TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Monday, June 2, 2014
Vol. 30, No. 12,940
Pope tasks media on peace From Nkechi Onyedika (Abuja) and Tunji Omofoye (Osogbo) OPE Francis yesterday P urged the media to promote global peace amid marginalisation, poverty and conflicts. He noted that in the midst of these crises, the media could help people to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of unity of the human family which could in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all. In a massage to mark the 2014 World Communication Day, Pope Francis observed that good communication CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Mrs. Roli Bode-George, Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Lagos State, Tunji Shelle; PDP leader, South West, Bode George; Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, at a dinner in honour of Federal Government appointees from Lagos State, in Lagos.
Refineries’ sale may wait till after 2015 polls From Mathias Okwe (Asst Business Editor) and Emeka Anuforo, Abuja COMBINATION of labour A and political issues may make the nation’s refineries not to be privatised until af-
• BPE says all old PHCN workers have been paid • Declares protesting electricity workers as ghost employees • N7b paid to labour as union dues from workers’ entitlements ter the general elections of 2015, according to an investi-
gation by The Guardian. The Bureau for Public Enter-
prises (BPE) says labour has confirmed that it wants the
refineries privatised, but with shares properly allocated to workers, a condition the government has accepted. The Director General of the BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki told The Guardian, however, that
CBN extends mortgage banks’ recapitalisation by six months - Page 39 Soyinka, Osundare, Durotoye eulogise Maya Angelou - Page 83
the same labour had failed to put its house in order, necessitating divergent positions from some of its members across the nation. He said: “Everybody accepts, including labour, that there is need to privatise. It is now the issue of what strategy we need to privatise. Labour is saying, we want the Nigeria CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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Pope tasks media on peace CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 would help people to grow closer, to know one another better and ultimately, to
grow in unity. He said: “The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to lis-
ten and learn from one another. We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect. A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive. The media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God. “We are living in a world which is growing ever ‘smaller’ and where, as a result, it would seem to be easier for all of us to be neighbours while developments in travel and communications technology are bringing us closer together and making us more connected, even as globalisation makes us increasingly interdependent. He said: “Nonetheless, divisions, which are sometimes quite deep, continue to exist within our human family. On the global level we see a scandalous gap between the opulence of the wealthy and the utter destitution of the poor.
Often we need only walk the streets of a city to see the contrast between people living on the street and the brilliant lights of the store windows. We have become so accustomed to these things that they no longer unsettle us. This is not to say that certain problems do not exist.” According to the cleric, the speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression. He noted that the variety of opinions being aired could be seen as helpful, but it also enabled people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirmed their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests. “The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings. The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us. We should not overlook the fact that those who for whatever reason lack access to social me-
dia run the risk of being left behind. While these drawbacks are real, they do not justify rejecting social media; rather, they remind us that communication is ultimately a human rather than technological achievement. What is it, then, that helps us, in the digital environment, to grow in humanity and mutual understanding? “We need to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen. We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us. People only express themselves fully when they are not merely tolerated, but know that they are truly accepted. If we are genuinely attentive in listening to others, we will learn to look at the world with different eyes and come to appreciate the richness of human experience as manifested in different cultures and traditions. We will also learn to appreciate more fully the important values inspired by Christianity, such as the vision of the human person, the nature of marriage and the family, the proper distinction between the reli-
gious and political spheres, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, and many others. “Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression like that suffered by the man in the parable, who was beaten by robbers and left abandoned on the road”, he added. The pontiff’s message which was read by John Olorunfemi Cardinal Onaiyekan stressed: “Nowadays there is a danger that certain media so condition our responses that we fail to see our real neighbour. It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply ‘connected’; connections need to grow into true encounters. We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness. Media strategies do not ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication. The world of media also has to be concerned with humanity, it too is called to show tenderness. The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity; a network not of wires but of people.
BPE says all old PHCN workers have been paid CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) model, which by implication means that they want to be shareholders in the privatisation of the refineries. We told them that we don’t have a problem with that. “The National Council on Privatisation has a standing policy that staff should be given shares in the companies they are working. And we have a model which we tried successfully with Eleme Petrochemicals Limited. “Staff were allocated shares in the company, and we organised them and they set up a trust. That trust went to the bank and borrowed money and the money they borrowed to buy the shares was paid from the dividend of the sale.” On the planned sale of the refineries, he said: “We told them (Labour) that we could replicate that model. But unfortunately, we talk with the national level of the labour unions, and then next day we hear one branch saying they are against privatisation. The following day we hear of another branch saying they are against privatisation, and another set will say they are for it, and then another against it. “There hasn’t been a cohesive voice from the labour unions. Of course, you recall when the issue was first mooted that labour threatened to shut down government. And no president will sit down and take a decision that could cripple the economy. So, because of that government put the issues of privatisation of refineries on hold.” Dikki stressed that though discussions were still ongoing with the labour unions, it was difficult to achieve any meaningful results because of the alleged politicisation of government’s intentions.” His words: “I am not sure we are gong to look at this issue of refineries till we pass this election year, because everything is being over- politicised. Even things that are good for the nation are being over-politi-
cised. “But we will continue to engage with labour and once we come up with an acceptable model, one that is acceptable to labour and acceptable to government, then we will consider privatisation, but as long as we are not able to be on the same page with labour, we will not be privatising the refineries.” Meanwhile, the government has come out to brand electricity employees who have been protesting against alleged non-payment of severance packages as ‘ ghost workers’. Dikki made the submission in respect of an inquiry by The Guardian about the pockets of protests in the country. He said that instead of protesting on the streets, the workers should submit themselves for biometric verification, as all those who have been verified have been paid. He said: “ We are intrigued that people who participated in the process of verification and the payment of these staff, still go out and make ludicrous statements concerning the state of the payment exercise. One, the total number of staff given to us by PHCN, and by implication, labour, because labour is made up of staff of PHCN, was 47,913 workers and we said no problem, we are going to do a verification, and a biometric capturing, and that we were going to pay everybody, but we were not going to pay ghost workers. “We had to go through a process that would assure us that whoever we give a naira to is a bona fide PHCN worker. This verification committee had labour officials as members. And we verified and were able to authenticate slightly above 45, 300 and all have been paid. This number has been paid their severance components which went into their own individual accounts, current accounts. They have also been paid their Retirement Savings Account ( RSA), which has gone to their
own retirement savings accounts. If what we are saying is not true, go to the Pensions Commission ( Pencom). “ Pencom verifies before it hits the RSA account. First of all, all the money goes into the pension custodian. From the pension custodian, Pencom comes and verifies before they now authorise for it to be credited to individual RSAs. Now labour knows all this. “We were amused the other day when we saw people demonstrating in Ibadan, that they are staff who have not been paid or whatever. They are ghost workers! Up till today we are verifying. If any of them is a bona fide employee, instead of standing in the sun demonstrating, let them come and let us verify them. The money to pay every worker is there.” He went on: “There are about 2,000 people whom they ( labour) gave us, whose records we can’t find. They don’t have record of service. They don’t have record of employment. We have asked that if they have any document to prove that they are staff of old PHCN, they should come and let us verify them and pay them. “When the labour unions talk like this, they forget that there is a 2 per cent union dues which we deducted for them from the entitlements of staff, and we credited the union account with N7 billion. Now the same union leaders are rising up to say that people have not been paid. “Now, if people, have not been paid, where did we get the N7 billion union dues deductions that we credited to their account?” He again urged the labour unions to assist government with relevant information about the people, who were protesting against non- payment, alleging blackmail in the latest protests. According to the BPE chief, “Labour is part of the staff of the PHCN. If labour has infor-
mation about those 2,000 that they forwarded to us, let them give to us. “Let me repeat. No amount of blackmail will make us pay anybody who is not verified. We are not going to carry government money and splash it to people so that labour can stop demonstration. We don’t know which drums that they are dancing to. But they are not dancing to the drum of truth or fact. “And I want members of the union to question the labour unions and officials. I hope they are not trying to justify why they will spend that N7 billion they took as dues from the workers entitlements. Organising demonstrations, frivolous demonstrations so that they can justify spending that money is uncalled for. Let members of the union also wake up to their responsibility and find out from labour what they are doing with the N7 billion.” Repeatedly, government has said that it is making remarkable progress with the privatisation of the 10 generating power plants built under the National Integrated Power Plants ( NIPP). Dikki stressed that the sale agreement and other related pacts were being finalised for seven of the plants, while those for the other three were pending because of a court case. He said: “Recall that three of the NIPP plants’ sale is subject of court case. The three are on hold until the court issue is determined. The other seven have posted their preferred bidders bank guarantees. Now, we are going to the stage of negotiating the sales agreement with them and then executing the sale agreements. Then they will be due to pay the 25 per cent and then the 75 per cent within six months. We are on course. “All of them have posted their preferred bidders bank guarantee which now empowers us to go into negotiations with them to finalise the sale agreement, the performance agreement and other documents.”
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Why govt should review taxation on tobacco firms, by rights activists
Group condemns violence in Nasarawa
By Wole Oyebade
By Seye Olumide
N line with World Health Irective Organisation’s (WHO) dion tax review for tobacco companies, rights activists yesterday urged the Federal Government to withdrawal tax concession currently being enjoyed by the tobacco industries in Nigeria. They argued that such review on British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN), among others operating in Nigeria, would ensure the country is in sync with global strategy to reduce tobacco consumption and addiction via increased taxation on tobacco products. The activists, under the aegis of Environmental Rights Ac-
tion/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), said this at an event to commemorate World No Tobacco Day, commemorated May 31 every year. The anti-tobacco groups said it was high time the Federal Government jerk up taxes, which they described as “a proven strategy of protecting present and future generations from the devastating health consequences due to tobacco, as well as the social, environmental and economic scourges of the lethal product.” Under the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
New CBN gov, Emefiele, resumes tomorrow From Anthony Otaru, Abuja HE newly-appointed GovT ernor of Central Bank of Nigerian (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, will tomorrow take the mantle of leadership at the apex bank from the ActingGovernor of the bank, Dr. Sarah Alade. Godwin Emefiele was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan some few months back following the suspension of Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as a result of his indictment by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) for alleged financial recklessness that made the apex bank lost huge sums of money running into several millions of naira.
However, Sanusi’s suspension is also not unconnected with his claims that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had failed to remit several billions of dollars to the Federation Account, a claim the Federal Government is yet to accept. At the screening before the Senate after his nomination by President Goodluck Jonathan, the new CBN governor promised to take necessary measures to support the naira that has remained under pressure for quite sometime now. He also said: ‘’I will abide or stick to the core mandate of the CBN to actualise the monetary and price stability regulations.”
(WHO FCTC), which Nigeria signed in 2004 and ratified in 2005, parties were mandated to implement tax and price policies on tobacco products as a way of reducing tobacco consumption. A recent WHO report indicated that a 50 per cent increase in tobacco excise taxes would generate about $1.4 billion in additional funds in 22 low-income countries, which if ploughed to the health sector, would push up their revenue by another 50 per cent to accommodate treatment of tobacco-induced illnesses and other illnesses that only tobacco-related diseases could cause. ERA/FoEN Director Corporate Accountability & Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi, observed that the 2014 World No Tobacco Day theme reinforces their position that increase in ex-
cise taxes on tobacco is the way to go in curbing the gale of deaths linked to tobacco consumption. He said: “It is not only essential at this point, but it will push the burden of the tobacco scourge to BATN and other companies marketing death in wraps across the globe.” Oluwafemi further said: “We are not deceived by gimmicks of BATN to portray tobacco farmers as very successful as a way of sustaining the status quo. The Nigerian government must probe the volume of leaves produced in Nigeria vis-à-vis the capacity of the company’s automated factory in Ibadan. “The mathematics of increasing taxes will push the burden of the current spending on the government to the instigator of the illnesses that tax-payers money go into currently.” Executive Director of CISLAC,
Auwal Rafsanjani, said that they were on the same page with the WHO in putting the tobacco burden where it exactly belongs. He said: “The Nigerian government must not allow BATN and other tobacco companies to enjoy generous concessions or make profits at the expense of the lives of our people. Increasing taxes is one good step in this direction.” Rafsanjani also demanded that an effective and implementable tax regime be woven into the repackaged National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB) which had been returned to the National Assembly by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), adding that “all princely and unmerited concessions that BATN continues to enjoy must be removed immediately.”
Kanu calls for actualisation of ‘State of Biafra’ From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE agitation for the actuT alisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra took a new dimension at the weekend as its new leader in the struggle, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, declared his readiness to fight all the way. Kanu, who spoke at a gathering of members of defunct Biafra, including aged war veterans, vowed that he would not rest until the Republic is realised. The event, held at Ngwo, Enugu State, was the maiden commemoration of Biafran Day on May 30 in remembrance of the events of 1967 when the late Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, declared the Republic of Biafra. Kalu, the Director of Radio Bi-
afra, used the occasion to unveil a multi-million-naira cenotaph in memory of Biafran fallen heroes killed during the civil war. He regretted that despite the declaration of the “No Victor, no Vanquished” after the Nigeria/Biafra Civil War in 1970, successive governments, including the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration, had continued to deliberately marginalise and make life unbearable for the Igbo nation and its people. He, therefore, called on all genuine Igbo people across the globe to rise up and join the crusade of putting in place the Biafran Republic, adding that it was time for the Igbo to pull out of Nigeria, which he described as “a
failed nation where nothing works.” Kanu noted that it was unfortunate and painful that 47 years after the civil war, the Federal Government had bluntly refused to pay soldiers who fought on the side of Biafra all their benefits and entitlements, whereas, all their counterparts in the North and western parts of the country had received theirs. Decrying the sufferings and agonies being faced by common Nigerians as a result of corrupt and bad governance in the country, he insisted that Nigeria is doomed and driven by world acclaimed selfish and corrupt leaders who do not believe in the well- being of the poor masses.
CNPP faults planned increase in electricity tariff From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE Conference of NigerT ian Political Parties (CNPP) has called for mass action over the recent increase in electricity tariff. In a statement by the Conference signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu, the mass ac-
tion will start on Thursday, June 12. The CNPP said it decided to embark on the action because it is sad to ask Nigerians to pay more when the electricity supply is at the lowest ebb. “Is it not criminal to force us to pay Fixed Charges monthly for those who purchased
rickety electricity machines without money to fix it? For we had thought that the idea of privatisation is to sell to only those with the financial capacity for fix the sector. President Goodluck Jonathan cannot rob Peter to pay Paul. “The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and African Charter for Peoples and Human Rights and ESPR Act 2005 are there to protect consumers rather than shark investors”, CNPP said. The CNPP called on Nigerians to wake up, alleging that the anti-peoples’ programme mantra of the Jonathan administration was to squeeze water out of the rock of Nigerian masses. “As is evidenced in the increase in the duties of Tokunbo vehicles, water and electricity bills, this is the only country in the world where the citizens pay high for everything under the sun”, the statement added. It, therefore, called on Nigerians to do a simple arithmetic of how much millions of Nigerians will pay for the new electricity fixed monthly charges, which ranges from N300 to N1,500 for millions of electricity meterusers.
GROUP, Civil Society CoaliA tion Against Corruption (CSNAC), has expressed concern over the intra-and intercommunal violence leading to mass destruction in Nasarawa State in recent times. The group said it was disturbed that Nasarawa State that was hitherto reputed as peaceful state to indigenous communities and visitors, has now been turned to where people now live in fear. In a statement yesterday, CSNAC Co-ordinator, Olanrewaju Suraju, posited that the crisis in the state was the direct consequence of the regime of corruption and impunity that has rendered government machineries and political actors helpless. According to him, “since 2012, threats of violent communal clashes have assumed a worrisome dimension in Nasarawa, making residents and visitors to live in perpetual fear, apprehension and uncertainties”, among others.
Resident doctors begin warning strike From Murtala Muhammed, Kano HE National Association of T Resident Doctors in Nigeria (NARD) has directed its members nationwide to embark on a three-day warning strike with effect from today. Briefing journalists yesterday in Kano, president of the union, Dr. Jibril Abdullahi, said that it had become necessary for members to down tools at the moment after possible negotiation with the Federal Government failed to yield positive result. “The warning strike shall start today, Monday, June 2, 2014 by 8:00 a.m. and our members shall resume work on Thursday, June 5, 2014 by 8:00 a.m.”, Abdullahi said. Abdullahi noted that the doctors were demanding for full salaries of its members in Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, continuous skipping of CONMESS 2 and payment of recent adjustment of the CONSOLIDATED medical salary structure for members.
Poly registrar kidnapped in Kogi From John Akubo, Lokoja HE Registrar of Federal T Polytechnic, Idah in Kogi State, Mr. Kareem Abu, has been kidnapped by unidentified persons at his official residence in Idah. The incident happened early hours of Saturday and this came barely three weeks after the Rector, Dr. Matthew Akpata, narrowly escaped the ordeal of the kidnappers by divine intervention through an accident that foiled the attempt to kidnap him. The kidnappers abandoned him in the car boot until the villagers who ran to the scene of the accident rescued him. Also, the Librarian of the institution was also kidnapped sometime last year from the same institution. The whereabouts of the registrar is yet to be known, as his kidnappers have not contacted his family members since he was whisked away.
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Uduaghan moves to douse tension over $16b gas project site From Chido Okafor, Warri HERE are indications that Delta State T Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has intervened in the protest by Ijaw stakeholders in Warri South council over claims that they were sidelined in the $16 billion EPZ gas project. The protest by the Ijaws of Gbaramatu kingdom may be the reason why President Goodluck Jonathan shunned the groundbreaking ceremony of the gas city project when he visited the area last month to flag of Nigeria’s first maritime university at Okerenkoko. Uduaghan considered the protests inimical to the project and other oil investments and appealed to the President of the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC), Chief Bello Oboko, to allow him meet with the Ijaws in Asaba on the issue. Several Ijaw communities in the Burutu and Warri South-West local councils alleged neglect with some groups advising President Jonathan not to perform the ground-breaking ceremony without considering the interest of the Ijaw. Attempts by the Kpokpo/Okpeleama communities to present their case at the seminar on Securing Oil and Gas Investments in Delta State on April 15 at PTI, Effurun were frustrated when the organisers barred them from attending the seminar. Oboko, however revealed that a joint peace meeting between the Delta State Government and an Ijaw
team led by him held on 19th and 21st May, 2014 in Asaba over complaints on the EPZ project. Uduaghan was said to have subsequently directed the Commissioner of Lands, Surveys and Urban Development, Mr. Patrick Ferife to continue the engagement with the Ijaw team on “outstanding claims.” Oboko commended Governor Uduaghan for his efforts at ensuring peace and thanked President Jonathan for siting the project in the state.
MAN urges CBN to review monetary policy From Anietie Akpan, Calabar HE Cross River and Akwa T Ibom states branch of the Manufacturers
Visitor to Delta State University and Governor, Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan (left); Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Tony O. Elumelu and the Vice Chancellor, Delta State University, Professor Eric A. Arubayi, at the graduation ceremony for students of the institution at the weekend.
Despite security challenges, UN hails Nigerian peacekeepers From Laolu Akande, New York T a time when the Nigerian A military and other security agencies are facing increasing criticisms over the prevailing terrorist insurgency in parts of the country, the United Nations is celebrating five Nigerian international peacekeepers who paid the supreme sacrifice last year. A release issued by the world body during the week said there were 106 peacekeepers that “died while serving with the UN Peacekeeping in 2013, including five from Nigeria who were serving with the UNAU Mission in Darfur, UNIMID.” Nigeria continues to number among the top UN peacekeeping contributors although the country has dropped down from among the top four nations to the sixth in the latest figures released by the UN. While India leads the ranking of countries contributing troops and police to the UN with 8,132 personnel, Bangladesh follows with 8,034, and Pakistan holds the third position with 8,027. Two African nations have now advanced past Nigeria: Ethiopia with 6,628 personnel and Rwanda with 4,709. Nigeria is sixth with 4,614. In fact at the beginning of the year, Nigeria was ranked 5th ahead of Rwanda with 4862
peacekeepers to Rwanda’s 4,775. The ongoing insurgency by terrorists in three Northeastern states might explain the drop in Nigeria’s commitment to the UN international peacekeeping. Last Thursday, May 29, the 106 fallen peacekeepers were posthumously awarded the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal by UN Secretary-General, Ban Kimoon at an event to mark the International Peacekeeping Day at the UN headquarters in New York. The UN Medal of Honor is named after Dag Hammarskjöld, who was the second UN Secretary-General and the only one to die in service in a plane crash in 1961. He served from 1953-61. The five Nigerian UN peacekeepers who were honoured posthumously included four soldiers and one police officer. They are Warrant Officer Rufus Adegboye who died on 14 February 2013, Lance Corporals Aminu Ibrahim, who died on 19 April 2013, and Adamu Mohammed Ibrahim, who died 4 July 2013, Corporal Aliyu Ibrahim who died 28
June, 2013 and Police Inspector Giwa Blessing, 26 August 2013. At the event in New York, the Secretary-General, Ban Kimoon oversaw a solemn wreath-laying ceremony in honour of all fallen peacekeepers at the Peacekeepers Memorial in the North Lawn. Also, the Secretary-General presented the UN medals of honour for military and police personnel who lost their lives, which were received by the representatives of the respective Permanent Missions, who will in turn forward the medals to the next of kin of the peacekeepers. According to Ban Ki-moon, the UN peacekeeping has a long and proud history, with more than one million peacekeepers having served in more than 70 operations on four continents since its establishment in 1948. “Today, more than 116,000 UN personnel from more than 120 countries serve in 16 peacekeeping operations,” Mr. Ban disclosed, adding that, “at great personal risk, these military, police and civil-
ian personnel help stabilize communities, protect civilians, promote the rule of law and advance human rights.” Honouring those who fell last year, he said, “106 peacekeepers perished carrying out their duty under the UN flag, bringing the total number of lives lost in the history of peacekeeping to more than 3,200. We mourn the passing of every one of these courageous individuals. We grieve with their friends and families and we recommit ourselves to ensure that their contributions to the cause of peace will never be forgotten.” The Secretary-General observed that the UN peacekeeping is modernizing to ensure that it can tackle tomorrow’s peace and security challenges. According to him, the peacekeeping missions are now “deploying new technologies such as unarmed, unmanned aerial vehicles, refining its practices to better protect civilians, and boosting the representation of women among its ranks while strengthening its partnerships with regional organiations.”
Fayemi denies plans to sack workers From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti) KITI State Governor, Dr. E Kayode Fayemi, has advised workers in the state to ignore rumours being circulated through text messages and the social media that he is planning to sack workers and cancel payment of leave bonus on re-election. The governor gave the advice in Ado Ekiti, the state capital at the weekend during a quarterly interactive forum held with civil servants in the state. Fayemi said the masterminds of the text messages often take Ekiti people as fools who could be tossed around by lies and baseless claims; describing them as enemies of progress. He said it is ridiculous that some people could spread lies that government is planning to retrench workers as well as cancel leave bonus, which is part of the emolument of workers. “Even within the civil service, they found the SMS ridiculous and having puerile claims but this is the season of lies, and you should
expect as many lies as possible. I get these lies myself on my phone. “Some have decided that they have no other way to conduct themselves in this electioneering period than to engage in bear face lies. Frankly some of the lies are not worthy of response from government because we will like to think that Ekiti people are intelligent enough and are not as gullible as these enemies of progress want them to appear.” “There is nothing farther from the truth than for anyone to claim that government wants to abolish leave bonus. Leave bonus is part of the conditions of employment, part of the salary package. It is not just the monthly salary, it is also your ability to obtain car loan to take housing loan and leave bonus and benefit from other benefits that are associated with the job that government offers you,” he said. Fayemi, while stressing that government would continue to bring succour to the workforce, asserted that Ekiti State is one of the few states that are not owing workers despite the reduction in federal allo-
cation since August last year. The governor agreed to increase funds for car and housing loans for the workers and assured that the construction of perimeter fencing of the state secretariat would be done to ensure adequate protection of government property. He later presented two 18seater buses to the state chapter of the Nigeria Civil Service Union and Amalgamated Public Service Technical and Recreational Service Employees. In his remarks, the Head of Service, Mr. Bunmi Famosaya, said the text messages are circulated by some “unscrupulous, misinformed and disgruntled elements in an attempt to pitch the workers against government.” He added that the present government has performed creditably well for its workers, urging them not to let anyone use them against the state government. Some of the workers who spoke at the forum thanked Fayemi for addressing some of the issues raised at the forum held last year.
Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to loosen its tight grip on monetary policy and allow manufacturers easy access to finance at a single digit interest. They lamented that because of the firm grip on monetary policy and the high interest of borrowing at double digits, manufacturers have found it difficult to break even. Rising from its 10th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Monty Suites, Calabar on Saturday, MAN in a communiqué called on the CBN to intervene so as to put them back in business and compete favourably with the international community. “There should be a robust synergy of ideas between the government and the organised private sector,” MAN said in a communiqué signed by its branch Chairman, Elder Iniobong Jackson and the Executive Secretary, Elder Arikpo Arikpo. MAN also decried multiple and indiscriminate taxation, which it said has become a nightmare to manufacturers both in terms of cost of doing business and method of enforcing these ‘inappropriate taxes and levies.’
Fashola to speak at CIAPS inaugural lecture tomorrow State governor, LhasAGOS Babatunde Raji Fashola, been selected to speak on “Ethics, Education and Employability,” at the Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies’ (CIAPS) inaugural lecture, scheduled for tomorrow in Lagos. Fashola emerged as the most preferred guest speaker in a survey conducted amongst students, graduates and friends of the CIAPS. Other nominated speakers that garnered a lot of votes during the survey include Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Prof. Pat Utomi. The lecture is part of CIAPS’ Outcome Based Educational (OBE) programme, aimed at preparing graduates for professional jobs in three months. The centre’s director, Prof. Anthony Kila, in a statement, explained that the OBE programmes “which are built on research and inputs are obtained from dynamic organisations about their recruitment needs as well as their employment and development strategies.” A major aim of the programme, he stated, “is to address the challenge of employability of many graduates and young people. Rather than focusing on just theory and academic curriculum, he continued, “CIAPS is working with businesses, organisations and employers to establish the type of skills and knowledge needed.”
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NEWS Monday, June 2, 2014
Edo govt assures residents of projects completion From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City DO State yesterday assured E the people of the state that all projects embarked upon by the government would be completed before the expiration of the tenure of the present administration of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Commissioner for Environment and Public Utilities, Prince Clem Agba gave this assurance while addressing newsmen on activities lined up to mark this year’s world Environment Day, with the theme “Raise your voice and not the sea level” in Benin city. He said all projects awarded and executed by the state government have reached eighty percent completion stage including the water storm project and that government was aware of the peoples plight during the raining season because of the flooding problem associated with it. He said contrary to insinuations, no construction project whether road or flood control has been stopped, adding that paucity of funds and adverse weather condition disrupted the pace of work.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (left) condoling Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State when the Speaker paid a condolence visit over the death of the Emir of Gombe, in Gombe yesterday.
Nigerians real heroes of democracy, says PDP From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh Abuja OR their faith, resilience Fdemocracy and untiring support for since 1999 the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday described Nigerian citizens as the true heroes of democracy, praising them, in spite of efforts by few unpatriotic elements to destroy their sense of patriotism and truncate the process. PDP National Publicity
Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement in Abuja, said the party reached this conclusion after a thorough appraisal of the contributions of the people towards the sustenance of democracy in the last 15 years. “Indeed the real heroes of democracy are Nigerians citizens who daily make sacrifices for the sustenance of democratic rule in the last 15 years. It is their collective choice and resolve to support and maintain democ-
racy as the only system of government for the actualization of our collective aspirations, irrespective of the challenges we face as a people, that have been the underlying impetus for the successes and growth recorded since the emergence of the PDP-led government in 1999.” “Nigerians have demonstrated their commitment not only by continually trooping out in their millions to vote, defying the sun
and the rains, but also in their patience, understanding and continued support for the unity of the nation and the government they love, despite the unrelenting efforts by unpatriotic elements to mislead them” the party said. The PDP stated with the support of Nigerians, its government has “not only sustained the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria as one indivisible nation where all are free but also achieved an uninterrupted democratic rule that has guaranteed social justice and economic prosperity through strict adherence to the principles of equality and the rule of law.” This, it said is in addition to ensuring human rights, freedom of expression, freedom to information and freedom of association to all Nigerians in the last 15 years. While appreciating Nigerians for voting and supporting it since 1999, the PDP said the “continued overwhelming victory at the polls remains a clear demonstration of the confidence reposed in it by the people as the only true national party and best vehicle for the delivery of democracy dividends to them.”
“This is a loud statement by Nigerians that they are, and will continue to be with the PDP. They have continuously shown that the opposition is not an option despite their ceaseless change of identity, which only betrays their chameleonic nature and lack of clear-cut agenda for the people,” the statement said. The party attributed the support of the people to its strict adherence to the principle of internal democracy, providing equal opportunity for every Nigerian to aspire to any position whatsoever without regard to religious, gender and ethnic considerations unlike in the opposition where a few undemocratic individuals appropriate power and hand-pick cronies for political office. The statement charged all PDP elected and appointed officials at all levels to reciprocate the trust and support shown by Nigerians by redoubling their efforts and working harder to ensure that Nigerians do not only continue to enjoy the benefit of quality stewardship from the PDP but also vote en-masse for it in the 2015 general elections.
Kogi governor’s wife mourns predecessor From John Akubo Lokoja IFE of Kogi State Governor, W Hajiya Halima Ladi Wada has described the death of wife of former governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, Hajiya Zainab Idris as a big loss to the state, the entire nation and womanhood. Hajiya Wada, who expressed shock on learning about the news of her death in the early hours of yesterday, cancelled all her official functions in honour of her deceased predecessor. The Kogi first lady indicated that the deceased was still healthy Friday night before her demise due to an undisclosed ailment, adding that the death of the former first lady will create a vacuum that may not be filled for a long time. Mrs. Wada added that the death has further devastated her as the state was still grappling with the gruesome death of a veteran broadcaster/journalist and Amana Ogohi Attah Ojikpadala, Chief Isa Edimeh. Hajia Wada immediately opened a condolence register at the Government House. She said she had wished the former first lady lived longer to enable her tap from her wealth of experience garnered over the years.
Danjuma Foundation donates N2b in four years From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu Benin City HE TY Danjuma T Foundation said at the weekend it has doled out not less than N2 billion as grants and supports to various of its beneficiaries in the last four years. Executive Director of the Foundation, Dr. Florence EttaAkinAina stated this in Benin City at the Foundation’s fifth Grantees training where she said a total of 75 organizations benefited from the grant within the period. She listed three core intervention areas of the founda-
tion to include, education, healthcare and income generation for women and youths. She disclosed that the Foundation has treated seven (7) million persons of nontropical diseases by within the last four years. According to her, N77.5m grant have already been given to 11 organizations across the country this year, adding that seven of the 11 organizations are implementing Edo Community Fund projects. “The foundation has through 75 organizations implemented 117 projects in 18 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital
Territory. This year, a total of 288 projects proposals were received for the 2014 grant cycle. “From the proposals, 44 were recommended by staff review team and forwarded to the board of trustees who approved grants to 25 organizations, totaling N250m for the year,” she revealed. In his response, the Edo State commissioner for Basic Education, Patrick Aguenede who was represented by the Director of Quality Assurance, Mrs Angella Okoh promised the collaboration of his ministry with the foundation.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Monday, June 2, 2014 | 9
Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed (right); receiving a copy of the Ilorin Emirate Descendant Progressive Union (IEDPU) Magazine from the National President, Alhaji Abdulhamid Hadi, during a courtesy visit by the union to Government House, Ilorin.
Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko (middle); National President, Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria, Olamerun Gbadebo (right), and Vice Chairman, Shephards Insurance Brokers, Oladipupo Bailey, during a visit to the governor in Akure.
Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC Eugene Juwah (left); DirectorGeneral, Swedish Post and Telecoms Agency, Marianne Treschow, and, Secretary-General of Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Prof. Tim Unwin, at a telecoms summit in Barcelona, Spain.
Registrar, Redeemers University, Bolatito Oloketuyi (left); Keynote Speaker, Prof. Dele Olowu; Vice Chancellor, Redeemers University, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, and Chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor, Caleb University, Prof. Ayodeji Olukoju, at the Culrun 2014: The Humanities, Conflict and Development in Africa in Mowe, Ogun State.
Representative of the Lagos State Chief Jugde, Hon Olufunmilayo Atilade; Chairman, Section on Business Law, Gboyega Oyebode, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, former Deputy Secretary General, United Nations and Vice Chairman, Soros Investment Funds, Lord Malloch Brown, and President, Nigeria Bar Association, Okey Wali, at the 8th yearly Business Law Conference in Lagos. PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO
Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Ado Muhammad; Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Ryuidi Shoji; Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Linus Awute, at the official signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Japanese government loan aid for the polio eradication to Nigerian government in Abuja.
CEO, Imperial Holdings, Mark Lambert (left); Managing Director, MDS Logistics, Solomon Aigbavboa; General Manager, Warehouse, MDS Logistics, Taiwo Ajibola; CEO, Imperial Logistics, Africa, Dougie Truter, and CEO Imperial Logistics, Marius Swanepoel, at the commissioning of MDS Logistcs Ultramodern Auto Workshop in Lagos.
Size Analyst, West African Ceramics Ltd., Sachin Katare (left); Chairman, Lagos State chapter, Nigerian Institute of Architects, Ladipo Lewis; Head, Architects Works Committee, Lagos Architects Forum, NIA, Sola Olajuyigbe, and Marketing Manager, West African Ceramics Ltd., Surendra Kunche (right), at the Lagos Architectsâ€™ Forum in Lagos.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Monday, June 2, 2014
WorldReport Iran executes prisoner linked to opposition group
Don’t ‘hurry’ to back Palestinian govt, Netanyahu warns ORLD governments W should not rush to approve the new Palestinian cabinet, Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu warned yesterday after the Palestinians accused Israel of punishing them over a unity deal. “I call on all responsible elements within the international community not to hurry to recognise the Palestinian government that Hamas is part of, and which relies on Hamas,” the Israeli premier told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, saying it would “strengthen terror”. Palestinian President, Mahmud Abbas has said the new government, which is to be sworn in on Monday at his Muqataa headquarters in Ramallah, will be a government of political independents that will reject violence, recognise Israel and abide by all existing agreements. Although the formal line-up has not yet been made public, it has been pieced together by Abbas’ Fatah movement and Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers in accordance with a reconciliation agreement inked in April. Technocratic in nature, it will not have a political mandate. Israel has described the unity deal with Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, as a blow to peace and vowed to boycott it. In a move which further underscored Israel’s opposi-
tion to the new government, three Gazans who were to travel to the West Bank to be sworn in as ministers were blocked from leaving the coastal enclave, officials said. Speaking late on Saturday, Abbas said Israel had informed him it would cut all ties with the incoming government, in what he described as punishing the Palestinians for overcoming their years-long internal political differences. “Israel wants to punish us for agreeing with Hamas on this government,” he said, explaining that it had been made clear to him that the Netanyahu administration would “boycott the government the moment it is announced”. But the Palestinians would have an answer for every Israeli move, he warned. “Each Israeli step will have a proper Palestinian response,” he said, without elaborating. “We will take everything step-by-step, we will not be the ones to react first.” Abbas appeared to be alluding to Palestinian intentions to seek further recognition for their promised state in the international diplomatic arena. Despite Israel’s boycott threat, severing ties was unlikely to affect security coordination with the forces of Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, Yediot Aharonot newspaper said.
RAN yesterday executed a Isition prisoner linked to the oppogroup, Mujahedeen-e-
A boy holds a placard during a rally held by pro-Russian activists marking International Day for PHOTO: AFP Protection of Children in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa …yesterday.
U.S. defends decision to swap Taliban for captive soldier NITED States yesterday U defended its decision to allow five Taliban detainees to be transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar to secure the release of a U.S. soldier held in Afghanistan, saying time was running short. Republican lawmakers have sharply criticized the move to send the five senior Taliban figures to Qatar to facilitate the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, captured nearly five years ago, saying it sets a bad precedent and endan-
Smugglers kill Egyptian guards border guards SwithIXhaveaEgyptian been killed in a clash group of smugglers in a mountainous region near the Libyan border, the military says. The smugglers attacked the patrol in retaliation for a crackdown, according to the Facebook page of Egyptian military spokesman, Ahmed Mohammed Ali. Egypt has been trying to pre-
vent Libyan weapons and fighters from reaching Islamist militants in the Sinai. Both countries have been grappling with unrest since the uprisings of 2011. Libya’s government has struggled to restrain the heavily armed militia groups that helped drive former president Col Muammar Gaddafi from power. Meanwhile, instability in
Egypt has strengthened support for the former military chief, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who secured a landslide win in a presidential election last month.
gers US soldiers still in Afghanistan. Some have even suggested that the administration of President Barack Obama may have broken the law by failing to notify Congress 30 days before the Guantanamo detainees were transferred. But National Security Advisor, Susan Rice said Bergdahl’s health was deteriorating, and Washington had no choice but to do whatever was necessary to bring the 28year-old army sergeant home. “When we are in battles with terrorists and terrorists take an American prisoner, that prisoner still is a US serviceman or woman. We still have an obligation to bring that person back,” Rice told CNN. “Because it was the Taliban that had him did not mean that we had any less of an obligation to bring him back.”
US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, speaking to NBC’s “Meet the Press” from Bagram air base in Afghanistan, insisted: “We didn’t negotiate with terrorists.” “This is a guy who probably went through hell for the last five years,” he said. “Let’s focus on getting him well and getting him back with his family.” Rice said the US government acted on the chance to gain Bergdahl’s freedom — with the help of the Qatari government as an intermediary — in part due to mounting concerns about his health. “He had lost a good bit of weight and we were very concerned that time was not something we could play with, that we needed to act when we had the opportunity,” she said.
Khalq, the official IRNA news agency reported, despite a last-minute plea from Amnesty International, which said he had not been given a fair trial. The report said Gholamreza Khosravi was sentenced to death in 2010 for providing photos of the country’s military facilities as well as financial aid to the MEK, and for helping to recruit for the group. IRNA said the death sentence was approved by the country’s Supreme Court after an appeal by Khosravi’s lawyer. It said the trial was held in a court in Tehran which deals with security-related charges, and that Khosravi’s lawyer was present. The report did not detail the method of execution, but death sentences in Iran are usually carried out by hanging. Iranian state television said Khosravi was executed after being convicted of “spying for foreigners.” Khosravi was arrested in 2007, after having been previously detained from 1981 to 1986, IRNA said. The MEK began fighting to overthrow the Islamic Republic shortly after the 1979 revolution that toppled a pro-Western monarchy. The group was based in Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein, who waged an eightyear war against Iran in the 1980s that killed more than 1 million people on both sides. Amnesty International on Saturday had urged Iran not to execute Khosravi, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for “enmity against God.” “Yet again Iranian authorities are about to execute a man who did not even receive a fair trial in total disregard of both international law and the Iranian law,” said Hassiba Hadj Saharoui, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Obama wants Europe to keep up pressure on Russia RESIDENT Barack Obama P will this week press European leaders to keep up pressure on Russia over its threatening moves in Ukraine, while seeking to assuage fears from Poland and other NATO allies that the West could slip back into a business-as-usual relationship with Moscow. Obama’s four-day trip to Poland, Belgium and France comes against the backdrop of successful national elections in Ukraine and signs that Russia is moving most of its troops off its shared border with the former Soviet republic. Yet violence continues to rage in eastern Ukrainian cities and there remains deep uncertainty about whether Ukraine’s new president-elect can stabilize his country.
U.S. officials contend that, even with some signs of progress, Russia has not taken the necessary steps to ease tensions and could still face additional economic sanctions. Obama will look for Western allies to show a united front during a meeting of the Group of Seven major industrial nations that was quickly arranged after leaders decided to boycott a meeting Russia had been scheduled to host this week. But at least some parts of Obama’s visit will challenge the notion that the West has isolated Moscow. Russian President Vladmir Putin is scheduled to join U.S. and European leaders in France on Friday for a day of events marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at
Normandy. Putin will also hold one-onone talks with French President, Francois Hollande, his first meeting with a Western leader since the Ukraine crisis began. “Putin may not get to host the G-8 but if he gets to go to Normandy with everybody, it begins to diminish the appearance of isolation,” said Steven Pifer, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who now serves as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The White House says Obama will not hold a formal bilateral meeting with Putin, though the two leaders are expected to have some contact. Officials also disputed the notion that Putin’s presence constituted a return to normal relations, noting that
Obama and other leaders have talked with the Russian president throughout the crisis with Ukraine. Yet those reassurances may be of little solace to NATO allies who sit near the Russian border, particularly Poland, where Obama will open his trip tomorrow.
Monday, June 2, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Focus Delisting: Stakeholders call for preventive measures Between 2002 and 2014, 65 companies delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), with IHS Plc recently joining the list. BUKKY OLAJIDE writes that while experts consider the current figure as manageable, they also think that it is not a good development. COMPANY listed on the stock exchange A transmits certain benefits to its investors and the general public because it creates an opportunity for its management and owners to raise additional capital to fund new projects and expand. Listing also brings in liquidity and a ready market for the company’s shares on a continuous basis. An initial listing increases a company’s ability to raise further capital, through various routes like preferential issue, rights issue, qualified and institutional placements. Listing ensures fair prices for securities. The prices are publicly arrived at on the basis of demand and supply and the stock exchange quotations are generally reflective of the real value of the securities. Thus, listing helps to generate an independent valuation of the company by the market. Listed securities can equally be used as collaterals for credit facilities. A listed company can borrow from financial institutions easily, since lenders of capital rate it favourably. It can also raise additional funds from the public through the new issue market, with a greater degree of assurance. Since the violation of the listing agreement entails the delisting or suspension of securities from the rings of the exchange, the listed companies are expected to follow fair practices to the advantage of investors and public. The data daily culled by the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) in the form of price quotations and others, provide valuable information to the public. Transactions in listed securities must be carried uniformly according to the rules and byelaws of the exchange. All transactions in securities are monitored by the regulatory mechanisms of the NSE to prevent unfair trade practices and this improves the confidence of and also protects small investors. Delisting, on the other hand, refers to the removal of a listed security from the exchange on which it trades. Stock could be removed from an exchange when the company for which the stock is issued, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, fails to comply with the requirements of the NSE. Companies considered to be active hold their annual general meetings every year, to brief shareholders on their operations and pay dividends where applicable. Payment of dividend is, however, not mandatory. There are two types of delisting: one is forceful, the other, voluntary. Some companies fall into the first category. Many reasons could also lead to delisting. They include: A violation of regulations or the company’s failure to meet the financial specifications, as set out by the stock exchange. Companies that are delisted are not necessarily bankrupt, as many people might think, and could continue trading over the counter. For involuntary delisting, in order for a stock to be traded on an exchange, the company that issues the stock must meet the listing requirements, which include minimum share prices, certain financial ratios and minimum sales levels, among others. If a company fails to meet these requirements, the exchange that lists the company’s stock could first issue a warning. If the company’s failure to meet listing requirements continues, the exchange could then delist the company’s stock. For instance, if it is discovered that a company produces firearms, it could quickly be delisted. Sometimes, the NSE resorts to forceful delisting either when the companies involved are unable to comply with the post listing requirements or when they veer off what is contained in their Memorandum of Association. However, due process must be followed before delisting could take place. But when it is voluntary, the NSE would be interested in the shareholders’ resolution, to show that the decision was unanimously accepted. The NSE would also ensure that the company advertises
Trading session at the Nigerian Stock Exchange
A company’s management might also choose to delist where it feels it can no longer comply with the rules and regulations of a Stock Exchange. Companies sometimes can find requirements such as publishing quarterly and yearly financial results, investor relations, as cumbersome and as such seek delisting. The Stock Exchange will be compelled to also delist a company, where it no longer complies with its minimum listing requirements the decision in national dailies, to ensure that shareholders are not put at a disadvantage. For instance, after the delisting of Westex Plc, shareholders recovered what was due to them through the Central Securities Clearing System. Aboseldehyde also applied for delisting and due process was followed. Under involuntary delisting, the NSE must have engaged the management in series of meetings in order to ascertain the company’s status. If delisting is resorted to as the last option, the NSE would advertise it to create awareness for all the shareholders. The NSE does not delist companies frequently because the ultimate goal is to encourage companies to seek quotation. On why companies delist, the Head of Research and Strategy, Elixir Investment, Abiodun Keripe, told The Guardian in an interview that the act of listing “is a choice open to companies’ management at any point in time of the business life cycle.” Mostly, he explained, “this choice is driven by the need to access and raise equity capital to fund expansion and business growth. This equity capital could be more expensive relative to debt capital and the relative high cost could compel companies to delist.” But companies seek delisting, he added, as a form of business restructuring. His words: “Delisting primarily is to make a publicly quoted/owned company become privately owned. The decision to list a company in the first place lies with management, which is why capital market regulators, such as the Nigerian Stock Exchange, always sensitize companies to encourage them list. So also is the decision to delist. “A company’s management might also choose to delist where it feels it can no longer comply with the rules and regulations of a Stock Exchange. Companies sometimes can find requirements such as publishing quarterly and yearly financial results, investor relations, as cumbersome and as such seek delisting. “The Stock Exchange will be compelled to also delist a company where it no longer complies with its minimum listing requirements. Companies may also seek delisting because of poor performance of stock prices, such as when there is a financial crisis – this affects compa-
nies’ valuation and a loss of confidence generally.” Speaking on the same issue, the Managing Director of National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), Bola Ajomale observed that generally, there are many considerations that go into whether a company should be listed or delisted from an exchange. According to him, delisting might occur because the majority owner of the company wants to restructure the capital of the company or even move to another exchange. Other times, he said, it might be that the company voluntarily or involuntarily ceases to comply with the listing requirements of the exchange. Stating the implications of delisting, Ajomale explained that a layer of regulatory checks and hence protection for the investor is removed from the company. His words: “Listed companies have an obligation to file returns to the host exchange. Once they delist, they are no longer obliged to do so. They will still be regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Corporate Affairs Commission, though. “Secondly, it means that the shares of the company will no longer be traded on the exchange and hence, will no longer be quoted on the daily official list of the exchange. It is highly unlikely that the exchange will report any further events on the company. “Thirdly, if there is no over the counter market close by, the shareholder will be forced to transact his or her shares in the office of the company secretary or worse still, in a black market which has inherent risks of loss of capital. “In these markets, the investor has no reference price other than what the middle man is providing and oftentimes, this price will not be in the best interest of the investor. Ultimately, if a company delists from an exchange, it might make it more difficult for shareholders to sell their shares.” Fortunately in Nigeria, there are two Over the Counter [OTC] markets licensed by the SEC, which is focused mainly on fixed income instruments, and the NASD OTC which is focused on trading equities in unlisted (or delisted) companies. According to Ajomale, a delisted or unquot-
ed security can trade on the NASD OTC market and a public record of all transactions will be kept, like a full exchange. He explained that the procedure for entry into this market “is also simple and time efficient.” Over 70 Stockbroking firms and six banks are registered to operate in this market. Also speaking with The Guardian, the Managing Director of GTI Securities Limited, Nigeria’s private trading floor, Tunde Oyekunle noted that delisting “is not a good development for the market,” insisting, “this should be avoided in the near future.” Oyekunle explained that companies delist for restructuring reasons. “It is a very good thing for a quoted company to want to restructure,” he said, “because it can lead to more efficiency, productivity and profitability for the company.” However, he said, restructuring could be done while the company is still listed. He cited Cadbury as an example, which just completed its capital reduction programme without delisting. “So, looking at those successful examples, I believe other companies could restructure their capital and still not delist,” he said. Other analysts however felt that some of these companies delist because they lack good governance and cannot cope with the strict rules and regulations laid down by the regulators to sanitise the market and place it along international acceptance. The national president of Constance Shareholders, Mikail Shuaib, said that some companies delist because “they want to manoeuvre their financial transaction so as to be able to have a control of their finances.” He continued: “These companies want to control their system of operation and want to operate at the level where no one will control them in areas of corporate governance.” But all the analysts agreed that the minority shareholder bears the brunt. Shuaib explained that in a situation of delisting, there is likely to be a prearranged understanding among the directors, while the minority would have less percentage and therefore, would bear the brunt of the delisting. A financial analyst, Yinka Victor, said that the minority shareholder loses out in time of delisting because his shares loses more value when he is paid because at that time, the shares will no longer be traded. “Even in share reconstruction, he still loses.’’ he added. Other analysts decried the ways companies in Nigeria manage their shareholders. It is better to have fewer shareholders, they said, “because it is difficult to maintain any shareholders.” They were also of the opinion that that companies in other countries do not go through what Nigerian companies go through to maintain shareholders.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Monday, June 2, 2014
Politics THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE DEBATE
‘We have options on Bakassi irrespective of ICJ ruling’ Olufemi Mimiko, Professor of International Relations and Comparative Political Economy and a delegate at the National Conference, had pushed for Nigeria to repudiate the Green Tree Agreement and reclaim the controversial Bakassi Peninsula, but his suggestion was turned down by the confab. However, the Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, told Tunde Akinola that all hope is not lost on the issue. invade and take over Gao in 1975. In 1979, when the Reagan administration threw a blockade around the Sandinistas’ Nicaragua, the government went to the ICJ for protection. Pronto, the American government announced it was not going to obey any ruling by the world court for two years. It is evident that we have options on Bakassi, irrespective of what the ICJ has done, and that is the basis for my call, which, unfortunately, the Deputy Chair interpreted to mean getting the ICJ to reverse itself. But make no mistake about it; my hunch is that someday, there would be a government that would see the need to pursue this option, given the critical strategic import of the Bakassi peninsula.
OW has the work of the confab coming H along? I guess the work has been coming along fine. So much debate has taken place on the very critical issues wracking Nigeria; and the different committees have done so much work. I have finished reading the reports of about 80 per cent of the committees, all the ones thus far distributed, and I can say very firmly that what I have seen done is quite commendable. Some of the committees are quite profound, but, of course, a couple of them just worked to some preconceived answers. But overall, I think it gives credence to the very high quality of representation at the confab that all the committees did a great job. Why did you work on the Environment Committee, and then the Political Parties and Electoral Matters Committee? Well, it is part of the inanities that we noticed when we started. How it happened remains in the realm of conjecture. But there are many theories making the rounds on how and why this type of thing happened, not just to me, but also to several other people. I mean, I am a Political Scientist, and you would wonder why anyone would think Environment, important as it is, is what I should be working on in a conference focused on Nigeria’s political structure. I protested, and I commend the Secretariat that they quickly responded and listed me on the Political Parties and Electoral Matters Committee. What are your committee’s major recommendations to the conference? We took off on the pedestal that democracy is not only very critical, that it is, indeed, a core element of good governance, which every nation aspires to and deserves to have. And for us, a democracy is as good as its election. We, therefore, came away with the view that ours, perhaps, was the most important of all the 20 Committees. We approached our work with this mindset, and set out to work on the basis of consensus. The committee was arguably the most resourced, having two former Senate Presidents as co-chair; two former Governors; two Professors of Political Science; about six to seven practising lawyers; a number of active politicians, including five former Senators; two three-time State Commissioners; a former House of Assembly Speaker; a former INEC Electoral Commissioner; some First Republic political war-horses; women and Civil Rights campaigners, and what have you. On the whole, I think we did a thorough job. By the way, I had the privilege of heading the Sub-Committee that drafted our Report. It was such a herculean task, but it was an honour to be tapped to do it. In our work, we focused on what we needed to do to make INEC more focused, more independent and thereby more effective. That was why, for instance, we recommended that a new Political Party Regulation and Electoral Offences Commission be created to take away some of the issues INEC currently handles so that it would be able to concentrate on its core mandate of running elections and delineating constituencies. Standing on the pedestal that the drive in the direction of federalism is inevitable, we recommended the retention of the State Independent Electoral Commissions but went out to make provisions that are directed at making them independent of governors and specific political parties in power, and thereby more credible. We endorsed Independent Candidature because of the need to further open up the political space for potential leaders who may not just want to be part of political parties, yet are in good standing with their people. We recommended that Nigerians in the
HERE are so many regional groupings in and T around the Confab, with some of them displaying very divisive literatures. Shouldn’t this
Mimiko Diaspora should be allowed to register and INEC should go ahead to give effect to their desire to participate in the electoral process as soon as it is able to address the enormous logistic challenges posed by that. In addition, we are recommending that public funding of political parties must cease forthwith because we discovered that so many of the existing political parties are there just because they have government subvention to collect. We also made suggestions that would get more women and people with disability participate in political party governance. suggestion that Bakassi be reclaimed YItOUR was not carried. Why? wasn’t carried because the Deputy Chair, standing in for the Chair, failed to put the question. Mind you, the point I made is to the effect that well, for those who wanted compensation, I did not have any issue with that. But I noted that the handover of Bakassi was a gross violation of our Constitution, which did not envisage that a portion of our land could be given out in charity; and that the treaty was not submitted to the Senate for ratification before it was given effect, as envisaged by the Constitution. I also pointed to the massive economic advan-
tage that goes with the ownership of the peninsula; and, perhaps, most importantly, I argued that the handover compromised our strategic interest in the Gulf of Guinea region, with our entire Eastern Command now virtually land-locked. For the foregoing reasons, I argued that we should repudiate the treaty and make a fresh claim for Bakassi. What happened thereafter? Somebody stood up to say it was not the Green Tree Agreement that was the issue but the ICJ judgment. Does it matter? My point is that Bakassi, on all grounds, should not have been given out for economic, strategic and constitutional reasons. Unfortunately, the Vice Chairman had the gravel, so he ruled. But what I was calling for is a political action to reclaim the peninsula, and I doubt if anybody would deny that such do happen every day in the global system. Pray, how many times had the world body or its legal structure, the ICJ, ruled that acquisition of land by war is inadmissible? Are we not doing business with the State of Israel, who, if you will, is a master in that act? Can’t we see how (Russian President, Vladimir) Putin recently did what he had to do over Crimea? Even the pacifist (Jawaharlal) Nehru (first Prime Minister of India) had to
The Yoruba delegation is focused on regionalism, parliamentarianism, fiscal federalism, and what have you. And you will understand where we are coming from. The greatest era in our history was that which we had under the First Republic where these issues were firmly in place. Since then, the impression is that not only has Nigeria failed to function, but that the Yoruba had also been quite slowed down by the other regions, some of which were actually not ready for independence when we were given in 1960, just as they were not ready for self-governance when the Yoruba got it in the early 1950s. So, the argument is that let each region develop at its own pace, which, I think, is the very basis of federalism, and unity in diversity. Above all, a core principle that has been enunciated by the leadership of the delegation is that whatever does not hurt you should be tolerable to you. That is, whatever your neighbour is asking for, as long as such is not injurious to you, there is no objective basis for you to object to his having it. This is a testament in mutual respect.
be discouraged? I don’t think there is anything that can be done about that. But I considered all the releases tolerable until a Northern group came up with what has come to be called the ‘80/20 Document’, which, for me, is an agenda in arrogance and domination. When you see something like that, and with the annotation that it was backed by the Northern governors and leaders, whatever that means, you cannot but be a bit uncomfortable. I guess the subsequent releases by other ethnic nations and groupings are just a reaction to the 80/20 agenda, which I personally do not think was in good taste. Significantly, a few of the Northern delegates that I spoke with also felt it was not the best way to couch the Northern agenda. We know what the Yoruba delegates are rooting for, at least, as far as their pamphlet is concerned. What do you think of these positions? The Yoruba delegation is focused on regionalism, parliamentarianism, fiscal federalism, and what have you. And you will understand where we are coming from. The greatest era in our history was that which we had under the First Republic where these issues were firmly in place. Since then, the impression is that not only has Nigeria failed to function, but that the Yoruba had also been quite slowed down by the other regions, some of which were actually not ready for independence when we were given in 1960, just as they were not ready for self-governance when the Yoruba got it in the early 1950s. So, the argument is that let each region develop at its own pace, which, I think, is the very basis of federalism, and unity in diversity. I was made to chair the Research and Strategy Committee of the Yoruba delegation. There are other committees, but this gives one the opportunity to distil, as it were, the basic ingredients of the Yoruba agenda; and I know the Yoruba are intense on these issues. Above all, a core principle that has been enunciated by the leadership of the delegation is that whatever does not hurt you should be tolerable to you. That is, whatever your neighbour is asking for, as long as such is not injurious to you, there is no objective basis for you to object to his having it. This is a testament in mutual respect, and if we all at the Conference agree to work with that spirit, much of the acrimony we are seeing will just fizzle out. And what do you consider as the minimum for success at the Confab? For me, issues like devolution of power and resources, eviction of the local governments from the Constitution, and what the Politics and Governance Committee calls ‘Second-level Policing’ are sacrosanct. If we did not get consensus on all that, the Conference would have been a wasted effort. TO BE CONCLUDED.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Monday, June 2, 2014 13
THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE DEBATE
‘Democracy is a marathon race’ Chief Mike Ozekhomhe (SAN), a delegate representing the Federal Government at the National Conference, fielded questions from TERHEMBA DAKA in Abuja. RE we there yet? A We may not have gotten to the Eldorado, the land flowing with milk and honey, but certainly, we have left Egypt. There is no doubt about that, and we have even crossed the Red Sea. I believe that democracy is not a Ben Johnson or Usain Bolt’s 100 metres quick dash. Democracy is a marathon race that requires patience and cultivation. It requires deepening and widening, baring in mind the centripetal and centrifugal forces that are ever at play in any democratic environment. We have had the good; we have also had the bad and the ugly. We have moments of joy and laughter, but we have also had moments of pains, anguish and challenges like we are having. Rome was not built in a day. America since 1776 is still grappling with democracy and democratic issues. In 2000, we saw it when Al Gore and George Bush — people were still carrying ballot boxes during elections. The CNN had actually come out to announce Al Gore as the winner but later recanted its words. The matter had to go to the Supreme Court of America. In 2001, September 11, we saw the al-Qaeda group, led by Osama Bin Laden, attacking America and their symbol of authority, pride and integrity — the twin towers of New York and leveling them to ground zero in spite of America’s sophistication and technology. So, when people talk very glibly about Boko Haram and say oh, the government has failed, I tell them this is an unconventional warfare that we have never been used to. It is only now that we are beginning to wake up to say this is a matter that is more serious.
In any case, Boko Haram has just been designated an international terrorist organisation even by the United Nations. It means the entire world will come to our aid, and I say why not. We need their support just as they had been given support all over the world via peace missions, and the fights across the globe; Nigeria has always been there. How come now that we also need it and some people are saying why are we seeking for international help? To me, such people are very unpatriotic and standing logic on its head. And a person like Musaveni is talking — an old man, almost 90 years, who does not want to leave power since 1980! He was saying that if it were the person, he would rather resign if he could not protect his country. Musaveni is a bloody dictator. What is the population of Uganda compared with Nigeria? What is the landmass of Uganda compared with Nigeria? Nigeria is 174.5 million people, the 7th most populated country in the world. It’s the biggest economy in Africa, going by the latest index of the GDP of over $500 billion, overtaking South Africa. The fact that we are having our challenges does not mean that we have suddenly become a banana republic like Uganda. So, I say all Nigerians should put their hands together to tame this monster called Boko Haram. It is not the Federal Government alone; it is not the affected states alone; it is every single individual because security is a collective matter. In America, if they see every little step that they do not understand, someone looking through the window has already called 911 immediately. And before you know what is
Ozekhome happening, police will be swarming them. Which is why I am also still calling for state police, and community policing. In America, you have the FBI and the CIA at the top; you have state police force, you have county (council) police force, homeland police force; you have city police force and even universities have police force. And each of them aggregates their security measures to have a more secured country. We are still talking about having a behemoth federal police force under Sections 214 and 215 of the Constitution in the year 2014. We are getting it wrong; we need to devolve powers from the Federal
Government to the States and in everything, including courts, police matters, resource control and everywhere. That is the meaning of federalism. N heroes of democracy O THE hero of Nigerian democracy is the common man and woman on the street, who have shown resilience; the Franz Fanon’s wretched of the earth; the vanquished, the ignored, the rejected, the denied, the oppressed and repressed. The suppressed and subjugated; the marginalised members of the hoi poli; these are the heroes of democracy. No other because we
have shown that we can stand and stand firm even in the midst of difficulties. The villains of our democracy are those who are historical revisionists, the 25 per centers and those who do not want us to move away from fixations and stereotypes, from conservative posturing to a more progressive new dawn. They are the corrupt that pilfer our common wealth whilst the vast majority are suffering, making us to live by the riverbank and washing our hands with sputum. Those are the villains of democracy. On the nexus between the executive and the legislature There is no doubt that the Senate is more matured, and appear more exposed and poised to tackle issues more from a nationalistic perspective than from party or pristine perspectives. It shows in every of their deliberations. But I think so far, it’s been very good. The executive? How many bills have been returned unsigned to enable them to pass them into law without the president’s signature? I have not yet seen any. I think it has been cordial, but they must each stand on their own so as not to compromise because the principle of separation of power must always be there so that there could be checks and balances. I do not expect the National Assembly to be an annex of the executive nor should I expect the executive to become an annex of the National Assembly or an annex of the Judiciary. Their corporation and their checking on each other is what makes democracy the best form of government: Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as government of the people, by the people and for the people in his 1863 declaration.
Kwankwaso loses battle to ‘rescue’ Nyako From Emmanuel Ande, Yola HE political nightmares of the T embattled governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, appeared worsened on Monday night. This followed the failure of the Kano State governor, Dr. Musa Kwankwaso’s four-hour meeting with the Adamawa State House of Assembly to reconcile the members and Nyako. Kwankwaso, who arrived at the Yola International Airport in a chartered flight at about 3.00 pm moved to the presidential lodge in Government House, the venue of the meeting. The Speaker, Ahmed Umar Fintri, led the Adamawa lawmakers to the meeting, while the National Vice Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Northeast, Alhaji Umar Duhu, and the state chairperson of APC, Ms. Binta Garba, were the supporting staff to Nyako during the futile meeting. The Guardian gathered that after Kwankwaso finished preaching his over three-hour political gospel to the aggrieved lawmakers, the Speaker, in a simple term, told the Kano governor that his visit was like a doctor treating a decomposing corpse. One of the members in the meeting said: “The Speaker, who spoke our minds, told the Kano governor that it is too late to reconcile the House with Nyako, asking, ‘Why are you not having problem with your members? Have you ever closed the Kano Assembly? Why didn’t you come here when the Adamawa governor closed the Assembly for over two months?’
Nyako “We members are answerable to our electorate; so, we cannot continue to watch when the destiny of our people is exported to foreign countries.” The member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that some lawmakers were angered by the media reports, suspected to be sponsored by the Nyako group to malign the image of the members over alleged N250 million bribery to
Kwankwaso impeach the governor. They queried: “How can we reconcile with someone whose supporters are blackmailing us? Let them continue with the blackmail; it cannot stop us from doing our constitutional duty. “We are not answerable to the governor, we are answerable to our electorate. So, whatever we are doing that’s is in the interest of the people of the state is primary.”
Kwankwaso, who hurriedly left the venue of the meeting with the lawmakers, refused to comment on the outcome of their discussion, but claimed that he was in the state to discuss with Nyako on issues that could benefit the two states (Kano and Adamawa). The Adamawa Speaker (Fintri), who was sandwiched by his heavilyarmed security men, ran into his waiting dark Jeep and drove out of
We are not answerable to the governor, we are answerable to our electorate. So, whatever we are doing that’s is in the interest of the people of the state is primary. Kwankwaso, who hurriedly left the venue of the meeting with the lawmakers, refused to comment on the outcome of their discussion, but claimed that he was in the state to discuss with Nyako on issues that could benefit the two states (Kano and Adamawa). The Adamawa Speaker (Fintri), who was sandwiched by his heavily-armed security men, ran into his waiting dark Jeep and drove out of the Government House with all the lawmakers.
the Government House with all the lawmakers. The Adamawa State APC chairperson, Binta Duhu, who refused to speak to newsmen; the national vice chairman, Northeast and Governor Nyako were visibly sad over the outcome of the Kwankwaso meeting. It was gathered that the Sokoto Governor, Aliyu Magatakada Wamakko, who was among the governors the APC nominated to visit the state on Nyako’s rescue mission, made a U-turn back to Sokoto when he got to Abuja and was allegedly briefed by some members on Nyako’s alleged sins. Last week, the only three APC members in the Adamawa House decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even though 80 per cent of the PDP lawmakers were behind the governor before the in-house crisis burst into uncontrollable flames last week. While speaking at the PDP secretariat in Yola, the House Speaker, Fintri, who, for past two years, was not participating in PDP’s activities, said that the action of the three APC lawmakers to join the 23 PDP members in the Assembly was to ensure that President Jonathan and PDP win the 2015 general elections, to enable the party to solidify its people-oriented programmes. He told the leaders of the PDP in the state that the return of the APC lawmakers, Wanfarayini Thelman (Hong constituency), Simon Issa (Song) and Abubakar Umar Jerengol (Mubi-North) to the PDP was a confirmation that Adamawa is a one-party state.
14 | Monday, June 2, 2014
Conscience Nurtured by Truth
FOUNDER: ALEX U. IBRU (1945 – 2011) Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it. Uthman dan Fodio 1754-1816
Editorial Lagos, leadership and religion HE dearth of people-oriented leadership in Nigeria, seething corruption, mindless T impunity, an insensitive, self-centred political class, deficient in ideology, bereft of merit-based recruitment mechanisms, and mindlessly driven by convenience rather than conviction is the bane of a nation so endowed, yet so cursed. No wonder citizens celebrate any leader who dares to be different; who makes service delivery to the people his top priority, for such is an oasis in a desert of inept leadership. Babatunde Raji Fashola, the governor of Lagos State, has won a pride of place for himself for his exploits in governance, underscored by people-oriented programmes and policies. He is rightly admired by friends and foes and generally acclaimed for daring to be different in the area of quality and visionary leadership characterised by rapid and massive infrastructural as well as human capital development of his state. Lagosians are not likely to forget him in a hurry. The search for a suitable successor that is at present gathering momentum is, therefore, understandable. What is totally obnoxious and reeling of myopia is the religious paradigm being introduced into the debate as to who should be Fashola’s successor. This reduces such an important agenda to absurdity. Without mincing words, it is a disservice to the legacy of hardwork and visible development Lagos State has witnessed on all fronts in recent times to insist that its governorship should be determined by religious affiliations or rotated along religious affiliations. Again, it demeans the country in no small measure and weighs negatively on her level of political development and culture. It is an international embarrassment that in this age and clime, political discourse on issues that are so important and far reaching as suitability for political offices would still be rooted in religion, and trivial considerations that do not derive from competence or merit. Of all the mundane issues, religion as an element of suitability can really be provocative and objectionable for the simple reason that the constitution of Nigeria makes it a personal matter that has no bearing whatsoever with governance or ability to succeed in public office. Apart from that, it is highly questionable whether religion has played any meaningful or positive role in the life of this country beyond the divisive and volatile identity it has created for itself, notorious for heating up the polity now and again in the struggle for relevance and competition for space and dominance particularly between the two major religions. What has the religious belief of a man got to do with his performance in office? More than anywhere else in the world, Nigeria is notorious for its alarming proliferation of religious institutions, beliefs and places of worship. Yet, crime rate in the country has continued to increase daily, just as the rank of thieving political leaders and government officials, who are visible, passionate and celebrated adherents of one of these two major religions has continued to increase daily. In other words, their pretentious adherence to religious beliefs and instructions has hardly reflected in their lifestyle evident in the mind-bogglingly inept and corrupt leadership they provide. What obtains now is hypocrisy in high places and insensitive craze for opulence not minding how it comes about. There is little or no effort to speak the truth to power but to use religion or religious offices as a leverage to attain greater heights and maximum visibility. On what basis then is the fuss which religion seems to be generating on the issue of who becomes the next Governor of Lagos State? Will it really matter whether the person who aspires to be the next governor is a zealot and irredeemable atheist or idol worshipper, where in range of vision and depth of conception, he towers above his contemporaries, he is endowed with the gift of steady application and will rather control events than drift with the tide. Above all, he must be highly cerebral, clear-headed with clear conscience and radiate sound knowledge of contemporary politics. And just as Fashola himself brilliantly observed, all of these qualities have no bearing at all with religion or religious beliefs. Once a person possesses these qualities, Lagosians would certainly do business with him as this is reassuring enough. For in matters of civilised politics and political socialisation, religion is too mundane to be a factor to reckon with particularly in the determination of where to cast one’s lot. This is a way of saying that what Lagosians want and deserve is a good person, a man of integrity but not necessarily a religious person. They are interested in the content of his character and its application to service not in the way he serves or appreciates his God or god. This shall be the all important consideration, never to be diluted, compromised or whittled down by religious bigotry or sentiments just as no one should be allowed to use religion as a weapon of ascendancy or campaign item in the politics of Nigeria. There is a role for the political parties and leaders in all of these. They must be wary of the sensitivity of religion and therefore refrain from pushing religious affiliation to the forefront. Every political leader of note must desist from giving the impression that a particular candidate is being pushed forward by him or that no one becomes an office holder or gets any political appointment without his imprimatur. Such an attitude violates democratic practices, ideals and values. Pointedly, it smacks of unbridled impunity, capable of provoking negative reactions. It is commendable that Fashola has spoken to the issue in the most appropriate language it deserves and with the decorum required of a genuine statesman. Lagos State shall not be embroiled in or dragged into such destructive, distractive, unhealthy and volatile disputations rooted in religion, the type that is setting other states on fire and creating cleavages and tension. After all, a man’s religion is not better than his character.
Ogun APC crisis: Election or selection? IR: I have lived in Ogun lem in Ogun is that current congress in Ogun on April 5, Sthough State since 1977 even members of the National 2014. I am from Imo State. Assembly from the state want The current talk of non-forHaving had my education in the South West from secondary to tertiary level, I know about the politics of the region very well as much as South East. Besides, I am a student of politics and history. At the heart of the crisis in the Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is the fear of election. I do not think the problem is strictly between the incumbent governor, Ibikunle Amosun and former governor, Olusegun Osoba. This is because, at every public forum that I’m aware of, the governor has always acknowledged Osoba as the leader of the party, although by virtue of the APC constitution, the governor should be the leader of the party. Equally, the former governor has spoken of the unprecedented achievements of the current governor. So the re-election of Amosun is not under any threat just as the position of Osoba as the party leader is not challenged. All over the world, there are tendencies within political parties and members usually gravitate towards one party chieftain or the other. But the current prob-
to retain their position in 2015. They gravitate towards Osoba and from all indications have his support. However, there are other aspirants who believe they have performed below expectation, therefore they must be replaced. These aspirants claim they have the sympathies of Amosun. But from what I gathered authoritatively, Amosun has not supported anyone for any slot. What he wants is a level-playing field where the current elected office holders, including himself, can contest against other aspirants within the party. This is the crux of the matter. The incumbent office holders don’t want election but selection. All the talk about parallel ward congress on April 5 is a blatant lie because a few days before the election, Osoba and Amosun worked together and also they jointly monitored the election. It was an open contest, free and fair. But since the loyalists of the NASS members did not have the upper hand, the talk of division and parallel congress began to rend the airwaves. Till date, nobody has been able to tell us the exact location of any parallel ward
giveness, non-harmonisation, non-reconciliation is unhelpful to the cause of democracy and internal democracy within political parties, except, of course, this people all along had “hidden agenda”. Unforgiveness is neither in the Bible nor Koran. People should stop name-dropping. The real Awoists, followers or friends of Awolowo are those who do what Awo did or stood for. If you love with your heart the masses, declare free education, revive agriculture, including farm settlements, construct durable roads and bridges, declare free health, provide security of lives and property, etc. then you are the true Awoist, and the majority Yoruba will always support such a person, come rain come sunshine. It does not matter whether you ate with Awo, slept on the same bed with him during his life-time or not. All lovers of democracy should accept elections, go for primaries. The losers should congratulate the winners and vice versa, because in a contest between members of the same family – as Amosun was quoted to have said recently – “there are no victors, no vanquished.” James Ikechukwu, Owerri, Imo State
Monday, June 2, 2014 15
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Opinion Contribution to the national question (1) By Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen HE National Conference is in its concluding T lap but the most divisive issues bedevilling the proper functioning of our country have been consigned to neglect. The national question has not been fully engaged, debated or suggestions proffered on its resolutions at the Conference and hence, unnecessary divisions allowed to colour the discourse. The attenuated divisive issues range from indigenes and settlers relations to resource control and fiscal federalism. Yet these are matters resolvable within the ambit of the national question that have been severely avoided by the Conferees. Therefore, we shall employ this platform to both draw attention to the immediate implications of the avoidance and to clarify the loud clamour and agitations, including the widespread view that ethnic nations represent the fulcrum in Nigerian affairs. In conclusion, we shall attempt to interrogate the experiences of other peoples to expose the undue confusion that has inundated the discourse of the national question and distil from them as a guide to clean up the sullied landscape of the Conference. Let me quickly admit that this contribution is from the social democracy standpoint. It is not exhaustive for reasons of space and circumstances. It is, however, contended that whatever the angle of interrogation adopted in the examination of the national question in Nigeria will not be free from ideological commitment. However, our fundamental consideration is to situate the debate in historicity as opposed to the situational approach of ad hoc incendiary pontification. Thus, this is an attempt to lend scientific methods to clarifying the inherent issues in the consideration of the national question in Nigeria. In the final analysis, everyone whether on the socio-political left or neoliberal representative of the extant order has an unshakable duty to the Nigerian nation to engender indivisible justice, absolute fairness and inclusive conduct of social intercourse in our country. As popularised by Eddie Madunagu, we shall borrow the logic of clarifying concepts like tribe, ethnicity and nations to situate our contribution. Employing the scientific methods to situate Nigeria in the historicity and interplay of social forces would enable us to gain access to the deeper meanings of the concepts in our political conversation. The common social unit of organization in traditional cultures, including our country, is the tribe. The term refers to
an ethnographical category of persons sharing common blood, taboos, kinship relations and place or face-to-face community of shared culture. As a social group, the tribe antedates the development and thus, outside of the nation states. A typical tribe is relatively bound by kinship relations, reciprocal exchange and strong ties to place in history and sources of origin. In Nigeria, like many post-colonial societies in Africa, the tribe is rendered in pejorative terms and therefore, in the realm of contested categorization. But this is largely due to its pre-colonial roots and political sloganeering in the intercolonial period. In past political campaigns, Nigerian politicians glibly accused one another of being opposed to national unity. Indeed, contestants for political power quite flippantly called opponents tribalists, ethnic jingoists, etc. In the historical contexts of the 1950s and 1960s of Nigeria, the term tribe was gratuitously misplaced, abused and decontextualised. In essence, this discursive clarification only explains how the tribe and tribalism became the most convenient labels to discomfit anyone. In fact, tribal categorisation still represents decisive assault weapons to tar political opponents with the brush of hate and conservatism. In brief, the tribe conveys a negative political connotation in Nigeria despite and indeed, outside of its ethnographic categorization of the timeless and unchanging past of peoples. It is in the bid to avoid the political implications of being branded tribalists that some people have chosen to use the terms ethnic group, ethnic nationality, or even nation instead to describe themselves and contested place in the Nigerian spatial ethnography and sociological-geography. Therefore, the other concept in need of clarification is ethnicity, or sometimes, represented as ethnic group. It refers to a social group of people who interrelate with each other on the basis of common ancestral, social, cultural or national experience. Therefore, membership of an ethnic group is fixed as it tends to be associated with commonality of shared cultural heritage, ancestry, history, homeland, language and even dialect. This construction of ethnicity stresses both the latent ideations and expressive contents of the ideological trajectory of the groups, which include the symbolic systems of religion, mythology and ritual practices, cuisine and food culture, dressing code and style, physical appearance, including body marks and scarifications. In the particular instance of Nigeria, some dialects of broad foundational languages and cul-
tures are absolutised and distinguished as if they are separate ethnic groups. Consequently, the multiplicity of ethnic groups in Nigeria range from few numbers to larger groups. In a word, the ethnic groups in Nigeria are structured differently from tribal societies. In similar political circumstances in some places in North America and India, ethnic groups are represented as polities with legal recognition and limited autonomy accorded by the state. The final concept we shall clarify is the nation. It is more of modern creature that comprises primary communities of people united into one humongous whole. A nation is not racial, ethnic or tribal in structure and contents as provided by the ready examples of the modern Italian nation, which was formed from Romans, Teutons, Etruscans, Greeks, Arabs, etc. Similarly, the French nation was formed from Gauls, Romans, Britons, Teutons, etc. Our colonial British nation just like the German’s was formed from people of diverse races, ethnicities and tribes. What distinguishes a nation from race, tribe and ethnicity is simply that while the latter terms apply to ethnographic, cultural and linguistic categories, the former refers to definite community of people. In a nation, the large groups of peoples may share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, history, etc. but the most important characteristic is territoriality. A nation is not about identity and group solidarity but more about the impersonal, abstract attributes, which are clearly political than ethnicity or tribal groupings. The cultural-political community of the nation is imbued in this consciousness of coherence, unity, territoriality and particular political interests. Since a nation is not only a historical category but also arose from a definite epoch, in similar conditions was the rise and constitution of various tribes, ethnic groups into the Nigerian nation. The Nigerian experience was directly associated with the epoch of introduction of colonialism. The peculiarity of the colonial process in creating the Nigerian nation involved the elimination of some levels albeit, incomplete of feudal despotism, the forcible unification of tribes and sometimes, dispersal of tribes and ethnic groups into more than one nation. Thus, the ethnic groups among the Yorubas, Kanuris and Hausas, to name a few, are split beyond Nigerian borders. In some cases, resisters to colonial campaigns for territorial control of their homestead were forced to flee to their kith and kin across the artificial sovereign national borders. An apt illustration is that of some Katsina people who escaped with their ruler from colonial conquest in Nigeria to Zinder in present day Republic of
Niger. The Emir of Zinder is still addressed as Sarkin Katsina. The period of colonialism in Nigeria was also defined by the development of commodity economy and the associated rudimentary capitalist relations. This process of constitution of nations is not strange in history. Similar circumstances attended the creation of many of the nations in Europe. Several instances abound in the period of Risorgimento in Italy. Another defining characteristic was the propensities of the weak to be organized by the colonising ambitions of the strong as historically implicated in present Europe. In Austria, the most politically developed Germans organized and united the Austrian nation. In Hungary, it was the Magyars; in Russia, it was the Great Russians of powerful and well-organized aristocratic military. In sum, there is nothing shameful or unprecedented about the forcible creation of the Nigerian nation by the British, whatever economic motivations brought them to our shores. There is however, something yet unfathomable but intriguing drawback in the formation of the Nigerian nation. The constitution of the various peoples into the Nigerian nation was undertaken in a haphazard manner. The process was impeded by the debilitating disadvantages of lack of complete conquest and transformation of the pre-colonial feudal power, and pre-capitalist influences and relations. Nevertheless, the British colonial authorities left our shores over 50 years ago and can largely escape from continued blame. Rather, it is more that the emergent Nigeria’s post-colonial elite failed in the epochal task of situating postcolonial national politics and predicating it on the economy. This could partly explain the continued reign and overarching impacts of the multiplicity of modes of production. In other words, in Nigeria neither did the capitalist mode of production totally triumph over feudalism with successful colonisation nor has the elite of independent Nigerian fundamentally fared better in transforming our country. Both the colonial British and the post-independence Nigerian elite have not comprehensively transformed the pre-capitalist modes into the progressively new. This laissez faire status quo in fact, also explains that in Nigeria capitalism is in throes of exhaustion in the unequal struggle to absorb or eliminate the preceding modes of production. • To be continued tomorrow. • Ebhohimhen lives in Benin City
Leaders’ blame game over Boko Haram By Bisi Olawunmi HERE is a tripartite battle of public opinion at play in the T polity as the Presidency, the governors – particularly those from the North – and the military are all engaged in spirited public communication to excuse their respective ‘failures’ in the on-going war against Boko Haram, alias BH. The BH commanders must be having a big laugh for destabilising the forces ranged against them. We take the Presidency first, being the main act, in this morbid tangle in the public arena. The Presidency insinuates that the Boko Haram insurgency is a deliberate ploy to harass President Goodluck Jonathan out of power. It alleges sabotage from all – the main opposition party, the northern governors and even the military, the Presidency’s own armed enforcer. The Presidency, in its desperation, talks of a conclave of ethnic warriors, religious fanatics and opposition mischief makers ganged up against it. President Jonathan has become the butt of jokes, virtually across the world, as the brazen, widespread violence of Boko Haram ridicules the authority of the state before a world audience. The Presidency is the arrow-head of power in any country, the monopolist of the legitimate use of force to stamp its authority. So, when the Presidency whines excuses about its inability to ensure the security of the state, it is a tragic display of the powerlessness of power. The Presidency is miffed on being charged with spinelessness, and is trying to convince us that it is malevolent frustrating its efforts. Excuses don’t win a battle. The Northern governors, most of them members of President Jonathan’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) act more like opposition members in their tackle of the Presidency – a case of a house divided against itself. It shows us that in Nigeria’s peculiar political configuration, party affiliation is just a platform of convenience but the bonds of religion and regionalism are stronger. So, it would appear that against Boko Haram, the message from the Northern governors is : President Jonathan, you
are on your own. The half hearted condemnation of Boko Haram’s vicious violence by the governors is apparently for public appearances. But the governors not only give the President a put down, they launched a devastating attack on the military for alleged extra-judicial killings in the armed forces’ fight against the BH insurgents. Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State even went a step further to allege genocide against the military. And this is someone who was a Rear Admiral in the Nigerian Navy ! Well, Nyako, the sailor, taken out of the waters to his near desert state of Adamawa, is apparently out of sync. Genocide is a grave allegation, and an unwise one in a situation where the armed forces are also losing members to the Boko Haram insurgents. Northern governors cannot exonerate themselves from the violence that has seized the North by the throat, given information in the public domain linking some top political elements in the region to the nascent growth of Boko Haram. It is pedestrian for governors, across the nation, to think of security only in terms of the police and the military as an excuse to shift the burden solely on the Federal Government. Governors, supposedly freely elected, should also have a system of surveillance to contain incipient rumblings. Their supporters should be their listening posts. When situations are allowed to escalate into vicious violence either by omission, commission or connivance, necessitating the deployment of the armed forces, governors in such states or region have no moral right to be pointing accusing fingers. Northern governors don’t support state police. I have a feeling that this is playing the artful dodger, trying to avoid the tasking responsibility of ensuring security of their states, giving them the leisure to live the life of the indolent mandarin. Given the unholy alliance of Nigerian politicians with thugs and other sundry renegade characters, militant groups like Boko Haram, may, paradoxically, even be victims of the machinations of an unconscionable elite. Now to the military. The military has found itself in the unaccustomed terrain of fighting a frontless war and facing frontal
attacks on its facilities by suicidal hordes of Boko Haram insurgents. It must be trying times for the armed forces, compounded by suspicion of moles in its ranks. It is nursing bruises from the communication fiasco on the false claim of rescuing the kidnapped Chibok school girls. These are not the only woes of the military as it is also being forced to fight a public opinion battle, following concerted attacks from the Presidency and northern governors, which seek to portray it as a weak force. An aspect of the attacks is its alleged corruption in hardware and welfare provision. The Presidency and the Military High Command have been bandying widely differing budgetary allocations and receipts which in itself is an ugly public contestation. The question is: Are monies allocated not monitored to ensure compliance with procurement process and that the goods are delivered? If money is allocated and the spending is not followed up, is that not an inducement to corruption, knowing that nobody asks questions? Finance Minister Ngozi OkonjoIweala seems to hold the view that appropriation is what matters since she will have figures to bandy around, even when the money is released in trickles. Anyway, if corruption is alleged against the military, could it be that it is taking a cue from the political class? And the Presidency’s off and on offer of amnesty to Boko Haram is not helping matters and becomes a disincentive for a vigorous military offensive. After all, the amnestied Niger Delta militant warlords that the military fought yesterday, suffering losses of its personnel, are today’s millionaires!! Ultimately, the burden of blame for the Boko Haram insurgency is first, to the northern governors privy to emergence of Boko Haram, then the Presidency that failed to nip it in bud with the military the least blamable. They cannot now seemingly combine to make a scapegoat of the military in cleaning up their mess. • Dr. Bisi Olawunmi, Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, Bowen University, Iwo is former Washington Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
16 | Monday, June 2, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Opinion Humorous look at the National Assembly By Patrick Dele Cole NE of the greatest put down known in all O literature is contained in Shakespeare’s Othello – where the master was able in two short lines to convey meaning which lesser humans in hundred of pages would never have been able to do. Barabanto: Thou art a villain Iago : You are – a senator. Othello was Shakespeare’s journey into racism, palace power politics, love, betrayal, jealousy and failure Othello was a black General in the Roman Army and arguably the best and most powerful with physique to match; unequalled generosity and in desperate love with a white princess Desdemona who loved him back. Iago was the master puppeteer, manipulator, raked and rankled by jealousy of his best friend Othello and plans his fall by suggesting that Desdemona was unfaithful to Othello. Othello is thereafter crazed by love and jealousy, eaten up by blind racial angst and strangles Desdemona in a jealous rage. Barabanto sees through Iago and accuses him of villainy and Iago’s reply –“You are – a Senator “– with the unspoken and veiled understated contempt for politicians, suggesting that to be a villain was a million times better than to be a Senator. Regardless of how Senators carry themselves – they are more deceitful than villains, more dangerous and more hypocritical with no right to call anybody a villain. Is this what we think of our National Assembly men? W.S. Gilbert once wrote that he always voted for his party call and had never thought of anything for himself at all – a sentiment which is perhaps shared by many Assembly men. Can we really distinguish between the political parties through the actions of their members vis a vis committee negotiations and the anecdotal belief about universal “settlement” on all issues? I know that politics is the art of the possible or as some say its essence is finding acceptable compromise but is the public not entitled to know what each party stands for and how, in bring and passing legislation, that party’s policy is being followed? After all, these policies were in the manifestos of the parties. Can anyone really sit down and score PDP or any other party on the basis of per-
formance followed from their manifestos through their behaviour in the National Assembly? The cynic, William Rogers, in 1924 stated that the more he read and observed politics the more he admitted to himself that each party was worse than the other. I am sure that many Nigerians agree but are condemned to frustration, inaction and wringing of the hands in desperation. How big are the residences of Senators? A sage in 1931, called Logan Pearsall, noted that all Reformers, however, strict their conscience, live in houses just as big as they can pay for regardless of how they got the money. Does this ring any bells? Shall we compare our Assembly men and women with the congressmen of Washington about whom Ronald Reagan in 1983 said that congress was the only place he knew where sound travels faster than light? Some of the appointments made by politicians are reminiscent of the famous John F. Kennedy’s statement that he saw nothing wrong in giving Robert, his younger brother, some legal experience as Attorney General before he goes out to practise law!! (“The law is an Ass” Lawyers ed. Ronald Irving 1999). One thing the National Assembly should be praised for is its controversial law on homosexuals. It brought to my mind the famous outburst of Michael Foot, the labour leader of the opposition, who described Margaret Thatcher’s bulldog and political executioner – Mr. Tebbit as an “overbreed wanker”. On this theme – are there colourful characters in the National Assembly one can describe in the inimitable snake venom spittle of Churchill who could not stand John Foster Dulles and described him as “Dull, Duller, Dulles.” – Now this was the man responsible partly for the Marshall plan of Europe and the Cold war with Soviet Union and who in 1942 had predicted that the Soviet Union would be the next enemy of the United States. I imagined that politics would really be fun and full of interesting people. Alas, in my many years in it, I found no fun and almost no one of interest. But during the First Republic, we had our own colourful and eloquent Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as an orator par excellence having learnt his art from Herbert Macaulay, a speaker with fire in his belly. The best political speeches were made in Yoruba and Igbo when our orators manipulated the language as few of them
could do in English – to listen to Mbonu Ojike, Onwenu or Mbadiwe in Ibo, Adelabu and Akintola in Yoruba – they could make you weep. Unfortunately, debating is no longer what it was during my younger days at school but till today, it is still a joy to read about Disraeli, youngest ever Prime Minister – was 21 – or Gladstone or Lloyd George who gave as good as they got John Maynard Keynes – 1933, in a biography of Lloyd George said “this extraordinary figure of our time, this Siren, this goat foot bard, this half human visitor of our age from the hag ridden magic and enchanted woods of Celtic antiquity 1933.” PG Wood house said of Gandhi –“ Why is there all this unrest in India? Because its Inhabitants eat only an occasional handful of rice. The day when Mahatma Gandhi sits down to a good juicy steak and follows it up with poly pudding and a spot of stilton, you will see an end to all this nonsense about civil disobedience”. Winston Churchill who had the most acerbic tongue of all politicians described his successor, Clement Attlee: “He is a modest little man who has a good deal to be modest about”– Attlee beat Churchill in the general election of June 1954 and Churchill could neither forgive Atlee or Britain for this. He continued. “If you feed grub on royal jelly, you may turn it into a queen bee” and that Attlee was “a sheep in sheep’s clothing” Senator Chuba Okadigbo still stands for me the most preeminent political speaker we have had in the Senate. The majesty of his mien, the over six foot stance, his charisma and his command of both English and Ibo remains to be matched. The command of language and the ability to deliver it in a sonorous baritone that can be as powerful and thunderous as any tornado but also as soft as the gentlest silk kiss-he carried himself well, and I dare say, the office of the President of the Senate even though sometimes his politics was more gutter-snipe than statesman – it did not matter – it suited the occasion. The eschatological churches have monopolised the orators of Nigeria today. I have in mind Rev. Bakare and Rev. Adefarasin who are studied orators. Sometimes I wish they were more political and less religious – but alas, perhaps they would be the poorer for it!! I cannot close this homily with-
out mentioning the irrepressible Governor Adams Oshiomhole and our very own, may his soul rest in perfect peace – Moshood K. O. Abiola. When Adams Oshiomhole is in full flow, you wonder how such grace of phrase, such power, even insight, could come out of such a small frame. Before I end with M.K.O., Let me plead with politicians – public speaking is your craft, it is the vehicle with which you can reach people; learn it, practise it, dominate it and entertain us. It takes some perseverance but it pays. The mother of all Nigerian orators is M.K. O. Abiola. He would regale you with one proverb after another (most of which you have never heard before) and as the mood takes him, will sing traditional songs and even which his training as a street performer has stood him in good stead. The pithy sayings remained his enduring contribution to political speaking: “You cannot shave my head when I am not there.” A serious story, both for National Assembly men and the public, and, dare I say it, for democracy, will be a clear statement of the payment, allowances, etc of members of the National Assembly. Failure to do so makes the National Assembly look like the Star Chamber of Elizabethan England or a secret society instead of being, as it should, open, vibrant, full of energy and initiative, a place, whose members, if not loved or trusted (after all they are politicians!) at least are respected. The days of skullduggery in the National Assembly seem to be over, at least in the Senate: during early days we had stories of stolen maces, replacement maces, duplicated maces etc, millions of Naira strewn on the centre table as evidence of executive bribery, etc. The office of the Senate Presidency was one of the most impermanent jobs in Nigeria – Enwerem, Nwagbara, Ayim, Nnamani, Okadigbo. Chuba Okadigbo used to wear a pad under his robes for fear that he might be impeached if he went to the toilet! To prevent this he peed while on seat!! On the question of pithy political language, compare, for example, the spat between the President and Governors Kwakwanso, Nyako and Shettima or between these last two and Chief E. K. Clark. There is no finesse, but an uncouth abuse – not redeemed by language and idiom. • Dr. Patrick Dele Cole (OFR) is a Consultant to The Guardian Editorial Board.
A proposal embroiled in controversy By Bade Ilemobade INCE the advent of Lekki Peninsula, with migration of privSknown ileged ones from Ikoyi, Victoria Island and what used to be as Victoria Island extension, those who have been around long enough will attest that the Peninsula axis is not often in the news. The few times that Lekki axis of Lagos has leapt into the news often have to do with developmental strides in the area. Recall the demonstration against the first Toll Gate on the Lagos-Epe Expressway. The protests and demonstration by residents of the axis against the toll gate easily come to mind now. The peaceful protests were led by prominent and popular Nigerians drawn from different walks of life. The protesters included, but were not limited to, respected industrialist Ausbeth Ajagu and rights activist, Bamidele
Beyond the internal dissension and the seeming aloofness of the official residents’ association, however, a few questions beg for answers: did the Lekki Phase 1 Estate master-plan contain a filling station? Is the proposed filling station sitting on the plot earmarked for it in the master plan? Did the proposed filling station satisfy all requirements viz with Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Lagos State Government’s agencies in charge of building? Does it have the permission of the Lagos State New Towns Development Authority?
Aturu. While the protestations lasted, there was no notable dissension against their activities from fellow residents which translated to the fact that theirs was a genuine cause. They later took their case before the courts where they sued the Lagos State Government and the concessionaire. The next time the axis jumped into the news again had to do with another toll point. Besides toll collection, like the earlier protest, the second protest had to do with another first – the first axial bridge in West Africa on which the contentious toll was built. Again, like the first, this other protest also ended in the courts. The Lekki axis appears to be on its way back into the media and, again, the cause of it borders on developmental projects. This time around, a group of fellow residents are seeking to stop the construction of an ultra modern filling station along Admiralty Way. As with all bouts of pugilism, it has pitted two camps against each other. In the Red Corner are the promoters of the filling station; Lagos State Government through a couple of its agencies, Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development, and a group of residents, are positioned in the Blue Corner. As was with the two previous instances, what started with petitions has landed in the courts awaiting adjudication. Whether the handful of estate residents who approached the courts could do so on behalf of the larger residents should ordinarily not come up with the simple reason being that advocacy has come to be part of the world we live in, post-19th century. However, it becomes interesting and worthy of mention when another group of residents came up and countered the claims made by the initial group. This then calls into question the motives of both groups, to be fair to the two groups of residents and neutral too!
This is more so when one recalls that the two instances that were earlier mentioned did not record any antagonism from fellow residents whose plight the protesters were actually advocating in the first place. Neither did it record any notable dissension that could make it sound like a house divided against itself which appears to be the case now. While one group is claiming that the proposed filling station portends everything but good to the community from causing traffic chaos to attracting bandits and source of inferno; the other group is claiming that the project is in sync with the rapid development and urbanization that the area requires. This is the scenario, though the official residents’ association has maintained sealed lips thus far, the two groups have elected not to. Beyond the internal dissension and the seeming aloofness of the official residents’ association, however, a few questions beg for answers: did the Lekki Phase 1 Estate master-plan contain a filling station? Is the proposed filling station sitting on the plot earmarked for it in the master plan? Did the proposed filling station satisfy all requirements viz with Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Lagos State Government’s agencies in charge of building? Does it have the permission of the Lagos State New Towns Development Authority? Honest answers to these questions would reveal which of the two resident groups truly represents the interest of majority of the residents of Lekki Phase 1 Estate. It would also reveal which of the group either is playing to the gathering or simply in the campaign for objectives that are far from being in public interest. After all, genuine advocacy is supposed to be premised on the good of the majority as against the few. • Ilemobade, an Estate Surveyor, writes in from Lekki Phase 1, Lekki, Lagos.
Monday, June 2, 2014
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
TheMetroSection When hell was let loose...
• In Kogi, church members set cars, pharmacy, house, hotel, belonging to its leader, ablaze
Briefs Rachael Omosigho for burial June 6 HE families of Omosigho T and Efevberha have announced the death of Mrs. Rachael Omosigho. She died on May 17, 2014. A statement signed by Ernest Efevberha on behalf of the family says: “ A service of songs holds on Thursday, June 5, at No., 95 2nd East Circular Road Benin City at 4.00p.m. On Friday, June 6, body leaves UBTH for her hometown Boboroku, Jesse in Delta State at 8.00a.m. for interment. She was survived by an aged mother, husband, daughter,
DPC meets Sunday ELTA Peers Club (DPC) D will meet on Sunday, June 8, at Onajomo Orere’s
The burnt hotel
From John Akubo, Lokoja ELL was let loose in Isanlu, Ijumu Local Council of Kogi State recently when church members allegedly visited mayhem on the property of their General Overseer in what could only be described as bizarre. At the last count, his hotel, pharmacy, house and three cars, including 10 cars belonging to his clients who were lodging in the hotel, have been set ablaze. The Guardian investigations revealed that it was a manifestation of the prediction by the late spiritual leader and founder of Cherubim and Seraphim Church (Jah Zion), Prophet Luke Oni Jolugba, that there would be serious crisis at his church headquarters in Isanlu after his death. His successor and the new spiritual leader of the church, Elder Kayode Obas is at the receiving end with his property worth over N900 million destroyed in one day. The tragedy, which was the aftermath of a long-drawn battle for the soul of the church between the new spiritual leader and the biological children of the late prophet, occurred on May 19, 2014. Even though at the time the prediction was made, the late founder of the church, had urged members to pray and fast to avert the evil that might befall the church after his exit; however, despite the prayers, the prediction manifested when his biological children allegedly began to claim ownership of the church. The founder was said to have named and anointed one Kayode Obas, a pharmacist and proprietor of Jolukayo Pharmacy and Jolukayo Hotels, as his successor with one Mr. S. B. Ojo as the Baba Ijo of the mission. A source who spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity alleged that the children of the late prophet denied themselves the benefit of western education, which their father offered to many indigent youths of the church.
Ojuola The source said they refused to go to school despite several efforts by the late prophet to give them quality education. It was further revealed that the children abandoned their father and refused to worship in the church; but when their father died, they resurfaced with their mother, who had allegedly left the prophet for over 16 years. In their desperate bid to take over the church, they hijacked the church’s weekly offerings and tithes, an action which made the church leaders become uncomfortable. Several meetings were convened to review the activities of the church on how to curtail them. Unknown to the church leaders and the overseer, the matter, which was a church issue later became a community affair as the children of the late prophet went round the community to canvass the support of the villagers to oust the general overseer with allegations that the properties under his care belong to their father and they wanted them back. They also succeeded in winning the support of some powerful people in the area, especially when it was a common knowledge that the general overseer was not an indigene of the town. They said he was a stranger, “who wanted to reap
Obas from a foreign land.” The spiritual leader, Elder Kayode Obas, who foresaw danger around him, protested to the Oba of the community to seek protection. But the help came rather too late as unknown men in their hundreds, invaded his house at midnight on May 19, 2014 to attack him. Luck was on his side as he escaped unhurt. Obas told The Guardian in Lokoja that the arsonists destroyed all he had worked for in his entire life. The visibly troubled leader said the hoodlums burnt 10 cars belonging to clients in his 50-room hotel along with the building. He further explained that his pharmacy shop, laboratory, ICT Centre and residential house were razed. He said when he contacted the Divisional Police Headquarters in Isanlu to complain, after he had escaped, the police refused to follow him with the excuse that they didn’t have enough manpower to confront such arsonists. According to him, he decided to leave the town that very night since the police could not give him the needed protection as the arsonists were still on his trail. Obas, who is a pharmacist, admitted that there was crisis in the church following his emergence as the General Overseer, adding that
the bone of contention was his property, which the children of the founder thought were their inheritance. “I have shown the documents bearing my names on the property to the various leaders in the community as well as some prominent church members. But some elders incited them to attack me,” he stated. The General Overseer recalled that on February 16, this year, he reported a case of threat by some youths who had wanted to burn down the church and 17 of them were arrested but before long, a member of the State House of Assembly from the area, Henry Ojuola, allegedly bailed them without asking him or trying to mediate in the matter. “Before May 19, the lawmaker came to the church to incite members against me during the church programme. This man and others contributed to my predicament,’’ he lamented. He disclosed that nine of the suspects had been arrested while others are still at large over the arson. When our correspondent contacted the lawmaker in Lokoja, he confirmed that he bailed some of those that were arrested by the police for alleged attempt to burn down the church sometime in February. The lawmaker said he did that because they were members of his constituency but denied having a hand in the crisis. The lawmaker, who was furious over the allegation, said he went to the church “not to incite the church members but to ensure there was peace among them.” He further disclosed that he visited the scene of the crime immediately he heard about it and expressed his displeasure over the unwarranted destruction of the property. Police authorities have taken over the matter but there is persistent fear that the arsonists would be left off the hook to wreck more havoc on the community.
No. 6, Olaluwoye Crescent, Ilado, off Aradagun Bus Stop, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Badagry, Lagos at 3.00p.m. If in difficulty, call 08033293904.
NGO to rehabilitate sexually-abused women NON-GOVERNMENTAL OrA ganisation (NGO) has dedicated a rehabilitation centre to transform the lives of women who have been sexually abused in the country. The Founder, Doing Good Works, Mrs. Nneka Unachukwu said the dedication of the rehabilitation centre was part of the centre's effort to contribute to the development of women in Nigeria. Unachukwu, during the commissioning of the centre in Lagos at the weekend, stressed that abused women who engage in prostitution do not wish to sell their bodies to earn a living but stated that, “many of them do not have where to go, not to talk of a job to do.” "We are here to celebrate and commission this rehabilitation home called Doing Good Works for abused persons who have been sexually -abused and who want to walk out of the profession to transform their lives. This centre is created for them and we are happy this event is happening on a Democracy Day because these girls deserve some liberty too," she said. "In her words, "Most of them want to live a normal life but they do not know where to go and what to do when they drop the profession. So, this is why we are commissioning this rehabilitation centre to help give their life a meaning." According to her, the centre, which would cater for about 10 women in the space of six months, would expose them to classes where they would be taught life-changing courses to integrate them back into the society.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
18 Monday, June 2, 2014
Oke-Ogun people demand own state, honour heroes tage.” The Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Debo Adesina, described Oke-Ogun, as a child crying for attention. He asked: “Should we leave our child to cry to death or stretch out our hands to assist?” According to him: “OkeOgun nation has more than enough qualified people, in every area of discipline, to compete and negotiate for its rights in the country. It is not right to relegate such people for whatever reason.” He told the audience: “If we are called a nation, we must put it in action now that we have democracy. There are 37 executives in the country now, Oke-Ogun people must be part of the ruling class.” The Guardian Deputy Editorin-Chief further argued that the people of Oke-Ogun are not beggars “we must be bargainers, and for us to bargain effectively, we must go to the bargaining table in unity.” He appealed to the people to resist, with whatever they have, those people using divide and rule among the people of Oke-Ogun, saying: “It is right to say that OkeOgun is our father, it is also right to say Oke-Ogun is our mother but in this situation, we must see Oke-Ogun as a child crying in our hands, whom we need to cater for. If our future would be good, we need to take care of OkeOgun nation, in unity.” In another address, the Chief Medical Director, Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Kwara State, Dr. R.O Shittu, posited that Oke-Ogun is being marginalised because “we are perceived as a docile set of people, but that docility has come to an end.” He charged the youth wing of Oke-Ogun, on the need to go all the way out and get Oke-Ogun out of slavery.”
By Seye Olumide GAIN, indigenes of OkeA Ogun, Oyo State, last Saturday restated their commitment to demand for Oke-Ogun State and political relevance within Oyo State as they gathered in their thousands at the Ago-Are Town Hall, to mark the OkeOgun Democracy Celebration 2014. Indeed, the bond of unity, cohesiveness, determination and doggedness demonstrated by sons and daughters of Oke-Ogun in their demand for Oke-Ogun State and political relevance, was unprecedented. As a matter of fact, the people of Oke-Ogun made it clear that they could no longer continue to play second fiddle to other zones within Oyo, and in Nigeria, under the current democratic dispensation. Apart from the demand for their own state, the people were also bold to state that the 2014 Democracy Celebration was a day dedicated to their heroes, who had fought for the relevance of Oke-Ogun in the Oyo Divisional Council such as Yerokun and Martins of Iseyin, Folarin of Igbeti, Ajifekure of Okeho, Kasumu of Kisi and others. Several political actors, who were classed as political icons, of not less than 30 years on the stage, by organiser of the programme, OkeOgun Summit of Honours’ Team, were also honored.
PHOTO: OSENI YUSUF Adesina (left), Oyewole Adebayo, Chairman of the event, Abiodun Ogunjimi and Prof. Adebayo Lasebikan at the event... traced to the days of Oyo DiAccording to him, “OkeThose icons included Alhaji boola, Chief Jacob Adetoro, visional Council. In those Ogun has the right to proSalami Arikewu and Chief Alhaji Salawu Adelere and duce a governor in Oyo Shittu Olopoenia. They were Chief Ola Adigun Irawo were days, we were all together under Oyo, but today, while State, we are tired of playing recognized as icons of equally recognised as pileverything is being given to second fiddle.” democracy in Nigeria lars, icons and Reference Oyo, Oke-Ogun is marginDescribing Oke-Ogun as po(posthumously). Icon of Democracy in Nigealised. It was this fact that litically, economically and Chief (Mrs.) Janet Akinriria, respectively. prompted those heroes we socially powerful and viable, nade and Mr. John Olusegun Others so recognized were are celebrating today, to the Chairman of the event, Adetayo were also posthuAlhaji Tijani BabaMosa, Alstart the agitation for the Dr. Lawrence Ogunjimi said, mously recognised as Referhaji Abu Gbadamosi, Chief recognision of Oke-Ogun na- “As the 2015 election is drawence Icons of Democracy in Titilade Awakan and Chief tion.” ing closer, Oke-Ogun should Nigeria. Ayoola Adebisi. Also identifying part of the be prepared to produce the Chief Michael A. Koleoso, In his opening address, Mr. injustice to Oke-Ogun, governor of Oyo State. But to Michael Ojo, Afolabi A. AgAderohunmu Bimpe said Bimpe said: “It is nauseating achieve this, there is the the event was organized to that people from Ibadan, need for cooperation. We celebrate Oke-Ogun nation should not allow politicians and no politician sponsored when it comes to position sharing, would falsify certifi- to infiltrate our ranks this it. cates to claim that they betime.” Explaining the aim and long to Oke-Ogun. We are “Oke-Ogun is big and we purpose of the programme, not here to apportion don’t want to be deputy any he said the democracy celeFrom Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri blame, neither are we here more. There is no federal bration was to further idento claim we belong to any presence in Oke-Ogun and tify and press home the fact HE Limankara border community in Gwoza Local Council of political party, our purpose the only state presence that that Oke-Ogun has been Borno state has petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan and is to seek for the progress we have is in Saki despite marginalised in Oyo State. the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar over and development of our nathe large size of our populaAccording to him: “The histhe recent Boko Haram attacks that claimed lives and property tion.” tion and economic advantory of Oke-Ogun could be valued over a N1 billion. The petition, according to the District Head, Alhaji Abdulkareem Wahab, Ward Head of Limankara, Mr. Zephaniah Tada, and three representatives; John Mark Hodo, James Dauda Chihwa, and Aliyu Usman Kutho, who signed it, has become inevitable for the protection of life and property in the border areas with Cameroun and Chad. come into Apapa in tens for Representatives of the community alleged that the Commander By Wole Oyebade farms are combustible and not stationary trucks. loading,” the letter read in of Mobile Police Training School, Limankara, connived with inshould be relocated out of Egberongbe said further: OR their nuisance value to part. surgents to attack and kill members of the community for four Apapa to the Lekki Free Trade “Emissions from the parked Apapa and its surrounding trucks/trailers are highly hazThe lawmaker, representing hours without arresting anybody. Zone where it is zoned for Apapa I Constituency added They also claimed that the Commander had also directed police- road network, a member of use.” ardous to health and negate that effective train transmen in the school not to “come out and confront” the insurgents the Lagos State House of As“The issue of the concesthe principle of preventive sembly, Mufutau Egportation should be resuscifrom attacking the border village. sioned trailer park by the health policy of the state.” berongbe, has called for the tated, to take off lots of The destruction of property, according to Hodo and Kutho, Federal Government in the “In view of the aforemenrelocation of tank farms trucks/trailers from the road. could have been higher, if soldiers from Adamawa state had not port should be revisited and tioned, I am constrained to from the residential commuIt should be noted that rail come to their rescue. due consideration should be request that the trailers be nity. lines abound in Apapa axis The petition also reads in part: “The Boko Haram gunmen given to its social impact parked on an holding bay to The lawmaker sought that and ready for transportation. against economic gains,” he stormed our village through the Sambisa forest en-route Jaje be sited along the Lagosthe tank farms, an area of oil Continuing, he said: “Tank Road that links Mobile Police Training School. They operated said. Ibadan expressway and only and gas storage tanks, and from 1.00a.m. to 5.00a.m. on Saturday, in the destruction of sevtrailer bays be moved to eral houses, vehicles and our local Church near the District Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Head’s residence, and went back into the forest unhurt. If solHis pleas were contained in diers from Adamawa state did not intervene, the a letter titled: “Indiscrimiinsurgents could have killed many of us. nate parking of trucks on the The community’s fears and worries, according to the petition, bridge and highway in Apapa was how the Commandant of Mobile Training School treated the Local Council,” directed to villagers. “We don’t know whether the Commandant is working Governor Babatunde Fashola with Boko Haram or protecting lives and property of Nigerians in (SAN) and also made availBorno State,” asked able to The Guardian. representatives of the community. Egberongbe said of particu“The gunmen came into the village through the training school, lar concern to Apapa resiand went back through the same route, while 200 mobile policedents that he represents in men are in the school premises. The commandant directed the the House, were indiscrimipolicemen not to ambush the insurgents, as they did not come nate parking and reckless to attack the school or its students.” abandonment of trucks and “When the community is in distress or fears, the police are suptrailers on the bridge on posed to protect us, just like when the school was in need of any help or assistance from members of this community. This Mobile Apapa-Wharf Expressway, leading to perennial traffic Police Training School had been in existence for 32 years in Lilog-jam and loss of producmankara, but the Commander had been assisting Boko Haram; it tive man-hour on the busy is necessary for the policemen to leave us alone without the route. school.” He reasoned that the abanThe Guardian also learnt that in the attack, several houses, vehicles and a local church were destroyed, including the blowing up doned trucks on the bridge pose serious danger, as it of a border bridge with Adamawa state. makes the bridge susceptible Eyesore in Lagos mega city…. Refuse heap on Edmond Crescent, Yaba, Lagos, between Medical Compound, Radiography Other food items and vehicles carted and snatched away in the to collapse, citing that it was attack include 1, 750 bags of grains, livestock and seven vehicles. PHOTO: WOLE OYEBADE Unit, College of Medicine University of Lagos and Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) built for moving vehicles and
Borno border community petitions president, IGP over Boko Haram
Lawmaker seeks relocation of tank farms, trailer bay from Apapa F
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Monday, June 2, 2014 19
20 Monday, June 2, 2014
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BUSINESS INTERVIEW / 60,61
CBN extends mortgage banks’ recapitalisation by six months
Nigeria will emerge as manufacturing hub for automobiles in West Africa, says Jalal
MONDAY, June 2, 2014
Infrastructure Bank recovers N10.5b loans from transport scheme • Hands over 65 buses to beneficiaries in Lagos By Helen Oji HE Infrastructure Bank has T recovered 95 per cent of the N10.5 billion loans it granted under the first phase of the Public Mass Transit Revolving Fund (PMTF). The Managing Director, Adekunle Oyinloye disclosed this at the official hand-over ceremony of 65 mass transit buses worth N800 million to beneficiaries in Lagos at the weekend. He said that the recovery of the loans had grown the mass transit revolving loans base to N15 billion. Oyinloye said that the bank was already working on ways to recover the remaining five per cent through effective risk
management system. He said that the bank, as the fund manager of the PMTF Scheme Two, was working in collaboration with Subsidy R e - i n v e s t m e n t Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), the financier of the Scheme Two. Oyinloye admonished beneficiaries of the Scheme Two not to regard the buses as “political largess”. He said that the government had to change the five per cent interest rate per annum under the Scheme One to zero per cent interest under Scheme Two. According to him, the bank
0CONTINUED ON PAGE 22
!"#$%& Head, Information Technology, Skye Bank Plc, Richard Amafonye (left); Independent Director, Skye Bank Plc, Victor Odozi; Former Chairman, Mrs. Morounkeji Onasanya; Chairman, Tunde Ayeni; Former Chairman, Princess Agnes Adeniran and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer designate, Timothy Oguntayo, at the unveiling of Skye Plus Software by the bank in Lagos.
NLNG pays N2.8tr gas purchase bill to oil firms By Roseline Okere
• To pay over N220b yearly tax from 2014
IGERIA LNG Limited N (NLNG) has so far paid over $18 billion (N2.8 trillion)
manufacturing industry, therefore the introduction of $1 billion NLNG Local Vendors Financing Scheme (NLVFS), which facilitates access to funds from participating banks by NLNG-registered vendors (suppliers of goods or contractors of services). “This way, vendors get speedy access to finance for their contracts, or procurement orders, at competitive rates”. It said that the company has contributed about four per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) since it began operation. “As a good corporate citizen, the company also contributes immensely to national wealth and to the wellbeing of states in which it operates, by paying all applicable taxes and tariffs. Beginning from 2014, corporate income tax will exceed N220 billion per annum, by far the highest in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa.
on gas purchases from oil producing companies, of which the Federal Government of Nigeria owns 55 per cent to 60 per cent. Besides, beginning from January 2014, the company’s income tax will exceed N220 billion yearly, which is by far the highest in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa. The company made this disclosure in its 2014 Facts and Figures on NLNG, which is expected to be launched this Friday. It said that NLNG has mopped up gas that would otherwise be flared, thus making significant contributions to the nation’s income, delivering in the last thirteen years over $13 billion in dividends. According to the company, Nigeria’s overall earnings from NLNG is now over 70 per cent, comprising of the 49 per cent dividend, 30 per cent CIT, and other taxes. It stated: “With its plant construction, the company has generated considerable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the country. The project today has assets worth over $13 billion. And 49 per cent` of this belongs to the country through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)”. The company said that it recognises the fact that funding is the bane of the Nigerian
“An average of 46 local companies and 398 local suppliers were involved throughout construction of the existing six trains. A total of 11,284 Nigerians were trained and the percentage of local content on community projects was 100 per cent with a total
value of $14.1 million during NLNG Plus (Trains 4 and 5) and NLNGSix (Train Six) projects, where the community project components were handled by NLNG. “In its present production phase, many Nigerian companies have benefited from NLNG’s Nigerian Content
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22 Monday, June 2, 2014
Etisalat claims $1b investments in Nigeria, 3.7m subscribers post MNP By Adeyemi Adepetun IVE and a half years into its operations in Nigeria, Emerging Market Telecommunications LimitedEtisalat, has invested about $1 billion in the nation’s economy.
These investments, according to the telecommunications firm, have gone into network upgrades,infrastructure roll outs, capacity building, among others. Speaking at the launch of a new campaign programme
on Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in Lagos, last week, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher said the telecommunications firm currently has over 19 million subscribers with the hope to double it
soonest. Wilsher said the firm is keen on improving on the current quality of the network. The Acting CEO said: “Etisalat is new in Nigeria, just five and half years with about $1 billion investments and more com-
Bank recovers N10.5b loans, hands over 65 buses to beneficiaries CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 expects beneficiaries under the Scheme Two to pay on time because of the zero interest rate. The bank chief said that the buses were to be fully paid for in order to sustain the scheme, which he described as “laudable and people-oriented”. Oyinloye stressed that it was only through prompt re-payment that more Nigerian road transporters could benefit, warning that the bank would not tolerate any default by beneficiaries. He said that under the Scheme Two, every beneficiary had to collaterise their loans to ensure recovery of the facilities. “There is a risk management framework around the scheme, so every beneficiary has to collaterise what he has taken one way or another. “If we morally persuade them and it does not work on time,
we will consider the next step to get our money back because the money belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria. “It is meant for the masses because for other beneficiaries to benefit, previous beneficiaries must pay back,” Oyinloye said. He that the aim of PMTF was to enhance national transport services through the Federal Government resources under the SURE-P. “I can tell you that from the offices of LAMATA, Transport Ministry to LAGBUS, everybody is indeed happy with the presence of our buses on the streets. “I want the public to know that this is not the first time Lagos is benefiting from the scheme. Since 2010 when the first scheme started, a lot of our buses ply Lagos roads. Oyinloye said that under the SURE –P initiative in 2012, a bulk of the 680 buses came to Lagos through a partnership with Lagos Ministry of
Transport. He also said that each of the buses would provide employment to at least four people through shift operations. The SURE-P Convener for Mass Transit Sub-Committee, Dr. Fatima Adamu, said that the buses were brought to Lagos because of the significance of Lagos to the nation’s economy. Adamu said that the success level of the scheme in Lagos would provide sustainable framework for its implementation across the country. She also said that in addition
to the activities of PMTF, SUREP was deploying efforts in road development and maintainace in Lagos. “Of course, the whole SURE-P is not about bus projects, but other things are in the offering for Lagos. “Every Nigerian is expected to benefit from SURE-P, irrespective of the politically affiliation because the SURE-P money belongs to Nigerians,” she said. Adamu said that under SUREP initiative, government had earmarked N15 billion for mass transit programme.
ing. We have over 19 million subscribers.” Willsher, who said the telecommunications firm is on the verge of completing a 2800 kilometres back haul network infrastructure, informed that Etisalat’s current base transceiver stations is 4500 spread across the country. Speaking on the MNP process, which was introduced in Nigeria April 2013, Wilsher commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the initiative, stressing the process has given subscribers opportunities for freedom of choice. Though, he said the multi SIM nature of the country is impacting on the process greatly, but “I can stress that there has been huge explosion in porting in Nigeria. Porting has become very easy now and this is good for customers.” The Head of Marketing and
High Value Proposition at Etisalat, Idowu Adesokan informed that the porting process has favoured Etisalat more than competition. According to him, before the launch of MNP in the country, Etisalat had 15.3 million subscribers, “but now we have over 19 million subscribers. “I can say that we have 45 per cent port-in and between nine and 10 per cent port out. This has brought huge confidence on the network.” While calling for the protection of ICT infrastructure in the country, Wilsher said vandalisation impact negatively on the infrastructure of all operators, “but we at Etisalat respond quickly to restore our operations. We still share infrastructure, but done sensibly and strategically.” Willsher said the telecommunications industry has done huge job in meeting the demands of the growing country’s subscriber base estimated at about 130 million.
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16, 16,717.17 717.17 1,923.57 1, 923.57 4,242.62 4,242.62 174.80 174.80
+18. +18.43 43 +3.54 +3. 54 -5. 5.33 -5.33 +0.17 +0. 17
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President DMS Retail West Africa, Joseph Ebata (left); Executive Vice President / Senior Consultant, DMS Retails, Matt Parmaks ; Chief Executive Officer, Ruff ‘N’ Tumble , Adenike Ogunlesi; Director, Consumer Banking Group, United Bank for Africa Plc, Ilesanmi Philips; and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, 3D Impact Marketing Limited, Solomon Itegboje, during the Retail Leaders Conference in Lagos.
NLNG to pay over N220 billion yearly tax from 2014 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21
!"##$%&'()*+,$( Currency EUR/USD GBP/USD USD/JPY USD/CHF USD/CAD AUD/USD (
Last 1.3630 1.6757 101.78 0.89550 1.0843 0.93090
Day High -------
Day Low -------
% Change -------
Bid 1.3630 1.6757 101.78 0.89550 1.0843 0.93090
Ask 1.3635 1.6762 101.79 0.89570 1.0849 0.93130
Policy which, among other things, encourages full participation of indigenous firms in the company’s contracting and procurement processes. One such beneficiary is Enchep Limited whose facilities were revamped with NLNG’s help to supply thousands of different sizes and ranges of gaskets to Trains 4, 5 and 6. Dorman Long Nigeria Limited, also with NLNG’s help, has supplied steel structures and low-pressure carbon steel vessels for Train 3. Yet other beneficiaries include AluminiumNow, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources, Nexans Kabelmetal, Holborn Nigeria Limited, and Waste Pipes and Drainages, to mention only a few”, it added. It disclosed that the company provided more than 2,000 jobs each construction year. “Overall, the major sub-contractors employed about 18,000 Nigerians in technical jobs in the Base Project (Trains 1 and 2). About 500 expatriates played mainly supervisory
roles during the Base Project and were understudied by the Nigerians whom they worked with. Nigerians, with enhanced skills, have long joined the country’s workforce, providing a support base for technology transfer and industrialization”, it added. The company said it has commenced the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) otherwise known as cooking gas to the domestic market in 2007 when refineries became challenged. This, it said, was in line with the company’s commitment to contribute significantly to the stimulation and development of the domestic LPG market in Nigeria. Our intervention brought down the price of cooking gas from N7,000 to N3,500 per 12.5kg cylinder. It noted that NLNG has signed sales and purchase Agreements (SPA) with off-takers (all Nigeria companies) in which the company is now committed to deliver 250,000 tonnes of LPG into the Nigerian market annually.
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MONDAY, June 2, 2014 23
Ecobank’s promo attracts N140b transactions value By Chijioke Nelson HE value of transactions T recorded by Ecobank Nigeria within the duration of its Card4Prizes promotions exceeded N140 billion. Also within the period, about one million customers raised their level of usage of the electronic channels, while nine million cards were involved. The Deputy Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Tony Okpanachi, disclosed that the financial institution keyed into the cash-less policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to raise the awareness on the need to reduce physical cash transactions in the economy given its cost implications. Okpanachi said: “It is part of Ecobank’s policy to reward its customers. This promo has not only increased our customer-base, but also allowed our customers to be able to use these electronic channels.” The Head, Cards and EBanking of the financial institution, Ayotunde Kuponiyi, also explained that the electronic channels deployed for the promotion were pre-paid, debit and credit cards to facilitate transactions on the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), Point of Sale (PoS), online shopping, purchase of recharge cards and withdrawals on the ATM. Citing CBN’s report that about 70 per cent of the printed currencies are outside the banking system, he said that much of the transactions in the economy have been informal as well, adding that if the amounts come into the bank, it would help to reduce high rates. Speaking on the promotion, he said the bank’s idea was to contribute its quota to the cash-lees initiative and reward the loyalty of its teeming customers. At the grand finale, nine star prize winners emerged from the financial institution’s three directorates- Abuja and North; South-South and South East; and Lagos and South West, with each directorate producing a winner of new Honda City car; All expense paid trip to Brazil; and N300,000 worth of Scholarship. The grand prize winners of the new Honda City cars were Awoyera Peter, Lagos/South-West; Asoanya Jerry, South-South/South East; and Aliyu Yelwa, Federal Capital Territory/ North. He however, noted that the grand finale, which is the third draw of the promotion, had already rewarded 45 customers with power generating sets, Home Theatres, Air Conditioners, 32” LED television sets, and phones across its three directorates. Explaining the procedures for qualification and selection to the representatives of the National Lottery Commission, Lagos Lottery Commission, Consumer Protection Council and Advertising Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria, the bank’s e-banking head, said
it was based on points accumulation from the usage of ATM, PoS and online transactions, with cards issued by the lender. According to him, the promotion was deliberately structured with the e-channels to engage the customers fully with the cash-less initiative and expose them to its benefits. He pointed out that transactions through the PoS attracted the most point, followed web-based transactions, then ATM, but however explained that the grand prize winners emerged based on the aggregation of points accumulated throughout the duration of the promotion in each directorate.
Head, Women Banking, Access Bank Plc, Titilola Familoni (left); Founder, Kudirat Abiola Initiative For Democracy, Hafsat Abiola-Costello; and the Managing Director, 100% Nigeria Limited, Adaobi Alex-Oni, at the Role of Women in Emerging African Democracy conference 2014, in Lagos.
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EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY
MARKET REPORT AS AT 30=05=2014
PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com
Monday, June 2, 2014 | 25
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MARKET REPORT AS AT 30=05=2014
Monday, June 2, 2014
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GTBank’s SMEs MarketHub debuts, to promote entrepreneurs By Chijioke Nelson UARANTY Trust Bank G (GTBank) has launched Nigeria’s first e-
commerce portal for Small and Medium Enterprises, codenamed SMEs Market Hub. The move, which may have been geared towards its consolidation of innovations within the financial services sector, was also coming on the heels of its social banking initiative, as well as the introduction of ‘Fast Track’ banking system that enables seamless transaction by customers using their debit cards. The initiative is a free, secure e-commerce and business directory platform, where businesses can list, promote and sell their products and services online. According to the bank, the e-commerce and business directory portal is part of its strategies to empower and support Nigerian SMEs and also contribute to the growth and development of the economy. The portal is also designed to enable Nigerian entrepreneurs migrate their businesses online and take advantage of the vast international and local sales opportunities within this space.
SMEs will also have access to a wide variety of business tools that will enhance profitability, as well as a community that will allow them forge relationships with other business owners. The Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Segun Agbaje, said: “There is no getting away from the fact that economic conditions remain challenging for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. It is however, vital that this integral sector of the economy gets all the support it needs to drive growth and development. “E-commerce is widely acknowledged as a businesses to customers and a world of customers to businesses. “The speed, efficiency and convenience with which transactions can be completed are distinct advantages that e-commerce has over traditional means of transacting business. “With the introduction of the SME Market Hub, GTBank has provided SMEs an E-commerce platform that allows small and medium business owners create & maintain an online presence and expand their business frontiers to new market and millions of buyers that are online.” But the General Manager
and Group Head, Communications and External Affairs, Mrs. Lola Odedina, said already, 5,200 entrepreneurs have registered and currently transacting their businesses. “GTBank’s operation is more than normal banking business. It is also about lifestyle of our customers and we are concerned. That is why we have created these platforms to get closer to them. This is our way to empower our customers, because if they are successful, we are as well. Banking is a give and take opportunity,” she said. Speaking on the features of the platform, she noted that it has a free webpage, with e-commerce tools; unique website address; personalized online storefront; shopping cart, with no consignment fee; online payment gateway; inventory management tools; order and enquiry notifications; messaging service; and membership within the SME MarketHub directory. She however noted that eligibility requirements include a registered business entity in Nigeria, with one of GTBank’s accounts like the GT Business Account; Corporate Current Account; or GTMax Account.
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FINANCIALGUARDIAN At forum, experts urge SMEs to leverage on technology for growth By Chijioke Nelson ArTICIPANTS at the P Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa forum have underscored the need for Small and Medium Enterprises to leverage on the evolving technology for business development and growth. The forum, tagged “Leveraging Technology for SME” growth, held in Lagos, last week, and organized by the non-profit organization devoted to equipping business leaders, to mark its ninth yearly series for business owners, also hosted over 750 entrepreneurs. LEAP’s Chair and Managing Director of Shell Nigeria C l o s e d - P e n s i o n Administrator Fund, Mrs. Yemisi Ayeni, highlighted the need for business owners to embrace technology, especially given the increasing internet penetration and social media activity in Nigeria. “Any business owner wanting their business to transit to the next generation, has no choice but to use technology effectively, not as an ‘add-on’ or ‘a nice to have if we can find the budget’, but as an integral part of their business models,” she said. However, the Managing Director of Digital Jewels, Mrs. Adedoyin Odunfa, while moderating the discussion on the use of technology as tools for publicity, sales, and business operations, pointed out that there was need for increased knowledge of the information communications technology. Other speakers and technology experts at the event included the Head Technology, Insight Communications, Olusegun
Martins; Managing Director, Booster Industries, Spain, Prof. Balvinder Powar; Strategic Director of Mindshare Communications Limited, Mrs. Osayi Emokpae-Lasisi; Chief Executive Officer, Coure Technology, Uche Onwudike; and Managing Director, Wild Fusion, Abasiama Idaresit. They unanimously proffered efficient and affordable technology-based solutions to accelerate SMEs’ growth and development in Nigeria, citing invaluable opportunities through its innovative use. They also addressed common constraints and limiting factors that deter the adoption of technology by SMEs, including low capacity development and parlous infrastructure. Speaking on the use of the new technologies to drive publicity, Martins explained that the use of social media for free advertising and brand awareness can have direct impact on sales for SMEs. According to him, the fact that eight out of the top 10 websites visited by Nigerians are social sites, the reach can be immense. But Powar, in his presentation, simplified the concept of disruptive innovation, defining it as “that which displaces the status quo”. To him, disruptive innovation included personal computers that replaced mainframe computers and cheaper smart phones that displaced high-end ones in emerging markets. Also, Emokpae-Lasisi, stressed the importance of collecting and analysing customer data, while ensuring the right balance of volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data collected.
Skye Bank unveils new banking solutions By Adeyemi Adepetun O further expand the use of T electronic channels for transactions in the country, Skye Bank Plc, has introduced a direct banking solution to its customers. The direct banking solution tagged ‘SkyePlus’ was unveiled on the sideline of the 8th yearly general meeting of the bank in Lagos, last week.The banking platform offers the bank existing and prospective customers a myriad of services that makes banking more convenient, easier and secure and faster. Speaking at the unveiling of the product, the Chairman, Skye Bank Plc, Olatunde Ayeni said the bank is focused on deploying the right technology to engender seamless and flexible banking transactions for Nigerians. According to him, “We deploy technology as best as we can as available, because we believe that banking today and tomorrow will continue to be dependent on technology. It is our belief that we need to deploy technology to be able to grow our economy as part of member of Information and Communication Technologydriven global economy.” Noting that Skye Bank has been consistent in its vision to
deploy the new platforms for engendering convenience in the banking activities for its customers, Ayeni said the process leading to the launch of SkyePlus has been on for the past 18 months. “We will continue to make our customers enjoy the best and innovative technology means and applications that make them enjoy banking services in a more convenient and efficient way,” he said. Also commenting, Chief Executive Officer designate, Skye Bank, Thymothy Oguntayo reiterated that the deployment of the new platforms was informed by the need to ensure of flexible and more convenient banking solutions for the bank customers using SMS, the Internet and mobile applications. Listing the features and services of SkyePlus, Oguntayo said, “the new banking platform allows customers to check their balance and manage their account; set up standing order instructions and Direct Debits; transfer money, pay bills o people instantly; request for a new checkbook, Automated Teller machine card or bank draft; stop lost or stolen cheque and hotlist Debit Cards; as well as switching on text alerts to keep track of their accounts on the move.”
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Gravitas flags-off Gracefield Phoenix luxury estate in Lagos
Land use charges is unconstitutional, says Lagos NIESV
African ministers advocate autonomy for water, sanitation in Post-MDG agenda
MONDAY, June 2, 2014
More laurels, as The Guardian scoops AHCN Golden Jubilee award Awards N what must have been a Iefforts concrete endorsement of in blazing a trail in reporting housing issues, The Guardian, was honoured at a modest ceremony in Abuja, the Federal capital, last week, where the organizers handed over Award of Excellence to deserving individuals and organisations as part of its Golden Jubilee celebration. The award, coming at the instance of Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN), was in recognition for contributions to the development of housing sector in the last 50 years particularly those who contributed to the provision of housing to the low-income group. Receiving the award from the Chairman, Organising Committee, Dr. Osain Enato on behalf of The Guardian, the organisation’s Assistant Housing & Environment Editor, Mr. Chinedum Uwaegbulam, expressed appreciation for the honour and recognising their modest efforts in property reporting. The award is coming close on the heels of an earlier honour bestowed on The Guardian’s Housing and Environment Desk, and other awards to Guardian Newspaper family. In a letter of nomination sent to The Guardian, signed by AHCN President, Dr. Ifenna Chukwujekwu and Enato, read: “The association has been following with keen interest your giant strides in every sector of the Nigerian economy and we have recognized your great achievements in public enlightenment particularly in the housing sector with your active searchlight and regular reportage of activities and events of the sector. Without doubt, The Guardian’s commitment to sound, objective and balanced reporting of activities of the real estate sector in your property page over the years has immensely contributed to the development of housing sector and the economy in general. “ The honour is in recognition of your selfless services to the society and your outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the housing sector which greatly impacted and still affecting humanity positively to date.”
The proposed Kogi House, Abuja
CBN extends mortgage banks’ recapitalisation by six months Mortgage Finance By Chinedum Uwaegbulam facts emerged last Fof RESH week that the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) may have shifted by six months the deadline for the recapitalization of Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) in the country. The apex bank had initially granted the mortgage firms a 12-month deadline from November 1, 2011, which would have terminated by December 12, 2012, but extended to 18 months, by April 30, 2013. Another circular was issued in March 20, 2013 to extend the date to December 2013, which according to CBN will afford all affected PMBs sufficient time to exercise any of the options for capital raising, business combination and downscaling. The Guardian learnt CBN gave another six months moratorium to some mortgage banks that have a national spread, that already
made payment of N2.5 billion for state license to close their branches or upgrade to N5 billion national license. In the circular, the firms are expected to close their branches nationwide, if they could not comply with the
new directive by the end of June. The new extension will also enable CBN officials to verify PMBs submissions and allow sufficient time for capital verification and necessary regulatory approvals. Sources
disclosed some of the affected mortgage banks, including a federal institution are seeking further injection of funds to retain their national s p r e a d . Under the fresh guidelines, mortgage firms have been
categorized into National and State mortgage firms, while the National PMBs are allowed to operate in any or all parts of the federation
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22 years after, Kogi begins N2.2b Abuja 11-storey project Projects From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja OLLOWING controversy trailing its certificate of Foccupancy (CofO) to the land allocated to it by Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kogi State Government last week surmounted all the problems, and embarked on the groundbreaking and foundation-laying ceremonies for a multipurpose Kogi House in Abuja, 22 years after the project was first mooted. Located on Plot 999 strategic Cadastral Zone of the
Kogi government has moved to develop its landed property in Abuja to a multi-purpose Kogi House, in order to harness, generate revenue and improve the economy of the state. The proposed structure is an 11-storey building, estimated to gulp N2.2billion Central Business District (CBD) of the FCT, the 11-storey building, when completed is expected to provide, among others hotel, as well as office accommodation top the people. Because of its location in the capital city, it reportedly suffered two revocations of its
CofO before the present administration moved to reinstate the land title. The project will be handled through public-private partnership (PPP), with Kogi State contributing 80 per cent of the investment, while a private firm, Messrs Kaibo
Engineering Holdings Limited would contribute 20 percent and an investment ration of 4:1. Kogi House is designed as an 11-storey building comprising a five-star 89 apartment and 23 numbers Office and commercial accommodation. It is estimated to cost N2.2 billion, with a construction period of 24 months. The project will be funded through the proceeds from the recent Bonds of N 5 billion that the state government took from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), while the balance
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Firms partner OPIC in Agbara estate road reconstruction project Roads OWARDS achieving their T Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the private sector firms in Agbara Industrial layout have donated generously to aid the first phase of the on-going road reconstruction project in the estate. This is in line with the partnership agreement that exists between them and the State. In statement issued last week, the industrialists agreed to contribute 30 percent ratio of the budget estimate. It is worthy of note that Ogun State Government has commenced the project implementation before now. Speaking at the occasion, Prince Bayo Ikujenyo, the President of Ogun State Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA); who doubles as the Managing Director, Pyramid Bag Manufacturing Co. Ltd expressed the commitment of the Agbara corporate citizens to Ogun State Government projects. The presentation of cheques according to him is just the beginning of harmonious work relations between OPIC Agbara Industrialists and Ogun State Government. Prince Ikujenyo who also led the delegation of
Industrialists that presented the cheques of their respective companies to Ogun State said this gesture is geared towards speedy completion of the 5.8 kilometers industrial road in area 1, and part of areas five and eight in the first phase of re construction project that is nearing completion. He recalled that it was at the very first meeting the industrialists had with the Government that the 30 percent project sponsorship by the private sector was initiated. The ingenuity of the Government he said was exhibited in its prompt embrace of private sector support vis a vis the proportion of financial pledge without a referral. Laying the precedent in this regards are T. Cynthia Nigeria Limited, Eko Supreme Resources Nigeria Limited, Hand in Hand Industries Nigeria Limited, Pyramid Bag Manufacturing Company Limited, GZ Industries Limited, African Fertilizer & Chemical Limited and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc. In deep appreciation of the contributions of OPIC Agbara Estate private companies, the OPIC Special Adviser and Managing Director, Mr. Babajide Odusolu commended the companies for this bold step. He noted thebelieve of
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs Akon Eyakenyi and other panelists in a plenary session with Housing Finance Programme Coordinator, World Bank, Simon Walley and Managing Director, Shelter Afrique, Alassane Ba during the 6th Global Housing Finance Conference on the Role of Government in Affordable Housing Finance in Washington, United States, recently these companies in what the Ogun State Government is doing and the unanimous decision to support the Government, which to him is worthy of emulation. The OPIC boss however urged other corporate bodies and the general public to lend their support for a more productive and comfortable State that will become the admiration of the whole world.
He commented that businesses thrive only where there are basic infrastructures, and this is the attraction of world biggest investors / companies to Ogun State. In his view, world Investors believe in Ogun State, and that is why the State has the largest concentration of industries. The road re construction project will be of immense socio â€“ eco-
nomic advantage not only to Ogun State but to Nigeria and the world at large. He added that the essence of the partnership is to show that industrialists truly care and are willing to give back to the communities where they operate. This he said, would provide the ambience and facilities to enable economic activities thrive, and for con-
ducive living and industrial environment. Mr. Odusolu added that Ogun State is investing not only in infrastructure, but designing and implementing projects that will secure lives and properties and protect future legacies. This explains why OPIC provides for OPIC Agbara Police Station amidst other security strategies.
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Gravitas flags-off Gracefield Phoenix luxury estate in Lagos Housing By Tunde Alao N its bid to ensure that Ioptimally Lagos coastal areas are used for developmental projects in line with what obtains worldwide, the Lagos State Government has approved new reclamation on the new Lekki master plan for the purpose of building a glamorous and high-end residential apartments, named Gracefield Phoenix. The estate, located at Chevron Close, adjacent to Oluwanisola Housing complex, along Lekki-Epe expressway, is three kilometre distance from Oriental Hotel, First Toll Plaza. The project is conceived and planned to be delivered as a truly live, work and play environment, offering premium lifestyle to match any other prime development in the world. The residential part of the development is designed to have premium properties on substantial plots measuring over 2,500 square metres each. To be incorporated into the scheme are varieties of house-types ranging from condominium to terraced houses and single household units, constructed to world-class standard, and offered at reasonable prices. The commercial area will have at its heart an upscale
shopping area that is suited to serve the development, while the business park will offer purpose-built office environment to generate the vibrancy and orderliness necessary to wealth creation centres, such as the Gracefield Phoenix. A promenade spanning almost the circumference of the development, with yacht basin, bistros, cafes, restaurants, and others is a key feature. The interesting thing, according to the promoters, Gravitas Limited, is that property prices, when completed, would compare favourably with the international market, and therefore, substantially lower than many developments in Ikoyi and surrounding areas. Currently, Lagos State has granted the necessary approval, as the project is quite strong on compliance. An elaborate Environmental Impact Assessment has been carried out, and approval obtained, with reclamation activities ongoing. With the commencement of reclamation works, it is clear that the Gracefield Phoenix is one of those projects that will become a reality in record time. The reclamation and infrastructure works for the first phase are to be completed by November 2015. Giving the details of the project, the Chief Executive of Gravitas, Olufemi Babalola, hinted that the architectural design of the project is to be
Illustration of the proposed GracefieldPhenix luxury estate, Lagos handled by Messrs Stauch Voster Architect. â€œ Gravitas had assembled best-in-class project partners. A worldacclaimed Dutch dredging contractor had been retained to carry out the reclamation, whilst Aurecon of South Africa and Stauch Vorster have done the detailed engineering designs and urban planning. Other corporate bodies that would involve in the project are Oakwell Partners, Legal
Adviser; MTN, Telecommunication; Pan African Capital, Project Financial Adviser; Clarke Energy, Power generation; and IP NX as Telecom-optic Fibre consultants respectively. â€œTwo leading telecoms companies have been secured to deliver state-of-the-art telecom infrastructure to the development, with a combination of optic fibre and wireless technologies built
into the network. Power supply is designed to be within the captive energy solution regime, ensuring efficient and reliable power supply to residents and businesses within the developmentâ€? he said. He also hinted that the promoters have developed a facilities management structure, again partnering with the best known names incountry and overseas, to assure its residents that vir-
tually everything has been planned to the last detail, including stealth but effective security, traffic control within the new metropolis. The Gracefield Phoenix takes its main access road from the end of Chevron drive, with its main link to the shoreline constructed as land bridge, reminiscent of such roads in world cities, such the embankment, along the Thames River in London, England.
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22 years after, Kogi begins N2.2b Abuja 11-storey project CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39 would be complemented from internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state. Speaking today at the foundation laying ceremony of Kogi House in Abuja, the vice president, Mohammed Namadi Sambo said the ceremony underscores the fraternal and deep cordial working relationship that exists between the Federal Government and the people of Kogi State.
He said, “The land was allocated to the Kogi State Government for over 20 years running but that your administration took the bull by the horn to develop it in order to harness and generate revenue and improve the economy of your state. It is most interesting to note your economic and financial innovation in funding the development of this 11-storey edifice via a Public Private Partnership model.” As an architect of over 30
years standing, Sambo said, he could testify to the quality of architectural design of the building and challenged other state governors to take a cue from the initiative of Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Idris Wada in putting in place viable structure that would stand the test of time. He also said that “In addition to Mr. President’s commissioning of the 450MW Geregu Power Plant, we shall soon commission the standard gauge railway to Warri Port, the Banda Inland Water Port is at sixty percent completion, we are supporting the private sector in development of 1,000MW coal power plant as well as development of all the solid minerals and hydrocarbon. We shall continue to partner with you in the development of Kogi State, very soon Ajaokuta Steel Industry will be brought back to life.” Sambo described that Abuja is a symbol of Nigeria’s unity and strength and therefore, it behooves all state govern-
ments to strengthen this unity and cooperation by establishing a string of liaison offices in the capital city. He also urged state governments to emulate the strategy of Kogi State in achieving infrastructural development for the benefit of citizens. For Wada, the event marked a milestone in the history of Kogi State as the government aligns itself with another highlights of the transformation agenda of the federal government, which is in the area of infrastructural development. According to him, “This event focuses mainly on housing infrastructure. Our goal for this project is to cease and indeed capitalize on the shortage of quality and appropriate housing and commercial accommodation needs of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. “We are taking advantage of this shortage to place this edifice to fill in some of the gaps in the accommodation needs of Abuja. It is my belief that this project, will chart a
course towards the improvement of housing and commercial accommodation needs, it will generate employment and revenue for both Kogi State Government and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). “It is important to state that Kogi has always engage in landed property development as a viable business venture as a result the state continues to make frantic efforts to improve upon our economy by ensuring that our landed properties within and outside Kogi State are well harnessed to generate the required revenue for the overall development of our state and our people.” Justifying the adoption of the PPP approach model as a vehicle for the actualization of the Kogi House project, Wada said the state government had through a research found that projects fail on completion and commissioning with fan fair as a result of bad management
His words, “Part of the PPP arrangement is that Kaibo will manage the property for a period during which they will recoup their investment and Kogi State would also recoup its investment and there after we then work out another arrangement for the continuation of management of the property, hopefully by then, our own people would have been properly trained and acquainted to sustain the management of the project. The Chairman of Kaibo Engineering Group Limited, Kaibo Sun pledged that the project would be delivered at the agreed time frame adding that his firm had the reputation for keeping to its terms of the agreement in any project that it executes. He said besides Kogi, his company also has projects in other states in the federation like Kaduna, Taraba and two others and, “we have not failed in those states.”
CBN extends mortgage banks’ recapitalisation by six months CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39 after the payment of a new N5 billion minimum paid up capital, the State PMBs are restricted to only one state at the payment of N2.5 billion. Sources further disclosed that the mortgage firms led by its national body
–Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN) have lobbied the CBN’s Other Financial Institutions Department (OFID) to soft pedal on the announcement of the about 38 PMIs that have been adjudged to be financial sound and undergone recapitalization to limit crisis of confidence rocking the sector. It was further gathered that series of talks have taken place between some of the recapitalized and non-recapitalized banks in a move to ensure soft landing for most mortgage firms through mergers and acquisitions. This was confirmed by one of the affected mortgage institutions, who disclosed that a deal was recently brokered to shift customers’ liability to a new firm. Recently, CBN explained that its rationale for the State PMIs is to promote the spread of mortgage firms across the six geo-political zones to further embed the objective of financial inclusion and national PMBs will provide options for operators to remain in business at different authorisation levels, and similar to other banking segments. It is a known fact that the sector is facing a harsh economic down turn, notwithstanding the global economic crisis as the scarcity of long-term funds are hitting the operators hard. The short-term funds are mostly sourced from the money market, where commercial banks also complete for funds. Their cash flow is also hampered by their inability to tap into the National Housing Fund (NHF), and becoming a window for the collection of the fund, which has prompted MBAN to liaise with the Federal authorities, local financial institutions and international development agencies to float a Mortgage Refinancing Company.
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Lagos may acquire controversial Ojokoro landed property Litigation By Emmanuel Badejo ILL the Lagos State W Government acquire, as it is being touted, the controversial landed property, over which Irepolodun Meat Market, a state Abattoir and Lairage Complex, located along Abeokuta Road, Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos State, despite the pendency of a litigation in the court? Can the state validly acquire same when a suit over the landed property is yet to be decided? And supposes the move succeeds, on what res would the Court of Appeal be sitting? Or is the appeal by Ojokoro LCDA meant to perpetrate the ‘back door’ take over of the land? These and many other questions are trailing the ongoing suit initiated by an allottee of the space for space of 50 years, one Alhaji Musa Yaro. But The Guardian authoritatively gathered that the land users, who predominantly from the northern part of the country, may have gotten the wind of the planned take over and warming up to resist it peacefully. The issue, if not properly handled, may lead to tribal war in the state, a source has said. Unconfirmed report has it
The business of the court among other things, are to rule on a restraining order issued against the defendants from tampering with the land in dispute as well as vacating a bench warrant issued against the chairman of Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA) that the Lagos State Government has sent some of its officials to measure the beacons of the disputed land. Following a dispute between Yaro and the supervising LCDA over the prime space, Yaro had sought court’s intervention, suing Ifako Ijaye Local Government, Ojokoro Local Council Development Area, and its chairman, Mr. Benjamin Adeyemi Olabinjo and the Attorney General of Lagos State. At the centre of the dispute are seven keeklamps comprising 186 stalls. And shortly after the take off of the court, the structures on the land were demolished. This irked the trial court, which ordered a bench warrant on the LCDA chairman, Olabinjo. That order has since been dispensed. Also, at the early days of the suit, Lagos State Government had argued that it was not interested either in the land or the suit and as such, its name should be struck out from the suit.
Its request, which was not opposed by the claimant, was eventually struck out. The council, through several moves had attempted to halt the hearing of the case. But did not succeed, as the court ruling was in Yaro’s favor. The court also renewed its interim restraining order, after it had listened to Opeyemi Bello of Moshood Shehu and Associates. The trial court had said: “That interim injunction be and is hereby granted to claimant/applicant restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, privies or anybody acting through or for them or on their behalf from trespassing, harassing, demolishing, disturbing or otherwise interfering with the possession of the claimants, his tenants and all persons claiming through them in respect of all that seven keeklamps comprising 186 stalls situate at Irepodun Central Meat Market, State Abattoir and Lairage Complex, Abeokuta Road, Ojokoro, Lagos State, the subject matter of this suit…
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the defendants appealed to the Court of Appeal. Hearing of the appeal may not commence soon as the court’s complex is presently undergoing renovation. In their statement of defence, the defendants claimed that Yaro did not at any time have more than 33.7 square metres representing two blocks duly allocated to him but went ahead to acquire additional 16.8
square metres without any authority from the LCDA. According to the second and third defendants, Yaro was allocated only two blocks to develop while two other applicants, Excel Ventures and Botadog Enterprise Nigeria were allocated two blocks each, adding it was a surprise to the LCDA to discover that Yaro had appropriated another block to the two blocks originally allocated to him and had con-
structed 78 stalls. It was also alleged that the claimant, due to his position in the Local Government as the Special Adviser on non-indigene (Hausa) to the LGA chairman, went on the land allocated to other allottees and started development without authorization from the council and subsequently sold same to other people without consent of the LCDA.
Engineers task stakeholders on environmental safety Professional Practice By Tunde Alao EMBERS of the M American Society of Engineers (ASSE) have urged all stakeholders to be more conscious of safety measure within their environment. The professional body made this appeal to both government and private individuals at the just concluded conference of the Professional Development Conference and Exhibition, organized by the ASSE Nigerian Chapter in Lagos. The safety health and environment (SH&E) expert, Vwede Obahor, who is the president of the American Society of engineers (ASSE), emphasized that
environmental safety consciousness has a role to play in the security of Nigeria as a nation, contending that safety in its entirety is about security. Obahor said, the country should put aside politics more so as lives and properties are involved. “Government will do well to consult with the professionals. We have security experts and bodies that should be consulted in order to offer expert advice to the government; we cannot advise government through the media, because we could as well be advising the criminal elements in the society”. According to him, getting back the kidnapped Chibok girls would cost a
lot of money in terms of human capital, equipment and logistics, pointing out that when technocrats come into the political arena, it will be easier for the country, because these are the people who make things work in the corporate world. If we continue to play politics, we downgrade accountability, effectiveness and productivity. Speaking further, on the backdrop of the conference theme: “Giving Voice to Safety”, Obahor explained that ASSE Nigerian Chapter decided to organize the conference in recognition of the importance of safety at home and also in a work place environment. He maintained that ASSES recoginses safety as a way of life among others.
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Land use charges is unconstitutional, says Lagos NIESV Stephen Olayinka Jagun is an Estate Surveyor and Valuer, who currently chairs the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyor and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos State Chapter. He is the managing partner of Jagun and Associates. Yaba, graduated with Higher National Diploma from the Polytechnic of Kaduna in 1993. Thereafter, he went to the University of Lagos for his Masters Degree in Project Management. To commemorate The Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM), selected media organisations engaged him on some burning issues. The Guardian’s EMMANUEL BADEJO was there. Excerpts Property Interview What is special about your AGM this year? ODAY, apart from our AGM, we are commissioning a 14-seater brand new bus, which we believe would give us mileage, help us for wider reach and mobility for the members of the NIESV, Lagos State Branch. Housing still constitutes a national challenge. As experts in the field, what is NIESV doing to reduce the gap? I wish to use this opportunity to get across to our government as far as housing is concerned. The present governments both at the federal and the state levels have not done enough for the housing sector at all. We all know that in our culture, it is a thing of pride for any family to have a roof over their head, irrespective their status; but the conditions to achieving this dream are too harsh and therefore the environment becomes unfriendly. Access to land is still difficult, either, you are battling with omo oniles (landowners) and after that, to get your documentation, the government is more interested in revenue. To get your planning approvals, is always very, very difficult. The infrastructures are not provided. It is in this part of the globe that a developer would have to provide infrastructure by itself. And when you add all of these to the actual construction, then, the price becomes too high. Yes, the government in some states is trying, when it comes to mass housing. But a government, which is campaigning 300 units of mass housing for the populace cannot go round for those working in the governor’s office alone. Where then is the mass housing? Lagos is about 18 million and it is building 1,000 units. How many of her large population would this serve? This is just scratching the head. Instead of doing that, why can’t create an enabling environment so that more player can come to the market? I believe if the government can make land more accessible with accompanying infrastructure, these would aid the people to go developing their houses. The government can encourage private developers to invest into the housing sector. Also, 70 percent pension funds can be tied to real estate development. I strongly believe that if this fund is properly used to meet the needs of the people, the rate of corruption will drop. Also, this sector drives the economy; it affects a wide range of professionals, artisans and traders. Land Use Act should be reviewed. This Act was pushed down our throat by the military, not working and not good for quick development. The law has given too much to some individuals if they want to misuse it. Now, governments use this act to impoverish others, just on flimsy excuses. Federal government owns land, but the state government says it cannot build except it gets permits from it. Primary mortgage banks recapitalization is long overdue but up till now, there is no information in the public domain. How do you see this? We need to be transparent in the way we do things in this country. Most times, we rush to launch programme, without doing our homework and the thing just die a natural death. Sometimes, we create some of these programmes to settle political stalwarts. On the mortgage institutions, what is the government doing to create window to access funds? The operatives go to the same market to source for funds, most of the times, they get short-term loans and how do you expect them to do any magic? For now, I am not sure if any serious investment from abroad can come into Nigeria, until after election next year. The system is not transparent. We need to ensure some stability in our system to encourage more investors to come in. I was in South Africa for a programme and it was said that some companies moved out of Nigeria to Ghana and other neighboring countries because they do not understand the system. The mortgage refinancing company, though came with all the noise but practically, it is still a theory. Some concerns have been expressed over land use charges in Lagos state, but it appears the estate surveyors are silent over the issue. What is the institution position on it? Land taxes any where in the world is always transparent, based on the experts’ assessment of the property value. But in this state, the formula it is using is only known to it. In a system where we have vibrant judicial system, people will take them (government) to court. The government sees land use charge as purely income generation. This is wrong. From the beginning, we have told the government that the formula it is using does not exist anywhere in the world. As the custodians of land economies, we need to be consulted on this critical issue. In most cases, all the government does is window-dressing as it is only interested in using us for publicity, and disappears. The formula it is using has no basis. What they are fond of doing is using the apparatus of government to with force get out funds from the people. Though the state has said it has reduced it, but it is not about reducing it but laying it bare to the public the principles behind it. The land use charge itself is unconstitutional. Several charges are being lumped together. What the Lagos State government is telling us is that they have agreement with the local government. Can anybody have an agreement against the constitution? The constitution says the local government should charge the tenement rate, ground rent is payable to
Jagun state government. But Lagos is telling us that everything has been lumped together. If they want that way, let the state go back to the National assembly and get it reviewed to accommodate that interest. Categorically, as it is today, land use charge is against the constitution; let us call a spade a spade. As professionals, what has the body been doing to address this issue? We have not been keeping quiet on the matter. Before they passed the bill into law, we have been engaging the state government under Governor Tinubu. All efforts made to see him in person failed. The best we could go was to see the Deputy Governor, then Femi Pedro, who after listening to us said he would take our message to the former governor. And before we knew it, the law was passed. Sometimes, we blame the military but must say that we still have some military tendencies
in the way some of our politically elected public office holders behave. In a civilized society, that cannot happen. Since NIESV is a statutory body, created by the law, can’t it challenge the land use charges in Lagos in the law court? Yes, I agree that the law is that of
Lagos but you must realize that the state chapter cannot sue except the national body directs so. Although we have not considered that option, though desirable, but unfortunately, our judicial system is too porous and not encouraging. If must go to court now, it must be the national body doing so. That option, nonetheless, is not foreclosed. Let me say that most times, the government comes around and we also respond by dialoguing with them. I remember sometimes, last year we told the state government that the rate of consent is too high and it is a deterrent to development. I am aware that the government is working to reduce it. I know somebody who bought a piece of land for estate development around Oniru in Lekki. The man, who came from the north, bought the land a little above N1billion and he wanted to secure Governor’s consent, he was told to pay about N300million as tax. The man out of anger decided to withdraw from that investment. If he had bought that place, at least the nation’s housing stock would have been further increased. But the system has discouraged that man. As we speak, we are still dialoguing with the state; we don’t need to be on the fighting side before things are done in a right way. We just hope that discussion and dialogue would work for us. What can you say your administration has achieved one year after you have been sworn in? One of the things we promised to do is to improve the professional status of our members, which I can say by the grace of God has been achieved to some extent. Some of our colleagues, who were at one level have moved up to another level. Two, we have given mileage to our branch through our farreaching Continuous Professional Development Seminars (CPDs). We have improved on the insurance scheme we met on ground. We committed ourselves to getting a brand new 14-seater Toyota bus for the branch. We also committed ourselves from bridging the gap between the young and the old professionals. Our activities are better attended and we intend to
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Lafarge to increase production, decries SON’s stand on 32.5 cement grade Building Materials By Tunde Alao PIRITED to increase its proSneedduction and to meet the of the Nigerian population, Lafarge Nigeria has announced plans to establish two new plants in Ashaka and Calabar, the company announced last week. Besides, the firm has deplored noise over the 32.5 cement grade, insisting that the grade, which some are insinuating to be inferior, has been tested and approved not only in Nigeria but in some other developed and
The management believes that the directive from SON, lacks legitimacy to compel it to change to any grade, saying there is no law that says Lafarge should change the grade compulsorily. Besides, it notes that Lafarge was the first cement producer that is producing 42.5 grade before any of its competitors started the production of the grade and that the firm is still producing it till today on order for specific purposes developing countries. The cement manufacturer also explained why it would not rush to change its current production brands, especially the ‘controversial’ cement grades, which have been in the front burner of discourse among the stakeholders in the recent time. As controversy rages over the
directive by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), that cement producers should shift from production of 32.5 grade to 42.5 grade to ensure what it termed “quality out put in construction activities, one of the leading producers in Nigeria, Messrs. Lafarge Nigeria, has described the directive as “unacceptable
and unnecessary”. Speaking at a media parley in its Ewekoro Cement Factory last week, on the topic “Why the Noise?”, the firms General Manager, Mr. Lanre Opakunle, said while Lafarge would not want to embark on unnecessary propaganda, the facts remain that shifting from one grade to another has never been a function of quality product output, but rather, wrong application of cement products and lack of labeling that can guide the end users. According to him, the directive from SON, lacked any right to compel us to change to any grade, saying there is no law that says Lafarge
London tops the ranking for global luxury property, new report finds Real Estate ONDON has topped the L rankings of luxury property markets in the world for the second year in a row according to a new report from Christie’s International Real Estate. The report entitled Luxury Defined: An Insight into the Luxury Residential Property Market, presents an indepth analysis of luxury market trends and compares 10 of the world’s top property markets. The markets featured are the Cote d’Azur, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto and London.
Using ‘Christie’s International Real Estate Index,’ markets were ranked across key metrics including record sales price, prices per square foot, percentage of non-local and international purchasers, and the number of luxury listings relative to population. London topped the index with the highest record home sales price of all the cities at US$101.5 million. Square foot prices in London were also higher than any other city averaging $4,683 in 2013, significantly greater than the second highest found in Hong Kong at $2,578. The entry price point for luxury property in London was found to be the highest
of any market analysed, at $7.8 million. London also saw a 20per cent increase in number of luxury property sales in 2013 with 5,693 properties in total. Price increases and supply constraints did little to detract buyers in prime central London as 2013 recorded the highest number of home sales since the 2006 peak, with significant growth in high priced transactions. The report also shows that New York experienced significant growth in luxury real estate sales volume despite low inventory while in third position, Los Angeles saw the highest sale in the United States at US$74.5 million. Hong Kong ranked fourth
with an exceptional US$83.8 million top sale despite government cooling measures impacting sales volume and in San Francisco home sales over US$1 million jumped by 62per cent year on year. ‘Although over the past year we have seen a surge in domestic demand, international buyers still account for just under 50per cent of Knightsbridge and Chelsea buyers and have fuelled much of the activity at the top end of the market, pushing the number of sales over £5 million up 7.5per cent year on year,’ said Lulu Egerton, partner at Strutt & Parker, the sole UK affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate.
should change the grade compulsorily. “Besides, we are the first cement producer that is producing 42.5 grade before any of our competitors started the production of the grade and we are still producing it till today on order for specific purposes. Several years ago, cement industries were producing B512 grade, and nobody was talking and there were no preponderance of building collapse” he said, adding that the controversial 32.5 cement grade is being used all over the world both in Europe, Asia and many other countries till date. He stated that what the users need is information, especially, concerning proper application and labeling, which he said Lafarge has been doing with the prospect of doing more. “What we are doing currently include the training of artisans and block makers. These are the categories of people that should not be neglected, unlike engineers, builders and other stakeholders that have acquired the necessary education and proper skills”. Opakunle also informed that Lafarge is planning new plants in Ashaka and Calabar, to boost its production and possibly, bring down the price of cement; though, he opioned that the firm has never increase its price for a long time. In his presentation, Lafarge Development Manager, Mr. Femi Yusuff, an engineer, explained that there is no correlation between building collapse and cement grade, but rather, lack of proper
understanding. According to Yusuff, EN 206 (concrete standard) is the key standard in defining performance of concrete, since cement is not working in isolation. He maintained that 32.5 would achieve result in concrete. To him, it is the duty of engineer, especially, structural engineers to decide the grade to be used. “Professionally, we have the duty to use what is environmentally friendly, aesthetically preferred and capable of ensuring stability in building construction”. Justifying the reliability of 32.5 cement grade, Yusuff, cited National Building Regulation and National Building Legislation, currently in use, as recognized EN 19190 (Eurocode) basis of structural design, that support structural and nonstructural application that requires low heat of dehydration. “However, in Nigeria, we want to develop our own standard and we are fully convinced that 32.5 grade cement is good enough for Nigeria environment. Apart from the erroneous and misleading propaganda that 32.5 grade lacks quality, this is one of the best grades for our environment”, he said, citing huge construction projects such as the prestigious Petrones Twin Tower in Malasia, Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lekki, Lagos, remodeling of Nigerian airports, among other projects where the 32.5 cement grade were used without any negative consequence.
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Bagnodesign sanitary ware enters Nigeria’s building materials’ market N international manufacA turer and supplier of design-led bathroom solu-
Illustration of Orchid Court, Ikeja, Lagos
Briscoe Properties showcases Ikeja’s Orchid Court Housing N a novel move to increase the housing stock, a property developer, Briscoe Properties Limited, a subsidiary of R.T Briscoe Nigeria Plc has unfolded new residential development situated within the low density residential area of Ikeja GRA, Lagos. Orchid Court as the estate is called, offers elegant apartments built to top unique architectural standards with European-standard finishing materials for investor’s enjoyment. There are seven different types of residential units to choose from at “Orchid Court” each with its unique view and serene spatial arrangement.
The company had earlier developed “Aloe Vera Court” and “Heliconia Court”, gated developments of terraced houses at Maryland and Yaba respectively. “The development is which is already benefiting from significant infrastructural developments (upgrading the road networks, drains and power integration). Investing in “Orchid Court” now offers you the opportunity to buy at the lowest price possible and achieve maximum return on investment, assurance of capital appreciation and premium rental income with good rental yield in the future,” according to Mrs. Sade Hughes, Managing Director, Briscoe Properties Limited.
She said:” Investing in “Orchid Court” also gives you the opportunity to benefit from finance structures too and spread the payment across the term of construction. You only need to pay 30 per cent of the value of the purchase in the form of a deposit, the rest is payable over the construction period at 0 per cent interest.” The estate will accommodate 25 family houses and apartments. The prices range from N75 million to N150 million. Among the recreation facilities in the estate include beautiful landscaped outdoors, children’s play area, swimming pool, recreational gym, and generous terraces and safety features as electric fence,
intercom and video door phone. Hughes disclosed, “after successful delivery of the development, Briscoe Properties Limited’s unique commitment to customer satisfaction is backed up by the provision of Facility Management services to ensure your peace of mind for today and for years ahead.” She said that banks will be offering mortgage to prospective investors and the company has enhanced its facility management services. “We have recently acquired a building maintenance software to further enhance our services delivery and customer satisfaction.”
tions, Bagnodesign has launched its varieties of products into the building materials market in Nigeria. Established in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 1994, as a representative to a handful of European manufacturers, Bagnodesign today conducts business in over 30 countries across four continents and represents over 50 of the world’s leading brands. The latest showroom has been opened in Ikoyi area. The Bagnodesign range of products is manufactured globally to European standards, incorporating the latest design trends and utilising the most innovative technology and craftsmanship. The showroom is a partnership between Badgnodesign and Cachez Trading Company, owned by some of Bagnodesign Nigerian clients. The range of products available at the showroom includes washbasin, sanitary ware, bath tub, shower, WC flushing, mirror, washroom accessories, among others. Speaking at the official opening, one of the directors, Mr. Tuoyo Jemerigbe, said
the new facility was designed to save discerning Nigerians the hassles of going abroad for sanitary ware products. He said: “We are pleased to be the franchise holder for the Bagnodesign brand in Nigeria. Though this showroom was built some months ago, we as directors have over 10 years’ experience with the brand. Our objective is to provide onestop shop for everything sanitary ware products and accessories here in Nigeria. The Bagnodesign products are the leading products in their category globally. So, we decided to make the products available for Nigerians in Nigeria. No need to travel out before getting quality sanitary ware products.” Aside the quality products on offer, Mr. Ikenna Ikechukwu, another director, said there are other benefits that customers stand to enjoy with the opening of the new facility. He said: “Our mandate also includes advisory services for customers while we have qualified staff who provide excellent customer service and after-sales support in case of any defect or product malfunction.”
IL Bagno plans Abuja’s Rachel Court NE of Nigeria’s leading O designing solutions company, IL Bagno, is poised to extend its frontier to Abuja and the northern part of the country, with the completion of its mega showroom, Rachel Court by November this year. Speaking to Journalists during a press briefing to mark the company’s 10th anniversary, the Chief Executive Officer of IL Bagno, Mr. Michael Owolabi, said the Abuja office will be situated on a five-story building complex of 5, 000 square meters. According to Owolabi, the construction of the Lagos showroom was the first in the industry. He said at that time the showroom appeared to be huge, but the company is presently struggling for space. This, accord-
ing to him, informed the choice of making the Abuja showroom a bigger version. He however lamented that importation and the delay in moving goods is one of the challenges they battle with in the business. It can take 15 to 30 days to get a container from Apapa to Lekki. From South Africa, it takes16 days and again it takes 15-30 days from Apapa to Lekki. He lamented as to why it should take long to move goods within lagos when all the paperworks are being done before it arrives. In 2004, IL Bagno started with only the bathrooms. But they have grown over the years to a company that provides design solutions for kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, and security doors.
AMFacilities’ roundtable Property investors set to target less obvious city locations, says report MESSRS Facilities Real Estate MELBOURNE, Tel Aviv and Chicago could outperform other prime property markets in top world cities in the next few years as global investors seek alternative locations, it is claimed. The report latest report produced by developers Candy & Candy, Savills World Research and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management identifies 12 cities around the globe with the potential to show strong residential property price growth as they become more fully invested in the next few years. Prices in these rising cities are generally much lower than in the world cities, which make them more accessible and
attractive to yield seeking real estate investors, the report points out. The list ranges from well established cities such as Melbourne, Australia, to centres in developing economies such as Chennai, India, that have a high number of ultra high net worth residents. Top of the list is Tel Aviv, followed by Melbourne, Miami and Chicago. Dublin, Panama City, Beirut, Istanbul, Cape Town, Jakarta, Lagos and Chennai, make up the rest of the list. ‘For many ultra high net worth individuals real estate has become a unique asset class, but investment to date has focused on prime property in the top tier world cities which have shown record market growth,’ said Nick
Candy, chief executive officer of Candy & Candy. ‘Real estate will continue to play an important part in global investment with investors now looking beyond established safe havens and prime world cities,’ he added. According to Yolande Barnes, director of Savills World Research, who conducted the analysis, investors are becoming more bold in their choice of location. ‘As prime real estate in many premier cities has become more fully valued, emboldened investors are now spreading their wings and looking for high yielding secondary properties in those cities as well as starting to consider the value of second tier cities
in counties with strengthening economies,’ she explained. ‘This more adventurous approach is likely not only to provide higher income returns but also the opportunity for significant capital growth. Real estate values will grow as new cities all over the globe rise on fortune’s wheel. Property rents and values will rise in line with new and growing economic strength,’ she pointed out. Dario Schiraldi, head of Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management’s Global Client Group, confirmed that the firm’s wealthy clients are increasingly seeking locations outside the mainstream to broaden their real estate portfolios.
AlphaMead and Management Services Limited (AMFacilities) is set to host the third edition of its annual Facility Management (FM) Roundtable, to commemorate this year’s World FM Day in Nigeria. The one-day event, which has as its theme: “Towards Optimal Performance of Critical Infrastructure and Real Estate Assets in Nigeria”, will take place next week at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. The event will bring together respected authorities in the field of Facility Management, both from Nigeria and overseas, to discuss common issues affecting the industry, particularly in Nigeria, and chart a way forward for the industry. It will also provide an opportunity for network-
ing, sharing of ideas and fostering of business relationships. The World FM Day is a Global FM initiative aimed at raising the profile of the facility management profession on a global scale. The event has succeeded in mobilizing hundreds of individuals, companies, associations and partners to celebrate their successes and show the world the important contributions of facility management to the built environment. The World FM day is also supported by IFMA (International Facility Management Association), the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for professional facility managers, supporting more than 23,500 members in 94 countries to celebrate the importance of the FM profes-
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‘Poor infrastructure increases disparities across urban divide’ Forum CCORDING to conventionA al wisdom, urban dwellers, as opposed to rural folks are expected to enjoy the so-called urban advantage. The urban advantage refers to the abundance and variety of goods, services, amenities and opportunities which cities make available compared with rural areas. Social connections or human capital are also part of this. Imagine the huge difference in the availability of schools; hospitals and sheer concentration of humans in Abuja or Lagos compared with say Iseyin or a small village in the backside of my hometown, Ogbomosho. The urban advantage is therefore a function of human and physical density, scale of public, business, education, health, cultural, and other institutions, which a city manages to concentrate in space. Also the urban advantage includes tangible as well as intangible benefits, from water, sanitation and transportation networks to employment and social opportunities to the pursuits of political, economic academic ambition. In other words, the urban advantage supposedly makes a city attractive the place to live for both the rich and poor, but reality is always very different indeed. The poor suffers greatly and the lowly are disproportionally penalized in the city where policies are not made for inclusiveness. Truth be told, the good life is not broadly shared across the Nigerian society; both the rich and the poor cry but the poor suffers disproportionately from poor service delivery: they pay a higher portion of their income for basic services such as water and die unnecessarily trying to provide themselves alternative facilities. I read in one of our newspapers last week how a family of seven (father, mother and children) slept and never woke up. They all died from the noxious fumes from their precious “ I pass my neighbor” generator. Where we live therefore is indicative of a person’s state of being although orthodox measures such as GDP/Capita for long used income as the key metric of human wellbeing. However, the spatial divide determines in large part the well-known poverty rates and rates of morbidity and mortality all of which equally reveal disparities in the living conditions of individuals. Clearly, the rich are likely to live twice as long a healthy life compared to the poor. The (“Rich Country Poor People”) calls attention to a better understanding of the root causes of the wide divisions between urban dwellers. The spatial divide, brought about in large part by unequal delivery of urban basic services, is as powerful a measure as income although they are closely related. Income poverty leads to other associated deprivations in shelter types, and human health. For example, for people living in poor
Slum areas in Lagos... Makoko
The poor suffers greatly and the lowly are disproportionally penalized in the city where policies are not made for inclusiveness writes PROF. BANJI OYELARAN-OYEYINKA, author of “Rich Country Poor People: Nigeria’s Paradox of Poverty in the midst of Plenty”. He submits that good infrastructure does affect the growth-poverty relationship by speeding up the reduction of disparities across the urban divide shelter conditions in our Ajegunles and Makokos, child mortality rates remain highly associated with diarrheal diseases, malaria and acute respiratory infections related to overcrowding and air pollution, compared with their more fortunate brothers in Victoria Island and Ikoyi. The former suffer unrelenting environmental health hazards such as lack of sanitation and hygiene, lack of access to safe water, poor housing conditions, poor management of solid wastes, and many other hazardous conditions. The children of the poor who live in substandard housing environments are exposed to contaminated air, food, water, and soil, and to conditions where parasite-carrying insects breed. Being constantly sick does nothing to enhance their ability to learn in school and except for the exceptionally bright one, such a child could never hope to compete with his/her peers. The urban divide therefore denies a person what we call opportunity equality, the platform to fairly use his Godgiven talent in an increasingly competitive global environment. It removes from under him the level playing field. The deep division that has manifested in the Nigerian
society including the spatial divide does reflect not just income inequalities among Nigerian households and poor infrastructure investment; it is also a by-product of inefficient housing markets, weak financial mechanisms and poor urban planning. While income inequalities are a major divisive social factor, the spatial inequalities visible in so many Nigerian cities are an outgrowth of both socioeconomic disparities and larger processes of development dynamic. In other words, what we see today is cumulative of bad policies over a long historical period. Nigerians have long endured dysfunctional governance silently; for instance for almost thirty years we did not invest in the power sector expecting as it were that maybe that electricity will from the air supply the teeming number of migrants into the towns and cities miraculously? In other words, by errors of policy omission we fostered institutionalized exclusion manifesting notably by class of specific groups and classes particularly in urban settings. How do we redress the penalties of the urban divide and save Nigeria from the constant disgrace of daily
power outages, lack of water and attenuate preventable deaths of people living in slum conditions? We must set a timetable to achieve basic infrastructure outcomes to which Nigerians citizens hold their governments accountable. Not only does the development of infrastructure services contribute to growth, but growth also contributes to infrastructure development, in a virtuous circle. Moreover, investments in human capital and in infrastructure mutually interact, each increasing the returns to the other. To emphasize some of the various channels through which investment in infrastructure can contribute to sustainable growth, are as follows: reduces transaction costs and facilitate trade flows within and across borders. It lowers the costs of inputs for entrepreneurs, and makes existing businesses more profitable. Infrastructure creates employment, including in public works (both as social protection and as a countercyclical policy in times of recession). It enhances human capital, for example, by improving access to schools and health centres. More so it improves the daily living conditions of citizens, which link to improved livelihoods, better health and reduced vulnerability of the poor. We should resolve to change the stereotypical narrative that has for long described our country. According to an influential report, “Nigeria’s urban infrastructure is crumbling. Water supply, sewage, sanitation, drainage, roads,
Oyeyinka electricity, and waste disposal—all suffer from years of serious neglect. Periodic and routine maintenance, by far the most cost-effective infrastructure spending, is almost zero. It has become the norm in Nigeria to wait for a capital infusion to rehabilitate, replacing instead of maintaining the infrastructure. But declining financial resources are making this less feasible, and the deterioration is accelerating. There is a high level of abandonment of capital projects and decline in maintenance of basic infrastructure like roads, schools, housing, waste disposal, drainage, t r a n s p o r t a t i o n . Compounding the situation is the rapid urbanization, mostly migration from the rural areas.” We need to rethink our federalism in ways that empower the states because majority of them are currently economically weak due to high dependence on the Federal Government for their resources as well as their weak
capacity for Internally Generated Revenue. The economy continues to be monoculture with oil as the main revenue generator but rebuilding infrastructure is a sure path to wealth creation in our cities. Our infrastructure spending is lagging compared with countries of comparative resources. Nigeria’s capital expenditure as percentage of GDP compared to other countries in Africa as well as other low-income countries is low, with Nigeria trailing even low-income countries. Summing up, good infrastructure does affect the growth-poverty relationship by speeding up the reduction of disparities across the urban divide; that is between the poor and the rich, the slum dwellers and members of the gated communities. Again, infrastructure services enhance economic growth while economic growth in turn contributes to infrastructure development in a virtuous circle. It contributes to economic growth through rising productivity of existing factors of production, reducing production costs, creating employment through new business opportunities, by easing access to capital markets, and improving the welfare of households. Clearly, the government has an important leadership role to play in closing the urban divide that so harshly penalizes all of us, rich and poor. • Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, a professor is the most senior director at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi.
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Ekiti, ASO Savings in N1b workers’ mortgage scheme Mortgage Finance From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti efforts to complete its IandNvarious housing projects provide mortgage services to workers, Ekiti State state government has entered into partnership ASO Savings and Loans PLC. Under the terms of agreement signed recently, ASO Savings will provide mortgage facility to the tune of One Billion Naira, which will enable the state provide affordable housing units for the civil servants. According to the Managing Director of the Fountain Holdings Limited, Mr Olumuyiwa Ogunmilade, the facility will assist to fast track the completion of Eyiyato Housing Estate and all ongoing government financed housing projects as well as new ones across the state. Speaking during the unveiling of the project in Ado-Ekiti, ASO representative in charge of Mortgage, Mrs. Okechukwu Ngozi said her organization was working in partnership with Ekiti Government to provide back-to-back housing loans to the people of the state. She said the partnership
The partnership, apart from the provision of affordable housing through Ekiti State Affordable Housing Scheme (ESAHS) will offer mortgage banking and advisory services to the government apart from the provision of affordable housing through Ekiti State Affordable Housing Scheme (ESAHS) will offer mortgage banking and advisory services to the government. Ngozi added that construction finance worth N600 million naira would be made available to ESAHS, Ekiti Homes Agenda and other reputable developers for the provision of cheap and affordable housing in the state. She said the employees on the pay role of the state government under the arrangement would be made to access long-term and affordable mortgages and loans from the National Housing Funds (NHF). Also speaking, the Zonal Coordinator, of the Federal Mortgage Bank (FMBN) Ibadan Zonal office, Engr. Yusuf Yinusa said the funds could only be accessed through subscription to the NHF. He said FMBN works with
primary mortgage institutions like ASO savings and loans to make the application packages available to the buyers. He said 2.5 per cent of the monthly salary of any worker who buys into the package is deducted for a tenure of thirty years Yinusa, however advised the prospective buyers to go through their mortgage banks and subscribe to the NHF to be part of the scheme. Mr Ope Akeju, who represented the State government said the partnership was “a right step in the right direction”, capable of meeting the State government 5000 housing units target. While noting that such projects require sustainable strategy, he urged the partners to abide by the terms of the arrangement. Others at the briefing were Mr Segun Akinyele, Mr John Okonkwo of the ESAHS and Mr Emeka Okwor of ASO Savings.
Enugu plans new housing scheme for low-income earners Housing From Lawrence Njoku,Enugu NUGU State Government E last week to develop more housing estates for lowincome earners before the exit of his administration next year. Governor Sullivan Chime said that the completion of the housing estate began by his predecessor; Dr Chimaroke Nnamani has doused criticisms that his administration had abandoned projects of past administration in the state. Chime said that the housing estate was the second inherited by his administration from previous government that was being completed, stressing that nothing tangible had been done on the projects when he took office in 2007. “We took it over and revoked plots and gave it to more serious people who are willing to develop and today the place is one of the best estates in Nigeria”, he said. Commending the Managing Director of the state housing corporation, Ikeji Asogwa for his efforts, the governor urged the incoming administration to continue with affordable housing policies in the state. He stated that his administration has a policy of not rejecting any land application, assuring that the 200,000 hectares of land recently acquired would meet the land needs of the s t a t e .
Earlier, Asogwa had said that his corporation had provided basic infrastructure at the estate including asphalted roads, transformers, streets lights, and underground reservoir tanks as well as accommodated a sub-station of the Enugu electricity distribution company. He however, called on the governor to intervene on the issue of portable water at the estate, stressing that it was the biggest problem facing occupants at the place. He said of the 60 flats had not been sold, explaining that the estate had been designed to accommodated
low income earners in the s t a t e . Asogwa said the corporation had in the past six years assisted the state government with the construction of 37 kilometer asphalt roads, 53 culverts, 97 drainages, 3 bridges as well as provided transformers to completed estates in the state. The estate which took off as Loma Linda Housing estate under the Nnanmani administration was rechristened Maryland housing estate, when it was taken over by Chime administration in 2007. It comprised of two and three bedroom flats.
Ogun to focus on affordable housing, urban renewal Housing ONCERNED by the need to provide qualitative and affordable housing for its teaming populace in Ogun State, the current administration has expressed its readiness to focus more on affordable Housing and Urban Renewal to meet the yearnings of the people. The State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun stated this while delivering a speech at the 2nd Ogun State Investors’ forum held in Abeokuta. According to him, state government was committed to the provision of housing for all, hence, government had evolved creative and participatory processes between the public and the private sector
to achieve a Amosun said that government had put in place varieties of two, three and four bedroom housing units at Plainfields Estate, the development of 170 hectare sites and services residential scheme at Kobape, the creation of MITROS city and New Town in Isheri. He added that the first phase of a housing scheme for Civil and Public Servants under a Home Ownership Programme tagged “Mission One” in Laderin, where 200 housing units were currently being built; while enjoining investors to take advantage of these achievements and collaborate with the state through massive investment.
The 27-storey building in Mumbai, India
Ambani’s 27-storey skyscraper named most expensive home in the world Real Estate NDIA’S wealthiest man Iskyscraper Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey home in Mumbai has topped the Forbes List of the most expensive billionaire homes in the world. The 400,000-square-foot house is named “Antilia”, after a mythical island in the Atlantic. Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, reportedly spent between $1bn (€728m, £593m) and $2bn for the construction of the house. That equals the construction costs for seven (7) World Trade Center, the 52-story tower that stands just north of Ground Zero in Manhattan with 1.7 million square feet of office space. “The title of the most outrageously expensive property in the world still belongs to Mukesh Ambani’s Antilia in
Mumbai,” Forbes said. The 570-foot skyscraper includes six stories of underground parking, three helicopter pads, and reportedly requires a staff of 600 to keep it running. Construction on the building started in 2008 and finished late in 2010. The second in the Forbes list is Lily Safra’s Villa Leopolda, in Villefranche-sur-mer, France. Spanning over 20 acres, the property is reportedly one of several waterside homes that King Leopold II of Belgium built for his many mistresses, according to Reuters’ Eric Gaillard. It was valued at €500m, when Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov tried to buy it in 2008. Prokhorov eventually backed out of the deal, losing his €50m deposit. The third-most expensive billionaire home is Ira Rennert’s Fair Field in New
York. The property, which has never traded hands, is valued at about $248.5m in its latest tentative tax assessment. The property boasts of 29 bedrooms, three swimming pools and its own power plant on premises. Recently sold at $237m, a penthouse at One Hyde Park, London is the fourth one on the list. The apartment was sold to an Eastern European, who is believed to be a billionaire. Lakshmi Mittal’s Kensington Palace Gardens in London is the fifth most expensive home in the world. Hedge fund billionaire Noam Gottesman sold the property for $22m in 2008. The steel magnate is believed to own three homes on the high-security street known as ‘Billionaires Row’, including a neo-Georgian mansion near the Israeli embassy.
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Monday, June 2, 2014
African ministers advocate autonomy for water, sanitation in Post-MDG agenda Water Resources By Chinedum Uwaegbulam HE African Ministers T Council on Water (AMCOW) has advocated for independent positioning of water and sanitation in the post MDG agenda in 2015. The Interim President of AMCOW, who is also the Minister of Water Resources in Nigeria, Sarah Reng Ochekpe made this declaration recently in Dakar, Senegal at the 5th African Water Week, organized by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) in conjunction with the African Union and other stakeholders. She revealed that AMCOW is a forum of African Ministers responsible for water and acting in the spirit of the African Union with its primary objective to keep under constant review water resources management as well as policies, strategies and actions for addressing the challenges facing the continent in the area of water and sanitation. The AMCOW President said that the centrality of water in socio-economic development was is no longer debatable, adding that it has a link to the resolution of global challenges such as poverty reduction, sanitation and healthy human living as well as decreasing productivity. “The theme of the 5th African Water Week is tagged: “Placing Water at the Heart of the Post 2015 Development Agenda. The theme could not have come at a more auspicious time than now as we march spiritedly to 2015 and begin to take stock of how far we have performed with the Millennium Development Goals and what needs to be done to engender sustainable development after 2015,” she noted. According to her, the conference came at a very critical turning point and did
Water scarcity... any hope in sight? provide the platform for Africa and its friends at the global level to focus on addressing the challenges faced in water resources management. In his welcome remarks, the Minister of Water and Sanitation in Senegal, Pape Diouf said that effective and efficient management of water resources and sectoral
matters have remained crucial in the collective efforts to grow the economy and tackle environmental and climate change impact. He explained that water is imperative for boosting agriculture and food production as well as enhancing energy production and efficiency in water transport. Pape Diouf inferred that as stakeholders take stock of
their successes and lapses in the implementation of MDG targets for water and sanitation, it is imperative to capture the essence that water rests at the heart of everything that is important for human life - food, sanitation, energy, transport and environment among others. Adding, it is critical and essential for driving social
well-being and economic growth. Also speaking on behalf of the African Union Commission, the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Rhoda Tumusiime, represented by Muhammed Timamy said that AMCOW has sought to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty
eradication among Member States through the management of water resources and the provision of water supply services. She also noted that under the auspices of AMCOW, a consultative process to stimulate debate on positioning water in post-2015 development
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Conservationists, Bauchi in MoU to protect Elephants in Yankari Game Reserve Conservation From Anietie Akpan, Calabar ITH African elephant W becoming endangered species due to poaching by hunters, a conservation group - Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bauchi state government to preserve Yankari Game Reserve and protect elephants within the area. Bauchi is a key protected area in Nigeria that contains the largest remaining population of elephants in the nation and one of the largest in West Africa. The reserve contains an estimated 350 elephants – the only viable population remaining in Nigeria. In addition, the 866square-mile (2,244 square kilometers) reserve supports important populations of lion, buffalo, hippo, roan antelope, and hartebeest. Originally created as a game
Under the agreement, WCS will launch its 96 Elephants campaign, provide funding and support for regular anti-poaching patrols in Yankari including equipment as well as training and to make Yankari one of the most popular tourism destinations reserve in 1956, Yankari was upgraded to a national park in 1991. It was managed by the National Parks Service until 2006 when responsibility for the management of the reserve was handed back to Bauchi State Government. Since then tourism infrastructure has been dramatically improved. Yankari is now one of the most popular tourism destinations in Nigeria. A statement from the Country Director, WCS Nigeria Programme, Mr. Andrew Dunn, said, “support from WCS began in 2009. Since then protection of wildlife has improved, although hunting and grazing of livestock within the reserve have not yet been brought under full control.
He disclosed that unconfirmed reports suggest that an unknown number of elephants may have been killed in recent years to supply Nigeria’s illegal trade in ivory. “In addition to the funds provided by Bauchi State Government under the terms of the MOU” he said, “WCS’s 96 Elephants campaign will also provide funding and support for regular anti-poaching patrols in Yankari including equipment and training”. “Yankari Game Reserve is an ecological gem of West Africa,” said Dr. James Deutsch, Executive Director of WCS’s Africa Programme. “We are extremely proud to be entrusted with preserving this critically important wildlife area by the Governor of Bauchi State, Malam Isa
Yuguda for the benefit of the people of Bauchi State and Nigeria.” WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature and it envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. Dunn noted that “WCS is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis in September, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign to amplify and support the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) “Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants” by stopping the
killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand”. Meanwhile, the Bamba in Boki LGA, Cross River State has handed over a hunter who killed a Chimpanzee to the state’s task force. Led by their able chief, Vincent O. Mkpe, the community quickly identified the hunter responsible for this heinous act as Ubua Stanley, and he was duly arrested. A joint team from the Governor’s Task Force on AntiDeforestation and the Cross River State Forestry Commission immediately traveled to the village, ensuring that the culprit appeared before the magistrate in Obubra in less than 24 hours. Dunn said, “justice was indeed swift and, using the newly revised forestry and wildlife law of Cross River State (2010), the man was sentenced to one year imprisonment with the option of a N100, 000 fine”. The nine communities that
surround the mountain traditionally own the Mbe Mountains and the area is managed for conservation and development by the Conservation Association of the Mbe Mountains (CAMM) with support from the WCS and is home to other rare and endangered species such as the Cross River gorilla in addition to the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee. He said, “the importance of the Mbe Mountains as a wildlife haven, and a source of pride for Cross River State, has not gone unnoticed. Bamba the Gorilla was recently unveiled as the official mascot and logo for the 19th National Sports Festival scheduled for Calabar in November 2014”. The Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee is the most endangered of four subspecies of chimpanzee currently found in Africa. Man’s closest living relative, the ape is fully protected by Nigerian law, and now by communities also.
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Monday, June 2, 2014 | 57
How to transform environment ministry, tackle emerging challenges The Environment S Environment Minister, A Mrs. Laurentia Mallam intensifies her familiarization tour of formations under her Ministry, expectations are high that the new Minister will take concrete steps to address the daunting challenges facing the Ministry and the Nigerian Environment. Critical issues requiring urgent Ministerial attention range from corruption in the system, lack of office accommodation, poorly motivated workforce and dilapidated office furniture whose life span have long expired and are now an eyesore all over the Ministry. The most fundamental challenges in the sector have to do with the huge debts of over N10 billion hanging on the neck of the Ministry, the oil spillage in the Niger Delta and particularly in Bonga which has affected shoreline communities in Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa among others, the massive erosion threating the entire South East and the lead poison in Zamfara, yet to be comprehensively tackled. Other problems have to do with drought and desertification threatening the Northern Nigeria, poor implementation of the Great Green Wall project, and challenges facing the National Parks. Of equal importance is the issue of flooding in parts of the country occasioned by the consequences of climate change as well as issues of pollution control and waste management, environmental health. The continued shift in the date to stop gas flaring. At the Centre of all of these is poor funding of the sector and low internally generated revenue. It is worthy of note that Mrs. Mallam herself has already acknowledged the fact of poor funding when she lamented that the Ministry has just N7 billion for its entire budgetary allocation for the year 2014. Many say, the time for Mallam to start the fight for the 2015 budget for key projects in the sector is now. While pressing for more funds in next year’s budget, the minister must get the Federal Government to meet
Gas flaring in the Niger Delta region, recently
With the environment ministry getting an allocation of N7 billion in the budget and facing obligation under the National Environmental Campaign, stakeholders are of the opinion that the minister should mount pressure for an increase in budgetary allocation, tackle the issues of gas flaring and kick-start the Great Green Wall project her obligation for the counterpart funding of the Great Green Wall and other projects. Luckily, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Namandi Sambo, an architect, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Great Green Wall is from the same state with the Minister and is likely to support this noble efforts. The connection is complete and Mallam has no excuse to fail except she chooses to be complacent,
she can utilize the window on supplementary budget to get more funds. While pressing for funding, the Minister should also learn from the mistakes of her predecessors who lost most of the plants they planted under the great green wall project to drought and desertification. These plants died out because there was no maintenance agreement or arrangements which Government would have secured with the various contractors handling the planting for at least two years
to ensure that the trees are nurtured sufficiently to maturity level before being handed over to the Ministry. It is also important for the Minister to embark on adequate sensitization programme for host communities who should also be availed enough tree seedlings to plant. The host communities should be made to own the Great Green Wall Project. Taking ownership is the best way to guarantee rapid planting, and maintenance of the expected forests that will spring out of
the project. Other less endowed countries such as Mauritania and Mali have succeeded in this project. Another area of grave concern, which no Minister of Environment has ever confronted head-long is the issue of gas flaring. The starting point for Mallam is to visit the Niger Delta area and specifically oil installations and production facilities to see for herself the mount of gas being flared into the atmosphere. This will enable her appreciate fully the environ-
mental consequences of these activities. Can Mallam press the necessary buttons to stop gas flaring to save the Nigerian environment or will she simply fall in line the same way her predecessors did to allow gas flaring to continue? Time will tell. The next challenge for Mallam is the consistent and monumental oil spillage that has ravaged host communities of the Niger Delta. The most recent is that of the Bonga Oil Spillage. Yes, the Minister started well by attempting to bring warring stakeholders; Shell and host communities of the shoreline to the table to seek amicable resolution of the problem. The Minister has to pursue this to a logical conclusion. Of equal importance is for the Minister and Oil Companies operating in the Niger Delta to carry out sustained sensitization campaign within the affected communities with a view to discourage people of host communities to avoid acts capable of causing oil spillage. If pipeline vandalization is curbed, oil spillage can be minimized by 90per cent. The people must be made to know the environmental consequences of oil spillage on their lives, crops and health. Where oil spillage is occasioned by deliberate sabotage, culprits must be apprehended and brought to book, rather than being compensated. Where operating companies are responsible, prompt and adequate compensation must be paid to affected persons and communities. Another area of worry is the issue of the embarrassing 10.2billion debt profile hanging on the neck of the Ministry. It is a known fact that some contractors have already obtained court judgments leading to attachment of the properties especially vehicles belonging to the Ministry. Our advice in this regard is that the Minister should engage the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to verify some of these contracts. Those found to be genuine should be paid promptly, while those found to be fraudulent should speedily be made to face prosecution.
UN Helicopter returns Gorilla orphan to DR Congo Conservation N endangered female A Grauer’s gorilla, confiscated from poachers in Rwanda three years ago, was airlifted home to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) by United Nations peacekeepers on May 18 in a transfer coordinated by a coalition of conservation partners that included the Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN), Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (Fossey Fund),
Gorilla Doctors, Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center, Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), and Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC). Gorilla Doctors drove the orphaned gorilla from Kinigi, Rwanda to the Congolese border town of Goma early in the day, with logistical support from Fossey Fund, RDB, and local law enforcement. From there, UN helicopters transported the 4-year-old gorilla named “Ihirwe,” which means
“luck” in the local Kinyarwanda language - to the GRACE Center in Kasugho, a remote region of northeastern DR Congo. At GRACE, Ihirwe will join 13 other orphaned gorillas in the world’s only sanctuary dedicated to Grauer’s gorillas. This will be her first chance to live with other gorillas after she was illegally captured from the wild by poachers in 2 0 1 1 . The MI 8 helicopter rescue was part of the UN’s regularly scheduled air traffic within the region and part of the UN
Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC’s (MONUSCO) efforts, who arranged to transport the gorilla through GRASP. The flight reduced what would have been a grueling 150-mile (250 kilometers) trip overland to less than two h o u r s . “GRASP is extremely grateful to the MONUSCO officials who made this transfer possible,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “We recognize that moving endangered species to safety is not normally part of a peacekeeping mission, but MONUSCO’s willingness to
help underscores its commitment to protecting DR Congo’s natural heritage.” Ihirwe was confiscated from poachers as an infant, and had been living in a quarantine facility in the town of Kinigi, where Fossey Fund and Gorilla Doctors provided caregivers to stay with her 24 hours a day since her arrival, acting as surrogate parents. The Gorilla Doctors’ international team of veterinarians nursed the young gorilla back to health after her rescue and have overseen her medical care throughout her time in
R w a n d a . “We are thrilled to see Ihirwe finally return home to DRC and join other gorillas of her own subspecies at GRACE,” said Gorilla Doctors Regional Veterinary Manager Dr. Jan Ramer. “Under round-theclock care, we have watched Ihirwe grow from a malnourished, frightened infant at the time of her rescue, to a healthy, confident young g o r i l l a . ” The international collaboration to transport Ihirwe to
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58 | Monday, June 2, 2014
PROPERTY GUIDE African ministers seek autonomy for water, sanitation in Post-MDG agenda
‘Most progressive water utility in Africa’ wins 2014 Stockholm Water Award
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framework was initiated, calling for a distinct global water goal: “Ensuring Water Security for All”. She indicated that Africa’s political commitment to this cause was demonstrated by subsequent decisions of the AMCOW Executive Committee in Cairo in 2013 to endorse the goal and set targets for Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Water Resource Management (WRM) and Waste water Management and Water Quality (WWM&WQ). While commenting at the event, the Secretary General of AMCOW, Bai-Mass Taal said that the MDGs are coming to an end in 2015; noting that African countries want the inputs in the post-MDG to include water security for all. “We don’t want the global agenda to be defined without African input through this Africa Water Week. We should have a perspective to send to New York as what Africa wants in the water sector”, he stated. Meanwhile, a new interactive map, published by the international development charity WaterAid, has been launched online showing that if Nigeria increased access to clean drinking water by 3.2 million extra people every year, it would be on track to reaching the historic mark of everyone in the country having access to clean
UN Helicopter returns Gorilla orphan to DR Congo CONTINUED FROM PAGE 57 her new home represents the strong commitment of both Rwanda and DR Congo to protecting their countries’ great apes. At GRACE, Ihirwe will relearn forest skills and be integrated into a gorilla social group so that one day she may be released back into the wild. “It is heartening to see Ihirwe make the transition to a new family at GRACE after caring for her in Rwanda for nearly three years,” said Clare Richardson, President and CEO of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. “By actively engaging Congolese communities living near gorilla habitat through our Grauer’s Gorilla Research and Conservation Program in DRC, we are also making an effort to stem the animal trafficking that produces these orphans.” The 2013 GRASP report, Stolen Apes, estimates that a minimum of 2,972 great apes are lost from the wild each year in Africa and Asia through illicit activity, and gorillas comprise 14 per cent of that total. Eastern Lowland gorillas also known as Grauer’s gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri) are classified as “endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, and are found only in eastern DR Congo.
HEKWINI Water and T Sanitation, a part of Durban Municipality in South Africa, has been named the 2014 winner of the Stockholm Industry Water Award, for its transformative and inclusive approach to providing water and sanitation services. “This recognition reflects the work of our whole team over the past 22 years and is a tremendous honour for all of us here in Durban,” says Neil Macleod, head of eThekwini Water and Sanitation. South Africa’s constitution from 1996, praised as a model for inclusion of social rights, enshrined the human right to water. Local government was tasked with putting it into practice. Soon after, Durban, one of the country’s main urban centres, expanded its administrative boundaries to include 3.5 million people, some of them living in poorly serviced rural areas with huge water and sanita-
eThekwini has championed the approach to provide sufficient water to sustain human life, as expressed in the South African constitution, now embedded in national policy. The methods used and results achieved by eThekwini Water and Sanitation serve as a sterling example for the many communities worldwide facing similar challenges tion challenges. The eThekwini municipality decided to face these challenges head-on. In the past 14 years, 1.3 million additional people in greater Durban have been connected to piped water and 700,000 people have been provided with access to toilets. In respecting the constitutional right to water while maintaining financial sustainability, access to basic water supply and sanitation is provided at no cost to poor families, while higher levels of service and consumption are charged at full cost. In addition to successfully providing basic services to a large and diverse population, eThekwini Water and Sanitation is at the forefront of
exploring technical and social solutions. One example is a mini hydro-power project: instead of using pressure reducing valves in pipes running down steep hillsides, the company is installing mini turbines using the excess pressure to generate electricity for the city’s low tension grid. The eThekwini municipality is also pioneering solutions to convert urban wastewater challenges to agricultural opportunities as well as harvesting rainwater. The combined result is one of the most progressive utilities in the world. The open approach to experimenting and piloting new solutions across both technical and social aspects of service delivery has made eThekwini a forerunner in the world of
utility-run services. One partner comments that “leaders at eThekwini have already been betting on new and risky approaches to test innovation that will ultimately have a long term benefit for the population, most municipalities refrain from exploring ideas out of the box, focusing on business as usual.” § “eThekwini has championed the approach to provide sufficient water to sustain human life, as expressed in the South African constitution, now embedded in national policy. The methods used and results achieved by eThekwini Water and Sanitation serve as a sterling example for the many communities worldwide facing similar challenges,” states the Stockholm Industry Water Award (SIWA) jury in its citation. Water and Sanitation unit of eThekwini Municipality was established in 1992. It manages the water and sanitation services for the 3.5 million people living in the Durban area, and has worked with
some of the world’s major actors and knowledge hubs in water and sanitation as well as development, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, the University of KwaZuluNatal, Borda, Eawag, and DHI. Its methods have been replicated across the country and region, and eThekwini representatives are successfully sharing and disseminating their findings and working methods. The Stockholm Industry Water Award (SIWA) was established in 2000 to stimulate and celebrate outstanding and transformative water achievements by companies in improving production, managing risks, finding solutions and contributing to wise water management. The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) were partners in establishing the award, which is also supported by International Water Association (IWA) and World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF).
NEST completes Africa adaptation projects in two states, FCT Climate Change By Chinedum Uwaegbulam RONTLINE environmental FEnvironmental group, Nigerian Study Action Team (NEST) has officially drawn curtains on three key community based projects, launched in Nuku community, Abaji Area Council, FCT Abuja, Ofante community of Olamaboro Local Government Area in Kogi State, and Ikpem community at Ehime Mbano Local Government of Imo State, meant to provide succor to communities ravaged by the effects of climate change. The NEST project is part of the $92.1 million Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) designed to assist 20 countries, including Nigeria incorporate climate change risks and opportunities into their national development processes in order to protect development gains from climate change. The programme was financed by the Government of Japan and launched in 2008 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP). In Nuku community, Abaji Area Council, FCT Abuja, NEST commissioned a water project consisting of two water harvesting facilities fitted with inbuilt purification gadgets and rehabilitation of an abandoned borehole which is the only one with water in the community. The borehole was rehabilitated and converted to solar powered system for the community’s uses. Similarly, in Ofante, community, Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi
The commissioning ceremony of the project in Nuku Community, Abaji Council in the FCT State, the group inaugurated a similar water project on April 24, 2014. The intervention in Ofante included provision of two water harvesting facilities, training of selected community members on the construction, usage and maintenance of the water harvesting facilities and training of community members on Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH). For Ikpem community in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State, NEST competed water harvesting project on to support an Oil palm processing livelihood project, which the Anglican Church had commenced, but was not operational due to water challenges. Recognizing the secu-
rity challenges that may arise especially with the facilities NEST constructed, a two-bedroom apartment to accommodate those proving security for the livelihood project. The Nuku project was commissioned recently by the Chairman, Abaji Area council Alhaji Garuba Gbe who was represented the Speaker of the Area Council, Audu Agaba. In his keynote address, the Chairman expressed appreciation for the water project, which incidentally is one of the major programme thrusts of his administration- water for all. He narrated how water among others had been a major issue in Nuku community and the area even before his birth with several failed attempts at resolving it. He finally requested for more
interventions as opportunities and resources allow. In Ofante, the Chairman, Olamaboro Local Government Area, Faruk Adejoh who was represented by the Supervisory Councilor for Health, John Oguche said his administration has the plan that within the three years lifespan to sink boreholes in all the 12 wards in the council area. He however said that some wards are highly populated like Ogane Okai in Ofante and 1 borehole cannot meet their water needs therefore, he beckoned on organizations like NEST to rise in complementing government efforts. The Executive Director of NEST, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba who was represented by Mr. Isaac Oloogunebi
emphasized that climate change is real and we all are affected and we need to adapt to survive. He thanked the community members and all who played significant roles for the support they gave NEST during the project implementation. He encouraged the community members to use the facilities provided well and ensure that it is not vandalized. He finally advised that community members should make use of the knowledge gained during Water, Sanitation and Health training (WASH) exercise conducted by NEST, to prevent water borne and sanitation related diseases in the community.
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MONDAY, June 2, 2014 59
FINANCIALGUARDIAN Kakawa tasks operators on financial inclusion drive By Helen Oji AKAwA Asset Management, K a subsidiary of Investment One Financial Services Limited, has stressed the need for financial institutions to enhance financial inclusion and promote investment habits amongst young, saying part of these investments are used to finance infrastructure projects in the country. The Managing Director of the company, Mrs. Ore Sofekun, while speaking at the young investors’ forum 2014, organized by Investment One Financial Services Limited in Lagos at the weekend, explained that the company has designed several mutual funds for youths to promote investment culture among them. She explained that the company invests these funds in treasury bills used to finance infrastructure projects in the country, noting that earlier knowledge of investment would ensure successful life among youths in future. Delivering a paper titled “capital market investment and its inherent opportunities for wealth creation in life”, the General Manager, Quotations and Listings, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Taba Peterside, said the stock market has no age limitation and price share limitation. “The stock market is a platform for raising funds, for the absolute purpose of saving and for building wealth. It is completely trivial for students to have the perception of quick money syndrome, which has in one way or the order jeopardized the bright future of some young people. “For now, it is very significant for young undergraduates to start investing for the future and the best form of investment for them should be the long term investment, not the short term investment. Short term investment will only work when there are huge funds in place, of which I am convinced that the students at this stage do not have them,” she added.
Head, E-Commerce, Ms Ololade Fadoju (left); General Manager and Head, Communications and External Affairs, Mrs. Lola Odedina; Divisional Head, Small and Medium Enterprises, Lagos Island, Ayodele Adewunmi; and Divisional Head, SME, Lagos Mainland, Mrs. Adeola Oyegbade, all of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, during the launch of SME MarketHub, in Lagos, at the weekend.\
FIrS warns banks against tax revenue diversion From Mathias Okwe (Assistant Business Editor, Abuja) ANKS collecting tax revB enue on behalf of the Federal Inland revenue Service (FIrS) have been warned against the continued delayed remittance of revenue to the approved Federal Government Account at the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Acting Chairman of the FIrS, Alhaji Kabir Mashi who gave the warning said some banks of late have formed the habit of not remitting tax revenue collected on its behalf to the appropriate account and hinted that the tax agency may soon wield the big stick.
It would be recalled that the FIrS under the immediate past Chairman, Mrs. Ifueko Omogui - Okauru has had to sack some banks that were neck- deep in tax diversion, with some of them having other banks appointed over them as receivers on a daily basis. Mashi who voiced his concern about tax revenue diversion or delayed remittance also gave June 31st this year as deadline for all companies in the country with December 31, 2013 as year -end to file their returns. He gave these warnings on wednesday at the taxpayers sensitization workshop organised by the Medium Tax
Department of the FIrS in Lagos. According to a statement by the Tax Agency’s Head, Communications and Liaison Department, wahab Gbadamosi, Mashi who was represented by the Director, Medium Tax Department, Peter Olayemi said FIrS appreciated the role banks play in the tax collection process but appealed to banks to cultivate the culture of collecting the taxes and promptly remitting them to the right accounts instead of remitting them to wrong accounts or sitting on them. His words: “Permit me to use this opportunity to further appeal to our bankers to culti-
Imo received N168 billion in three years, says Okorocha From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri MO State Governor, rochas IsaidOkorocha on wednesday, the state government has received a total of N168 billion as federal allocation and revenue accrued to the state in the last three years. Okorocha said out of the said amount, N165 billion was received from the feder-
al allocation while N3 billion was received as revenue within the period under review. Speaking at the Imo International Conference Centre, Owerri, Okorocha said out of the said amount, about 70 per cent was used on recurrent expenditure, while the rest was expended on infrastructural development, adding that he was
prudent in fiscal discipline, including the free education programme up to tertiary level. He said he forfeited his N4 billion-security vote for development projects, stressing that he had plugged all the financial leakages and saved for execution of over 1,000 completed and ongoing projects in the 27 Local
councils in the state. The governor said he inherited over N19 billion in debt, which the state government has been servicing among other burden. The event was witnessed by a former speaker of the House of representatives, Mallam Masari, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Audu Ogbe, Ezikiel Izuogu, among others.
vate the habit of promptly remitting the taxes collected on behalf of the Service. This clarion call for prompt remittance is germane to achieving the aims and objectives of tax collection in particular and realisation of the transformation agenda of the Federal republic of Nigeria in general”, he said. Mashi also thanked other tax professionals and tasked them on having the good of the nation at heart while they consult or plan taxes for their clients. “You are at the middle of the affairs, that is between FIrS and the taxpayers. Your timely advice in reminding your clients (taxpayers) of their obligations and letting them know the implications of non-compliance is key to the development of our tax system. we sincerely believe that as partners in progress, we can collectively work together to galvanise the economy by optimising the non-oil tax revenue through mutual understanding and collaboration”, Mashi said. The Coordinating Director, Field Operations Group, Bamidele Ajayi urged all FIrS stakeholders to see the opportunity of FIrS-stakeholders collaborations as avenues to building mutual trust and
goodwill as partners in progress. Bamidele, who was represented by Deputy Director, MTD, Bamidele Aina said: “Few days ago, a larger and similar stakeholders engagement was held in Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos where the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, talked extensively on the need for tax consultants and taxpayers alike to work closely with FIrS to promote voluntary tax compliance among the generality of taxpayers in the country. “The Service decided to organise this sensitisation workshop in order to educate and inform you, our critical stakeholders, so that we can work together to realise the vision of the Service which is “to deliver quality service to taxpayers in partnership with other stakeholders and make taxation the pivot of national development”. Bamidele said the workshop would not have come at a more appropriate time that now when the majority of the non-oil taxpayers with their accounting year ended 31st of December, 2013 have up to 30th of June this year to file their income tax returns.
IMF hinges Nigeria, others’ growth benefits on bridging poverty gap FrICA is “taking off” with A strong, steady growth but poverty is unacceptably high so that governments need to build infrastructure and institutions and educate people to share the benefits more widely, the IMF’s head said on Thursday. Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow by around 5.5 percent this year - well above the global average - with some of its poorest countries expanding by closer to 7 percent,
Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director, told an IMF conference in the Mozambican capital Maputo. But the IMF chief said although the region had become a growing investment destination for both advanced and emerging economies, with a record $80 billion of inflows expected this year, the economic benefits of the growth surge had yet to be widely distributed
across the region’s population. “Poverty remains stuck at unacceptably high levels - still afflicting about 45 percent of the region’s households,” Lagarde told the meeting of African finance ministers and development experts. Despite forecasts of continuing strong expansion for the region, its positive outlook has been darkened this year with flare-ups of conflict, insurgency and violence. This
has ranged from civil war in the world’s newest state, South Sudan, an insurgency waged by radical Islamist Boko Haram group in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria and attacks by Islamist militants hurting tourism and business in Kenya. As African countries tap new sources of funds through natural resource discoveries and international dollar bonds, questions have also arisen about how governments are
managing this money in fastgrowing economies like Ghana and Zambia. Lagarde said that with the international recovery still looking weak and uneven, Africa’s positive outlook also faced risks from slower growth in the world’s advanced economies and in emerging markets, which are the region’s main trade partners. Other risks included lower prices for some commodi-
ties, tighter external financial conditions and market volatility. The IMF head recommended three priorities to ensure the region’s growth can be wide, inclusive and sustained: “Build infrastructure, build institutions, and build people.” Lagarde said Africa still had big infrastructure gaps, which represented huge costs to businesses and to people.
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BusinessInterview Nigeria will emerge as manufacturing hub
PHOTOS: LADIDI LUCIE ELUKPO
Aminu Jalal, the Director-General of the National Automotive Council (NAC) believes that the nation’s automobile manufacturing sector has the potency to railroad the much expected industrial revolution in the country. In this interview with ITUNU AJAYI of our Abuja Bureau, he outlines strategies for the realization of this dream. Excerpts. ECENTLy, there have been controversies R about the nation’s automobile policy, as stakeholders have raised concern on the effect the policy would have on their businesses. What is your take on these concerns? This policy has addressed all the issues raised by some of these stakeholders and I can assure you that it would work. The main aim of the policy is to encourage the assembling of vehicles in Nigeria and secondly to develop local content for those assembling vehicles so that in future, most of the vehicles we would be using in Nigeria would be assembled locally. Though we cannot have a 100 per cent local input as no country in the world had achieved that. This is because some units are specialised and you have manufacturers who do them and again some countries specialise in some specific parts, which they export, while they too import other parts they don’t manufacture. Auto industry is not expected to be 100 per cent self-sufficient, so we want to produce some, export some and import some. That is the whole idea, so that at most, if we do that we would be able to achieve strategic balance in respect of foreign exchange, in the sense that our imports on auto products would match our exports. If you add vehicles’ parts components and tyres, they are already our second foreign exchange earners. In future, our ability to buy and import vehicles and spare parts would be dependent by foreign exchange consideration. Secondly, when you assemble and manufacture the parts locally, you get a lot of high quality jobs. For instance, when Peugeot was assembling then in Nigeria, they had achieved
close to 100 per cent local content. They had already had over 50 companies making parts for them, employing over 2,000 people. Day to day, the technology, the raw materials and the knowledge to make these local contents were also used to bolster other sectors of the economy. For instance, if you are into motorcycle, tricycle production, you can use that knowledge to produce household goods like washing machines and so on. So, if you have a commercial vehicle plant and you are assembling commercial vehicles, the same plant will do tractors, harvesters and so on. Also the same plant can build vehicles like personnel carriers, tanks and other vehicles used by the defence industry. Even our train coaches and even generators are made by those who make motorcycle engines, so you will find all these linkages in the sector especially the technology we would acquire. All automobile industries the world over were developed by auto policy except for the initial ones like the USA, Britain, France and Germany, because they started the auto industry. Every other economy that came into the industry thereafter had an auto policy except Nigeria. Brazil, China India, Malaysia, Indonesia even Japan, all had auto policies. Toyota was into the textile machineries and it was Japanese government that asked Toyota to go into manufacturing of vehicles and Toyota got all the support it required. The original Toyota family was not into vehicles but minting machineries. So, what about those raising concerns about the success of this policy in Nigeria. That is the more reason why we needed to develop this policy. Now there are some people who
are making money in the oil sector and they think that this new move of government to diversify the economy will have a negative effect on them. Like I earlier stated, we have tried as much as possible to address those concerns. For instance, we are not saying that we would not import vehicles; the vehicles will still come in. In fact, the policy says that in the first two years, assembly plants would still import and it is still these same freight forwarders that would still clear the vehicles at the ports. The reason is that when the plants start assembling, we are aware that it will take time for them to reach economy of scale. Toyota, for instance, sell about eight models in Nigeria. If they want to assemble vehicles here, we don’t expect them to assemble all the models, as they won’t have economy of scale. If they are to assemble 25,000 units of the eight models, the average would be about 2,000 to 3,000 unit per model, and they can’t have the economy of scale, but if they do maybe, two or three and import the rest, then it means that they would be doing like 10,000 unit per model, which would make them achieve economy of scale and that would make it to be profitable. If you are producing 1,200 units, I may not set up plant to supply you but with 10,000 minimum, I can set up a plant to supply you. So, we want them to assemble limited number of models, so that they would have economy of scale so as to have local content. We would allow them to import fully built vehicles (FBU) to make up for the market, so that is why there will still be importation and it is the same clearing agents that would still be in charge of the port activi-
ties. We are hoping that in future, Nigeria would be the manufacturing hub of automobiles in West Africa. Already, the auto industry has two hubs-South Africa and Egypt, where they supply neighbouring countries and even right now, we are even getting some models from South Africa. So if we don’t use this opportunity for Nigeria to become a hub of the industry in West Africa, investors would move somewhere else. Already, General Motors told the minister point blank that if Nigeria would not have a good auto policy, they would move to Ghana and that they would set up for the West Africa region in Ghana. I was there when they told him this. It is because of this policy that they are coming back and sometimes in March, the President of General Motors would be in the country to explore the possibility of an assembly plant, all because of this policy. Since the policy was announced, Nissan, Hyundai, Voxwagen, Honda , Peugeot that had withdrawn because of the earlier adverse government conditions like the lower tariff that was done on finished vehicles are coming back and they intend to start from June. KIA Motors and many other companies have already reached agreements with some companies to collaborate with. Even our popular ABC Transport is involved and look at Innoson, it is already expanding and going into assembling of cars now. Overall, we have over 10 companies now that would spread across the country and assemble vehicles. Leventis that had stopped production is planning to revive its plant in Ibadan. People should just be patient and give us time and I am sure those who are in doubt about the policy now will tell a different story in a year or thereabout, because investors would have com-
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for automobiles in West Africa, says Jalal menced operations in their assembling plants then and the bulk of people who will work in all these companies would be Nigerians. So, this policy will succeed, I am very optimistic about that. We are aware that some of these companies were in Nigeria in the 60s and 70s. Will you ascribe their withdrawal to lack of policy framework that would guarantee an enabling environment for their operations? One reason was lack of policy and two, the policy brought up that time was not implemented. In 1972, government signed an agreement with Volkswagen and Peugeot to set up plant and work started in 1975. As at that time, there was no policy as such but there was an agreement. One area of the agreement that was critical was the agreement made by government that they would cease importation except when the assembling plants could not meet demand and that they would only allow importation enough to cover the shortfall in the demand and supply. Let’s say the demand was 100 units and the assembly plants are able to produce 70 units, it implies that only 30 units would be imported. But government never kept to that agreement. Then, another one was for the assembly plants to invite their suppliers to come and establish in the country. Again, the assembly plants failed to do that, there was no framework for enforcement, so each party did what suited them. Government in a way implemented the agreement by giving import licence to the assembly plants and people who wanted to import themselves would not have import license. So in a way, government was able to control importation in favour of the assembly plants. Then in 1975, they signed agreement to set up four assembly plants for commercial vehicles. These plants took off in 1980 and by 1981, we were assembling over 100,000 vehicles yearly. But in 1985, we began to have economic problems, before then, virtually eligible Nigerians owned a new car, 95 per cent of the market was new cars, and then there was no ‘tokunbo’. The only ‘tokunbo’ vehicles we had were those sold internally after someone may have used a new car for four years and decided to sell it and buy another one. No one was importing used cars then except people who had lived and worked abroad and they decided to bring the vehicles they used there with them. But when the economic began, both the government and the people could not afford to buy new cars so we started importing used cars and so the market for the assembly plants began to go down. Then an auto policy came out in 1993 but unfortunately, that policy was not implemented in the sense that there was no circular to back it up and the government at that time was disregarding the same policy. One critical issue then was the patronage, as the same government then refused to buy vehicles from the assembly plants, despite government’s stakes in the plants- 40 per cent was for the Federal Government, while 20 per cent was for the states where they were and other distributors and other Nigerians. So, whenever the government wanted to buy vehicles for the Army, the Police and the electoral umpire then, they went for vehicles, even when the assembly plants had those products then. In fact, government stopped patronising local assembly plants, so the policy could not work when government itself was not patronising them. Then unfortunately, in 2005, the government lowered the tariffs, the tariffs were 30 per cent for commercial vehicles, this was brought down to 10 per cent and 20 per cent for cars. This made General Motors to close immediately in Apapa, Lagos. The rest gradually sold their shares and left because they said we were not serious. We were not patronizing them and at the same time, lowered the tariff to encourage importation, and there is no way the tariff would be lowered that the local assembly plants would be able to compete with imported vehicles. Going by the mistakes of the past, what are the new innovations you want Nigerians to expect from this auto policy. For this policy, we have learnt from other countries. Any country that wants to develop its auto industry must have an automotive policy. Over time, the tariff would reduce and they would have economy of scale. Government also needs to be the major patronisers of the plants so that ordinary Nigerians would take a cue from them. We have gone to the legislative arm of government for a solid legal framework to back the policy up but it’s going to be in general terms. For instance, we won’t be specific on the amount of tariff since it would be subjected to changes. But the broad subject of the policy would be explicit enough so that successive governments would not come in and change all what has been put on ground. That is just the essence of backing this policy up with legal framework. Anyone who wants
The main aim of the policy is to encourage the assembling of vehicles in Nigeria and secondly to develop local content for those assembling vehicles so that in future, most of the vehicles we would be using in Nigeria would be assembled locally.
When you assemble and manufacture the parts locally, you get a lot of high quality jobs.
We have gone to the legislative arm of government for a solid legal framework to back the policy up but it’s going to be in general terms.
to change anything in the future must first go to the national assembly for public hearing where all the stakeholders would be heard and agree before the national assembly can tamper with it. We are hoping that everything would be finalised before the end of this parliament. The new tariff regime is scheduled to begin by June/July this year and election period is approaching. Do you think the assembly plants would be able to meet local demand? That is why we would still have imports. We already have vehicles, which would take us for the next six months and if you look around auto dealers’ shops, you would see that there are enough vehicles that can meet local demand, even if we don’t import. Most of these companies are insisting that the tariff regime has to start before they come on board. Nobody wants to set up a multi-million dollar project on a promise. So, by June/July, the tariff would commence and about 10 companies would start production. Whatever we say now is just a promise, when the tariff starts, they would see it and begin operations. They are seeing all what the government is putting in place, but to actually put money before the tariff regime starts is a challenge. It has to start before they can be assured that we are serious. At the current rate of 10 to 20 per cent, no company can start production, no company can succeed at that rate, no one can start afresh at that rate and succeed. I know people are demanding that they come and set up their assembly lines and begin production before the tariff starts, but no one would do that because no one would set up a company and start production when people can bring in vehicles at a tariff rate of 10 per cent. What if they set up and we cannot deliver on the promise. This is a major cause of the delay in the take -off of the policy. It was supposed to start by January so that we can finish all preparations, have stocks of vehicles in-house so that from the time they start to rap up production, to the time they hit the market, we would still have already existing stock to fill the gap. The tariff regime is applicable to used vehicles so that the whole idea would not be defeated because people can decide to bring in a two months old vehicle and claim it is used. All they need do is just buy it and delay it for two month and bring it in as used vehicle. With the porous Nigerian borders, how do you intend to fight smuggling because raising of tariff alone can be a catalyst to increased smuggling. We are working with the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Road Safety Corps, with the new system, identification is key. What the customs would soon be doing is that when people pay duties, the vehicle identification number (VIN) of that vehicle would be in their web site and also the web site of FRSC. So, during registration of that vehicle, they would check where the vehicle identification number has been recognized by Customs as having paid duty. Without this, the owner of such vehicle would have to go back and pay duties before registration. A car is not like rice or sugar that you consume, it has to be registered and used on the road. The new system is that vehicles would not even be registered until the VIN is checked unlike the old order. How do you intend to maintain standards knowing fully well the Nigerian factor where corruption and compromise is the order of the day. Let it not be that someone would bring a prototype of vehicles and then turn around and produce something different. A car you would ride is not something that one person can just build. It takes about 2,000 engineers three years to build a new design of a car at a cost of about a billion dollar. I will tell you why. In a car, there are over 2,000 parts and components and you have to design the whole concept of the car first considering the number of passengers, its strength, booth space, tank capacity, the speed it can go, fuel consumption, leg room and all that. You do all these in aggregate terms. And then, all the 2,000 parts have to be designed individually and consider the forces that would act on them, like the environment among others. You would consider the material inputs, up to the screw and all other details and considerations. All these are done on paper, and then you build one and test it before bringing them together and test again. You can imagine the complexity now. It is when you are satisfied that you can begin to produce. You have to determine which part you would make and which part you would buy from outside. If you contract, for instance, screw to someone to produce for you, you have to be able to ascertain if such person can supply to your terms. It is not only the producer that would test it but others would be involved. So, the issue of standards has been taken care of. Besides, these companies have their reputation and integrity to protect, so they would not do anything funny. They are big names in the industry.
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Monday, June 2, 2014
PenCom initiates strategies to ensure compliance By Joshua Nse HE National Pension Commission (PenCom) has initiated strategies to increase compliance by employers, participation of the informal sector and adoption of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) by states and local governments. These steps are in collaboration with other regulators and stakeholders in the Financial Services sector to create enabling environment for investment in infrastructure and housing: taxation, land titling and registration; credit enhancement (FGN guarantee), sensitization and capacity building. The Acting Director General of the Commission, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, in her presentation at the eighth yearly business law conference held in Lagos on the topic ”The
contributory pension scheme as a catalyst for economic development in Nigeria”, said the enactment of the PRA 2014 to facilitate compliance and enforcement, enhance supervisory powers of the Commission, expand coverage of the CPS, create enabling environment for investment in the real sector. Other steps, she said, are repositioning the Nigerian pension industry for the next decade; building capacity in the industry and engaging the services of skilled and experienced financial advisers for deal structuring; and sustained support for initiatives to provide affordable housing and infrastructure development She told delegates that prior to the Pension Reform Act 2004, the public sector operated Defined Benefit (DB) scheme that was: largely
unfunded or underfunded; marred by weak, inefficient and less transparent administration; and unsustainable due to accumulated pension debt. Private sector was characterized by low coverage and compliance leaving most workers with no or inadequate retirement benefit arrangement. According to her, the objectives of the pension reform is to ensure that every worker receives his benefits as and when due; empower the worker; assist workers to save in order to cater for their livelihood during old age. Stem the growth of outstanding pension liability; establish uniform rules, regulations and standards for administration of pension maters; and establish strong regulatory and supervisory framework. She explained that thee safeguards of the contributory
pension scheme is secured through separation of the functions of management from that of custody of pension assets; government contribution is a charge on the consolidated reserve fund; guarantee of assets in custody by owners of the PFCs and mandatory statutory reserve requirement by PFAs. Meticulous investment limits and risk rating; daily monitoring of pension funds management; strict corporate governance and disclosure requirement; pension assets shall not be used to meet the claim of any creditors or be sold, or granted as loan. The role of pensions in an emerging economy she said, provides social security by alleviating old age poverty; ensures that every pensioner receives pension as and when due; the CPS stems further growth of pension liabilities as it is fully funded towards
future pension obligations; curtailment of the burgeoning pension liabilities of federal and state governments. Supports economic development – and efficient avenue for infrastructure and economic development; availability of investible funds to support the development of the real sector as well as stimulates job creation, she said. On the progress of the Contributory Pension Scheme, she explained, “Initially licensed 26 PFAs, 7
ARM Pensions fund hits N340 billion RM Pensions Limited, one of the leading Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) has grown its funds under management by 28 per cent to
Deputy President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Kayode Okunoren (left); Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo; President of the NCRIB, Ayodapo Shoderu; and Chairman of African Insurance Brokers Association, Dr Feyisayo Soyewo; during the 2014 chief executives officers retreat of the NCRIB held in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
PILA, CIIN call for release of Chibok girls EMBERS of the M Professional Insurance Ladies Association (PILA) in collaboration with the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria(CIIN) has joined voices of mothers all over the world calling for the release of the innocent Chibok’s school girls. The President of the association, Mrs. Etunde Adenuga Alatise, speaking at a press conference in Lagos to mark democracy day said, “We believe continuous and collective demand for their release will hasten people in authority and government to respond in a tactical way to finding a positive end to the suffering of our girls.”
She said, “As Nigerians celebrate democracy day, which ought to be a day of reflection and stock taking of achievements under the current democratic dispensation, we are saddened that our girls have to go through trauma as a result of the insecurity in our nation. The Chibok incident is an eye opener to the momentary failure in the security system in our schools and nation, the safety and security of our children must not be politicized under any circumstance”. According to her, “Today marks the 45th day that our girls are being held in bondage, we are crying as mothers and professional
women who believe that some of our girls will grow to become professionals if given the opportunity to be educated. If our girls are held hostage for too long by their abductors, the psychological implication on the girls will be devastating, as girls within that region will definitely abandon schools and their future becomes uncertain”. We read in Newspaper that members of the militant lslamist group had made offer to swap prisoners for our girls, we are pleading with the government to consider this offer. The psychological trauma our girls are going through is demoralizing. The dehumanization of our girls
must stop now, she said. Whilst, we appreciate the efforts of the government so far on rescuing the abducted girls, the Professional Insurance Ladies Association do hereby make a plea to the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to step up ongoing effort to free the our darling girls from captivity alive. PILA president said, “We are also buttress the call made by the National Union of teachers, imploring the Federal Ministry of Education to arrange insurance scheme/Cover for students and teachers especially in remote and sensitive areas. Insurance is a mechanism to
CPPFs and four PFCs due to mergers and acquisitions; number of registered contributors is over 5,980,415 as at February 2014; there are 95,840 retirees currently receiving pensions as and when due under the CPS as at March 2014; total pension fund assets had grown to over N4, 13 trillion as at March 2014; Nigerian CPS has become a model for other African countries; study visitations from Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania.
alleviate suffering, though money cannot replace lives lost in these areas, it can alleviate the suffering of their dependents and beneficiaries. More so properties worth billions of naira were also destroyed in the happenings in all the states involved in the mayhem”. In view of this, we seize this opportunity to call on the President to as a matter of urgency ensure that both the states and federal government embrace insurance and also make adequate provision for prompt premium payment in order to minimize losses incurred as a result of mayhem in our nation.
N340 billion in the ten months period ending December 2013. The company also witnessed growth in its subscriber base now totaling 539,075 individual account holders. This was announced by the board and management at ninth yearly general meeting held in Lagos. Over the 10 month period, ARM Pensions’ gross revenue grew by 16 per cent to N3.3 billion. Similarly, when compared to February 2013, profit before tax (PBT) and profit after tax (PAT) grew by 37 per cent and 27 per cent to N1.9 billion and N1.3 billion respectively. The managing director of the company, Sadiq Mohammed, said that the company had changed its financial year end from February to December in line with the National Pension Commission’s directive of a uniform financial year end for pension fund administrators. He added that on a comparative basis, over a 12 month period (January - December 2013), ARM Pensions’ fund under management grew by 37 per cent, revenue appreciated by 43 per cent, while profit before tax for the same period went up by 86 per cent. ARM Pension Managers (PFA) Limited was among the first seven (7) Pension Fund Administrators licensed by the National Pension Commission in 2005. A subsidiary of Asset & Resource Management Company Limited (ARM) a leading, reputable investment management firm with a very successful track record of protecting and growing investments for private investors and institutions for over a decade, the pension firms is committed to creating value for its contributors and retirees. At ARM Pensions, we appreciate the desire of every employee to maintain a comfortable standard of living after their active working life. Therefore, we have built our core tenets around the preservation of, and superior returns on, pension assets and investments, as well as prompt and efficient benefit administration. This also reflects our overall investment philosophy, which is aimed at delivering consistent long-term growth through value investing and rigorous risk management.
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PAL Pensions takes savings culture campaign to schools ENSION Alliance Limited to promote financial literacy P (PAL), as part of its corpo- in a bid to improve financial rate social responsibility inclusion.” (CSR) is taking financial literacy awareness campaign to primary and secondary schools across the country. The company believes that inculcating the tenets of good financial management to this young generation of Nigerians at this early stage of life will build in them the savings culture that no doubt eluded the present generation of adult Nigerians. This is also to consolidate the ongoing efforts in the nation’s financial services market of creating a wider savings culture through financial inclusion as being promoted by the different financial industry regulators Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Pension Commission (PenCom), the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) among others. On this campaign flag-off tagged “Financial literacy initiative in schools” which coincided with the 2014 children’s day celebration, PAL is engaging 25 schools in Nigeria with twenty in Lagos and five in other parts of the country. The managing director/CEO PAL Pensions Limited, Dave Oduanu, who led a team of the Company to Home Science Association Primary School, Ikoyi, said this is the start of our CSR initiative with regards to financial literacy. “In the past, we use to have CSR whereby we visit motherless babies’ home and old people’s home to donate things to them. But this year, we thought we should expand it
According to him, the idea is to teach them what money is all about, how to save money and what to do with money. By so doing, we begin to inculcate the culture of savings in them right from their young age. “If they cultivate that habit, when they grow up the culture of savings will resonate with them. We also gave piggy banks to the deserving pupils so that they will begin to save right away. As this is an annual event, our intension is that next year, when we come back, we will select the kids with the highest amount of savings and give them further prizes just to encourage them to save more, Uduanu said. Eriakha Mathew of Pension Alliance who also led the company’s team to AP College Ejigbo said the campaign was about catching them young, and it’s designed to make the Nigerians of the future appreciate the importance of savings as critical to building long term wealth. The campaign, which exposed the students to how key personalities that have made riches in Nigeria rose to the ladder, Eriakha noted it was intended to encourage them build role models as they grow up. Head teacher, Home Science Association Primary School, James Imana, said this is a welcome idea because we always want to expose our children to the best, and financial literacy is very important in becoming what you want to be in life.
Unitykapital Assurance celebrates consolidation From John Okeke, Abuja NITYKAPITAL Assurance U Plc which was officially established in 2007, born out of the merger of three entities celebrated its achievements in the past seven years. Describing how the three companies came together to form one company in a release by the organization stated “In September of 2005, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced a new consolidation exercise for the Nigerian insurance industry.” “Through the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Government announced new financial regulations for the Nigerian Insurance Industry, to take effect from 28th February 2007. “Under the new figures announced, Life companies are to have N2billion, General Insurance Companies are to have N3billion; and Reinsurance Companies are to have N5billion capital base respectively. In a release by the companies.” “It was in this circumstance that three Companies with many similarities in their corporate philosophy decided to fuse their operations together in a merger that resulted in our UnityKapital Assurance.” It stated. These companies were:
Intercontinental Assurance Company Limited; Global Commerce and General Assurance Company Limited, and the old Kapital Insurance Company Limited The release also noted that since it’s inception it has achieved númerous results. “In 2012 the Nigerian Corporation of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), listed UKA as one of the topten insurance companies in Nigeria based on seven criteria vis-a-vis Solvency Margin, Claims administration, Capital base, Human capital development, Geographical spread, Information technology and Corporate social responsibility.” “Declaring a profit before tax of N514.2 million in 2011 compared to N6.6 million in the same period of year 2010 showing an increase of 7748.9 per cent. A feat that has been consistently repeated since then “These recent acquisitions, awards and nominations, dominance in IT, are part of an overall strategic investment plan that will ultimately make UnityKapital a strong brand, known in all aspects of insurance, and using her strong financials to drive its new Vision of becoming one of the top three insurance companies in Nigeria (top 3 in profitability and premium income) within three years (The Vision 3-3).” It maintained.
Director-General, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Kola Ahmed (left), Council member, Eddie Efekoha, Council President, F.K Lawal, Council member, S.O Oyefeso and Managing director/CEO, Aiico Plc, Edwin Igbiti , during the 2014 fitness walk/road show organized by the Institute as part of insurance awareness campaign
‘Investors look beyond negative headlines of chaos in Africa’ NVESTORS in Africa are Ibeyond increasingly able to see negative headlines of violence in nations like South Sudan, Nigeria and Kenya, but they also seek more protection against risk for their business ventures, a senior World Bank official said. “There was a time when Africa for many investors was just like a big, big country,” Michel Wormser, vice president and chief operating officer of the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga), said. “When something happened in one side of Africa, it seemed to affect perceptions of the whole continent,” he said in Johannesburg during a visit to South Africa and Namibia. “This is not the case today. Many investors understand the difference between countries and even understand the difference within a country between regions and sectors,” he said. The World Bank agency provides political risk insurance and credit cover for investors in developing nations often emerging from years of conflict. Mr Wormser said most investors in Africa now had enough sophistication to discern long-term opportunities despite a flurry of negative news, ranging from civil war in the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, to bombs by suspected Islamist militants in Kenya and the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Islamist group Boko Haram. “There is more understanding of the riskiness and more ability from investors to distinguish between what is media hype and what is the reality on the ground, and the likeliness of their investment to yield what they expect,” he added. “Africa continues to be a land of great opportunities.”
In Nigeria, for example, where President Goodluck Jonathan has sought international help to combat a five-year-old Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast that has killed thousands, private investors were participating in groundbreaking power generation expansion projects made possible by recent reforms. MIGA, its sister arm the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank itself were helping to mobilise nearly $1.7 billion (Sh149 billion) of private financing for projects to expand Nigeria’s electricity
generation. This involved more than $600 million (Sh52.6 billion) of guarantees for the Azura Edo power plant near Benin City in southern Nigeria. The country, which recently replaced South Africa as Africa’s largest economy through a rebasing of its GDP, only had an installed generating capacity of 4,000 MW—10 times less than South Africa, Mr Wormser said. “Nigeria has to catch up. It’s absolutely critical for its competitiveness and its growth prospects and the World Bank Group has opened the way for
new IPPs (independent power producers) to come to the country,” he added. Mr Wormser said Miga could consider supporting investments in Nigeria’s violent northeast, where the government has sought World Bank backing for a programme to combat the poverty seen as a factor fuelling the Boko Haram rebellion there. The agency did have a special facility for Conflict-Affected and Fragile Economies, which it had used to support investments in Democratic Republic of Congo, for ex
ATI urges Tanzania traders to use insurance cover funds OCAL entrepreneurs were L challenged to effectively use insurance cover by the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), to access alternative sources of funding as they strive to expand their investments. Vice-President, Mohamed Gharib Bilal, opening the 14th ATI Yearly General Meeting in Dar es Salaam, appreciated the key role that ATI has played in availing the public and private sectors with access to financing sources. “With the rapid economic expansion and needs for large investments in infrastructure, donor funding is becoming insufficient to meet the massive investment needs, while domestic revenue is insufficient to cope with the financing requirements,” said Dr Bilal. Ten countries, including Tanzania created ATI in 2001 to fill a market gap in trade and investment risk mitigation in Africa, as well as address the misperception of most international lenders that the continent was unsafe for lending due to political and trade risks. Other ATI founding countries are Benin, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), Zambia, Malawi and Madagascar. By providing insurance against non-honouring of sovereign obligations, the covers have given comfort to multilateral financial institutions, development and commercial banks as well as capital market vehicle enabling them to extend funding to a
number of governments in ATI’s member countries. For example, ATI has in the last few years enabled governments to issue sovereign bonds and raise capital from bond markets and from private lending institutions in excess of one billion US dollars.
Insurer MMI plans to expand in Africa NSURER MMI said it was Iterm looking to export its shortinsurance offering to the other African countries where it operates, and that it saw expansion into India as a medium-to long-term strategy. MMI, which is awaiting regulatory approval for the R330 million acquisition of Kenyan short-term insurer Cannon Insurance, plans to focus on expanding in the rest of Africa and deepening its product offering in the 12 African countries where it already operates. “On top of the organic growth strategies if we can find selective acquisitions that would be good,” CEO Nicolaas Kruger said after the release of the company’s ninemonth trading update for the
period ended March 31. “Our plan is, in the next financial year, to start exporting our short-term insurance offering. We will take one country at a time. We only have short-term insurance in Tanzania and Kenya.” MMI also operates in Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. While the short-term priority was Africa, MMI was still interested in the Indian market, Mr Kruger said, adding: “It’s a medium-to long-term plan.” He said MMI, which opened a liaison office in India two years ago, intended researching the market first. “They (MMI staff) have learnt a lot about the market and analysed product opportunities,” said Mr Kruger.
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Belgian firms to partner govt on business development By Helen Oji IFTY Belgium companies Fpartner have concluded plans to with Nigeria on trade mission to explore business opportunities and develop various sectors of the economy. These companies from Belgium, according to the Managing Trustee, NigerianBelgian Chamber of Commerce, Paulette Van Trier would explore business opportunities in areas such as power, transport, port
equipment, construction, dredging, agro industry, health, logistics among others. Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, Trier explained that the expected huge investment in these sectors would create lot of opportunities and contributes immensely to the growth of Nigeria’s Economy. She pointed out that the trade mission would commence establish relationships with prospective business partners.
The renewed interest in Nigeria, according to her was buoyed by the robust economic growth figures recorded in Nigeria in the past few year which rated the country as the largest economy in Africa. “FOR the first time in fifteen years, an important Belgian Trade Mission will come to Lagos and Abuja from the 1st to the 6th of June, 2014. Their exploration in Lagos is under the guidance of the Nigerian – Belgian Chamber of Commerce, but powered
and initiated in Belgium by FIT – Flanders Investment and Trade, responsible for the Commercial Mission. Trade between Belgium and Nigeria is very important, as Belgium is the third largest importer to Nigeria and it is now the right time for diversification and more sustainable structure of the Belgian Trade. “The Belgian Trade Mission is led by Marc Van Peel, President of the Port of Antwerp. This renewed interest in Nigeria is buoyed by
the robust economic growth figures over the last years and the fact that Nigeria is now the largest economy in Africa with huge potentials. While in Lagos the trade delegation will visit the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Eco Atlantic City Project, in which as a matter of fact an International Belgian dredging giant and a Belgian Construction Company are actively involved in. “ Later on, the Trade Mission will focus on individual contacts with interested
Nigerians Companies in the field of Ports, Equipments, Power, transport, constructions, dredging agro-industry, health and infrastructure. The mission in Lagos is organized by the office of Mrs. Paulette Van Trier, who has more than thirty years of experience in Nigeria. The program of the Trade Mission in Abuja is in the hands of the Belgian Embassy, were a seminar on the macroeconomic aspects of the Nigerian Economy will take place. “ She added.
MTN, Microsoft, bank host SME financial forum RRANGEMENTS have been A concluded for business owners in the category of small and medium scale enterprises to improve their capacity for business development and growth with a capacity building programme known as SME Financial Forum. The second edition of the Forum is scheduled to hold in Lagos on Tuesday June 3rd. The forum is organized by SME Business Platform which hosts Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Live radio programme in association with the telecom giant, MTN Nigeria, on Inspiration 92.3FM in the past two years. The organizers of the event in a statement said the Forum would bring together all the key stakeholders in the Small and Medium Enterprise sub-sector of the economy to brainstorm and network to get the best option for financing businesses in the SME categories. Already the key stakeholders that would be at the event includes, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), the Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON) among other numerous subgroups under them. Also there will be a heavy presence of financial institutions, investment clubs and corporate organisations at the event to make presentations of their support and corporate assistance and opportunities available for SMEs in their organizations. Some of the institutions include MTN Nigeria, Microsoft Nigeria, Ecobank Plc, BoI Microfinance Bank Ltd, Heritage Bank, Leadway Assurance Limited, Regcharles Finance and Capital Limited, Vconnect Global Services, Interswitch, Paris Klub among several other corporate participants. The event is the second edition for this year. The main objective of the Forum is to create an interactive platform to bridge knowledge and information gap between SME operators and providers of working capital and other financial assistance.
Financial Director, Julius Berger, Wolfgang Kollermann(left); Transitional Leader, Deloitte Nigeria, Tawanda Gumbo; Principal Manager, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, Iko Bulus; and Associate Director, Corporate Finance, Deloitte South Africa, Jean-Pierre Labuschagne, during the infrastructure and capital projects strategic dialogue, organized by Deloitte, in Lagos.
Diamond Bank upgrades mobile app By Adeyemi Adepetun IAMOND Bank Plc has D upgraded its mobilebased banking application –the Diamond Mobile app, With this upgrade, subscribers of the mobile app can carry out more banking transactions beyond funds transfers and bills payment in a secured environment at any time of the day. Some of the features recently added to the App are flight bookings, credit card repay-
ments, account statement generation and debit card activation or deactivation. These are in addition to previously available services like funds transfer to Diamond and non-Diamond Bank accounts, payment for BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS), bills payment, airtime purchase, Diamond Bank branch and ATM locators among others. Speaking on the features of the app, Divisional Head, Corporate Communications,
Diamond Bank, Mrs. Ayona Trimnell said: “We are delighted to introduce additional benefits to the Diamond Mobile app and a N1000 cashback reward on its first use. What we have done with this upgrade is to expand the bouquet of offerings on the app to include a host of new services that help make banking with Diamond a convenient and interesting experience. “Now, Diamond Bank customers can book local and
international flights, fund their credit cards, maintain beneficiaries, generate their account statements, among others all on the palm of their hands through the mobile app.” The Diamond Mobile app can be downloaded free of charge via the Google Play Store, the BlackBerry app World, the Apple Store and the Samsung Store for android, BlackBerry, Apple and Samsung devices respectively. “Diamond Bank staff will
demonstrate the world of possibilities available with the Diamond Mobile app at the Co-Creation Hub (CC HUB), Yaba, Lagos later this month and we invite IT professionals as well as members of the general public to be part of this product demonstration. Our staff will be on hand to show the various exciting features of the app as well as assist with the installation of the app on the devices of the guests, “ Trimnell added.
Courteville declares N71m dividend, to invest in new sectors By Olawunmi Ojo OURTEVILLE Business C Solutions Plc has approved the payment of N71m as dividends to its shareholders for the 2013 financial year. Rising from its 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, shareholders of the company approved the Board of Directors’ recommendation of the payment of a dividend of two kobo per ordinary share of 50 kobo. The company’s board of directors had recommended the dividend after it recorded a 22 per cent rise turnover and eight per cent rise in both profit before tax and profit
after tax in 2013. Courteville’s audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2013 showed that its turnover rose from N1.06bn in 2012 to N1.29bn in 2013. It also showed that in the same period, the company’s profit before tax rose from N374.2m to N403.03m, while its profit after tax appreciated from N298.32m to N307.8m. Its earnings per share rose by 7.5 per cent, from N8.06 to N8.67. In a review of the company’s earnings outlook, the Group Managing Director, Courteville Business Solutions, Adebola Akindele, said the company is imple-
menting a dynamic growth strategy that will increasingly diversify its business portfolios with less attention on government projects and more focus on the private sector. He said the company would soon become a major exporter of technology and business solutions to the world, noting that Courteville has the capacity and expertise to provide biometric solutions for the economic and business needs of Nigeria and Africa. He stressed that policy makers, government institutions and private sector players need to pay attention to the business solutions that
indigenous firms like Courteville have to offer, as it is by such opportunities that the nation can experience sustainable growth and development. Highlighting the one of the unique strides made by the company, Akindele said his company has already applied online solution and technology towards eradicating the bottlenecks that once surrounded motor vehicle administration in Nigeria while it has also successfully exported such technology to other parts of the continent and the Caribbean. While assuring shareholders on future returns, Akindele
underscored the fact that the company has been one of the companies listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) that has consistently paid dividends to its shareholders in the past three to four years consecutively. On his part, Chairman, Courteville Business Solutions, Group Capt. Murtala Salami (rtd), explained that the success recorded in the year-ended was occasioned by the mix of long-range strategies and agile tactical responses initiated by the company to the challenges and opportunities that were developing in the environment.
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Media How to foster efficient delivery by journalists Seminar By Anote Ajeluorou HE MEDIA, as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, T has been ascribed a crucial role as vanguard of society that holds governance accountable and as well serve as bridge between leaders and the led. But how can it achieve this noble role in a society where impunity and corruption are rampant, where media men and women are paid slave wages or not at all? Or in environment where media performance is greatly influenced by political, commercial and other primordial sentiments? As if these are not enough, there’s the added burden or danger of unraveling official corruption in a state such as Nigeria. This falls within the purview of investigative journalism. How can they be strengthened to work better? What tools do they require for optimal output? What kind of environment best suits their work? Is there a need to build a team of investigative journalists in a media house? How exactly do media owners see themselves in relation to the journalists working for them? These were some of the issues examined at a one-day seminar organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ). It involved the collaborations of Access Nigeria Project; and the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). For Access Nigeria Project, there’s a need to build accountable institutions in the country so as to prevent impunity in all forms. Of concern to Access Nigeria Project is the level of amnesia in the reportage of news materials that easily fizzle out soon after news breaks without necessary follow-ups to logical conclusions, saying, “Nigeria news reportage is filled with breaking news without follow-ups through to points of conviction or acquittal; is Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s use of legal services outside its staff to pursue its cases justifiable?” It has as aim the need to deepen governance issues and help erase impunity, it sees a link between journalism, society and governance. But there are challenges associated with investigative journalism, and even journalism, generally. Such challenges include that investigative journalism is expensive, dangerous and
Programme Officer, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Toyin Akinniyi; Director, London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Mr. Tony Borden; Programme Manager, WSCIJ, Motunrayo Alaka; and Coordinator, IWPR, Lisa Kovack at the seminar last week… in Lagos that it’s not easy to build an investigative journalism team, also that there’s media crisis in generating revenues. Editor-In-Chief, Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi harped on poor resources in the media, as training was lacking in all facets, with media owners feeling unconcerned. The same thing goes for training institutions (universities, polytechnics, etc) that incubate new entrants into journalism, he noted, and also stressed, “There’s a terrible ethical crisis in the media, which needs to be resolved first for the media to be able to court the approval of the populace.” Director, London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Mr. Tony Borden, said coming from London, he was least qualified to talk about ethical journalism, as the case of rested News of The World tabloid shows, with the
Upswing beat for national cybersecurity forum Programme REPARATIONS are being perfected for a twoP day National Cybersecurity Forum (NCSF2014) with a view to harness the input of stakeholders the policy framework on cybersecurity; build national consensus on national cybersecurity roadmap; and facilitate a unified e-security foundation for digital Nigeria through a coordinated effort. With Towards Multi-stakeholder’s Partnership for National Cybersecurity Engagement as theme, the forum which is being facilitated by the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) will be hosted at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on June 18 and 19, 2014. It is a joint effort between the ONSA and other government establishments such as ministries of Communication Technology and Justice; Central Bank of Nigeria; Economic & Financial Crimes Commission; Nigerian Communications Commission; National Information Technology Development Agency; Nigerian Communications Satellite and Galaxy Backbone. The forum is motivated by the current security framework and threat landscape believed to be inimical to national security and economy development. The forum, organisers envisage, will help secure the cooperation, understanding and the support of other critical government agencies. This, they believe, will not only prevent disjointed policy document, but will also stimulate a coherent and all-inclusive strategy in which all other similar cybersecurity undertaken in the country will be infused into the overall framework of the National Cybersecurity Policy.
Also, the expectation is that the engagement of all stakeholders will ensure a far reaching inclusion of stakeholder’s critical views, addressing areas of strategic concerns, and laying a foundation for trusted relationship between the public and organized private sector on cybersecurity. It is hoped that the forum will lead to national consensus building towards the acceptance and the adoption of the policy and strategy documents, thereby evolving a trusted relationship required for effective implementation and partnership on cybersecurity in the country. Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Hakeem Belo-Osagie will preside over the event while Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola will be leading other dignitaries to declare the forum open. At the opening on June 18, attention will be focused on Cybersecurity Strategy Bootcamp designed for selected industries and professional bodies. It will involve technical discourse, interactions on cybersecurity strategy, sharing ideas and experiences from private sector perspective. The expected outcome is to facilitate technical input of industry and opportunity for professional contributions into the national Before now, ONSA had developed a draft policy framework and national strategy on cybersecurity. The second day of the forum will feature engagement of organised private sectors, captains of industry, policy and key decision makers in the national discourse and consultations towards building harmonized policy framework and the unified strategy on national cybersecurity.
consequence that an enquiry was constituted to probe the unethical behaviour of British papers and its journalists. He, however, gave a brief history of journalism and further insight into the commission of enquiry into News of The World saga and how it has altered the outlook of journalism in Britain. He noted, “The problem of journalism is also part of the human crisis and tragedy. Somebody from London is uniquely unfit to talk about ethics of journalism. The British media is having ethical meltdown! However, technology now ensures churnalism –simply churning out information. Technology and finance are changing the media. What the British media meltdown throws up is that the dilemma of media regulation will be with us for a long time. The media has a culture that became acceptable; the media brought its woes upon itself. “In the U.K., it’s the journalist who pays to get their stories. In fact, investigative journalists pay private investigators to get their stories for them!” Borden said there was a need to ‘build the concept of professional solidarity’ to be able to overcome some of the problems in the media, adding that the professional body of journalists, say Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) would play a key role in this regard. As contributions flowed in from participants, it became clear that certain issues stood out. In all, poor resources for journalists to work with, lack of training programme for journalists by media owners, new ecosystem of social media not founded on any rules, human
resource crisis, media not talking about the negative things happening in other media, poor remuneration or lack of it for journalists, media playing God even when there’s crisis inhouse and lack of insurance cover for journalists covering dangerous spots like the Boko Haram crisis are some of the challenges in Nigeria media environment. Therefore, media owners were strongly advised to reinvent what they want the media to be if they are to achieve the goal of serving the public better, as bridge between government and the people. It was also canvassed that media houses could be better managed to optimise the human resources available, especially since it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find capable hands to employ as trainee journalists. On this score, training and retraining of journalists, better remuneration and better working environment were stated as key. In the event of dwindling resources from advertisements, media owners, being businessmen and women, were advised to broaden their investment base to overcome such challenge. While investigative journalism seems key to a better society, it was canvassed that good journalists must first be found and trained to do their job better. Lisa Kovack argued that journalists didn’t need to start with big stories like corruption, as there were countless small human angle stories that abound. Kovack said her organisation, IWPR, was ready to partner with journalists interested in investigative journalism on small projects through funding if they applied.
CNN MultiChoice extends calls for entry date for 2014 African Journalist Awards HE entry date for the 2014 CNN T MultiChoice African Journalist Awards has been extended by one week, bringing the new closing date for submitting entries to June 6, 2014. The extension of the call for entries will provide opportunities for more journalists to submit entries for this year’s awards. The prestigious awards, now in their 19th-year, have attracted thousands of entries across the continent, making it one of the biggest media awards in the continent. The awards represent the very best in journalism from across the African continent, and are truly a highlight in CNN’s editorial calendar. Two Nigerians emerged winners at the awards last year. The winners were Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye of Sunday Punch in the UNICEF-sponsored Environment Category and Tolu Ogunlesi, a freelance jour-
nalist for Ventures Africa, Nigeria, in the CocaCola Company, Economics and Biz Awards category. Ogunlesi’s story was an investigative report on the Eko Atlantic City. This year, the competition will recognise excellence in the following categories: Culture Award, Digital Platform Award, The Coca-Cola Company Economics & Business Award, Environment Award, Free Press Africa Award, Mohamed Amin Photographic Award, MSD Health & Medical Award, Print General News Award, Radio General News Award, Sport Award, Television Features Award, Television News Bulletin Award, Francophone General News Awards and Portuguese Language General News Awards. From these category winners, an independent judging panel will choose the overall winner of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2014.
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Smoothening Nigeria’s pathway to digitisation Summit By Abiodun Yakubu ARELY one year to the deadline of June 17, 2015 set by the B International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, stakeholders have continued to devise ways of ensuring that the country is not left behind. The one-day Digital Broadcasting Summit held recently at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos reviewed some of the steps undertaken so far while mapping out strategies for other critical areas that are yet to be tackled. National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) organized the forum with a view to create opportunity for stakeholders to share experience, plan ahead and remove any bottleneck that may derail the attainment of the digital dream. With proprietors of broadcasting outfits (private and public) in attendance, participants were briefed on the pilot project in Jos and other parts of Plateau State; signal distribution with emphasis on cost structures and multiplexing capacity; Set-Top Box licensing; EPG across Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT); logical channeling; new licensing framework; public service channels and commercial services; review of regulatory grip on advertising in broadcasting; as well as local contents and programming. The summit is motivated by the need for the country to adopt the huge changes that has been experienced in broadcasting across the globe, especially in the area of putting in place infrastructure and regulatory environment that can fit into the exigencies that will result from digitization in the country. In his remarks, the Director General, NBC, Mr. Emeka Mba underscored significant changes broadcast industry is experiencing as a result of the migration. “It is as a result of this necessity that the NBC and other stakeholders in the industry are gathered here to come-up with a tangible resolution that sets the ball rolling for the take-off of digital broadcasting in Nigeria. “In order to meet up with the 2015 target, the NBC is set to begin a pilot project in Jos by June, then this effort will begin to spread to other parts of the country gradually.” He emphasized the quantum benefits of digitization to Nigeria’s broadcasting landscape to include valuable freed spectrum, interactive capabilities, innovative services, content and application development for the industry, and creating a manufacturing sector for set-up box (STB), job creation and new skills development. The Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Mallam Jubril Tukur, urged the participants to work closely with NBC to ensure the realization of the digitization project by 2015, adding that “the National Assembly is always willing to put legal instruments and make funds available in order to fast track the process.” According to the lawmaker, Nigeria cannot afford not to follow the trend that has begun to yield positive outcomes for other countries that have transited, while reiterating government support in terms of adequate funding. In the same vein, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Information and National Orientation, Mr. Kago Are, said “NBC is always welcome at the House of Representatives to help drive the realization of digital broadcasting in the country by 2015.” Also, he promised close ties with their colleagues in the upper chamber to ensure mobilization of required funding to drive the campaign successfully. Also speaking, Communication Technology Minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, represented by Mr. B.M. Onu, urged stakeholders to work on the same wavelength in ensuring that Nigeria meets up with the set date of 2015, “because there is danger of interference if Nigeria does not transit to digital broadcasting by then.” Lending his voice, the pioneer Director General of NBC, Dr. Tom Adaba would want the stakeholders to seize the oppor-
tunity of the summit to reactivate digitization campaign and come up with a workable plan on “what needs to be done to achieve digital switch-over by 2015. While content producers should at this point be challenged in ensuring that once digital broadcasting kicks-off, with multiplicity of platforms it offers to the industry, there are enough interesting, educative and informative programmes to fill them up.” Meanwhile, the Chairman, DigiTeam, Engr. Edward Idris Amana, enumerated steps taken so far which included “determination of standard transmission, specification on manufacturing of set-up- box, licensing of signal distributors and adaptation of ECOWAS harmonized specification for receiver reception, with little modification to suite the Nigerian environment, therefore using receiver reception that ensures clarity of sound and pictures.”
He also informed that plans are being finalised to flag-off the pilot project in Jos by June 5, while the whole of Plateau is expected to be covered by end of the month. This pilot project “will create a launch pad for the effective take-off of digitization in other parts of the country, with the potential of covering the entire landscape rapidly.” Also speaking, the Chairman, Board of the National Broadcasting Commission, Prof. Herbert Orji, represented by Hon. Yomi Ayorin, a member of the Board, promised that they would do all within their power to help the Director General of NBC and his teams achieve smooth transition to digital broadcasting. Curtains fell on the summit with a promise from the NBC to rev up the sensitization aspect of the campaign for the public to be carried along as the process moves from one city to another.
Brand unveils new pack to celebrate Nigeria’s centenary celebrating Nigeria at IhasN100,unveiled Seaman’s Schnapps a special centenary pack, anchored on the celebration of the Nigerian people as well as her cultures that have coexisted for the past 100 years. While speaking at the launch, the Commercial Director, Grand Oak, Aare Fatai Odesile, said the introduction of Seaman’s Special centenary pack becomes
OAAN exco hosts LASAA Managing Director By Emeka Nwachukwu S part of its wider consultation with major stakeholders in the Outdoor Advertising industry, the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) led by Mr. George Noah was hosted recently by the executive members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) at their secretariat in Lagos. Speaking at the meeting, the President of OAAN and the Managing Director of Charella Limited, Mr. Charles Chijide thanked the LASAA team for making out time to visit the association despite his busy schedule. Chijide used the opportunity of the meeting to express the many concerns of his members, particularly as it concerns key areas of LASAA’s operation. According to Chijide: “My members are concerned that there is a plan by LASAA to increase rates. We also understand that the cost of attending the forthcoming exhibition is high for our members. Speaking further, he noted that OAAN members have also expressed fear that the newly formed association for state advertising regulatory bodies (OARAN) will do more harm than any good. He noted. Responding, Managing Director of LASAA, Mr. George Noah thanked the OAAN leadership for the warm reception, noting that part of why he came was to clear the air concerning some of the wrong impressions being created about some of
LASAA’s activities lately. According to Noah, “I want to assure you that any decision we take at LASAA, is in your best interest. We want to reduce the burden on practitioners. Our job is to create an enabling environment for any practitioners he stated. Speaking further, Noah noted that formation of OARAN is to solve the industry problem and much more. He stated that beyond the issue of rate reduction, there is the issue of mobile advertisement across other State which can better be resolved through the OARAN platform.” We want you to see our collaboration with other States as being a good step for the Outdoor Advertising Industry.” On the issue of the forthcoming conference scheduled for June 25th – 27th 2014, Noah noted, “it is in our best interest to host the conference regardless of whether you or LASAA organizes it. What is important is for our industry to provide a platform to resolve the myriad of industry issues facing us through effective dialogue”. In the concluding remark, Mr. Noah promised to look into the discount to be offered OAAN members to attend the exhibition. At the end of the meeting, it agreed that s working committee would be established between OAAN and LASAA in order to have a more harmonies relationship in the future.
inevitable because the nation needs providential blessings to come out stronger and more united. He stated, “Seaman’s craves for enduring blessings for Nigeria as she crosses the centenary threshold. This is an opportunity for her consumers and partners to connect with this unique offering that allows them to bond with our dear nation in new and amazing ways”.
Odesile further stated that Grank Oak Limited was grateful to Nigeria for being the birthplace of Seaman Schnapps and making the drink the conveyor of Nigeria’s enduring blessing. For the General Manager, Marketing, Mr. Brajesh Kumar, like Nigeria, the brand has pioneered many innovations in the schnapps segment. He therefore enjoined consumers to embrace the
centenary pack as a conveyor of their prayers for Nigeria at 100. Chairman of Lexcel Group, Ola Rosiji, noted, “What better time than now for GOL to mark the blessing of our nationhood and reinforce the need to pray for our dear country, Nigeria, with the introduction of the Seaman’s Schnapps centenary Pack limited edition, a brand popularly known as the custodian of culture”.
Commercial Director, Grand Oak Ltd, Fatai Odesile (left) Representative of Alaafin of Oyo, Aare Ayandotun Ayanlakin and Chairman, Lexcel Group, Ola Rosiji, during Seaman’s Schnapps100 years of Nigeria unlimited blessings and product Launch in Lagos at the Weekend PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
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Media critical to transformational development By Gbenga Salau T’S possible for West Africa countries seeking transformational development to realize it, according to the IExecutive Secretary of Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo, if the media played its informational, educational as well as watchdog roles, compelling accountability and acting as a check on arbitrary power. While making her remarks yesterday at the ongoing two-day training for journalists drawn from four West African countries in Accra, Ghana, Ofori-Kwafo maintained that an effective way to hold government accountable was to provide information that would empower citizens to act from an informed position. She noted that transparency means citizens knew what was going on and if citizens knew, then they could monitor, evaluate and hold their duty-bearers accountable. She added, “This means transparency promotes participation and accountability and a necessary ingredient for development. It is important to state that the media which serves as a link between government/policy-makers and citizens has multiplicity of roles to play in the process of promoting transparency and accountability”. According to her, transparency and accountability were not just lofty principles as they affected people’s lives on a daily basis and their absence allowed corruption to flourish. She said the new development paradigm required that the development process was democratised, transparent and participatory. She further said that instead of focusing on the social significance of news, there was a tendency on the part of some media to personalise, politicise, trivialise and dramatise social processes by fragmenting them and failing to link policies, processes and actions, with events, happenings, outcomes and consequences, noting, “If we should look through newspapers and listen to the airwaves today, we will in no doubt find information that epitomizes what I am alluding to”. Ofori-Kwafo enjoined participants to be committed to advancing the gains of the training to ensure a holistic impact on the fight against corruption, especially public contracting in Africa and beyond, noting that their presence at the training reflects their collective desire and passion to promote transparency and social accountability in the sub-region. In his presentation on media’s role in ensuring public sector accountability, Prof. Kwame Karikari of the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, observed that for the media to contribute to public accountability, there must be some fundamentals in place in the process of the media engaging the society. He listed the fundamentals to include independent editorial
decision, non-partisanship of the practitioners; practitioners upholding professionalism and practitioners having broad knowledge. The university don further said the media work on accountability was not functioning because funding to carry out investigate stories was usually not there. He maintained that embarking on investigative journalism was not cheap although sometimes it is about being meticulous. He, however, enjoined the media not to always see investigative journalism as being about negativity. He noted that some foreign organisations always accused African leaders of corruption but did not like providing information for the media, especially donor agencies on jointly executed projects.
Assistant Brand Manager (Spirits), Diageo Brands Nigeria Ms. Ufuoma Udjoh (left); Winner, Johnnie Walker Step Up to VIP Lifestyle Promo, Chief Adeshina Ibraheem Abass; and Senior Brand Manager, Mrs. Lola Ashafa-Oladunjoye at the presentation of the fifth BMW Car won during the final draw in Lagos recently.
Nigerian leaders ignorant of the power of media, says Murray-Bruce By Gbenga Salau IGERIA’S global branding rating had been badly hit three times since independence mainly because the managers of the country are so ignorant of the power of the media and do not know how to deal with it. Chairman of
He called on the media to pressurize these donor agencies to always make available information on projects if it was truly serious and sincere about their corruption stand. Giving an insight into the West Africa Contract Monitoring Network (WACMN) and World Bank Project on public procurement and contract monitoring systems in four West African countries, Project Manager, WACMN, Mrs. Beauty Emefa-Narteh, stated that her organisation has been using a multi-stakeholder approach in its engagement and the media is a critical and major stakeholder in the process. She said that contract details are important to be able to carry out any monitoring by the media and other stakeholders within the community.
Silverbird Group, Mr. Ben Murray-ruce said this in Lagos recently as the guest speaker at the second edition of the annual Day of Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN). Bruce, who spoke on the topic ‘From Local to Global, Building the Nigeria
President, Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Mr. Kola Oyeyem; Chairman Silverbird Group and Guest Speaker ADVAN Marketers evening 2014, Mr. Ben Murray Bruce; 1st Vice President ADVAN, Mrs. Iquo Ukoh and second Vice President ADVAN, Mr. Lampe Omoyele at ADVAN Marketing Day in Lagos recently.
Brand’, identified three occasions Nigeria has suffered bad publicity globally to include the civil war, the aborted Miss World Beauty contest and the ongoing Boko Haram terrorism incident. According to him, if Nigeria knew the power of the media and how to deal with it, the bad publicity, which greatly affects Nigeria’s global brand rating, would have been curtailed. For him, this was why despite Nigeria winning the civil war; the Biafria Republic won the media war. While commenting on the importance of all stakeholders working to ensure that brand Nigeria is globally respected, he said, “Every Nigerian must know that Nigeria is the first brand and if they do not develop the country, what globally accepted brand then can they build?” To him, Brand Nigeria would play a critical role in the success of any brand coming out of it because if Brand Nigeria was destroyed, then there would be nothing to sell. He stated, “How do we become successful if we ruin the foundation of the country called Nigeria? If you cannot protect and develop your country what brand are we building?” In his opening remarks, President of ADVAN, Kola Oyeyemi, stated that the marketing environment is a living organism, which is why things change constantly in the marketing field, adding, “It is therefore important that marketers gather at periodic times to observe and check within the environment the goings on and check within the environment how we remain at the cutting edge of technology and concept that will help move the industry forward, drive brands and products and ensure that the economy keeps turning and every body gets better”.
Nigeria firm launches new brand of noodles O offer Nigerian consumers a new variant of noodles, Al T Grain Noodles has made formal entry into the Nigeria market. Economist and founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership Prof Pat Utomi led a star cast of guests from banking, industry, government as well as Nollywood at the unveiling of the product in Lagos recently. According to Chairman of Al Grain Foods Limited, Mr Anthony Obidulu, it is a noodle brand produced to the highest hygienic standards using Global Best Manufacturing practice standards. Al Grain comes in two flavours of chicken & shrimp and beef. Obidulu maintained that it offers rich and healthy nutrition with unique African flavour. “Al Grain is positioned as noodles for the health conscious because of its formulation and extensive use of natural ingredients. It comes in two flavours and two packs. “The Al Grain initiative would complement the efforts of government in developing local content in the food industry especially with its huge investment in manufacturing and entrepreneurship. At the launch, Utomi called for greater focus by both the Government and private sector players on agriculture and manufacturing. He remarked that a synergy between agriculture and manufacturing would be the surest route to creating jobs to reduce unemployment amongst Nigerian youth. He said he had tasted the product before the formal presentation and confessed his love for its formulation and presentation. Professor Utomi who was the guest of honour, disclosed: “I do not have a particular food I crave for, but sincerely Al Grain noodle has become part of my menu.” Utomi disclosed that he has become a convert of the noodle and enjoined consumers to enjoy it and make Al Grain part of the items in their hampers always. “I’m a convert to Al Grain. I have been eating it for some time now. Enjoy it. Give it out as gift. Let ‘s get strong eating healthy food”, he stated. Notable among the Nollywood stars at the launch were Florence Onuma, Chigozie Atuanya, Chiege Alisigwe, Benedict Johnson, Chidi Ihesie, Benita Nzeribe, Yul Edochie and Tony Umez.
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GlobalStocks Global markets flat on concern over growth outlook LOBAL equity markets G traded mostly flat on Friday as fears that growth
expectations are too high offset mostly solid economic data, while the dollar eased on the likelihood the European Central Bank will deliver monetary stimulus next week. Wall Street was mixed, but the S&P 500 set a record close for the fourth time in five sessions. The Dow industrials also gained, but the Nasdaq closed slightly lower. U.S. consumer spending fell for the first time in a year in April, but the decline, following two months of solid gains, did not change expectations for a sharp rebound in economic growth this quarter. Other data on Friday showed U.S. consumer sentiment slipped in May as households worried about income. But a surge in factory activity in the Midwest confirmed growth was bouncing back after a weather-induced contraction in the first quarter. “What we are seeing in the equity markets recently is the battle between this hope for higher earnings growth and the growing realization, on the back of a weak first quarter and very negative corporate guidance, that the growth expectations are overblown,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial in Waltham, Massachusetts. MSCI’s all-country world equity index slipped 0.04 per cent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares closed down 0.1 per cent. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 18.43 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 16,717.17. The S&P 500 gained 3.54 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 1,923.57 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.329 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 4,242.618. The dollar eased against major currencies as traders tidied up books at month’s end and warily awaited the potentially market-moving ECB meeting next week.
The U.S. dollar index of a half dozen currency pairs traded softer and was last off 0.14 per cent at 80.384. The euro rose 0.24 per cent to $1.3633. Benchmark U.S. Treasuries yields retreated. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries was last at 2.4750 with its price down 8/32. German bond prices fell after Federal Reserve policymaker Esther George said late on Thursday that interest rates should be raised more steeply than many in the market now expect. German 10-year yields rose 3 basis points to a day’s high of 1.33 per cent. U.S. crude fell as traders took profits at the end of the month, but remained underpinned by supply worries and strong gaso-
line demand in the United States, the world’s top oil consumer. Brent also slid. Brent crude settled 56 cents lower at $109.41 a barrel. U.S. light crude oil settled down 87 cents at $102.71. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar weakened against the greenback on Friday after data showed the pace of economic growth in Canada cooled sharply in the first quarter,though month-end positioning allowed the currency to reverse most of its initial losses. Gross domestic product expanded by an annualized 1.2 per cent in the first three months of the year, well off expectations for 1.8 per cent growth. The report sent the loonie
to a session low of C$1.0870 but it trimmed that decline through the session as it benefited from investors rebalancing on the last trading day of the month, said Ken Wills, currency strategist and broker at CanadianForex in Toronto. “It lines up pretty well with what the Bank of Canada’s message has been, that there are signs of health but it’s a slow recovery, it’s going to be gradual,” Wills said. The Canadian dollar gained modestly through May though it has largely stayed within a slim trading range as investors have weighed generally improving economic data against the Bank of Canada’s neutral stance. The loonie also received
some modest support from last week’s strongerthan-expected inflation data, which had raised some expectations in the market that the central bank could sound a little less dovish in its policy statement this week. Friday’s GDP report appeared to diminish those expectations.”This type of report suggests the Bank of Canada won’t shift their tone,” said Greg Moore, senior currency strategist at Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto. The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.0842 to the greenback, or 92.23 U.S. cents, slightly weaker than Thursday’s close of C$1.0836, or 92.28 U.S.
cents. For the month, the U.S. dollar depreciated 1.1 per cent against the loonie. After some investors had built up large short positions against the Canadian dollar earlier in the year, they now appear to be looking elsewhere for opportunities, Wills said. “That trade is being squeezed out, no one is charging into that,” he said. “There’s no more talk of us getting to C$1.13, C$1.14.” Canadian government bond yields were lower, though the benchmark 10year yield stayed above the 11-month low it hit earlier this week. The 10-year was up 24 Canadian cents to yield 2.243 per cent, while the two-year was up 1.3 Canadian cents to yield 1.049 per cent.
12 U.S. banks seek dismissal of forex price-rigging lawsuit BOUT 12 major banks A asked a United States of America’s judge on Friday to throw out a consolidated antitrust lawsuit accusing them of colluding to rig prices in the $5 trilliona-day foreign exchange market, saying the plaintiff investors had failed to properly allege the existence of a conspiracy. Investors, including the city of Philadelphia and a number of hedge funds and pension funds, accused the banks of conspiring since January 2003 to manipulate the
WM/Reuters Closing Spot Rates, using chat rooms, instant messages and email. The defendants - Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc , BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS AG - filed a joint motion to dismiss the case on Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
“Despite their breathtaking scope, the complaints do not plead a single fact about a single instance in which a single defendant engaged in even one concerted act to manipulate any particular currency rate,” the banks wrote. “Nor do they identify a single transaction by a plaintiff or any factual basis for a claim that any plaintiff has been injured by an alleged conspiracy to manipulate benchmark exchange rates.” The banks also asserted
that the theory underlying the conspiracy allegations “makes no economic sense.” Any attempt to inflate one currency artificially would deflate the relative value of other currencies against which it is traded, the banks argued, and dealers cannot know in advance which currencies they will be buying or selling each day. Christopher Burke, one of the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, declined to comment immediately on Friday.
The case is proceeding against a backdrop of civil and criminal probes worldwide into whether banks rigged prices to boost profit at the expense of customers and investors. The 12 defendants have an 84 per cent global market share and serve as counterparties in 98 per cent of U.S. spot volume, according to the lawsuit. In their complaint, the investors said employees of the defendants used such names as The Cartel,
The Bandits’ Club and The Mafia to swap confidential customer orders and trading positions and colluded to set prices through such tactics as “front running/trading ahead,” “banging the close” and “painting the screen.” U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield is overseeing the litigation. The case is In re: Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-07789.
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Obasanjo worried about rising blindness From Charles Coffie-Gyamfi, Abeokuta
ORMER President Flamented Olusegun Obasanjo has the level of blindness in the global world, saying that at this modern age, he expected the disease to be at a very minimal level. The former President who spoke at the weekend in Abeokuta stated that it was disheartening that blindness in the world had been on the rise. He spoke when he addressed about 1,000 eye-patients who had stormed the Free Eye test and Surgery exercise organised by the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Complex, Abeokuta. The exercise took place at the premises of the OOPL complex. The former President said he would continue to contribute to assist the lessprivileged people with eye problem “because I myself was once a victim. I had to be operated on to get back my eyes sight again.” “I am surprised that we are still having cases of blindness in the age. This should have been 50 years behind us. If it is happening 50 years ago, we can understand, but not at this age and time. It is not here (Nigeria) that change for all is desired. It is a global change we all have to seek
to have this issue of blindness resolved once and for all.” The wife of the former President, Bola, who also came to the centre, was full of appreciation for the medical team. She explained that the team members were carrying out the exercise free of charge. “We are really impressed by their dedication and commitment to attend to this crowd since Thursday”, she said. She also commended her husband for the passion and love to serve humanity, saying, “this goes beyond politics and religion. People are coming from all the nooks and crannies of the state to get this free surgery exercise.” The Project Co-ordinator, Dr. Olalekan Makinde, confirmed that 1,000 patients registered for the exercise, adding that “yet, more people are still coming.” Makinde lamented it was worrisome that young people that are having eyesight problem are in the increase. He revealed that the OOPL Free-eye surgery project had been conducted in some states of the federation, including some towns in neighbouring Republic of Benin, wondering that some of the cases of blindness, like cataract, were preventable, “yet several of our people are ignorant of this.”
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31st December 2013 will be presented at the AGM. Highlights of the accounts show that the company’s revenue rose 41 per cent from N96,973 million in 2012 to N136,611 million in 2013. Profit before tax rose 56 per cent from N45,906 million in 2012 to N71,008 million in 2013. Items on the ordinary business agenda for the AGM include the re-appoint auditors, authorization of directors to fix remuneration of the auditors, re-election of directors of the company eligible for retirement by rotation. Matters to be discussed as part of the special business agenda includes authorization of the board to fix the remuneration of directors. The company is also planning to confirm interim dividend paid for 2013 as the full and final dividend to that year. The register of members will close on Monday 23rd June 2014 so anyone wishing to attend the AGM has only three weeks to purchase their shares and get on the Members’ Register. The 2013 Annual Report and Accounts as well as proxy forms can be found on the company website, www.seplatpetroleum.com.
Obijackson Group Awaits Delivery of Floating Dry Dock HE Obijackson Group, parent company T of successful services company Nestoil, has announced that it is awaiting the deliv-
Caverton Logistics Contract With Total Extended ECENTLYlisted Caverton Offshore Group has won a 2-year extension of its 3-year R support services contract with Total Exploration and Production. The company, which listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in May as the first oil services company to do so, said the contract which it won in 2011 is for the operation of 4 helicopters in Total’s offshore fields. News of the contract extension, which comes just a week after the company’s listing, demonstrates the positive effects of listing, which tends to boost confidence in a Olabode capabilities. company’s Makanjuola, Caverton’s Chief Executive Officer, said “We are pleased to continue rendering offshore and onshore oil field logistics to TOTAL. This contract extension demonstrates Caverton’s service reliability and our commitment to provide safe and efficient services to our clientele. We are confident that this will positively impact our revenue over the next few years”. Even as the news of the contract extension broke, Caverton’s planned expansion, following its market listing, had already begun. The company announced that it is to take delivery of a brand new AW139 helicopter, the 7th in its fleet of Agusta Westland helicopters, which will be detailed to a Shell contract won in 2010 when it commences operations before the end of the year. With this addition to its fleet, Caverton will have the largest fleet in sub-Saharan Africa. The good news keeps coming for Caverton. The company’s full year 2013 results reveal that revenue increased by 16% to N18.7 billion from N16.1 billion in the previous year. EarningsA went up by 32% to N5.9 billion from N4.5 billion in Dec 2012 while the company’s net income rose by 40% to N1.9 billion from N1.4billion the previous year. A leading provider of marine, aviation and logistics services company, Caverton listed on the NSE on the 20th of May with a market capitalisation of just under $32 billion (about N196 million) after an initial offering 3.35 billion shares of 50 kobo each.
Seplat AGM Postponed announced the postponement of its Annual General Meeting (AGM), the SfirstEPLAThas after its listing simultaneous listing on the London and Nigerian stock exchanges. The AGM, which had been scheduled to take place on the 22nd of May, will now hold on the 30th of June at 11am. The venue is the Civic Centre in Lagos. The AGM was postponed to enable the company comply with London Stock Exchange rules for the notice period to be given to shareholders. The company’s accounts for the year ended
ery of a floating dry dock facility. The indigenous company says it decided to order the facility, which will be the first in Nigeria, to stem capital flight due to the necessity to take vessels out of Nigeria whenever a dry dock is needed. Most Nigerian-waters operated vessels requiring dry docking will usually go to Angola, Ghana and Abidjan. A dry dock is a floating structure that can be partially submerged to enable vessels to be raised for repair particularly when access to the areas of the vessels below the water line is required. Floating dry docks will usually have a platform or ramp supported by pontoons, and cranes and other equipment for raising and repairing vessels. Hull repair is a very important part of the services of a dry dock facility. Group Managing Director, Dr. Ernest Azudialu, said: “We want to bring such a facility here where all kinds and classes of vessels can be handled here in Nigeria. You know the water in Nigeria is salty and so every two years you raise the vessel to clean her bottom and try to coat it with epoxy and all that.” The dry dock is expected to be in operation in Nigeria by the end of 2013.
Afren’s Q1 Output Lower than Target Stock Exchange listed Afren Plc LQ1ONDON has provided an operational update for of 2014. Although the company says that its Q1 production output of 35,465 barrels per day (bpd) was inline with expectations, it is nevertheless well below its target of achieving 40,000 bpd this year. The company said in the statement that installation of the Central Fault Block (CFB) extension platform has started on Ebok and is expected to be completed by the end of Q2 2014, with development drilling planned for Q3 2014 targeting additional reservoirs in the CFB. Batch drilling has started on the North Fault Block (NFB) from the West Fault Block (WFB) platform with production to the existing MOPU. The Okoro field continued to perform well with gross production at the field averaging 15,648 bopd in the period, incorporating planned downtime. The Field Development Plans (FDP) for the Okoro Further Field Development and Okwok were have been approved by the regulatory agencies. The Okwok wellhead jacket has been fabricated and is currently in transit to the Okwok field area, with platform installation to be completed in Q2 2014 prior to development drilling planned for Q3 2014. On OML 26 we expect the rig to arrive in June with a view to drilling three wells in 2H 2014 (two producers and one water injector). Following the play-opening Ogo discovery, offshore Lagos, Afren completed the fast track 2,716 km2 marine 3D seismic programme across OPL 310 and OML 113 to
establish the full extent of the syn-rift play and further dip-closed structures to the north and east of the Ogo discovery. Processing of the data is expected to commence shortly. At Ebok, preparations are ongoing for a step-out exploration well, Ebok Deep, planned for Q4 2014. In Côte d'Ivoire, having negotiated additional acreage in two new blocks in 2013, CI-523 and CI-525, Afren is planning an extensive 3D seismic programme in 2014. The financial picture for the period was a mixed bag. The company’s revenue from continuing operations fell to $269 million from $386 million a year earlier. Profit however, rose to $73 million compared with $28 million in the same period last year. A finalisation of the tax situation on Ebok boosted the company’s profit after it won a 5-year tax exemption. The company nevertheless expects to gross oil production to rise to 62,000bpd in 2014 with the additional output from the three fields and from onshore Oil Mining Lease (OML) 26, which Afren and its joint-venture partners bought from Shell in 2012. A drilling rig will arrive at OML 26 in June to drill three wells in the second half of this year. Commenting, Osman Shahenshah, Chief Executive of Afren plc, said: “Afren continues to deliver operationally on all fronts with revenues in Q1 2014 of US$269 million and operating cash flow of US$169 million. We are moving forward with the play opening Ogo discovery and elsewhere development drilling is on track. Our focus remains on allocating our capital to the highest return projects, which we expect to provide significant production and cash flow growth, while we continue to de-risk our unprecedented exploration opportunity set.” In another development, the company said it was now an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (“EITI”) supporting company. The EITI is a global coalition of governments, companies and civil society working together to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources. It provides a robust methodology for monitoring and reconciling company payments and government revenues at the country level. NEITI is the Nigerian agency that executes the initiatives of EITI in Nigeria. Afren said it decided to become a supporting company as it operates in a number of countries around the world that appear in in the lower half of Transparency International’s Corruption Perception
OPEC Daily Basket Price Stood at $106.45 a Barrel Thursday, 29 May 2014 HEprice of OPEC basket of twelve crudes T is maintaining its high as it stood at $106.45 a barrel on Thursday, compared with $106.35 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. It reached $107.00 on 22 May. Meanwhile OPEC's oil output rose to a three-month high in May according to a Reuters, following increased supplies from Angola and Iraq and in spite of the unrest in Libya. OPEC output averaged 30.02 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 29.68
in association with
million bpd in April the survey revealed. Nigerian output remained unchanged in spite of the lifting of the force majeure on Forcados grade. OPEC oil ministers meeting on 11 June will have to decide whether to leave output at 30 million per day or increase supply following the International Energy Agency forecast of growing world demand for oil. The new OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela).
Preliminary Reports of Senate Investigation Find “Missing” $49.8 Billion Accounted For LEAKED preliminary report of the A Senate investigation into the allegations by former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had failed to remit $49.8 billion to the Federation Account over a 19-month period has found that the missing funds have been accounted for. Also alleged by Sanusi to be missing was an amount of $20 billion or more. The preliminary report of the Senate Committee of Finance found that the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and NNPC had reconciled the accounts and that the funds alleged to be missing were accounted for. Two former governors, Ahmed Makarfi (former governor of Kaduna State) and Bukola Saraki (former governor of Kwara State) are distancing themselves from the reports of the findings after saying that saying that this may not be the final report. Saraki is adamant that the report did not clear NNPC as has been widely reported in the media. He urged the public to await the release of the official report. For Makarfi, the emphasis should be to find out where the allegedly missing sums are. The question of whether $20 billion is missing or not, he said, is not the issue. Even if found not to be missing the question is whether it is in the proper account that it should be in. However, he declined to comment further, in view of the ongoing forensic audit of the NNPC’s accounts. The preliminary report of the committee has instructed that some sums of money in NNPC accounts, which are the subject of disputes with other parties, should be remitted to the Revenue Account. Among these sums are N6.8 billion for liftings by NNPC on behalf of its exploration and production arm, the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), $26.2 million worth of expenses which NNPC says it incurred for strategic reserves and pipelines maintenance, $4.43 billion in subsidy for kerosene imports. In its report the committee was critical of the various government agencies for not keeping proper records and lack of a coordinated approach towards record keeping and reconciliation of accounts.
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Community demand and accountability structures (4) By John Idoko
Continued from Friday, May 30, 2014 OBILIZING and engaging the community to ensure the M uptake of comprehensive HIV services is a key component of laying the groundwork for ending the AIDS epidemic. Advocacy is not as strong as it was in the beginning of the epidemic and therefore will need to be strengthened at all levels. We need to change this and in particular we need young people to inspire a new wave of activism and leadership in the AIDS response. Engagement of civil society to assist governments in achieving their goals and adding depth to services, and reaching key populations is critical to reducing the number of new infections in the community. The importance of embracing NGOs and CBOs that are doing the work on the ground to help key populations cannot be overemphasized. New partnerships and alliances including private sector and religious groups must be forged to provide a robust intervention. Shared responsibility and global solidarity must form the basis of partnership at all levels. There is a dire need for developing countries to increase domestic investment in the AIDS response while, at the same time, there is a need for substantial and sustained international investment to tread the path to the End of AIDS There is a very important need to take AIDS out of isolation and link it to other health issues including co-infections (Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Malaria, MNCH, Family Planning), comorbidities (Heart disease, Liver disease, Hypertension and diabetes) and structural issues including stigma and discrimination, gender issues, poverty. HIV needs to be integrated with other health issues. e.g. TB, sexual and reproductive health services, maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease etc. • By addressing the HIV issue we also have an opportunity to impact on other health issues and contribute to a healthy population • Providing HIV treatment has led to innovations like task-shifting, rapid HIV tests, etc. Many lessons for health system strengthening that would benefit all health care Health system strengthening • Need to change concept of health system – expanding the “human family” • AIDS has had huge impacts on so many health issues (other STIs, maternal and child mortality, TB) and non-health related issues (economy: marked reduction of destruction of the work force, the main reason for the massive support and worldwide solidarity, decrease gender and all forms of discrimination). AIDS has created new opportunities for tackling other major world problems Sustained political will and incentives for political leadership - Political leaders need to keep up the momentum and fight complacency v. Deal with underlying social drivers Stigma and discrimination • HIV is not just a biomedical problem but a hugely behavioural and structural issue. Even if we did have a preventative vaccine or a functional cure, we will still have stigma. Stigma against people living with HIV and those at higher risk of infection remains a significant barrier in successfully controlling the AIDS epidemic. Where stigma and the fear of discriminatory treatment remain widespread, many people are deterred from seeking essential HIV services. Surveys under the People Living with HIV Stigma Index demonstrate that stigmatizing attitudes and discriminatory practices toward people living with HIV remain common in many countries (90). Nearly 4 in 10 countries lack laws prohibiting HIV-related discrimination; 60 countries criminalize HIV transmission, exposure or non-disclosure; more than 40% of countries criminalize same-sex sexual relations; and punitive approaches to sex work and drug use exist in nearly all countries (91). • HIV-related stigma and discrimination is a human rights violation that undermines prevention efforts by making people afraid to find out whether or not they are infected, to seek out information about how to reduce their risk of exposure to HIV, and to change their behaviour to more safe behaviour • It is necessary to address such discrimination and stigma in order to achieve public health goals and overcome the epidemic • Although progress on eliminating stigma and discrimination is difficult to quantify, several projects, programmes and activities throughout the world have successfully challenged stigma and discrimination. In Nigeria the fight against stigma is led by the Network of People living with HIV in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) and was recently given a boost by passage of the antistigma bill by the National Assembly. Legal barriers to the HIV response • Same sex relationships, sex work and sex outside of marriage is criminalised in many countries. Nigeria and Uganda recently passed laws against same sex relationships. These laws further entrench HIV-related stigma and human rights violations • The criminalisation of HIV transmission by those HIV positive people who have unprotected sex is impacting on people wanting to know their HIV status • Travel restrictions based on HIV status is a human rights violation • Drug policies hinder access to HIV prevention • Decriminalisation of sex work and drug use can have an impact on the epidemic Gender inequality and gender-based violence • Gender equality and empowerment of women and girls is essential for reducing HIV incidence. Gender Based Violence (GBV) increases the risk of HIV infection. A recent studies from South Africa in young women observed that women who had experienced violence from intimate partners had 50% more risk of acquiring HIV compared to women who had experienced no violence (92). Women from Key Populations (women who inject drugs, female sex workers and transgender) are particularly at risk of experiencing violence. Studies from different coun-
Idoko tries including Nigeria (93) have observed the high prevalence of rape, physical violence and other forms of abuse among sex workers. Women in conflict situations face increased vulnerability from rape, sexual abuse and other forms of violence (94). Poverty Despite unprecedented progress in the past decade, in the global response to HIV, economic inequity, social marginalization and other structural factors have continued to fuel the HIV epidemic. The epidemic continues to undermine efforts to reduce poverty and marginalization. HIV deepens poverty, exacerbates social and economic inequalities, diminishes opportunities for economic and social advancement and causes prolonged human hardship. Ending the AIDS epidemic and extreme poverty is within our power says Michele Sidibe, the Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Our efforts will contribute to a global movement working to ensure that every person realize their right to quality health care and be free from poverty and discrimination. “Just as money alone is insufficient to end poverty, science is powerless to defeat AIDS unless we tackle the underlying social and structural factors” said Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank Group. To end both AIDS and poverty, we need sustained political will, social activism and unwavering commitment to equity and social justice. “Stigma and discrimination and marginalization stand in the way of fully realizing the promise of HIV prevention and treatment technologies” said Helen Clark, the UNDP Administrator. We know that where laws and policies allow people affected by HIV to participate with dignity in daily life without fearing discrimination, they are more likely to seek prevention, treatment and care services. Improving health services and outcomes is critical to ending poverty and AIDS and boosting prosperity. The recent Lancet Commission on investing in health estimates that up to 24 per cent of economic growth in Low and Middle Income Countries was due to better health outcomes. The pay offs are immense. The commission concluded that investing in health yield a 9-20 fold return in investment. Investing in health also means investing in equity. Essential elements of a human right based response to HIV includes enabling laws, policies and initiatives that protect and promote access to effective and social services. Such measures can help protect people affected by HIV from stigma, discrimination, violence and economic vulnerability. HIV sensitive social protection is already a key component of the UNAIDS zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths. Ending AIDS will also require innovation We need innovative ways to reach key populations. We also need innovation in Research and Development (R&D) in service delivery from supply to demand creation, greater use of community-based workers and institutions to increase quality, access, efficiency of services. Other areas requiring innovation include: • Improve the retention in the treatment cascade to minimize ART resistance • Task-shifting to fill the gap of human resources Further scientific innovations and continued investments to develop: • Better drugs for treatment (long acting formulations) and better treatment options for paediatric patients; there will always be a need for new antiretroviral agents owing to resistance and toxicity, but the small number of new drugs in the pipeline possibly reflects the adequacy of the current supply of 28 FDA-approved agents as well as the anticipated rush to generics. However, there is increasing enthusiasm about the use of nanotechnology to achieve novel antiretroviral drug formulations to facilitate viral control, such as long-acting rilpivirine (rilpivirine LA) and the new integrase inhibitor GSK744. These drugs are given parenterally and maintain therapeutic levels for 1-3 months. Both are currently in clinical trials to treat persons at risk for HIV infection and patients with established HIV infection. It is anticipated that this will bring a new method of HIV management that is completely different from what we are currently doing, and it is especially appealing for populations in whom daily pill taking is a great challenge. • Vaccines; Despite initial failures and disappointments, the scientific world must continue the quest to find a preventive vaccine to all sub-types of HIV as this is the only way we can find a sterilizing cure for HIV. For now, this is a daunting task but the faint results of the R144 phase III trial is akin to a light at the end of a long tunnel. • Microbicides; The result of the Caprisa study (3) which demonstrated a 39 % efficacy in the use of vaginal microbicides
using antiretroviral drugs has spurred the search for second and third generation microbicides with more efficacy. A number of ongoing studies are evaluating the efficacy and tolerance of such microbicide gels and results are being expected in the coming years. The discovery of these microbicides will go a long way to empower women to take control of the sexual power and relationship. Technology transfer Produce generic antiretroviral drugs in Africa With roughly 7 of every 10 people living with HIV residing in Africa, achievement of universal access to treatment will demand concerted efforts to ensure a long-term supply of affordable, highquality antiretroviral drugs in the region. While external sources of generic medicines have served as a critical lifeline for the region, achieving and sustaining universal access to treatment in the region over the long term would be advanced by increasing Africa’s local production capacity for pharmaceutical products. Promote technology transfer through South–South cooperation. The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa) should be pursued. Implement the African Union strategy on local production. Shared procurement policies should be explored, and countries should take steps to remove tax and tariff barriers to lower prices and enable health goods to flow easily from country to country. Countries should create incentives for investment in local research and development, continue and strengthen relationships with major research and development funders and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and strengthen and harmonize regulatory systems to expedite the availability of medical innovations. Domestic HIV spending: major strides, considerable room for improvement In 2011, for the first time ever, domestic resources accounted for more than half of all expenditures on HIV activities in low- and middle-income countries. Driven in large measure by the increased resource mobilization by developing countries, total HIV expenditures rose by 10% in 2012, reaching $18.9 billion (97). In 2011, domestic HIV spending for the first time accounted for a majority of HIV expenditure in low- and middle-incomes worldwide. Domestic public and private spending on HIV activities more than doubled from 2005 to 2011. However, substantial work remains to maximize domestic contributions to the response. In Africa, only six countries in the region have met the Abuja Declaration target of allocating 15 per cent of national public sector spending on health. Among 33 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 26 receive more than half of HIV funding from international sources, including 19 that depend on external sources for at least 75 per cent of HIV-related spending. Domestic support for HIV programmes focusing on key populations is especially low, with international sources accounting for at least 90 per cent of such spending in 2010–2011 in many countries including Nigeria. Conclusion Ending AIDS is possible and desirable and is imperative to the post-2015 agenda. Reaching the End of AIDS will depend on building on successes, learning from failures and implementing to scale. This applies to behavioural, biomedical and social/ structural interventions. We need to also continue development of new diagnostics, including for early post-exposure infection, vaccines, prevention approaches for young women; long-acting/ slow release antiretroviral drugs, and a cure. The end of AIDS will not be reached without continuing many of the current major efforts, continued strong leadership of world leaders, continued international support and continued responsibility and engagement of local governments There are challenges but they should not deter us. We have reached a juncture in the AIDS epidemic that enables us to paint a different vision for our future. This is an opportunity that was not available to us 10 years ago when the global HIV epidemic was increasing on annual bases in most countries. The progress made in recent years in scaling up treatment and prevention provides hope that we can begin to tread the path to the end of AIDS. This coupled with the increased political commitment and increased resource allocation in low and middle income countries presents an unprecedented opportunity to harness this momentum. Hence, we need to act now and indeed accelerate our efforts to combat this disease. Now is not the time for complacency – the scientific world will remember the complacency with the treatment of HIV and TB in South Africa (100) that led to the situation we have today of a virtually untreatable TB epidemic (XDR-TB) in some parts of the world. Although the incidence of new HIV infections is declining in most regions of the world, the incidence among MSM is rising in several places including in Asia. There are signs that risky behavior is increasing in several African countries. Recent evidence shows an increase in the number of sexual partners in some countries. “Pills on a shelf do not save lives” said Sveta Moroz of the Union of Women in Ukraine affected by HIV. “To end the AIDS epidemic for everyone, we will require people-centred approaches driven by the community and based on social justice. It demands an approach that ensures basic human rights to safe housing, access to health care, food security and economic opportunity. These are rights that remove barriers to real people’s engagement in effective HIV prevention and care. The global community needs to work to ensure that these efforts feature prominently in the post 2015 agenda and are integral elements in ending AIDS, achieving universal health coverage, ending extreme poverty and inequity and building shared prosperity. Won’t end AIDS tomorrow but it has to be part of our long-term vision for the post-2015 development agenda. • Concluded • Prof. John Idoko is the Director General National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA). This is part of a lecture delivered he delivered at the induction ceremony of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences (NAS) on May 13, 2014, at the Reitz Hotel, Abuja. The lecture is titled “Achieving an end to the AIDS epidemic: Laying the ground work.”
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For The Record Media freedom for a better future: Shaping Keynote address delivered on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2014 by Rotimi Williams Olatunji, PhD Associate Professor, Mass Communication Department of Public Relations and Advertising Adebola Adegunwa School of Communication, Lagos State University, Ojo, Nigeria at United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), 17 Alfred Rewane Road, Ikoyi, Lagos on May 6, 2014 • Continued from Monday, May 26, 2014 N an online statement, the group boasted that it Iported bombed ThisDay newspapers because they remany “lies” about Boko Haram. According to the statement, the group was (also) carrying out a revenge on the newspaper for publishing a story in 2002 about the Miss World beauty contest slated to be held that year in Nigeria, stating that Boko Haram said the event “dishonoured” Prophet Mohammed. In a related development, Boko Haram also claimed responsibility for the killing of a photo-journalist and staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Maiduguri on 22 October 2011, whose alleged offence was that he was an “informant of security agencies” (Nsereka and Orlu-Orlu, 2014, p. 36). But we need to draw a special attention to the deteriorating condition under which a majority of journalists in Nigeria operate that jeopardizes, threatens or compromises press freedom in Nigeria. I am referring to the tyranny of media employers of labour. Journalists have often complained about poor remuneration, delay in payment of salaries, poor equipment to work with, including transportation facilities, job insecurity, lack of opportunity for re-training, and the like. Given the near-abject state of many a journalist, it is not surprising that some do compromise the cherished ethics of the profession in order to make ends meet. The result, often, is biased, inaccurate, partial, and subjective reporting. This is coupled with threats, intimidation and other psychological warfare imposed by restrictive and draconian management of some media houses in Nigeria. This directly leads us to the issue of sustainability and integrity of journalism locally and internationally. Sustainability and Integrity of journalism Media actors such as journalists, bloggers, citizen journalists, editors, publishers and other operators may also, directly or otherwise, be hurting the cause of press freedom in several nations of the world through outright disregard for the ethics of journalism. In some cases, objectivity, accuracy, truthfulness and fairness in reporting are becoming rare virtues with notable journalists, providing the context or pretext for censorship, legal restrictions and sometimes outright sanctions by over-zealous political leaderships and institutions. At other time, unethical practices lower the image of journalism in public estimation. This was exactly the case with the celebrated News International phone hacking scandal in the United Kingdom. At the centre of the scandal was Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of News Corporation, the parent company of News International. Together with the News of the World, other indicted public figures like Sir Paul Stephenson, the Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service; the Legal manager of News International, Tom Crone and the paper’s Chief Executive, Rebekah Brooks, among others, went down with the tabloid. This unique case underscores the extent to which journalists could go to procure news, and is symptomatic of the degree of degeneration in adherence to professional ethical standards of journalism. Even online journalists are not spared, and the sophistication of new media has now made it possible for journalists to lie with photographs, voice, and data, through several forms of digital manipulations, thus lowering the credibility of news and the high esteem audiences had associated the press with. Such unwholesome practices tend to jeopardize the ideals of press freedom.
Mark Twain who lived between 1835 and 1910 bemoaned the excesses of press invasion into the privacy of the people of his time thus: “There are laws to protect the freedom of the press’ speech, but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press” (Oxford Concise Dictionary of Quotations, 2001). Accordingly, adherence to the time-tested ethics and subscription to the social responsibility theory of the press by all stakeholders ia an absolute necessity, if press freedom will have meaning for all. Shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda The abuses to which the press has been subjected to do not in any way invalidate the critical need for media freedom in global development agenda. Role of media in development are multifarious and have been recognised to be so by even the opponents of press freedom. The free enterprise economic development can hardly be contemplated outside the framework of press and or media freedom. Protagoras, who lived between 485 and 410 B. C. made this profound statement: “Man is the measure of all things” (Oxford Concise Dictionary of Quotations, 200)1 The essence of freedom of expression and of the press is to enhance the dignity of man and his economic, social, political and spiritual well being. Development relates to the process of enhancing quantitative and qualitative changes in the life of people in society, regardless of colour, religion or geographical location. Even, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976) has long realized that development burden requires a global, multi-facetted approach, to salvage humanity from annihilation. It was in awareness of the need for human development that the global community adopted the now popular Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. MDGs are eight international development goals aimed at eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; provision of universal primary education; promotion of gender equality and women empowerment; reduction of child mortality rates; and improvement of maternal health. The others are aimed at combating HIV/AIDS, and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and the development of a global partnership for development. The year 2015 was set as the terminal date when all the lofty goals would have been achieved. Similarly, in 1997, world leaders at the World Food Summit held in Rome at Food and Agricultural Organisation headquarters agreed to set the objective of reducing the number of hungry around the world to 400 million people by the year 2015. Servaes (2002). “Poverty is not limited by geography. In fact, the wealthiest country in the world, the USA, is home to pockets of poverty”, submits Thomas (2002, p. 28). He observes further that about 1.3 billion people world-wide live in absolute poverty comprising more than one- third that are drawn from developing countries, while about 15 percent of population in US and European Union live bellow minimally determined poverty levels. Against this backdrop, Thomas (2002, p. 28) concludes that “poverty is a characteristic feature of the world in which we live”. But how far is the global community striving towards achieving the MDGs and other similar lofty goals? In an assessment, Lublinski, Deselaers and Berner (2013, p.3) concluded that : The MDGs are incomplete in various aspects. Firstly, although they are mostly aimed at the well-being of individuals, they do not focus enough on the poorest and most excluded people. Secondly, they neglect a number of important aspects of individual well-
Dr. Olatunji being, such as secondary and vocational education, or personal safety or freedom of expression. Also, goals related to good governance such as transparency or political participation. Preparatory to the review of the outgoing MDGs, the UN set up the “High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons”, which, inter alia recommended the need for “freedom of speech and the media, open political choice, access to justice and accountable government and public institutions”, calling also for “data revolution” for sustainable development (Lublinski, et al, 2013, p. 3). Servaes (2002, p. 3) defines development communication as “the sharing of knowledge aimed at reaching a consensus for action that takes into account the interests, needs and ca-
pacities of all concerned”, adding that development communication is “a social process”. The increasing globalisation of the world calls for uniform, yet diversified approach to multifaceted global crises that are largely economic, social, ideological, political and ecological in nature, since countries and communities function interdependently. Servaes (2002, pp. 7-8) observes that effective development communication now calls for a: multiplicity of approaches based on the context and the basic, felt needs, and the empowerment of the most oppressed sectors of various societies at divergent levels. A main thesis is that change must be structural and occur at multiple levels in order to achieve their ends. Generally, Lublinski and his partners (2013)
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the post-2015 development agenda identified the functions of media in society. As information providers, media make available to the audiences data, knowledge, orientation and education. Media also serve as platforms for cultural expression through strengthening of identity, values and cultural cohesion. Moreover, media are providers of platform for empowerment when they give voice to individuals, privileged or under privileged, minorities or majorities. Again, media serve as moderators of debates, facilitators of democratic practices, and advocates of human rights, democratic values and pluralism in society. In a related development, Locksley (2009, p. 3) identified four key roles of media in development. The first is that of promoting plurality and transparency. He puts it this way: Plurality and transparency provides a full-spectrum overarching impact on the development process and individual development initiatives. Good governance is vital for economic development, and the development dividend that it generates is considerable. A plural media environment-meaning a participatory (sometimes two-way) process and a range of media providers across an array of content subjects- enables increase access to information and wider diffusion of knowledge within a country. Plurality and transparency facilitate informed debate and good governance, both in public institutions and private corporations. Speaking within the same context, Oso (2012, p. 74 ) opines that media “create the possibility of a multi-voice pluralism which can enrich democracy in the country”. Media plurality and transparency thus promotes the rule of law, fairness, openness and participatory political systems. For media to be effective in the performance of these sacred functions, it is an understatement that freedom of expression and press freedom must be the rule, rather than the exception. In addition, media also enhance behavioural modifications amongst individuals, groups, and organisations. Media campaigns are often undertaken to promote participation is elections, increase school enrolment, adoption of new technologies and procedures and promoting understanding of health related issues among others. Behaviour change goes side by side with plurality and transparency to produce “the responsiveness and accountability of business and political decision makers to customers and citizens” (Locksley, 2009, p. 9). Moreover, by providing institutions and platforms, media provide relevant content for driving that are exposed through different channels thus providing avenues for media infrastructural development. “Producing content is an economic activity with global gross revenues estimated at $1.620 million in 2007”, (Locksley, 2009, p. 11). He stated further that global retail sales of recorded music totaled $33 billion in 2005, as part of the total $100 billion music industry income comprising live shows, online and retail sales, ring-tone sales, radio advertising revenue, music publishing. The potentials of media content, particularly entertainment media for reduction unemployment rate, poverty and hunger is therefore massive. Freedom of expression and information are critical to fighting poverty and achieving the MDGs. The availability and accessibility of information promotes transparency, resulting in better governance and a reduction of inefficiency and corruption. Information and openness empower people to hold leaders to account, and enables them to participate in the decision making process. The London Declaration for Transparency, the Free Flow of Information and Development, created in 2010 at an international conference organised by ARTICLE 19 outlines the following principles (http://www.article19.org/pages/en/development-more.html, retrieved on 26 April 2014: that the free flow of information, transparency and civic engagement are fundamental to the achievement of the MDGs, and the global fight against poverty; the free flow of information includes protecting and strengthening the right
of all to seek, receive and impart information and ideas related to the MDGs and development, and the existence of a free, diverse and professional media require collecting, producing, and disclosing accessible, credible and disaggregated data on MDG indicators and targets. Media disseminate information on budgets, aid assistance and revenues from natural and other resources; and civic engagement requires establishing and protecting an enabling environment for civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media, and active participation by all, in particular people living in poverty and those discriminated against, or marginalised. In place of the top-down, communication model of the 1940s and 50s, (including the “elitist” diffusion mode), Servaes (2002, p.12) calls for “participatory communication”, which he argues has the potentials for addressing the challenge of global poverty, improvement in agriculture, health, education, politics and the environment. He says that the participatory model: Stresses the importance of cultural identity of local communities and of democratization and participation at all levels…It points to a strategy, not merely inclusive of, but largely emanating from, the traditional “receiver”. Moreover, Servaes (2002, pp 12-13) maintains that the participatory model of communication recognizes and accommodates the right of all people to individually speak their own word… no one can say a true word alone-nor can he say it for another, in a prescriptive act which robs others of their words. He explains further that the model allows for reciprocal collaboration throughout all levels of participation, thus allowing viewpoints of all groups in development programming and implementation. This, he says, promotes a paradigm shift from ‘source-centric’ to one of ‘receiver-centric’ model of communication, with emphasis on “meaning sought and ascribed rather than information transmitted”. He aptly concludes: With this shift in focus, one is no longer attempting to create a need for the information one is disseminating, but one is rather disseminating information for which there is a need. The emphasis is on information exchange rather that the persuasion in the diffusion model. Servaes (2002, p14). Interestingly, the converged nature of media today makes participatory model of communication both possible and real. New media are increasingly interactive and facilitate instantaneous two-way and multi-directional communication. Print content of newspapers are made available online and allows for immediate feedback Radio and television messages are distributed online and through mobile phones, in addition to traditional channels. Citizens now participate as bloggers and online journalists. Musical works and videos can be audience generated and uploaded., while podcasting has opened up the broadcasting space. Facts, figures or pieces of information can be instantaneously crosschecked or debunked. The monopoly over news and information by traditional sources seems to have been shattered given the openness that current media landscape provides. Interestingly also, the so-called traditional media co-exist and assume more prominent role in the new dispensation. For instance, the radio remains ever relevant, particularly because of the relative advantage of cost, mobility and interactivity (used in combination with mobile phone and other digital media. With reference to development communication, the use of community radio has proved ever relevant. This is so in cases where it is operated in communities, for communities, about communities and through local languages; it involves extensive local participation; and individual community members and local institutions/volunteers are its main sources of support. (Locksley, 2009; Oso, 2012). Needless to remark that the motivation for the establishment of community radio should remain that of engaging it to power community development and for addressing the chal-
lenge of poverty. Locksley (2009, p.8) concludes: Community radio contributes to stronger livelihoods, promotes gender equality and better health and education services, helps fight diseases, and raises awareness of environmental and sustainability issues in individual communities In spite of the enormous potentials of community radio, its level of adoption in Nigeria seems to be very low. Most of such radio stations licensed by the Federal government in Nigeria are based on university campuses. Perhaps, community associations, community-based organizations and other interest groups should show increased interest in community radion operations in Nigeria. Equally, the Federal Government of Nigeria may stimulate more interest in that media sub-sector by putting in place an effective Board to popularize community radio, just as it was done when community banks initially appeared in Nigeria. But the emphasis should shift from government licensing to remove associated bottlenecks and restrictions. It is equally important for us in Nigeria to begin now to think and talk about the media in coverage of elections in the year 2015 and beyond. Previous electoral campaigns in the country had been fraught with irregularities and violent conflicts. Media are actors in the political process, with critical function of holding political office holders accountable to their electorates. The arsenal on online or internet media should be heavily deployed with increasing usage of mobile telecommunication channels, given its deep acceptance in the country. Blogging and citizens journalism, along with podcasting and community media will enable citizens to contribute meaningfully and actively to the political and electioneering process. This will also go hand in hand with the traditional media of radio, television and newspapers. The goal of media will be to enable citizenry access, process, produce and interpret information for informed decision making. The media cannot afford to be partial under this situation, but the political authority must ensure that safety of media operators are safeguarded. Recommendations A combination of institutional factors, the political economy of media environment and the actions or inactions of media operators hamper the full realization of role of media in development. This closing section presents critical challenges to be addressed if we are to maximize the role of media in development. The important issue of media freedom that is facing threat in most countries of the world had been extensively addressed in the preceding portion of this paper. What we must add here is that it is only when media freedoms are protected that they can actually contribute meaningfully to societal development. A collected works of Mill On Liberty (1863, p. 13) posited: Good individuals comprise the good state; freedom of thought and opinion are necessary to the development of good individuals. Therefore, freedom of speech and of the press are justified by their utility in creating the good state composed of good individuals. Thomas (2002) identified factors that are often responsible for poverty amongst individuals or groups. Critical ones are lack or resources (material or otherwise); lack of access; and lack of human rights. Thomas (2002, p. 29) submits: Poverty is not only an indication of lack of resources; it is also rather, fundamentally, about the lack of awareness on the part of the people of their own role in the fight against poverty. In absolute terms political authorities, financial institutions and bilateral bodies may be directly held accountable where poverty is traced absence of resources. Thus lack of access to information, education or other forms of communication, partly accounts for level of poverty in society. Access to information thus empowers people to deal with their conditions of servitude. It is not only a right, access to information is also “the basis for other related rights, in education, market prices, shelter and employment opportunities”, Thomas (2002, p. 29). This leads us to an equally important issue of Media and Information Literacy (MIL). Johnson, (2009) warned that it is wrong to assume that
the skills for interpreting and creating mediarich messages come naturally to individuals simply because they encounter such content so frequently. This seems to be case in many sub-Saharan African countries where little or no attention is paid to the need to equip citizens, particularly youths with Media and Information (MIL) literacy skills. Agbata (2013) advocates that youths in Nigeria should rise above being mere consumers to positions where they become media producers and content generators. The degree of unethical practices among media operators should be frontally addressed. The solution to this menace does not lie in suppressing or curtailing media freedom. Neither does it lie in criminalization of offences, but one in which, on the one hand, the rule of law is strictly followed when handling issues relating to offensive publications; and on the other hand, it requires that media operators becoming more alive to their social responsibility by wholly subscribing to the ethics of the profession. In this regard, quality media education and professional development of operators are critical, just as media organizations should provide adequate remunerations and other incentives to discourage employees from financial and other forms of inducements. Gender equality and sensitivity to the peculiar needs of female journalists should also be pursued. To make media freedom a reality, there must be: a political will to support the media sector and rule of law to protect it; the legal and regulatory environment must allows for openness and pluralism; existing laws granting access to information must be respected by government authorities while such laws should be put in place where none exists, and should be extended to publicly quoted companies. Also, crimes against journalists should not be allowed un-punished; impunity against journalists should be laid to rest. In addition, media workers need to be assisted in boosting the MIL skills, just like we need to invest in the improvement of MIL among students at all levels of education in the sub-Sahara. Finally, umbilical cord relationships exist between media freedom, transparency, good governance and development. An open, transparent and accountable government will make it possible to reduce or eliminate poverty, and release scarce resources for developmental purposes. More importantly, it will release the creativity and potentials of every sector of the populace to addressing societal problems. Lublinski et al (2013, p. 3) also arrived at this same conclusion when they wrote: For the next steps towards a post-2015 agenda, communication is key: access to information, inclusive of different actors, the expression of opinion and the provision of public forums. And it is the media that will make an important contribution to sustainability here. They will hold the leaders of the world accountable for their promises, as they do with the current MDGs. In this onerous task, freedom of expression and press freedom must be safeguarded at all time, in all places, for all the peoples of the world. Post-2015 holds enormous prospects for an increasingly open and knowledge-driven society, although with an equally increasingly challenging macro-environment globally. Given this scenario, media freedoms, accessibility to information, as well as media and information literacy (MIL) will be decisive. While media operators must not be restricted in the performance of their sacred duties, all actors should exercise self-restrains within the precinct of the rule of law and media ethics. Thank you for your attention.
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Monday, June 2, 2014 NEWSEXTRA 83
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Soyinka, Osundare, Durotoye eulogise Maya Angelou
Prof. Soyinka From Kabir Alabi Garba, New York HE passage last week of the celebrated American creativity personae and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, has continued to provoke deluge of tributes as Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, praised the deep Africaness in her physical composure and engagements with life. “Maya’s ‘AFRICA’ was more than a mere literary metaphor and reference point - it went beyond race identification,” Soyinka said in a tribute at the weekend. And to obtain a glimmering of what the continent meant to her, the literary giant insists, “one would have to think in terms of a mystic nostalgia. That could be because she was so markedly black-regal both in bearing and pronouncements; she made one feel that, in some distant time past, she had been a queen - a philosopher queen - over some parts of the Black continent. If indeed she was, Maya was the down-toearth kind who felt her subjects keenly, a philosopher queen without the aloofness.” According to Soyinka, “It took just one lunch meeting with her, and Queen Angelou tightened her sash like a market mamma, mobilised emergency forces, and personally led the charge to beat down the doors of a lethargic - and/or ambiguous – U.S. administration during the Sanni Abacha murderous dictatorship. She
kept her fingers on the nation’s pulse throughout a people’s travails.” But long before this encounter, Prof. Soyinka recalls “a cherished personal memory.” He reminisces: “I learnt the following at an American university where I had gone to lecture, and Maya confirmed the details to me after we had finally met. Publishers of a prestigious literary journal, the college was also sponsor of a bi-annual international literary prize. She (Maya) had nominated me for that prize but, finally, it was a German writer who carried it off - I think it was Gunther Grass, but am no longer sure. Well, at the formal event of the announcement, Maya Angelou was so disappointed, she burst into tears. Our sole contact till then was through our writing. “During reception afterwards, when she was being teased/consoled or whatever, she said something like: No, it’s all right, I know he’ll win a bigger one. A year later, I was accorded the Nobel Prize.” Prof. Yomi Durotoye of the Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America, did not only confirm Soyinka’s narrative, “This is so true...I was there,” the political scientist said, with her passage, “Nigeria has lost one of its dependable supporters of democracy.” Durotoye described the late ‘philosopher queen’ as “an African to the core” as
he narrated how she mobilised African-American elite to support Nigeria’s struggle against misrule by the military in the 90s. “During the Nigerian crisis, I approached her that we would need help during the pro-democracy struggle in the 90s, and she was willing. She called up Prof. Wole Soyinka, and he (Soyinka) came down. She cooked rice, beans and chicken stew in African way before we got there. She did the cooking herself, and everything that was asked of her, she took up, linking us up to get the support of AfricanAmerican elite in the struggle against misrule typified by the late General Sani Abacha. She did that. She connected Prof. Soyinka with some leading figures to talk to when we were looking for support to advance the cause. She did a lot.” The tribute of another literary giant and poet, Prof. Niyi Osundare, is both poetic and provocative. Entitled: “Truly Phenomenal: Maya Angelou, 1928-2014)”, Osundare writes: “She enriched our world with her astounding array of talents and accomplishments: she was a singer, dancer, composer, producer, actress, journalist, teacher, motivational speaker, writer, and civil rights activist. Yet, that world, given the time, place, and circumstance of her birth, gave her little chance to demonstrate those talents, and even less possibility for carry-
Prof. Yomi Durotoye of the Wake Forest University in WinstonSalem, North Carolina, United States of America, did not only confirm Soyinka’s narrative, “This is so true...I was there,” the political scientist said, with her passage, “Nigeria has lost one of its dependable supporters of democracy.” Durotoye described the late ‘philosopher queen’ as “an African to the core” as he narrated how she mobilised African-American elite to support Nigeria’s struggle against misrule by the military in the 90s.
Prof. Osundare ing them to ultimate fulfillment. “For she was born Black and female in American South at a time when both designations were nothing short of double jeopardy. Life for Black people in Jim Crow South was hard, brutish, almost forbidding, but the proverbial reality of America as a land of dreams and possibilities enabled her to make lemonade with the lemon sold to her by a society still trying to grapple with the searing contradictions between the lofty democratic ideals enshrined in its constitution and the grave inequities meted out to its racial and gender underclass. “Maya Angelou was a victim of the American nightmare and shining example of its dream. Her entire life provided a lesson in the act of snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat. In an interview with AfricanAmerican critic, Claudia Tate, a couple of years ago, Angelou declared: “All my work is meant to say ‘You may encounter many defeats but you must not be defeated” (See The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, 2nd Edition, p. 2155). This is the empowering credo of a woman who was raped when she was eight years old and plunged into trauma-induced silence for many years thereafter; then became a teenage mother one month after graduating from high school at 16. “This is the rousing lesson of a woman who rose from acute obscurity to global acclaim; a woman once ‘dumbed’ by unspeakable adversity but who rose to develop a voice strong and eloquent enough to qualify her as the chosen poet at President Clinton’s inauguration on January 21, 1993, thus becoming the first African-American and the first woman to be so recognised and honoured.
She enriched our world with her astounding array of talents and accomplishments: she was a singer, dancer, composer, producer, actress, journalist, teacher, motivational speaker, writer, and civil rights activist. Yet, that world, given the time, place, and circumstance of her birth, gave her little chance to demonstrate those talents, and even less possibility for carrying them to ultimate fulfillment. “To Maya Angelou, drawbacks and adversities are, most times, the building blocks of the house of glory; for life without its vicissitudes is like Christianity without the Cross. She has so much to say because her own life is a compendium of tellable stories. This is why she is most widely known for her autobiograhies, the two famous of which are I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970) which became an instant best-seller and literally launched her career as a writer and global voice; and All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes (1984), an engaging account of her travel to Ghana, and the many ways her Africa journey helped her self-definition as an African-American by deepening her understanding of the African condition beyond the silences, halftruths, and blatant lies in the history books. “An authentic apprehension of history and its poignant impact on the present, a touching narrative of the battles of life; the archaeology of adversity and its delicate relationship to eventual triumph, the never-say-die spirit and desirability of the proverbial pie in the sky; the necessity of love and the possibility of hope; the redemptive functions of art and culture; a spirituality older, deeper, and much wider
than the troubling superficialities of the workaday world; a ceaseless insistence on lasting values: these are the recurrent themes of Maya Angelou’s works. These are the principles, which ruled her life. This is why, bolstered by uncommon courage and conviction, she was able to say this to a world that has been largely unkind to her race and gender: You may write me down in history/ With your bitter, twisted lie/ You may trod me in the very dirt/ But still, like dust, I’ll rise. “Yes, the incredible Maya has picked up the horsetail and danced to the other side of the Great River. But she has left us her lyrical verse and soulful music, her imperishable stories, her electric stage presence, her sweet (and sour) voice, the epigrammatic force in her moral injunction: When you learn, teach; When you get, give. “Said the iconic persona in Angelou’s ‘Our Grandmothers’: ‘I have a certain way of being in this world’. Maya Angelou’s 86 years on earth are a telling testimony to that declaration. The world has lost a truly phenomenal woman. How so grateful we are that she came our way and touched us with the music of her soul and the gravitas of her grace.”
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Monday, June 2, 2014
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja
Agricultural Transformation Agenda: revives hope for national food security
Potentials: Nigeria’s immense agricultural potential is a great asset for the nation and Africa, with promises for food security when fully harnessed. Only 40 per cent of Nigeria’s 84 million hectares of arable land is presently cultivated. Nigeria’s endowment of 263 billion cubic metres of water, a bulk of which comes from two of the largest rivers in Africa, represents a great agricultural benefit. A population of 167 million provides Nigeria a large pool of cheap labour to support agricultural intensification while also offering a huge market for agricultural produce. But this must not be a market for others or a dumping ground for indiscriminate importers. We must grow our own food to feed ourselves and to export. The task of creating markets locally for our own farmers is an urgent one. What we are doing: To this end, we are unlocking the potential of agriculture to once again drive the economy. We are doing a rapid transformation of key agricultural value chains – from the farm to the table. In 2011, President Jonathan launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, with the goal of adding an additional 20 million MT of food to the domestic food supply by 2015 and stimulating the creation of 3.5 million jobs along the agricultural value chains. To achieve these, we are working to create ecosystems in which small, medium, and large-scale farming systems not only co-exist but also flourish. We are focusing on creating value added products from staple crops - through an aggressive import substitution programme and other policy reforms to accelerate food production and agricultural resilience. The various commodities and areas under consideration in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda are: Rice transformation: We are making remarkable progress towards achieving our target of achieving self-sufficiency in rice production. What started as a determined effort in 2012, has started yielding remarkable impacts on farmers field. Our first task was to ensure that we raise the yields on farmers's field and replace low yielding traditional varieties with high yielding improved varieties. The Federal Government began a massive program to subsidize the cost of the new rice varieties for farmers, providing them free of charge. Today, almost all rice farmers cultivate the new varieties, Faro 44 and Faro 52, which meet the quality requirements of rice millers. Average yields on farmers' rice fields increased from 1.5 tons per hectare to 4-5 tons per hectare. Paddy rice production is accelerating than at any time in Nigeria's history. In 2012, total wet season rice production yielded 339,078 MT of rice or 220,400 MT of milled rice. In 2013 wet season, a total of 1,739,322 MT paddy was produced, which translated to 1,130,559 MT of milled rice. In 2012 alone, the dry season rice farming introduced by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development added 1,070,364 MT of paddy, enough to generate 695,737 MT of milled rice, which brought a total production to 1,409,442 MT of paddy rice and 916,137 MT of milled rice. These increased significantly in 2013, as the dry season rice farming intervention produced additional 1,220,634 MT of paddy, which translates into 793,412 MT of milled rice. The total rice production in 2013 rose to 2,959,956 MT of paddy, which translates into 1,923,971 MT of milled rice, which is enough to mill close to the 2.1 million MT of milled rice Nigeria annually imports. The milling capacity for rice is expanding rapidly. Within two years, the number of integrated rice mills expanded by 300 per cent, with 15 new integrated rice mills established, with total capacity of 520,000 MT per year. But more impressive has been the rapid rise in the number of small scale rice mills, who are processing a bulk of the rice paddy in the country, stimulating jobs all across rural areas. The number of small scale rice mills is estimated to be rising by 29-40% annually. Several now have de-stoning machines and compete fiercely for paddy with the large integrated rice mills. High-quality Nigerian rice are now in the market, including Umza rice, Ebony super rice, Eko rice, Mikap rice and several others. In Abakaliki, young graduates have produced "coal city rice". Olam, a global conglomerate, is investing over $70 million in a 6,000 ha fully mechanized rice farm in Nasarawa State and is a out to complete a 210,000 MT integrated rice mill that will process Nigerian paddy rice into finished milled rice. The mill, which will be completed by July 2014, will be the largest rice mill in Africa. A new privately-zoned rice mill, Quarra rice, was established in 2013 and has rolled off its high quality rice into local markets. Unknown to many Nigerians is that these well-packaged high-quality rice brands are all locally produced and milled in Nigeria. Stallion, a large rice importer, has started producing locally milled rice, Stallion Shinkafa". The era of stony, poor quality rice, which was often called "local rice" is gone. That consumers cannot differentiate local and imported rice based on quality, is a major achievement, which will deepen as more of the locally produced paddy is milled. To further boost our rice production, Nigeria is working closely with state governments. The number of states that participated in the rice transformation agenda increased from 10 to 22 between 2012 and 2013. Nigeria is partnering with China to introduce hybrid rice varieties, which have yield potential of up to 12 tons per hectare. The decision by President Jonathan. to launch the dry season farming in 2014 - a first in the history of the country - has dramatically turned around farm production, as farmers can now grow food crops in both wet and dry seasons. Over 360,000 jobs have been created through the rice transformation agenda. Fertilizer: The backbone of any agricultural revolution is access of farmers to modern agricultural inputs, especially fertilisers and seeds. For four decades the government operated a system of government direct purchase and distribution of fertilizers. The system displaced the private sector and was riddled with corruption and massive rent seeking. As a result, only about 11 per cent of farmers got the subsidized seeds and fertilizers distributed by the government. With strong support of President Goodluck Jonathan, we ended the corruption of four decades, within 90 days. To reach farmers directly and cut off the middlemen and rent seekers who for decades have disempowered farmers, we turned to the power of mobile phones and launched the Electronic Wallet (E-Wallet) scheme for farmers. Under the E-wallet scheme registered farmers get electronic vouchers for seeds and fertilisers on their own mobile phones, which they use to purchase farm inputs directly from the private sector companies. The e-wallet has been a remarkable success. Within two years, the e-wallet system reached over 8 million farmers directly through the mobile phone farm input delivery system. This has helped to improve the food security of 40 million persons in rural farm households. Women farmers, who never got seeds and fertilisers under the old system, have a new fortune, as the e-wallet system empower them and raise their food production. Dignity has been restored to the farmers. Nigeria is the first country in Africa, and in the world, to develop the electronic wallet system for reaching farmers with subsidised farm inputs on mobile phones. The impact is reaching well beyond Nigeria. Several African countries, India, Brazil and China have expressed interest in adopting the electronic wallet system in their own countries. Horticulture: Nigeria is the second largest producer of citrus in the world, the largest producer of pineapples, mangoes and tomatoes in Africa. But we import orange juice and concentrates from South Africa and tomato paste from Latin America and China. That is now changing. A number of private investors now invest in horticulture. Teragro, a local private firm, has established a $ 6 million plant to process oranges into concentrate. Dansa Foods, another local private firm, is investing $35 million in the establishment of a tomato processing plant. The company is also investing $45 million to set up a 6,000 hectare pineapple plantation and processing plant. To develop the export market for fresh produce from Nigeria into Europe, a fresh produce value chain development program has been launched in partnership with the Ministry of Aviation, entailing the building of cargo airports to enhance our competitiveness in the export of fresh produce. Oil palm: The federal government is restoring Nigeria’s lost glory in palm oil production. This involves recapitalising our plantations by providing 9 million high yielding improved seedlings of oil palm to smallholder farmers and plantation estates in the country – free of charge. Private sector investments are expanding with new palm oil processing plants. Today, palm oil processing companies, Okomu and Presco are two of the best performing company stocks on the Nigeria Stock Exchange. Cassava: We are turning our comparative advantage as the world’s largest producer of cassava into absolute competitive advantage. Our goal is to soon become the largest processor of cassava in the world, with the use of cassava for flour to partially substitute for imported wheat flour in bread and confectioneries, starch, sweeteners, chips and ethanol. Thirty bakeries, including the largest international supermarket chains, Shoprite and Park and Shop, now regularly sell cassava-wheat flour bread. Work is ongoing to establish large scale high quality cassava processing plants to boost the production, reliability of supply and and lower cost of high quality cassava flour. To further expand the commercial production of cassava, 5,000 ha of land has been cleared by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, are are being planted mechanically with high yielding cassava varieties, across the country. A total of N 8 billion Naira is being disbursed through the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture to about 30,000 farmers, small and medium size high quality cassava production mills to upgrade their capacities, master bakers to upgrade their equipments and build their capacities. With focus on social marketing and completion of the value chain investments being made, availability of composite cassava flour will expand across Nigeria, saving over N 200 billion in foreign exchange and creating jobs for the economy. Food reserve: To further build the resilience of our food system, we completed a total of 10 new silos for strategic food reserves within one year, expanding our silo capacity by 400 per cent. Nigeria now has a total silos capacity of 1.3 million MT. These silos are now being provided under concessions to the private sector, for the establishment of world-class agricultural commodity exchanges. Export commodities: We are revamping our export crops, where we used to have global dominance in agricultural commodity markets. In cocoa, our target is to double production by 2015. We are distributing 114 million seedlings of high-yielding cocoa hybrids to farmers – free of charge – and we are providing support for production inputs. Nigeria's cocoa production grew from 250,000 MT in 2011 to 370,000 MT by 2013, and our cocoa exports earned over $900 million. The cocoa revolution in Nigeria is receiving global attention, as a global company has invested $20 million to procure cocoa from over 20,000 certified cocoa farmers. We are boosting our capacity to produce high quality cocoa through a $1.4 million support by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to the World Cocoa Foundation, to train thousands of farmers in good production practices. Agriculture has become the new buzz in Nigeria, with vibrant, young graduates moving into the business of agriculture. President Jonathan, in 2013, launched the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) to create a new generation of young commercial farmers and agriculture entrepreneurs (“Nagropreneurs”). This will develop a total of 760,000 ‘Nagropreneurs’ within five years. Today, young graduates and bankers are leaving the banks and heading for agriculture. The new millionaires of Nigeria will be in agriculture. It is a new dawn. Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZ): The SCPZs are new agricultural infrastructure-enabled zones that are being developed to attract agribusiness investors into rural areas. They are to address the infrastructure challenges and constraints of the agro-processing industry, drive social and economic impacts, offer a superior operating environment for downstream players as well as create a new platform for private sector investment in agriculture. Food manufacturing companies are being attracted to establish within these zones, bringing them closer to farmers and areas of high food production. Within these zones, government is scaling up infrastructure, especially electricity, roads and water supplies. This will reduce post harvest losses, lower the cost of transporting raw materials, stimulate rural economic growth and link farmers directly to food processing companies. Fourteen SCPZs will be developed across the country and master plans have already been completed for six of them. They will also take an integrated value chain approach to address sector constraints, including market linkages, coordinated support, and create a structured mechanism for engaging rural youth. A leading international company is considering investment of over $100 million for the establishment of a 65,000 MT starch plant in one of these zones. Dangote group plans to invest $300 million in rice SCPZs to boost the nation's rice production and processing capacity. The World Bank, African Development Bank and other development finance institutions plan to commit up to $ 1 billion towards the development of these zones. Financing: To improve financial access for farmers, we have taken bold steps. TheCentral Bank of Nigeria and Federal Ministry of Agriculture jointly established a risk-sharing facility (Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL - that reduces the risk for banks to lend to agribusiness and farmers. Banks are lending to agriculture today in Nigeria than ever before. Agricultural lending as a share of total bank lending rose from 0.7 per cent to 5 percent within two years. Bank lending to seed companies and small agricultural input retailers rose from zero in 2011, to $ 10 million in 2012 and $53 million in 2013. Bank lending to fertilizer companies rose from $ 100 million in 2012 to $ 500 million in 2013. It is remarkable that the default rate has been zero percent over the past two years. The reforms we have made are improving the prospects for Nigerian farmers. But they are also capturing the attention of external investors. Over the past 24 months, we have attracted $4 billion in executed private sector letters of commitment to invest in our agricultural sector. We have also received significant financial backing from the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agriculture Development, the UK Department for International Development, United States Agency for International Development, United Nations Development Program, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation. To drive and provide much needed equity financing for small and medium scale agribusinesses, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the German Development Bank, KFW, have jointly established a $100 million equity and quasi-equity fund.
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Monday, June 2, 2014 85
Millennium Development Goal on Hunger: The UN recently recognised Nigeria for meeting the Millennium Development Goal #1, reducing the population of hungry people by half, three years ahead of schedule. This was achieved by growing more food, raising farm incomes and creating jobs in farming and food processing. Livestock sector transformation: We are transforming our livestock sector. Our Halal-certified beef with cold chain logistic system is now poised to go international. We are also working to make Nigeria self-sufficient in fish production within four years, by encouraging aquaculture, inland fisheries and marine fisheries. The government has recognised the enormous benefits accruable to Nigeria through the development of Halal-certified meat market. During the fourth D-8 Agricultural Ministerial Meeting, held in Abuja, December 6, 2013, Nigeria proposed the establishment of D-8 Halal-Meat Investment Commission, to drive the development of technical capacity, investments, certification, market and trade development. The Halal meat market accounts for 16 per cent of global trade in meats, but it is worth noting that none of the D-8 countries feature in the top 10 as exporters of Halal-beef even though they account for 60 per cent of the population of Muslims. The size of the Halal meat industry is growing at the rate of over 4% annually, and is estimated to have grown from $625 billion in 2012 to $2 trillion by 2013. Our emphasis is to take a major share of this rapidly growing industry. Nigeria is keen to establish its capacity in the area of Halal certified beef industry. Nigeria is the second largest country in terms of pilgrims to Mecca, second only to Indonesia. But when our pilgrims get there, they eat Halal certified beef from Brazil, Argentina and Spain. In spite of Nigeria’s estimated population of 19 million herds of cattle, the development of the beef industry is still rudimentary, necessitating a shift away from moving animals, to moving processed beef, as this will reduce the conflicts we have between pastoralists and farmers over grazing land. The development of feedlots, animal fattening, integrated animal slaughter and meat processing and cold chain systems, will allow Nigeria to transit into modern beef industry. Restoring the groundnut pyramids: Groundnut pyramids have almost become mere legends to most Nigerians. Under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government, a conscious effort has been made to restore the lost glory of groundnut business, which was once a major foreign revenue earner in Nigeria. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has forged a partnership arrangement with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to develop high yielding new varieties and boost production of groundnuts. The groundnut value chain will produce an additional 120,000 metric tons of groundnut grains valued at N 24 billion (US$ 155 million) and supplied to small, medium and large scale processors. The project will be implemented directly in 15 States (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Kebbi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba Yobe and Zamfara) in the northwest, north east and north central geopolitical zones of the country. Our goal is to reach 1.8 million farmers. Wheat Transformation: In 1987, the Government of Nigeria banned the importation of wheat and implemented an Accelerated Wheat Production Programme aimed at stimulating local production of wheat in Nigeria. The production of wheat expanded from 50,000MT in 1987 to 600,000MT by 1990 and spiraled downwards to 70,000MT by 1991. Yet, never has local production matched required quantity for consumption.Today, Nigeria’s wheat import is about 4 million MT per annum and estimated to grow at an alarming rate of 5 per cent per annum. At this rate, the country will be importing 10 million MT of wheat/annum by 2030, spending US$15 billion annually on wheat imports alone. We are, however, reviving hope for Nigeria to produce its own wheat and free itself from decades of dependence on imported wheat. Farmers had proven that they can produce wheat, if well supported. The African Development Bank has funded the production of wheat across African countries. A key part of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda was the launch of the Wheat Transformation Agenda. The target of the wheat transformation is to increase national production from 300,000 metric tons to about 1.5 million metric tons per annum by 2017. The wheat transformation agenda will generate one million jobs in the rural areas of Nigeria over the next four years of the program and generate over N42 billion in incomes annually for farmers and millers. A silent revolution is already happening on farms all across Northern Nigeria. This revolution is being sparked by the release of two high yielding improved wheat varieties, Norman Borlaug and Reyna-28 produced by International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in collaboration with our own Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), Maiduguri. These varieties give average yield of 5 to 6 metric tons per hectare. In addition to high yields, these varieties have excellent milling and bread making quality. To ensure massive wheat production, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is collaborating with SG2000 on an aggressive Technology Transfer programme. We have begun massive distribution of these varieties to farmers through the Growth Enhancement Scheme and electronic wallet scheme. In the 2013/2014 wheat dry season, 9,143 farmers in eight Northern States (Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi, Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, and Sokoto) each received improved seeds, at no cost, and two bags of fertilizer, at 50% subsidy, via their mobile phones. A total of 2,500 ha of wheat fields were cultivated in 2013. For the 2014/2015 wheat season, a total of 75,000 ha will be cultivated by 75,000 farmers. The area under wheat production is expected to increase to 150,000 ha by 2015/2016 dry season and to 300,000 ha by 2016/2017 dry season. At the average yield of 5MT/Ha, Nigeria will achieve its target of producing 1.5 million metric tons of wheat by 2017 and reduce wheat imports by 50 per cent. Using funds from the wheat levy, we will support wheat farmers with processing equipment (500kg/hr milling machines), land water development, irrigation pumps, all at subsidised rates. We will also develop policy options to promote and protect domestic producers and processors. The accelerated production of wheat all across the north east and north-west regions of the country will create massive amounts of jobs, especially for the youth, and reduce insecurity in these regions. The agricultural transformation agenda has changed the fortunes of the north, created millions of seasonal farm jobs and stemmed insecurity. Farmers, who used to migrate to the south to work as night guards are staying back on the farm. Extension Services Department: On Monday 17th February, 2014, at the Federal Ministry Of Agriculture And Rural Development Complex, Sheda, Gwagwalada-Kwali, FCT, 800 motorcycles were distributed to all the Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) in all states and Sasakawa Africa Association to support agricultural extension agents across the country. This was to kick-start the agricultural extension mobility service initiative of the federal government. These are to assist the exension agents’ mobility of agricultural development programmes. The collapse of agricultural extension system in Nigeria in the 1980s, shortly after the structural adjustment programme (SAP) has greatly reduced the fortune of the agricultural sector, mostly involving the rural poor. The Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs), which formed the backbone of the extension system, worked well before the structural adjustment period. The Agriculture Extension and Research Liaison Service (AERLS) in Zaria used to be a first rate institution that disseminated extension service information to farmers, through pamphlets, radio and other avenues. The end of the World Bank support for the ADPs marked the beginning of the downward spiral of extension system afterwards, due essentially to paucity of financial resources to support their operations. This affected the effectiveness of our agricultural extension service, seriously impaired quality of staff training and occasioned lack of synergies with donor supported projects and use of predominantly top-down, non-participatory approaches. The programs were also heavily weighted in favour of male farmers leaving women and youth with little support relevant to their needs. Our farmers face increasingly complex challenges in today’s rapidly changing food, fibre and agricultural markets. New demands imposed by supermarkets and consumers, stringent environmental regulations, high demands for grades and standards, require farmers to be better informed and supported. The extension system needed today is not just to produce more food. Farmers need to be supported to use the right kinds of seeds and fertilisers, meet maximum residue levels in food commodities, improve the food handling, storage, packaging and marketing of produce. Extension workers must be equipped to help link farmers more effectively and responsively to domestic and international markets, to enhance crop diversification, to couple technology transfer with other services relating to input and output markets, to view agriculture as part of a wider set of rural development process that includes enterprise development and non-farm employment; and build linkages between farmers and other agencies. Since independence, Nigeria had never had a Federal Department of Agricultural Extension. This has made it difficult to coordinate and streamline agricultural extension operations across the country, leading to multiplicity of disjointed efforts and duplications. The Federal Government therefore launched the Agricultural Extension Transformation Agenda, with the goal is to bring to the service of our farmers the best of agricultural extension approaches, building on global best practices. This vital farmer support system is imperative to our success to achieve food and nutrition security, wealth and job creation and indeed to make Nigeria a major player in global food markets, to put in place a knowledge-based, demand-responsive, pluralistic, market-oriented and ICT-driven participatory agricultural extension service for Nigeria. Nigeria’s first Federal Department of Extension has now been established to provide the much needed impetus for leadership, coordination, monitoring and quality assurance to drive the transformation of extension delivery at the grassroots by the states, local governments and private agricultural advisory service providers. Mechanisation transformation: One of the major causes of low agricultural productivity is the low exposure of most farmers to modern tools and implements. The small-scale farmers that produce 80 per cent of our food have very little or no access to subsidised machinery. The low level of mechanisation limits ability of farmers to expand cultivated areas, reduces chances of performing timely farm operations, hinders opportunities to achieve economies of scale in raising food production and reduces the returns on agricultural investment. Under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of President Goodluck Jonathan, achieving food security within a targeted time frame is a top priority, which will require an improvement upon the level of agricultural mechanisation. Nigeria need a minimum of 746,666 (75hP) units of tractors to sufficiently mechanise our agriculture, using best practices. The New Mechanisation Policy, a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) involving government, financial institutions, agro-machinery vendors/manufacturers' representative and service provider operators (SPOs), is an initiative of the federal government that stresses implementation as well as sustainability. The short term projection of the scheme through the partnership is to make available a minimum of 6,000 units of tractors and power tillers each and also about 13,000 units of various harvest and post-harvest equipment to set up a minimum of 1,200 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE) to render Mechanisation support services to our farmers. An intervention scheme to serve as a pilot to kick-start the implementation, with N3.6 billion, has been approved and released by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development towards financing the establishment of the Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE).The funds in the first phase will make available 400 units of tractors, 500 power tillers, and various harvest and post harvest equipment to set up 80 centers, while phase II will achieve similar results. Phase III will acquire 250 tractors through the partnership programme. At the end of the three phases; the intervention scheme would have brought in 1,050 units of tractors, 1500 power tillers and 2,400 units of various harvest and post equipment such as rice reapers, grain threshers, cassava peelers, etc., to set up 210 units AEHEs to be located in demand-driven locations nationwide. The intervention alone will create 6,090 direct jobs for unemployed youths and mechanise a minimum of 488,250 ha of land while adding 2,441,250Mt of food to our national production. The financing of the agricultural equipment hiring centres is in partnership with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the private sector players. The government will provide 35 per cent of the loans, Bank of Agriculture will provide 35 per cent, the agro-machinery vendors provide 10 per cent and service provider operators will provide just 20 per cent equity to off-take the centres. Each of the AEHE centres to be equipped with 5 units of tractors, 5 units of power tillers, and various harvest and post harvest equipment will be off-taken by Service Provider Operators (SPOs) from the private sector using the refinancing credit facility window of the scheme on a demand-driven bases. For 2014 farming season, N1billon has been approved for GES on mechanisation. Farmers will only pay 50 per cent of the cost of off-taking services from the centres while the mechanisation GES will cover the other 50 per cent balance. The AEHE centres will be run as model to show local and foreign investors that agricultural mechanisation can be run as a profitable enterprise and there is going to be exit point for the government Private sector investment accelerates: Private sector investments are expanding fast in the agriculture sector. In the past two years, over $4 billion in private sector investment commitments have come into the sector. Large corporate players such as Cargill, Syngenta, Unilever and others are establishing in Nigeria. Private sector seed and fertiliser companies are rapidly responding to the bold policy reforms. Within the past year, Nigerian private sector firms such as Dangote, Notore and Indorama committed $US 5 billion to build fertiliser manufacturing plants to expand domestic fertiliser production. The number of private seed companies rose from 5 to 80 within two years. Global seed industry leaders such as Syngenta and DuPont-Pioneer have now set up operations in Nigeria. Nigeria will soon become the largest producer of fertiliser in Africa - a positive development for Nigeria and other African countries. The development finance institutions, especially the World Bank, Africa development bank, IFAD, USAID, DFID and others are ramping up support. Over $3 billion have been leveraged from them in support of the agriculture sector. Without any doubt, agriculture is now Nigeria's new oil. Just look at the returns on the Nigerian Stock Exchange: agriculture stocks like Okomu and Presco Plc were among the best performers for the past two years. Our local investors are getting into agriculture massively, including Dangote, Elumelu, Transcorps, Flour mills of Nigeria, Multitrex etc. Our youths are now excited about the business of agriculture. We are now witnessing an increasing shift by young professionals into agriculture and agribusinesses, away from banking and even telecoms industry. What a new dawn! Food import bill declines: Within two years, national food production increased by 15 million MT, well ahead of the four year target of 20 million MT by 2015. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, food imports declined from N 2.9 trillion ($19.02 billion) in 2011 to N 684 billion ($4.35 billion) in 2013. Agriculture exports expanded by N720 billion between 2011 and 2012. Agriculture has revived the economy. Inflation is at its lowest since 2008 due to accelerating food production. According to the reputable independent economic research house, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC), headline inflation continued to decline in 2013 to 7.79% in Q3 2013 due to, in their own words, “ Farm harvest doing the wonders” in driving inflation down. The eyes of the world are on how to feed the 9 billion people expected in the world by 2050. Africa is where that solution is, because 65% of all the remaining arable land in the world is in Africa. With Nigeria having the largest share of this, there is no doubt that the future growth frontier for feeding the world will be Nigeria. The gains we have made and our rapid transition to agriculture as a business is showing remarkable results. Nigeria will soon become the breadbasket for the world. The currency of Nigeria will not be oil and gas. It will be agriculture: Nigeria's new oil. In agriculture as a business, lies Nigeria's greater future.
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Stakeholders strategise for peaceful poll By Joe Adiorho RCHBISHOP Abiodun A Adetiloye Conference Hall at the Fountain Hotel, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State was last Wednesday filled to the brim with many concerned Nigerians and foreigners desirous of working out ways to ensuring that this month, June 21 gubernatorial election is peaceful, free and fair. The gathering was under the auspices of the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Affairs aimed at sensitizing both the stakeholders and the participants at the forthcoming election. The gathering was the fourth in the series, and it is similar to those organized earlier in Edo, Ondo and Anambra states for their respective governorship elections. The participants deliberated and shared ideas, experiences and on the need for all the stakeholders to work together to provide a conducive atmosphere that would ensure that the governorship election would be crisis free, fair and credible All the 18 political parties that fielded candidates for the election were represented, but only four candidates led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr. Ayo Fayose, came to the workshop and contributed to the deliberation. The State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who is also a candidate in the election however did not attend. Senator Ben Ndi Obi, the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Affairs, said that the main trust of the workshop was to replicate the success achieved in the governorship
elections in Edo, Ondo and Anambra states, through deliberations and exchange of ideas, that would compel far reaching recommendations and work-plan. Obi recalled that since independence in 1960, elections had been constant threat to the unity and survival of the country and stressed, “these trends need to be changed and it is the responsibility of the political leaders, executives and all the stakeholders to ensure that we bring sanity to our electoral process by ensuring that the people’s mandate is actualized.” Obi explained that the Federal Government had put in place, structures that would ensure that elections in the country were free of rancor, manipulation and foul machination. “The on going institutionalized political reforms, including the current National Conference and the allocation of the necessary funds to the Independent National Electoral Commission to safeguard its independence are part of the structure in credible election refereeing. This workshop is therefore, in essence, is an occasion for party associates and stakeholders to rub minds on how to ensure a crisis free election in Ekiti State. Chairman of the occasion General David Jemibewon (rtd) in his remarks agreed with the convener, noting that it is the responsibility of all contestants to ensure that any of them that is elected by the majority of the people should be accepted and the rest should rally round the winner in the interest of all and the development of the country. His words “Let me also say
that for the contestants to also accept defeat, in the spirit of sportsmanship, they must know and accept that the winner is the people’s choice and should be satisfied that though they contested, the will of the people has prevailed. It is, therefore, important that we must all join hands to ensure that all hindrances and obstacles that could cast doubt in the minds of the candidates are removed.” The chairman stressed that the election must conform to the United Nation’s resolution that recognizes the responsibility of the government to ensure free and fair elections, free of intimidation, coercion and tampering with votes. “The central government must continue to play the impartial role that the President Jonathan’s administration has shown in the previous governorship elections, the umpire INEC must do better than what we witnessed in Anambra and ensure that nobody is disenfranchised.” The former Minister of Police Affairs pointed out that the political parties have the onus of ensuring peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the election. “The party executives have the duty of ensuring that they guard their utterances during campaigns, abide by the code of conduct for political parties and refrain from inciting their supporters.” A political analyst, Eddie Okechukwu Iroh who delivered the keynote address, called on the Ekiti politicians to move beyond the usual selfish interest and get to a level of selfless statesmanship that only few have ever reached in the country. “I
would like to see Ekiti State, the progressive state, reputed to have produced more professors and intellectuals than any other state in Nigeria become the pacesetter state in a new political inclusion, tolerance and maturity. “Our first task must be to accept that an opponent is not an enemy, and therefore, to device a new lexicon that replaces enemy, and find a definition in our local language for opponent. The moment we begin to accept that our opponent is not our enemy, we might perhaps have begun to find our way to a new politics of accommodation and tolerance,” he stated. Eddie told the gathering that the bitter truth was that everybody in the hall knew exactly what was required to achieve peaceful, free and fair elections devoid of rancor. “But sadly, not many of you can summon the political will to do the right thing. You will be too conscious of the cost to yourself, your party, your ethnic group and your religion, but not the good it will do for Nigeria. If we are honest in our quest here, it may help us to remember that as Abraham Lincoln said,
deliver more dividends of democracy if he is re-elected in the forthcoming June 21 governorship poll. The Governor gave this assurance while receiving the Knights of St John’s International, Lagos Commandary led by its former President, Sir Kole Olowu, who was on a courtesy visit to Fayemi in Ado Ekiti at the weekend.
Fayemi said contrary to insinuations that second term governors usually relapse into nonperformance, he is in service to God and Ekiti people and has no reason not to provide accountable service to the people who voted him as governor. The Governor asserted that he sees politics as a call to serve the people and make positive difference in their lives. This, he said, he has been doing since he assumed office in 2010 and evident in the massive road construction, transforma-
tion of the education system, succour to elderly citizens through the social security scheme which is being replicated in two other states, and the free health programme among others. Fayemi said the people of the State should expect more people-oriented programmes when he is re-elected as he is dedicated to providing selfless service that will bring about the Ekiti which all and sundry will be proud of. The Governor who said that
would continue to play the role of an impartial umpire. “The Commission is trying to create a level playing field for all the participants. If Ekiti has the highest number of educated persons in the country as it is generally believed, this must translate into a free, fair and peaceful governorship election on June 21, 2014. The trust in INEC’s capacity to conduct credible election must be total and un-adulterated because INEC has no partisan interest in the election.” The US Embassy in Nigeria represented by its ConsularGeneral, Mr. Jeffrey Hopkins, expressed its worries about reports of increasing tension and violence arising from campaigns for the election in the state. According to Hopkins, “the election is very important, so if you are involved in the election, you must do everything within your powers to ensure that the rule of the game is observed. Nigeria deserves free and fair election, therefore, everyone must abide by the laws and sustain the legal rules for the outcome of the election will determine who governs the state for the next four years.”
Fayose distributes 5,000 crash helmets to commercial motorcyclists Stories by Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti ORMER governor of Ekiti FDemocratic State and Peoples Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Mr. Ayo Fayose at the weekend distributed 5,000 crash helmets to commercial motorcyclists known as “Okada riders” in the state. Fayose, who played host to
Fayemi pledges more dividends of democracy KITI State governor Kayode E Fayemi has assured Ekiti people that his administration will
elections belong to the people and if we recognize and accept that, then it is our duty to do all in our power to ensure that the free will of the people is expressed even at our own expense.” Challenging the stakeholders, he said he is looking forward to see for the first time and from Ekiti, “a Nigerian political leader who can stand up in Ekiti State, look at the election results, find the courage to concede defeat and the magnanimity to pick up the phone, call his opponent in the other political party and congratulate him. From that moment, an ‘enemy’ becomes an opponent in a contest of ideas and not rival for personal ambition.” INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, represented by Professor Lai Olurode called for a secured environment for the gubernatorial election. He expressed the wish and the preparedness of INEC to improve on the gains recorded in the conduct of the 2011 General Election. He pleaded with stakeholders to desist from undermining the electoral body, and pledged that it
Catholicism has played a major role in his life added that everything he is doing in office is influenced by his dedication to the service of God. Earlier, the former President of the association, Sir Olowu had charged the governor not to relent in his efforts to provide quality leadership for the State; saying that the transformation brought to Lagos State by Governor Babatunde Fashola is a signal that a second term governor can do much more for the people.
the motorcyclists, described himself as “Chief Okada Rider” also rode motorcycle to demonstrate his support for the riders. Fayose promised to make life better for them and assured them he would not ban Okada from plying the highways if voted into office. He asked them to vote out the All Progressive Congress (APC) of power and alleged that Governor Kayode Fayemi may ban them from plying the highways. Fayose noted that while he was the governor of the state he was selling motorcycle for them at subsidised rate of N5, 000 and he is now willing to do better than that for them to improve on their welfare. Fayose also promised to employ some of them who are graduates to the civil service and will ensure that they are better protected if elected to office. Speaking at the event, former chairman of Amalgamated Commercial of Motorcycle Owners otherwise known as “ACCOMORAN”, Comrade Joseph Emmanuel said the
purpose of their solidarity visit to Fayose was to show him their voters’ cards as mark of the assurance of their votes. According to him, physical display of individual voter cards was to prove to Fayose that the claim by a section of the polity that hundreds of people who usually follow Fayose about do not have electoral value because they do not have voters cards. He pledged support of his members in the 16 local governments for the PDP candidate, saying they would forever remain grateful to him for employing many of them who are graduates during his first tenure as governor. Emmanuel, who is currently Chairman of the newly formed “Fayose Okada Vanguard”, opposed call made by Bishop Felix Ajakaiye of Ekiti Diocese of Catholic Church last week that there must not be deployment of soldiers during the election. The Okada riders’ boss argued that enough security could only be guaranteed if the Federal Government deployed soldiers and other security agents to monitor the poll.
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Kidnapped Chibok Girls
Female doctors support amnesty for Boko Haram From Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta EMALE doctors in the counFvoices try yesterday swelled the calling on the Federal Government to use all necessary means, including dialogue, to get released the abducted students of Government Girls College, Chibok, Borno State. The doctors, who spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State, under the aegis of Medical Women
Association of Nigeria (MWAN), regretted that 46 days after their abduction, the girls remained with their abductors, the Islamist terrorist sect, Boko Haram. MWAN National President, Dr. Valerie Obot, while condemning the girls’ continuous detention, called on government to dialogue with the sect and, if needed, grant members amnesty. In her speech at the opening
ceremony of the associations’ second National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, Obot noted: “This is the worst of all unimaginable cruelties committed against humanity and the development of girls in Nigeria. “The psychological, physical and emotional trauma these girls are passing through with the anticipated health implications make our hearts bleed.”
She appealed to the terrorist group to release “our girls alive now” and also pleaded with all well meaning Nigerians to continue to “pray and advocate until our girls are released.” “We want to inform the Boko Haram sect responsible for this inhumane act, and all other enemies of progress, that you have turned our girls to endangered specie in their motherland,” she
added. “Our girls have a right to be free, to education, good health and economic empowerment.” She further condemned the early marriage culture, which she said is paramount in northern Nigeria, urging parents who give out their children out for early marriage should have a rethink “because every child has the right to good education to know their right.”
According to Obot, MWAN has been actively involved in the efforts of other non-governmental bodies, development partners, the Ministry of Health and Borno State Government, to develop a proposal for the rehabilitation of the girls after their release.
N2N to visit Chibok • Helps Kano blast victims From Murtala Muhammed, Kano NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organization, NeighbourTo-Neighbour Initiative (N2N), has resolved to visit the parents of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, who were kidnapped 50 days ago, in solidarity and concern over their agony. N2N Director of Mobilization, Hajiya Aisha Salihu Lemu, who disclosed the move yesterday while presenting food items to victims of Kano State blast at the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in Kano, said the body would continue to seek respite for the victims of the insurgency and pray for restoration of peace in the entire country. Lemu said that N2N was in Kano to sympathize with the victims and donate items they would need as they recuperate from injuries, shock and pains sustained during the attack. She said the only panacea to the lingering insecurity in the country is dialogue, noting that violence can never bring about peace. She added: “Our visit to Chibok is not only to give material support to the parents of the abducted girls but also to feel their pains, give them hope and pray with them for the quick rescue of our beloved girls. “At a time like this, when the parents are passing through severe agony, there should be no need for trading blames, rather, what we believe is that all hands must be on deck irrespective of political, ethnic or religious leaning, so that with one heart we can solve this problem of insecurity.” N2N Director of Communications, Mr. Emenike Chika, disclosed that the group has visited hospitals in Abuja and Jos, where it commiserated with and donated relief materials to the victims of Nyanya and Jos blasts to enable them recover and resume their normal lives.
Archbishop of Lagos, Methodist Church Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Ajayi (left), wife of the Prelate, Mrs. Florence Uche; the Prelate, His Eminence, Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Uche; Bishop of Lagos West Diocese, Rt. Rev. Oluyemisi Ogunlere and Very Rev. Stephen Adegbite, during a walk in Lagos yesterday to protest against the PHOTO: KENECHUKWU EZEONYEJIAKU abduction of the Chibok school girls
Emir’s killing confirms Boko Haram as Nigeria’s enemy, says APC LAIMS and accusations C that the Islamist terrorist sect, Boko Haram, was set up and is being sponsored by opposition political parties have been proved wrong by Friday’s killing of the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Timta, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said. Condemning the killing suspected to have been carried out by the sect, the APC said the act confirmed the terror group as the enemy of the entire country, rather than an opposition instrument to bring down the President Goodluck Jonathan administration. In a statement in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the atrocious killing of the emir was the clearest indication yet that the Jonathan administration has misdiagnosed the Boko Haram menace from the outset. It noted that when the sect’s
indiscriminate activities are placed side by side others facts, “the group started in 2002 when (Olusegun) Obasanjo was president and flared in 2009 when (Umaru) Yar’Adua was president,” so “one would realize how deceitful and diversionary it is for anyone to portray it as an attempt to make Nigeria ungovernable under Jonathan.” According to the Mohammed, “Boko Haram is not a northern response to a southern presidency, as some would have us believe. Boko Haram is an enemy of Nigeria - whether Christians or Muslims, southerners or northerners, the lowly or the elite, the young or the old, the poor or the rich. “They must be seen for what they are: fringe elements who happen to have linked up with other terror groups around the world to acquire training and weapons, which they are now using to terrorize a whole nation.
“That emirs, who are Muslims and symbols of power in the north can be so dastardly attacked, with deadly consequences, should convince those who would rather engage in blame game than fight the bandits that what the country faces is neither a strictly religious nor elite war, and make them to change their jaundiced mindset. “If indeed Boko Haram was sponsored by the so-called northern elite against Jonathan, how come they are not even sparing the same elite? If indeed Boko Haram is sponsored by the north against Jonathan, why are their deadly attacks concentrated in the north, where they have killed thousands and destroyed facilities and infrastructure worth billions? “Let us all see Boko Haram for what it is, and come together as a people to fight the insurgents rather than engage in denial, blame game and fin-
Lawyer urges dialogue with abductors By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo LAGOS-BASED legal practitioner, Emeka Ozoani, has charged the Federal Government to dialogue with the terrorist group, Boko Haram, in order to save the abducted Chibok girls. Ozoani told newsmen in Lagos yesterday that government has no choice than to ne-
gotiate with the sect for the safety of those girls, adding that any attempt to rescue the girls forcibly could be catastrophic and that it would be unforgivable should a soul be lost among the captives. “You can trade some Boko Haram miscreants. There is no pride thriving on recklessness, so the earlier we get the
girls, the better for everybody so that we can move ahead to prepare for 2015 election. “If this crisis persists, I wonder how election will hold in the northeast. Even where elections are conducted properly, there would be election petitions. Election matters also involve maintaining security of lawyers and litigants.”
ger pointing that can only weaken our resolve as a nation to tackle this fringe group squarely.” The party said the insurgency has festered because the government started off by not seeing it for what it is, thus losing valuable time to combat it, adding that when it started dawning on the government that the nation faced a serious problem, it responded by seeking to make political gains out of it. “Those who saw Boko Haram erroneously as a political trump card have now suffered a boomerang, and today the Jonathan administration is seen globally as incom-
petent, clueless and rudderless largely because of its inept handling of the Boko Haram insurgency, especially the unfortunate abduction of innocent school girls, which has lingered.” The party restated its demand for a national security conference, as different from a gathering of all political parties, to help forge a common front against Boko Haram. It added: “We also reiterate our offer to join hands with the government in a non-partisan effort to battle the menace of Boko Haram, even though the government has yet to reach out to us since we made that offer.”
Ghana rights activists seek sub-regional action From Oludare Richards, Abuja ORE groups have joined the #BringBackOurGirls# campaign, with women rights activists in Ghana calling on the Nigerian Government and other sub-regional stakeholders to take pragmatic measures towards the immediate release of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls. In a joint communiqué, the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana, Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation in Ghana and Women’s Manifesto in Ghana said the continuous detention of the girls was a matter of great concern to
all. Gathering at the Race Court in Kano during a solidarity rally for the release of the abducted girls, the groups also called on Nigeria to put in place the modalities by which the affected families could receive needed support. According to them, the Democracy Day celebration was a sad period for the country because there was nothing to celebrate as the girls were yet in captivity. Addressing the gathering, coordinator of the forum, Hajia Amina Hanga, said it was the groups’ third rally towards the release of the
abducted schoolgirls. She stated: “We have deliberately chosen the Democracy Day to cry out to the Federal Government to redouble efforts in liberating the schoolgirls. They “would have been traumatised for quite some time now, as well as denied the opportunity for education so as to contribute their quota to the economic development of the country.” They had presented a letter of protest to Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso to deliver to President Goodluck Jonathan during their previous march to the Government House in Kano.
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How to check poverty, by Okonjo-Iweala By Gbenga Akinfenwa OR Nigeria to experience Feradication massive job creation, of poverty and
Vice President, Development and Strategy, Babcock University, Olukunle Iyanda (left); guest speaker, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Vice Chancellor, Babcock University, Prof. Kayode Makinde, during the 12th convocation ceremony of the university, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State… yesterday.
control income inequality, the country’s economy must grow at a faster rate to address these challenges. This was stated by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her keynote address at the 12th Convocation Ceremony of Babcock University, IlishanRemo, Ogun State at the weekend, noting that with private sector partnership, government would achieve the feat to transform the country. The co-ordinating minister, who spoke in a paper entitled: “Opportunities and Challenges To Transforming Nigeria’s Economy,” stated that with what the country had faced in the last two decades, it would take a gradual process to for Nigeria to
surmount its economic woes, which would translate to raising the standard of living of the people. “In the 1980s, the economic situation was not like this, we are despondent. It was a difficult decade where Nigeria had to borrow to survive. In the 1990s, the economy of the country was deteriorating. “It was in 1999 that we began to manage our economy, which brought about the liberalisation of the economy and other,” she said. She stressed that the ongoing transformation agenda of government would continue to build on the result to make the country’s economy better. “Now our micro-economy performance is good, inflation has remain at single digit, our exchange rate is now okay and our GDP is at 11 per cent,” she said. The minister, who pointed
fingers at states and local governments for the infrastructural woes of the country, stated that all blame are put on the Federal Government, despite huge allocations accruing to the second and third tiers of government on monthly basis. While listing the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, she noted that soon, government would release money to the housing sector under the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, to provide homes for teeming Nigerians. Okonjo-Iweala added that through the initiative, Nigerians would have opporunity to own houses, and createmore jobs for engineers, architects and construction companies.
A deputy governor in village squares By Evans Anichebe ITTLE was known about L Flight Lt John Jerry Rawlings of Ghana until 1979 when he was first arrested and tried on charges of a coup plot. While the trial was on, his associates sprang a big surprise and freed him from detention. Upon his release he staged another coup leading him to form a military government, which enabled him to initiate revolutionary changes that have since been described as the second independence of Ghana after the one the founding President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah midwifed in 1957. The rest they say is history, because like Nkrumah, Rawlings’ lifestyle was based on a close-knit relationship with the grassroots. For both, their philosophy was that a government only succeeds when they bond with the people. That connected Rawlings with market women, artisans and workers as they instantly recognised him when General Fred Akuffo allowed the proceedings to be recorded on camera and beamed on the TV. He used to leave the Air Force barracks to mix freely with them. So, the massive support came naturally from the people when he eventually became the head of state. This support partly explains the success of the Rawlings regime. The lesson here is that it is not enough for government to hatch great policy ideas, but how it gets the people to buy into it; and substantially accommodate and integrate the grassroots population into it by working out modus that factors the people into the implementation of such vision. That template will more than any other format help the mission of total grassroots galvanization. It also happened to a great extent during the IBB MAMSER Mantra that produced the watershed that June 12 represents. These are issues that come to mind as reports of Imo
State Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere’s village square meetings take firm root. So far the encouraging report has it that Madumere has embarked on a series of trips from Owerri, to far-flung autonomous communities and settlements. “He is hitting villages and communities long neglected by previous administrations that came before the government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha. He is selling the Okorocha principle of popular governance to deepen support for government,” that has become a regular report of the active deputy governor. A recent report has it that: “As Madumere is currently holding village square meetings, visiting various Imo State communities, the people are coming out to ask questions, making suggestions and their opinions felt.” As a result of that monarchs and their subjects in so many Imo communities eagerly look forward towards seeing him, especially as it has become another means of getting more projects sited in their various towns and villages. Significantly, Madumere’s visits to Amaulu Mbieri and Obazu has been described as outstanding. A huge turnout of rural dwellers including commercial motorcyclists, youths, traders and students trooped out to meet their number two citizen. The reception prompted the people of Egbema in Ohaji/Egbema Council to send a passionate plea to Madumere to avail them of his presence. The community believes the deputy governor’s presence would hasten the provision of electricity to the area. For them, “Governor Okorocha has pressed some buttons and some communities in Imo State now have electricity. Let the same button be pressed for Egbema to get electricity.” The four discernible objectives of Madumere’s strategy of connecting with the grassroots in achieving his objectives are germane. First is en-
abling government to reach out to the source of its mandate. His firm belief is that, “every government worth its honour must constantly look back to the origin of its power and authority. That cradle is the people.” Madumere has repeatedly said, “in repeatedly going to its roots, the government is declaring that the trappings of office have not severed its cord with its parentage, being the people. This makes the government to remember all its electoral promises during the campaign for votes. Again, going to the people regularly as we are doing allows the government to update itself concerning fresh needs at the grassroots level. And finally, a government that is a regular caller at the abode of the electorate would not have much campaign to do at the next election, because half of its job on ballot day would have been done through the previous tours.” For him, “this is the simple but efficient political ploy great administrators resort to in their quest to deliver the dividends of democracy and good governance to the people. A people-oriented government such as we have in Imo cannot be an exception to this rule which has worked quite effectively elsewhere. Indeed it gives depth and meaning to Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy being “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Government, he further reasoned is not some distant institution of elected officials who cease to be human after election. Rather they are those who must identify all the time with those, who put them in power. They are those who must remind themselves that after some years they will go back to the people to renew their mandate. What Madumere is doing therefore is a requirement of democracy, which Nigerian politicians, whether at the federal, state or local government level, must take heed to. • Anichebe is an architect in Orlu, Imo State.
National confab: Before Nigeria is torn apart (3) By Esanerovo Agbodo •Continued from last Thursday N fact, anybody (politician or recipient) caught should be disqualified and genuinely prosecuted to deter others. Security forces and underground agents should be mobilized to ensure that this law if already existing in our electoral act is strictly obeyed, or if the law is not clearly stated, a bill should be sent to the National Assembly immediately to enact it. Yes politicians must visit people to sell their programmes and manifestoes so let it remain just selling programmes and manifestoes and not giving any form of gift or money, because this is creating serious problems for us. Any politician that loves his or her people so much should wait till when he is elected and can even donate their salaries and all their allowances to the people to show that love and not before the election. Once we get our political system right, there will be a full proof service delivery system devoid of nepotism or undue favouritism. In this system, contracts will be given to the best companies and employment will be given to the right candidate in the civil service. The need for a common Nigerian language Language unifies, this is a truth that has been established over the years, so I am not the one propounding it. The English speaking country will naturally align with another English speaking country than aligning with a French speaking country if there is a choice to make. So, Nigeria as a multi-ethnic society where we have about 250 or more ethnic groups and about 500 lan-
Jonathan guages, it will be suicidal not to have a common Nigerian Language. The Nigerian Language, not English will first and foremost create an identity for citizens of the nation in a distinct manner from other citizens of the world. This is important because Nigeria is our primary constituency even though we love the whole world and all of us are siblings from the same parents, Adam and Eve according to the history of creation. In fact, most developed nations and even serious developing nations of the world today have a national language they rally around. Even when English is a lingua franca, there is still a local language that creates a different identity for the nation. In India, Hindi and English are the national languages. In Phillipines, it is Tagalo and English. Even in Ghana, they have national local languages that unite the citizens of Ghana. Even the brand of English the United States of America speaks is carefully branded as a distinct national language from the traditional English Language. There is the need for a
child in Owerri to learn and speak a language that a child in Maiduguri learnt and grew up with. This will foster unity and make us to understand that we have a common destiny. A situation where some Nigerian citizens speak Arabic only as a foreign language and imbibe Arabic culture while others speak English and imbibe English culture is creating two different and opposing identities for our citizens and this is dangerous for national cohesion. We must device a new national language that our children will speak and see themselves as one people. There should be a scientific approach to indoctrinate Nigerians that this country and its economy have to survive first before individual survival. Even religion should play the back role, because when a highly religious person is highly deprived of basic economic benefits, there is the tendency for him or her to deviate from the tenets of the faith he or she proclaims just to survive. Nigerian citizens should know that Nigeria must survive first before individuals and this ideology must not only be said but engraved into the personalities and subconscious of the citizens. Why will a soldier move forward to fight in a war even when he just saw his colleagues gunned down, it is because of the ideology that he has been fed with. Any soldier that does not have not imbibed a strong ideology to defend the nation, will drop his weapon and go (awol) run away when the chips are down. • Concluded •Agbodo (email@example.com) is publisher of International Opportunities Magazine and national co-ordinator, Goodluck Voters Forum
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President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) (NIM), Nelson Uwaga; The Iyasere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Mabiaku, and National Treasurer, NIM, Grant Orugbani, during the Institute’s visit to Mabiaku at Warri under its NIM We Care initiative
First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan in the midst of some ECOWAS female parliamentarians during a courtesy visit to Aso Villa, Abuja.
Director, Economic Intelligence, Department of State Services, Kayode Oduneye; President/Chairman of Council, Institute of Directors (IOD), Nigeria, Eniola Fadayomi, F.IoD; Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ayo Oke, and former President, IoD, Thomas Awagu, during the Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria, May 2014 Members’ Evening, themed: Security - A Critical Element in a Nation’s Growth & Prosperity, held in Lagos
Area Manager, Ecobank, Godwin Eton (left); Mr. Executive Director, South South/South East, Ecobank, Kingsley Umadia, Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, Lady Valerie Ebe, wife of the staqte governor, Mrs. Ekaette Akpabio, and Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Precious Gbeneol, at the presentation of cheques to beneficiaries in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Friday
General Manager, Industrial Performance, Lafarge Wapco, Lanre Opakunle (left); Corporate Brand and Sustainability Manager, Lafarge Nigeria, Temitope Oguntokun, Product Development Manager, Lafarge Wapco, Femi Yusuf, and Corporate Communication Manager, Lafarge Nigeria, Ade Ojolowo, during the briefing after the media tour of the company’s Ewekoro plant in Ogun State
Business Development Manager, G&M Drycleaners Limited, Akindele Olaide (left); Chairman, G&M Drycleaners Limited, Akinuli Anthony, Managing Director/CEO, G&M Drycleaners Limited, Mrs. Aden Akinuli; Baale Eleshin Town, Ikorodu, Chief Rotimi Mejigbedu Shonaya, and Baale Omitoro Town, Chief Mufutau Taiwo Odusaoga, at the Democracy Day exercise tagged: ‘Fit for Life,’ organised by G&M Place in Ikorodu PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU
Co-ordinator, Nestle Nutrition Institute Africa for Anglophone Countries, Central and West Africa, Chioma Emme-Nwachukwu (left); former President, Nutrition Association of Nigeria (NNA), Prof. Ignatius Onimawo; Regional Business Head, Sub-Sahara Africa, Pinde Iwa-Mda, and Director, Nutrition, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Abimbola Ajayi, at the complementary feeding conference of Nestle Nigeria Plc. in Lagos PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
Methodist College Uzuakoli Old Boys’ Association (UMCOBA)Lagos Branch, on their biennial home coming, visited a Uzuakoli Motherless Babies Home. A cash gift of N50,000.00 and other products were donated to the home in Uzuakoli
THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com
Monday, June 2, 2014
Sports Bakare hails players, thumbs up Honeywell for supporting basketball
Countdown To Brazil 2014 World Cup
Anxiety grips players, as Keshi names his final list today By Christian Okpara AJORITY of the 30 players currently in the Super Eagles’ camp in Philadelphia, United States, are reportedly on edge, waiting anxiously to find out if they will be in the final squad for the Brazil 2014 World Cup, which kicks off on June 12. Of the players in camp, only a few, reportedly 12, are sure of packing their bags for the trip to Brazil. Some of the players said to be sure of their positions in the team are Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Vincent Enyeama, Elderson Echiejile, Austin Ejide, Efe Ambrose, Godwin Oboabona, Kenneth Omeruo, Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa and Victor Obinna Nsofor. Others, a source close to Coach Stephen Keshi, had from May 25 to yesterday to convince the technical crew that they can contribute meaningfully to Nigeria’s quest for success in Brazil. The source, who pleaded anonymity, told The Guardian on phone from the
IGERIA Basketball team N national coach, Ayo Bakare said a brighter future
Eagles camp that the players have been training hard twice daily since they arrived in the American city. “Although the players are working hard to impress the coaches, they are also cautious to avoid any injury that would the them out of the World Cup. “It is a healthy atmosphere in the camp, but beneath you can feel the anxiety among the players,” he said. Keshi at the weekend disclosed that he already knows his final 23-man squad, but would wait till today before unveiling the list. The Super Eagles drew 2-2 with Scotland in an international friendly in London last week with Uche Nwofor and Michael Uchebo scoring for the African champions after they fell behind twice. After announcing the chosen players today, Keshi’s team will meet Greece tomorrow in another international friendly and also meet the US national team on June 7 before proceeding to Campinas, their World Cup team base in Brazil.
Don’t scream if robbed,’ Brazilian Police warn visitors HE Brazilian police have T put together a pamphlet of top tips for staying safe during the World Cup next month, with suggestions such as making sure not to scream if someone tries to rob you, it is reported. “Do not react, scream or argue,” says the brochure, which will be handed out by Brazilian embassies and consulates, Estadao de Sao Paulo newspaper reports. Sao Paulo police, who reportedly put together the document, are aiming their security tips at football fans planning to attend the World Cup tournament that kicks off on June 12. The idea is apparently to warn visitors not to provoke robbers into further violence,
and avoid the increasingly common crime of “latrocinios” - or robbery that ends in murder. “Tourists come mainly from Europe and the United States, where they do not see this crime very often,” says Mario Leite, who is in charge of World Cup security in Sao Paulo. Tourists are also advised not to flaunt valuable objects that might attract robbers, to be careful at night, make sure they are with other people and to check nobody is following them. The guidelines might sound extreme, but police officer Mario Leite says they are there to deal with realities on the ground. “There is no use crying over spilt milk,” he says.
Nigeria’s defender, Azubuike Egwuekwe (right) jumps for the ball with Scotland’s striker, Chris Martin, during the international friendly between Nigeria and Scotland…last Wednesday. PHOTO: AFP
awaits basketball in Nigeria going by the performance of kid players in the just concluded Youth Alive Community Basketball competition. Bakare, a former D’Tigers Basketball boss spoke at the closing ceremony of the Honeywell-sponsored competition, which took place at the Rowe Park, Yaba, Lagos, at the weekend. Del Basketball team clinched the first position in the U-16 Boys category, while Zion and Deepbond teams maintained the second and third position respectively. Describing the competition as a huge success, Bakare said the game will improve tremendously if government gives it proper attention. He, however, lauded the initiative of Honeywell for keeping faith in the sponsorship of the competition aimed at identifying and building talents. He was highly impressed at the performance of the kids, saying it gives hope that there is a brighter future for basketball in Nigeria. “Also, Honeywell is doing a great job in keeping faith to sponsor this basketball competition where others have failed. It is a welcome development that should be sustained for the growth of the game in Nigeria”, he said. Responding, Managing Director, Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Lanre Jaiyeola, said “in efforts to make the society feel our impacts, we have made basketball a choice, not just to discover talents, but also to build talents. Beyond that, it is also to remove the youths from the streets, from social vices and make them have a direction to realize a dream by building a career”.
Onolememen tips Super Eagles for Victory in World Cup, drums support for team IGERIANS have been N called upon to support the nation’s Super Eagles as they take their campaign to Brazil for the World Cup in the next few days saying the team has a bright chance to win the tournament. This appeal was made by the Minister of Works, Arc Mike Onolememen, who said the
team has a bright chance to make epic performance during the Mundial. According to him, with the coaching crew led by Stephen Keshi, it shows the team is purely a Nigerian content and “so Nigerians must give them all necessary support as they play in faraway Brazil.”
Onolememen, an enthusiastic footballer himself, while encouraging the players urged them to go out of their way to bring back the glory of the World Cup with a strong belief that Nigerians at home are solidly behind them. He advised the team to be focused, determined and committed to their games
rating them above Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and every other team in the Mundial from the continent. He however expressed satisfaction in their preparations of play: “I have watched them keenly and with their team spirit they will go very far during the World Cup tournament.
Wenger tips Nigeria, Argentina for second round RSENAL manager, Arsene A Wenger, has tipped Nigeria and Argentina as the
two teams favoured to proceed through to the knockout stages of the World Cup from Group F when the tournament kicks off next month. On June 16, Nigeria’s World Cup campaign kicks off in Curitiba when the Eagles take on Iran and after that they subsequently play Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina on the June 21 and 25th respectively. According to coach Wenger, Argentina looks
favourite to top the group, with Nigeria well placed to come second. He added that with Argentina widely regarded as the best team of the quartet, Nigeria looks like the team to emerge with them from the group. According to coach Wenger, the Super Eagles play more as a unit, when compared with Bosnia-Herzegovina, the other team expected to complete with Nigeria for a place in the second round. Wenger added: “I don’t know about second place. I think that Nigeria might
qualify for the second stage as they really made a good impression on me during the African Cup of Nations. “They seem to have a really good team spirit, which is not always easy for African teams. They have less star players but they have a real team and it’s been a while since that happened for them.” Already, the Eagles have started training in Philadelphia for the next warm-up game against Greece on June 3, having flown into the US from London where they played a
2-2 draw with Scotland. After the Greece game, the team will then fly to Jacksonville in Florida where it will take on Team USA before heading to Brazil. Upon arrival in Brazil, the Eagles will play one last warm-up match against Algeria on June 11 just a day before the tournament kicks off on June 12. Just before the next game against Greece, head coach Stephen Keshi is expected to name the 23, who will participate in the tournament from his provisional list of 30.
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Cowbell I-Try All Star team for South Africa tourney By Alex Monye RGANISERS of the I-Try Rugby Football Secondary School Championship have revealed that the best players rom the competition holding in Lagos and Kano will be selected to represent Nigeria at an international schools championship in Cape Town, South Africa. Speaking while unveiling the programme for the 2014 edition of the competition, one of the i-Try rugby coordinators, Chuchu Ejikeme, revealed that 24 schools are participating in the competition in Lagos, while eight teams are featuring in the Kano leg of the championship. According to Ejikeme, the winners from Kano will meet the winners of the Lagos leg to determine the national
champions. He revealed that scouts are in the two centres looking for outstanding talents that will form the Nigerian team. He added: “We are looking for funds to take the best players to South Africa where many opportunities await the outstanding stars. “In the championship in South Africa, scouts from big clubs will be there to look for players for their teams and I believe that such opportunities will help the chosen players development in the game.” He revealed that Rugby in Nigeria has suffered from the poor attention paid to grassroots sports development by the government, adding, “it is very important to provide the children the opportunity to do sports because out of 1,000 kids in sports, only a few will
grow to become proficient in the game. That is why I say the more grassroots programme we have the better for Nigerian sport.” Earlier, the Category Manager, Dairy, Promasidor Nigeria, Mrs. Abiola Inawo, had revealed that Cowbell is taking rugby to “the people to demystify the myth that the sport is for the elite. “We want to support the sport because it helps people to remain healthy, which is the Promasidor agenda. “We hope that the competition will inculcate in the children the virtues of teamwork, discipline and honesty that will guide their daily life beyond sport. “We have been doing this for three years and we want to take it to other states in the near future.”
RTC on top, as Access Bank UNICEF Charity Polo nears finishing line EFENDING champions, D Kano RTC, have established themselves as one of the teams to beat at the ongoing 2014 Access Bank UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament, which galloped off to a blistering start last week. Campaigning for the coveted Access Bank Cup, Kano RTC outpaced debutant, Huwaei 10-7 in the opening game of the medium-goal cup series.
The prestigious polo fiesta, which is reputed for its high profile competitions, lived up to its billing as Kano RTC made good their pre-tournament rating with an emphatic performance that puts them in good stead to defend the title for the second year running. RTC quartet that boasts tested hands like Khalifa Ibrahim, Diego White and Johan Duploy both from
NFF holds Federation Cup draw tomorrow he Draw Ceremony for this T year’s Federation Cup Men and Women competitions
Duped: Lazio star, Ogenyi Onazi, was prompted into coming to the meeting in a bid to enhance the agent’s credibility. He is not thought to be involved in the plot.
will hold at the FIFA Technical Centre, Abuja tomorrow, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has announced. Head of the NFF’s Federation
Cup Unit, Ruth David, said at the weekend that the Draw would involve all teams qualified from the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT, minus those teams that have been ejected in the national preliminaries.
Nigerian caught on video allegedly promising to fix World Cup games FOOTBALL agent has ben caught on camera allegedA ly claiming he can fix Brazil 2014 World Cup games for prizes ranging from £41,000 to £81,000, reports Mail of London. The potential match-fixer says he could arrange a yellow card during a World Cup game for more than £41,000 and a penalty for £81,000. Agent Henry Chukwuma Okoroji was caught telling an undercover reporter that he could fix games and organise certain outcomes during the tournament in Brazil this month. It comes just days after the National Crime Agency (NCA) investigated allegations that a friendly between Nigeria and Scotland had been targeted by criminal syndicates. Speaking from a hotel room in Milan, the businessman and his associate - only known as Joe - told the reporter a list of prices he would have to pay for different outcomes, including a red card. He said a yellow card would set them back 50,000 euros (£40,660) and a penalty 100,000 euros (£81,370).
In an attempt to enhance their credibility, the pair also invited Lazio and Nigerian footballer, Ogenyi Onazi, to the meeting, however, there is no suggestion he was involved in any fixing plot. Speaking to The Sun’s undercover reporter, Mazher Mahmood, Okoroji said he had already recruited two Nigerian players for this summer’s tournament and was planning to fly to Brazil to oversee his scams during the tournament. The agent said: ‘Hundred per cent, two players. It’s left up to you people what you want to do. You will pay for a yellow or a red card or a penalty.’ After making the offer, Okoroji rang a prominent Nigerian player and claimed he had agreed to take part in the fix. But Okoroji said: “The player cannot come because of his career, which is true. These things you cannot speak on the phone because they are monitoring, all agents, are monitoring his calls.” Okoroji claims he was a professional footballer and got into match-fixing after he was approached as a player.
During the conversation with the paper, he also said he could speak to a senior figure in the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to influence squad selection for forthcoming tournament. A spokesman for the NCA, who are now said to be investigating the claims, said: ‘The NCA will from time to time provide operational detail necessary for public reassurance purposes. “It does not routinely confirm or deny the existence of specific operations or provide ongoing commentary on operational activity.” Last week, an investigation was launched over claims of attempted match-fixing in a friendly between Scotland and Nigeria. Thirteen footballers were arrested in April in connection with alleged spot-fixing and another six rearrested over the claims. Despite the allegations, England are confident the game at its highest levels is clean of the scourge of matchfixing, a survey conducted by international players’ union FIFPro has revealed. Over 1,500 players from eight
countries - England, Scotland, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Slovenia submitted responses to a questionnaire that tested their knowledge about the extent of fixing, approaches to fix matches, sharing inside information and betting
rules. There have been a series of arrests following suspected attempts to fix matches in the lower English football leagues in recent months. There have also been allegations of illicit activity in cricket. •Culled from mailonline.com
Action from a past edition of the Access Bank Polo Championship.
Argentina and team patron, Musty Sherief, took the lead right from the first chukka of the hotly contested game and remained in front all the way to the final bell. The Sadig Wali led Huwaei, who were playing their first Access Bank Charity Shield tournament, had arrived with high hopes of clinching their first title. But their push came a little late as the RTC guys had already opened up a four-goal lead into the first two chukkas of the tense clash. Huwaei came back powerfully in the third chukka after overcoming their early tardiness, scoring their first goal through Thomas Usher in the third chukka of five chukka game, but their spirited rally came too late to upturn the final result. Thomas Usher scored three of Huwaei goals, while Bello Buba and Campaigns for the glittering Access Bank Cup, which attracted equally matched teams this year, continue throughout the week, with RTC taking on a loaded Fifth Chukker team in a crucial game that would make or mar their title defense on Friday. As is tradition, proceeds from gate takings, sale of memorabilia and cash donation from Access Bank Plc, is used annually to support UNICEF in its campaign against HIV AIDS pandemic.
monday, June 2, 2014 SPORtS
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Lagos International Badminton Classics
Cote d’Ivoire, Benin are early birds, as more countries arrive Ote d’Ivoire and Benin C Republic are among the early arrivals for the Lagos International Badminton Classics, which has attracted countries from as far as North America. Canada was the first country to arrive for the championship at the weekend, as more players are expected to arrive today for the tournament, which will serve off on Wednesday June 4. As at yesterday, the number of participating nations improved to 17 with the likes of United States and France leading other 13 countries to Lagos for the competition scheduled for the mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Rowe Park. the Badminton World Federation (BWF)-sanctioned tournament has also been listed as part of the International Challenge series with prize money of $15,000. According to Confederation
of Africa Badminton, the competition is the highest category of championship ever hosted by any African country and its attendance is also the highest for any badminton international championship in Africa. Also as part of the efforts to woo back supporters to the game, the board members of the Lagos State Badminton Association, led by its chairman, Francis Orbih, paid a courtesy visit to Oba Adedapo tejuoso, the Osile of Oke-Ona, at the weekend in recognition of the monarch’s immense contribution to the development of the game in Nigeria especially in Lagos. At the event, the king accepted to be the father of the day during the grand finale of the competition on June 7. meanwhile, former national player, Oby edoga believes the tournament would help to revive the fortune of the sport in Nigeria. “Generally, hosting of an
international event of this magnitude puts the particular sport in the limelight, both within the country and outside the country. In particular, the badminton Classics will rekindle interest in the game, which is almost going into oblivion for lack of tournaments. It will also exposure our players to world class standard as well as provide opportunity for our players to garner points and improve their rankings both in Africa and in the world,” she said. edoga added that it would help the players to amass points towards the qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. Other nations already confirmed are Botswana, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Austria, Italy, Israel, Slovakia, and Czech Republic. the remaining countries are Canada, United States, India and New Zealand.
Participants at the just-concluded 2014 NBC Racing Championship held at the Lagos Boat Club. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
Nigeria wins Milo Africa U-13 Football Championship By Alex Monye IGeRIA at the weekend in N Lagos beat Ghana 5-4 on penalties to win the milo U13 Africa Championship trophy for the second time in the three-year old competition. Ghana were the defending champions, but they met a resilient Nigeria, which survived a late rally from their
West African brothers, who came from 3-1 to level scores with just about five minutes to the end. Nigeria got the first goal through Skipper Olusegun Olakunle four minutes into the game watched by illustrious ex-Nigerian internationals, Nwankwo Kanu, Peter Rufai and Ogbonna Kanu. mustapha Adam Agba’a
IAAF Relays: Abdullahi congratulates Team Nigeria, believes High Performance System will deliver mmedIAte past Sports IAbdullahi, minister, mallam Bolaji has congratulat-
Regina George was in the Nigerian team that won bronze at the IAAF World Relays…recently.
SuperSport’s lists world stars for Brazil 2014 coverage F you can’t be in Brazil, IBrazil SuperSport will bring to you. With every FIFA World Cup 2014 match available live and in High definition on SuperSport, the World of Champions will have enhanced coverage with star guests, dynamic magazine shows and the latest technology. SuperSport has pulled out all stops for the event, which starts on June 12, to ensure that viewers need never leave their television screens. Charles Anazodo will anchor global icons such as Ryan Giggs who will be just one of many experts who will share their insights with dStv subscribers. Other football heavyweights who will add to the package include Jay Jay Okocha, Sunday Oliseh, Sammy Kuffour, John Barnes and John dykes.
their analysis will blend with five embedded SuperSport crews who will track the progress of African powerhouses Nigeria and Ghana, among others. As part of the crew, Colin Udoh will offer fly-on-the-wall coverage and ensure viewers enjoy a unique perspective of the Super eagles. SuperSport will boast two 24-hour channels – one in Hd (SS3Hd), one in Sd (SS3) on dStv – for the duration of the tournament. For the eight matches that run concurrently, in the last-round round-robin stage, SS2Hd and SS4 will feature these fixtures. A selection of matches, including the Super eagles’ matches against Iran and Argentina, will be broadcast live on dStv’s GOtv. As a bonus, SuperSport will also produce four magazine shows, each of a different flavour:
ed the Nigerian women’s athletics team for winning the country’s first ever medal, a bronze, in the inaugural IAAF World Relays. the Nigerian team came a close third with 3.23.41 seconds behind the Jamaican team, which came second (3:23.26) and the Americans who were first with 3.21.73 seconds. the IAAF World Relays is an international track and field sporting event that will see national teams from around the world compete exclusively in relay races. Although mallam
Abdullahi stated that he was impressed with the performance of the team, he noted that in time Nigeria would consistently do better and become an athletics powerhouse in the world. “I am happy that we are beginning to see some of the results of the High Performance System that my team established when I was the minister. “I am confident that if the structures we left behind are maintained, there will be great improvements in the performance of our athletes such that Nigeria will become a world power not only in athletics but in other sports.’’
doubled the lead on 20th minute but Ishaku Fatawu pulled one back for the Ghanaians, restoring hope they might still keep the trophy. But a determined team Nigeria represented by pupils of St. Barnabas LGeA, Kwara State, increased the lead when Agba’a completed a brace on 20th minute of the first half. Fatawu was on hand again for Ghana when he struck a second on the day and his third of the tournament to reduce the tally to 32 before the interval. Ghana represented by Zogbeli Block A Primary School dominated the proceedings against an obviously fatigued Nigerian side, but
they were kept at bay by Ayodeji Otoola in goal for Nigeria. But with five minutes of play left, Abdulahi Haruna Rasheed restored parity for Ghana at 3-3 to drag the game into penalties. Both sides converted their first three penalties and when Ahmed Ishmael failed to convert his kick, hitting the upright, the Nigerians took advantage and made no mistake directing their kicks beyond the goalkeeper. Agba’a would go home with the golden boots for the highest goal having scored four goals in two matches and Olakunle Olusegun, the Nigerian captain took away the mVP Award presented by Kanu.
Etisalat introduces low tariff roaming offer to Brazil eLeCOmmUNICAtIONS t outfit, etisalat, is set to introduce an affordable roaming offer for the upcoming global football tournament slated for Brazil from June 1 through July 31, officials of the company have said. the director, Business
General Manager, Marketing and Retention, MultiChoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho; Ex-International, Peter Rufai; Nomsa Mazibuko, SuperSport Marketing Director; Ex-international, Victor Ikpeba and General Manager, SuperSport, West Africa, Felix Awogu, during the launch of the 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign tagged, ‘WE Are Brazil’ held at The Marque, Pent House, Mega Plaza, Victoria Island… at the weekend. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI
Segment at etisalat Nigeria, Lucas dada, said the global football tournament is being hosted in Brazil and Nigeria is among the 32 countries that would be competing. the etisalat Brazil roaming offer provides customers with affordable rates so they can keep in touch with their families, friends, and business associates easily, seamlessly and affordably with etisalat’s discounted roaming rates on local calls within Brazil, calls to Nigeria, SmS and data activities. details of the offer show that it is valid from June 1st through July 31st, 2014, and is open to all prepaid and post paid subscribers, except enuf yarn (commercial call operators), while etisalat is partnering with the vivo network in Brazil to make it possible. With this special offering, local calls made to local Brazilian networks and calls made to Nigeria from Brazil would be charged at just N200, internet and data activities at N1 per 10kb, while SmS will cost N60 per SmS.
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Countdown to Brazil World Cup 2014
Hodgson worries about ‘obsession’ over Rooney NGLAND manager Roy E Hodgson is miffed by what he regards as a national “obsession” with Wayne Rooney. Daniel Sturridge scored a stunning goal to help England to a 3-0 win over Peru on Friday, but once again the focus fell on Rooney after he put in a below-par display. Ever since Rooney burst on to the scene as an 18-year-old with four goals at Euro 2004, the English public has pinned its hopes on the Liverpool-born striker every time a major tournament comes around. In 2006, leading politicians, celebrities and footballers prayed for Rooney’s return from a metatarsal injury, while four years later, an ankle injury in the build-up to the World Cup caused panic among the masses of fans who idolise the Manchester United striker. Hodgson was full of praise for Rooney after the Peru victory, hailing the 28-year-old’s drive, commitment and energy in a briefing for Sunday newspapers. So the England manager became agitated when the subject of Rooney, and how
he did not perform as well as his replacement Raheem Sterling, was first topic on the agenda. “We work as a team but certainly we don’t have the same obsession with Wayne, or Daniel Sturridge. “It’s a little bit infuriating to see players who have come on in the last 10 or 15 minutes of a game when it’s over and there are loads of spaces and the opposition are on their knees compared to players who are on the pitch when opponents are very fit and determined to keep you at bay, throwing themselves into challenges.” Former Manchester United midfielder, Paul Scholes, questioned whether Hodgson would have the gumption to drop Rooney if the striker, who is yet to score at a World Cup, does not produce the goods. Interestingly, Hodgson failed to name Rooney as one of his definite starters for England’s Group D opener against Italy in Manaus on June 14. “In the back positions we have a pretty clear idea of what we want,” Hodgson said when asked if he knew how his team would line up versus
Dutch forward, Arjen Robben (left) vies for the ball with Ghanaian midfielder, Michael Essien (second left) during the friendly match, which Netherlands won 1-0 at the weekend. PHOTO: AFP
Ghana names final squad ERRY Akaminko, Jeffrey Jfailed Schlupp and David Accam to make the final cut as Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah named his 23-man squad for the World Cup yesterday. Eskisehirspor defender Akaminko picked up an ankle injury during the closing stages of the friendly defeat to Holland on Saturday and is out for three months, while Leicester’s Schlupp and Helsingborg midfielder Accam also miss out from the original 26man selection.
Appiah’s final squad includes 16 players contesting their first World Cup, but there is plenty of experience elsewhere, with captain Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari preparing for their third finals and Jonathan Mensah, Michael Essien, Kwadwo Asamoah, Andre Ayew and KevinPrince Boateng about to contest their second edition of the tournament. Ghana travels to Miami for the final stages of their build up to Brazil, with one more friendly to come
against fellow finalists South Korea on June 9. Their World Cup Group G campaign kicks off against the United States on June 16, before meetings with Germany and Portugal. Ghana’s World Cup squad: Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates), Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars); Samuel Inkoom (Platanias), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), Harrison Afful (Esperance), John Boye (Rennes), Jonathan Mensah (Evian), Rashid Sumalia
(Mamelodi Sundowns); Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Afriyie Acquah (Parma), Christian Atsu (Vitesse Arnhem), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan); Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes), Jordan Ayew (Sochaux).
Prandelli shocked by Montolivo’s injury TALY coach Cesare Ihoping Prandelli went to London to put the finishing touches on his World Cup squad but left with a hole in his midfield. AC Milan captain, Riccardo Montolivo, was lost for the tournament in Brazil after fracturing his shinbone in
Costa hopes to return for Spain IEGO Costa is targeting a D return to action in Spain’s final pre-World Cup friendly against El Salvador next weekend as he steps up his recovery from a hamstring injury. It was touch and go whether Costa would be part of Spain’s World Cup plans due to the injury which forced him out of Atletico Madrid’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid after just nine minutes. However, the Brazil-born striker was included in Vicente del Bosque’s 23-man squad for this summer’s tournament yesterday and, after confirming his recovery is going well, Costa is now hoping to feature at some point against El Salvador in America next Saturday.
He told Marca: “I’m very well. I’ve been working over the last few days with the physios and rehabilitation staff and I feel very well. From tomorrow (today) I will start working with the rest of the team under the orders of Vicente del Bosque. “I hope to be able to have some minutes in next week’s game against El Savador in Washington.” Costa played two friendlies for Brazil last year but ended up committing his international allegiance to Spain, with whom he made his debut against Italy earlier this year. After being confirmed in Del Bosque’s squad for the World Cup, the 25-year-old said: “I’m very pleased. It’s a very happy day for me. I was really hoping to go to the World Cup in Brazil.”
his left leg following a challenge from the Republic of Ireland’s Alex Pearce during Saturday’s goalless draw at Craven Cottage. “Montolivo has a fractured shinbone,” Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci said. “I will evaluate the extent of the injury once I see the X-
Kranjcar, others rules out of Croatia’s squad ROATIA have cut their C World Cup squad to the final 23 men who will travel to Brazil. Injuries had already played a part in trimming coach Niko Kovac’s options, with QPR midfielder Niko Kranjcar, Hamburg duo Milan Badelj and Ivo Ilicevic and Ivan Strinic of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk all ruled out. Dinamo Zagreb forward Duje Cop has now been omitted from the final list along with Udinese defender Igor Bubnjic and midfielder Mario Pasalic of Hajduk Split. Kovac’s side won 2-1 against Mali in their warm-up friendly in Osijek on Saturday, Ivan Perisic with both their goals. Squad Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa
(Rostov), Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Oliver Zelenika (Lokomotiv Moscow). Defenders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Gordon Schildenfeld (Panathinaikos), Danijel Pranjic (Panathinaikos), Domagoj Vida (Dinamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Genoa). Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Ivan Perisic (Wolfsburg), Mateo Kovacic (Inter Milan), Marcelo Brozovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Mocinic (Rijeka), Sammir (Getafe). Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich), Ivica Olic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo da Silva (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica Jelavic (Hull), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina).
ray but almost all tibia fractures need surgery. “He will probably need at least two months to recover; hence, he will miss the World Cup.” Montolivo travelled yesterday with an air ambulance to Milan while the rest of the Azzurri team heads back to Italy’s headquarters in Coverciano, Florence. “We know that this is part of football but we are all
shocked,” Prandelli said. “Our thoughts are with Riccardo. “He is an important player for us and has been, in the past few years, an example to all his team-mates, not only on the pitch but off it.” The injury to Montolivo overshadowed the game against the Republic. “The game was conditioned by Montolivo’s injury,” Prandelli said.
Wednesday, June 2, 2014 SPORTS 95
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French Open: Federer drops in fourth round OGER Federer’s streak of R nine consecutive quarterfinals at the French Open ended Sunday with a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 fourthround loss to 18th-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia. It was 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer’s earliest exit at Roland Garros since 2004, when he was beaten in the third round by threetime champion Gustavo Kuerten. After that, though, Federer made at least the quarterfinals at a record 36 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, a streak that ended with a second-round loss at Wimbledon last year. Now the 32-year-old Federer has bowed out before the quarterfinals at three of the last four majors, including a fourth-round loss at the U.S.
Gatsby triumphs in French Derby RITISH raider The Grey B Gatsby and Ryan Moore caused a turn-up in the Prix Du Jockey-Club, the French Derby, at Chantilly. The Dante Stakes winner appeared to get warm before the start and was also squeezed out in the early scrimmaging for position which saw drop to the back of the 16-runner field. However, Moore moved towards the rail, made steady progress up the inside of his rivals throughout the final half-mile and found a perfect opening approaching the final furlong. The Grey Gatsby quickened when asked and shot clear at that point, leaving his rivals tolling. He scored by three lengths. The Alain de Royer-Dupretrained Shamkiyr stayed on for second place, just ahead of never-nearer favourite Prince Gibraltar who like the winner was held up in the early stages, but unlike the winner failed to find the gaps opening when he needed them in the home straight and finished fast but too late to land a blow in a rough race.
Buttler after Test call-up OS Buttler is confident he Jovers can hone his limitedbrilliance for Test cricket, but agrees with an apparent consensus that he will need more time before he is ready for the pinnacle format. The 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman produced one of the best one-day international innings ever seen by an Englishman, albeit in defeat, against Sri Lanka at Lord’s on Saturday. Buttler gave the most eyecatching demonstration yet of his immense power and range of shot in a maiden international century which gave England hope when there had been none, in pursuit of 300 for nine. Ultimately, they fell eight runs short of a victory, which would have clinched the Royal London series a match early.
Open in September. “I think it was the biggest, probably, win of my career,” said Gulbis, who most certainly could have dispensed with the word “probably.” Addressing the spectators during an on-court interview, Gulbis said: “I’m sorry I had to win. I know all of you like Roger.” The fourth-seeded Federer’s record haul of major titles includes the 2009 French Open, and he was loudly serenaded and supported by the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd with singsong chants of his first name. But he was hardly at his best Sunday, making a whopping 59 unforced errors and getting broken seven times, including twice while serving for a set. That included shortly after
Gulbis left the court with a trainer to take a medical timeout while trailing 5-2 in the fourth. When Gulbis returned, some fans jeered and whistled at him, and he pointed to his lower back and raised his palms, as if to say, “Hey, I was injured.” His strokes had momentarily gone astray before the break, but afterward, the 25-year-old Gulbis was back to playing the sort of free-flowing, bighitting tennis that had many marking him as a future start of the game when he was a teenager. He won 10 of the next 12 points, although Federer did end up evening the set at two sets apiece. The fifth set was all Gulbis, who hadn’t been to the quarterfinals at a major tournament since the 2008 French Open.
Roger Federer reacts after missing a return during the fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Ernests Gulbis …yesterday. PHOTO: AP
Monday, June 2, 2014
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
By Ajibiye Samuel and Osasona Adeniyi (Son engages his father in a discourse) AD, when will this prolong silence end?” “D The father is busy with the Daily News magazine in his hands, but slowly raises his head, and replies, “As long as you refuse to do what I said.” The son is taken aback by his father’s response. He sits down on a chair beside the father, who continues reading. “Even though what you have asked me to do jeopardizes my rising career prospect and puts my only life on the line?” he asks his dad. The father smiles this time, and shakes his greyhaired head. He puts his arms around the boy’s shoulder and says, “Son, you know I am your father. You are not my only son. Your older brother came with his loaded requests some days past. I granted all. Now it is your turn to have your own share. Don’t try to be smart.” This time, the son becomes furious, and retorts, “Oh! Father, I came with my request first, and you promised to accede to those requests. Now, in your own words, I am trying to be smart. I wear the shoes, and I know where it pinches me. You don’t know father”. The son continues, “Besides, my friends who have gone far ahead of me in life have their fathers ‘unwavering support in their rise to power and success.” The father is annoyed now, and says with a tone of finality, “Then go and live with them, and cease being my son. I would not give in to such cheap blackmail.” The silence continues… This dramatic scenario depicts the incessant altercation between the Federal Government and the striking polytechnic and monotechnic teachers. The father is the Federal Government; the son represents the Polytechnic and Colleges of Education lecturers, while the successful friends are other technologically advanced countries of the world. The truth is self-evident that polytechnic and monotechnic education in Nigeria is, according to Wole Soyinka, “undergoing an affliction that many could not have imagined possible” in the 21st century. Quickly, let us look at the demands of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), the reason, in the first place, for which the industrial action has been embarked on. They seek government’s intervention in the following areas: • The worrisome state of infrastructural facilities at public polytechnics and colleges of education in the country; • The continued high-handedness of Rectors of some polytechnics; • The non-inclusion of Colleges of Education in the TETFund interventions project; • The exclusion of Colleges of Education in the on-going Needs assessment of public polytechnics in Nigeria; • The non-establishment of National Polytechnic Commission (NPC); • The non-cancellation of undue disparity between Higher National Diploma (HND) holders and University Degree holders in Nigeria; • The continued appointment of Rectors from outside the polytechnic system; • The lukewarm attitude of policy makers towards the amendment of Federal Polytechnic Acts; • The non-migration of staff at the lower cadre on CONTISS 15 salary scale; among others The late Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. The truth contained in that statement is self-evident for countries such as Japan, China, Singapore, India, Brazil, among others, which have emerged victoriously from the shackles of penury to the world’s economy today. If we compare our polytechnics and montechnics with the ones in the aforementioned countries, it might be right to say that ours is still in a state of infancy after the 53rd anniversary of Independence as a sovereign nation. Permit me to ask the question: The current industrial action by Polytechnic and Colleges of
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ASUP: A mocking silence (1)
Education lecturers is in whose interest? If Nigeria must change and progress in the 21st century, qualitative technology education and effective teachers training institutions are the undisputed answer. It is a known fact that nothing good comes cheaply. Nietzsche wrote: “The value of a thing sometimes lies not in what one attains with it, but in what one pays for it – what it costs us”. Education is the bedrock of civilisation, and technology education enhances industrialisation. If technology education and teachers training institutions must work perfectly in this country, the Federal Government would have to make sacrifices. These purported sacrifices, from the public funds, are the investments that would yield expected returns in the long run. Our collective expectations of qualitative and functional educational systems, that we can pride ourselves in without the commensurate sacrifice will only remain, what psychologists technically refer to as, a
‘grandeur of delusion’. Besides, good and affordable technology and teachers education is the best legacy a government of any country can bequeath to its citizenry. If dullards and dunce run a country, perpetual underdevelopment is never a crime. Most advanced economies in the world today are technologically-driven. Any nation with non-existent or poor quality technology education would be inadvertently trapped in the cobwebs of backwardness and self-pity. This is because a country’s national development plans cannot be fully realised without personnel with a renewed mind, such that engenders social progress. A nation’s human capital is directly proportional to its progress and advancement. The world today is technologydriven, and countries are striving hard and competing vigorously to beat one another on the world stage. If Europe could achieve it; if America could achieve it; if Asia could achieve; Nigeria, being the giant of Africa, can. But the
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To think that public polytechnics and colleges of education are not on the same footing with public universities would be a deliberate insult on, not only the ideologies of the founding fathers, but also the dripping sweat and sleepless nights of those who have laboured over the years to keep the sector going. Besides, addressing pertinent issues associated with the university sector to the exclusion of the polytechnics and colleges of education is unimaginable and discriminatory current administration should take full responsibility. Establishing such inspiring educational institutions is undoubtedly capital intensive. If technology education and teachers training institutions are dysfunctional, or fall below expectations, ask the government; not the people, who are the immediate beneficiaries. If the graduates are not employable, or if our Polytechnics and Colleges of Education are not ranked among the best in the world today, the Nigerians should ask questions such as: What are the conditions of facilities on the campuses of Nigeria’s Polytechnics and Colleges of Education when compared with others around the world? What percentage of the annual budget is allocated to polytechnics and colleges of education? What policies are formulated to check abuse of intervention funds released yearly by the government? Why do the children of public office holders study abroad? Are ASUP and COEASU asking for too much? Silence, at this critical time in the history of our country, further puts our sense of moral obligation into question —questions that ought not to have arisen in the first instance. To think that public polytechnics and colleges of education are not on the same footing with public universities would be a deliberate insult on, not only the ideologies of the founding fathers, but also the dripping sweat and sleepless nights of those who have laboured over the years to keep the sector going. Besides, addressing pertinent issues associated with the university sector to the exclusion of the polytechnics and colleges of education is unimaginable and discriminatory. Universities alone cannot provide adequately all the required manpower capacity and professional skills needed by our nascent democracy for growth and advancement. This formed, partly, the reason for establishing these polytechnics and colleges/institutes of education around the world – the urgent need to fill vacuums, created by growing necessities. Meeting the emerging necessities requires collaborative efforts. This is crucial in order to cope with the increasing global change and rising demand of manpower in modern communications technology and teaching techniques. Then, why must our polytechnics and colleges of education suffer ‘malnourishment’? Over the years, such institutions have equally been making significant contributions to human capital and technology development in our land. Poor technology education and obsolete teaching techniques decelerate development. Thus, rather than seeing the on-going strike by the polytechnic teachers as a sudden threat, the government should consider it an awesome opportunity to transform, in a holistic manner, the educational sector in Nigeria. • To be continued. • Samuel and Adeniyi are lecturers at the Department of Languages, Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos.