisted with continuous inservice training and support of the headteachers and teachers, as well as capacity development of their respective SchoolBased Management Committees (SBMCs).

Edgewood College sends off 32 students By Mary Ogar DGEWOOD College, Lekki recently bid its 32 graduating students farewell, with the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Odeim Ajumogobia admonishing them to live responsibly and remember that freedom also comes with responsibility and temptation. The graduands, from the Advanced Level and University Foundation programmes, were joined by parents, friends well wishers and they exchanged banters for the last time as students of the school at the colourful valedictory ceremony. With most of them going abroad for further studies, Ajumogobia warned them not to take their new found freedom for granted. He said: “The only restriction available to you would be the one you place on yourself. There would be no mum or dad breathing down your neck. You can dress as you like; freedom can be intoxicating, especially when you are not prepared for it.” On the consequences of bad

E

decisions, which he said could be “devastating and serious,” the former minister advised: “Your knowledge and education would mean nothing if you fail to imbibe the qualities that would carry you through life. You must have a sense of decency, remorse and shame, because these qualities would guide and inhibit your actions. Think of what people would say as a result of your actions. Remember that your quality as a person would always be more important than your qualification.” The Executive Director of the college, Mrs. Kehinde Philips also implored the students not to wait for extraordinary opportunities. “Seize common occasions and make them great,” she charged. “Weak men wait for opportunities: strong men make them. Never hesitate to do that little extra that can bring change to your world.” As part of their community service programme, the graduating students, led by the Assistant Head Girl, Folakemi Oduwole, made a donation of a table tennis equipment to

Cross section of graduating students of Edgewood College, Lekki, Lagos at the 2013 Valedictory ceremony, held recently.

Rivers to promote mathematics among students HE Rivers State Government T has pledged to promote Mathematics among primary school pupils and students in secondary schools in the state. The state’s Commissioner for Education, Dame Alice Lawrence-Nemi made the pledge while receiving the students that represented the country at the 2013 Pan African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO) at the National Mathematics Centre (NMC) in Abuja. The Rivers State representatives won the National Mathematics Competition, which entitled them to represent the country at the PAMO. The students took the third position in the continental competition, which was won by Cote D’Ivoire. Lawrence-Nemi revealed that the State Government would continue to retrain Mathematics teachers, noting that the NMC trained over 100 mathematics teachers last

year. The Commissioner also said that the newly recruited mathematics teachers would undergo special training in order to meet up with the demands of the subject in the state. While commending the Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, for

giving education a face lift in the State. she disclosed that the huge investment has started yielding positive dividends “as students in public schools are now representing the state in international competitions”. The Commissioner show-

ered praises on the students that won the competition for making the state proud. She assured that their performance would spur the state to do more in education. Alice Lawrence-Nemi also commended the teachers who tutored the students.

Agric science competition winners emerge From Ann Godwin (Port Harcourt) T Michael Secondary School, Oleh, Delta State has won a quiz competition on Agricultural Science, organized recently by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company-Green River Project (NAOC-GRP) for secondary schools in its host communities. Over 70 schools took part in the competition. The competition, according to the Public Relations, Communication and Government Liaison Manager of NAOC, Prince Nwachukwu

S

Obi, was intended to promote human development and encourage diversification from oil. The competition which took place at Evergreen hall, Sani Abacha road in port Harcourt was solely based on Agricultural science. St Michael school scored a total of 33points to beat King’s Comprehensive College, Omoku, Rivers State, which scored thirty-one and half points to attain the second position.

About 30 secondary schools came from the swampy area, while 44 came from the Land area of NAOC host communities that are spread across Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers states. Gifts were presented to the winners, with St Michael Secondary School, getting a trophy, shield, laptop computers (for the students and the teacher), agricultural text books, slashing machine, knapsack sprayer, wheel barrow and spades.

British council launches commonwealth legacy project By Ujunwa Atueyi O create an awareness about T the Commonwealth, its values and the upcoming commonwealth games slated for 2014, the British Council is planning to distribute Commonwealth global information packs to some Nigerian teachers, to enable them teach students about various activities going on in all commonwealth countries. The Project Manager, Olamipo Oyetunde, who spoke during the launch of ‘Commonwealth Legacy Project’ in Lagos, explained that the packs, which had already been given to some selected teachers who were present at the launch, would later in the year be distributed to other teachers in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and the federal capital territory. The overall aim, she said, is to groom the students. She said: “|It would also facilitate dialogue between teachers and young people across the globe and as well provide deeper knowledge and understanding about commonwealth countries, cultures and features of their environment, including awareness about the

2014 Commonwealth games that will be hosted in Glasgow. “It was specifically designed to support young people’s education about the world around them. It includes an online debate, which will enable Nigerian students interact with other students around the world as students from all Commonwealth countries will be participating. The BBC will be hosting a series of monthly online debates from summer 2013

and any school in the commonwealth or the wider world can take part. The debates are topical conversations for pupils to join in and share their ideas and opinions with other pupils around the world”. She added: “Later on in the year, we will have the commonwealth information pack distributed to teachers in Lagos State and all the states where we are engaging teachers. We want teachers to right-

ly educate the children so that wherever they find themselves, they will be able to adapt because they already have an understanding of various culture around the world. And so, it is a legacy project aimed at exposing the children to happenings in other countries”. She also charged teachers to continually educate children on how to thrive in difficult situation rather than dwelling in negativity.

Officials and Specialists at the opening of a training for experts on Applied Gerontology, held in Abuja on Tuesday


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

62

Focus

Fuel Subsidy crisis was the most challenging Peter Esele, is the immediate past Prasident, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and he is also past President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). In this interview with Dele Fanimo, he x-rays his six years in the saddle, the challenges, achievements and way forward for the union movenment, among other issues…. Excerpts How was it at TUC for those six years? N the last six years, I will say its been very, very interesting, though with some challenges. But above all, I will say six years have made me to know my country the more and understand myself better. I was given the opportunity to contribute my quota to the congress that elected me. All in all, I think it has been very wonderful six years. Can you recap how you met TUC and how you are leaving the labour centre? I think, you will be in a better position to do that, because you are in the media and you have been a labour reporter. I don’t want to beat my drum but I know for sure we did our best in certain areas. I will only talk in terms of salaries for the workers. I think we are very competitive now. As I am talking to you, it is very difficult to poach our workers as a result of the new salary regime. Our secretariat is now very compact and mobile. You know when I came on board the perception of Nigerians about the congress was that it was set up to deliberately undermine the Nigeria Labour Congress. So, the first thing for me in my first two years was to correct that mindset. And that was why immediately I was elected, I flew to Abuja, met NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar. We had discussions around the internal strength of our unions. I extended my hands of fellowship and fortunately he received it. Ever since, we’ve been working. I think basically, after two years of my first tenure, Nigerians began to see TUC in different light. For me, that has been number one. I don’t do too many things at a time. I set one agenda for my first tenure, which was to correct negative impression about the union. Second term was to build the structure to take us to the next level. Employ competent hands to support the secretariat. As at

I

Esele

today, two lawyers are in the secretariat. We have people to make sure that the secretariat can run whether it is Esele or Kaigama(the newly elected President). You know at a particular time when they see me they see TUC, and when they see TUC they see me. I also looked beyond tying institutions round individuals. You will notice that in the last one year I had taken the back seat. Right now, my job is done. We have, over time, looked at policies with the benefit of research before coming out with our standpoint, such that you can hardly fault our position on national issues. We are always ready to stand by what we say. And I think if you look at our position on; be it the economy, deregulation, we have reason to back up what we are saying and what we want to do. And that naturally also gave confidence to the people that we understand the issues at stake and respect us for it. I also want to give kudos to my predecessor, Mrs. Peace Obiajulu, a fantastic leader. She told me at the inception of my tenure that she was able to secure certificate of registration and with this certificate TUC now has the latitude to fly. So, you have the liberty to take it higher. She was a member of my administrative council and we never had issues of two presidents in the council. Obiajulu has been so wonderful in the last six years and I hope to give same support to my successor too. TUC largely depended on check off due before you came in, is it the same thing now? Check off due still account for a larger percentage of revenue though, but we have been able to find a way round it. When I came on board, t w o u n i o n leaders of our affili-

ates, perhaps, because I was not their candidate in the election, withheld their check off dues for six months. This was done to strangulate the secretariat. But I told the secretariat not to ask them and keep going. Eventually,they came around and started paying. But the lesson was not lost on us. I told myself this must not happen the second time. So, when I came in the second time we decided to diversify. We began to invest to augment the check off. The benefit of this diversification over time is that we can run the union for a while even without check off. Again,because of the transparent manner we ran TUC in the last six years, affiliates’ check off has risen by as much as 600 percent. The reason is that they are getting value for their money. We have unions hitherto paying N200,000 monthly, but now paying about N4million. I give them kudos because check off is the mainstay of any union. They are also responding because we have been able to play our primary role of negotiating better working condition and improved welfare for our members. You are not likely to know these because negotiations are not done on the pages of newspapers. I was wondering if you will not mention the mass transit buses. How have you been running the outfit? Right now I think 65 percent of those buses are on the road. We are servicing our loan regularly and the banks are happy with us. One good thing about this is that we have been able to send the message that apart from unionism, we can also run businesses successfully.What we have done is to be in business and not entirely run it. We brought in operators who are in charge of the buses and are given the mandate to service the loan. Once this is done, TUC gets 10 percent on top of its investment and the buses becomes theirs. That deal is really paying off as we are one of the six operators servicing the loan as at when due among about 50 beneficiaries of the facility. That has served as catalyst to make them work harder, especially when they know that the earlier they pay, the earlier the buses becomes theirs. Right now, we have buses in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states. I think with the solid foundation we have laid we will soon spread across the country. How have you been able to juggle between TUC and your home in the last six years. I have to give a lot of credit to my wife. She has been extremely supportive all these years. But I must say that she was part of the decision making all along. Even when I was in PENGASSAN. I made it clear that without her consent I will not run. But she gave a caveat, that “we need to sit down and agree on certain issues.” One of it was that if you have to run, you must be at home every weekend. And so, except when I am not in the country, whatever I am doing, I must be at home at the weekend. I also do school runs, take the kids to school and bring them back.I did that because if you think that Nigerians had put me on the spot, my kids did more. Each time I want to leave the house they will ask “Daddy, where are you going? When are you coming back? Daddy, don’t send the driver, you have to come and pick us from school.” All in all , I think I had a wonderful sup-

we wanted to reverse the policy and not to change the policy maker. At another level again, we were told we need revolution. They were angling to create the Egyptian model. Everybody wanted a replication of the Tahir square in the country. Well, we felt there was nothing wrong with that . But as labour leaders, do we have structure to accommodate that? Sometimes, people expect us to play the role of labour leader and political organization at the same time. That can be achieved if we have a political party that shares our ideology and aspiration. But without such platform, it just cant work.

port from home. I am not a perfect husband and I don’t intend to be. But I think I was able to play my role as a father and husband to the best of my ability. She has been a strong pillar in the house because when I am not there,she filledthe vacuum. She takes them to the hospital when they are sick. I will not forget when I was addressing a conference and I got a message that one of my kids wasn’t feeling fine, I have to cut short my time of being in the conference. within the six years, was there a time you felt that this job is burdensome, particularly during the fuel crisis period? I think one of the thing is that I am somebody who is not always weighed down by burden. It can come occasionally, but as a leader you must not allow it to bug you down. If you are down for a minute, if you are not careful, others can be down for one hour. As a leader, when you are down you need to think of how to get up. When the issue of fuel subsidy removal came up, my National Administrative Council(NAC) members rose to the occasion. I must say here that I am very proud of them. When government went ahead to remove subsidy on fuel, we wanted to reverse the policy and not to change the policy maker. At another level again, we were told we need revolution. They were angling to create the Egyptian model. Everybody wanted a replication of the Tahir square in the country. Well, we felt there was nothing wrong with that . But as labour leaders,


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

63

period of my tenure, says Esele do we have structure to accommodate that? Sometimes, people expect us to play the role of labour leader and political organization at the same time. That can be achieved if we have a political party that shares our ideology and aspiration. But without such platform, it just cant work. Look at June 12 and MKO Abiola. Apart from Lagos which celebrates Abiola, let us ask ourselves, does he really have disciples? No! there was no structure to sustain the struggle. Abiola fought gallantly to the end. Ordinarily, one would have expected that the disciples to take it from where he stopped, but the power was on the street. Power only existed on the street but no structure to take over the power.Unfortunately, the wrong people got the power. People who did not work for it. So, when we looked at the scenario from behind the scene, we then asked ourselves that since we don’t have the structure, if power is seized, who then takes over such power? Nobody could answer the question. We then said, if you are not happy with the present leadership, wait for another round of election and use your voting power to send them out. Obviously, Nigerians did not like that position and we were called names, but we stood by that position. You should also realize that revolutions are best defended by revolutionists. When the election was held, there was no single member of parliament in Tahir Square. You then ask yourself, who had the structure? It was the muslim brotherhood that has been existing since 1928. So, they took over. After a while when they could not manage it well, it generated a lot of tension. Some people felt that we are just a bunch of rabble rousers, they did not realize what it took us to take that deci-

During that subsidy strike, I found my self in an event that the person don’t know that I was there. She was talking about how the president decided that because I just got married before the subsidy strike began, the federal government came up with an idea to sponsor my honeymoon with my wife and so as a result of that we called off the strike. I was shell shocked. I just walked up to her and said my name is Peter Esele, I have been married for ten years and I have four kids. She was like ‘what’ I am sorry, that was what I heard.

sion. We went back in time, studied past revolutions in the world and their aftermath. So, we saw the way it was going and said if it continued nobody was going to be in control of it . We then decided to call off the srike. However, after coming out with a series of interviews, most people came to understand our position. Six year gone bye, what next? Well, I think I have a lot of options. First, I have to thank the TUC. Part of the thing that I also enjoyed was the benefit of undergoing trainings in the best institutions around the

Esele world,such as Oxford University. I have opportunity to go back to school, go back to work, my job is there and the one everybody is talking about- either to go into politic or not. For now, I think I just want to have a little bit of rest, look at my life where I am, where am coming from and where I intend to go. By the time I will do all of that, I will start setting

goals and ambitions for myself. But there is this report that you have been endorsed and anointed as the next governorship candidate in Edo State? Sincerely speaking, I think the people can say anything. One thing I have learnt since I came on board the TUC and also found myself in public life is that people can just sit down and come up with any story. I will give an example. During that subsidy strike, I found my self in an event that the person don’t know that I was there. She was talking about how the president decided that because I just got married before the subsidy strike began and federal government came up with the idea to sponsor my honeymoon with my wife and so as a result of that we called off the strike. I was shell shocked. I just walked up to her and said my name is Peter Esele and I have been married for ten years and I have four kids. She was like ‘what’? I am sorry, that was what I heard. The election is in 2016 and I don’t just know anything about being anointed or not. But the truth of the matter is that right now I don’t think there is anything like that. What happens tomorrow, I don’t know. Right now, as am sitting in front of you, that is news to me. Probably, because the comrade governor in Edo did a fantastic job, people can also feel that this is a comrade that changed Edo State and it will never be the same way again. it is also possible that they are saying oh! let us give another comrade a chance. At the bottom line again, to the labour movement, Oshiomole is an icon and it always said that he is in charge of our collective patrimony. Oshiomole’s success is our success, his failure is our failure, but fortunately Oshiomole does not have failure to report. But I will let you


64 INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

EU unveils bank-failure plan despite German opposition HE European Union’s executive arm is headT ing for a showdown with Germany over its blueprint for shuttering or restructuring failing banks, a plan intended to complement the European Central Bank’s oversight of lenders. Michel Barnier, the EU’s financial-services chief, unveiled a proposal today for a single resolution mechanism that gives the European Commission the power to decide when banks need to be saved or shut, potentially resulting in the use of public funds. Germany has warned this may violate the EU’s basic laws by usurping national control over finances. “We have to stick to the given legal basis, as otherwise we risk major turbulence,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday in Brussels. “I would strongly ask the commission in its proposal for an SRM to be very careful, and to stick to the limited interpretation of the given treaty.” EU leaders last month reiterated their support for setting up the resolution mechanism as an integral part of a planned banking union, without specifying how it should work. At issue is how much authority the new European entity would possess, and what recourse national governments would have to dispute its decisions. “From a political point of view, the conferral of a power to wind up banks on the commission is arguably the greatest transfer of sovereignty in the history of the EU and points toward a fiscal, as well as economic and monetary, union,” Alexandria Carr, a lawyer in the London office of Mayer Brown, said by e-mail. Barnier insisted that he has built safeguards into the plans to protect national governments from being railroaded into using taxpayer money. “The text states explicitly that the resolution board would not, in any scenario, be allowed to commit a member state’s public money without its agreement,” Barnier said in an interview. Public money would only be necessary in “very exceptional cases,” as the rules are designed to protect taxpayers by writing down banks’ unsecured creditors and tapping resolution funds, he said. Under the commission’s plan, national governments can veto any resolution decision that

includes possible recourse to the public purse, according to a summary of the proposals released by the commission today. Barnier also proposed the establishment of a 55 billion-euro ($70.5 billion) common resolution fund financed by levies on banks. As the fund is tapped to shore up banks, further levies would be imposed to top it up. Both the commission and the ECB have urged rapid progress toward a centralized system to bolster confidence in the bloc’s banks and break

the financial link between lenders and sovereigns. The project has also received support from other euro nations, including France and Italy. The plan will address a “fragmentation” in bank oversightandanabsenceofeffectivedecision-making processes that was revealed during the financial crisis, Barnier said, citing the dismemberment of Brussels-based Dexia SA as an example of authorities having to “improvise” a solution. The proposal, which will target the euro area and other nations that sign their banks up for ECB supervision, require approval by governments and the European Parliament before it takes effect. Germany has repeatedly urged the EU to embark on treaty changes to ease its path to banking union, arguing that the bloc’s current rulebook limits the powers that can be handed to central authorities. It has sought to build support behind an alternative blueprint for a network of national resolution authorities. A central authority that is ultimately backed by the taxpayer “would imply significant legal risk both in terms of European law and constitutional law,” according to a discussion paper circulated by the German government in March. Other nations have rejected the need for up-front treaty changes, warning that they would cause

unacceptable delays. “From a legal point of view, it is dubious whether the EU’s existing legal architecture is sufficient to support the commission being given such a power or the establishment of what is effectively debt mutualization in the shape of a resolution fund,” Carr said. “And from a practical point of view, it is far from clear how such a mechanism, which would inevitably bring the commission into conflict with the views of national resolution authorities, would work.” Under the commission’s plan, a bank resolution board, involving national regulators, would assess whether a bank’s finances have deteriorated to the point where intervention is needed, and if so make a recommendation to the commission to initiate resolution. The board would decide what action should be taken, such as creditor writedowns or asset transfers,andissueinstructionstonationalregulators. “We need a system which can deliver decisions quickly and efficiently, avoiding doubts on the impact of the public finances, and with rules with create certainty in the market,” Barnier said.

U.S., China seek measures to deepen bilateral trade HEU.S. and China are meetT ing this week to find ways to balance a wider flow of investment and goods as their central banks try to prevent excessive risk-taking from derailing the world’s biggest economies. The two-day U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue starting today in Washington is scheduled to be hosted for the first time by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry and includes counterparts Vice Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. All four have been on the job less than six months. While Edward Snowden’s leak of U.S. surveillance secrets threatens to complicate the national security discussions, economic officials on both sides will press for detail on issues ranging from trade agreements and intellectual property to capital flows and monetary policies.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

NigeriaCapitalMarket NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at Wednesday PRICE LIST OF SYMBOLS TRADED FOR 10/07/2013

65


66

CAPITAL MARKET

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at 10/07/2013

LOSERS

PRICE GAINERS

Operators predict robust activities in second half By Helen Oji perators in the nation’s O bourse have projected stability and robust market activities during the second half of the year. According to them, during the first half of the year, the Nigerian stock market recorded an unprecedented growth within six months, indicating a firm grip of the bulls on the market. They pointed out that with a year to date performance of over 31.02 per cent this year, activities in the market have reached a point where investors that exited during the recession would be attracted to the market. This positive response of investors to the equities market in the first and second quarters, according to them, indicated that such upward activities might continue in the third and fourth quarters. “Six months into 2013, the market has already recorded the growth achieved in 2012. By the close of June 28, 2013, the market has rallied 28.78 per cent. Specifically, the NSE All-Share Index, which is the

…Say sustainabilityquoted is certain companies

benchmark gauge for measuring the aggregate performance of the market rose from 28,502.80 at the beginning of the year to close at 36,159.87 at the end of the month of June.” Specifically, the Managing Director of APT Securities & Funds Limited, Alhaji Kasimu Garba Kurfi described the market performance for this year so far as “very impressive”. He explained that the first half of the year for 2012, the All-Share Index appreciated by four per cent but at the end of the year, it gained about 35 per cent. Indeed, at a point, the All-Share index rose by 42 per cent before the profit taken brought it down to 28.8 per cent. He pointed out that the trend is a good development when compared to last year performance. “ Indeed, our market did very well and the market stands today among the top five in the world”. He added that the results of the half-year performance of

would decide the direction of the market. “With a positive timely half year results of companies, this will enable the market to

regain and surpass its performance in the remaining part of the year”, he said. Managing Director of Lambeth Trust & Investment Company Limited, David Adonri said that the capital market was active on all the

sectors during the second quarter of the year, adding that several transactions occurred on the recently reactivated bonds platform on the NSE. He noted that during the second quarter, the ASI

crossed 40,000 points but decelerated to about 36,000 points at the end of the quarter due to Market correction, adding that the equities market was driven principally by massive price gains by stocks in the industrial sector.

DG, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh,(left); Chairman of the board of SEC and new President and chairman of Council of the ICSAN, Dr. Suleyman Ndanusa, during the investiture of Dr. Suleyman Ndanusa in Lagos recently.


67

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

Opinion Notes on the current situation (3) By Edwin Madunagu

T

HE last segment ended with the fourth thesis on Boko Haram and its insurgency.  We continue from there.  Thesis Number Five: In some historical conjunctures the balance of forces may permit the identities of big “collaborators” (“sponsors”) of armed insurgents or terrorists not only to be known publicly but also to be able to operate publicly and even to receive semi-official recognition (Check the recent histories of Northern Ireland and Spain)  The people carrying arms and the “big collaborators” (inappropriately called “sponsors”) are in the same game, playing different roles. Boko Haram may have reached that stage of development or may be rapidly approaching it. Six: The response of the Nigerian state to insurgencies and rebellions had been to act like Nigerian fire fighters, that is: recognize very late that there is fire; move in to stop the fire if it can, or allow it to run its  natural course; and then withdraw - to await the next fire outbreak. This was the response the Nigerian state initially had for Boko Haram. In 2009 the Nigerian state discovered that it could no longer ignore the existence and reality of Boko Haram and the threat it posed to its own authority.  It attacked.  But, after the attack, the state could not “withdraw”. Why? Because the insurgency quickly bounced back – more ferocious than before and expanding rather than receding.  Today, the Boko Haram insurgency is the strongest armed challenge to the Nigerian state since the Civil War.  The insurgency has become a factor in the general power struggle in the country and, more specifically, in the battle for 2015.  You just need to  observe the politics of the Boko Haram insurgency as played by the vanguards and organs of the frontline combatants for 2015. Seven: the present situation is that of war between the Boko Haram and the Nigerian state. Before the declaration of state of emergency in three northeastern states of Nigeria and the formal proscription of the sect,  Boko Haram had according to President Jonathan himself - taken control of a sizeable territory of the country and had hoisted its flags there.  The war has now become international:  the insurgency has for-

mally and openly called for foreign support, and the “international community”, represented by the government of the United States of America, has joined the war on the side of the Nigerian state  - but reserving for itself the right of  independent action.  I do not now know the status of the  “talks” and “amnesty” I had heard earlier. Eight: The ruling classes, in general, and the political class in particular, are so deeply divided both on the nature of Boko Haram and on how to respond to it that it can now be proposed that the Boko Haram has a solid bloc of allies in  them.  And the battle for Election 2015 has been engaged: a battle in which, it would appear, all weapons are allowed.  So?  The way I see the situation suggests that only a united ruling class and a united nation can resolve the Boko Haram question.  This dual – unity cannot be achieved by either Election 2015 or politics of  hate.  We are back to the imperative of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC)  or a  special national conference organised specifically to respond to the present c o n j u n c t u r e . Politics of combination, association and dissociation (around the country’s two power blocs): I assume that many readers of this column are conversant with my concept of  Nigeria’s power blocs (not power blocs in general).  For those not familiar with the concept, three  recent references from this  column can be offered: Provisional report on Election 2011 (May 12, 19 and 26, 2011; and June 2 & 9, 2011); As the succession battle begins (April 26 and May 3, 10, 17 & 24, 2012) and The presidency and Nigeria’s power blocs (June 7, 2012).  The last reference is quite sufficient for those who do not have much time.  The following summary may however be offered here: Nigeria’s power blocs are sociopolitical forces that are  strong enough to push for power  at the centre.  There are only two of such blocs in the country. This thesis first appeared in this column about 1990. For clarity and to guard against misrepresentation: Nigeria’s power blocs are not ethnic groups, although they have ethnic cores; they are also not religious groups, although some religious beliefs may be particularly strong in them.  Nigeria’s power blocs are not political parties, although they are present in political parties - in some of which they are dominant

tendencies or factions or pressure groups. Nigeria’s power blocs are capitalist blocs. Each of the two power blocs mobilises and attaches to itself non-power bloc sociopolitical forces in order to achieve hegemony over the other power bloc (and hence over the nation) or to achieve a balance  with the other power.  The Jonathan presidency is currently under fire from the two power blocs.  “We are not only in office, but also in power”, General Babangida once declared when he was military president.  I doubt if President Goodluck Jonathan can confidently make such a declaration. He cannot because Babangida was referring not to the Armed Forces Ruling Council over which he presided, but to a power bloc. I shall come back to this. What has here been called “politics of combination, association and dissociation” within and between political parties and their factions are the  results or manifestations of the  aggressive mobilisations  currently being conducted by the two power blocs.  This process will continue and intensify.  My fear now is that the Boko Haram insurgency which is already having impacts on the process will – sooner than later – become part of the power-bloc mobilisation. Should this happen, Nigerian politics will become militarised. This, history teaches us, is a prelude to civil war. It is because of the fear expressed in the preceding paragraph that  I am now proposing that the Boko Haram insurgency  be part of the agenda of the urgently needed special  national conference  to respond to the current crisis.  I hasten to say that the special national conference is different from the Sovereign National Conference (which I understand and have promoted and theorised for over 20 years) and the Conference of Ethnic Nationalities (which, I confess, I do not understand). The special national conference will not only involve the forces in combat,  including the current government, but also popular – democratic and patriotic forces that are not in the current power struggle as defined. The labour movement is an example. The special national conference is proposed on these grounds: first, it is increasingly clear that the Nigerian state as presided over by the Jonathan presidency – with or without foreign support – cannot resolve the Boko Haram crisis; and secondly,  history teaches us that elections –

even when they are  democratic, free and fair – do not resolve all crises of political legitimacy, authority or confidence; in particular, a democratic, free and fair election is not a magic solution to power struggle.  In certain historical conjunctures national dialogues and conferences aimed at arriving at fundamental agreements must precede elections.  It is the agreed principles and fundamentals that give elections a chance of success.  Otherwise elections might simply inaugurate a new, more serious, phase of t h e crisis.  Algeria teaches us so; Mozambique teaches us so; and South Africa teaches us so. On the last example, we may note that by the time Nelson Mandela was released from jail (in 1990), the apartheid system had been decreed out of  existence not just by the forces that created it; but also by the forces of history.  However, it took another four years of discussions, negotiations and agreements (on principles) before a genuinely national election – through which Mandela emerged president – was conducted.  In Algeria and Mozambique the lesson of history stated above was  (initially) ignored in the early 1990s.  We saw the results.  Older readers may recall the election conducted in Southern Rhodesia under the contraption “Zimbabwe – Rhodesia” in the late 1970s and how the election created  a farce.  The combatants went back to the “drawing board” and thereafter went into an election that produced “black majority” rule. Power and Office: Power is superior to office; power determines and shapes office in the following sense: Since a Nigerian power bloc’s objective is to rule over the whole country, it necessarily has to seek (subordinate) allies to which it may have to concede office.  But the power bloc rules while office holders govern. How contradictions between power and office are resolved is a study in concrete  history, not theory.  But do not envy a Nigerian office-holder, however highly placed, who is at loggerheads with the two power-blocs at the same time! The way forward is two-pronged: Collective Presidency with rotational headship based on the existing geopolitical zones AND urgent and massive deployment of our national resources to the rescue of the desperately poor, the “wretched of the earth”, the “rejects of life”. • These Notes will now continue under different titles.

Sunset in the afternoon By Ajibola Ogunshola HEN our close friend dies, we too die a little. When our brother or sister dies, we die a little more. The death of our closest sibling and comrade inflicts on us especial pain and sorrow and compels a long and deep introspection on how much time may yet remain before our own transition. Sorry, Abimbola.  Pele o. Although Baba was only 67 when he died, Mama had lived on to 82.  Because,  in physical frame,  you were without question her carbon copy, save for gender, height and size of nose - no, there was no way you could have escaped Ladejo Ogunsola’s signature nose - I had casually taken it as given that you, too, would live beyond the age of 80. Until that  Tuesday afternoon the 4th of June , when the egg was broken on our head, and the hammer was thrown at our face. When your diagnosis was pronounced. Last Sunday evening, the day after your departure, as I stood by my bed in Lagos, ruminating on the essence or non-essence of human existence, it suddenly dawned on me that, in all our 50 years of active interaction, not once did we have a quarrel, nor could I recall that we ever exchanged unfriendly words; our occassional arguments or disagreements never  rose to the “height of fight”.  In retrospect it was fortunate,  but only in retrospect, that opportunities for the usual familial  fights among children had been foreclosed in our case by the fact that  you were raised at Elekuro, while I was raised by my mother at Oranyan. But it was not only the absence of childhood fights that sustained the vigour of our subsequent relationship. Until-he-returns-my-call-I-shall not-phone was never your attitude , nor mine, and I will forever  appreciate the fact that whenever I was too lazy to call,  you did.  Bo tile je ose meta,  egbon l’egbon je, so you lived up to my expectation as my senior.

W

Like most of our siblings, you had a strong sense of personal pride that could be mistaken for arrogance, a trait which, along with principled stubbornness, you clearly inherited from Baba. Towards me, to my wife and children and to the larger Ogunsola family, your material generosity in relation to your financial resources, was exemplary and outstanding.  But we are not talking of money  or gifts alone : you  found the  time to to ask after the welfare  of other family members, remembered the names of our children and of the children of our children. And is there anyone who is not enamoured by your wit and humour,  another obvious genetic inheritance of yours from Mama? It was the great love and deep concern for Gloria and for the future of Funso and Femi that made you eventually take what was for you a difficult decision to leave Nigeria for the United States when the country’s economy tanked and marketing consultancy business collapsed. Left to you, had you been alone, you would have remained in Nigeria to make the best of what was possible within the system as your ego and personal pride was inconsistent with your potential status elsewhere as, more or less, a second class citizen.  Fortunately, events thereafter have proven that the decision to leave was right. Gone forever, Bimbola,  is our symbolic ritual of togetherness, where we shared one but not more than one bottle of beer, which we fondly referred to as “pin ‘kan”.   And when more than one bottle was to be consumed, we must exhaust the first together before we did embark on the second. Of  those two hands that  used to “pin ‘kan” and distribute the froth of beer, one has now become forever silent. Pele o, Abimbola, Nle o. When  in 2009 ,  you were informed that our  “ baby “ sister, Bonike, was gravely ill in London,  you made great effort to obtain a travel visa at very short notice and when that failed, you came down  to Lagos for her funeral.

And, last July, in spite of your considerable expenses during Femi’s wedding only about a month earlier, you flew down to Lagos to visit our senior sister who was recovering from an illness.   Now, in retrospect, it was fortunate that you came as it turned out to be your last opportunity to see other family members, to breath Elekuro, to visit the tomb of Mama and to catch final glimpses of your ancestral home. We had  been looking forward to your retirement  next year, to celebrating your 70th on June 22 and mine on July 14. We had even discussed what you might do to keep you  active but not busy during retirement . Aware of your fine personal  “ people “ attributes which include your dexterity in speech-making; the solidity of your early literary background in Yoruba and English literature , your exposure to the Latin prose of  Caesar and the poetry of Ovid and Vergil at Elekuro, Igbobi, GCI, Bowdoin College; your MBA degree from Cornel University; I had  suggested  that you might then consider some involvement in the politics and development of your local community. Then, gradually - no, rapidly - a sun began to set and in the afternoon of June 29, seven days after you turned 69, you walked into the sunset. I  tried not to cry but I did; I was already becoming used to “these deaths” , including the deaths of siblings, I had thought. But yours turned out to be different. Well, Bimbola, it is time for me to leave.  I will remember you with love and fondness to the end of my remaining time. Iyabo and I shall remember you to the end of our days.  We will remember you, not only  “at the setting of the sun and in the morning” but also at the rising of the sun and in the evening. Nle o , Abimbola Aremu, nle o. • Chief Ogunshola, former chairman of Punch Newspapers wrote this tribute in memory of his brother and close friend,


68

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

Opinion 2013 Budget: Nigerians as human shields By Marcel Mbamalu SN’T it amazing how better our politicians keep getting at this game of Chess, only using ordinary Nigerians as pawns to checkmate well-matched opponents? One thing about the pawn is that, even though it appears small in size and power (given its seemingly pedestrian role), it has awesome influence in actually determining who wins the game; the piece can, in fact, win the game for the player. With sheer numbers and frontal positions (as is the case with foot soldiers at the battlefield) the pawns basically shield the important officers (the King, the Queen, the Knights, the Bishops and the Rooks) and begin the first movement of the game. Collectively, the pawns make or mar the game; and, without their strategic mobilisation, the officers remain static, meaning that the game can neither begin nor end. Although they are vulnerable – easily captured in an attempt to win the game – they are very effective at harassing the ‘enemy’, making him compromise his strengths and expose his officers, preferably the all-important King, to dangerous attack(s). This situation could bring the game to an abrupt end – the “Checkmate.” Interestingly still, the pawn, if well applied, can really capture the Queen (the most powerful) and other relatively less important officers, in the game’s ultimate goal of cornering the King. That, essentially, is the game. So, in looks, the pieces (the pawns) appear ‘inconsequential’, but, in deed, they form the fulcrum of every game plan. However, as strategic as they are, these pieces and other minor officers could easily be sacrificed for the higher need of winning the game: the target is to get the King in that ‘badly compromised’ position, where he has no other safe or vacant space to legitimately move into; and it

I

doesn’t really matter how many of the pawns go down in this bid – all is fair in war – so long as the King and, probably, the Queen remain safe and comfortable. Talking about hard facts, the war in Syria illustrates this scenario more appropriately; Egypt, it seems, is warming up to follow suit. But in Nigeria, 2015, the ‘horse-trading’ of which started immediately after the 2011 elections were lost and won, seems to be the end-game Plan, hence, the recurring Legislature/ Executive (the players’) battle for supremacy. National Budgets, as was the case in 2012 and now 2013, remain one of the major Chessboards. In the ensuing minor skirmishes (even if the economy suffers), none of the gladiators seems ready to let the other score any political point ahead of the election year. It would seem that the agenda is to gain as much tempo as one can and, therefore, undermine whatever credit or benefit the opponent may have gotten or will try to get, going forward. Of course, Nigerians remain the pawns as the game inches towards a crescendo: Every year, the economy – social or political – gets treated to some sort of drama bordering on “how much” and “on what” to spend the easy oil money. This usually comes after the Presidency would have boasted that it did consult widely in framing the Budget. But come to think of it:  How many countries in Africa still debate National Budgets seven months into the new year when plans for the next fiscal policy should actually be hatching?  Funnily so, this has become Nigeria’s yearly ritual! How come that, after all the ‘alleged’ consultation with ‘stakeholders,’ the National Assembly would either descend on the Appropriation Bill with its sledge hammer and knife or, worse still, lump in new projects often outside the plan of those that will implement the document? Why has it also been difficult for the Executive arm of government to accept such ver-

dicts, even if they go contrary to original plans, especially when the lawmakers won’t budge? Why has it been really difficult for the two organs of government, which naturally should work together for the good of the economy and Nigerians, to find common ground each time they are to tender a national budget? It is needless to say that every passing day spells doom for an economy that has no clear annual spending plan; retrospective implementation could even be more damaging. Now that the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister for Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has made it clear that this economy will be shutting down if the 2013 budget amendment is not passed by September, the lawmakers, true to character, have summoned her to the NASS ‘tribunal,’ having summarily been found guilty of ‘blackmailing’ and arm-twisting the lawmakers just so that the Presidency could have its way. According to our lawmakers, Nigerians should not take the Minister seriously, as the endorsed Appropriation Act, duly signed by the President (in anticipation of an agreed political solution) is there for the Executive to implement. That document, according to Samson Osagie, the Minority Whip of the House, is ‘valid’; hence, the proposed amendment should not be an excuse to stall the implementation of a subsisting budget. “The House notes that there is a valid Appropriation Act, which is the 2013 Budget...the House informs Mr. President and Nigerians that there is a budget that must be implemented,” the Minority Whip insists. Osagie’s Motion was, of course, passed in a unanimous vote at a session that was presided over by Emeka Ihedioha, the deputy speaker. The Senate, on its part, suspended the Plenary to honour the late Senator Pius Ewherido. The ‘hallowed chambers’ reportedly resolved not to consider the amendment until its members return from their recess in September, the obvi-

ous reason for which the Coordinating Minister for the Economy cried wolf last Monday. Senate spokesman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, specifically noted that the Amendment, a larger proposal – actually coming for the third time (after the lawmakers recently returned the second amendment in ‘defiance’) – is a set of documents amending the budget. So the Senate would not touch it until after its members would have returned from vacation this year. With the current posture, there is no doubt that both the Legislature and the Executive want to take the budget impasse to a winning end; even as Presidency sticks to its guns, the law makers are calling for a 100-per-cent compliance, not with the original bill submitted by the Executive, but with their tinkered document. The Appropriation Act in question is the same document that placed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on zero budget and insisted on certain constituency projects that must be accommodated for NASS members as those closest to the people.  According to NASS, the ‘unqualified’ Director-General of SEC, Arunma Oteh, who, at some point during the capital market probe, made ‘sweeping’ allegations of bribery against the House Committee Chairman, must be sacked before the Commission can have funds to work with. But the Presidency, which speedily returned the suspended DG and reconstituted the disbanded board, would not have any of that. The President, while signing the Budget, had hinted of a gentleman’s agreement with the NASS for him to tender an amendment to make up for some areas of concern. That claim now appears to be his word against theirs. But while this political game continues, the economy runs on an uncertain fiscal plan in which the worse-off for it are Nigerians, the real pawns on the political Chessboard. So, what do we say to this? Let the grand masters play on!

History as cue for national dialogue (2) By Felix Oragwu • Continued from yesterday.

O

N January 15, 1966, the first military insurrection took place in Nigeria in which many Army Officers of Igbo ethnic nationality were implicated and which overthrew the legitimate well constituted civilian governments (Federal and Federating Regional Governments) and then to set up a quasi Unitary Military Government thereafter called Federal Military Government (FMG) in which all the executive control and administrative powers of government were vested in the Federal (Central) Government leaving the existing Federating Regional Governments as mere Administrative Units under the control of the Central FMG. In addition an Igbo ethnic national and very Senior Military Officer, General Aguiyi Ironsi, who was reported to be the most Senior Army Officer in the Nigeria Armed Forces was appointed to head the FMG to the anger and disgust of the Northern Nigeria political leadership elite who had sustained the leadership of the Federal (central) Government by virtue of Northern Nigeria overwhelming majority in national parliament from the termination of British Colonial rule in 1960. This meant the loss to the Northern Nigeria political leadership elite of the control of the very powerful and attractive Federal (Central) Government to the Igbo ethnic nationality political leadership elite. The abolition of the Federal Terms of Union of Nigeria’s Federation of Groups of constituent Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities which made Federal (Central) Government very powerful and attractive was what started a chain of actions which make the governance of Nigeria in unity, peace and progress a frightening nightmare. On July 23, 1966, Adaka Boro a disciple of Chief Harold Biriye of Eastern Niger Delta part of Eastern Region of Nigeria rebelled against the Federal Military Government for non-creation of the Eastern part of the Niger Delta as a Federating Regional Government to enable the area control the exploitation and use of its oil and gas resources and other factor endowments as was the case of other regional government. Consequently Adaka Boro declared secession of Eastern Niger Delta from Nigeria. Following this, Adaka Boro led his Niger Delta Volunteer Force and sailed to the Creeks of the Niger Delta and seized the facilities of Shell, a major multi-national oil company. General Ironsi as Head of Nigerian Army and Government (FMG) mobilised the Armed Forces to crush Adaka Boro insurrection which was achieved after 12 days of fighting. Adaka Boro and his comrades in arms were captured and tried for treason in a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt and sentenced to death by hanging. They were taken to Ikoyi Prison in

Lagos to await death by hanging. On July 29, 1966, a coup d’etat led by Northern Nigeria Army officers assassinated General Aguiyi Ironsi, Head of the Federal Military Government, and an Igbo ethnic nationality, in apparent revenge for coup d’etat of January 15, 1966 in which many Army Officers of Igbo ethnic nationality were implicated. This brought the then Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon (a Northern Nigeria Senior Military Officer) to become the new Head of very powerful Federal Military Government of Nigeria. On May 27, 1967, the Yakubu Gowon led Federal Military Government created 12 States of Nigeria including a Rivers State (now Rivers and Bayelsa states) which seemed to meet the long standing demand by Chief Harold Biriye, an Ijaw ethnic national and his disciple Adaka Boro for a separate federating region for the ethnic minority population nationalities of the Eastern Region of Nigeria. On May 30, 1967, three days after the 12 states creation, the then Lt. Col Odumegwu Ojukwu, an Igbo ethnic national and Head of the regional military government of Eastern Region of Nigeria announced the secession of the Eastern Region of Nigeria from the federation and declared it as a Sovereign State of Republic of Biafra. In July 1967, the Federal Military Government declared war on the Republic of Biafra and needed the support of the ethnic minority population nationalities of the Niger Delta of Eastern Nigeria to prosecute the war and reverse the secession of the Eastern Region of Nigeria. For this purpose, the Ijaw and other minority ethnic population nationalities of the Eastern Region of Nigeria became strategic partners of the Federal Military Government in its campaign to crush Biafra. This led to Yakubu Gowon led FMG to grant amnesty to Adaka Boro and his comrades in Ikoyi Prison in Lagos then awaiting death by hanging and offered them an option to join the Nigerian Army which earlier had crushed their own rebellion. Adaka Boro, a university graduate in Chemistry, July 1965 of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was appointed and decorated with a Major Rank in the Nigerian Army and together with his prison comrades, then granted amnesty, fought to secure the Niger Delta creeks starting from Bonny and to liberate Port Harcourt from the grip of the Biafra Army and to assist in policing the blockade by Federal Military Government of the Republic of Biafra from outside world through the sea and the creeks of Niger Delta. In May 1968, Major Jasper Adaka Boro died in mysterious circumstances at the age of 30 and his body was buried in Ikoyi Cemetery in Lagos and Biafra itself was defeated on January 10, 1970, when it surrendered to the superior military might of the Federal Military Government and got itself reintegrated into the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1970. Thereafter, the FMG resumed

its administration of Nigeria from 1970-1979 as a quasi Unitary Military Government of Nigeria, a development which seemed to be responsible for the “resurrection” of Adaka Boro under a new name called MEND to resume the fight for the control of the resources and factor endowments of the Eastern Niger Delta, a fight, which was rudely interrupted by the Nigeria-Biafra War of 19671970. From October 1, 1979 to December 1983, Nigeria was run as a quasi unitary civilian political democratic administration with President Shehu Shagari from Northern Nigeria as President of Nigeria and Head of the very powerful and very attractive Federal (Central) Government. On December 31, 1983, Shehu Shagari civilian administration of Nigeria was overthrown by Northern Nigeria military administration with Northern Nigeria military leadership which mercifully introduced far-reaching progressive and fundamental positive reforms for good governance to fight pervasive corruption in government and indiscipline in Nigeria. In 1985, the incumbent Federal Military Government was overthrown by another set of Northern Nigeria military officers citing abuse of human rights. Nigeria again returned to a quasi powerful unitary military administration with Northern Nigeria military leadership in control but which reversed the positive reforms for good governance of the immediate past Military administration and virtually institutionalised corruption as an article of governance in Nigeria. However, the Military administration conducted a democratic civilian election aimed at the introduction of civilian democratic rule. The election was adjudged and acclaimed (both locally and internationally) as the freest and fairest Presidential election in Nigeria but because the election was unexpectedly squarely and fairly won by Alhaji M.K.O. Abiola, a devoid Moslem of Yoruba ethnic nationality of South West Nigeria, that election result was annulled by that military regime to set up intractable and prolonged violent protests by Nigerians which forced that military regime to step aside and to set up a makeshift Yoruba ethnic national-led Interim Civilian administration which lasted only about three months before being swept away by another military administration led by another Northern Nigeria military leadership. From November 17, Nigeria was again run by a quasi Military administration led by a Northern Nigeria (Gen. Sani Abacha) Military leadership which stubbornly braved the continuing violent protests by Nigerians against the annulment of a free and fair Presidential election worn by Alhaji M.K.O. Abiola of Yoruba ethnic nationality until he, General Sani Abacha, the leader of the FMG died by natural cause in 1998. • To be continued. • Oragwu, a Technology Development Consultant, lives in Lagos.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

69

Sports Ukraine 2013 IAAF World Junior

Former world triple jump champion, Idowu, ‘taking step back from athletics’

Nigerian athletes outrun Americans, Jamaicans, others 

world triple jump FwillORMER champion, Phillips Idowu, not be competing at next

• IAAF says Edoki too young to compete From Gowon Akpodonor, Donetsk, Ukraine IGERIA’S quest for medals in this year’s IAAF World Youth Championship, Donetsk 2013, began on a bright note yesterday, as all the athletes, who competed on the opening day made it to the next round. Africa’s fastest youth, Divine Ejovwokoghene Oduduru was in his best form, as he dusted his challengers from Great Britain, Argentina, Norway, Hungary and Switzerland to win heat one of the boys 100m race. His time of 10.67 seconds was adjudged as one of the best in the sprint events yesterday. Oduduru is Team Nigeria’s lone contender in the 100m race. He has a personal best of 10. 61 seconds, which he ran during the African Youth Championship (AYAC) in Warri in March this year. He told The Guardian, which is the only Nigerian medium covering the championship that he had what it takes to win a medal in the event Before Oduduru’s fantastic race in the 100m, Omeiza John Akerele had opened the gate of success for Team Nigeria in the boys 400m, when he dusted all contenders to qualify to the next round. As the first Nigerian to test action here in Ukraine 2013 championship, Akerele wasted no time, as he raced to the first position in heat 2, beating tough challengers from Italy, Spain, Colombia, South Africa and the host country, Ukraine. He returned in a time of 48.29 seconds. Akerele has a season best of 47.35 seconds and he is being tipped for a medal in the event, which semi-finals will be decided today. The finals will take place tomorrow. He told The Guardian soon after his race yesterday that he would approach today’s semifinal with all seriousness, adding that his target is to win a medal in the championship. Another Team Nigeria athlete in the boys 400m event, Samson Oghenewegba Nathaniel ran a slow race to qualify in heat 6.  Nathaniel ran 47.90 seconds to place third, but was lucky to scale through to the next round as one of the

N

fastest runners. Abimbola Junaid also made it to the next round despite a slow race in the girls 400m heat 2. She returned at 55.62 seconds in the race to place fourth, but was also lucky to move on as one of the fastest runners. United States’ Olivia Baker won that heat in 54.41 seconds.   The other Nigerian female contestant in the 400m race, Edidiong Ofonime Odiong was applauded by the spectators for her fantastic performance in heat 4, where she out ran her challengers from Italy, Canada and Norway among others, to win in a time of 55.18 seconds. Like her male counterpart, Odiong also promised to do her possible best to put smile on the face of Nigerians by winning a medal in the competition. Meanwhile, the 8th IAAF World Championship began yesterday at the Olympics Stadium in the city of Donetsk, Ukraine with a shocker from the World Athletics governing body to all the participating countries, including Nigeria. In the build up to the Games, the IAAF asked countries to submit the name of at least one under-age athlete to compete in the championship, which is meant for U-17 athletes. The idea was for the athlete to use the championship to learn. Based on that arrangement, Team Nigeria entered 15-year old triple jumper, Fabian Edoki from Cross River State. He was born in 1998. Other countries also entered athletes of their choices. But the IAAF shocker came a few hours to the commencement of the championship. They barred those below the age of 16 years from competing, meaning that one of Nigeria’s medals hopefuls in Ukraine, Edoki, won’t compete.

Jonathan to commission new NFF secretariat on July 18 From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is expected to take possession of its ultra-modern new secretariat on July 18, a member of the Presidential Task Force set up by the Federal Government in 2009 to ensure Nigeria’s qualification for the South Africa 2010 World Cup, has disclosed. The building was constructed with the remainder of the funds raised by the task force for the World Cup. A member of the task force, Abba Yola, said, while inspecting the secretariat

T

along with some management staff of the NFF yesterday in Abuja, that the complex would be commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan. The complex comprises 28secretarial rooms and multiple Conference/Committee rooms. “The Task Force members decided to set up a committee to oversee the commissioning of the new secretariat. It comprises the members of the staff of the federation, who are the beneficiaries of the project, the resident architect, some staff of the National Sports Commission

(NSC) and representatives of the contractors. “They are charged with the responsibilities of working out the modalities for the commissioning. The Task Force in their last meeting in Abuja graciously approved the concept and even the invitation cards for the commissioning, which would soon be dispersed.” While declining comment on who takes up the financial responsibilities of furnishing the secretariat, he pointed out that the PTF took up the sponsorship of the project to the level of completion with a fixed amount of money.

Ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup Qualifier

Malawian captain queries FA over Sainfiet’s match bonus ALAWI yesterday showed M that Nigeria is not the only country where issues

Sainfiet

Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru (left) with his compatriot at the last Africa Youth Championship held in Warri, Delta State

bordering on match bonus threaten the unity of the national team. But unlike the Nigerian case, where the players revolted against the federation for reducing their match bonus, the issue in Malawi is the disparity in the money promised the coach and what the players would get for a victory over Nigeria in the final group game of the

Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying series. According to BBCSport, Malawi Captain, Joseph Kamwendo, yesterday hit out at a $10,000 win bonus being offered to new Coach, Tom Saintfiet. The Belgian coach is not being paid a salary and will only get the bonus if the Flames beat Nigeria in September’s winner-takes all World Cup qualifier. With Malawi players getting just $85 for a win Kamwendo

described Saintfiet’s proposed bonus of $10,000 as an insult. “Why don’t they (Malawi FA) make such offers to players?” Kamwendo demanded. “Why should we continue to have our services not appreciated yet they are ready to splash out huge sums of money to one person? “We’ve been fighting for an increase in game bonuses and allowances for a long time but the Fam have

ignored us,” he said. Saintfiet, who has only initially agreed to coach the Flames for two months, defended his position as he held his first press conference as coach on Tuesday. He insists he only accepted the Flames coaching job because he believes he can help Malawi qualify for the 2014 World Cup. “In the last weeks I got offers from clubs in South Africa, Kenya, Tunisia and Lebanon,” he said.

month’s World Championships in Moscow after announcing yesterday that he is “taking step back from athletics.” The 34-year-old failed to make the Olympic final last year and has been conspicuous by his low profile since then, in contrast to his public falling-out with former Great Britain Head Coach, Charles van Commenee. Despite not being selected for Great Britain at last month’s European Team Championships in Gateshead, Idowu was expected to compete at this weekend’s World Championship trials in Birmingham. However, Idowu yesterday released a statement saying, “after some careful consideration I have decided that for the foreseeable future I will be taking a step back from athletics. “I feel this is the right time for me to make this decision and it’s not a choice I’ve made lightly. I greatly appreciate all of the support I have received over the past years, particularly from the British public and my team and sponsors, it has been an extremely happy and successful time. “I’m excited about pursuing other interests and taking other opportunities that present themselves to me during this break.” Idowu jumped 16.44 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Rome last month but that sort of performance would not even have earned selection for Moscow given

Astroturf 2000 plans soccer turf for Victoria Garden City STROTURF 2000 Ikoyi is the A first purpose built all weather-playing surface/Arena for five-a-side football in Nigeria and the first of its kind in Africa. Astro Soccer Nigeria Limited (ASNL) began operations in Nigeria in 2006 with the construction of the first five-a-side facility for football in Nigeria at Ikoyi and has steadily grown as a credible platform, creating a niche for lifestyle and recreational sports activities. In a release yesterday, ASNL says it aims to be the premier provider of youth football experiences in Nigeria through the provision of state of the art sports infrastructure at the community level. According to ASNL, “we aim to achieve this through a series of deep long term relationships with communities that host our facilities. “In furtherance of this mission statement and in partnership with the Victoria Garden City Property Owners and Residents Association (VGCPORA), Astroturf has installed a state of the art 5th generation artificial playing surface for football at VGC Park 1.


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

70

ISSUES IN THE NEWS

Unpaid salary syndrome,   Over the years, the Nigeria Football Federation’s insatiable knack for breaching contractual agreements it entered into with indigenous coaches, and by extension flouting labour laws has been well documented. ENO-ABASI SUNDAY, who has been monitoring the trend, writes that the federation, which is adept at spending government funds, has displayed great ineptitude when it comes to generating sufficient funds from sponsorship and sundry partnerships, to help it perform its statutory functions, hence the dire financial straits it finds itself routinely. This is confirmed by its indebtedness to almost every indigenous coach it has hired in the last decade or thereabouts. N recent times, the country’s football governing body, Iwith the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been suffused a flurry of controversies. And instead of the contro-

Keshi

versies going away the way nightmares do, more are still emanating and at great speed too. Sadly, the federation, the only sport federation, where most members go in as average Nigerians, but depart as multi-millionaires, while the fortunes of the sport remains largely unchanged. This is because over the years, the federation has perfected a system of taking very good care of its board members to the point that payment of allowances and sundry entitlements to them is the only thing that is yet to be controverted. Within the past decade, the FA under past administrations, has been squirming in a mire of unending controversies, ranging from persistent fraudulent practices, including the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of dollars from locked offices without any burglary taking place and the less than transparent manner of spending the yearly FIFA grant for football development. The present administration is not spared the blame as plans by the it to, henceforth, vet the team list submitted by the chief coach of the Super Eagles ahead of every match; its inability to amicably settle players’ match bonuses, as well as its perennial inability to pay indigenous national team coaches their monthly salaries and sundry entitlements are part of controversies that have damaged what was left of its integrity. After the recent show of shame in Namibia, to which Sports Minister/Chairman, National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdullahi, has empaneled a body, to among other things, “determine the immediate and remote causes of the crisis over the match bonus, develop a Code of Conduct for players on national assignments and come up with any other recommendations that may be deemed necessary, not a few followers of football in the country were peeved at revelations that Chief Coach of Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi and his assistants were owed salary arrears running into five months. Just before the commencement of the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), the NFF revealed that it was indebted to Keshi to the tune of N10 million, which is the gaffer’s two-month salary. That was sorted out before the kick-off of the continental showpiece. But since after the tourney from which the Eagles emerged victorious, Keshi, ex-Super Eagles captain, Assistant Coach, Daniel Amokachi and goalkeeper trainer, Ike Shorunmu, have not been paid their salaries. Even though Keshi is yet to make any official complaint about this indebtedness, the NFF through its Secretary General, Musa Amadu sprang into action last week after the revelation

insisting that the situation was “under control.” The FA, which draws funds from the government for virtually everything, is said to be facing hard times financially after their grant for the year was reportedly tapered by the government. The cut consequently forced some cost-cutting measures, which have plunged the body into further financial quagmire. “Between the federation and the coaching crew, we don’t have a problem,” the NFF’s Scribe, Amadu stated in an interview with the BBC, adding, “we’ve been working together with Stephen Keshi since November 2011 and he knows the peculiar situation (financial problems) of how things are with the federation. “We try as much as possible to pay our obligations, likewise the coach, and we’ve had a very good working relationship. I know the coach will not bring to the fore any such matters,” he added. Amadu, who implied that the coaches would have to be patient with the FA, stressed that, “perhaps there are people out there that want to capitalise on such matters to create problems between the federation and the coach. “But I know that obligations to the coaching crew are always settled, and we do have the understanding of the coaching crew in this regard. We appreciate that understanding and right now the focus is not about what is being written in the media, but it is on the CHAN qualifiers,” he said ahead of the Nigeria/Cote d’ Ivoire clash. Gradually, the culture of allowing indigenous coaches to go without pay for more than a dozen months by the NFF has taken firm roots in the country. And it is even shameful that over the years, Nigerian coaches have had recourse to rely on the power of the media to have the backlog of salaries paid by the body. What is even more troubling is the fact that more often than not, the NFF appears to work with two sets of rules, one applying to the local coaches, while the other applies to their foreign counterparts, who in most cases are treated like eggs. This preferential treatment has found vent in a number of discriminatory ways that foreign assistant coaches have been treated to the detriment of their indigenous principals. One of such occasions was when it emerged that Thomas Obliers, the German assistant coach to former Super Falcons Coach, Eucharia Uche was earning the sum of $16,000 (about N2.5m) monthly, while his principal (Uche) earned a miserable $2,000 (about N323, 000). The then 43-year-old native of Cologne, whose contract was terminated with the exit of the Falcons from the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, was, before his appointment, the head coach of SC 07 Bad Neuenahr, a first division women side in Germany. While Obliers’ entitlements were sorted out at the termination of his contract, Uche, a widow and the first African to win the African Women Championship (AWC) both as a player and a coach, Uche’s emoluments were not paid more than a year after her exit. In fact, it is still unclear whether she has been settled till today. Another instance where a foreign coach was treated like an egg even though he failed to deliver was the employment of Swede, Lars Lagerback. Lagerback, who earned a princely $200, 000 (about N30.1 million at that time) a-month job, and was paid upfront, promptly turned his back on the team and flew back to his country after South Korea knocked out the Eagles from the South Africa 2010 World Cup on June 22. According to the NFF then, the Swede, who promised Nigeria a semi-final ticket, had embarked on a twoweek break. He never returned and there were no words on the contract extension offer made to him by the FA. Lagerback’s assistant and former Super Eagles’ captain, Austin Eguaveon, who stood in for his absentee boss was also owed salary for months until he also cried to the press for intervention. One of those who decried the very high salary that


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

SPORTS 71

a malaise defying cure Lagerback was paid for the five months he held sway was his assistant and ex-international, Daniel Amokachi. Amokachi, currently Keshi’s, had said in the wake of Lagerback’s departure that his erstwhile boss was paid way too much in his five-month stint as Eagles’ manager. “I think $200,000 a month is a lot of money to pay a coach for a six-month deal. That is too much money to pay somebody to come up with just one point from three games. If you get a Nigerian coach and pay him less than that, he will do a better job.” Another coach, who has had a history of rough deals with the NFF over unpaid wages is immediate past coach of the Flying Eagles, John Sam Obuh. In October 2011, Obuh had asked the NFF to settle the 13-month salary arrears owed him from December 2009 to December 2010. Obuh, a former U-17 coach, led the Flying Eagles to a quarterfinal ouster at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Youth Championship held in Colombia. He added then that the NFF had asked him “verbally” to continue as the country’s U-20 coach without indicating when the arrears would be paid. “I have been verbally asked to continue as the under-20 coach, but no one is saying anything about the backlog I am owed,” Obuh said. “I love my job but that is not going to take care of my family and I hope they (NFF) understand that. It is inexplicable that they paid me from January 2011 to August, but they failed to pay all through my first year in the job. “They owe me the money, I have been demanding for it but no one is interested in sorting it out for me. The records are there for all to see. I did not get my salary since I took over after the 2009 FIFA World Cup,” he cried. Spokesperson of the NFF, Ademola Olajire, while reacting to Obuh’s claims then said his salaries may have been delayed through a  ‘mix-up’ in administrative paperwork. “That is really unfortunate to hear but I suspect there is a misunderstanding somewhere for part of his payment to be missing. The NFF technical department, as well as, the secretary general are always on top of issues relating to this. There is a proper channel if he wants to deal with us directly. He must let us know through a written process and not in the media.” Indications that not much was done to defray the indebtedness emerged yet again last February, when the team departed for a playing tour in Egypt ahead of the ongoing FIFA youth tourney in Turkey, without the coach.  He was left behind following a mild drama at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja, where he protested the non-payment of his three-month salary. This was happening not long after the FA in a statement claimed that all national teams’ coaches had been paid their outstanding salaries. “…I have not been paid any money as reported, neither have I received any alert of payment through my bank so I wonder why someone would go to press with claims that my salaries have been paid. I love my job and I have sacrificed so much for my country and still ready to do more but a labourer deserves his wage,” he said. After his team was bundled out of the tourney in Turkey, Obuh, last week threw in the towel. In the letter he thanked the NFF for giving him the opportunity to lead the team’s coaching crew. While assuring that he would continue to pray and wish the federation well in its efforts at moving Nigerian football to greater heights, the former Golden Eaglets coach pleaded with the federation to settle the backlog of salary and allowances owed to him. “To be honest with you, I like doing one thing at a time, but my

Maigari

prayer to God is that He should not let me have the kind of job I am having currently. May He never allow me to have this kind of job any longer because I have come a long way with different experiences since this my second missionary journey with the team. “I am saying this because I have to live for my family and my loved ones. I need to live for the sake of those that depend on me because if I continue to have this kind of job, I will never fulfill my obligations to them. One thing I know is that I am a coach and I will ever remain a coach until I die, but the kind of job I am praying for is not this type because it is a threat to life,” said Obuh, who was in charge when debutants, Switzerland, beat hosts, Nigeria, 1-0 to win the 2009 Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Abuja. Edo State-born Godwin Izilien is another coach, who has an axe to grind with the Nigerian FA, whom he has accused of refusing to pay his wages amounting to millions of naira more than eight years after leading the Falcons to win the AWC in 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa. “Their (NFF) deceit has turned a majority of us to mere big names with empty pockets. So many Nigerian coaches are dying in silence despite leading the national teams to competitions at one time or the other,” Izilien lamented. “The NFF owes me and my assistants a total sum of $28,750. From this amount, I am owed $12,000 as the head coach, while Mrs. Lizzy Ogiemonwoyi (assistant coach) is owed $8,000. The team’s welfare officer, Ann Agumanu-Chiejine, is owed $7,750,” Izilien informed, adding, “during the presidential reception, each of the players was given N1 million and as the head coach, mine was double. As we speak, my N2 million, in addition to the camp allowances and winning bonuses have not been paid by the NFF. “My assistant coaches (Ogiemonwoyi and Chiejine) were supposed to get N1 million each, but they too have not been paid. My players got all their entitlements almost immediately, but here I am languishing in poverty…,” cried Izilien. While many question the financial management skills of those at the Glass House considering the fact that they are perennially cash-trapped, others express doubts regarding the judicious application of grants from FIFA to the country,  as well as, that from the Federal Government. Ex-international, Moses Kpakor, is puzzled that with the array of blue chip companies in the country, the NFF still find it a Herculean task to pin down sufficient sponsors to help alleviate its financial burden. “The national teams have sponsors, so I really do not understand why they should be owing coaches’ their salaries.” Speaking specifically on the FA’s indebtedness to Keshi and his lieutenants, he said allowing the backlog of coaches’ salaries to swell at the rate it was going was capable of bogging them down psychologically, thereby jeopardising Nigeria’s chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. “Keshi is a Nigerian maybe that is why he does not want to drag the NFF to FIFA for the breach. But I think if he takes the matter to FIFA, action would be taken against Nigeria. So I would advise Maigari and his team to source for funds and clear the backlog of salaries to the technical crew. “It is very important for them to pay up because these are indeed very critical times for the team, as we are still trying to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. The coach and his entire players and crew must be happy in order to take us to where we want to be. When the coach is down psychologically, our chances of qualifying could be jeopardised and we don’t want that to happen. “So we need to make the coach and his team happy for them to continue to do what they have to do to make us happy. Nigerians want the team to be psychologically fit so that they can deliver on their expectations hence Nigeria’s qualification for the World Cup.” For ex-Eagles captain and coach, Christian Chukwu, “there is virtually no indigenous coach employed by the NFF that, to my knowledge, is not owed salaries ranging from one month to over a year. “In fact, it would be a miracle for any one coach to work with the NFF and not be owed. And this is a very sad development, which I think boils down to complex and the character of the administrators,” he stated. The former coach of Harambee Stars of Kenya added, “the situation is even more worrisome when you consider the fact that their salaries are not compared to what the foreign coaches earn, even when our records are by far better than theirs.” He urged the NFF not to take the local coaches for granted, “because as patriotic Nigerians, some of us have refused to drag them to FIFA the way others have done. If we drag them there, we will get our money fast.” On efforts to defray the indebtedness to the coaches, NFF’s spokesperson Olajire said, “I am aware that the NFF is making best efforts to defray the indebtedness to all the coaches you talked about, particularly Coach Stephen Keshi, before the end of the month. If Globacom pays the annual rights fee for 2013 (we have not collected it, despite what some people have been saying), we would certainly be able to offset all these debts. “If not, we have to find a way to pay out of our monthly allocation, one way or the other. Our approach to shoring up our financial base is aggressive marketing, which is ongoing, and which we review and re-plan every quarter. Nigeria football is in need of more financial support, especially from the private sector.

Obuh

Uche

Chukwu

Eguaveon


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

72 | SPORTS

Glo Nigeria Premier League

Amadi leads Heartland’s investigation of alleged match-fixing • Team gets N60m lifeline a season of match-fixItheTingispast scandals, but unlike in the officials are determined to get to the roots of the malaise. At the weekend, four amateur sides, Plateau United Feeders, Akurba FC, Police Machine and Babayaro FC served football lovers a soured dish with scandalous results that immediately got the whole world talking about the mess in Nigerian soccer scene. Plateau United defeated Akurba FC by 69-0, while Police Machine hammered Babayaro FC by 67 goals to nothing, but the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) immediately stepped out to question the outcome of the games in Bauchi. While the furore generated by the Bauchi games are still on-going, officials of Glo Premier League side, Heartland of Owerri yesterday set up a panel to investigate their club’s loss to Enyimba, alleging that the defeat was not ordinary.

The club, which had earlier suspended two officials of the team, on Tuesday inaugurated a three-man panel to investigate the allegation that some members of the club either compromised themselves or  sold out the team in the controversial 0-1 defeat by Enyimba in the Week 20 game, which took place at the Dan Anyiam Stadium. Inaugurating the panel at the club’s house in Owerri, Heartland Chairman, Fan Ndubuoke, stated that he was acting in accordance with the directive of the commissioner for Youth and Sports following allegations of sell out and coupled with the sudden drop in form of the club. In the panel are Chukas Eregbu, Venatius T. Eke and MacDonald Amadi, who is the chairman. Ndubuoke tasked the panel to identify the role of management members, coaches and or players in any such sell out. The panel

is also to identify reasons for the sudden apparent decline in the club’s performance in the league, identify the person or persons within Imo State working against the progress of the team and promoting the perceived gang-up against the club at home and also to investigate the role of security agents in the intimidation of the team at its home ground. Responding after the inauguration, Amadi assured that panel would do its best to meet the expectations of the Imo people. The panel has two weeks to complete its work. Meanwhile, Ndubuoke had earlier warned the coaches and the players to wake up from their slumber or face the axe. He also announced that the club has received a N60 million lifeline from the Imo State government to settle some of last season’s sign-on fees and also commit to new contracts as well as run other business of the club.

Access Bank Deputy Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe, Chairman of the Bank, Gbenga Oyebode, Access Bank Group Managing Director, Aigboje Aig- Imoukhuede, and one of the A-list Polo players, SK Maita Mohammed Al Maktoum, at the just concluded Access Bank Day at Ham Polo Championship in London.

Pros vie for Delta Open Golf Tournament’s N10m From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba PRINCELY sum of N10 milA lion is up for grabs by the winners of the professional category of the first edition of the Delta State Open Golf Tournament, which commenced on Tuesday, the organisers have announced, adding that the winner in the amateur category would be rewarded with a return ticket

to Dubai. Holding at the Ibori Golf and Country Club in Asaba, the Captain of the club, Daniel Mayuku told reporters yesterday that the competition, which is scheduled to end on Friday, would involve about 350 professional and amateur golfers from the West African sub-region. Speaking at the tee-off of the tournament yesterday, Mayuku, who is the chairman

of the Delta State House of Assembly Committee on Appropriation, remarked that the 350 participants drawn from Nigeria and West African countries were very enthusiastic about the tournament. Sounding upbeat, the lawmaker noted that the tournament would among other benefits boost tourism in the state and also complement the state government’s vision of sustaining its economy outside revenue from oil.


SPORTS 73

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pellegrini aims to bring style, trophies to Man City ANCHESTER City’s new M Manager, Manuel Pellegrini promised a more attacking brand of soccer and pointed to his experience of outfoxing local rivals Manchester United as he pledged yesterday to win trophies. At his first news conference since taking over from Italian Roberto Mancini, Pellegrini said he aimed to improve City’s poor Champions League record but reclaiming the Premier League title they won in 2012 or FA Cup they lifted in 2011 was as important. Expectations are high at trophy-hungry City, where runners-up places in the Premier League and FA Cup were deemed to be unacceptable last season, and Chief Executive, Ferran Soriano has said the target is five trophies in the next five years. “Just five?” joked Pellegrini. “We’ll try to work and we’ll do our best here and see how many trophies we can win.” City finished 11 points behind champions United last season, also suffering a second successive Champions League group-stage exit, with Pellegrini confident he can improve matters. “I know the most important thing... is for Manchester City to beat Manchester United. If I’m here it’s because I’m sure we will do it,” said the 59-yearold Chilean, who joined the club last month on a threeyear deal after the sacking of Mancini.

“I have played against Manchester United twice in the Champions League with Villarreal, in both years... we passed to the last 16 and Manchester United didn’t (in one of them), so I have experience playing against Manchester United.” The former Real Madrid and Malaga boss led Villarreal to four 0-0 draws against United in the group stages of Europe’s elite club competition in

2005/06 and 2008/09 with his side going on to the semifinals and last eight respectively. He also took competition debutants Malaga to the Champions League quarterfinals last season and, while Pellegrini said he did not value one competition higher than the other, he was clear City would improve their performances in Europe next term.

Why Bayern preferred Gotze over Neymar, by Rummenigge ARL-HEINZ Rummenigge K says Bayern Munich opted against signing Neymar as the club feared he would struggle to adapt to Germany and therefore chose Mario Gotze. The Bundesliga champion’s new Coach, Pep Guardiola had earmarked both players as potential reinforcements, but eventually decided to snap up the former Borussia Dortmund star for 37 million euros. “We had a clear idea of what kind of player we wanted to sign and discussed this with Pep,” Rummenigge, the chairman of die Roten, was quoted as saying by Sport Bild. “There were really only two players out there who fit the bill and were realistic transfer targets. One was Neymar and the other was Gotze.” Rummenigge explained that

he believed Neymar wouldn’t be able to quickly adjust to life in Munich. “The eventual decision was made during a meeting in Zurich when the weather conditions were abysmal,”  Rummenigge recalled. “I told Pep to glance outside and he asked me why. I then told him to imagine a Brazilian leaving his native country in 30 degrees Celsius, only to arrive here when it’s minus six. “Additionally, he does not speak the language and the German culture is nothing like the warm atmosphere South Americans are used to. That would all be pretty difficult for such a young player.” Neymar left Santos for Barcelona this summer as the


74

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

75


76

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

77


78

THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013


THE GUARDIAN, Thursday, July 11, 2013

79


TheGuardian

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Don Okereke OW that the Nigerian Communications N Commission (NCC) has wielded the big stick by disconnecting millions of unregistered GSM SIM Cards after a couple of previous botched attempts, let us critically examine this policy and serious concerns that have been glided over by the ombudsman. At the risk of over-egging the pudding, I dare say that one of our greatest undoing in this part of the world is our proclivity for not stimulating debates or accommodating dissenting opinions and well-intentioned criticisms on national issues. Just recently we were told that Nigeria’s military authorities banned the use of satellite phones in the hotbeds of terrorism and insurgency in northern Nigeria. Granted that satellite calls do not traverse the normal GSM channels but they can be tracked too. Instead of banning the use of such phones, we expect our military authorities to acquire the technological competence to track the origin and end-point of such calls. Perhaps Nigeria’s military/Security establishment should have a word with Edward Snowden, the runaway American Intelligence contractor and extract from him how the American government eavesdrops and surreptitiously monitors phone and internet communications. Calls to my folks in some northern parts of the country where a state of emergency was declared cannot get through because it appears GSM operation has been shut down in those areas. So you deny millions of innocent citizens the opportunity to communicate just because you want to stop a handful of Boko Haram members from disseminating or exchanging information. By this disingenuous move, you have overtly and/or inadvertently told the bad guys that their activities can be monitored through their phone activities. Will the disruption of phone calls in these areas last forever? The answer is No! The bad guys will simply hibernate, revert to the medieval modes of communication (human-to-human) or better still launch their nefarious activities in some other less hostile areas. Sometimes one wonders whose interest our so-called leaders are serving. Given our penchant for doing things by fiat and the reactionary mindset of our so-called gaffers, it will be unsurprising if we wake up someday and hear that Nigerians have been banned from driving cars because there was a road mishap which claimed lives. Most advanced countries are rather proactive and when incidents, one-offs, occur as they are bound to, they dig into the remote and immediate causes and plug the loophole. By acts of commission or omission, buck-passing and bootlicking have been exalted to a creed with many followers in Nigeria. Somebody robs with a motor bike in Nigeria; the solution is to ban the use of motor bikes. Somebody on a vehicle with a tinted glass commits an offence; the solution is to ban the use of vehicles with tinted glasses without necessarily looking at the raison d’être of such incidents. It was in the news recently that importation of generators to Nigeria would soon be banned. Nigeria is becoming synonymous with the word ‘ban’. Ban this, ban that, no viable solution or alternative. The last time I checked, textiles/used cloths are contraband in Nigeria yet our markets are awash with these products. The foregoing are classic examples of a tyranny of the few; a few gaffers ramming down their hogwash ideas into the throats of hapless Nigerians. A while ago, there was so much frenzy and pageantry over SIM card registration. One recalls with nostalgia long queues of people shoving one another and angling to register their SIM even under the scorching sun. It was akin to an emergency. Enter NCC’s Reuben Muoka, who says ‘‘the SIM registration exercise is an avenue to reduce crime rate in our society and also give subscribers proper identification.’’ As I write, kidnappers are still having a field day with impunity and getting their ransom money. We want the NCC to go beyond declarations and extenuate the genuine concerns and potential shortcomings of SIM card registration that will be highlighted in this piece of writing. Proponents of this ill-fated exercise bandied and juggled figures to justify their take that SIM card registration is the panacea to the unprecedented insecurity and terrorism challenges bedeviling Nigeria. This white elephant project reportedly gulped N6 billion. The National Assembly cried foul, threatened fire and brimstone, promising to investigate the SIM card registration exercise. Several months later, Nigerians are yet to hear the outcome of their investigation. From the ambit of a security analyst, my take is that the SIM card registration may just be a time bomb waiting to happen if not well reined in. To be fair, there is an iota of benefit accruable

Please send reactions and feedback for YOUTH SPEAK to:

editorial@risenetworks.org and 07067976667- SMS ONLY

Ban on unregistered SIM cards: Matters arising from such an exerof a verifiable comcise but the haphazprehensive database ard deployment of of Nigerians, which the exercise seems to other database will have made a mess of be used to reconcile it all. It appears we or interrogate that of are putting the cart the NCC? before the horse. For In view of widea start, there is need spread instances of for a well-defined multiple SIM card Data Protection registrations and Act/Law which will sales of pre-regisstipulate how pertered SIM cards by sonal information of some unscrupulous citizens should be individuals and venstored and protected dors coupled with and also penalties rampart cases of submeted out should scribers giving citizens information unverifiable inforbe compromised. mation at the point One is oblivious of of registration, the such an Act/Law in SIM card registration Nigeria as is obtainexercise is anything able in most but a success. Again advanced countries. involvement of priSo far, the right to Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission vate companies as Dr. Eugene Juwah privacy stems from Data Capture section 37 of the 1999 Consultants hamConstitution which stipulates that ‘‘the priva- pered the SIM registration exercise with its cy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, tele- resultant dire security and privacy implicaphone conversations and telegraphic communi- tions. In this age of wiki leaks, whistle blowcations are guaranteed.’’ If this section of the ing, paparazzi, phone bugging, internet surNigerian Constitution is anything to go by, it veillance monitoring, cyber warfare and behooves the NCC and telecom operators to hacking; can we confidently say that our priadhere strictly to the dictates of the spirit vate information are in safe hands? Need we and letters of this section of the say that terrorists, criminals, foreign state Constitution. On a related note, Aso Rock actors etc can hack into or bribe their way may have an uphill task convincing into such a database if it is not well encrypted Nigerians and the National Assembly on the or secured? Recall that the United States and need for an internet monitoring contract China are currently enmeshed in an unendsupposedly awarded by the present adminis- ing finger-pointing over cyber attacks. tration to Elbit Systems. Don’t forget in a jiffy that sometime last year, Sequel to the ban on unregistered SIM the personal information (house address, cards, here are some salient questions in bank account numbers etc) of serving and need of answers: What type of encryption retired Personnels of Nigeria’s State Security will be used to protect the private informa- Service (SSS) went viral online. Now imagine tion of citizens? Who manages this data- the far-reaching implications of concentratbase? Is it the telecom operators or the NCC? ing all the personal information of Nigeria’s Are there penalties for unscrupulous plus or minus 100 million mobile phone subdefaulters? Should the database be accessed scribers in one place. From the foregoing, it for any reason whatsoever, is there a sort of follows that centralising the personal infor‘chain-of-custody’ as to who accessed it, why mation-names, addresses, fingerprints, passit was accessed and on whose request? Do we port photographs, dates of births etc of all have the capability to monitor (track the pre- GSM users in a central database devoid of cise coordinates) of calls in Nigeria in Real international best practices and protection Time? It appears what obtains right now is a is, to say the least, a national disaster waiting situation where somebody ends a call before to happen. I cringed when I stumbled on a his/her geographical location can be extrap- Nigerian company offering for sale, a dataolated using the nearest phone mast. If this base of the plus or minus 100 million GSM is the case, the caller must have left the subscribers in Nigeria. scene. If one’s phone is stolen or lost and Permit me to underscore a case I had to some other person uses it to perpetrate a investigate and sort out a while ago in my crime before the owner blocks it or reports it line of professional calling to emphasize my as stolen, how will you ascertain the owner is qualms with this SIM card registration fixainnocent? Many of the pictures or photo- tion. My client remitted money into somegraphs captured by the Data Capture body’s bank account for a transaction and Consultants cannot pass the rudimentary the bloke absconded. My client did not know requirement for facial recognition. Devoid where the geezer lives or how to get hold of

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

RISE GROUP

@risenetworks

21676F3E

Published by Guardian Newspapers Limited, Rutam House, Isolo, Lagos Tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 Fax: 4489712; Advert Hotlines: Lagos 7736351, Abuja 07098513445; Circulation Hotline: 01 4489656 All correspondence to Guardian Newspapers Limited, P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. E-mail letters@ngrguardiannews.com; www.ngrguardiannews.com

Editor: MARTINS

OLOJA

.

ABC (ISSN NO 0189-5125)

him but he had the bank teller he used for the remittance. After brainstorming on viable solutions, I waltz into one of the bank branches that the runaway geezer had an account with. After deploying some ‘Social Engineering’ expertise, pronto I got the guys house address. When we finally tracked him, he thought we were ghosts. The above scenario enunciates the farreaching implication of somebody volunteering his personal information unmindful of how it can be used or accessed. The same applies to hapless Nigerians giving out their personal information under the guise of a SIM card registration that is deficient of proper checks and balances. For the record, an individual’s fingerprint is strictly PERSONAL and unique to that person. No two human beings on earth have exactly the same fingerprint. Two people can share the same blood group, genotype etc but no two human beings (identical twins inclusive) have the same fingerprint. This explains why a fingerprint is crucial in forensically linking a culprit or suspect to a crime scene. Hence, if you want me to volunteer my fingerprint for any reason, there must be a law, guideline, guaranty if you like, that spells out how my fingerprint should be kept, stored or protected so it does not fall into wrong hands. According to International best practices, the only people that have waived the right to the privacy of their fingerprints are convicted felons. The last time I checked, the United States of America and the rest of Europe did not have to waste equivalents of N6 billion on a white elephant project in the name of SIM card registration. If it were to be such a viable project, will these countries not have done it before us? Till date GSM subscribers still buy pay-as-you-go SIM cards across North America and Europe. Still reasoning from the compass of common sense, a smart criminal, say a kidnapper in Nigeria hell bent on perpetrating a crime can still easily obtain an unregistered SIM card from any neighbouring or distant foreign country, roam it and use in Nigeria. So what is this entire hullabaloo? If the above scenario is far-fetched, what happens if say a kidnapper goes to one of the nearest ubiquitous commercial phone operators, pays N20, places his call, makes his request for a ransom and waltz back to his den. Whom do you apprehend, the hapless and innocent phone operator? The registration of SIM cards may be wellintentioned. Our gripe is that it is poorly managed and the timing is wrong. The concept is not a stand-alone panacea to the hydra-headed insecurity and terrorism miasma currently bedeviling Nigerians as we are meant to believe. As a matter of fact, if not well harnessed, such an exercise may just be a national disaster in the offing. Again, if we must toe such a path, we must stick to international best practices. We must not put the cart before the horse. Devoid of an authentic Identity Card, if a SIM card subscriber registers his details as say, ‘Sani Abacha’, how will you ascertain he is not who he claims he is? It would suffice Nigeria first of all sorts out a comprehensive database of Nigerians. Perhaps the current National Identification Number (NIN) project should be given some bite and must not go the way of the previous exercise under the auspices of Afolabi, the then Minister of Internal Affairs. In addition to having comprehensive national crime databases accessible in real time by respective police forces in the nook and cranny of their homeland, the United States has a Social Security Number; the United Kingdom has a National Insurance Number. Most adults of working age in these countries have these numbers. When this number is fed into a database, it spews information about that person. The National Assembly must rise up to the occasion by articulating or fine-tuning (if one already exists) a comprehensive Data Protection Act/Law to save Nigerians and indeed themselves from the impending catastrophic miasma of the hyped SIM card registration exercise. It is also incumbent on the human right community and the Nigerian media (Print and Electronic) to take this battle up. Since the various GSM operators bankrolled the SIM card registration of their respective networks, may we humbly implore the NCC to account how they expended the N6 billion earmarked for the SIM registration exercise? Let us do away with our gung-ho knee-jerk swagger to issues of strategic national interest and come up with thoughtful lasting solutions. I am a die-hard adherent of superior argument/reason; I beseech the NCC and proponents of this SIM registration phenomenon to assuage the cogent concerns of some discerning and patriotic Nigerians who have the temerity to fend against bandwagon effect. •Okereke is a Security Analyst & Consultant in Abuja


Thur 11 July 2013