TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Vol. 29, No. 12,578
Stakeholders allay fears over interest of U.S., others in shale oil By Roseline Okere and Sulaimon Salau ESPITE the rising interest in the production of shale oil in the United States (U.S.) and other countries, it may not adversely affect Nigeria’s position in oil export business, according to stakeholders. Besides, the country’s potential to produce the shale oil has also been established despite its current higher relative cost of production.
• ‘Nigeria can offer new product’ Oil shale, also known as kerogen shale, is an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced. Shale oil is a substitute for conventional crude oil. However, extracting oil from shale is costlier both financially and in terms of its environ-
mental impact than the production of conventional crude. Deposits of oil shale occur around the world, including major deposits in the U.S. Estimates of global deposits range from 2.8 to 3.3 trillion barrels (450×109 to 520×109 m3) of recoverable oil. Shale oil gains attention as a potential abundant source of
oil whenever the price of crude oil rises. At the same time, shale oil mining and processing raise a number of environmental concerns, such as land use, waste disposal, water use, waste-water management, greenhousegas emissions and air pollution. Estonia and China have well-established oil shale industries, and Brazil, Germany,
Russia also utilise oil shale. The Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), International Energy Agency and Ernst & Young believe that the discovery of shale should not be a source of worry to Nigeria. In fact, some of the oil multinationals in Nigeria believe that the market would still be intact for them, despite the alternatives of shale gas that may be available to their traditional market. Sources in some of the oil
companies said they were proud of Nigerian grade, the sweet crude which has been categorised as one of the best offers in the international market. A top official of an oil multinational that prefers anonymity explained that sweet crude is one of the best in the world and easier to refine, hence the necessary priority given to the product. He said: “Our traditional customers may have alternative CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
N’Assembly seeks absolute power to impeach President From Terhemba Daka, Abuja Bill seeking absolute A power to solely initiate and execute impeachment proceedings against a sitting President to rest with the National Assembly yesterday scaled second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives. The proposed legislation was intended to amend Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution. Though debate on the general principles of the Bill appeared tilted towards rejection as several members were of the opinion that it was not necessary, it, however, dramatically passed second reading when Deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha who presided over plenary, put the question for a voice vote proposal. Its sponsors, Emmanuel Jime, Chairman, House Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Yakubu Dogara were of the opinion that it would reCONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Illegal miners at Bukuru Dam, Jos South Local Council of Plateau State… yesterday.
Why we placed rewards on terrorists, by Washington By Chris Irekamba and Tunde Akinola (Lagos), Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Mohammed Abubakar and John Okeke (Abuja), Laolu Akande (New York) and Leo Sobechi (Abakaliki) HE United States (U.S.) yesterday explained its move to offer $23 million reward to help track down five leaders of militant groups accused of spreading terror in West Africa, with the highest sum of $7 million placed on Boko Haram leader, Abubakar
• American groups, others laud move • Govt formally proscribes Boko Haram, Ansaru • Minister, service chiefs brief Senate on emergency rule Shekau. Shekau last week called on Islamists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq to join the bloody fight to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.
The Acting Assistant Director of Diplomatic Security’s Threat Investigations Analysis Directorate, U.S. Department of State, Kurt Rice, said the rewards were to ensure
the availability of useful information on the location of the terror gangs’ leaders, which would in turn allow the citizens to live peacefully. His explanation came as
some U.S.-based groups also commended the move, having been campaigning for tougher policies against the Islamist terrorist organisation, including the outright designation of Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO. Interestingly, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday formally proscribed the two
Suspected herdsmen kill 25 in Nasarawa - Page 7
major Islamist terrorist organisations in the country, Boko Haram and Ansaru, and authorised the gazetting of an order declaring their activities illegal and acts of terrorism. Jonathan’s order, which has been gazetted as the Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice 2013 affects both Boko Haram (Jamaatu AhlisSunna Liddaawati Wal Jihad) and another group, Jama’atu CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Govt proscribes Boko Haram, Ansaru CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan, pursuant to Section 2 of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 (As Amended). A statement last night by the Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the new law officially brings the activities of both groups within the purview of the Terrorism Prevention Act and any person associated with them could now be legally prosecuted and sentenced to penalties specified in the Act. Moreover, the Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, and other service chiefs were at the Senate yesterday to give situation report on the state of emergency declared last month in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states. Obada, who came with only the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa’ad
Ibrahim, as the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and Chief of Army Staff (CAS) were on other national assignments, told lawmakers that anything that would bring about disunity in the country would be strictly resisted. Responding, the Chairman, Senate Joint Committee on Defence and Army, National Security and Intelligence, Navy, Air Force and the Police, George Thompson Sekib, said the committee was mandated to monitor the progress of the emergency rule and report back at regular basis. Noting that it was a monthly briefing, Sekib said the committee would study the report. Rice spoke yesterday during a teleconference on new U.S. counter-terrorists initiative for West African nations. Beside the $7 million on Shekau, he said, “what we are looking for is fruitful information that will
lead to the location of AQIM leader, Yahya Abou Al-Hammam, and the current leader, Oumar Ould Hamaha. “We are trying to work with Nigeria to ensure that their environments are free from terrorists throw-out for the first time. The reward is to ensure people can give us information that will lead to the apprehension of these leaders of terrorists.” He added: “Anyone with useful information that could lead to the arrest of these terrorists can visit our website www.rewards4justice.com or email@example.com, or the person can visit the U.S. consulate.” On their part, America-based Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) said the bounty on the terrorists was an encouraging development. CANAN President, Dr. James Fadele, said yesterday: “We want to commend the new U.S. Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, for this decision in the hope that this move is an indication of greater forthrightness in dealing with the bane of terrorism in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
“Boko Haram is a band of brutal terrorists who should be dealt with seriously, promptly and effectively to preserve the peace and stability of the West African sub-region and secure the freedom of worship of Nigerian Christians.” Similarly, Jubilee Campaign, a Washington DC-based advocacy group formed by leading Americans concerned with religious freedom, also commended the decision. Its executive director, Ann Buwalda, said in a statement yesterday: “Jubilee Campaign commends this offer of a reward by the U.S. Department of States for information leading to the capture of Shekau, a brutal terrorist responsible for the systematic effort to eradicate Christians from the north of Nigeria as well as impose Sharia law throughout the country of Nigeria. “Our data shows that Boko Haram attacks more Christians than any other targeted group. Between 2010 and 2013, Boko Haram initiated attacks against Christians 297 times, and in 2012 killed 1,726 people and injured 613 more. For U.S.-based religious freedom advocate, Emma Ogebe,
“the decision by the U.S. to name a reward for the capture of Boko Haram’s leader is no doubt an indication of the strong pressure on the Obama administration to rethink its policy in the wake of the unrelenting genocide unleashed by the terrorists.” Ogebe added: “The argument that Boko Haram is about northern poverty when the terrorists are using RPGs and anti-aircraft missiles is no longer tenable and makes a mockery of the U.S. government.” Nevertheless, most of the groups are insisting that the U.S. goes all the way to designate the group an FTO, as Fadele disclosed, “we are hopeful that the U.S. will continue to do the right thing going forward regarding Boko Haram - and that is to actually call this band of terrorists what they in fact are: a foreign terrorist organisation.” Ogebe shares his opinion, stating that while the bounty is a step in the right direction, the designation of the Islamist sect as a foreign terrorist organisation would have been the decent thing to do. Nevertheless, former mili-
tary Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, has urged Boko Haram to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue as means of resolving their grievances with the country. Abubakar spoke yesterday while receiving the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North during a courtesy call at his residence in Minna. A statement by the committee’s secretary, Esther Gonda, said that Abubakar pleaded with the group to take the opportunity of dialogue offered by government to end the suffering of people caught up in the conflict. Abubakar, however, warned the government against retribution in the event that the group accepts to dialogue. He expressed hope that with the committee, peace would return to the zone, as its members comprised people of impeccable character. He traced the crisis in the North to high level abject poverty occasioned by poor infrastructure, and advised government to address issues of electricity while strengthening the security agencies in the country.
N’Assembly seeks absolute power to impeach President CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 move “ambiguities in the process of removal of the President and the Vice President from office on allegations of gross misconduct and provide for more transparent and democratic procedure for impeachment and for other matters.” Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) elaborately provided for the procedure of impeaching the President and, or the Vice President. But proponents of the amendment Bill argued that there were a lot of defects and ambiguities in Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution. They also separately denied
the assertion that the move was targeted at impeaching President Goodluck Jonathan. Dogara, who quoted several authorities to buttress the justification of vesting the powers to impeach a sitting President exclusively on the parliament, especially in America, argued that one of the defects in the provision was the only basis to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president as enshrined in the Constitution was for “gross misconduct” which he said was not clearly defined. In Jime’s opinion, the proposed piece of legislation was intended to address constitutional challenges that the
lawmakers were finding difficult to address. Section 143(11) reads: “In this section, ‘gross misconduct’ means a grave violation or breach of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion of the National Assembly to gross misconduct.” The lawmaker also faulted the provision that the Chief Justice of the country should be the one to raise a panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against the President or the Vice President. “How can the Chief Justice, who himself is an appointee of the President be the one to set up a panel to investigate the allegations. Dogara’s submissions were
however countered by Leader of the House, Mulikat Adeola-Akande, who described the Bill as “totally undemocratic,” adding that laws are made based on specifics of any given society. “Nigerian democracy is still too young to be compared with America’s,” she said. The Deputy Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, also cautioned that impeachment proceedings are usually extreme cases which the said section had explicitly provided for, adding that the proposed amendment negates the principle of fair hearing as the House “would be the judge in its own case” rather than the arbiter it is expected to be.
Stakeholders allay fears over rising profile of shale oil CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 sources, but the quality of the products will always be there. Besides, the need for energy is a global phenomenon so it is not segmented to a certain country or a particular customer. There may be alternatives such as shale oil, but I must remind you that our product is easier to produce and easier to refine, compared to heavy crude.” Another source from a separate oil firm, who registered his displeasure over the trend in the sector, particularly on the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), believed that Nigeria could only create problems for itself, if things were not put right. He allayed the fear of a likely adverse effect of shale oil on Nigeria’s export but urged that the Federal Government must always put the industry in the right direction. “Shale oil is not really a problem to Nigeria. Losing United States market does not mean the nation could not exploit other markets. Demand for energy is growing worldwide and
we can always get markets to fit in, depending on how we position the industry,” he said. Specifically, NAPE, which revealed the level of shale oil deposit in Nigeria to The Guardian recently, believed that the hydrocarbon would not be commercially viable in Nigeria due to its high cost of exploration. President of NAPE, George Osahon, told The Guardian that the country should not fret over the exploitation of shale oil in the U.S., as the country could boast of the hydrocarbon in large quantity, but would do better in exploiting the conventional oil. Osahon stated: “The discovery of shale oil is all over the world, but the United States is the country, which has actually started the production of the commodity. Anything that happens in any part of the world in respect to energy, must affect the global energy mix. For me, there is nothing to worry about concerning the discovery of shale oil. Nigeria should not fret over this new way of oil exploitation. In fact,
we should be worried finding out way to continue to be relevant in the global oil market. “Don’t forget that when it comes to oil and gas, we have not fully exploited what we have in the country. We have so many basins in Nigeria, which have not been exploited. We have shale oil in Nigeria, which can be exploited, but the question is ‘what is the cost of exploiting a barrel of shale oil compared to the cost of exploiting conventional oil?’ What we need to do is to concentrate on exploiting the conventional oil, which is cheaper, before going into the exploitation of the more expensive shale oil.” Director, International Energy Agency, Maria van der Hoeven, said recently that new crude oil output from shale beds in North America would improve global energy supplies, but the importance of OPEC would not diminish as demand from developing countries was growing. “Given the known resources in OPEC, the importance of OPEC will not diminish, definitely
not, but trade routes will change,” Hoeven said. This assurance might allay the apprehension of Nigeria (an OPEC member) over a likely threat to its export base. The IEA scribe said that OPEC nations remained the world’s biggest producers, and while North American demand for imported oil would fall, demand from developing countries in Asia like China and India would continue to grow. According to Hoeven, Shale oil’s coming to the market complements the spare capacity held by OPEC, particularly Saudi Arabia, and this would make the market more comfortable than in the past few years “because the situation was rather tight...although the market was efficiently supplied, spare capacity was tight.” She suggested that the changing patterns now being seen in the global trade in oil would also apply to refined oil products. “We foresee a radical change in the world energy map,” she said.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
News CAN seeks Buhari’s arrest over alleged defence of Boko Haram By Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja RESIDENT of the Christian P Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor,
President Goodluck Jonathan (middle) flanked by President Nhamajo Serifo of Guinea Bissau (left) and his wife, Isolina during their visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja … yesterday.
10 Nigerian varsities to train Air Force personnel By Madu Onuorah, Abuja HE Nigerian Air Force has signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with 10 universities and five research institutions in the country towards capacity building for its personnel. The pact, the first by the military, would enable the Air Force to source slots for training its personnel locally instead of spending foreign currency to train them abroad. Among the institutions which signed the MoU are Covenant University, Otta, University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Lagos State University, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, University of Benin, Ahmadu Bello University, Yaba College of Technology, Electronic Development Institute (ELDI), Awka, National Agency for Science & Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) and the National Space Research and Development Agency, Abuja.
Bauchi Assembly relocates sitting over suspended member From Ali Garba, Bauchi OLLOWING the reinstatement of a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rifkatu Samson Danna, the House yesterday relocated its sitting to the official residence of the Speaker, Yahaya Mohammed Miya, at the GRA Bauchi. Danna, representing Bogoro Constituency, was suspended in June 2012 by the Speaker for allegedly opposing the relocation of Tafawa Balewa Local Council Headquarters to Bununu Village.
Delta council PDP suspends Orubebe, nine others By Chido Okafor (Warri) and Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu (Benin City)
• Ogbemudia tasks Jonathan on NGF crisis
HE Peoples Democratic T (PDP) in Burutu Local Council of Delta State yester-
result of petitions received from concerned PDP faithful against Orubebe and nine others. Part of the statement reads: “After a hearing, preliminary to Section 21.4 of the constitution as amended, and by the virtue of the powers conferred on us, the working committee of the party via Section 21.4 of the same constitution, we hereby place Elder Godsday Orubebe and nine cohorts on suspension. “The suspension was triggered by series of allegations of misconduct likely to cause disrepute, hatred, contempt, anti-party activities. Orubebe and the affected nine others are hereby referred to the PDP disciplinary committee in Burutu Local Government for further investigations.” While reacting to raging national issues, Ogbemudia also debunked claims by some chieftains of the PDP that Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, begged
day announced suspension of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, and nine others over alleged misconduct likely to bring about contempt, hatred and disunity in the party Meanwhile, a member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP and former governor of old Midwest Region and Bendel State, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, has cautioned that the polarisation of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) “which is becoming a reality by the activities of some governors and politicians” may backfire against his party in the 2015 presidential election. In a statement signed by the Burutu Local Council PDP chairman, Pastor Ogeibiri, secretary, and three others, after its meeting held in Burutu town, headquarters of local council yesterday, they stated that the suspension was a
to join the PDP when he was aspiring to contest the governorship of the state. Ogbemudia yesterday, during a chat with some journalists, said in an effort to bring peace to the party, “I led a delegation of myself, Senator Oyofo, Dr. Willie Ogbeide and three others to persuade Oshiomhole to come to PDP and he told us that if he comes to PDP his friends in the media will kill him. “So I was therefore embarrassed when I heard that the PDP said he came to them and they rejected him. So the answer for PDP lies in coming together, solve their problems, install internal democracy and re-organise their management to victory,” he said. On the crisis in the NGF, Ogbemudia urged President Goodluck Jonathan to remain neutral on the issue by inviting the two factions for a meeting so as to amicably resolve the issue.
has called for the arrest of former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, over his statement in which he allegedly questioned the “special treatment” given to the Niger Delta militants by the Federal Government while the Boko Haram members are being killed and their houses destroyed. Buhari was said to have made the statement while speaking on a Liberty Radio programme, Guest of the week. In a statement yesterday in Abuja, the CAN president, who described Buhari as a big security risk to Nigeria’s cooperate existence, added that the comment has not portrayed him as a national leader. He accused a former Head of State of being the prime leader of the Boko Haram sect. Oritsejafor said: “It is laughable that Buhari, an ex-Head of State, a General in the Nigerian Army who has served this country in different capacities would support Islamists who are confronting those in his constituency who are fighting to keep the nation from dismemberment. It is shocking that at a time wellmeaning Nigerians are praying for the success of our soldiers, Buhari, rather than reflect the mood of the nation in his statements and conducts, is indulging in careless statements without regard for victims of the sect’s violence who are mostly Christians. Therefore, Buhari’s comments, coming at a time Nigerians have been quite appreciative of the bold steps taken by President Goodluck Jonathan to rid the north of Nigeria’s enemies can only mean that the retired General is a fanatic.” Oritsejafor noted that “for Buhari, who has led a Brigade of troops in 1982 to repel
invading Chadian troops from the same north-eastern borders of Nigeria, the first major foreign invasion, to oppose a state of emergency when some parts of Borno and Yobe states had been occupied and the Nigerian flag replaced with theirs, burnt churches, schools, government institutions, killed innocent Christians, attacked traditional rulers and others not sympathetic to their cause, speaks volume”. According to him, “as a retired General, Buhari should have known that fights against terrorists are not mere child’s play. They are much more difficult than conventional war which he fought in 1982. If Buhari is a national leader, he should have been more concerned about the killings of innocent ones by the sect members and the success of the troops, and not that of terrorists as he has been doing”. Oritsejafor stated that the pain inflicted on Christians living in the north is too deep for us in CAN to ignore any unsavoury statement that tends to portray innocent Christians who have been killed by the sect members as the aggressors. “If the retired General is now crying out that the Boko Haram members are being killed, it can only mean that the boys intended to be used to spill the blood of monkeys and baboons on the land are being decimated by the gallant Special Forces. “For now, Buhari should be told that the time to grandstand for 2015 is not now. I, therefore, call on him and his fellow travelers to remember that we are all Nigerians, our religion and regional leanings notwithstanding. “Buhari and others of that ilk should, rather than exacerbating the problem at hand, aim to convince the sect members of the wrongfulness of their Islamisation plot,” the CAN president said.
Amaechi sues Rivers Assembly over alleged impeachment plan From Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) Seye Olumide (Lagos) and Karls Tsokar (Abuja) OVERNOR Chibuike G Amaechi of Rivers State has asked a Port Harcourt High Court to restrain 32 members of the State House of Assembly from impeaching him unconstitutionally. Meanwhile, Governor Amaechi yesterday vowed that he would not step down as the elected chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) just as he assured the NGF’s staff that their jobs are secured.
•Insists on NGF’s chair Amaechi who was last week suspended by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for purported anti-party activities, fears that there is a ploy to use five lawmakers who are loyal to a serving minister of Rivers State origin to impeach him. In a suit filed at a court presided over by Justice George Omereji, the governor who said his tenure terminates in 2015, prayed the court to restrain the lawmakers from using illegal or unconstitutional method to remove him from office.
The governor said there was a plan to use five or less than that number of lawmakers to impeach him from office in contravention of the constitutional provision which stipulates that an impeachment will only be valid if two-thirds of the state lawmakers endorsed it. Amaechi who was represented by his counsel, Mr. I. Nwafor (SAN), prayed the court to grant a perpetual injunction restraining the lawmakers led by the Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amaechree, from truncating his tenure except as prescribed by the provisions of
the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. There have been widespread speculations that the PDP intends to use five lawmakers: Evans Bipi (Ogu/Bolo Constituency); Victor Ihunwo (PHA LGA Constituency III)[ Martins Amaewhule (Obio/Akpor Constituency I); Michael Chinda (Obio/Akpor Constituency II) and Kelechi Nwogu (Omuma Constituency) to impeach Amaechi. Counsel to the five lawmakers, Mr. Chinwe Aguma, through an oral application told the court that his clients want an inde-
pendent legal representation in the matter because they do not share the same interest as the leadership of the state legislature led by the speaker. The trial Judge, Justice Omereji, after listening to parties in the matter, adjourned the case till June 18, 2013 for hearing. Governor Amaechi who was at the Secretariat yesterday in Abuja said he was a firm believer in every democratic process, saying “election was conducted, people voted, it was won and lost. That is a mandate freely given to me, I would stick to it.”
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5 , 2013
Issues in the news
Ghana’s removal of fuel subsidy spurs Nigeria’s By Roseline Okere
…Committee on fuel subsidy scam abandons report
HERE are indications that the decision by T the Ghanaian government to scrap its fuel subsidies to curb fiscal deficit saga in its budget may have elicited fresh fears for Nigerian government pursuing similar policy direction. Besides, President Goodluck Jonathan’s special committee set up to review the Ribadu report on fuel subsidy scam, may have abandoned their assignment due to pressure from some quarters to kill the report. The Guardian gathered that the Federal Government was yet to put to rest its proposed plans to end subsidies on petroleum products due to pressures from different quarters such as fuel marketers and International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to a source, with this latest development from Ghana, the government might want to consider scrapping fuel subsidies, which it has not totally given up on. The Nigeria’s 2013 budget is hinged on an expectation of oil production of 2.53 million barrels per day compared to 2.48 million barrels per day in 2012. The benchmark oil price was also left at $79 per barrel up from $72 per barrel in 2012. Also, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 6.5 per cent was projected as well as average exchange rate of N160/$. The Ghanaian government announced at the weekend that it had increased the prices on fuel between 15-20 per cent. The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) said in a statement that the decision followed a government directive to achieve full passthrough petroleum products prices in the West African cocoa, gold and oil exports. “The maximum indicative price for a litre of petrol will be GH¢2.0496 (GH¢9.22 per gallon) and the maximum indicative prices for a litre of diesel will be GH¢2.0683 (GH¢9.31 per gallon),” it quoted the statement as saying. Kerosene will now sell at 104.65 pesewas per litre, a 15 per cent rise while LPG will go for GH¢24.36 per a 12.5 kg cylinder, according to the report. The LPG price is increased by 50 per cent. A statement signed by the NPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Alex Mould, said the new prices were based on the crude oil price of $116 per barrel and an exchange rate of GHS1.89/USD. Ghana’s economy has been one of the world’s fastest growing since oil production started in 2010, but the government has struggled to steady its cedi currency and contain deficit spending. The cost of subsidies last year reached one billion cedis ($500 million) and was expected to rise to 2.4 billion cedis this year, before the NPA raised prices in February. Ghana has set a 2013 deficit target of 9 per cent of GDP. The Federal Government had announced the total removal of subsidy on petrol on January 1, 2012 without prior announcement, raising the price of a litre of the commodity to N141 from N65. The week-long mass demonstration, which followed, forced the government to partially remove the subsidy and reduced petrol price from N141 to N97 a litre. But if the government eventually removes fuel subsidy, Nigerians will be paying a minimum of N146.59 per litre of petrol at filling stations. This is based on the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency’s template, which reveals that the landing cost of a litre of petrol is currently N131.10, with total distribution margins of N15.49, thus bringing the total cost to N146.59. Over the years, there have been removals of fuel subsidy by previous governments. For example, during the Gowon regime in 1973, government raised the price of fuel from 6k to 8.45k, which represents 40.8 per cent increase. During the Murtala Mohammed administration in 1976, it went up from 8.45k to 9k, representing 0.59 per cent. Obasanjo, October 1, 1978, from 9k to 15.3k, 70 per cent; Shagari, in April 20, 1982, from 15.3k to 20k, 30.71 per cent; Babangida, March 31 1986 from 20k to 39.5k, 97.5 per cent; Babangida, April 10 1988: 39.5k to 42k, 6.33 per cent; Babangida, January 1, 1989: 42k to 60k private vehicles; Babangida, December 19, 1989: moved to uni-
Allison-Madueke, Petroleum Minister
form price of 60k, 42.86 per cent; and Babangida, March 6, 1991: 60k to 70k, 16.67 per cent. Also, during Shonekan administration on November 8, 1993, the price of fuel was increased from 70k to N5, representing 614 per cent; Abacha, November 22,1993: petrol price drops from N5 to N3.25k representing -35 per cent; Abacha, October 2,1994: N3.25k to N15, 361.54 per cent; Abacha, October 4,1994: price drops from N15 to N11, representing -26.67 per cent; Abubakar, December, 20, 1998: N11 to N25, 127.27 per cent and Abubakar, January 6,1999: N25 to N20, -20 per cent. Again, during Olusegun Obasanjo administration on June 1, 2000, the fuel pump price was raised from N20 to N30, representing 50 per cent increase; Obasanjo, June 8, 2000: Petrol price reduced to N22 , -10 per cent; Obasanjo, January 1, 2002: N22 to N26, 18.18 per cent; Obasanjo, June to October, 2003: N26 to N42, 23.08 per cent; Obasanjo, May 29, 2004: N50, 19.05 per cent; Obasanjo, August 25, 2004: N65, 30 per cent; Obasanjo, May 27, 2007: N75. 15.38 per cent; Yar’Adua, June 2007, it went down to N65 representing a 15.38 per cent reduction and in Ebele Goodluck Jonathan on January 1, 2012 increased fuel price to N141 and later reduced it to N97. Meanwhile, indications emerged at the weekend, that President Goodluck Jonathan’s special committee set up to review the Ribadu report on fuel subsidy scam, have abandoned their assignment due to pressure from some quarters to kill the report. The Guardian gathered that President Jonathan seems not to be disturbed by the failure of the committee to meet the two weeks deadline given to the members of the committee in November 2, last year to produce a draft white paper. A source from the presidency, which spoke with The Guardian at the weekend, said that the committee, which has virtually all the
ministers as members, has not done much to produce the draft white paper. According to the source, it is clear that government has succumbed to pressure to ensure that the real truth from the report is not revealed. The Guardian gathered that there have been serious lobbying from those implicated in the report so as to avoid disgrace from the findings of the special committee. The source disclosed that the committee constituted was having disagreement among themselves concerning what should be recommended to the government. “There are al-
The source disclosed that the committee constituted was having disagreement among themselves concerning what should be recommended to the government. There are already discordant tunes among the members of the committee on what should be recommend and what should not be recommend. So, coming out with the recommendations is already being obstructed with this. President Jonathan has also lost interest in the report, which is the reason he is not pressuring the committee to submit the report. I must tell you that the report has died a natural death
ready discordant tunes among the members of the committee on what should be recommend and what should not be recommend. So, coming out with the recommendations is already being obstructed with this. President Jonathan has also lost interest in the report, which is the reason he is not pressuring the committee to submit the report. I must tell you that the report has died a natural death”, he said. It will be recalled that the president constituted three committees to prepare draft white papers on reports of special task forces on petroleum, refineries and governance. This was in line with his earlier vow to fully implement the Nuhu Ribadu’s Special Petroleum Task Force committee’s report. The committees, according to a statement by Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, are to prepare the draft white paper for consideration by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) within two weeks. The statement noted the action is in furtherance of the president’s “declared commitment to doing all within his powers to ensure greater accountability, probity and transparency in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry”. The White Paper Committee on the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force report, which was submitted by Nuhu Ribadu, was chaired by the Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu with the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, Minister of State, FCT, Jumoke Akinjide and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs II, Nurudeen Mohammed as members. The White Paper Committee on the report of the Governance and Controls Special Task Force was chaired by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ama Pepple. Other members of the committee are Minister of State, Defence, Olusola Obada; Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, and Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bukar Tijani.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Issues in the news
move to increase price of petroleum products
Oil rig The White Paper Committee on the report of the National Refineries Special Task Force has Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Sada as chairman, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina, Minister of State for Health, Muhammad Pate and Minister of State for Education, Ezenwo Nyeson Wike as members. Reacting to this development, the Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf told The Guardian that the inability of the committee to produce the white paper after several months showed that the government was no longer interested in investigating fuel subsidy scam in the country. Yusuf stated: “It is not surprising that the white paper on the Ribadu report is yet to see the light of day. Given the totality of the circumstances and the ramifications of the issues and the personalities it is doubtful whether there would be white
The Federal Government had announced the total removal of subsidy on petrol on January 1, 2012 without prior announcement, raising the price of a litre of the commodity to N141 from N65. The week-long mass demonstration, which followed, forced the government to partially remove the subsidy and reduced petrol price from N141 to N97 a litre. But if the government eventually removes fuel subsidy, Nigerians will be paying a minimum of N146.59 per litre of petrol at filling stations. This is based on the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency’s template, which reveals that the landing cost of a litre of petrol is currently N131.10, with total distribution margins of N15.49, thus bringing the total cost to N146.59.
paper. First, there was an issue with the composition of the committee. Some members of the committee cannot be expected to be unbiased because of vested interests. “Secondly, it is impossible to do a thorough investigation of such a strategic institution when the key players that were being investigated were still on their seats. “Thirdly, the committee was not a team. They were pulling in different directions with divergent agenda and there was no way it could have produced a credible report. “The fact that the committee members could disagree in the presence of Mr. President and in the full glare of the public has far reaching implications. “Evidently, the committee did not get the desired cooperation from the key agencies that were to supply vital information. With all these, it is difficult to go forward with the report. It is doubtful whether the government is ready to do a thorough investigation of the oil and gas sector”. Also, the Task Force on Refineries led by Kalu Idika Kalu, suggestions to the Federal Government on how to turn around the country’s refining industry has not been worked upon. The task force gave both short and long term measures in the effort to make the refineries work. In the interim, it wants a new offshore refining scheme to be initiated. “NNPC currently receives 445,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Of this, only a fraction is refined locally. We propose that the total balance of the unrefined crude should be refined by a new independent arrangement to meet the national demand of the regulated products (PMS and DPK). “In this regard therefore, the NNPC refineries should be supplied only crude that they can refine. An accountable specialist team should be instituted within NNPC to implement the scheme, based on clearly defined governance and operating guidelines,” the task force advised. It suggested changes in the ownership structure and business model of the refineries in order to turn them around. It is recommended that the federal government should relinquish control of the operation and management of the refineries by divesting a majority of its 100 per cent equity to competent, resourceful and experienced refining private partner(s) in accordance with the Public (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Enterprises Act 1991. It wants this privatisation process to be accelerated in an aggressive but workable time frame, which should culminate
in the transfer of majority ownership and operatorship of the refineries to experienced and capable partners within 18 months. NRSTF advised that the plan for full rehabilitation of the plants should be discontinued.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
6 | NEWS
Edo PDP, govt bicker over NUT strike From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City
HE Edo State chapter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday accused the state government of not showing the required concern on the fate of pupils in public schools on the ongoing strike action by the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT). In a statement issued yesterday and signed by the state chairman of the party, Dan Orbih, the Edo PDP also accused the state government of paying 17 per cent instead of the 27 and a half per cent approved under the Teachers Salary Scheme (TSS) just as it said the state government deployed National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members and touts to conduct last weekend’s primary school leaving certificate examination. However, in a swift reaction yesterday, Commissioner for Basic Education, Patrick Agwenede told The Guardian that the PDP was suspected to be behind the strike, as “All the other states in the strike are not paying the percentage while we are paying 17 per cent of the amount. They were in government and they could not do anything. We became convinced because we have called the NUT for discussions twice, last Friday at 11 p.m. and even yesterday (Monday) but they did not honour the invitation so we have directed that they should go back to class while negotiation continues and we are taking inventory of those reporting for duty. The PDP should know that basic education covers primary school
to JSS 3 and the said examination included public schools so when the primary school teachers refused to supervise the examination we used teachers from Junior Secondary School.” Orbih said the state government has continued to play the proverbial ostrich, not minding that the future of hundreds of thousands of school children was at stake. “It is shameful that the Edo State government cannot meet up with such basic financial obligations such as payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances. For the records, Edo State government was paying 17 per cent to teachers, instead of the 27 and half percent approved by the TSA. “Even the paltry 17 per cent is now proving to be too much financial burden for an apparently broke state government. What is more, the ACN-led Edo State govern-
ment, in a bid to cut financial corners, has in the last five years halted the promotion of teachers and other civil servants,” the statement said. The party noted that it was ironic that a product of labour union such as Gover-
nor Adams Oshiomhole “is the same person that has consistently treated workers in the state with disdain and apathy,” The party added that the demands of the teachers in the state “are not only fair and le-
gitimate, but capable of fostering the much needed government-labour industrial harmony in Edo State,” calling on the Edo State government to immediately meet the demands of the striking teachers.
Chairman, Campaign for Democracy, Lagos State, Peter Bach (left); Mike Falola; Bola Olanrewaju, Chairman, Campaign for Democracy southwest, Goodluck Obi; Basirat Alaka and Kudirat Abiola Associate, Aminat Irawo at the memorial of late Kudirat in Lagos … yesterday. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN
Curator seeks more youth participation in culture From: Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin HE Curator of National MuT seum, Esie, Kwara State, Mrs. Omowumi Mopelola has canvassed involvement of more youth in museum management in the country. Mopelola said yesterday at the celebration of this year National Muzeum Day at Esie that the only thing that could help in the preservation of people’s culture remained the involvement of the youth in the keeping of all the nation’s museums.
For her, the strength of any country lies more in her future, warning that all the antiquities gathered over the years as monument could be lost if the youth are not interested in them. She said, “Our gathering today is to celebrate, appreciate and to create a forum for interaction among our children from different socio-cultural and economic background as well as to encourage them to imbibe values inherent in our tradition. “You will agree with me that
the children are our legacy and future generation. They need care, affection, love as well as to inculcate in them positive values that will make them useful and responsible to themselves and the society at large. If their interest in what we are doing is not sustained, then it will be an exercise in futility.” The National Commission for Museum and Monuments is an agency of the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, statutorily established for the preservation and promotion of Nigerian culture. The curator added, “The children are the major targeted segment of Nigerian populace with the realization that are going to inherit our legacies. “This programme is aimed at developing the children as well as spurring them towards our cultural values that unite us as people with common destiny.” The zenith of the Esie event, equally packaged to mark the Children Day was a painting
competition tagged “A World Without Pneumonia”. Children and youth from over 20 post primary schools across the existing 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state participated in the competition. They demonstrated their artistic prowess and creativity on the theme. Eminent fine art teachers used as judges were selected from various schools. The panel of judges moderated and guided the students throughout the keenly contested painting competition. At the end, five winners emerged representing five schools. They were given prizes to serve as incentive for future participation. The day also witnessed essay competition and display of the nation’s rich cultural heritage as with the children dressed in various traditional outfits. Esie was the first Nigeria Museum established in 1945 by the colonial government to house the soap stone sculptures that were brought to limelight in 1933.
Senate confirms Okiro as Police Service Commission boss From Bridget Chiedu Onochie and Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
• Drops Otive Igbuzor
HE Senate yesterday confirmed the appointment of former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, as the chairman of Police Service Commission. But Dr. Otive Igbuzor was not that lucky as the upper legislative chamber turned down his nomination. Not even the timely intervention of the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, could appease the legislators over the nominee. Meanwhile, five other nominees were confirmed members of the Commission. They include retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Yakubu Mohammed representing North West Zone; Hon. Justice Olufunke Adekeye (South West); Aisha Larai Tukur (North East); Mrs. Comfort Obi (South East) and Chief Torngee Gem Toranyiin (North Central). Igbuzor, a human rights activist, was a can-
didate representing South/South geo-political zone. The nomination of sevenmember Police Service Commission, which was sent to the Senate by President Goodluck Jonathan, early May for consideration, was referred to the Committee on Police Affairs for screening. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Paulinus I. Nwagwu (Ebonyi Central), while submitting his report, told the Senate that approval of former Police boss, Okiro and retired Deputy I.G. Yakubu, was necessary to enable them bring their past experiences to bear on the organisation. Nwagwu was reacting to Senate President’s question on what he felt Okiro could do to improve the Police Force as a Police Service Commission boss that he had no opportunity of doing when he was serving as the Inspector General of Police.
WOWe holds confab for women entrepreneurs June 20, 21 HE first conference organised by Women of West T Africa in Entrepreneurship (WOWe) will take place on Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21 at Eko Hotel, Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos with workshops holding on Saturday, June 22 at the Wheatbaker Hotel 4 Opitolo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. The objective of the WOWe conference is to raise the profile of excellence in entrepreneurship to Nigerian women between 18-40, as well as and promote young upcoming female entrepreneurs. The key aim is to make entrepreneurship accessible to women through social media, interactive panels, Q&A sessions and participation from young upcoming female entrepreneurs. Launched on March 1, 2013, WOWe was created to meet the needs of Nigeria’s ‘missing middle’, young educated African women who are driven to start in business but face significant challenges in competing with their male counterparts. Few weeks after it was launched, WOWe has garnered wide support from the female business community in Nigeria, connecting a landmark 10, 000 members in less than four weeks. Entrepreneur and WOWe member, Victoria Benedicta Okpanachi says, “I have waited a long time for this kind of organisation. If more women get empowered in Nigeria things will get better. A doctoral student, entrepreneur and WOWe member, Tosin Alabi says: “I get inspiration, especially from the stories of other women who have succeeded in their own businesses. These success stories reassure you that with hard work you can also succeed. It is not just a community for me anymore, it’s a family of successful female entrepreneurs who encourage and support each other.”
Activists remember Kudirat, make case for women in politics By Tunde Akinola CTIVISTS and pro democracy groups have reiterated A the imperatives of recognising the roles and the inclusion of Nigerian women in the country’s democratic process. At an event organised in Lagos yesterday by Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Campaign for Democracy (CD) and Women Arise (WA) to mark the 17th anniversary of the assassination of pro democracy activist, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, activists demanded that women and other marginalised groups be given their rightful place in the country’s democracy. Daughter of the slain activist and founder of KIND, Hafsat Abiola-Costello said perhaps more than the other sex, women in Nigeria had borne the brunt of the hollow political pact that the post-colonial state has been able to fashion out with the Nigerian people. Abiola-Costello, also Special Adviser on Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to Ogun State Governor said: “In terms of social services, access for women and girls are worse than that of men and boys. In parts of the country, about 1, 500 women die for every 100,000 babies born, more than five times the global average...’’
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
N’Assembly urged to pass disability bill
25 feared killed by gunmen in Nasarawa
From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo
CALL has gone to memA bers of the National Assembly, to as a matter of urgency, pass the National Disability Bill into law. The call, which came from the Special Education Centre for the Handicapped in Gassol Local Council of Taraba State, during a oneday workshop organised by the Anglo-Nigerian Welfare Association for the Blind (ANWAB), also stressed the need for President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the Bill into law as soon, as it is passed by the members. A communiqué, signed by chairman of the association, Augustine Bulus and secretary, Sarauniya Daniel, stated that the Bill, if passed into law, would bring succour to persons living with disability in the state and the country at large.
Anambra emergency call centre begins operations From Chuks Collins, Awka
HE new pilot National Emergency Call Centre in Awka, Anambra State capital, has commenced full operations with a round-the-clock service. Two of such centres - Awka and Minna, have been approved as pilot centres to take calls for the southern and northern zones in the country. The southern zone centre in Awka, which has commenced operations, is to take emergency calls to/from the South-East, South-South and SouthWest zones while the northern zone centre in Minna takes calls to/from NorthCentral, North-East and North-West geopolitical zones.
Nekede Poly holds convocation tomorrow HE Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, will tomorrow hold its 17th convocation at the school premises. An interdenominational church service was held on June 2 as part of the pre-convocation ceremony, Among other activities lined up as part of the convocation is a lecture entitled: “Democracy and Good Governance: An Imperative for Political Stability and Economic Development”, which will be delivered by the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa, Prof. B.C.E. Egboka. The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’I, will commission new projects in the institution.
Iseyin Grammar School Old Students meet June 8 HE meeting of the 1981 set T of Iseyin District Grammar School Old Students’ Association holds on Saturday, June 8, 2013. Agenda: IDGS Golden Jubilee (50th) Anniversary of the school in January 2014. Venue is Gloryview Hotel, No. 6c, Adenuga Street, Kongi, Old Bodija, Ibadan.
By Msugh Ityokura, Lafia T least 25 people were killed in Rukubi village in Doma Local Council of Nasarawa State yesterday when gunmen believed to be Fulani herdsmen invaded the area attacked the residents. But other sources said it was a clash between Tiv and Agatu farmers living in the area. The police were said not to be forthcoming with information on the matter as the command’s public relations officer was said to be attending a workshop in Makurdi, the Benue State capital. Efforts to get the Commissioner of Police, Umar Shehu, also failed. Several people were said to
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (middle); Chief of Standard and Evaluation, Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal Salihu Abubakar (third right) with heads of 14 universities and heads of research agencies after the signing of memorandum of understanding on research development in Abuja…yesterday
Agency presents old report on Dana air crash as new By Wole Shadare DAY after the first anA niversary of the Dana air crash, the much awaited report on the accident was released yesterday by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB). But against the expectation of Nigerians, particularly relations of the victims, the newly released interim report was observed to be a rehearse of the preliminary report earlier released by the same agency three months after the accident. Curiously, a perusal of the interim report only echoed what was contained in the earlier report without anything new to justify the long and tortuous wait. The only significant difference between the first and second report is the tag of “Preliminary” and “Interim” attached as labels to the two reports. Meanwhile, with activities
marking one year anniversary of June 3, 2013 plane crash over, attention has now shifted to the release of the final report of the accident that claimed 157 lives in a densely populated IjuIshaga, a suburb of Lagos. Stakeholders and some families of the victims said the only way to assuage Nigerians of the loss in the ‘avoidable’ accident is for the authorities to make public the final report of Flight 0992 and not to ‘sweep it under the carpet’ like the previous ones that were released many years after the crashes. Many are worried that Nigerians may not know the actual cause of the crash because of past experience, which would have helped to prevent reoccurrence. Following huge pressure, the AIB had, after being given the green light by the Ministry of Aviation in February this year, released 32 accident reports, some dat-
ing back to the era of Nigeria Airways and many other accidents that occurred more than 20 years ago, thereby preventing the agencies and the public from knowing what happened. Also released were reports of Bellview, Sosoliso and ADC crashes that occurred eight and seven years ago respectively. In a statement yesterday, Spokesman for AIB, Tunji Oketunbi said: “This interim statement explains the Bureau’s efforts at getting to the bottom of the tragic occurrence and steps taken to improve aviation safety is therefore expected to be read along with the earlier report”. According to him, “the fundamental objective of the bureau is to improve aviation safety by determining the circumstances and causes of air accidents and serious incidents and making safety recommendations intended to
prevent future reoccurrence of similar accidents in future. It is a no blame exercise”. The investigation of Dana Air 992, he noted, proceeded on schedule and as planned with the objective of preventing similar accidents in accordance with the accident investigation protocols of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. He noted that accordingly, the Bureau as the representative of the state of occurrence has been developing the facts, conditions, and circumstances surrounding the accident. He disclosed that the investigative activities had included the full participation of the State of Manufacture/Design represented by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and U.S. Technical Advisors, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the Boeing Company, and Pratt & Whitney Engines.
have also sustained gunshot injuries in the attack, which happened at about 5:30 a.m. Women and children who were asleep at the time the hoodlums invaded the community were mostly affected. Reasons for the attack were not immediately ascertained. The incident was said to be a result of harbouring of Fulani herdsmen by the Agatu ethnic nationality to sustain their attack on Tiv farmers whose attempts to resettle in their ancestral homes have been resisted by the herdsmen and their “collaborators” since the outbreak of the crisis that affected mostly the Ekye development area in Doma Local Council. Rukubi, the affected community which is dominated by the Agatu people, is allegedly said to be a safe haven for the herdsmen as they are shielded by the Agatu, who dominate the area, to carry out their nefarious crimes. It was learnt that findings revealed that mercenaries were hired by some individuals to sack the Tiv farmers in the area. About 18,000 farmers, mostly the Eggon and Tiv, are still taking refuge at different communities across the state following alleged persistent invasion of their communities by the Fulani. President of Tiv Youth Organisation in the state, Peter Igbacher Kwembe, who condemned the incident, dismissed the allegation that the attack was carried out by the Tiv people, pointing out that his kinsmen have been forced out of their ancestral homes for over two years. The allegation, according to him, was calculated to further hurt the Tiv people and give them a bad name in order to hang them and make the people a subject of hate.
Lagos ACN faults minister over alleged non-performance From Niyi Bello, Akure N reaction to the Federal IonGovernment’s statement Monday that the administration of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola was doing nothing significant in Lagos, the state chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described the Minister for Information, Labaran Maku, as a disoriented wayfarer and a serial blackmailer who has ridiculed the Information Ministry with his attempt to extort states for a phantom good governance tour when he had done nothing to lift the Ministry of Information above the said position of purveyors of infantile propaganda. In a release signed by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Joe Igbokwe, the party said that it is ridiculous for a so-called Information Minister to demonstrate this low level of opinion about a globallylauded government, just because Lagos refused to entertain the kind of banality Maku and his ilk have employed to extort states in
• No crisis in Ondo party, says Boroffice • ‘Gang-up shows Ajimobi is formidable’ the name of good governance jamboree. The party said that Lagos State government exists for the people of Lagos who know and appreciate the value of good governance and not pay-for-hire jobbers like Maku. In Ondo State, ACN chieftain and senator representing Ondo-North in the upper legislative chamber, Robert Ajayi Boroffice, said yesterday that there is no leadership crisis rocking the state. Stressing that the Ondo ACN state is very strong, united and growing by the day, the senator, who was once eyeing the gubernatorial seat on the platform of the party, said the party is being positioned to take over the state administration. Boroffice’s clarification is coming on the heels of his inauguration of the All Progressive Congress (APC) merger committee in the state, which was kicked against by the state execu-
tive of the party. Boroffice declared: “I was given the mandate to midwife the process of bringing all the parties involved in the merger process, being the highest political office holder in the Ondo ACN by the national leadership of the party at a meeting recently and there was a communiqué to that effect. But the state executive of the party, through its publicity secretary, Rotimi Agbede, who felt slighted for not being carried along in the merger talk, disowned the senator. The Oyo State chapter of the ACN has said that if it needs any other indicator that the party and its governor, Abiola Ajimobi’s, ratings had risen to a formidable level, it was the political gang-up of his ex-co aspirants in the April 2011 elections who were former governors of the state. The party made this known in a reaction issued by its state Publicity Secretary, Mr.
Dauda Kolawole. According to the people, the gang-up had shown the political desperation of the two former governors and an admission of the fact that, individually, they cannot face Ajimobi and the ACN in the 2015 elections. “We are very happy about this gang-up. Wonders indeed can never end. That these two strange bedfellows, who had, a while ago, fought a titanic battle to destroy each other, one releasing details of the corruption of the other while in government and the other telling the world that his successor was crass illiterate, could come together to fight Ajimobi shows that our governor is now a mighty Iroko tree that these two gladiators needed to come together to fell. But, combined, the two cannot measure up,” the ACN said. The party said that, against the thinking of the two former governors, politics in Oyo State had moved beyond brickbats, hatred, personal animosities and selfish ego gang-up. Igbokwe, in his reaction, said Governor Fashola’s re-
fusal to honour Maku’s tour of folly remains the reason why Maku made the nonsensical statement that Governor Fashola is doing nothing when every other opinion is otherwise. “Ordinarily, we would not be drawn to join issues with Maku because he does not know what good governance is and will never recognise one, if he comes in contact with it. We know that Maku is merely vending sour grapes because the Lagos State government saw through his folly of organising a programmed revelry in the name of good governance tour.” One would have expected a parodist like Maku to come to Lagos to unveil the new Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the new LagosAbeokuta Expressway, the new Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the new Airport Road, the new Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, the modern stateof-the-art schools, hospitals, modern railways, among other, which his government has fixed with the 52 per cent monthly allocation it corners.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
AfricanNews Burundi approves new controversial media law RESIDENT Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi yesterday approved a controversial media law that infringes on press freedoms, much to the dismay of media watchdogs and rights groups. “His excellency has just promulgated the media law,” presidential spokesman Leonidas Hatungimana told AFP. Eric Manirakiza, director of a local private radio station African Public Radio (RPA) said the news was a “dark day for press freedom”. “But we will continue to fight,” he said. “We will not
accept what amounts to a very serious step backwards for democracy in Burundi,” he told AFP. Reporters Without Borders also said in a statement that the new law marks a “black day for freedom of information in Burundi.” “The country has gone backwards more than 20 years,” it added. Introduced by the ruling CNDD-FDD, which has more than 80% of the seats in the lower house of parliament, the law was adopted by the National Assembly on April 29 and then sent to Nkurunziza for approval.
WFP set to distribute food aid to Somalis NITED Nations’ (UN) U World Food Programme (WFP) has received food aid worth $553,000 for distribution to about 1.5 million vulnerable families in Somali capital, Mogadishu, Xinhua reported yesterday. WFP’s Somalia Country Director Stefano Porretti said the UN agency received more than 220 tonnes of dates from the Saudi Arabia government for distribution through its hot meal centres in Mogadishu. “These dates will be a nutri-
tious supplement to the diet of the most vulnerable in Mogadishu. WFP Somalia is grateful for the continued support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Porretti said during the ceremony held in Nairobi. “Following the famine declaration in 2011, Saudi Arabia contributed 48 million to WFP’s Somalia operation,” he said. The consignment is part of a donation of 4,000 tonnes of dates from Saudi Arabia to WFP operations in various countries.
Anger as Egyptian court jails 43 NGO workers N Egyptian court yesterday A sentenced 43 Egyptian and foreign non-governmental organisation (NGO) workers to jail terms ranging from one to five years for working illegally, causing outrage abroad and raising fears for the future of civil society work in Egypt. A report by Agence France Presse (AFP) indicated that the sentences follow trials which came in the wake of raids in 2011 on the offices of foreign NGOs, many which had operated without licences under ousted President Hosni Mubarak but which the new authorities deemed were receiving funds illicitly. The Cairo criminal court sentenced 27 defendants in absentia to five years. Five defendants who were present in the country, including one American, were sentenced to two years behind bars and ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 Egyptian pounds (around $143.) The remaining 11 defendants were each given one-year suspended sentences, an AFP reporter in court said. Another report by Xinhua stated that the court also ordered suspension of the operation of all the NGOs that have received foreign funds, closure
of their headquarters and branches, and confiscation of their documents and assets. Egyptian security forces raided some NGO offices in December 2011 and confiscated materials as part of an investigation into their alleged illegal funding from foreign countries. In February last year, the trial of the defendants, including a son of a senior U.S. official, started over charges of working for unregistered and foreign funded organisations. These include U.S.-based NGOs Freedom House, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, as well as the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The defendants, who were charged with receiving illicit foreign funds and operating without a licence, have said they will appeal the sentences. The verdict caused an outcry abroad, with Germany express-
ing anger. “We are outraged and deeply concerned over the stiff judgments against staff of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Cairo and the ordered closure of the office,” said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in a written statement.
“The action by the Egyptian justice is alarming. It weakens civil society as an important pillar of democracy in a new democratic Egypt,” he said. Also, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voiced concern about the sentences handed down by the Cairo, denouncing it as a “politically-motivated” trial.
Pistorius’ trial postponed to August 19 SOUTH Africa court yesterA day postponed the murder trial of sport star, Oscar Pistorius, until August 19. Pistorius showed up in the court for a brief pre-trial hearing and magistrate Daniel Thulare decided to postpone the trial, Xinhua reported. The athlete, 26, was charged with murder after he allegedly shot girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines’ Day. Pistorius, dubbed the Blade
Runner, was a Paralympic champion who was also the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied competitors at the London Olympics last year. However, his older brother was acquitted of charges of culpable homicide and reckless driving yesterday over a deadly road crash five years ago. Carl Pistorius, 28, walked free from Vanderbijlpark Magistrate’s Court, south of Johannesburg.
Malian army prepares to take key rebel-held town ALIAN troops were preparM ing yesterday to re-take a key regional capital occupied by Tuareg separatist rebels who have refused to allow the entry of the country’s army or government ahead of nationwide elections. Troops have been mobilised in four “battle groups” to enter the northern city of Kidal and “close in around” the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), an armed group formed by separatists from the country’s Tuareg minority, army spokesman Souleymane Maiga told Agence France Presse (AFP). The move came after a suicide
bomber blew himself up at the house of an MNLA commander in Kidal, the scene of a number of attacks since it was occupied by Islamist militants and then the MNLA after a military coup last year. A French-led military offensive launched in January succeeded in ending a year-long occupation of the desert north by al Qaedalinked armed Islamist groups, ousting them from urban areas. But Islamist attacks, usually targetting Malian soldiers and African forces deployed to the north, persist. Seven people were killed in a suicide bombing in Kidal in February, and three soldiers
from Chad died in another attack there in April. “It was exactly 10.20 a.m. (1020 GMT) when we heard the explosion,” Moussa Ag Ibidas, a local aid worker, told Reuters. “When we arrived, there was just human debris left. We couldn’t even identify the body. His bomb must have been poorly programmed, or he made a false move,” he said. Witnesses said the explosion occurred near the Kidal home of an MNLA officer and not far from the former residence of Iyad Ag Ghaly, the leader of Islamist group Ansar Dine. But it was unclear what the bomber had intended to target.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
WorldReport Queen Elizabeth II marks coronation anniversary with church service UEEN Elizabeth II contin- Prince William and his heav- Philip, 91, who was at her side holy oil with which the Q ued activities marking ily pregnant wife Catherine. despite pulling out of a pub- queen was anointed at the The bells of the abbey lic engagement on Monday coronation. the 60th anniversary of her coronation yesterday with a service at Westminster Abbey filled with references to the rainy day in 1953 when she was crowned. Agency reports stated that more than 2,000 guests crammed into the abbey for the service, attended by all the senior members of the royal family, including
pealed as the queen’s Bentley drew up and she stepped out into the bright sunshine to enter the church where as a 27-year-old she became queen of Britain and head of the Commonwealth. The 87-year-old monarch, in an oyster-coloured outfit by Angela Kelly, was accompanied by her husband, Prince
because of ill-health. The solid gold St Edward’s Crown, glittering with jewels, was displayed on the high altar of the abbey – the first time it has left the Tower of London since the coronation. Also placed on the altar was the Ampulla, the gold, eagleshaped flask containing the
Prince Charles, the heir to the throne who was just four when his mother was crowned, sat next to his parents on the front row, alongside his second wife, Camilla. Next to them sat William and Catherine, who wore a daisy lace dress and a peach silk jacket by British designer Jenny Packham.
Queen Elizabeth II (left)and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh look on during a service to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey in London … yesterday. PHOTO: AFP
U.S. blacklists front companies of Iran’s leaders NITED States (U.S.) governU ment has identified and blacklisted what it called a “major network of front companies” serving Iran’s leadership. According to the U.S. Treasury, the 37 companies under The Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order both pull in money from state business for the leaders and work to circumvent international sanctions on the regime. “EIKO and its subsidiaries – one that manages and controls EIKO’s international front companies, and another
that manages billions of dollars in investments – work on behalf of the Iranian Government and operate in various sectors of the Iranian economy and around the world, generating billions of dollars in profits for the Iranian regime each year,” the U.S. Treasury said. In addition, it said, a key mission of EIKO is to assist the government in circumventing U.S. and international sanctions. “Because of this unique mission, EIKO has received all of the funding it needs to facili-
tate transactions through its access to the Iranian leadership.” The U.S. treasury identified the network for sanctions under a 2012 White House executive order that permits the freezing of any assets held by the Iranian leadership in the United States. It said EIKO, established about 10 years ago to manage the investments of Iran’s leadership, works through two main holding companies, Tadbir Economic Development Company and Tosee Eqtesad Ayandehsazan or TEACO.
Tadbir holds investments in banking, construction, energy, while TEACO was established three years ago to help the regime skirt sanctions through its network of operating companies in central Europe, Germany, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, “To maintain the appearance of being a private company, TEACO is ostensibly owned by private Iranian businessmen and investors; however TEACO’s board members were all chosen by EIKO,” the Treasury said.
‘Syrian conflict has hit new level of brutality’ Turkish military returns fire after shots from Damascus NITED Nations (UN) U Commission of Inquiry yesterday disclosed that Syria’s war has reached “new levels of brutality”, with evidence of fresh suspected massacres, sieges and violations of children’s rights. According to the global body, children have been taken hostage or forced to watch torture, while others have been killed while fighting. Moreso, it added that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe chemical weapons have been deployed. Surprisingly too, it urged foreign powers not to increase the availability of arms in Syria. The issue of arms has been
high on the international agenda of late, with the European Union (EU) lifting an embargo on the sale of arms to Syria while Russia has insisted it is going ahead with the sale of an advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system to Syria. But yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the contract had not yet been fulfilled and Russia did not want to “disturb the balance in the region”. He said he was “disappointed” by the EU move. The Turkish army returned fire after shots were fired at military targets from across the border with Syria, the military said in a statement Tuesday.
“A group on the Syrian side of the border fired 60 shots at an armoured personnel carrier and tactical vehicles... which was reciprocated in kind” late on Monday, it said, adding that there was no damage or casualties. The Syrian shots targeted a military post in the Narlica region of Hatay province near the Syrian border, it added. The Turkish army fired 50 shots in return, according to the army statement published online. Turkey, a former ally of Damascus, has become one of the fiercest critics of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime after his deadly crackdown on a popular uprising erupted in March 2011. It backs the rebels fighting against him and some
400,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Turkish soil. Monday’s shooting followed similar exchanges of fire last week. Meanwhile, a civilian died when shells exploded near the Russian embassy in Damascus, according to the United Kingdom (UK)-based activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Russia is an ally of President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian rebels have targetted the embassy several times since the uprising against his regime began two years ago. The international powers are struggling to set a date for a peace conference on Syria, where the conflict is believed to have cost at least 80,000 lives.
Floods wreak havoc, force mass evacuations in central Europe ITH death toll hitting 10, W rising rivers menaced swaths of Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria yesterday, as floodwaters inundated historic cities and forced mass evacuations of low-lying areas. A report by the Cable News Network (CNN) claimed that the floods are feared to be the worst since 2002, when parts of Germany and the Czech Republic were devastated and communities in Austria, Slovakia, Russia and Romania were affected. As at yesterday, seven deaths have been reported in the Czech Republic, while southern and eastern areas of Germany, including Bavaria and Saxony, are also badly impacted by recent heavy rains. Images from Passau, a city in southern Bavaria where the Danube River is joined by two other rivers, show dirty brown water running through the streets of the historic old town after water levels passed a 500-year-old record. Floodwaters in Bavaria are now receding but the crest on the Danube continues east into Austria and could threaten cities such as Vienna, in Austria, and Bratislava, in Slovakia, said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. Large parts of Meissen, a
town built on the banks of the Elbe River in Saxony, were also inundated after flood defences were breached overnight Monday to yesterday. Those with homes and businesses were moving valuables and trying to sandbag their properties to protect them from the rising waters as the town’s evacuation was ordered. German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited towns in the region yesterday and promised 100 million euros ($130 million) in emergency aid for affected areas. The German military, government agencies and local authorities are helping with efforts to evacuate residents and protect properties. The heaviest rain fell over Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland and the western Czech Republic from Saturday through Monday, with total rainfall over those days well over three inches for many locations, said Miller. Salzburg in Austria recorded its entire monthly average of rainfall (155 millimetres, or 6.1 inches) in only the first two days of the month, he said. The high waters also will have an impact on businesses beyond the communities directly affected by flooding.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Politics As Cross River prepares for council polls in September By Christian Ita ITH the inception of democratic goverW nance in the country in 1999, Cross River State was among the few states that instituted democracy at the grassroots level by conducting local government elections, which installed functionaries at that level in November of that year. Without any interruptions, the state has consistently operated democracy at that level, thereby entrenching democratic values and consciousness in the minds of the people to the understanding that democracy is the best form of government, which gives everyone a voice in terms of votes and effective representation, especially at the grassroots. This consciousness has become so heightened and ingrained among the people throughout the state such that everyone wants to participate actively in the election process either as a participant in government by contesting for the position of local government chairman, councilor or on the other hand, function as a stakeholder by playing active role in the emergence of those considered qualified and suitable to occupy positions in the local government. This continuous democratic tradition at the grassroots has instilled stability and created understanding and harmony among the various facets of government in the state such that each effectively plays its role within the confines of its limits without infringing on that of the other. And this has significantly benefited the state and the people, as development is rapidly taking place all over the state. It is in this perspective that with the release of
Imoke the timetable for the conduct of the local government election scheduled for the month of September 2013, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is the dominant party in the state, led by its leader, Senator Liyel Imoke, has conscientiously been working towards having a peaceful conduct of the party’s primaries. This is to pick flagbearers through meetings
and consultations by the party’s caucuses, elders and stakeholders in the various local governments, to sieve those angling to contest the elections under the party umbrella and select one person and subsequently present the same to the governor. These meetings have essentially been convivial and in an atmosphere free of rancour, as each local government caucus, in conjunction with the elders, adopts modalities peculiar to its political situation vis-à-vis zoning, communal interest, and proven tested capability of the aspirants. A consensus is then reached and one person is selected to bear the party’s standard as ward councilor and local government chairmanship candidate. Often, this is done through a collegiate vote where all the caucus and elders’ forum members cast votes to pick one person among the aspirants, present him/her to the party. However, in the few cases where the leaders and caucuses fail to agree or come to a consensus, especially in the case of picking a chairmanship candidate, the governor, in his capacity as the leader of the party, has had to intervene by calling on the aspirants to present their manifestos to the caucuses, after which he calls for a vote. The aspirant with the highest number of votes is chosen as the one to bear the party’s flag. Suffice to state that most contenders, after these transparent processes adopted in selecting one of them, often express satisfaction with the choice and readily pledge their support for the person picked. This peaceful and transparent method of choosing the party’s candidates is a marked departure from the 2007 open election method, which was characterised by rancour, animosity and bad
blood that created deep chasm and wounds among, not only the aspirants, but also their leaders, who felt sidelined and irrelevant by those who subsequently became elected to bear the party’s flag. Ntufam John Okon, the state chairman of the PDP, said the peaceful process adopted by the party and its leader speaks volumes of the level of maturity attained by the party in the state, which should be emulated by other parties. “Over 1,000 people applied to be councillors and those seeking to contest the chairmanship elections on our platform and we have just 18 local governments and 196 wards. So, rather than allow our party members to go out there and fight, we have to adopt a peaceful method where everybody will be satisfied since it is transparent.” The PDP chairman asserted that as the ruling party in the state, the stakes are high to bring development to the people and “engaging in anything that can divert and distract the attention of government from delivering the dividends of democracy to the people is tantamount to the betrayal of the trust placed on the party.” “We are development conscious and what we are doing is to give us room to do that fast,” he said. “And it needed to be emphasised here that without being councilor or chairman, there are other positions like supervisors, special advisers and board membership; so, we are capable of taking care of everyone without necessarily being in an elective position.” • Mr. Ita is Special Assistant on Media and Chief Press Secretary to Governor Liyel Imoke.
We need more women in elective posts, says Toyo A member of the House of Representatives (Odukpani/Cross River) and erstwhile Nigerian Envoy to Ethiopia, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, says Nigerian women can decide their fate if they participate in active politics. She spoke to TUNDE AKINOLA on the developments in the constitutional review process in the National Assembly. HERE are some burning issues that T necessitated the review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); how far has the House of Representatives gone with the process? When the debate on the Constitution amendment first started, some of the major questions were state police, state creation, the issue of council autonomy, citizenship; whether the immunity of the governors should be removed; the issue of tenure and other issues that caught the attention of the media. In the past one year, the National Assembly has been working on all of these issues. In the case of the House of Representatives, what we did was to generate some critical questions for each lawmaker to take to his or her constituency. Lawmakers went to their constituencies to organise civil societies, political and religious leaders with other stakeholders and handed over the questions to them to put them across to Nigerians at the grassroots and see what they have to say about them. A lot of people came out for this exercise in many constituencies. On state creation, the question was whether to make the process of creation simpler because right now, it is very cumbersome and we have a lot of people clamouring for state creation. Some people said we should have state police or make the governors to
control the Commissioners of Police at their various states while the national order is maintained. But a lot of people objected to this suggestion because majority of Nigerians could not trust the governors with such powers. On the issue of citizenship, we asked questions on what should happen to people who are not indigenes and some people said they do not want to share their indigeneship with anybody while some people some people said if one had lived in a place for many years, he should be treated equally. For instance, if my grandparents and parents were living in Lagos, although I am from Calabar, after about one or two generations or 10 or 15 years of living there, I should automatically become a citizen or be treated as a citizen with equal rights as every indigene in the area. What we did was to get the answers that came from all the 360 constituencies, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), analyse them and the answers were used to generate questions as well as responses within the constitutional reform. What they did was to use the answers from Nigerians to draft positions. With the drafted positions, we went for a retreat to see if the language of the drafted positions matched the expectations of Nigerians. There were other issues like dividing the portfolio of Minster of Justice from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF). We also went to the Exclusive List in the Constitution, where some items — not too many — were moved to the Concurrent List. Do you think creation of states is in need at this particular point in time? Well, if they did not say whether we need state creation or not, Nigerians asked for it. What they asked is to make the provision simpler. The other questions is, even if it is simpler, can people still get the states cre-
Nkoyo ated? I personally believe state creation will be a big distraction at this point we are because even with the ones we have are very difficult to manage. I think what we need is adjustment of constituencies. For example, if a constituency is indigenous to a particular area and it is in two different states, what we need is to adjust the community into one state instead of keeping them in two different states. These are purely issues of boundary adjustment and not necessarily the issues of state creation. What about the question of council autonomy? I must tell you that we spent a lot of time on that particular question at the constitutional conference. What engaged our minds was how to write the provision into the Constitution. — not just saying the Joint Account, but the one that says if the councils
are to get their money directly in a way that is not influenced by the state. They should also match that tier of government with responsibility so that they do not see the money as freebies they can use for whatever they like. It is not enough to give them the money but we had to outline how the councils should be and their functions. We debated how to create the tier of government with state responsibility for its resources, but at the same time obligated to use those resources for the development of people at the lowest level. Nigerian women decried marginalisation during the public sessions across the country; how has the House addressed this issue? Unfortunately, the results that came from the 360 constituencies in Nigeria showed that Nigerians do not want any provision for women in the new Constitution. What we have been able to appeal to the committee to do is to look at Section 42, which addresses the issue of discrimination and say that any action that is taken to address the existing discrimination should not be seen as discrimination. We can, therefore, go out and do some specific things for women in order to improve their status in the society. The same provision allows us to do things like amnesty, and special interest for people who are disadvantaged through one means or the other. Government can take special steps to address the situation of their discrimination. Last year, the President had five items of budget provision for women and some people said it was against the Constitution; that it was not right to single out women to have some things in the budget. But that provision in Section 42 makes it possible to do things for special interest groups and should not be
seen as discrimination because they have already been discriminated by their conditions and we need to bring them out of the situation. I think if we have such provision in the Constitution, we can go to the political parties and use affirmative action and other strategies to strengthen the position of women within the Nigerian polity. It is a sad thing that the Nigerians still do not understand the importance of having a strong constitutional provision that says affirmative action should be taken to support women’s disadvantage in the society. Where we got it right is under citizenship. We have now said a woman can claim the citizenship of her husband or her birth, provided she does not maintain the two. We are not allowing dual citizenship. At every point in one’s life, one must belong to one community or the other. To that extent, we have recognised the problem that came with the Judge from Abia State, where she had lived with her husband for 14 years but for the purpose of her appointment as a Judge of the Appeal Court, questions were raised. So, that issue has been addressed. Could you say this present administration has been fair to Nigerian women? The executive has appointed very high-profiled women in high positions. But I think we need women in more elective posts like the National Assembly. Personally, I think one of the worst places to talk about gender these days is the National Assembly; everything we come up with is always thrown out. The other day, some bills came up on citizenship of women and breastfeeding and so on but they were thrown out. The one on violence against women took a lot of canvassing and persuasion for it to be retained to the level it has been now.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
TheMetroSection Nasarawa attack: More grief as two families claim one decomposing body From Karls Tsokar, Abuja
CALL to duty to serve a country A that could not, at least, embalm the corpse of a fallen hero, who died while undertaking a national service, may not be worth answering afterall. One is full of trepidation when confronted with a horrific blackened face of a ballooned human structure, too dark to be recognised and you are told it was that of your relation who was killed in the course of pursuing suspected cultists, at the instruction of the state he vowed to protect with his life. For the families of Benjamin Abughul, an agent of the State Security Service (SSS) and Christian Ibekwe of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the Nigeria Police Force, two among the slain Security Agents by the suspected cultists in Alakyo last week, their grief is made worse as both families are contesting over the lifeless, swollen and blackened beyond physical recognition carcass that they assumed is their relation’s body. Although the late Abughul’s elder brother, Kenneth, had two days before the corpse of his late brother changed beyond recognition, claimed to have identified and confirmed his remains in the presence of some of the slain SSS Inspector’s colleagues, the Ibekwes are saying the almost decomposing corpse looked like their brother’s body, too, because Gloria, his sister, could identify her brother’s half-burnt, half-torn (due to the distension) trouser. The case became so complicated that the Director of the SSS in the State and the Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police had to maintain custody of the corpse and ordered for a deoxyribonucleric acid (DNA) test to ascertain whose body it was. The late Abughul, single, and the breadwinner of his family, has an aged mother, who has been bedridden for 10 years after suffering a stroke. Madam Mbasen Abughul, who could not hold back her tears, barely managed to mumble a few words that conveyed an intense anguish that could not be concealed, “he is gone, never to come smiling at me again, but I will soon join him,” she said. This is the agony of many families who could not claim the corpses of their loved ones for proper burial, after the gruesome massacre of the combined team of Mobile Police men and SSS officials, detailed to arrest an allegedly wellknown spellbinder and his devotees in Alakyo village, Eggon Local Government, near Lafia. The reaction that has trailed the death of more than 100 security agents, who were gruesomely murdered in cold blood by the Ombatse militia group in Alakyo, has continued to draw concern from all Nigerians. The neglect by the authorities to take care of their own at such times and the accompanying nonchalance attitude of the government to be proactive in living up to the required responsibility, lay so much question on the issue of
Briefs Agbaike, 36, for burial HE death has occurred of T Mrs. Awele Marian Agbaike, wife of the Assistant Public Relations Officer attached to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Mr .Johnson Agbaike . An employee of the Ministry of Water Resources Development, she was 36 years old. A statement by the her husband, Mr. Agbaike ,stated that a service of songs holds today at No. 2, Egwenu Avenue, off Peter Ofuase Drive, Infant Jesus Road, by the Methodist Church, Asaba while her remains will tomorrow leave Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba for a brief stop-over at the Ministry of Water Resources Development, Anwai Road, Asaba to Jeremiah Ebo Road, opposite Legislative Quarters, by Christ the King Catholic Church, Okpanam for funeral service and internment. She is survived by an aged mother, husband, Johnson, a son, Kome Agbaike and other relations.
Old students meet ROGUN Grammar O School Old Students’ Association, Lagos branch, meets on Sunday, June 9, at No. 15, Awosika Street, off Governor’s Road, off Latol Private School Road, by Mary Bus Stop, Ikotun, Lagos at 2.00p.m.
Esther Ladipo- Ajayi, 91, for burial Friday UNERAL rites for Mrs. EsFLadipo-Ajayi, ther Oyinlola Amoke who died at the
The late Benjamin Abughul patriotism and service to one’s nation. It was disheartening to know that the recovered body of the slain cop could not even be embalmed, for easy recognition by the family members. The body in custody of the police was just left to decay, hence, the situation where two families were laying claim to it. The DNA conducted on the indecipherable cadaver, with samples taken from one member each of the families of the lost operative, showed that the carcass was that of Kenneth Ibekwe, to the chagrin of Benjamin’s family, who are still waiting for the body of their son to be recovered for proper burial. The Abughul family is one among
more than 70 others that have not seen the bodies of their lost husbands, fathers, sons, friends and colleagues. A Corporal of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force, serving at the 38 Mobile Squadron in Akwanga, Nassarawa state said: “It is frightening to imagine that if you die, your body might not be found for proper burial. The circumstances of death itself is strange, how then can we begin to reconcile the value of service and the importance the people we are serving attach to us if we die in the course of doing our job?” “These particular incidence is an eye opener to some of us, that we may not be able to give our all again. It is possible that we would
It is frightening to imagine that if you die, your body might not be found for proper burial. The circumstance of death itself is strange, how then can we begin to reconcile the value of service and the importance the people we are serving attach to us if we die in the course of doing our job
begin to screen assignments, those to attend and those not to attend,” he stated. The question many of the concerned family members and Nigerians are asking is: are the bodies yet to be recovered or have they been sacrificed to the Ombatse gods, or was there a mass burial? Or would it be right to say the authorities have not been able to get their men together to recover the corpses of their slain colleagues. These questions and much more go on to buttress what the corporal said about selecting which assignment to go and which one not to go. Because, a few security agents would be ready to go on the recovery mission for the corpses, going by the stories on how the first failed mission fared. And considering the neglect by the state of the remains of those that were fortunately found, it is discouraging enough for “one to choose to leave the work than to be ingloriously killed and the family cannot even make out his carcass” the Corporal, who has served the force for five years said.
age of 91, begin today with a service of songs by Egbe Aya Bishop (Women’s Guild) and Egbe Ina Oloruntan, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Ibara Abeokuta, at Ladipo – Ajayi compound, Ibara at 5.00p.m. A Christian wake holds tomorrow at Ladipo- Ajai Memorial Anglican Church, Adigbe-Obada Oko Road, Opako, Abeokuta at 5.00p.m. She will be buried on Friday, June 7, after a funeral service at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Ibara, Abeokuta, Ogun State at 11.00a.m. She is survived by children, grandchildren and greatgrand children among whom are Rev. Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi and Dr. Dunday Sunday O. Ajai
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
14 | The GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
TheGuardian 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 Taking beggars off Lagos streets he Lagos State Government by its series of legislations leaves no one in doubt T as to the standard and pattern of behaviour expected of all the residents of the state. This is, indeed, a commendable demonstration of its willingness and capacity to rule only by the law. The commitment of the state government to its laws and its seriousness about ridding the state of beggars and destitute led recently to its conviction of 120 beggars and the deportation of 1,708 others to their various states and countries. Since this was done pursuant to an enabling law, it can hardly be faulted because one of the primary responsibilities of government is to enact laws for the good governance, peace and welfare of the citizenry. And from the reasons adduced by the government, it is clear that these criteria informed the promulgation of this particular legislation, especially as the begging culture has also aided robbery and sundry crimes in the society. It is a pity that government at all levels is a victim of the culture it created wittingly or unwittingly by its bad policies. Nothing could be more dehumanizing and shameful than for a person to resort to begging to make ends meet. It is the worst case of human debasement. But a person who is down fears no fall or shame. And so many Nigerians are actually down and lying prostrate due to excruciating poverty foisted on them by the insensitive policies of succeeding governments. To those who are victims of these policies therefore, all is fair in the bid to eke a living. In other words, taking to begging may well be the only option out of starvation in a polity where employment opportunity is non-existent for those who genuinely desire to work. The population of those who are gainfully employed is by far less than those who are not and who do not have any means of doing so at all. This is complicated by lack of basic infrastructure, which then constitutes a major disincentive to self employment. The economic environment is too hostile for self-employment as the cost of doing business is highly prohibitive leaving several citizens increasingly despondent and having to depend on the goodwill of others for survival. The upsurge in crime rate has also been attributed to this. In all of these, government has a major share of the blame. What this suggests is that it is not enough to legislate against begging; there must be conscious effort to address the situation that makes begging inevitable. It is gratifying that Lagos State Government has put in place mechanisms to cushion the effect of outlawing begging in the state. Vocational and rehabilitation centres have been set up to minister solely to the beggars. This is enough incentive for the beggars to quit the streets in addition to the obligation they have as citizens to obey the law regardless of whether or not it is convenient to do so. It may seem therefore that there is no legitimate justification for anyone to be on the streets of Lagos as a beggar other than lawlessness. But government should not rest on its oars yet. It should look into the reasons beggars shun the rehabilitation and vocational centres. It calls for concern that they shun or flee from the centres. It seems unlikely that they would like to escape from these centres or avoid them if the situation therein is conducive. Do they receive optimum attention or what is important to government solely is the fact that they are out of the streets? Are they properly taken care of or merely subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment that fills them with nostalgia for their street-begging days? Are the welfare centres enough to take care of the beggars adequately? how qualified is the personnel manning these centres? The point therefore is that government should do all within its powers to make the place conducive and take all such steps outside of legislation that would make begging unattractive. Government should heighten sensitization on the existence of those rehabs and the gains therein to create awareness among the beggars, particularly those of them who are just joining and who may not be aware of the existence of such social facilities. Above all, the programme at the rehabilitation centres must address the reintegration of the beggars back into the society. For those who have been convicted in defiance of the law, there is really no cause for worry. It is the logical consequence of disobeying the law. What may be controversial is the reported ejection of some of them to their home states. Government of Lagos State has shown itself committed to the rule of law. It must go the whole hog even in this matter. It must be wary of the legal implication of such a line of action having regard to the provisions of Sections 41 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution. Section 42 provides: “every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof...” The import of this is that the power of Lagos State Government is limited to prohibiting and convicting for begging, it does not include the power to banish or prevent anyone from residing in the state, which is the logical implication of the ejection of the beggars. Government can still make its point without resorting to ejection unless it is the exercise of the freewill of the individuals concerned, where in place of a jail term they settled for deportation to their place of birth.
NMA and crisis in health sector IR: The Nigerian Medical Srecent Association (NMA) in its advertorial in the dailies commended the President and the Federal executive Council (FeC) for abandoning the report presented by the Presidential Committee on a harmonious work relationship among health workers and professional groups in the health sector. According to the NMA “The report was evidently premeditated, biased, unjust and extremely jaundiced with the unholy intent to serve some determined ends”. The NMA also went on to describe current agitations by health workers as “Fissiparous tendencies and the re-current threats of strike action as uncalled for”. The NMA it will be seen has consistently embarked on campaigns of calumny with distortion and misrepresentation of facts! Well, I think the president has only succeeded in igniting more fire in the health sector. how can Mr. President think that a honourable Justice of the level of Justice Bello will go to the extent of doing a dishonourable job? Did they not look at his credentials before appointing him to chair the panel? In fact this has shown that the president is dancing and dinning with the doctors while the Minister of health is the chief cook.
The president seems not to understand the far-reaching implications of his decision and that it will mean that peace will continue to elude the sector. The NMA or doctors in Nigeria are the most selfish professional group in the world. For them to describe the report as premeditated, biased, etc leaves so much to be desired, perhaps because the report did not favour them. The doctors still insist on master-servant relationship in the health sector without looking at the calibre of professionals in the sector. Most professionals in the health sector have Masters and doctorate degrees and are very versatile in their chosen fields. They have made significant contribution to health through acclaimed researches and findings. The doctors believe they
should control the nursing services, pharmaceutical services, laboratory services, the administrative machineries, etc and by so doing they have taken over the jobs of nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientists, administrators and putting less time to their core duties of clinical care and treatment. The self-interest agenda of Nigerian doctors knows no bound! They have taken over all aspects of the health service determining the fate of other health professionals. They sit on government directives in the respective teaching hospitals and medical centres. Thus a report that tends to right these wrongs is viewed as “biased”. Justice Bello is a lawyer with superior argument and I believe the panel would have listened tentatively. • Joshua Anunibe, Lagos.
The Osun Opon Imo he Opon Imo is phenomeT nal. It represents the new frontier in child education. It
about the present. It is about tomorrow. The future – five to ten years on, the world will takes the tedium out of the witness an unprecedented learning process and makes turn out of first class scholars, it a fun activity… Ogbeni professionals and global leadRauf Aregbesola has again ers of Osun origin, all products imprinted his name on the of this unique experiment. tablet of history. This is not • Femi Ifaturoti, about showmanship, nor is it DG BOSS.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Business IndustryWatch P38
Tourism as trade driver: A future threatened by low convergence
Govt turns to renewable energy for electricity generation
Nigeria, Canada target $6b trade volume by 2015 By Itunu Ajayi, Abuja
IGERIA and Canada N have resolved to strengthen trade and investment ties by leveraging on areas of comparative advantage. The two countries also agreed on strategies to double the volume of trade between them to $6billion by 2015 as Canada also plans to review its visa processing time to aid trade and investment with Nigeria. Nigeria’s value of merchandise trade with Canada stood at about $2.7billion in 2011. The decisions were reached on Wednessday during aNigeria-Canada BiNational Commission meeting in Abuja, cochaired by the Nigerian Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga and the Canadian Minister for International Trade, Honourable Ed Fast. Speaking during the meeting, Aganga said that Nigeria and Canada would significantly enhance their socio-economic ties through the Bi-National Commission by working on mutually beneficial growth projects along areas of competitive and comparative advantages. He said, “Nigeria is one of Canada’s largest trading partners in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011, Nigeria’s value of merchandise trade with Canada stood at $2.7billion; consisting of $2.5billion in Nigeria’s exports to Canada and $199million import. “The bulk of Nigeria’s export to Canada, however, revolves around oil and gas. It is therefore imperative for us to strengthen our relationship by widening our export into the non-oil sector.” Aganga noted that the meeting provided a veritable platform for the two countries to review their socio-economic progress and chart a new roadmap for increased trade and investment and enhanced economic growth on both sides. “The establishment of the Nigeria – Canada BiNational Commission (NCBNC) to further facilitate and strengthen the bilateral cooperation
Ottawa to review visa processing time between our two countries is indeed an initiative worthy of commendation. This meeting today serves as an avenue for Nigeria and Canada to review the socioeconomic progress of both countries with a view to consolidating on gains and re-strategizing for enhanced growth,” he said. Also speaking during the meeting, Ed Fast said Nigeria remained Canada’s trade and investment priority in Africa, adding that arrangements were ongoing towards signing an Investment Protection Agreement with Nigeria as part of efforts to enhance trade and investment between the two countries. He said, “Trade and Investment are the twin engines of economic growth and Nigeria represents Canada’s number one trade and investment interest in Africa. In this period of global economic uncertainty, Canada is committed to building strong economic partnerships with emerging economic powers like Nigeria. In order to achieve this, we are taking steps to enhance business ties between Canada and Nigeria. “We are looking at ways of
increasing mutually beneficial and prosperity generating investments
between Canada and Nigeria through Foreign Investment and Protection
Agreement, which we are considering now with our Nigerian counterpart. We are also working hard to get visa processing time to global standards of 10 working days.
It is important that Canada and Nigeria work together to create a climate where businesses can thrive to build a brighter future for Canadians and Nigerians alike.”
L-R, Registrar/CEO Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Rotimi Omotosho, the 49th president, Alhaji Kabir Alkali Mohammed and immediate past president Doyin Owolabi at the Investiture Ceremony of Alkali Mohammed in Lagos yesterday. PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Power sector privatization irreversible, says govt By Roseline Okere and Sulaimon Salau PPARENTLY savoured from the expected goodies from the transformation process, the Federal Government yesterday said there is no going back on the ongoing privatization of the power sector. This affirmation was registered as stakeholders across various areas of the country throw their weight behind the planned sale of 10 new power plants under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) scheme. The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, who was among the key speakers at the maiden edition of the NIPP road show in Lagos, said the privatization process is maturing and there is no room for abortion. The road show marks the kick-off of the offer, as the agency plans to further take the campaign to London (June 12-13); Hong Kong (June 19-20); New York City (June 26-27) accordingly. While encouraging private investors to take the opportunities in the 10 new power plants offered by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC), Nebo assured that the Federal Government would do everything to make sure an accountable, transparent process is put in place, and the process would be implemented using the best practices in the world. He said: “President Goodluck Jonathan has showed his key commitment to ensure power delivery to Nigeria in other to unleash prosperity in all sec-
Stakeholders support sale of 10 plants tors of our economy. He believes very strongly that in the times of the private sector, the power sector will thrive and drive Nigeria’s economy as well as emancipate our people. “The government will neither tolerate half measure, nor it is an idea that is subject to abortion. This vision is maturing. The entire process of privatizing the power sector is irreversible. We are moving in the right direction to ensure that we give maximum support to the organized private sector to bring revolution to our power industry,” he said. Citing the success case of the telecommunication sector, the minister said the revolution has injected lot of resources in Nigeria’s economy, provided jobs and all kinds of downstream opportunities. “We expect that what is about to happen in the power sector will surpass what happened
in the telecoms industry. It is expected to be a greater exponential success and will eventually revolutionise the economic situation in Nigeria, emancipate our people, reduce poverty, create jobs, bring about industrial revolution and also the revival of our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that are eventual moribund today” Director General, Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Dikki, described the transaction as a ‘unique one’ because the process involves the NDPHC and BPE, due to the share holding between the states and the Federal Government. According to him, the states have 53 per cent interest while the Federal Government holds the remaining 47 percent stake. Governor Uduaghan urged the investors to take the opportunities in the sector, assuring that all the states where power plants are situat-
ed are now safe for investment. He enjoined the prospective investors to involve the governors of the states immediately after winning the bid, so that they can work out a security master plan. “Niger Delta is very safe. Your investments are secured and you will maximize your investment, if you get the culture,” he said. The NDPHC, owners of the NIPP plants said 80 per cent stake of the plants, scattered across the country would be offered to local and foreign investor in an open competitive bidding. The power plants include, Olorunshogo phase II, 125MW (Ogun State), Ogorode 451MW (Delta State), Gbarain 225MW (Bayelsa State), Alaoji 1074MW (Abia State), Ihovbor 451MW (Edo State), Calabar 561MW (Cross River State), Egbema 338MW (Imo State), Geregu 434MW (Kogi State), Omotosho 500MW (Ondo State), and Omoku 250MW in Rivers State.
Chevron to invest $12 billion on 50 new projects By Sulaimon Salau HEvRON Corporation has C unveiled its plans to float about 50 projects costing over $250 million each, across the world, in the next five years. The vice Chairman and Executive vice President for Upstream and Gas, George Kirkland, at the yearly meeting of stockholders, that the projects are expected to commence production by 2018, adding
that 16 of them have a net investment exceeding $1 billion. Enumerating the company’s strong queue of projects to meet the world’s future energy needs, he said Chevron plans to invest $36.7 billion in 2013, with 90 per cent of that amount expected to fund upstream activities. Besides, he noted that the company has invested nearly $111 billion over the past five
years to develop crude oil and natural gas resources around the world. Kirkland also assured that Chevron is on track to deliver on its commitment to produce 3.3 million barrels of oil-equivalent per day by 2017, more than 98 per cent of which will come from fields that are online or from projects under construction or in detailed design. He said: “Over the next five years, 50 projects with a Chevron investment of more than $250 million each are scheduled to start production, 16 of which have a net Chevron investment exceeding $1 billion. Construction on the Gorgon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Western Australia is over 60 per cent complete, with startup expected in late 2014. Startup of the Wheatstone LNG project, also in Western Australia, is planned for 2016.” Kirkland Chevron downstream and chemicals growth projects focus on lubricants and chemicals, including the Pascagoula, Miss., base oil plant, which is scheduled to start up later this year and is expected to position Chevron as the world’s largest manufacturer of premium base oil. According to him, Chevron Oronite’s Singapore manufacturing plant, already the largest in the Asia-Pacific, is expanding further, with additional capacity scheduled to come online in phases in 2014 and 2016. The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chevron Corporation, John Watson, gave the company’s 2012 operational and social performance and future growth plans, saying: “Chevron’s 2012 results demonstrate that we have the people, portfolio and financial strength to deliver superior stockholder value. Our planned growth will increase our capacity to deliver affordable energy, a cornerstone of economic prosperity.” He highlighted Chevron’s strong 2012 financial and operational performance, with earnings exceeding $26 billion and return on capital employed (ROCE) approaching 19 per cent.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
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Reps, CPC move to investigate banks over faulty ATMs From Terhemba Daka, Abuja NDICATIONS have emerged that the House of Representatives and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) are set to open an investigation into allegation of wrongful withholding of customers monies through malfunctioning Automated Teller Machines (ATM). This came following the parliament’s adoption of a petition on the issue introduced by Ali Ahmad (PDP, Kwara) who noted that the development was a threat to the country’s effort to transit to a cashless economy. Ahmad, who is chairman, House Committee on Justice explained that the petition painted a picture of the harrowing experience customers were made to go through using malfunctioning ATM facilities. “The petitioner narrated how
he went through due process by making formal complaint of reporting the non-dispense of his money while his account was debited. “He resorted to the petition and House of Representatives’ intervention two months after the incidence to curb further tactical manipulation of the banking system,” he said. Ahmad, while defending the need for the investigation noted that withholding customer’s money for more than the stipulated period should not be treated with levity. The petition reads on part: “The banks would continue to indulge in this since there is no sanction to make them responsible by ensuring that their ATMs are always in good condition. “It may not be out of place that the trend might be deliberate, probably in a bid to use
unsuspecting customer’s money to ease their (banks) financial pressure. “This is because if all the incidences are recorded and the funds aggregated by all the banks, there is no doubt that we will be talking about millions of Naira being deliberately denied customers while the banks are feeding fat on it. “These funds are held supposedly for 10 working days, which translates to at least two weeks and the owner of the fund is made to run from pillar to post and at the end of the day, no interest is added to the fund. “Fidelity Bank and Diamond Bank and other banks in general should be investigated for extortion and if found guilty should be appropriately sanctioned. “Internet failure cannot hold as a reason because customers are charged appropriately by
the banks for services rendered. Moreover, banks can afford to secure more effective broadband for their own use to ease transaction of services like it is done in other countries. “It must also be remembered that no customer dare default on repayment of loan for a day without sanction from the bank. “It would not be out place to remind you that it was confirmed by the CBN that as at the first quarter of this year, banks in Nigeria have defrauded unsuspecting customers of billion. N8.6 “The House has also opened investigation into tax collection, remittance and level of compliance with FIRS regulations by banks. “Malfunctioning ATMs might just be another means of sustaining the frauds perpetrated by these banks.”
The petition was referred to Committee on Public Petition while the Consumer
Protection Council (CPC) has since commenced its investigation.
Court indicts Lagos AG over rights violation By Joseph Onyekwere USTICE Adeniyi Adebajo of JIgbosere the Lagos High Court, on Monday ruled that the office of the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice was liable for the illegal detention of a trader, Isiaka Mohammed, by the police in January 2012. The judges’ decision was contained in a judgment he delivered on a fundamental human rights enforcement suit, which was instituted by Mohammed, who is a trader at Iddo market in Lagos. Justice Adebajo held that the office of the attorney general
could not feign ignorance of the illegal arrest and detention, having been served with the processes of the suit instituted by Mohammed to enforce his fundamental human rights. The judge also held that the police had no business in debt recovery, the purpose for which the applicant was arrested and subsequently detained. “It is not the duty of the police to arrest or detain persons in such civil transactions. The first defendant (the attorneygeneral) is liable,” the judge ruled. Other defendants in the suit apart from the AG are the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kyari and Suprintendent Babagana (their first names not provided) both of the Lagos State Command, Anti-Robbery Department.
AABTEAEN laments harsh govt policy on automobile By Samuel Ifetoye ORRIED by the harsh W policy on the automobile industry, operators have appealed to government to assist the industry to revive its businesses. The outgoing President of Association of Automobile, Boatyeards, Transport Equipment and Allied Employers of Nigeria (AABTEAEN)/Chairman of GM Nigeria Limited, Mr. Anthony Arenyeka, at the 33rd yearly general meeting of the association held in Lagos, said, “most members of the association have as their core businesses, the assembly and/or importation, distribution and sales of motor vehicles, motor cycles, other automotive products and ship building. According to him: “A building block to the story of woes is the effect of government policies or lack of policies and how these have affected the destinies of members in the year under review. “Government has been envisioning great plans for these industries, but the impact has been of little or no significance. The major factors constituting stifling growth include unabated importation of second hand truck vehicles without age restriction, lack of differential policy that distinguishes authorised distributors from grey and informal importers. A member of the association, Mr. M.O. Afolabi, of Boulos Enterprises Limited, expressed worry over the premature ban of motorcycle, popularly called Okada. He said that he understood the need to do away with the use of it because of the havoc it had caused, but that the timing was wrong, adding that it should have been done with a lot of enlightenment on the danger and the stakeholders carried along with a view to discouraging further importation.
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MoneyWatch Sanusi’s four years at CBN: Development agenda versus reality He came almost unannounced, but unfolded agenda that sent a message to the world. For four years, controversy has trailed almost every decision made under his leadership, yet he trudges on. CHIJIOKE NELSON x-rays Central Bank of Nigeria Governor (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s youth development initiative and other economic reforms. IGERIA, like most developing and underdevelN oped nations of the world, is faced with numerous socio-economic challenges that include unemployment, poverty, insecurity and conflicts. Besides, the youths constitute a large proportion of societies in developing countries, with pressing health, education, economic, and social needs. But the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, at a lecture in Umuahia, Abia State, recently, noted that as at 2009, the United Nations estimated youth’s population to be 1.2 billion, or approximately 18 per cent of the world’s population, with about 64 per cent of African youths living in countries where at least one third of the population lives on less than $2 a day. Perhaps this situation could be more evident in Africa. It is also observed that despite the critical place the youths occupy and their value in nation building, several African countries under invest in youth empowerment, thereby breeding an army that may be turned into unprofitable activities. Generally, the aggregate individual insecurity, which is negatively evident on financial, job, marital, economic and psychological or a sum of them, translates into overall insecurity in the society, in developing and underdeveloped economies today. The youths, according to Sanusi, constitute not only a formidable demographic force, but also make up the next generation of parents, workers and leaders. Their well-being, therefore, has implications not only for their own lives, but also for the societies they will build and maintain. Meeting their needs is a crucial challenge, which calls for constant review of policies, re-assessment of priorities, commitment of adequate financial resources, and effective implementation of programmes. An efficient and equitable resource allocation and improved policy formulation and implementation can only be achieved with a better understanding of the needs of youths. Youth Empowerment Initiative Under Sanusi, the bank played active developmental roles and collaborated with relevant government agencies, development partners, companies and other private institutions to improve banks’ lending to the real sector (although this has met with several inhibiting factors); empower small scale entrepreneurs; create employment opportunities; alleviate poverty; promote youth entrepreneurship, among others. Those programmes and initiatives include: EDCs The CBN, recognising the gap in youth entrepreneurship and also in support of the government’s initiatives to grow the critical mass of youth entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities in the economy, has established Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs) in each of the six geopolitical zones. The CBN-supported EDCs are to develop entrepreneurship spirit in Nigerians and provide insight into the tools, techniques and framework for managing business enterprise, including production, marketing, personnel and finance; to develop skills of would-be-entrepreneurs to successfully start, expand, diversify and manage business enterprises as well as link them with financial institutions for accessing start-up capital, especially from the microfinance banks; and to generate employment opportunities for Nigerians in pursuance of the provision of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) and recently, Vision (2020). Three existing EDCs trained 6,640 young entrepreneurs, counseled 38,636 in business management and created 1,586 new jobs in the 2012. A total of 157 graduates also accessed loans valued at N12.81 million to start their own businesses. Cumulatively, a total of 41,441 individuals were trained, 106,933 were counseled and 10,895 jobs were created since inception of the scheme. CACS The Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme
(CACS) was established to finance large ticket projects along the agricultural value chain in addition to the existing Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS), which had been in successful operation since 1977. The scheme was administered at a single digit rate of nine per cent to beneficiaries. State governments, including the FCT, can access a maximum of N1 billion for on lending to farmers’ cooperatives or other areas of agricultural intervention. Since inception in 2009, the sum of N158.39 billion with respect to 203 projects made up of 175 private promoters and 28 state governments including the FCT has been released to 18 DMBs for onward lending to farmers. Available information showed that 100,301 jobs were created by projects under CACS in 2012. A breakdown of the job creation showed that of the total jobs created, state governments and private projects created 37,721 and 62, 580 respectively. NIRSAL Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) introduced in 2010 following the partnership deal between the CBN, United Nations International Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), it is an innovative financing mechanism developed to unlock access to bank financing for agriculture by de-risking the agricultural and financial value chains through the adoption of risk-sharing approaches to financing. It is a demand driven credit facility rather than the current supply driven funding and based on a value chain approach to lending as banks would be free to choose which part of the value chain they would be interested in lending to. The five major components of this programme are: Risk Sharing Facility (RSF), Insurance Component (IC), Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), Bank Incentive Mechanism (BIM) and Agricultural Bank Rating System (ABRS). Refinancing/Restructuring of SME/Manufacturing Fund A N200 billion Refinancing/Restructuring of SME/Manufacturing Fund was set aside from the N500 billion Critical Infrastructure Fund approved for refinancing/restructuring of SME/Manufacturing Fund in April 2010 to enable banks refinance and restructure their existing loan portfolio to SMEs and Manufacturing firms. The 15-year facility has a three-year moratorium with loan amounts ranging from N5 million (minimum) to N1 billion (maximum) to a single obligor at an interest rate of seven per cent yearly repayable quarterly. Since inception, the projects funded under the scheme have generated 13,886 new direct and 971,247 indirect jobs. Also, 257 projects were resuscitated through refinancing under the Scheme with capacity utilisation of beneficiaries increasing from an average of 25.0 per cent pre-intervention to 36.0 per cent post-intervention. PAIF A N300 billion Power and Aviation Intervention Fund (PAIF) intervention fund was established by the CBN and managed by the Bank of Industry (BOI) with technical assistance from the African Finance Corporation. It was designed as part of the Quantitative Easing measure to address the paucity of long-term credit and acute power shortage in the country. As at end-December 2012, the sum of N33.58 billion was released to BOI for disbursement to DMBs for 13 projects- (N28.24 billion for 10 power projects and N5.33 billion for three airline projects in 2012. The timely introduction of the scheme prevented the domestic airline industry in the country from imminent collapse. This ensured that those in their employ did not lose their jobs. SMECGS The N200 billion Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Guarantee Scheme (SMECGS) established by the CBN in 2010 was aimed at
Sanusi promoting access to credit by SMEs in Nigeria. The scheme provides guarantees on loans by banks to the sector in order to absorb the risk element that inhibit banks from lending to the real sector. The activities covered under the scheme include manufacturing and agricultural value chain; SMEs with assets not exceeding N300 million and labour force of 11 to 300 staff; private education institutions; and processing, packaging and distribution of primary products. About 22 projects valued at N1.03 billion were guaranteed under the scheme in 2012 bringing the cumulative number of projects guaranteed under the scheme to 40 since inception resulting in increased employment of various skills. Banking Reform “The Nigerian banking sector witnessed dramatic growth post-consolidation. However, neither the industry nor the regulators were sufficiently prepared to sustain and monitor the sector’s explosive growth. Prevailing sentiment and economic orthodoxy all encouraged this rapid growth, creating a blind spot to the risks building up in the system. Prior to the crisis, the sentiment in the industry was that the banking sector was sound and growth should be encouraged. The IMF endorsed the strength of the banking system to support this growth. However, this sentiment proved misplaced. “The huge surge in capital availability occurred during the time when corporate governance standards at banks were extremely weak. In fact, failure in corporate governance at banks was indeed a principal factor contributing to the financial crisis. Consolidation created bigger banks but failed to overcome the fundamental weaknesses in corporate governance in many of these banks. As banks grew in size and complexity, bank boards often did not fulfil their function and were lulled into a sense of well-being by the apparent year-over-
year growth in assets and profits. In hindsight, boards and executive management in some major banks were not equipped to run their institutions. The bank chairman/CEO often had an overbearing influence on the board, and some boards lacked independence. “We have already published details of the extent of insider abuse in several of the banks. CEOs set up Special Purpose Vehicles to lend money to themselves for stock price manipulation or the purchase of estates all over the world. One bank borrowed money and purchased private jets, which we later discovered were registered in the name of the CEO’s son. In another bank the management set up 100 fake companies for the purpose of perpetrating fraud. A lot of the capital supposedly raised by these so called “mega banks” was fake capital financed from depositors’ funds. About 30 per cent of the share capital of Intercontinental Bank was purchased with customer deposits.” CBN initiated a five-part programme to enhance the operations and quality of banks in Nigeria during the reforms. The programme consisted of industry remedial programmes to fix the key causes of the crisis, implementation of risk-based supervision, regulations and regulatory framework, enhanced provisions for consumer protection, and internal transformation of the regulator- CBN. It was then clear that financial sector and overall economic success required the CBN and Nigeria to do a lot of heavy lifting in many policy areas. There was a realization that sustainable growth path can be achieved only through substantial and fundamental economic reform. This includes ensuring that physical and institutional infrastructure is of scale and quality required. It also calls for political will to act to reduce corruption and uphold the rule of law. During the most difficult days of the ongoing banking reforms, I found comfort in these short words of the Roman Emperor and Continued on Page 22
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Sanusi’s four years at CBN: Development agenda versus reality Continued from Page 21 philosopher, king Marcus Aurelius: “Do what is right, not popular. Do what you do for others first, and for yourself second.” Sanusi has, in several fora, said that Nigerian banks are now strong and able to withstand shocks and have returned to profitability. Throughout 2012 to date, the banks have been posting several billions of Naira in profit. AMCON The Asset Management Company of Nigeria AMCON, a brainchild of CBN under Sanusi’s leadership, was one of the strategies to mitigate the assessed systemic effects of the then looming banks’ failure, which was the consequence of lack of corporate governance and recklessness in the financial system. The emergence of AMCON raised controversy, with some seeing it as a waste of taxpayers’ fund. CBN said that the setting up of AMCON was devoid of taxpayers’ inputs. AMCON was set up to absorb bad bank loans in exchange for government bonds in order to rebuild lenders’ balance sheets after a $4 billion bailout in 2009. “I must point out that no other country around the world that experienced financial difficulty and used a strategy similar to ours. I must also point out that the allusions by people that taxpayers’ funds were solely used to set up AMCON is erroneous. It is a feat of innovation that needs to be recognised,” Deputy Governor, Financial Stability, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, said. Sanusi at the first National Risk Management conference, said “Today, AMCON has bonds with a face value of N5.7 trillion, with CBN holding N3.6 trillion value. This was not the original intent, but also part of the risk management. Many banks that got early bonds, did so when interest rate was seven per cent and by the time we completed the capitalisation of the other banks, interest rate has moved up with about 500 to 600 basis points. This would have been huge erosion of the capital of those banks and that would have just thrown these banks back to where they were. So, CBN swapped the AMCOM bonds for Open Market Operations bills and other instruments that will not carry those market risks and we had N3.6 trillion out of N5.7 trillion. AMCON is expected to pay back N1.7 trillion by December this year or at least refinance it and N4 trillion next year.
“Now, CBN will refinance and restructure the N3.6 trillion bond it invested with a coupon of six per cent. By October 2014, AMCON’s N980 billion bond under series five will mature, which AMCON will pay with sinking fund and recoveries. Actually, after December this year, AMCON will be left with the Special Class bond with CBN only”. Foreign Reserve Also in the front burner in the last four years was the nation’s foreign reserve, which goes back and forth, though with marginal gains. Sanusi at the last Bankers’ Nite, said: “It is important not to be complacent and it is important also to recognise that there are dark clouds in the horizon and it is extremely important to start building and continue building the fiscal buffers, go into a period of strong restraints and serious fiscal restraints and consolidation. We must continue to build up the external reserves and protect the economy from external shocks to oil prices and focus on the strength and resilience of the banking system. Banks are not set up to invest in government bills alone, banks are not set up to use depositors’ funds to bet on the capital and real estate markets, banks are set up primarily to mobilise savings and move these savings into the real economy where real production, real jobs and real income are created.” At the last count, Foreign Reserve has reportedly been subdued by the volatility in crude oil prices, weakened by $439 million to $48.418 billion as at May 28th. CBN’s report showed that the amount represented a decline by 0.9 per cent compared to the $48.857 billion it was at the beginning of the month. Cashless Project WITH the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) getting set for the next phase of the cash-less policy in the country, indications emerged that the apex financial institution might target the deployment of about 150,000 point of sales (PoS) terminals and ensure increase in the number of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country. But the target areas for the second phase of the pilot project for the cash-less economy initiative, which might take-off in July, will be Abia, Abuja, Anambra, Kano, Ogun and Rivers. The extended project may have been informed by the assessed success in Lagos pilot run, which overshoot its target of 40, 000
PoS terminals as of March 2013. “We exceeded that. We have over 150,000 PoS terminals now. The plan now is to double that and encourage players to deploy more ATMs in order to expand the initiative.” The source said the apex bank was also working to ensure that the challenges experienced in the first phase were mitigated in the second phase. CBN has disclosed that the total value of electronic funds transfer in the country has risen to N80 billion per day, which was attributable to the introduction of the cash-less policy and an indication of growing acceptance of the policy by Nigerians amid its challenges. The Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) recorded over N20 billion daily transactions, while the Nigeria Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) conducts about N60 billion transactions daily. Both the value and volume of cash transactions executed through NIBSS and the Nigeria Electronic Funds Transfer have doubled when compared with the use of cheques. The Chief Executive Officer of Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (EPPAN), Mrs. Onajite Regha, said the number of PoS terminals so far deployed in the cash-less scheme has hit a record high, noting that the cash-less initiative was recording success and had continued to impact positively on the Nigerians. She however, lamented that the issue of connectivity of the PoS deployed remained a major challenge. “By the time we started the Cash-less Lagos scheme, the projection of the regulator was that by December, 2012, we would have recorded 40, 000 PoS terminal deployment. But available data showed that we now have about 150, 000 PoS machines in Lagos. However, the question is: how many of the PoS are working? So, that is where I believe we need to work on. We need to increase better connectivity to these terminals to encourage the merchants and the consumers to use the devices for seamless payment transactions,” she said. Interest Rate Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Rate- the benchmark interest rate, sustained the plummeting investment and development profile of the country, even as it could not rank among the first 50 low interest rates in the world. Even in the continent, over 10 countries are ahead. But the CBN boss, in his usual response, says
that the institution cannot be stampeded into doing what is not right, pointing to infrastructure that will sustain monetary easing as lacking in the country. Some analysts said: “The problem is that the regulators are focusing only on money supply (price stability), which is only one aspect of the macro-economic variables. Certain level of inflation is needed to drive economic activities. What is bad is high-level inflation. The monetary policy rate of the country and the growth projections are contradictory. If small-scale enterprises cannot get facilities at lower single digit rates, the development and growth projections are just mere talks.” At the last count, respite still seems to be far for the nation’s economy as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the current Monetary Policy Rate would be raised further with 2015 election spending on the corner. Sanusi, who gave the indication in an interview with CNBC Africa, noted that if government spendings were not curtailed, especially with the elections in 2015, the benefits of the expenditure curbs by the Minister of Finance would be fruitless and CBN may raise the benchmark interest rate. Sanusi said: Frankly, if you look at what’s happening in Nigeria, the election has already started, one way or the other. Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has curbed expenditure, but there will be probably more tightening if the politicians spend money.” Presently, Nigeria’ inflation rate accelerated to 9.1 per cent in April from 8.6 per cent in the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, but has stayed under 10 per cent for four consecutive months, meeting the central bank’s target. Accolades He has earned himself a fame and popularity. The renowned global financial intelligence magazine, The Banker, published by the Financial Times, has conferred on him two awards. The TIME magazine also listed Sanusi in its TIMES 100 list of most influential people of 2011. He has been recognised with the global award for Central Bank Governor of the Year, as well as for Central Bank Governor of the Year for Africa in three successive years. At home, he has clinched the Silverbird Man of the Year also, among others.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
CompuLife Economic impact of next-generation mobile services on GDP growth Although this substitution does not necessarBesides, experts posited that the new broadThe Nigerian broadband policy has envisaged ily increase total mobile penetration, part of the band policy should encourage infrastructure rapid roll out of wireless and wire-line infraMOBILE communication services have become report quantifies the effect on GDP growth of sharing and open up the broadband infrastruc- structure as well as provide incentives to enan essential part of how economies work and consumers and businesses substituting a stan- ture market to foreign and local investors. courage a national 3G wireless to at least 80 function. Today, the mobile telecommunication dard 2G mobile connection with a 3G connecA telecoms expert, Banji Adedoyin believed percent of the Nigerian population by 2018. The sector continues to offer unprecedented opportion. that the policy should facilitate economic policy will ensure a timely release of more fretunities for economic growth in both developing The econometric approach adopted to measgrowth, which will spur telecoms sector contri- quency spectrum for broadband services espeand developed markets. ure this effect follows previous work on the im- butions to the country’s GDP. cially for LTE (Long Term Evolution), foster A series of studies have found a link between pact of mobile model allows us to interpret the “The approval of the new broadband policy attractive investment climate by targeting mobile penetration and economic growth. Mocoefficient of the 3G penetration variable as the has rekindled hope that the generality of the schemes for stimulating demand and providbile phones have improved communication, en- impact of increasing 3G penetration while Nigerian populace will have access to efficient ing targeted concessions, tax incentives and hanced social inclusion, and expanded keeping all other factors equal, including total and reasonably priced broadband Internet grants to infrastructure builders. economic activity and productivity in sectors mobile penetration. service by 2018. The policy however is capable From the World Economic Forum report, censuch as agriculture, healthcare, education, and fiIn Nigeria, the approval of the new broadband of creating high speed communication nettral issue of reverse causality between mobile nance. policy by President Goodluck Jonathan last work that connects end users at a data transfer and 3G penetration and income growth with Against this backdrop, series of reports have week is expected to fuel growth of Internet pen- speed greater than 256 kilobits per second”, he higher levels of mobile and 3G penetration is been put up, which have shown a comprehenetration. stated. expected to affect GDP. sive and up-to-date analysis of the role that basic mobile phone services play in generating economic growth. According to the Global Information Technology Report 2013, presented at the World Economic Forum, it revealed that in developing markets, increases in mobile penetration benefit gross domestic product (GDP) growth per capita and boost country productivity. To the authors, as technology develops, mobile services have the potential of impacting a country’s economy by providing high-value 3G and 4G data services that are accessed via smartphones, tablets, and dongles that deliver mobile data services to businesses and consumers. The relationship among economic growth, 3G telephony, and mobile data use has not yet been explicitly explored. Indeed, as mobile telephony markets become more mature, the benefits to be derived from basic mobile voice and text services on growth and productivity are achieved. Although the impact of 2G services is significant, as more developed 3G technology replaces 2G, an incremental economic impact is observed. Differential economic growth is supported because these technology changes allow consumers and businesses to benefit from high-value wireless data and content services. This relationship had not yet been explicitly quantified yet. The penetration of 3G technology, measured as the number of 3G connections per 100 people has increased significantly worldwide in recent years: by 2011, 3G penetration had reached over 60 per cent of the population in Western Europe International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré (left); presenting the Tech Needs Girls Prize on behalf of Technovation Challenge winners to the Chairman of Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN), Mrs. Martha Omoekpen-Alade, at the ITU World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) forum in Geneva, Switzerland. and over 90 per cent in the United States. Reports have it that there, though it appears slow in Africa, more investments and sound policies will drive its growth. The report noted that in developed markets, that the information available to him revealed OING by the disclosure of the National Asso- among other things, stir up competition where basic mobile penetration has long exciation of Telecommunications Subscribers among operators, improve billing integrity and that only about 10, 000 subscribers had ceeded 100 percent, as well as in the higher-inof Nigeria (NATCOMS), only about 10,000 sub- ensure improvement in quality of service offer- switched operators. come consumer and business user segments in scribers might have embraced the number Ogunbanjo, while appreciating the NCC for inings by GSM operators including MTN, Airtel, developing markets, a substitution effect has troducing MNP, pointed out that most subporting process in Nigeria. Globacom and Etisalat. taken place in mobile telephony whereby mobile MNP, which is presently in its sixth week in scribers were yet to get along with the process, Speaking with The Guardian at the weekend, users who previously consumed standard serv- the country, was launched by the Nigerian stressing that lots of awareness and technicaliNATCOMS President, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo said ices have been acquiring 3G connections. ties around it must be resolved. Communications Commission (NCC), to The NATCOMS president said that porting had nothing to do with the down turn in quality of service, rather he said that NCC’s lifting of promo ban had dastardly affected service offerOR its support towards the development of Nigerian Software Development Initiative of Ovia and other stakeholders for the realisaings from operators. Information and Communications Technol- (NSDI), the National Information Technology tion of its proposed ICT Park to be built in “Information with me showed that about 10, Advisory Council (NITAC) and the National ogy (ICT) in the country, the Nigerian ComLagos. 000 subscribers have ported. But contrary to Broadband Committee. puter Society (NCS), has conferred the “We solicit the your companies’ partnership speculations that number porting is affecting honorary fellowship of the society on the Chair- In addition, Ovia is also the founder of the and support of NCS as well as that of other quality of service, I will say no, but promos and man of Visafone Communications Limited, Mr. Youth Empowerment/ICT Foundation, which stakeholde4rs in the economy in building NCS lotteries are presently the bane of all the netfocuses on improving the socio-economic wel- IT Park. We also need support on our fouthJim Ovia, works, because they are congested. I would With the award, Ovia became the 10th individ- fare of Nigerian youths by inspiring and moticoming NCS International Conference in Osun rather want NCC to return the ban on promos ual to be honoured with the title in the over 30 vating them to embrace Information and State and the new NCS Building,” he said. and lotteries,” he stated. Communication Technology. years of existence of the NCS. Speaking at the award ceremony held in Lagos It was learnt that the award ceremony for Ovia had been necessitated following his inability to at the weekend, the President of NCS, Sir. Dephysically present, due to some exigencies, at mola Aladekomo, said that the honour came ENOWENED business advisor, Ram Charan clusive gatherings of Nigeria’s corporate and the way of Ovia because of his contribution to- the NCS at the 2012 National Information Techhas arrived Nigeria for this year’s edition of political leadership in Abuja tomorrow and wards the advancement of ICT in the country. nology Merit and Fellowship Awards held at on Friday in Lagos. He will be speaking on the MTN Nigeria yearly Leadership Forum. He said that as the founder of Zenith Bank Plc Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos on DecemDr. Charan will be meeting with top 200 chief theme, “Private sector as the engine room for and former Chief Executive Officer, Ovia intro- ber 14, 2012. duced a great deal of technology driven innova- Receiving the award, Ovia appreciated the NCS executive officers and other senior executives economic growth.” of Nigeria’s blue chip companies, technocrats, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. for the honour, promising to abide by all the tions into the Nigerian banking industry. Larry Annets, said that the choice of Dr. Ram diplomats and academics, among others. rules and regulations of the NCS. Being the first President of the Nigeria InterDescribed by Fortune as the most influential Charan this time was informed by his inspiranet Group (NIG), Aladekomo said that Ovia was He also pledged to increase his efforts at exconsultant alive, Charan will be sharing some tional works in strategic business areas, espetending ICT opportunities to more Nigerian not only an avid IT promoter, but had also invested massively in Nigeria’s technology sector. youths through his foundation and other com- of his business insights garnered over 35 years cially, strategy execution. “Dr Charan has rare of hands-on experience and teaching with ex- insight into the knottiest of business probThe NCS president noted that Ovia had led sev- panies. lems,” Annets, added. Meanwhile, the NCS has solicited the support eral national IT-related initiatives such as the
Stories by Adeyemi Adepetun
NATCOMS puts number porters in Nigeria at 10,000 G
NCS honours Jim Ovia, seeks support on ICT park
Charan arrives Nigeria for MTN forum
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
RLG targets 1.5m laptops production yearly, trains youths By Adeyemi Adepetun LG Communications, in furtherance to R its commitment towards empowering the Nigerian youths, has taken 150 trainees from the first batch of the RLG Communications Nigeria Limited and Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme Technology (OYESTECH) partnership programme to Accra, Ghana on a 30 days training, appraisal and capacity building course. The company has also said that its plant in Osun State, when completed and commissioned at the end of this month, will be producing about 1.5 million laptops a year. The Chief Operating Officer of RLG Communications, Mr. Taiwo Latilo, who explained that the training is all about empowering the youths, and the first batch from Osun State, was a pilot test adding that the firm’s plant is 85 per cent completed. He stated that 5,000 people had already completed a six-month training in Osun Stateandoutofthat,150weregoingtoAccra for further training in the Ghana Assembly plant. Latilo assured that barring unforeseen circumstances, the company intended to
start operations in the plant by the end of June 2013 and some of the trainees would work at the plant assembling phones, TV sets, and computer appliances. He added, “those who do not get employed at the assembling plant would work as sales, technical and operational staff in Osun and Lagos.” One of the trainees of the programme and also the best graduating trainee, Mr. Akinola Musibau, said he became aware of the programme through an advert on the radio by the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme Technology (OYESTECH), which said prospective candidates only needed a minimum of O’level qualifications, so he decided to apply and was lucky to get shortlisted. He said “every successful candidate was required to pay N10, 000 acceptance fee and N80, 000 course fee”, but he was only able to pay N30, 000 out of the required N90,000 duetofinanciallimitationsbutthankedGod that despite the setbacks, he was still able to emerge the best student in his centre and said the media coverage and cash prize would act as a motivation for him to always put his best in whatever ventures he embarked on. The Chief Operating Officer went on to add that RLG Communications was already in
discussion with the state governments of Imo, Benue, Gombe, Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom to introduce the empowerment and local content initiative to their states. According to Latilo, the partnership agreement between the company and the Osun State government was for a two-year period within which 20,000 people would be trained on actual repairs, servicing, maintenance and assembling of mobile phones, computers technologies (desktop and laptop) and other electronic equipment. “The batch of 150 people that have left for Ghana is from the first batch of 5,000. The
second batch for 5,000 trainees is expected to commence in June 2013 to last another six months and another 5,000 would follow suit until we have completed the 20,000,” he explained. According to him, the assembling plant in Osun would be the best in Nigeria and would be able to produce a minimum of 1.5 million laptops in a year.
USPF empowers 1170 schools From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja BOUT 1,170 public secondary schools across the country have benefitted from the Universal Service Provision Fund’s (USPF) School Access programme of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Under the programme, which started in 2007, 100 laptops including Internet facilities are provided for each of the schools to aid ICT learning. Speaking during an oversight of the USPF Access project at Government Junior Secondary School, Jabi, Abuja, Chairman,
Publisher sues firm for alleged sale of defective gadget By Adeyemi Adepetun LAGOS High Court has been asked to compel SLOT A Systems Ltd, which sells IT products, to pay a total sum of N15 million to the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Africa’s foremost Information and Communications Technology magazine, IT & Telecom Digest, for alleged sale of a defective iPad to the claimant. In the statement of claim, the Publisher, Mr. Mkpe Abang, averred that he purchased an iPad 2 (64 GB) in the sum of N160, 000 from the Defendant on July 20, 2011 with a 12 months manufacturer’s warranty. Abang explained that a few months into the use of the device, however, it became unusable, and, relying on the warranty offered with the sale, he
returned the iPad to the Defendant on May 28, 2012 due to a malfunctioning of the iPad in failing to recognise SIM cards. The publisher further claimed the defendant, SLOT Systems, has since May 28, 2011, when the iPad was returned, willfully deprived him (claimant) of the use and enjoyment of the gadget without replacement or appropriate compensation. He further posited that as publisher of Africa’s ICT magazine and an international journalist, he has so many vital pieces of information relevant to his business which he stored in the said iPad, but which he has been unable to access because the defendant has failed or refused to return the device. According to the claimant, by a letter dated
September 19, 2012, he demanded compensation or replacement of the iPad from the Defendant, but by a letter dated September 25, 2012, the Defendant declined the Claimant’s request, claiming instead that the Defendant damaged the iPad by dropping it on the floor. Following up on that, the publisher further stated in his statement of claim that by a letter dated October 12, 2012, he (Claimant) refuted the claim of the Defendant that the iPad was malfunctioning as a result of a fall. Indeed, by a letter dated October 15, 2012 written by the Claimant’s solicitors, which the defendant failed, refused or neglected to reply, the claimant restated his position in the previous letters written to the Defendant.
House Committee on Communications, Oyetunde Oladimeji Ojo, commended the initiative behind the programme, stressing that it would help make the students ICT compliant. He explained that the committee embarked on inspection of the projects to find out the level of its implementation and also to ensure that monies appropriated for projects are properly utilised. Oladimeji assured that the National Assembly would support any process that would lead to the development of broadband infrastructure in the country. The lawmaker, who decried the poor quality of service in the past 10 months, noted that the Mobile Number Portability regime of the NCC would help address the problem, as consumers would migrate to service provider who can give them value for their money. Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications, Mr. Henry Akpan, has said that efforts are being made to ensure the completion of the hostel accommodation being built by the NCC for students of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), in Abuja before the end of the year.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
ComTech, Google unveil Internet impact report From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja HE Federal Ministry of T Communication Technology in collaboration with Google has unveiled a new ‘Impact of Internet’ study, which examines the Internet’s impact on and potential contribution to social and economic develop-
TECNO rewards digital contest winners By Bankole Orimisan EADER in dual SIM mobile phones manufacturer in Nigerian market, TECNO, has presented winners of the just concluded TECNO Q1 Mobile Web context with Q1 phones and cash prizes. Two categories of winners emerged in the web context. The first five winners in the voters’ category were presented with one TECNO Q1 phone each, while the second five winners in the category of those that were voted for, were presented with one TECNO Q1 phone and N50, 000 each. The Public Relations Manager, in charge of West Africa for TECNO, Mr. Boukali Mounir, who presented the gifts, said that the mobile phone company was motivated into sponsoring the context because: “We are proud of Nigerian youths, and we want them to have good companion with TECNO Q1, because it is a smart device designed to boost the social lives of youths and the entire Nigerians.” According to him, with Q1, Nigerians could navigate easily on Facebook, Whatsup, Twitter and other social media and the context was centred on Q1, because we want Nigerians to know that the best phone to improve their social lives is the TECNO Q1. According to Chief Strategy Officer, Syrecuse Digital Communications, Mr. Sukanmi Ola, the agency that handled the online competition, the web competition was about the TECNO Q1, “which is a concept on web application creativity that allows people to develop any form of creativity that is web-based and to upload them on the Facebook fan page.” He said that the contestants were asked to upload creative pictures that would be attractive and to design web application around the pictures. Since it is a user-generated context, people were able to have access to the uploaded pictures and voted online. According to him: “We received over three thousand entries for the one month online competition which started in April 20 and ended in May 19. The more people voted for the various creative designers, the more points they were able to score. At the end of the contest, 10 winners emerged, based on the highest number of votes received. Five winners emerged from among those that voted and another five winners emerged from among those that were voted for. “People got to know about the context through our massive campaign on Facebook and other social media, but apart from online advertisement, there were also offline advertisement on newspapers and posters, and we have done a similar campaign for TECNO N3, where winners also emerged.”
ment in Nigeria. Besides, a recent study conducted by Google Incorporation Africa has ranked Nigeria top among other countries with the greatest potentials in using the Internet to promote good governance, eCommerce and finance, though these sectors have not yet produced solutions that have spread across the region. The report revealed that of all the countries covered in
the study, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya and Ghana, Nigeria shows the greatest potentials in using the Internet to promote governance, enhance businesses and boost the economy, noting that continuing investment in core infrastructure and the rapid implementation of the broadband plan will positively impact on economic growth and employment. Speaking at the launch of Dalberg Impact of Internet
report in Abuja, the report, Google Nigeria Policy manager, Titi Akinsanmi explained that while the number of Nigerians going online continues to rise yearly, there is need to be more informed on how policymakers and investors should capitalize on the potential that the internet presents. “These report seeks to highlight the potential of the Internet for social and economic development. It also
seeks to help policy makers understand how their constituencies already use the Internet, where the opportunities lie, what future potential for social impact the Internet offers. It specifies the need for government to continue to play the lead role as visionaries and adopters of new technologies,’’ she added. Also speaking, Country Manager, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan noted that
Google was serious about Nigeria and wanted to get more Nigerian users online by developing an accessible, relevant and sustainable internet environment. She disclosed that Google gave $500,000 to Nigeria ICT Forum Nigeria to support efforts in improving access to Internet infrastructure in tertiary education institutions in Nigeria.
Zinox installs digital PC, phone assembly plant Ezuka said that this digital plant had enhanced worked in two shifts 24 hours daily, including Sundays, to INOx Technologies Group has announced the capacity of Zinox to keep pace with internaZ achieve compatibility with the nation’s erratic power supply. the completion and installation of its digitional quality standards. “Zinox would now be These engineers drawn from China and South Africa made tal PC/Phones Assembly plant ahead of completion deadline time. Committed to the manufacture of ICT equipment to empower digital natives to drive the development of the nation, Zinox claimed to have powered and successfully tested the reliability of the digital plant, with the challenges of local power supply. The company said that the plant had capacity to assemble in-house brands as well as execute contract manufacturing for other brands. The Corporate Affairs Consultant of the Zinox Group, Mr. Echika Ezuka said that the digital plant with multiclass functionality produces Smart Desktops, Laptops, Tablet PCs, Phones and it is structured to produce a wider range of gadgets with available components.
more competitive in terms of pricing, delivery and after sales support while increasing the rate of introducing new products.” The new plant, Ezuka, added was an opportunity for Zinox to customise large orders for its customers. With an installed capacity and digital certification of 1250 PCs daily, the Zinox digital plant is expected to open new vistas to the entire IT sector – nurturing new brands, improving the quality of existing brands, and introducing new levels of flexibility with product design and architecture, all at costs that would reduce prices. At last the IT sector can deliver huge orders at short notice. Contacted on phone, the Head of Operations of Zinox – Uche Onyechere said that the foreign Engineers who installed the digital plant
Shopistry tech platform enters Nigeria TECHNOLOGy platform, Shopistry, which owners the chance of owning their own online A enables entrepreneurs to own their brand- store easily. ed e-shop, has birthed in Nigeria. Payments are remitted to the e-shop owner This platform is expected to bring a major boost to e-commerce in Nigeria for selling products at a low cost. The platform provides the requisite capabilities like customisable themes, automated stock management, Google search engine optimisation (SEO), customised e-marketing, discount engine, secure and safe payments, national delivery logistics, scalable infrastructure and much more, all in one bundle. Shopistry is owned by Brandnubians, a Nigerian eCommerce company, which gives Nigerian entrepreneurs and SME business
after the registration and guaranteed delivery to customers is facilitated as well. Making payments is secured as any subscriber to the platform, one is guaranteed seamless integration when using Visa, MasterCard, Verve and Genesis cards. Shopisty is a total package from service to sales, marketing, social network, business reporting and sales data. This platform also enables anyone to own eShop online without taking a degree in I.T or taking a business loan for an expensive ineffective websites.
sure the plant passed through all certifications stages, synchronising the different sections of the plant and then tested production for a few days before internal commissioning. Onyechere confirmed that Zinox ran a full scale digital assembling, which was rated globally with a failure rate of 0.001. Launched in 2001, Zinox Technologies Limited is a pioneer manufacturer of internationally certified branded PCs. The company took on the onerous task of running an advocacy for the adoption of the computer as a tool for work and play through the Computerize Nigeria initiative. Ekeh
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Assistant Director, Human Capital Development, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ike Adinde (left); NCC Commissioners: Dr. Mike Onyia; Mrs. Biodun Olujimi and Alhaji Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar at the 73rd Telecom Consumer Parliament of the Commission, which took place in Enugu
Diamond Bank to power branchless banking with new technology recognition of the huge role technology plays in service ItionNdelivery, Diamond Bank is to deploy BankOne mobile applicato boost its branchless banking strategy in the country. BankOne, a mobile banking application, allows instant account opening and registration. The application is designed and developed by AppZone, a fast-growing technology company. The integration of the branchless banking on the BankOne platform will allow Diamond Bank acquire and easily migrate all mass market accounts and ensure customers get quality service. BankOne shall be deployed alongside Diamond Bank’s core banking platform to ensure an up-to-date record of customers using the new product plus a robust central accounting and reporting system. The pilot phase of this value-added service named ‘Beta Friends’ will involve the recruitment and deployment of agents to the streets of Lagos to promote the new product. These agents will be armed with mobile phones equipped with the BankOne mobile banking application, which will enable them to open bank accounts on the field and also issue instant debit cards. This unique banking product is tailored to provide target customers with “branchless” access to basic financial services via more than 10,000 ATMs nationwide as well as through numerous mobile Agents. A range of value added services including Mobile Banking,
Firm streamlines SMEs’ operations with SAP solution E Nigeria Limited, a firm which operates as a diversified projSstruction, ects company with core areas of competence, including conproject finance, real estate development and equipment leasing with branches spread across Nigeria, has selected Spread IT (SAP Partner) to implement SAP Business One OnDemand, a comprehensive, subscription-based ERP system for small and medium sized enterprises that operate on cloud technology. SE Nigeria Limited uses spreadsheets to manage its customer and on off-the-shelf accounting solution to manage their accounting. It was difficult working with multiple softwares, which are not integrated and also costly to maintain, SE Limited had an untidy business process and was looking for an affordable integrated solution that could mange all its operations from sales, sales opportunity, procurement, financials, CRM, accounting, inventory, human resources reporting business intelligence service management spread across the country. SE Nigeria Limited is a growing business with no IT department and needed a solution that would relieve it of the burden of managing servers and ERP software. According to the Commercial Director, SE Nigeria Limited, Tolulope Ekundayo, the company uses spreadsheets to manage its customers and an offthe-shelf accounting solution for their business.
Inter-Bank transfers, and bills payments are also available to customers.
Chitbox, e-Commerce platform enters Nigerian market By Banji-Idowu Bola O further deepen the electronic commerce system in Nigeria, Chithub, an eCommerce platform that offers a variety of services has introduced Chitbox to the Nigerian Market. Unveiling the product in Lagos, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Michael Agbogo, said ChitBox is an infrastructure that will change the way most commercial businesses are run in Nigeria. “It is a device that will be used to deliver service through the ChitHub platform to organisations in Nigeria (service provider). Our services include Online shop, auctions, reservations, events, airtime vending and C-logistics. Chithub actually brings events, hotels, shopping malls, retail stores and a wide variety of products to your fingertips. Right from the comfort of your home or office, while using a computer or a mobile device, you can load airtime on your phone, shop for groceries, clothes, electronics and the list goes on”, Agbogo said. Agbogo explained that the services that will be available on this platform include payment for intra-state travels bus tickets, airline tickets, satellite TV subscriptions, utility bills payment, airtime vending, lottery ticket payment, hotel reservations, cinema tickets are some of the services available. According to him, Chitbox is a Point of Sale (POS) solutions provider that provides convenience and security for customers while opening new opportunities for increases sales in business. Agbogo added with Chitbox, limitations to customer’s experience in online transactions are addressed on the Chithub platform with the provision of adequate product information and imagery. Chithub online services allow transactions for 24 hours, seven days as customers can do transactions anywhere anytime.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
MaritimeWatch APM Terminals boosts stacking area by 300, 000 square metres
Maersk vessel Stories by Moses Ebosele PM Terminals has A announced plans to increase container-stacking area at Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria by an additional 300,000 square metres. The company explained recently that plans were also underway to take delivery of the first batch of five RubberTyred-Gantry (RTG) cranes it ordered from Kone Cranes as part of terminal yard redevelopment and expansion to the largest container terminal in West Africa. The project, which is now in phase three of the modernisation and upgrading of the facility, includes terminal yard redevelopment and expansion, new staff amenities and customer service building, acquisition of container han-
dling equipment, implementation of new terminal operatingsystemsandanewCustoms container inspection facility. Managing Director of APM Terminals Apapa, Dallas Hampton, said: “That is when the terminal will achieve the first impact of the ongoing development for increased capacity. The second batch of the remaining five RTGs will be delivered in November 2013.” Explaining further, he said that about 300,000 square metres of the North Yard of APM Terminals Apapa was in full swing. “This area is being converted from Reach Stacker operations to RTG operations thus increasing the Yard capacity and efficiency.” Headded:“Asthisisbeingdone in a functioning live Terminal, the area is divided into eight phases, which are progressive-
ly taken over for construction and then handed over back to operations after development. The first Area 1A was handed over on April 16, 2013 and the contractor is presently working on Area 1C.” According to Hampton, yard works would continue till August 2014 and would also include enhanced lighting and a rail siding. Hampton pointed out that work was simultaneously carried out on the construction of a three story building, which would house the new workers canteen, locker rooms, break rooms, Customs office and customer service centre. He said: “This building will modernise and centralise all the staff facilities, which are presently scattered in older locations. The new building is expected to be ready by April
2014. An interesting feature of this building will be a new wastewater treatment plant, which will handle all effluents. “Three new Liebherr Mobile Harbor Cranes (MHCs) have already been delivered in May 2012 as part of this Project. Two
more MHCs will be procured in 2015. Various other equipment like tractor trailers, empty handlers, fuel station, FLTs, spreaders are being procured and are under various stages of procurement/delivery,” he said.
The APM Terminals, Apapa expansion project, which is the third and final phase of the modernisation and upgrading of the terminal, was flagged off in February by Chief Executive Officer of the AP Moller-Maersk Group, Mr. Nils Andersen.
Board pledges to enhance shippers council’s operation HE task ahead is enor“T mous. We have a mountain to climb. We shall overcome. We are determined to work hard”. Those words form part of the brief statement of the new board chairman of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Lt.-Gen Salihu Ibrahim. Speaking at an inaugural meeting in Lagos, Salihu also pledged the resolve of the new
board to work closely with other stakeholders especially the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Customs among others. While thanking President Goodluck Jonathan for giving him and other members of the board the opportunity to serve, he said: “We shall explore all avenues and possibilities to solve most of the problems. We shall carry the council to the
next height. The interest of the Nigerian importers and exporters shall be adequately protected.” He explained that the clamour to appoint the NSC as a commercial regulator of the ports will be looked into by the board. In his address, the NSC Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, described the appointment of the board as timely.
Customs deploys officers to Global Scansystems fixed scanner at Seme HE Nigeria Customs Service T (NCS) has deployed its engineers to different sections of the fixed scanner installed at Seme border post by an indigenous service provider, Global Scansystems Limited. Meanwhile, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has called for what it described as ‘sustained awareness campaign’ on the benefit of the fixed scanner at Seme border post. Board member of CRFFN, Iju Tony Nwabunike, explained in
• CRFFN seeks sustained awareness campaign a chat with The Guardian that there is need to educate stakeholders on the benefits of the fixed scanner to the country. Deputy Comptroller (Administration), Gombe Abah, who spoke at the weekend after an inspection tour of the facility, described the use of the fixed scanner as ‘limitless’. According to Abah, the process of scanning begins with an agent, adding that in the last one week several trucks have been successfully scanned at
the facility. The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority also used the opportunity to assure members of the public of their safety, pointing out that investigation conducted revealed that the environment was safe. Conducting members of the committee on Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS), including its Chairman, Batare Musa, round the facility, Managing Director of
Global Scansystems Limited, Fred Udechukwu, explained that the bio-diversity scanner is capable of separating organic and inorganic materials and can scan about 20 trucks per hour. Themobilescanner,whichhas been operating at Seme border since 2006, according to the company now acts as “a standby.’’ The fixed scanner at Seme border brings to eight the number of scanners currently operated by the company under the Federal Government’s
Destination Inspection contract. Udechukwuexplainedthatthe eight scanners were manufactured, supplied and installed by Smiths Detection of France between 2006 and 2012, adding that it is jointly maintained with Smiths Detection of France. According to Udechukwu, Global Scansystems currently operates the eight scanners at theSemeborderpost,andPorts and Terminal Multi-Services Limited at the Tin-Can Island Port, Lagos State.
He also pointed out that the scanners have been installed and operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport as well as Warri and Calabar ports. He said: “The 9MeV Scanner, which is a marvel to watch is the first of its kind in south of the Sahara. The company started operations in 2006 under Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) arrangement to issue the Risk Assessment Report (RAR) and scan goods imported into the country.
ThE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Jetty operators, dockworkers must abide by existing law, says minister By Moses Ebosele hE Minister of Transport, IdrisUmarhasdescribedthe appointment of stevedore companies to manage dockworkers activities offshore/onshore and at the jetties as statutory. Umar explained recently that the appointment could not be subjected to what he described as whim and caprices of operators. Speaking at an interactive forum organised for jetty operators, on/offshore oil companies and Stevedore companies, Umar emphasised the supervisory role of government and its agencies in achieving the desired result in private jetties operations. The minister, according to a statement issued by NPA’s General Manager (Public
Affairs), Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu, explained that private jetties operations would be streamlined for the purpose of collecting benefits of stakeholders and the nation, adding that the ministry in concert with agencies like Nigerian PortsAuthority(NPA),National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency (NIMASA) are empowered with statutory responsibility of granting approval for the operations of jetties, onshore/offshore oil companies and stevedore services. Explaining further, the statement said: “In the recent past, reports of security breaches at private jetties have been received and in view of the current security challenges in the country, the issue cannot be
ignored.” The minister added: “Let me state that jetties operators are expected to restrict their activities to the approving licences granted them. They are also required to work in concert withrelevantsecurityagencies to ensure compliance with the laws guiding their operations. Anything outside these is bound to attract suspicion and appropriate sanctions. Earlier in his opening address, the Permanent Secretary Minister of Transport, Nebolisa Emordi emphasised the need for NIMASA to strengthen the criteria for the registration of stevedore companies and insisted that such criteria and standard are to be followed by all stakeholders, adding that government cannot operate in a vacuum.
Cruise industry announces passenger bill of rights RUISE industry has adopted C a passenger bill of rights that guarantees the “safety, comfort and care” of guests. The bill of rights promises, among other things, full refunds for trips that are canceled due to mechanical failure and a backup power source
on every ship to keep emergency systems running in the event of a main generator failure. According to NBC News, the announcement by the Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 25 major companies including
Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, holland America and Cunard, comes in the aftermath of the Carnival Triumph debacle. The ship drifted for several days earlier this year without power as passengers endured filthy condi tions.
Revenue generation in the Nigeria Customs Service By Ejiro Matthias Daniel hE Nigeria customs service, T NCS has really come a long way. Established by the British colonial administration in 1891 when it appointed a Briton, Mr.T.A. Wall, as its first directorgeneral for the collection of Inland Revenue in the protectorate. Prior to the advent of colonialism, the job of customs started in form of tax collections. Revenue from the department either under the United African company (UAC) or the recalled that the name department of customs and excise came into being in 1922 when Mr. F.A. Clinch another Briton was appointed the first controller of customs for the federation of Nigeria. Later, towards the end of 1945, it became the customs and excise preventive service under the leadership of Mr.Nicol-also a Briton. however, shortly after independence in 1960 the federal government adopted the Nigerianisation policy, which brought about the appointment of the first Nigerian chairman of the board/chief executive officer in the person of Mr. Ayodele Diyan in 1964. Since the coming of Nigerians as head of the NCS from the time of Diyan to the present ComptrollerGeneral, Abdullahi Inde Dikko, the department has undergone numerous reorganizations, transformation and restructuring to fine-tune its operations for better performance and according to the dictates of the time. Furthermore, with the promulgation of Decree No.14 of 11th Jan.1986, the NCS came under the firm control of the Federal
ministry of internal affairs. The federal government, however, in the quest of improved efficiency and strategic realignment of its departments, once again in 1992 moved the Department of Customs & Excise from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Federal Ministry of Finance and so it has been up till date. For the sake of repetition, the NCS has really come a long way. It has from its inception been a very important department of government as the largest revenue earner for the country. With Abdullahi Inde Dikko as the 31st head of the department, the NCS has vigorously been intensifying the fight against all forms of all illegal importation of contraband goods imported into the country through land borders, sea and airport. Since assuming office on 16th August 2009 as comptroller-general of the NCS, Abdullahi Inde Dikko has completely left no one in doubt that he is really in charge of affairs of the department as he mapped out solid strategies geared towards he repositioning of better quality service delivery and greater revenue generation to government. Also, the comptroller-general ad his dedicated members of staff have contributed to carry out its statutory mandates based on new staff morale. Enhanced capacity building increased revenue generation and deployment of relevant technology to drive its operations. Also, as part of his effort, the task force on anti-smuggling activities, the rapid response squad and the anticorruption and transparency unit (ACTU) has since inaugura-
tion recovered over N12 billion as revenue that would have been lost to importers. Thus,inanynormalandorganised society the world-over revenue generation is very critical to its survival and having survivedandweatheredthestorm from its inception till date. It is my sincere hope that NCS fully understand the enormity of the huge responsibilities entrusted upon its shoulders in the continuous discharge of its mandate and with you (Abdullahi Inde Dikko) currently piloting its affairs with every sense of patriotism and industrialized zeal, I believe the growth and development of our great nation is assured. A man of many parts, Abdullahi Inde Dikko will surely take the department to greater heights. Little wonder, you were appointed the vicechairman, West & Central Africa of the World Customs Organisations (WCO). A man who has been awarded several honorary degrees by many universities across the country I wish to use this medium to state with all modesty that your elevation to the enviable position as comptroller-general of the NCS since 2009 is a clear testimony to your good trackrecordofleadershipqualities. Your drive for revenue generation, commitment to higher economic development of this country can never be in doubt. It is my humble prayers that almighty Allah will continue to bless and crown all your untiring efforts and those of your committed members of staff with resounding success. • Daniel is a maritime operator
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
IndustryWatch Tourism as trade driver: A future threatened by low convergence Over the past decades, international trade and tourism have steadily increased, placing burden on governments to balance opportunities and profitability while not losing sight of security. The leap in global trade, for example, meant that processes must support efficient movement of goods and persons to positively impact national economies. The Nigerian tourism industry is still evolving when juxtaposed with others within the continent. The inability of the nation to enhance linkages among stakeholders, other industries, events, destination points and heritage sites remains a challenge to driving growth in the sector. Tourism thrives when nations open up markets to stimulate trade as well as services and investments. But any market opening needs to be properly designed and implemented, taking account of the social and environmental impacts, if sustainable tourism and growth could bring to bear on the nation’s overall economy. FEMI ADEKOYA writes. HEN the Country Director, British Council, W David Higgs while speaking on the future of cultural tourism in Nigeria said “Foreigners largely come to Nigeria for work rather than leisure”, many participants, especially stakeholders within the tourism industry felt slightly disturbed, going by the influx of foreigners into the country during international fairs and cultural events. However, the reality remains that tourism in Nigeria has not been treated as trade with the country losing so much revenue from lack of interconnectedness of other sectors of the economy to the tourism sector. Like some stakeholders explained, tourism in many economies is interconnected with key sectors in driving growth. From the aviation sector to hospitality business, to the transport sector, to financial services sector and the real sector, tourism provides adequate linkages to drive and sustain trade and investments in any economy. The tourism sector has suffered from a lack of political and popular support in many countries, especially Nigeria because its economic importance has been underestimated. The industry and its impact can be difficult to define and measure since it comprises sellers of many heterogeneous products. The sector is a major direct employer and supports a much wider indirect employment base in supplying industries. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) notes that tourism is also a complex industry. It can generate significant economic activity through linkages with other industries, such as agriculture, manufacturing and other services. Specifically, tourism can boost demand for goods and services – food, construction, and transport – from other sectors; the tourism industries that sell goods and services to tourists can also sell products to businesses in other sectors. OECD analysis finds that tourism is linked in this way to more other industries than the average services sector, suggesting that tourism may be one of the most interconnected services sectors in many economies. For instance, trade shows have long been seen as an important marketing tool for a large number of industries that need to exhibit their products to a specific audience. From the tourism perspective, trade shows are more than mere platforms for marketing products and services. These shows are an important part of the convention and meetings industry. Tourism industry leaders are well aware of the fact that trade shows produce not
Some tourist attraction centre and events in Nigeria only primary business (the business that takes place on the trade show floor) but also secondary business (business that is the result of servicing the trade show participants, such as hotels and restaurants) and even tertiary business (business that comes from trade show participants returning at a later time to the trade show’s host community). Precisely, many tourism leaders view trade shows as “conventions with a product to sell”. In India, for example, tourism is rated above average in generating supply of goods and services to other sectors. Tourism is rated as one of the most interconnected services sectors in the economy in terms of demand for goods and services from other sectors surpassed only by manufacturing, the electricity sector, health and social work, and non-tourism-related air transport, hotel and restaurant activity. According to the OECD, tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries and its importance for economic development is widely acknowledged. What makes tourism different from many other services is that the supplier stays where he is, and the tourist comes to him rather than the supplier taking his services to the consumer. Tourism can thus play a key role in poverty alleviation, bringing jobs for unskilled or semi-skilled workers in hotels, resorts and at cultural sites, as well as encouraging job creation in supply industries. These are all critical contributors to growth in developing economies. But if tourism is to offer a sustainable path to poverty alleviation, policies are needed to ensure that the benefits are shared and spread across the states, and that measures are taken to minimise the adverse impact of tourism on the environment.
The importance of the tourist sector is reflected in the relatively liberal environment currently in place in most countries. Nearly 130 World Trade Organization (WTO) members have made commitments to open up their tourist sector, more than for any other service sector, reflecting a desire to expand tourism and attract foreign direct investment. But there is still a great deal of scope for developing countries to expand tourism and the opportunities it offers for socio-economic development. One factor restricting such growth is a lack of adequate services and infrastructure. Speaking at the Pre-Centenary celebration lecture with the theme “Promoting cultural tourism in Nigeria: The past, present and the future” organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lagos, recently, the President of the Chamber, Goodie Ibru, said that the current socio-political problems of insecurity, inadequate infrastructure and harsh business environment have continued to impact negatively on the tourism industry. According to him, if the nation is to reap the fruit of the various efforts in public and private sectors of the economy to boost tourism, government must pay attention to solving the problems mitigating the growth of the sector, as this sector cannot stand alone neither is it immune to the various risks and challenges in the Nigerian economy. Also, David Higgs, while speaking on the future of tourism in Nigeria, noted that the future of the nation’s tourism sector lies in the nation’s ability to promote a sector that provides affordable and quality services, and also has ease of access to the country through a relaxed visa application frame-
Tourism in many economies is interconnected with key sectors in driving growth. From the aviation sector to hospitality business, to the transport sector, to financial services sector and the real sector, tourism provides adequate linkages to drive and sustain trade and investments in any economy...The tourism sector has suffered from a lack of political and popular support in many countries, especially Nigeria because its economic importance has been underestimated. The industry and its impact can be difficult to define and measure since it comprises sellers of many heterogeneous products. The sector is a major direct employer and supports a much wider indirect employment base in supplying industries.
work. “Foreigners largely come to Nigeria for work rather than leisure. I can tell you it is a hard job to entice workers to come here, but once they get here, they usually relax into the place. Some never leave. It is not the internal travel opportunities. Roads are bad and flights expensive. It is not the arts scene. It is not the beaches. “Two factors. First, it is the nation’s earning potential. Nigeria has a major skills deficit that is partly filled by immigrant labour. Secondly, the Nigerian people are the source of attraction to foreigners. Foreigners find them accessible, warm, dynamic and friendly. If these factors are taking into consideration, combined with infrastructure development, Nigeria will become a destination point for tourists. Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and InterGovernmental Relations, Disun Holloway noted that there is a need to create linkages among stakeholders to aid tourism promotion. He added that the state government is working with stakeholders to make the state a preferable destination point in the country. President, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, Olu Alabi advocated increased consumption of indigenous products by Nigerians before foreign investments can be attracted in to the country. Industry watchers however believe that for starters and developing nations, transport services and in particular the air transport sector is key; access to destinations at reasonable prices is a precondition for the development of tourism. Also, physical infrastructure, including airports, harbours, accommodation, electricity and water and sewage, needs to be in place and periodically upgraded to meet the needs of increasing tourist arrivals. Telecommunications services are another increasingly important driver for tourism development, with the IT infrastructure having a major impact on the structure of the tourism industry. Furthermore, an effective financial system is also a key enabler of tourism growth, both to create a thriving business environment and for the tourist experience. Marketing and promotion are essential to generate viable levels of demand for tourism and to succeed in a very competitive world. The stakeholders believe that how developing countries deal with these bottlenecks will
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 15, 2013
INDUSTRY WATCH | 39
Infrastructure, visa regime as barriers to trade growth Despite the rise of emerging markets and of Africa in particular, in the global trade scene, inadequate infrastructure however remains a major obstacle towards Africa achieving its full trade and economic growth potential. With Africa seen as one of the world’s fastest growing economic hubs, meeting the demand for key infrastructure has been identified as a priority. SImilarly, the African Development Bank and other development agencies have advocated friendly visa regime, among others as viable measures to enhance trade relations. FEMI ADEKOYA writes. HE rise of the emerging markets and of Africa T in particular, has added a new dimension to the fast-growing and increasingly complex global trading environment. Even without the emerging market effect, trading volumes have mushroomed in the last few years and liquidity has fragmented in both the United States and Europe. Inadequate infrastructure however remains a major obstacle towards Africa achieving its full trade and economic growth potential. With Africa seen as one of the world’s fastest growing economic hubs, meeting the demand for key infrastructure has been identified as a priority. Specifically, this translates into exciting opportunities for global investors who need to look past the traditional Western view of Africa as a homogeneous block, and undertake the detailed researchrequiredtounderstandthenuancesand unique opportunities of each region and each individual country. To address this trend, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) at its recently concluded yearly general meeting, examined key issues affectingthenation’seconomicprosperityaswell as its efforts towards attracting foreign direct investments into the country. Similarly, experts at Delloite believe that greater economic activity, enhanced efficiency and increased competitiveness are hampered by inadequate transport, communication, water and power infrastructure. To them, the world is eager to do business with Africa, but finds it difficult to access African markets, especially in the interior, due to poor infrastructure. Physical infrastructure covering transportation, power and communication through its backward and forward linkages facilitates growth; while social infrastructure including water supply, sanitation, sewage disposal, education and health, which are in the nature of primary services, has a direct impact on the quality of life. Without this infrastructure, experts believe that it may be difficult for Africa to achieve the growth levels expected or required. Infrastructure planning and investment are therefore critical if Africa’s huge economic and developmental potential are to be realised. Key in helping the continent realise its economic potential, is the careful construction of a sustainable infrastructure that can assist to turn the situation around. Africa’s economic growth and development are intrinsically linked to infrastructure development, but it is the push-pull relationship with commodities that has become the driving force for infrastructure development in the region. Immediate Past President, Dr. Herbert Ajayi said: “For Nigeria, meaningful, long-lasting economic growth and development is almost entirely contingent upon its embracing good governance structure that would serve as essential ingredient for attracting substantial amounts of FDI into the country. You will all agree that FDI is crucial for the Nigerian economy, as it permits the transfer of technology and facilitates improvements in productivity. Ultimately, this can help alleviate Nigeria’s widespread poverty by increasing per capita income and elevating overall standards of living towards the realization of the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria “To do so, Nigeria must address all impediments to growth through extensive political and economic reform. For instance, there must be a dramatic and comprehensive restructuring of Nigeria’s economy through a greater diversification of the economy and also diversification of the FDI it receives. Up until now, Nigeria’s FDI inflows have been almost exclusively in the natural resources sector, specifically in the oil and
Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga tion and is a core pillar of the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy. Twenty-five percent of all trade in Africa is informal; it is the strongest in West Africa. If there were no visa requirements, informal sector trading would boom.” In his opening remarks during the recently concluded African Development Bank yearly meetings,Ncube notedthatAfricannationsmayneed to relax visa requirements in order to boost intraregional trade. The panel organized jointly by the World Economic Forum and the African Development Bank, discussed the benefits of relaxing visa restrictions throughout Africa. ECOWAS Commissioner of macroeconomic policy, Dr. Ibrahim Bocar Ba, underlined that Africans mainly migrate to Africa. He said: “In ECOWAS more than 80 per cent of all migration is intra-regional. Nonetheless, Africans need visas to go to 80 per cent African countries, these restrictions are higher for Africans traveling within Africa than for Europeans and North Americans.” Director, General Planning at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Rwanda Leonard Rugwabiza, who shared the lessons of Rwanda, said the country moved to biometrix border management, low restrictions on transfer of services in engineering and legal services as well as visas on arrival for all African citizens since January 1, 2013. “Rwanda, with a limited number of embassies abroad, has also introduced e-visas in order to reduce the costs and time constraints of people in obtaining visas. Since we opened our borders, tourism from African countries has increased by 24 per cent.” Furthermore, “trade actually shifted from being oriented to Europe and North America, and is now oriented to neighbouring countries. Trade with neighbouring countries increased by 50 per cent last year, and trade with neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo rose by 73 per cent”. “The private sector is the engine of growth, and we all talk about improving the climate for business sector. Visas are a major barrier, and pose restrictions on doing business”, some of the stakeholders noted. Last year‚ a World Bank report showed how African countries are losing out on billions of dollars in potential trade every year because of high trade barriers with neighbouring countries. It also showed that it was often easier for to trade with the rest of the world than Africa is one of the regions in the world with the highest visa requirements. Visa Africa with its neighbouring countries. restrictions imply missed economic opportunities for intra-regional trade and for The cross-border production networks that spurred economic dynamism in other the local service economy such as tourism, cross-country medical services or edu- have regions‚ especially East Asia‚ have yet to materication...Twenty-five percent of all trade in Africa is informal; it is the strongest in alise in Africa. African leaders have called for a continental free West Africa. If there were no visa requirements, informal sector trading would trade area by 2017 to boost trade within the conboom...In ECOWAS more than 80 per cent of all migration is intra-regional. tinent. Indeed, trade and regional integration are core Nonetheless, Africans need visas to go to 80 per cent African countries, these elements of the World Bank's new Africa stratelaunched in March 2011‚ to help countries crerestrictions are higher for Africans traveling within Africa than for Europeans and gy‚ ate opportunities for transformation and susNorth Americans. tained growth. natural gas industries. Obviously, such a concentration of FDI limits technology transfer and inhibits job creation, due to the capital-intensive nature of the extractive industry process. “Nigeria should therefore endeavor to attract FDI in other sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, consumer products, and construction projects which would generate greater employment and create more balanced economic growth, provided of course that good governance practice, is seriously embraced. “Government’s promise to improve transportation infrastructure (roads, railway, waterways and air) in the country has not yielded the desired result; as about 50 per cent of Federal and State roads are still in poor and deplorable conditions, thus, increasing the already high cost of doing business in Nigeria. “We therefore, wish to canvass the need for Government to continue to sustain its collaboration with the private sector through the on-going Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to ensure the provision of adequate and reliable infrastructure with respect to road, rail, air and waterways transportation.” On his part, Managing Director, The Infrastructure Bank, Adekunle Oyinloye noted that a combination of the challenges of a growing population, rapid urbanisation, inadequate resources of government to solely fund capital projects among others, have led to a state of continuous under-investment in the development, expansion and maintenance of infrastructure which has resulted in most infrastructure assets being in a state of decay or virtual collapse in most Nigerian cities today. He said: “Nigerians experience the negative consequences of lack of adequate infrastructure on a daily basis. Lives are lost through needless accidents as a result of bad roads, cost of doing businesses remain high owing to inadequate power supply, the poor state of the rail network means thatcontinuouspressureisbeingputonanalready dilapidated road transportation both for the freight of passengers and goods. “A lot more can however still be achieved and it is suggested that based on the crucial role of infrastructure development towards the achievement of the transformation agenda as envisaged by the Federal Government, the TIB should receive more support of the government in its bid to transform the infrastructural landscape.” In its report on Addressing Africa’s Infrastructure
Challenges, Deloitte noted that the lack of infrastructureisaseriousobstacletogrowthanddevelopment, and results in a low level of intra-African trade and trade with other regions. For instance, the continent accounts for 12 per cent of the world population but generates a mere one per cent of global GDP and only two per cent of world trade. Despite this, six of the world’s ten mostrapidlyexpandingeconomiesarenowlocated in sub- Saharan Africa. This gives even more reason for speedy infrastructure transformation. Studies, such as that by the Infrastructure Consortium of Africa (ICA), have shown that poor road, rail and harbour infrastructure adds 30-40 per cent to the costs of goods traded among African countries. Furthermore, a recent World Bank study on infrastructure also highlighted challenges in this regard for continental economic development. It found that the poor state of infrastructure in subSaharan Africa, that is electricity, water, roads and information and communications technology (ICT), reduced national economic growth by two percentage points every year and cut business productivity by as much as 40 per cent. It is estimated that the sub-Saharan Africa needs aboutUS$93-billionannuallyoverthenextdecade to overhaul infrastructure. About two-thirds or $60-billion of that is needed for entirely new infrastructure and $30-billion for the maintenance of existing infrastructure. Only about $25-billion annually is being spent on capital expenditure, leaving a substantial shortfall that has to be financed. Meanwhile, at a time when African nations, especially countries within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region, are seeking alternatives to boost trade within the region through the Trade Liberalisation Scheme, the African Development Bank has advocated reduced visa restrictions as a viable measure to enhance trade relations. Specifically, Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said: “Africa is one of the regions in the world with the highest visa requirements. Visa restrictions imply missed economic opportunities for intra-regional trade and for the local service economy such as tourism, cross-country medical services or education.” Ncube underlined that “The movement of talent and people is at the core of regional integra-
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5 , 2013 In association with
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IREE 103 - Social Media And Real Estate (Part 2) straight to the point information on products and offerings. It offers a great opportunity for real estate professionals to promote properties to a wider market. Twitter acts as a free press release tool that can generate traffic to a companyâ€™s site when enough followers have been built up. It creates room for a two-way interaction with potential and existing clients, thereby building trust, loyalty, lasting interpersonal relationships and ultimately the brand. Linkedin Linkedin is a great social media application that connects professionals around The IREE was inaugurated in 2012: the world. Real Estate professionals are Vision: To raise the standards in the therefore able to connect and acquire the Nigerian real estate industry through profes- services of one another through this tool. sional training and coaching to meet inter- These could include Real Estate professionals, Real Estate Marketers, Developers, national standards. Architects and other active players. Cutting Edge Real Estate YouTube YouTube is a video-sharing website that News. Trends . Advice Real Estate professionals can use to showtheir properties online through the he Intelligent Real Estate Series case use of 3D videoettes which gives a clear is a bi-weekly column aimed at view of the properties and can reach educating readers on matters potential buyers in different parts of the relating to the real estate industry. world. It has the added merit of providing the client with a first-hand virtual feel of We will be discussing the various factors that affect the industry, cur- the property. rent trends and future projections in Brought to you by The Institute for Real Excellence (IREE) practicing real estate in the 21st cen- Estate Excellence. Integrity. Professionalism. tury as the industry is continuously The Institute for Real Estate Excellence evolving and business is no longer (IREE) business as usual. The IREE was inaugurated in 2012 Vision: To raise the standards in the Enjoy!!! Nigerian real estate industry through professional training and coaching to meet international standards. Meetup Meetup is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest. This site can bring together real estate professionals that could provide a service for one another, or could just generally learn from one another. (Continued from last week) Blogs Twitter A real estate blog offers great opportunity HIS has been described as the fastest to continuously post information rich in growing social media network and content about expertise, specialty and pronow a marketing tool which allows the fessional work. Entertaining, educative, user post updates of up to 140 characexciting and useful information will ters at once. It also allows the user give attract an audience with similar interests.
choose to service. Above all, transactions have been closed by real estate professionals with clients locally and internationally as a result of the effective and efficient use of social media. The core goal of real estate pros utilizing social media is to attract sellers looking to list their homes or buyers looking to purchase homes. Naturally, the use of social media for real estate is for setting up pages on social networks that fit your company's content and audience. While an occasional listing may be appreciated by your social media community, many experts advocate engaging your audience with industry The social media is a powerful marketing knowledge and an expert perspective, tool and a good source of making and rather than alienating users with irreleretaining clients and building relation- vant information. There are so many facships. In the last seven years many real tors that must align to make a listing pertiestate companies engaged in developing nent to a single customer, such as pricing, and selling houses, service apartments, location and size. As a result of this, there service plots, corporate office space etc. is a high probability that most listings have taken advantage of the social media might not pertain to most people in a to market their products, share listings, given social media audience. tours and showings, lend expert advice, rebrand their products or even test the acceptability of their products in the market. Several payment plans and value added services have been circulated via social media networks by many Nigerian companies to increase their market share, stimulate customer interest in their products as well as develop new products tailored for each segment they
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THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Energy Govt turns to renewable energy for electricity generation From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja HE federal government is turning to T renewable energy sources for electricity supply in Nigeria, officials have said. In addition to projects in coal and solar, efforts to boost generation through the large, medium and small hydros with a total capacity of 4,234MWs have kicked off. These include Zungeru 700MW, Mambilla- 3,050MW, Itsi40MW, Small Hydro Power 84MW. In an interview with The Guardian, Min-
ister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo stressed that government was retooling the Ministry of Power to focus more on renewable energy sources including hydro, water and solar. According to him: “The ministry has to learn to retool because it is no longer business as usual. Things are changing within the ministry. This will go more into policy formulation, encouragement of research, strengthening regulation and mechanisms as well as developing other vistas and ensuring that other issues like rural elec-
trification, energy conservation and renewable energy that all of them come into play so that eventually a firm government policy on power will be established firm enough to include a good energy mix proportion. It is not a good thing just to have gas and hydro driven plants, we need coal to power. We need solar and wind. Nigeria has an immense potential for renewable energy and even waste to power.” Indeed, construction for the 700MW Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant, which has been challenged by different
circumstances since 1982, formally took off last week with President Goodluck Jonathan assuring that the nation’s children would not live in a future where they would procure their own private generators. With the funding challenges that had stalled the implementation of the plant, consisting of 4x175 units of tribune generators, now resolved, the project is expected to be ready in four years. Jonathan, who performed the ground breaking ceremony at the
Sources of renewable energy
Addax tasks workers, contractors on safety standards By Sulaimon Salau T is no longer business as usual for Idaxthe employees and contractors of AdPetroleum, as the company emphasized full compliance with the health, safety, security and environment (HSSE) standards in the oil and gas sector. The Managing Director, Addax Petroleum, Cornelis Zegelaar, who made
this commitment at the flag-off of the company’s HSSE week in Lagos on Monday, said that the company had set a target of 0.45 Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) this year. Zegelaar noted that consistent team effort is in place to achieve the target, while a14 must-do rules have been introduced to further enhance safe practices in its operations. “HSE compliance with relevant regu-
lations is taken as a duty in Addax Petroleum. In compliance with the new offshore safety regulations, relevant offshore going personnel have received the BOSIET training on emergency survival techniques and the statutory fees has been made.” According to him, the company had also introduced some proactive safety measures between 2012 HSSE
week and now. This includes the stop work policy, which empowers all employees and contractors to stop all jobs that are considered unsafe for further review prior to re-commencement or total stoppage of the task. Besides, he said the company always conducts HSE capability assessment for contractors from pre-contract to award.
project site yesterday, announced that the challenges to private sector participation have been removed while various incentives such as a robust regulatory framework, tax and cost holiday and cost reflective tariff for power sale have been put in place to attract more private investment to the sector. The construction of the plant is part of efforts to diversify the Nation’s energy mix in the amidst of uncertainty associated with thermal (gas) plants. The project will be the fourth major dam to be constructed in Nigeria and would be constructed at the cost of one hundred and sixty two billion, nine hundred million Naira (162.9 billion) with a completion period of four (four years). Similar take off ceremony for the 3,050MW Mambila Hydro Electric Power Project is also expected soon. The project is being financed through a long-term credit from Exim Bank of China on a Debt Equity ratio of 75:25. The Federal Ministry of Finance has secured this funding at two percent (two per cent) and the federal government has paid its equity portion of twenty-five (25 per cent) of the total fund, according to officials. Chief Representative of the consortium in Nigeria, Ju Shiquan said that construction work would commence immediately after the official ceremony. Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo: “ Today, we have in place not just the designs, but the funding mechanism of all the major hydro schemes in the country. With the recent approval of $1.72 billion counterpart funding for the sector by the National Economic Council, not just for Zungeru, but Mambilla Dam in Taraba and Gurara 11 Dam in Suleja, Niger State will soon see the light of the day. “With these and many other efforts in place, the Electricity Roadmap and the Power Sector Reform Programme is fully on course. “ He said: “ I should add that already in place are the necessary regulatory and financial institutions for the operations of the emerging electricity market. These include a credit worthy Bulk Trader (NBET) supported by the World Bank Partial Risk Guarantees, he Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) to issue licenses and regulate the industry.”
How to achieve gas revolution in Nigeria, by stakeholders By Roseline Okere HERE is need for the federal government to inT stitute an investor-friendly fiscal regime and pricing policy that would stimulate growth and a catalyst for national development, the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), has said. NGA, in a communiqué signed by its President, Chima Ibeneche and Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, Akachukwu Nwokedi, stated that this would assist the government in its quest of making Nigeria a regional hub for gas-based industries. The stakeholders added in the communiqué, which was issued at the end of the association conference recently in Abuja, that the government
should engage the organised private sector and other stakeholders in a comprehensive, inclusive dialogue and negotiations of the contents, direction and intention of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) so as to address all differences and ultimately enact a law which would reflect national aspirations as well as protect all stakeholders’ interests. They also stressed the need for the government to begin a reduction in its commercial participation in gas and power sectors and instead focus more on regulatory supervision and the role of providing favourable environment to investors in the value chain. Expressing delight at the progress made in the Gas Revolution Initiative, the conference observed that a lot of work still needed to be done, especially against
the background of intense global competition in the gas industry. It therefore recommended that government should expedite the development of infrastructure to allow transportation of gas to all parts of the country. It added: “Government need to expedite action on the Final Investment Decisions (FIDs) on gas export projects so that the country could strengthen its position in the global gas export business and enhance its domestic gas utilisation.” The conference however, observed that Nigeria has come a very long way in reforming the gas sector, stressing the need for the country to work towards utilizing its vast gas resources.
It stated: “With proven gas reserves of up to 18TCF and one third of Africa’s gas reserves, Nigeria qualified to be in the league of nations which had achieved gas-driven industrialization but has not fully exploited the opportunities to leverage these resources to achieve industrialisation. “Although government had embarked on an extensive gas network infrastructure backbone across the east, west and northern parts of the country, the state of infrastructure and issues relating to fiscal, financing, pricing and regulatory framework were still major challenges to gas export, utilisation and penetration in the country. Even though the vision is to have major LNG export terminals in key coastal areas, the realisation of other plants has been slow pace.”
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
“Removal of fuel subsidy will lead to competition in petroleum industry” Chris Igwe is the Managing Director of Mainland Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of Chrisnak Group; he spoke with journalists at the just concluded Offshore Technology Conference in Houston Texas on the importance of deregulation and removal of fuel subsidy to the Nigerian economy. Roseline Okere, was there. Excerpts. HAT is your position on W the deregulation of the downstream petroleum industry? Yes, as a patriotic Nigerian citizen, I’m a supporter of deregulation of the industry in line with the national aspiration to grow capacity in that sector of the industry. It takes patriotism to support the policy because our national interest supersedes personal and sectional interests. Nigeria is our country and the future of the country depends on the actions we take today. So, what we do today determines what we get tomorrow. So, I would want a situation where Nigeria would be developed like Houston, Texas. So, from all indications the subsidy resources have not been managed well. In a situation where a nation would use 35 per cent of its yearly budget to subsidise fuel consumption is not fair. And at the end of the
day, who are enjoying this subsidy? It is the middle class. The common man does not have a car. So, I am of the view as a Nigerian that subsidy should be removed so that there would be level playing ground for all operators to compete. And then at the end of the day, the best would come out of the downstream petroleum industry. You mentioned the PIB as a prime enabler. What is your position on the proposals in the bill? It a welcome development. The industry bill is all about transparency in the systems and processes that drive activities of the industry. It deals with such desirable components like accountability and deregulation of the sector which implies subsidy removal. For God sake, this subsidy is not sustainable. We all know that. Because the subsidy is not sustainable, we welcome the PIB, which will provide level the playing ground for all players in the industry. The only thing is that a lot of operators may not be able to compete when the PIB comes into implementation. But for us, we are strategizing to take advantage of the new law. That is why we are expanding and want to build more points of sale so that we will be able to compete favourably. Is there not any aspect of the PIB that you feel should be modified in the interest of in-
Igwe vestors in the downstream? I have read the draft bill and I find it acceptable. But the only problem we have about policies and laws in the country is the implementation. I believe that when the PIB is passed into law, it should be implemented efficiently. Having said that, the proposals in the bill are ok and it is welcome. Given the challenges in pushing products to the rural areas, how have been able to break even in marketing products in such remote locations? In our group, we have a strong logistics arm. And because we are also in Logistics business it has been easy for us to opti-
mize internal synergy in bulk transshipment of products. We have a robust fleet of haulage trucks which we readily deploy in products bridging. We also have our tank farm, which happens to be one of the biggest storage facilities in Calabar, Cross River State. With our wheeling and storage capacity we are licensed by the Department of Petroleum Resources to get products allocation from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for direct distribution in the market. We also import directly to meet demand on our facilities in addition to holding strate-
gic reserves to ensure that that all our storage facilities are wet with products to continuously and promptly respond to fuel demand from individuals and businesses. Given the level of your participation in the domestic fuel market, what is your view of the fuel subsidy controversy that rocked the market in recent times? The subsidy probe is a step in the right direction but there appears to be little will to drive the implementation of the probe recommendations. The spirit with the probe was pursued appears to be going down. From where we are sitting, it is obvious that Nigerians want to see the outcome of the probes so that it would serve as deterrent to those who come to the market to reap from where they did not sow. People should know that there is law in the land and al operators in the business must operate within the ambits of the laws that govern the state. Having said that, I believe that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies in the state are diligent enough to drive the probes to conclusion. So, we await the conclusion of the processes to determine outcome of the probes. So due process is the word since, as we all know, the law presumes an accused person innocent until it is proved otherwise. Is the Chrisnak Group also
prospecting upstream integration? In oil and gas we are in the downstream presently. The industry itself is very big, even in the downstream; Mainland Oil is still expanding its participation in the downstream. We just finished building our storage facility which is about the single largest in Calabar with capacity for 70,000 tons of products. Presently we are doing a holding bay; we are doing a cargo line; and in order to take advantage of the impending subsidy removal, our next plan is to spread our retail sites by building mega-stations across state capitals and major commercial centers of the country. We want to make Mainland a national company, so the next strategy is to build more gas stations in all the strategic cities of the country. We will go upstream of course but we want to consolidate our presence in the downstream first. May we know the value your group is adding to the Nigerian labour market? The Chrisnak group recognizes the need to optimize the use the abundant labour force in the country and we engage staff strategically to ensure that everybody fits into a functional role in our operations. As we speak the group is about 3000 workers strong and our growth strategies provide more career opportunities for non-skilled, skilled, specialized and professional employees.
New metering policy rekindles hope for indigenous manufacturers By Azeez Olorunlomeru HE new wind of change ushT ered-in by the privatisation process has raised the hope of electric meter manufacturers in the country, who have had little share of the market in the recent years. The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), recently announced the commencement of the new metering scheme tagged Credit Advanced Payment for Meter Installation (CAPMI). With the new regime, it is believed that the move would help to fast track and find a lasting solution to the difficulties consumers encounter in the process of acquiring prepaid meters, as well as addressing the menace of over-billing. When the idea of prepaid meters was conceived by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in 2005, it was commended by well-meaning Nigerian’s as a process that would bring back sanity into the electricity industry in Nigeria. NERC has been at the forefront of ensuring that meters are available for consumers to be able to utilise the new transformation in the Nigerian power sector. This development has necessitated the establishment of an indigenous metering company, Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company with the mandate to manufacture electricity meters, develop
vending and management applications and perform support services. The company is expected to deploy, install and manage prepayment metering solutions for PHCN for bulk domestic and corporate organisations. The Guardian’s visit to the company revealed that Nigeria may be set to make history as the indigenous metering company will have the production capacity of 50,000 meters produced monthly, approximately 600,000 annually to supply Nigerian consumers and indeed sub-Saharan Africa. It is expected that the company through its production capacity should be able to deliver prepaid meters to the end users without any difficulties when the new investors takes over after the privatization exercise. Besides, the company has developed a data base management structure that will allow consumers easy access to credit their meters through the use of mobile phones without necessarily need to touch the meter. The Chairman of the company, Kola Balogun, stated that the issue of local content should be a signature tone to virtually all the sectorial practices in order for the country to attain its rightful position as one of the leading economies in the world. He noted that the company has been able to develop a state of the art intelligent meters that will allow two ways com-
munication and as well as open a real on-line transaction between the users and the operators. He said that the company, which commenced a 1.2 million yearly, electricity meter manufacturing capacity plant at Orimerunmu, along LagosIbadan Expressway in Obafemi-Owode Local Government area of the state also disclosed that it would proffer effective solution to Nigeria 2.5 million energy meter deficit. He said that the company rendered metering and systems software services, design, installation, training, IT infrastructure, payment validation among other electricity-related services, adding that the company had already developed electricity-related systems software for PHCN in Kano, Kaduna, Abuja and Enugu. Momas systems was incorporated in 1995 as a Computer Maintenance, Training and Engineering Company. It later metamorphosis into a purely metering and information technology solutions provider with vision to be a leading technological metering solutions company committed to the provision of excellent services. Momas Systems, specialises in providing AMR (Automated Meter Reading) solutions for the delivery of electricity. A consultant in Advanced Metering Infrastructure, supplier of various type of electrical components and utility management systems.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Opinion The Christian attitude to money (1) By Josiah Idowu-Fearon ODAY, in this country called Nigeria, the craze T for money has infiltrated every segment of our society. From the religious leadership through to the traditional and the political, there is no difference. The things being done and said in order to enrich ourselves with money are no longer moral. Immoral ways and means are, today, the norm in every facet of our national life. We read in our dailies of men and women who bear names that identify them as “Church-goers” who steal money meant for either those they are paid to serve, or used for the welfare of those who voted them to be in power. In years past, we heard of thousands and millions of naira stolen; today we hear of billions in naira and millions in dollars stolen! No segment of our society is revered any more. Church leaders, in order to compete with politicians and shady business men and women, ride the latest vehicles and aircrafts, live in mansions, use the same methods to acquire the same astronomical amount of money. Business women and men delve into shady deals in order to keep their bank accounts very fat. They refuse to honour agreements made with business partners, and, in a bid to get justice, the one who feels cheated assassinates the cheat! Politicians, in order to keep winning elections, use allocations meant for the development of their constituencies for private use, and the maintenance of their very expensive life-styles! Businessmen and women inflate contract sums, cut corners and produce sub-standard materials in order to make more money for their life-styles! The results are there for all to see: collapsed buildings, political assassinations, slow and painful deaths in hospitals due to sub-standard drugs! The press women and men are not shielded from this craze – they publish articles written by those seeking cheap publicity, and get paid; they distort facts and murder truth, all in the interest of stashing away money in their bank accounts. Sadly, most of those involved in all these deals mentioned above bear names that identify them as church members. In a pluralistic country like ours, with two contending faith communities, the challenge is always there for these two to out-do each other in obeying the teachings of their scriptures! As followers of Christ, we are challenged to
be faithful as stewards of all we possess. That includes money! This is what has informed our synod theme for this year: The Christian Attitude To Money (Heb.13:5). Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” In studying what the Christian attitude to money should be, it is strongly advised to take seriously the whole of the New Testament canon, with all its variety. An important reason for a comprehensive approach is that when we take very situation-specific injunctions and attempt to universalize them, we quickly run into conflict with other New Testament imperatives that are equally important. For instance, some Christians take Luke 12:33 “Sell your possessions and give to the poor” to be incumbent on all Christians in every situation, and follow this injunction to the letter. When that Christian meets the commandment “Do not neglect hospitality” (Heb. 13:2), how does that Christian offer hospitality, having no home or possession? In other words, a canonical approach suggests that there must be a balance in the way we evaluate the evidence, not universalizing a calling or demand that may be meant for particular persons, living in particular circumstances and places. It is also important for Christians to note that much of the orientation of the New Testament towards money and wealth are a carry-forward from Old Testament assumptions about the subject. These assumptions include the following: • The assumption that God is the Creator and Owner of all things. • God’s creatures are not owners but only stewards of the material things, even when one has worked for them and earned them in a sense. • We find in the Old Testament the convictions that human beings are fallen, and that the internal battles with things like greed are ongoing; one cannot afford to be naïve about that. • Finally, in spite of the many warnings in the Bible about wealth (repeatedly associated with idolatry and apostasy), a believer must be wary and take a cautious approach to the issue of money and possessions: – Isaiah’s caution to the wealthy in Israel (Isa.3: 16-24). – Amos critiqued the idle wealthy, warning them
that they were going to be the first to go into exile (Amos 6: 4-7). – God Himself complained that having blessed Israel, she became rebellious and idolatrous, “forgetting the God who gave you birth” (Dt.32: 10-18). Pitfalls in attitude to money Today, prosperous Christians either deliberately ignore, or they are not aware of these warnings, and this is why our fallen attitudes about wealth and prosperity are no different from those of ancient Israel. The texts quoted above remind us that we cannot simply focus on the Old Testament or New Testament texts that say that sometimes, wealth can be a reward and blessing from God for good, honest labour. We must meditate on the whole witness of the Bible. This is where we create problems for other believers. When we treat, say, certain verses in the Book of Proverbs in isolation from what the rest of the entire Bible says, and without an understanding of how proverbs and maxims work, then we do not merely mistake the part for the whole but we even violate the character of the part which says that sometimes, material things are a blessing from God and a reward for good, hard labour. When we turn to the New Testament, the warnings about wealth as a potential stumbling block is intensified. In other words, the New Testament is harder on the assumptions of the health-andwealth Gospel than the Old Testament. It is the New Testament that stresses that a person is not to store up his or her treasure on earth, and urges that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Furthermore, the most we can get from the statement “Seek ye first ...and all these things shall be added “ text is that the believers are encouraged to rely on God, and not on their financial advisers, for the provision of their basic need (Acts 4:34; Lk. 6:31; 2 Cor. 9:10-11). These texts do assure us that God can and will give His people what is necessary to sustain an obedient life, though there will undoubtedly be times of testing. When God is blessing a person with material prosperity, usually the text says that God is doing this for the righteous, which is to say those who are likely to use such resources in a good and godly way. For others, ruled by their errant desires and lust, prosperity is seen more as a temptation and a snare than a blessing. In any case, the New Testament is very clear that the goal
of the Christian life is not success or prosperity, but godliness and contentment, which Paul stresses as the greatest gain of all. Are the poor more spiritual? The New Testament does not suggest that material poverty is inherently a more spiritual condition than wealth, though clearly there are a few stumbling blocks to a healthy relationship with God for the poor. According to Wheeler (1995), there is no repudiation of material goods as such in the New Testament. The disciples may be directed to sell their possessions and give to the poor; they are never directed to simply throw them away. The necessity and goodness of wealth as a resource for the meeting of human needs are affirmed, while the same epistles which condemn greed as idolatrous commend provision for oneself and one’s family as a duty. The New Testament and the prosperity gospel We begin this sub-topic with the question: to what extent is it possible for a prosperous Christian to hear a call to simplify one’s lifestyle and give more to the needy? This is a pertinent question because one of the great problems with the prosperity Gospel is that it removes any lingering guilt about being a conspicuous consumer and, indeed, accelerates the process of spiritual deafness to the cries of the poor. It gives permission to turn off such nagging voices in one’s head, or to write off poor people in general as victims of their own bad choices, or the like. Some basic New Testament teachings on possession and wealth In the New Testament, material poverty is never seen as a good thing in itself. By the same token, material possessions can be seen as a good gift from God meant to meet the needs of oneself and those of other persons. However, we are all fallen creatures and so self-centred, which create room for an infinite capacity for self-purification and rationalisation of one’s behaviour, especially the expenditure of our so-called disposable income. This is why a good thing, namely material possessions, can simultaneously become a means of turning human hearts away from God (Blomberg, 1999). • To be continued tomorrow. • The Most Rev. Idowu-Fearon, Ph.D (ABU) is the Bishop of Kaduna Diocese Anglican Communion, Kaduna.
OAU: Rethinking Africa’s development paradigm By Steve Arowolo OR half a century, Africa has struggled not only to unite its peoFcreed ple, but it has also failed to fully live out the real meaning of its and ideology as enshrined in the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) charter of 1963. This golden jubilee anniversary presents a very good opportunity for Africans and their leaders to reflect on the true meaning of Ubuntu – the spirit of nurturing a community of people with mutual respect, love and unity for all humanity. The time to get serious and liberate Africa is now. While it is true that African countries have gained political independence from colonial regimes, many African states are still in serious socio-economic quagmire. History is replete with the accounts of several attempts that were made to unite Africa and its people. In 1958, a conference of independent African states took place in Ghana, which served as an impetus for the establishment of the OAU. The idea for the possibilities of a unified African market was adopted at a conference in Casablanca, Morocco in 1961, famously known as the ‘Casablanca Group’; its aim was to facilitate economic transformation of African states as well as foster political stability and security through the establishment of African military commands. In the same year, the ‘Monrovia Group’ emerged from a conference held in Liberia, and it placed more emphasis on the economic unification of African states. These were the groups that jointly established the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963. It was clear from the outset that these groups had ‘pan-Africanism’ as their major goal for uniting Africans to a common purpose. The cardinal focus of OAU was to ensure the sovereignty of individual African states; it later metamorphosed into African Union in 2001 with the aim of enhancing the security of the continent among its other objectives – signalling a move away from an obsessive adherence to the principle of non-intervention to embracing a human security approach that gives the AU the legitimacy to intervene in the domestic matters of member states. This was in direct recognition that the civil wars, which rocked many African states in the 1990s required the continental body to make itself relevant to the security dynamics of Africa instead of preserving the contents of the Eurocentric Westphalian as model of national security. It is perhaps against the above background that African leaders have chosen ‘Pan-Africanism and African renaissance’ as the theme for the golden jubilee celebration. However, what is not clear is whether efforts would be made at giving a fresh interpretation to
these highly politicised phrases. African political leaders have not been able to do justice to the meaning of these words. The past 50 years have seen Africans and their leaders recording some measures of successes and failures. What is important is to learn from history, to learn from what has worked and what is not working in the continent: a ‘Pan-Africanism and African renaissance’ ideology that would not revamp and rejuvenate Africa’s socio-economic orientation should be jettisoned. The continent is faced with new and humongous challenges, a ‘Pan-Africanism and African renaissance’ initiative that will not alleviate the sufferings of our teeming young population should receive no endorsement. African leaders must put the experiences of the past 50 years into proper perspective, Africans have had sufficient dose of their rhetoric and lip services, words must be accompanied with actions. For instance, it is simply a scandal that in 2013, half of Africa’s billion people live under a dollar a day! The purpose of history is to guide us in understanding and appreciating ourselves as a people, rather than as a mere ideology or creed disguised under the veil of ‘Pan-Africanism and African renaissance’ that has failed to secure the much needed socio-economic transformation and regional integration for our continent. History should inform the decisions and the deliberations of African leaders and the people at large on the significance of bequeathing a good legacy for the coming generation. A legacy of prosperity in place of poverty, a legacy of triumphs in place of tragedies, a legacy of hope in place of despair, and a legacy of abundance in the place of scarcity. The purpose of history is to spur us to the purposeful acts of making deliberate positive difference in our lifetimes. A ‘Pan-Africanism and African renaissance’ ideology that has not been able to fully deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of Africa needs to be re-examined; in the words of Frantz Fanon, an admirable and strong proponent of Pan-Africanism of ages gone by: “The future will have no pity for those who, possessing the exceptional privilege of being able to speak words of truth to their oppressors, have taken refuge in an attitude of passivity, of mute indifference, and sometimes cold complicity.” The new oppressors of African people are people of Africa themselves–precisely because the people are hungry and angry, youth unemployment holds sway, and corruption has gone digital and endemic in many African states–due to leadership that has failed to fuel the engine that could propel sustainable economic growth within the continent. If ‘Pan-Africanism and African renaissance’ has become a continental deceit used by desperate African politicians for self-aggrandise-
ment and political manoeuvrings based on historical evidences, then the current African leadership should leverage the occasion of the golden jubilee to set the records right. They must walk the talk. The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, while lighting the symbolic torch to kick-start the golden jubilee celebration said that, “The torches symbolise our desire to reverse the current story line of despair into the real narrative of opportunity and potential.” Well said, but Africans could only hope that these words would translate into becoming our collective real life experiences before the end of another 50 years. The history of a people defines them; it expands their understanding of the various events that orchestrated their existence. The validity of history is revealed in the understanding that it could repeat itself, and to paraphrase George Santayana “those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it”. This is a moment in history when the current crop of African leaders must resolve to prevent bad history from repeating itself. The history of wars and woes, the history of human rights abuse, the history of hunger and poverty, etc. currently ravaging our continent must stop. By the year 2063, when OAU-AU would be commemorating the centenary anniversary, the history of how the continent overcame its many challenges should not only dominate discussions but should be a story of a distant past. One task that leaders of the AU ought to take up in the next 50 years is to make the institution more relevant to the needs and aspirations of ordinary Africans in the way that Europeans identify intimately with the EU. When Africans start to see the AU as their own instead of an elite project, then they would start to direct the role of the institution. An all-inclusive transformational structure needs to be put in place in order to have individual Africans run to represent their groups and themselves as individuals in the African Parliament. This type of collective approach towards mitigating our present challenges must be embraced by all and sundry beyond any form of rhetoric or political slogan. When we have erected transformational structures that could stand the tests of time across all facets of our political, socio-cultural and economic institutions, that is when history would vindicate us and our children and their children’s children could pride themselves in our collective achievement that we have given them a continent that they can be proud of. • Arowolo writes from Cape Town, South Africa. This article was first published on the blog site of Bokamoso Leadership Forum (BLF): http://tinyurl.com/mopk9gc
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Opinion Boro and Jackson: Alliance across the Atlantic (3) By Godini G. Darah Continued from yesterday HINA is the second leading economy in the world now and China will overtake the U.S. in the 2020s. Besides the legacy of communist discipline and work ethics, the Chinese economic miracle rests on government-supported industrialisation in which the armed forces provide core leadership in management. A second axle of the Chinese rapid growth is erected on village/community owned corporations and industries. Every village/community is made a focal point of industrial and economic production/enterprise. The commercial, political, and professional elite from the villages have shares in these enterprises and participate in their management. The Chinese government makes guarantees for a mandatory soft loan system by the banks. In this way, China has minimised the disease of idle elites and unemployed gangster youth because there is healthy rivalry amongst communities and provinces over production quantum of exportable goods and products. Nigeria needs this progressive, anti-imperialist approach to development in order to leapfrog from an import-dependent handicap to self-reliance and job-creating transformation. The African Diaspora as reliable investment partners There is an imperative need to design a sustainable development plan for the entire Niger Delta region in general and Bayelsa State in particular. The structures of unequal exchange and exploitation outlined in the preceding sections are responsible for the underdevelopment of the region. The time has come to subvert those structures in favour of growth-enhancing alternatives. The abolition of anti-federalist policies indicated above is the first necessary step to be taken. President Jonathan must take advantage of his tenure to free Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta from the stranglehold of the avaricious ruling classes in Nigeria that have kept the Niger Delta people in bondage for decades. It is commendable that Governor Seriake Dickson is taking bold measures to facilitate the development of physical infrastructure and investments in Bayelsa. What he is doing now should be complemented by BRACED, the transregional economic consortium floated by Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta States. Governor Dickson has embarked on
an aggressive drive to attract offshore investors. He recently led a mission to South Africa in pursuit of this goal. During the visit of President Jonathan to Southern Africa in early May this year, Governor Dickson had fruitful interactions with investors in South Africa. South Africa is certainly the richest and strongest capitalist economy in Africa. She has the most advanced technology to support economic development. Yet South Africa, in my view, is handicapped by the ideology of racism that governed her regime of apartheid (1948-1994), which completely disabled and marginalised the black African population from involvement in the economy. Nearly two decades after the formal end of apartheid, the black segment of the population has not been integrated into the white-dominated economic grid. The rich bourgeoisie who have investible funds are still predominantly the white minority in the country. I am afraid that it is unrealistic to expect that the South African white capitalists will be devoted to helping Nigeria to become a rival economic giant in Africa. South African investors are active in the communications, transport, hospitality, tourism, and “software” sectors of the Nigerian economy because they generate quick and robust profits. South Africa has the most developed mining technology in the continent but she is yet to make substantial investment in the diverse mineral economy in Nigeria. The best strategy to adopt to drive the economic transformation of Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta is to seek investment partners in the African Diaspora in the Americas. The population of this Diaspora is dominated by descendants of African slaves who were kidnapped and shipped to the Americas during the 400-year-long Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (1450-1850). Over 12.5 million African slaves were victims of this holocaust in human trafficking. The bulk of the victims were from the Niger Delta nations, Yoruba country, and other West African territories. For four centuries, the free labour of the African human capital worked in the plantations and mines of white European slavers and exploiters. The wealth and services created by the slaves provided the surplus money European nations used to develop the capitalist economy that later colonised the entire world. The more slaves the kidnappers took away, the more wealth was created and more Africa became impoverished and economically retarded. As Walter Rodney showed in his book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, the transportation of African
people to Europe and the Americas is the prime cause of Africa’s socio-economic backwardness today. Reverend Jesse Jackson is a splendid example of the tenacity of African slave families who survived the 400 years of servitude and slavocracy. African slaves first arrived in Brazil and the Caribbean islands in the 1550s. In 1619, the first cargo of slaves got to Jamestown in Virginia in what is now the United States of America. In 1776, thirteen colonies revolted against their English owners and the event is known in history as the American Revolution. But the freedom and liberty the revolution brought about were not enjoyed by African Americans for nearly 200 years. They had to wage fierce struggles for decades to win their basic democratic rights. Jesse Jackson and President Obama are symbols of the triumph of the African American revolution. There are now about 35 million African-Americans in the United States of America. This population of dynamic and resourceful African descendants are our most strategic partners in our drive for economic prosperity and democratic good governance. In Brazil there are about 100 million African descendants, nearly half the Brazilian population. Over 50 per cent of Cuba is Afro-Cuban; Haiti is 98 per cent black; so is Jamaica. Brazil, for example, is leading the world in the development of alternative energy in form of biofuels from sugarcane and cassava. The cassava plant was introduced from Brazil to the Niger Delta in 1516 and this root crop is the backbone of the food industry in Nigeria and West Africa. Bayelsa and the entire Niger Delta are endowed with non-oil forest resources to support an industrial revolution as is happening in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, and Cuba. The population of the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean is more than 150 million people. This is about the same population as Nigeria’s. There are huge potentials in the African American constituency of investors to be exploited to transform the economic fortunes of the Niger Delta. Unlike the capitalist investors in white Europe, the Americas, and South Africa, the African American Diaspora is culturally, psychologically, and ideological attuned to be partners with their homeland communities in the Niger Delta. The Yoruba-speaking sections of Nigeria and countries like Ghana and Senegal are already connected to this corridor of economic and technological advancement. We in the Niger Delta must join this train of progress and solidarity. This is the sense in which we identify with Jesse Jackson’s clarion call:
“Our Time Has Come”. The committees and think-tanks to be set up should comprise of local investors, venture capitalists, patriotic politicians, diplomats, radical scholars, historians, researchers, cultural entrepreneurs, writers and artistes guilds, event promoters, communicators and journalists, experts in peace-building and conflict management, etc. They are to work under the directive of the Governor through the Bayelsa Investment and Development Corporation. In the Americas, the coordination will be handled by associations of Niger Delta activists, investors, and pro-democracy advocates. I am thinking of groups such as the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Ijaw National Alliance of North America (INAA), Ijaw Foundation, the Urhobo National Association of North America (UNANA), Urhobo Historical Society (UHS), and similar bodies that are involved in politics and social work for the emancipation of the Niger Delta. There are many active African American organisations, donor agencies, and individual philanthropists that come to Africa regularly to make contribution to the continent’s redemption efforts. For instance, the Opral Winfrey Foundation has an international school in South Africa. In order to encourage these Afrocentric investors and charity groups to patronise the Niger Delta, the Seriake Dickson government should take the initiative of building a Bayelsa Diaspora City (BDC) near the international airport being constructed. The basic urban infrastructure should be developed and lands for residential and industrial purposes should be allocated free to all African Diasporans, including Bayelsan and Niger Delta immigrants in the Americas, Europe and Africa. The modest proposals outlined above will position Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta to undertake the urgent task of historical reconstruction of the relations between Africa and her Diasporas. The participation of Reverend Jesse Jackson and several Ijaw Diaspora associations from overseas in this year’s Adaka Boro Day has redefined the political and international profile of the annual event. Surely, the revolutionary currents of Boroism are flowing across the luminous Atlantic Ocean, the habitat of the world’s richest economies and democracies. For inspiring this global movement of change and justice, Adaka Boro’s memory will live forever in the hearts of millions. • Concluded • Darah is a Professor of Oral Literature, Folklore, and African American Literature, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria.
Pan-Africanism and African renaissance By Goodluck Ebele Jonathan AM delighted to be part of this historic summit, which commemorates the 50 Anniversary of the establishment of the OrIganization of African Unity (OAU). I join other colleagues in th
conveying appreciation to the government and people of Ethiopia for their hospitality and the African Union Commission for the excellent organization of this unique event. It is a great honour to also acknowledge the presence at this occasion, of our elder statesman, former President of the Republic of Zambia, H.E. Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, one of the founding fathers of this organisation. What at the time seemed only a vision, was relentlessly pursued, beginning with the Accra Conference of 1958, through Tunis (1960), followed by Cairo (1961) to the Conference in this great city of Addis Ababa on 25th May, 1963 when thirty-two (32) African Heads of State and Government founded the Organization of African Unity (OAU). As we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our Organization, we can take justifiable pride in the fact that the objectives the founding fathers set for themselves have largely been achieved. Their foresight and action have translated an ideal into reality. The theme of this special summit, Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance, is indeed both profound and apt. It captures the essence of our Union, its ideals, its aims and its aspirations. Fifty years ago, the socio-political and economic landscape of Africa and the entire world was different from what it is today. Africa was preoccupied with a just struggle to rid itself of the vestiges of colonialism and racial domination. The world was also in the throes of the Cold War, which impacted on our struggle. But we persevered and stayed the course. Fifty years on, Africa is independent. Africa has won its fight against apartheid and racial discrimination. The OAU and its rallying philosophy of Pan Africanism gave impetus to our struggle for our political emancipation and acceptance as full- fledged members of the international community. While political independence has been won and colonialism, apartheid and minority rule have been defeated, we are yet to overcome the challenges of neo-colonialism, poverty, disease, violent conflicts, environmental degradation, under-development and economic dependency. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to ensure that Africa succeeds. We must consolidate our achievements, correct
past mistakes and accomplish the new African integration paradigm for political, economic, socio-cultural and scientific development. Today, we are reflecting on the philosophy of Pan Africanism and African Renaissance not at the behest of anyone but of our own accord. We do so because we are conscious of the need to control our own destiny. For too long, Africa has been a victim of external domination, exploitation and manipulation. Africa must rediscover itself. So, my message today is very simple. Africa must declare an end to the era of self inflicted wars and conflicts. Africa must usher in an era of transformation, peace, stability and sustainable development. We all know that the wars we fight sap our strength, divert our resources and destroy precious lives and property. We know that these conflicts hold Africa back. We must bring them to an end immediately to give Africa respite and space to develop and realize its potential for greatness. In this regard, we must first take definite steps and implement all the frameworks aimed at curtailing the proliferation and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in our continent. These are the weapons of choice in the prosecution of all the deadly conflicts, acts of terrorism, piracy and armed robberies ravaging many parts of our continent. Given their lethality they have been aptly described as the weapons of mass destruction and destabilization in Africa. Second, with Africa free of all its crises and violent conflicts, we must commit to deepen our democratic governance and rule of law. We must give voice to, and respect the wishes of our people when they express them democratically, freely and openly. Democracy must be allowed to flourish unimpeded in all our countries. We must end the culture of abuse of power and impunity. We must embrace the culture of accountability, equity and justice. Third, for Pan Africanism to endure and Africa’s Renaissance to occur, a peaceful Africa must draw lessons from its ancient past as the cradle of human civilization. In the last 50 years, the world has attained unprecedented heights in human advancement driven by science and technology. Africa must be part of that movement and experience. Africa should aim to lead humanity again in innovation and advancement. Africa must not remain in the margins of world affairs. Africa must continue to ask for its due rights and place in the World. Africa’s demand to be represented on the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council is just. It should never be
seen as a privilege. We should, therefore, vigorously press our demand for an urgent reform and expansion of the Council in order to inaugurate more equitable global governance architecture. The transformation of Africa to a strong, confident, productive and competitive region should not pose challenges of extraordinary nature. Africa is a continent blessed with a versatile human resource base. The continent has huge reserves of diverse untapped natural resources. We must commit ourselves to add value to these resources and use them to transform the lives of our peoples and nations. We must commit anew, to win our battle against poverty, hunger and disease. Africa can and must take care of its most vulnerable population, especially its youth, its women and its physically challenged. Africa must turn its begging bowls into baskets of prosperity and opportunity. We must give a new face to our people and continent. Our rebirth, our renewal, our renaissance must begin now. We signalled this intent with the transformation of the Organization of African Union (OAU) to the African Union (AU), a decade ago. We adopted forward-looking and dynamic approaches to Africa’s integration agenda. We devised a new Peace and Security Architecture. We agreed on a new framework to ward off the tendency towards unconstitutional change of government and adopted a Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance among others. We also adopted the New Partnership for Africa’s Economic Development (NEPAD) along with the Africa Peer Review (APR) mechanism to fast-track the continent’s development agenda and enhanced governance process. Mr. Chairman, as expected, my country, Nigeria, will remain a staunch supporter and promoter of Pan-Africanism and the ideals and objectives, championed by this Union. Our steadfast commitment to the Union arises from our recognition that African unity and solidarity will remain our strength, both as a nation and as a continent. Nigeria will be in the vanguard of the collective efforts aimed at the realization of this continental dream. Nigeria’s policy of placing Africa at the centre of its external relations is to ensure that, at all times, the challenge of building and sustaining the Africa of our dream, remains a priority. It is, therefore, my hope that when the Centenary of the OAU shall be marked 50 years from now, it shall be said of us that we provided the right leadership, built on the foundation already laid by the founding fathers, thereby assuring the renaissance of a proud, dynamic and fully integrated Africa. • President Jonathan presented this address at the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary on 25 May, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
NigeriaCapitalMarket NSE Daily Summary (Equities) PRICE LIST OF SYMBOLS TRADED FOR
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
54 CAPITAL MARKET
NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at 4/6/2013
NSE’s market capitalisation rises further by N211 billion Stories by Helen Oji QUITY transactions on the Nigerian Stock Exchange E continued on an upbeat note yesterday, as more blue chip companies joined the league of gainers, causing market capitalisation to increase further by N211 billion. Specifically, the value of equities shut upby 1.75 per cent to N12.295 trillion from N12.084 trillion recorded the previous day while the NSE All Share index grew by 663.08 basis points to 38486.07 points from 37822.99 traded the previous day. Investors exchanged 359.134 million shares worth N4.746 billion in 6743 deals against 262.674 million shares valued at N2.562 billion in 6020 deals recorded the preceding day. An analysis of the investment showed that Zenith Bank recorded the highest volume of shares for the day, trading 46.139 million shares worth N1.030 billion, Access Bank Plc followed with account of 25.866 million
shares valued at N295.625 million while UBA Plc traded 22.550 million shares worth N191.163 million. Unity Bank came fourth with a total of 19.293 million shares valued at N12.454 million. Further analysis of the trading indicated that Nestle Nigeria Plc led gainers table,
appreciating by N60.00 to close at N1070, Dangote Cement trailed with a gain of N4.54 kobo to close at N196.26 kobo, while Guinness Nigeria Plc gained N4.00 to close at N280.00. Flour Mills Nigeria Plc and Nigerian Breweries improved by N3.60 kobo and
N2.20 kobo respectively to close at N92.00 and N177.20 kobo. Total and GlaxoSmith Kline added 2.00 kobo to close at N160.00 and N60.00 per share respectively. Union Bank gained 1.04 per cent to close at N13.50.
Cadbury also garnered 0.57 to close at N55.99 per share. Conversely, Okomu Oil Palm topped losers chart, shedding N1.11 kobo to close at N41.99 kobo, Portland Paint followed with a loss of N0.59 kobo to close at N5.31 kobo while UACN declined by
N0.39 kobo to close at N57.41 kobo. Other stocks that recorded price depreciation were McNichols and John Holt which loss N0.20 kobo and N0.16 kobo respectively to close at N1.84 kobo and N1.44 kobo.
Exchange appoints Aig-Imoukhuede first vice-president HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has T announced the appointment of Mr. Aigboje AigImoukhuede, the out going Group managing director, Access Bank, as the first Vice President of the Council of The Nigerian Stock Exchange. The appointment was made after the 52nd Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Stock Exchange held last month in Lagos. The Council of the Nigerian bourse is made up of 14 members, consisting of the President, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, GCON, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Oscar Onyema and other members including representatives of dealing member firms, who
are highly qualified in their respective professions with a wealth of diverse experience. Speaking on this appointment, the CEO of The Nigerian Stock Exchange Mr. Oscar Onyema said that “The Council recognizes his sterling qualities and wealth of experience, and is delighted with the appointment. We believe that he will not relent in his efforts as an ambassador to move The Exchange forward”. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the first Vice President, is the current Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc. He resigned as an Executive Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GT
Bank) to lead a team as the MD/CEO of Access Bank with the mandate to transform the Bank into a world-class financial services provider. His visionary leadership has seen the Bank’s rapid rise to rank among Nigeria’s Tier 1 banks. In 2012, he won the 2011 Ernst & Young West Africa Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was recently conferred with the prestigious African Banker Award by the African Banker Magazine Aig-Imoukhuede is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Executive Management Programme. He holds LLB and BL degrees from the University of Benin
and the Nigeria Law School respectively. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. He is Chairman of ; The Access Bank (UK) Ltd, Wapic Insurance Plc , Associated Discount House Ltd and FMDQ Plc. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Financial Markets Dealers Association. Similarly, the Council announced the appointment of Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, as second Vice President. Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo is the Managing Partner at Chris Ogunbanjo & Co. a leading international law firm. He has vast knowledge and experience in the
areas of Corporate Commercial and Admiralty Law He has garnered considerable corporate finance experience over the years, with a brilliant understanding of legal issues in his preferred areas of practice. He is a member of the International Bar Association; the Institute of Petroleum (UK); Member, the International Trademark Association; he is a Governing Council Member and Legal Adviser of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Vice Chairman of the Commercial Law and Taxation Committee of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry among other institutions.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Midweek Art Democracy Day play… In search of good governance at all levels Performance By Anote Ajeluorou HE coincidence appeared deliberate. The theT matic focus of the play, Daniel, hit the heart of Nigeria’s political malaise. The root cause of the country’s political trajectory has long been traced to poor moral disposition of the men and women at the corridors of power, whether directly as heads of government or as the numerous advisers that explicate or complicate governance. So, last week’s anniversary of Nigeria’s Democracy Day became appropriate time for Snapshots Productions, the creative and performance arm of Pastor Poju Oyemade-led Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos to stage Daniel, a play written by Phillip Begho. It’s a historical-political play on the ancient Babylonian empire. The story of Daniel as recorded in the Bible of the same title is first class story of political intrigues that can take place in any king’s court. But more importantly, it’s the story of morality in government, and how a few good men or a single upright man, who chooses to stand apart from the moral decadence around him, can make a difference. It’s precisely for this reason that Snapshots Production, led by former Artist Manager to ace gospel singer, Sammie Okposo, Mr. Duka Kachi, decided to stage Daniel at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos on Democracy Day, May 29, some10 years after he first saw the production. Kachi saw in the play a compelling story against the corruptive tendency that is rife in governance circles in modern day Nigeria. To cap up the remarkable performance, admission to the two performances was free, which Kachi said was a way of disseminating the gospel by inculcating the values of strict morality on young people, as it would stand them in good stead in their lifelong careers in the years ahead. The two sessions had the Agip Recital Hall overflowing with audience. For Kachi, the choice of Democracy Day to stage the play was deliberate as Nigerians needed to be given a moral compass in the exemplary character of Daniel, a man who stood apart from the corruption of his day and who held on to his faith in Almighty God (in spite of threats to his life) as the one deserving to be truly honoured above any human king on earth. Kachi stated after the performance, “Interestingly, the story of Daniel is that of a man who brought excellence to government. He worked with autocratic kings, who were despots and he still distinguished himself among his peers. Daniel was led by the spirit of excellence; he gave impeccable, first class, excellent service in spite of the prevailing political environment. Daniel is the kind of man we need in Nigeria right now, men and women who can give excellence, impeccable service in spite of everything else. “Daniel served and survived four mean, evil, wicked emperors, but he stood his ground amongst them all and they held him in high esteem. Even Daniel’s colleagues and adversaries testified to his incorruptible nature. The important thing about Daniel is that these four wicked emperors saw something indispensable, something so valuable in him to their being successful rulers of Babylon and they wanted him in their courts. The great King Darius even begged Daniel to change his mind; that he should not proclaim God as being mightier than him so he could spare Daniel his life in spite of a decree he had signed into law”. ANIEL’s performance came after an opening glee of classical musical performance first at the foyer of the hall, then inside the hall by sensational Ige and her cello partner. They gave the audience a taste of magical classical music that kept the audience clapping endlessly. For a free show, such thrilling performance from Ige and her male companion on the cello was a sheer delight and the audience thoroughly enjoyed it.
King Darius (Opeyemi Adaegbo); Hajitha (Uchechukwuka C. Elumelu) and Daniel (Tosin Smart) during the performance last week at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos Clad in a red gown and a red scarf like some ancient, Middle East folk artist, Ige’s renditions, coupled with her strong vocal power, was engaging and compelling. She weaved her way in and out in varying pitches to a crescendo, with her companion’s cello also weaving along; it made classical music so enthralling just as it acquired a new, uplifting meaning. Their performance was with such supreme verve it got the audience applauding for a long while. IRST, Daniel (Tosin Smart) found himself among lions in the Babylonian men he worked with at the king’s court. There was the King Darius’ wife, Queen Hajitha (Uchechukwuka C. Elumelu), whom the king referred to as serpent on account of her devilish plan to have him assassinated; Satala (Samuel Adejuyitan), the wiry politician and administrator and Nimri (Femi Abatan), the brainless war general all envious of the Hebrew slave, Daniel for the huge favour the king bestows on him. With Daniel newly made the king’s chief minister, the three others feel short-changed by a common foreigner. They begin to plot his downfall. With Satala’s political sagacity, he convinces Hajitha (who unsuccessfully tries to have Daniel sleep with her) and Nimri so the king would promulgate a decree to the effect that no other god should be worshipped in 30 days in all of Babylon except King Darius (Opeyemi Adaegbo). They know Daniel’s devotion to the Hebrew God and that he could not bow to any other god except Jehovah. Satala manages to convince Darius to set himself up as god to be worshipped for 30 days. The king ascents to the decree without knowing that its true intent was to rid the palace of Daniel. Not long after Daniel returns from a trip to oversee distant lands of the kingdom, he falls into the trap set for him and is brought to judgment. Begho’s execution of the resolution of Daniel’s plot is finely done and Kachi’s directorial touch sublime. The performers, too, mostly semi-professionals, did a great job of interpreting the plot and in putting life to the performance. Except Satala, whose vocal projection was faint, it was an all-round superb performance. Elumelu (Queen Hajitha) displayed dexterity in characterization; so also Adeagbo (King Darius),
who gave flawless performance. Begho’s interpretation of Daniel isn’t just a reenactment of the Bible story. It tells of the profundity of living a Godly life; how God turned Daniel’s adversity into victory for him by turning the evil plots of his enemies against them. But even more profound a lesson to glean from Daniel is the dilemma rulers, kings and presidents face in choosing the right ministers, advisers and other courtiers to assist them in governance. While Daniel is an exemplary man, the others in King Darius’ court, including his own wife, are busy plotting to subvert his leadership for the love of power and pecuniary measures. But even more telling is Daniel’s life of devotion to his Godly ideals from which he draws his exceptional lifestyle that sets him apart from the other corrupt officials. His life of Godly service makes him favourite of four kings of Babylon.
Produced entirely on the expenses of Covenant Christian Centre, with the intent to take Daniel around some campuses to show it to young Nigerians, it’s the sort of production that corporations should scramble to sponsor, as it speaks truth to power in an uncommon way. What further distinguishes Daniel, as drama is its non-preachy, performance style. Although a Christian play, it does not rely on any dose, heavy or light, of preaching. Even when it doesn’t ring bells of repentance, the silent, exemplary life of Daniel is its central message unto repentance. Yet in its neutrality is the compelling story of personal regeneration, whether in a Christian setting or even a secular one, where morality or uprightness in character is needed for excellent service to humanity. Daniel is a must-watch stage performance, especially now that Nigeria is searching for similar antidote for its hydra-headed political dilemma!
Taruwa… festival of performing arts makes a debut By Florence Utor HIS June, in addition to its T already accomplished monthly gatherings, Taruwa introduces its festival, Taruwa Festival of Performing Arts in Nigeria (TAF). The three-day outing is expected to commence tomorrow and run till Saturday, June 8. It will paint Lagos in all shades of art through music, poetry, theatre, dance, fashion and screening of short films. The venue is TerraKulture, Victoria Island, Lagos. While speaking about the inspiration behind the festival, CEO of Gbagyichild Entertainment, Lydia Idakula Sobogun, conveners of the monthly Taruwa event and
organisers, explained, “Taruwa has always been about finding true art, true passion and giving it a stage to express, no matter who it is. That is what I want to show... ” On what attendees should expect, member of the planning committee and Head of Communications to the festival, Bee Azubike, said, “The festival is a carefully planned collection of events, and the team wants nothing more than to give everyone an unforgettable experience, which is something Taruwa, over the years has strived to achieve.” The festival makes a grand opening on tomorrow with The adaptation of Bobo Omotayo’s bestselling book, London Life Lagos Living will be
staged tomorrow with a stellar cast as the festival’s curtain raiser. The two-hour show also opens with a musical performance and the onewoman play Chronicles of a Heroine by Ijeoma Grace Agu. Some of the highlights for Friday, June 7, include children’s show, screening of short films, Open Mic Theatre, and Mega Concert featuring carefully selected acts to thrill the audience with performances in music, spoken word, dance and a dash of fashion. The grand finale on Saturday is planned to feature the Ankara Ball, a glamorous Ankara-themed night of music, dinner and dance.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Sports Brazil 2014 World Cup Qualifier
MTN Lagos Street Soccer introduces U-15 category
Keshi sure of getting three points from Harambee Stars today T is one of the most imporIcoaching tant games of his Nigerian career, but Super Eagles gaffer, Stephen Keshi, is calm ahead of the date with Harambee Stars. Keshi, who is leading his African champions to a crucial World Cup qualifier today in Nairobi against the Harambee Stars, says he is not thinking of defeat or a draw in the game, which could define Nigeria’s chances of being in Brazil next June. Although his team had only one training session in Nairobi in preparation for the game, Keshi’s belief in his team’s abilities is unshaken, despite the home team’s boasts that they would upset Nigeria. “We respect the Kenyans for what they achieved when we played in Nigeria, but I like to state that is in the past. We have forgotten about that, just as we are not going to be thinking about the fact that we have beaten Kenya in nine of 11 previous meetings. “The important thing is that we have a mission here and that is to pick the maximum points and then go to Namibia to do same. That way, we would have
enhanced our chances of qualification for the World Cup before going to the Confederations Cup.” The former Nigerian captain admitted that the team would have loved to have midfielders Victor Moses and Kalu Uche; and striker, Emmanuel Emenike with them in Nairobi, but that his game plan is not significantly affected. “Our focus is unaffected and our determination not in anyway weakened. We were forced to a 2-2 draw by Mexico in a friendly match in America last week, even without a good number of our regulars. “On Wednesday, we would go out on the field to do the job and in the process, do our country proud.” The Super Eagles flew into Nairobi about 1.20 a.m. yesterday morning, from Frankfurt via Khartoum and Addis Ababa, and immediately headed for their La Mada Hotel secured by the Nigeria Football Federation. While the Eagles are battling the Harambee Stars in Nairobi today, Malawi’s Flames would also be hosting Namibia’s Brave Warriors in Blantyre in the other match of Group F.
Japan first team to qualify for 2014 World Cup APAN became the first team to Jtying qualify for the 2014 World Cup, Australia 1-1 yesterday night on Keisuke Honda’s penalty kick in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. Before a crowd of 62,172, Tommy Oar put Australia ahead in the 82nd minute. But Matthew McKay’s handball set up the penalty kick for Honda, who beat goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer with a left-footed shot to the top corner. One year and eight days before the tournament opener in Sao Paulo, Japan qualified for its fifth straight World Cup and joined host Brazil in the 32-nation field. “I have achieved one of the goals I was hired for,” Japan
coach Alberto Zaccheroni said. “But just qualifying is not enough. We have a very strong commitment to playing well so we will aim even higher in Brazil.” Japan has never advanced past the second round of soccer’s showpiece. Honda had missed Japan’s last two matches - both defeats. “Honda is a special player,” said Zaccheroni, a former coach of AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and Lazio. “He has two important qualities: he’s strong physically and he’s strong mentally. That was his first full 90-minute game since November and he was spectacular.”
HE Local Organising T Committee (LOC) of the annual MTN Lagos Street Soccer Championships will be adding the Under-15 junior category to the Season six, as part of efforts to encourage schools participation in the tournament. According to the Executive Secretary of the tournament, Deji Aladegbemi, the innovation became imperative for schools to be part of the competition, adding that this would allow young players to test their might against their age mates. “In line with our innovation, we felt that we should expand the scope of the championship so that we can accommodate age grade category which will encourage students to take part. It is either the players are in school or about to leave. So we have decided to add the U15 Junior category, which will believe will also unearth talents for the state in particular and the nation at large,” he said.
Glo to Eagles urges to dim Harambee Stars AJOR Sponsor of M the Nigerian national teams, Globacom has tasked
Ready to roll…Mikel Obi will lead Super Eagles’ midfield against Kenya today.
some consultations, the CEO eventually gave in to the demands and the African champions, escorted by four Nigerian Embassy vehicles, sped off towards Hotel La Mada, where the team had booked. Earlier, all the Super Eagles players seemed to read from the same script when asked to comment on the eagerly anticipated clash set for today. Captain Vincent Enyeama and Celtic defender, Efe Ambrose, speaking separately, both described the eagerly anticipated clash as ‘very difficult and interesting assignment’. “Kenya have really improved and it is going to be a tight contest with little margin of error for any team, the proceedings could be very interesting,” Enyeama said.
the Super Eagles to go for total victory against the Harambee Stars of Kenya when both sides clash in the crucial World Cup 2014 qualifier in Nairobi on today. The Super Eagles, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Mexico in a friendly game at the weekend, need outright win against Kenya to boost their chance of qualifying for the Brazil 2014 World Cup. “Playing draw with Mexico was not a bad outing but the Kenyan match is a must-win and we believe the Eagles can do it,” Globacom said in a statement in Lagos on Monday. The Eagles also need the victory in Nairobi to boost their morale ahead of another crucial away match to Namibia on June 12, which they equally need to win to realistically move towards Brazil 2014. According Globacom, Nigeria cannot afford to take her leg off the pedal at this moment, especially as the World Cup group remains competitive.
tory of 1983. Federer, 31, made the better start to their quarter-final with a break in the fifth game when he fired a forehand winner across the Frenchman. That same shot let him down in game eight, however, and he found himself pegged back to 4-4 and struggling to keep down the error count. The Swiss fought off three set points from 0-40 in game 12, the second with a beautiful flicked backhand, but he fired a forehand long moments
Drama as Kenyan official orders Super Eagles’ detention HERE was drama at the Jomo ing team during the duration of minutes, before Esakwa later stay. made a call to someone he T Kenyatta International their Airport yesterday morning after “In this case, we have already referred to as ‘mkubwa’. After Football Kenya Federation’s (FKF) CEO, Micheal Esakwa, instructed security detail to detain the visiting Nigeria national team. According to the Daily Nation of Kenya, the stand-off started after the Super Eagles contingent rejected transport and accommodation availed to them by FKF upon touching down just minutes before 2am, terming the services ‘sub-standard’. Esakwa, however, stood his ground, insisting the West Africans had to stay at the 680 Hotel located within Nairobi CBD until dawn when they would be allowed to change their hotel. “CAF and FIFA rules dictate that the host federation, in this case FKF, provides hotel, accommodation and security to any visit-
booked you into a hotel in town and for security reasons cannot allow you to drive within town at this hour,” Esakwa said. The visitors, however, refused to budge, and instead boarded a luxury coach provided by the Nigerian High Commission in Nairobi before speeding off, but were stopped just few metres away by security. “We have travelled 40 hours from America and the players are very tired, I humbly request you to let them go have a rest where the Nigerian mission had booked as we try seek an amicable solution. “I am told the place you have booked us is not the best,” a weary looking Nigerian coach, Stephen Keshi, pleaded with Esakwa. The stand-off lasted close to 45
Resilient Serena marches on, Tsonga stops Federer ERENA Williams laughed at Sviolently herself, screamed at herself, shook her uncooperative racket and cocked it over her head, threatening to fling it before she changed her mind. Williams finally found a way out of her funk - and into the French Open semifinals. She came from behind in the third set yesterday and advanced to Roland Garros’ final four for the first time since 2003 when she defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Williams had been beaten the
last four times she reached the French Open quarterfinals, most recently in 2010. The 15time Grand Slam champion, who is ranked No. 1, won her only Roland Garros title in 2002. Against Kuznetsova, Williams overcame an inconsistent serve, erratic groundstrokes and a 2-love deficit in the final set, winning five consecutive games and then closing the victory with a forehand winner and a scream. Williams is the first American
woman to reach the French Open semifinals since Jennifer Capriati in 2004. Her opponent tomorrow will be 2012 runner-up Sara Errani, who advanced by beating No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 7-6 (6). Williams is 5-0 against Errani. Since losing in the first round a year ago at Roland Garros, Williams is 72-3, including titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the London Olympics and the season-ending WTA Championships. She’s 21-0 this
year on clay. In the men’s singles also played yesterday, home-boy, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, upset second seed, Roger Federer, to keep his nation’s hopes alive of a first men’s champion for 30 years. Tsonga, the sixth seed, won 75 6-3 6-3 to reach his first semifinal at Roland Garros, where he will face David Ferrer. And expectation will continue to rise as the 28-year-old from Le Mans moves closer to emulating Yannick Noah’s vic-
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
60 | SPORTS
Quadri hits third consecutive Portuguese league final By Olalekan Okusan OR the third time in three FQuadri seasons, Nigeria’s Aruna has berthed in the final of the Portuguese table tennis league after inspiring G. D. Toledos to victory over GDSR Juncal in the semi-final tie. Quadri has played in every final of the league since his debut in the elite Portuguese league three years ago and has failed to lift the trophies at two occasions. In last weekend’s semi-final tie against Bode Abiodun’s GDSR Juncal, Quadri was the arrowhead of G. D. Toledos when his team won the twoleg clash.
In the first leg it was Quadri, who aided the team to 4-2 away victory against GDSR Juncal in Terceira Island, while the tension soaked second leg also availed Quadri the opportunity to prove his worth when he spearheaded GD Toledos’ triumph at home with a 4-3 win. The Guardian recalls that Quadri was the centre of attraction when his team claimed the Portuguese Cup, his first title in the European elite league. Just like what happened last season, Quadri’s team will be facing defending champion, Sporting Club in the twolegged final. An excited Quadri said, “my
team once again qualified for play-off final this season in the Portuguese Super League. Two months ago, I registered my name among the champions in Portugal by winning Portuguese Cup for my team, which is my first ever title since I started featuring in the league. “I was so happy for winning this and believe more trophies are still coming my way. We have set up another final clash against Sporting Club of Lisbon, which will be coming up next week. I have been playing in the Portuguese league now for three years and I have also played in the play-off final twice without winning, but one of my missions was accomplished this season after we won Portuguese Cup. I am hopeful that the league cup will not elude me again.”
GD Toledos’ Quadri during the semifinal encounter against GDSR Juncal in the Portuguese table tennis league…at the weekend.
Sunshine explains decision to hire Amoo By Olalekan Okusan HE good records that Fatai T Amoo has set in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) is one of the reasons Sunshine Stars of Akure decided to appoint the former 3SC gaffer as technical adviser.
Amoo, who led the Akurebased team to its first outing in a continental championship, was on Monday unveiled by the management of the team as technical adviser and the coach began work yesterday with the aim of returning the team to the con-
PZ, Unilever rivalry ignites FMCG grand finale Vice President, Board of Trustees of Penya Barca de Lagos Club, Kayode Adeleke (left); President, Leslie Ogbomenor and Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Skye Bank Plc., Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Skye Bank and Penya Barca de Lagos in Lagos…yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI.
Kano RTC is Access Bank Cup polo champion HE first stage of the ongoT ing Access Bank UNICEF Charity Shield International Polo Tournament came to a flourishing climax on Sunday with outsiders, RTC from Kano, upstaging favourites, Abuja Rubicon, to win the prestigious Access Bank Cup. Watched by a capacity crowd that included members of the National Assembly, traditional rulers and thousands of polo enthusiasts, Kano RTC, who were trailing 7-10 with just one chukka to go, launched a late rally, scoring four unreplied goals to clinch their first Access Bank Cup title in a sensational 11-10 victory. In what would go down as the most competitive Access Bank Cup in the annals of the prestigious polo fiesta, Rubicon jumped into the front from the blast of the whistle, with their Argentine import, Fernando Bourdieu scoring three field goals in the opening chukka. But their lead did not last as
RTC’s pivot, Diego White, replied in kind with three penalties goals to draw level in the second chukka. Cheered on by their supporters, Rubicon opened up a three-goal cushion in the third and fourth chukkas, as they were coasting home for their first major title in the glamorous Access Bank powered charity Shield event after missing out in their first ever final four years ago. Everything went fine for the Senator Hadi Sirika Rubicon, until Kano RTC turned the final on its head with a strike by Murtala Aliyu late into the chukka, while Diego White’s winner with just eight seconds left on the cloak, to send their teeming Kano fans into wild jubilation. “This is unbelievable. Nobody gave us a chance, but by sheer determination and the overwhelming support of our fans, we made it to the final and produced a stunning victory over hot favourites to win the glittering Access Bank Cup,” declared Kano RTC Patron, Musty Shereef.
NILEVER waited for the last U day to make a dash for the overall medals’ crown of the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Industry Games, but for a spirited resistance from PZ Cussons, which eventually topped the medals’ log with a total of seven medals. Unilever’s final day’s success on the tracks and in the Scrabble game saw them level on Gold won with PZ Cussons at three apiece, but the Robb Boys nicked it with additional two silver and bronze medals respectively. However, Dufil Prima ended their football campaign on a high, triumphing 2-0 against a determined GSK that battled them space for space until two closing moments’ error capitalised on by their opponents. The duo of Unilever’s Adigun Olumide and Ayotunde Adebowale posted perhaps the
biggest result of the day after Dufil Prima claimed the football gold. Olumide dusted the pack to win the men’s 100 metres and was followed by colleague Adebowale, who raced to the tape in the 200 metres. They made it a hat trick of gold through Oiza Gyang in the Scrabble event, which saw Dania Akinbode Oluwatosin of PZ Cussons settling for silver. AdebowaIe, the 200 metres champion, was breathless when he expressed his joy at making the company proud. He said, “I feel happy, I feel excited. The pressure was there from the moment I entered this place you know, am just happy I did not disappoint the team and the company. I feel fulfilled.” And Adigun, who was afterwards hailed as FMCG’s ‘Usain Bolt’ was gracious in victory.
tinent. An executive board member of the Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA), Akin Akinbobola, told The Guardian yesterday that the records of the former Super Eagles coach thrilled the management of the club, adding that this inspired them to hire the tactician. “We wanted a seasoned, well-exposed coach that had played to the highest level of the game and we believe Amoo fits this. We also wanted a coach that will be a mentor, friend and father figure to the players. The crisis we had in the team was because of the relationship between the former coach and the players that got sour. So we decided that any coach that will han-
dle the team must have all these qualities and Amoo came into the picture,” Akinbobola said. Akinbobola described Amoo’s previous tenure with the team as a success, saying, “we wanted to re-enact the success the team had when Amoo was with us and our target for him is to take the team to the continent,” he added. For Amoo, joining the team never took him time, as he was familiar with the quality management that the team had. “I never think twice before making up my mind to join the team. I am very happy joining the team because I wanted to be where they love me and Sunshine is the place to be for me,” he said.
Navy Sailing Club celebrates 57th Navy Day with races th
HE 57 Navy Day celebraT tions may have been low key but the Nigerian Navy Sailing Club situated in Navy Town, Ojo left nothing in doubt as the club marked the occasion with several races. Commodore of the Navy
Dufil Prima celebrates after receiving the football trophy of the FMCG Games at the UNILAG Sports Complex…on Sunday.
Sailing Club, Babatunde Ajayi says that the Navy Day celebrations remains a top priority for the club and as such there was no way it would not be celebrated. Speaking at the event where he also gave out commemorative plaques to sponsors of the competition, Navy Captain Marcus Odey and Captain Jasper Ogbuagu for their efforts in supporting the club, Ajayi said he was happy that lots of kids turned out to race. “We’re delighted to host the races but we would have had more kids with better funding. June 1 was the day the act on the Nigerian Navy was enacted thus bringing the service into existence. “Having been saddled with developing and grooming talents for water sports, we are determined to ensure that we meet the ideals of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ezeoba, who wants to see the Navy excel in sports especially, in her core area, which is water sports.”
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
62 | SPORTS
Captain’s 11 defeats President’s men, as CCC honours Ozako at the oval. Then followed By Christian Okpara APTAIN Femi Solebo’s half century led the Chairman’s 11 to a six-wicket defeat of a team selected by the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) president in a memorial match in honour of the Late Efere Ozako at the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval, Onikan, Lagos. The game was organised by the Federal Government Warri Old Students Association Cricket Club for Ozako, who until his death in April 18, 2013, was the legal adviser of the Club Cricket Committee (CCC). After losing opening batsman, Chris Shokoya, to Dipo Idowu’s bowling, the duo of Femi Solebo (81) and Mathias Devadayal (21) formed a solid partnership to guide their team to victory with 10 balls to spare. In the first innings, Captain Emeka Onyema’s decision to bat first when he won the toss was proving to be a wrong decision early on in the game when Oris Oruye got the wickets of Olisa Egwuatu and Tade Ademola, before Tayo Atoloye (28 runs), Ayo Onafeko (28), Ephraim Barnaby (22 runs not out) and Emeka Onyeama (14 runs) all contributed a meaningful score of 123 runs for seven wickets in 20 overs. Prior to the start of the second innings, the widow of the late cricketer, Anu Ozako, took time to shake hands with every cricketer present
glowing tributes paid to one of the initiators of Federal Government College Warri Old Students Association Cricket Club. First to speak was his close associate, Peter Isibor, who said, “though the wife lost her darling husband, I can beat my chest to say all cricketers are ready to play the role of a husband and whenever she needs help either for herself or for the children she should not hesitate to ask.” In the same vein, Femi Solebo, who is the CCC chairman, presented a plaque to the Mrs. Ozako, just as NCF President, Emeka Onyeama, eulogised the deceased, saying, “the Efere that I know was a perfect gentleman, who represented what the game of cricket depicts, but it is just unfortunate that he left us to the great beyond.” Onyeama, who is the chairman of the Abuja Cricket Association, added that he would meet with the new NCF board to determine what to do for the Ozako Family. In an emotion-filled atmosphere, Chairman of Delta State Cricket Association, Andrew Aroy-Ororho, who also doubles as captain of Federal Government College Warri Old Students Association Cricket Club, presented the last jersey won by the late Ozako to his wife, a gesture that drew tears from the eyes everyone present at the occasion.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
By Nnachi Kalu HE views attributed to one Odimegwu T Onwumere against the Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore A. Orji on the back page of The Guardian, Monday, May 27, 2013, has come to notice as yet another attempt to ridicule the government of Abia. There is no reason to indulge Onwumere with a reply but as the Igbo say, “it is better to remove the palm of the monkey from the fire before it becomes a human hand.” The truth is a lie repeated overtime soon begins to sound like the truth. However, it is important to set the records straight and in the interest of the very many people who still value the truth said in plain language. In the first instance, Onwumere lacks the moral justification to make comments regarding the development of Abia. He was a prominent member of the former government headed by Orji Uzor Kalu; he was in the kitchen cabinet. He was part of the malaise that reigned in Abia for a long while. He supervised the selling of virtually all institutions in Abia including but not limited to the Golden Guinea Breweries, Ceramic Industries and unfortunately ceding of the Ogwe Golden Chicken Farm to kidnappers. Onwumere did not see anything wrong in the criminal rape suffered by Abia economy between 1999 and 2007. Abia in his mind was right and in good health. Onwumere did not see anything wrong in the manner Abia was ruled from overseas by Kalu. Onwumere knew that for eight years, Kalu left the country a record of 63 times. He would need to tell us why he was struck numb while that charade lasted. He would also need to tell us what dividends of democracy were recorded then. Assuming the incumbent Governor Theodore Orji would embark on overseas trip another 63 times to fix Abia, we would sincerely not mind. If it would take the governor one million trips to correct the criminal administration of Abia, we would vote with our legs, mouth and nose to support him. Ironically, the governor is not an international businessman; he does not own a shipping company, does not run an airline nor does he have chains of businesses in The Gambia, the U.S., Europe and Asia. He leaves Abia on a mission but in the final analysis, he is determined to heal the wounds of the past. Onwumere should not mislead the public. The trip to Canada was at the instance of the Vice President and the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, an illustrious indigene of Abia, Chief Ojo Madukwe. The governor joined other state governors in trying to assess the potentials of trade investments. If he had made a comment regarding strengthening bilateral agreements between Nigeria and Canada, then he is perfectly correct because Nigeria’s
The government is busy developing infrastructure so that the state would naturally become the beautiful bride and a safe haven for investors. The government is interested in rebranding and repackaging Umuahia and indeed other communities so that the people could survive on self while direct foreign investments would just be a plus. The government has done the Aba –Umukabia Road so that the foreign investor who would dredge and open up the Aba River would have an access road to move equipment.
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Re: Gov Orji and foreign trips
trade agreements with any country can only be boosted by fragments of integrated efforts. So, what was the point Onwumere was trying to make? The Abia governor is not given to playing to the gallery. He does not rule by subterfuge and blackmail. He is strongly determined to recover Abia from the doldrums of monumental underdevelopment. He is working hard to restore all the years eaten up by locust, which peo-
ple like Onwumere unfortunately were privy to. For the six years Orji has served as governor, he has only had cogent reasons to leave the shores of Nigeria seven times including his normal vacation. The palm plantation which Onwumere’s principal sold off and mismanaged is now yielding good investments. Shanid is a foreign investor that has strategically turned the fortunes of Abia Palm Plantation. That
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The Abia governor is not given to playing to the gallery. He does not rule by subterfuge and blackmail. He is strongly determined to recover Abia from the doldrums of monumental underdevelopment. He is working hard to restore all the years eaten up by locust, which people like Onwumere unfortunately were privy to
palm plantation was useless while the former governor was globetrotting. Imoni – Yemi is a Benin Republic based rubber company and is currently doing wonders with the rubber plantation in the state. May be the likes of Onwumere need to be given lessons on what “Silent agriculture revolution” is. In just few trips, the government has been able to have the best cocoa farm sprawling a massive 450 hectares with the most productive seedlings; whose result will in no time stun doubters and critics. Silent revolution means that the government has usefully partnered foreign investors who have introduced the most productive cassava stems, which again would buoy food and wealth for Abians. In no time, the manifestation of those bilateral agreements would become obvious because they were made in good faith and with no deceit. Theodore Orji is committed to strengthening the economy of Abia and would not insist that even the ones that appear to be a ruse are hastily concluded. The investments that have not taken off are the ones still entangled in the cobwebs of super antics, which was the lot of Abians for those eight horrifying years. The state government reserves the right to review all trade and partnership proposals so that the government would get it right. In the bid to air his views Onwumere showed much ignorance about the monorail project and made comments regarding it in bad faith. The company proposing the monorail had stated ab initio that they intend connecting the whole of South East and would start a pilot test with Enugu State. If the German company that proposed the waste to wealth investment is not yet on ground, then it would be that the collective interest of Abians may not have been guaranteed. Theodore Orji is busy building 701 primary health centres and strengthening tertiary health institutions in the state. The government has never had a health centre that could serve as referral point. Hitherto, the people of Abia were all moving to neighbouring states for medical attention. The government is busy developing infrastructure so that the state would naturally become the beautiful bride and a safe haven for investors. The government is interested in rebranding and repackaging Umuahia and indeed other communities so that the people could survive on self while direct foreign investments would just be a plus. The government has done the Aba –Umukabia Road so that the foreign investor who would dredge and open up the Aba River would have an access road to move equipment. Let us say you have just woken up from a deep slumber. Uninformed critics should realise that Abia has miraculously moved from that static point to where they and their cohorts condemned it. Umuahia is no longer a glorified village while Aba people have been offered more than watching football. The 67 clusters of motor parks, which hitherto serviced the supply of touts for the very many sinister jobs, have all been dismantled, giving way for a secured, serene and peaceful Aba. • Kalu, a senior personal assistant to the governor on public affairs wrote from Umuahia.