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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth Thursday, June 5, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,942

Shekarau, Adeyeye, others make ministerial list • Jonathan presents N322.6b NDDC budget to Senate From Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan yesterday forwarded the name of the former Kano State Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, for confirmation as minister. Also on the list are the former Afenifere Spokesman from Ekiti State, Adedayo Adeyeye, Dr. Abdul Bulama from Yobe State and the People’s Democratic SouthSouth Zonal  Vice-Chairman, Dr. Stphen Oruh. A letter addressed to Senate President David Mark read: “In accordance with Section 147, Sub-Section 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I have the honour CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

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Confab recommends part-time legislature From Terhemba Daka and Karls Tsokar, Abuja O ensure a drastic reducT tion in the cost of governance, the national conference has recommended that legislators at both national and state levels should function on a part-time basis. But the conference rejected the recommendation for an upward review of the retirement age of civil servants. The delegates also unanimously voted for a recom-

• Cancels severance allowances, pensions for lawmakers • Rejects upward review of retirement age, seeks more pay for disabled workers mendation to the effect that all the disabled people in the civil service should be given an extra salary, equivalent of grade level six, to enable them to employ aides to assist them in the execution of their responsibilities. They voted for a recommendation that the Federal Government should create a Foreign Service Commission

to manage related matters. The Committee on Public Service chaired by former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Ebele Okeke, had recommended a review of the salaries of the lawmakers toward ensuring that their allowances “should be comparable with what obtains in other arms of the public service.”

However, the committee’s recommendation for an upward review of the retirement age to 65 years of age or 40 years of service from the existing practice of 60 years of age or 35 years of service, whichever is earlier, elicited a sharp disagreement among the delegates at the plenary yesterday and it was roundly rejected.

In her contribution, a former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, supCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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OURGIRLS U.S. dumps Nigeria’s crude oil • Alison-Madueke wants adaptation to changes • NLC seeks passage of PIB From Collins Olayinka, Abuja OLLOWING the discovery Fmercial of Shale oil and gas in comquantity, the United

Son of slain Kudirat Abiola, Abdulmumini (second left); President, Campaign for Democracy and Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin; NADECO Chieftain, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu; President, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy; Hafsat Abiola Costello; former National Conscience Party (NCP) Secretary General, Femi Aborisade and Fred Agbeyegbe at PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI the rally and wreath laying to mark the 18th anniversary of Kudirat Abiola in Ikeja, Lagos …yesterday.

States (U.S.) has finally stopped the importation of crude oil from Nigeria. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, added that Nigeria had begun a search for alternative markets. At an interactive enlightenment workshop on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Group Executive Director ( GED), Corporate Strategy and Planning, Dr. Timothy Okon, on behalf of the minister urged the country to adopt sustainable economic policies following the changes in global economy. According to her, the prevailing global economic arena demands adaptation of policies . Her words: “The global econCONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Stockfish, others blamed for falling sperm rates By Chukwuma Muanya N insight into why more A men are becoming infertile has emerged from recent studies. Regular intake of stockfish, environmental pollution, stress and untreated infections have been implicated . The studies, however, suggest that sperm count and quality could be boosted by increas-

• Tomatoes, others boost count by 70% • ‘Coffee, alcohol do not reduce fertility’ ing the consumption of tomatoes, taking recommended multivitamins, and physical activity. Stockfish is popular in West Africa, where it is used in the many soups that complement

Tribunal dismisses suit against Obiano as Anambra gov -Page 4

the grain staples fufu and garri. Also, stockfish is the main ingredient in the Igbo snack called Ugba na Okporoko or Ukazi amongst the Ohafia people in Abia State. The name Okporoko for stockfish, among

FEC okays warranty of $242.2m loan for Lagos - Page 6

the Igbo of Nigeria refers to the sound the hard fish makes in the pot and literally translates as “that which produces sound in the pot.” A fertility expert, Joint Pioneer of Test Tube Baby/In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in Nigeria and Medical Director of Medical Art Centre (MART), Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, told The Guardian: “A lot is happening

to the sperm count. A lot has to do with environmental events. We have seen people who work in the Niger Delta region. The ozone layer in that place is bad and there is a lot of pollution. One of my students did a Ph.D and saw that those extracts of crude oil have severe effect on fertility of both male and female, they compromise them severely. No oil industry will

Quest for Fashola’s successor ignites religious debate - Page 10

encourage that level of polltion. “Recently too we found out that people who work in that area if they carry out some tests they see they have some heavy metals and oil fossils in them and those things have the capacity to depress gametogenesis because gametes

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2 | NEWS Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tomatoes, multivitamins, exercise, others boost count by 70% CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 forming is dependent on some mitochondria activities

that require oxygen, that require the best form of enzymes. Even herbicides and pesticides, smoking, diesel fu-

el they can block that enzyme activity that influences sperm count. It is an environmental problem; it is also a nutritional problem. I think 40 years ago some things we have in our environment now were not there.” According to a study led by researchers of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Rutgers School of Public Health Psychological, United States, stress is harmful to sperm and semen quality, affecting its concentration, appearance, and ability to fertilize an egg. The results were published online, last week, in the journal Fertility and Sterility. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects men and women equally, and semen quality is a key indicator of male fertility. Senior author Dr. Pam Factor-Litvak, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mail-

man School of Public Health, United States, said: “Men who feel stressed are more likely to have lower concentrations of sperm, and the sperm they have is more likely to be misshapen or have impaired motility. These deficits could be associated with fertility problems.” The researchers studied 193 men, ages 38 to 49, enrolled in the Study of the Environment and Reproduction at the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in Oakland, California, between 2005 and 2008. The men completed tests to measure work and life stress on subjective scale (how they felt overall) and objective scale (life events behind the stress). They also provided semen samples. Technicians at the University of California, Davis, used standard methods employed in fertility testing to assess the samples for semen concentration, and sperm appearance and motility.

Measured subjectively or objectively, life stress degraded semen quality, even after accounting for men’s concerns about their fertility, their history of reproductive health problems, or their other health issues. Workplace stress was not a factor, however the researchers say it may still affect reproductive health since men with job strain had diminished levels of testosterone. Being without a job did not improve matters. Unemployed men had sperm of lower quality than employed men, regardless of how stressed they were. It is not fully understood how stress affects semen quality. It may trigger the release of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids, which in turn could blunt levels of testosterone and sperm production. Another possibility is oxidative stress, which has been shown to affect semen quality and fertility.

While several previous studies have examined the link between stress and semen quality, the current paper is the first to look at subjective and objective measures of stress and find associations with semen concentration, and sperm appearance and motility. What is the solution? According to a recent study, the key nutrient that gives tomatoes their bright red colour could boost fertility in men. The research showed that lycopene could increase sperm count by up to 70 per cent. Now a leading support group for infertile people is embarking on a yearlong survey to see if giving a daily highlycopene supplement will lead to more pregnancies. The report, which was published by the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, United States, reviewed 12 studies by different CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

Alison-Madueke wants adaptation to changes CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 omy is changing and Nigeria must adopt a sustainable economic strategy. I know many of you must have heard about the Shale gas and the Shale oil revolution. This has knocked out Nigeria from the export to the USA. So Nigeria must adopt. We must change our ways and policies that we may hold dear which may cause us economic

stress in the future. So this market there called the Shale oil and gas has resulted in Nigeria seeking new markets for its oil.” The minister called for competitiveness in the sector, noting that there was the need for new policies to strengthen the industry. She stressed the importance of natural resources in economic transformation, urging that it was important to

diversify the economy . Alison-Madueke again reiterated her call for the urgent passage of the PIB, saying, “the country expects to attain a vibrant economy due to initiatives such as gas price reform, gas commercialisation , gas infrastructure framework and other policies that are enshrined in the bill.” She explained that the passage of the PIB would herald

Cancels severance allowances, pensions for lawmakers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 ported the recommendation of the committee that the retirement age of the civil servants should be reviewed upward from 60 years to 65 years or 40 years in service, whichever one comes first. A delegate representing the youth at the conference, Charles Ibiang, on the other hand rejected the recommendation for upward review of the retirement age of the civil servants, arguing that the older ones should give way to the young ones to also make contribution to national development. While opening the debate on the committee report before adjournment yesterday, Okeke said it was the recommendation of her committee that payment of pension, life insurance and severance pay for legislators, where they exist, should be cancelled in line with global best practices. A Federal Government delegate at the conference, Chief Mike Ozekhome, agreed with the recommendation of the committee on part-time legislature, saying “I want to agree with the committee that we don’t need 360 members in the House of Representatives and 109 members of the Senate”. He said: “In America, they have 435 members in the House of Representatives and 100 Senators because in population they are 316 million people. “Texas and California alone are bigger than the whole of Nigeria. So we don’t necessarily have to imitate them. We need to have a leaner government. It is either we have a unicameral legislature or if it must be bicameral, then they have to sit on a part-time basis and be paid honorarium.” When the deputy chairman

who presided over the meeting called on the delegates to vote on this, there was a unanimous agreement that the members of the legislative arm of government should not be given any severance allowances, pensions or compensation of any kind at the expiration of their tenure. The agitation for political appointees to utilise the staff of their ministries where it becomes necessary as contained in Circular Ref. No.B63833/73 of January 3, 2000, was seen as appropriate. It said: “While it is appreciated that the nature of Presidential system of Government necessitates the appointment of ‘special advisers’ and ‘special assistants’ to the president, the vice president, the governor and the deputy governor, its extension to ministers, commissioners and local government chairmen should be discontinued as a cost-saving measure.” To make for good governance, the Committee on Public Service has also recommended that the September deadline for presentation of an appropriation bill by the Executive to the National Assembly should be enshrined in the Constitution. The committee specifically recommended that Section 81 (1) of the 1999 Constitution should be amended to specify timeline for the submission and approval of the budget by the Executive and the Legislature respectively, such that budget implementation could commence on January 2 of every year. In line with this recommendation, the committee said that the passage of the bill by the National Assembly should be not later than November 30 while the presidential assent should be

within 30 days. It also observed that despite the separation of powers as obtainable in a presidential system of government, there was the need for harmonious working relationship between the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government in the overall interest of the nation. The committee also recommended that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, should be appointed from the pool of experienced and knowledgeable retired civil servants, adding that the appointment of the SGF should be based on managerial capacity and rich civil service experience. This recommendation was also accepted without much ado, as other delegates argued that this would be appropriate. A delegate on the platform of the National Council of Women Society, Dr. Patricia Ogbonnaya, said that most of the allegations against the personnel of the civil service being involved in fraudulent activities were mostly because of the political office holders who give arbitrary orders without recourse to due process. She said this had been a challenge in the service, as even as a permanent secretary in her state, she had faced similar instructions to sign on documents that were not appropriate. Aneni supported earlier comments by some other delegates that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) were there and that what was required was for judicial reform to ensure speedy dispensation of justice.

much job creation by restoring Nigeria’s industrial capacity. The minister hinted that the gains from transformation agenda of the administration had already been demonstrated from the privatisation of the power sector. She maintained that the country was looking forward to accessing investments in the power sector following its liberalisation. In his speech, the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Dakuku Peterside, said the operators in the sector were expected to stop gas flaring three years after the passage of the bill. He noted that the bill must stop pollution and emission from gas flaring when it takes effect. According to him , the bill which has passed the second reading in both chambers of the National Assembly, is delayed partly because the lawmakers insist on doing a thorough job since the sector is critical to the survival of the country. Peterside urged the labour movement to support the National Assembly to realise the passage of the bill. A Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, who chaired the occasion advised the National Assembly not to wait for the congress to picket it before passing the PIB into law. He described the PIB as one of the progressive laws that this democracy could give the citizenry. To Aremu, if the bill becomes a law, it could culminate in the creation of 19 fresh companies from the unbundling of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). He noted that since the bill provides for local content, different sectors would engage Nigerians from different professional backgrounds. In his submission, the Chairman, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr. Lidum Mittee, recommended that there should be a clear definition of community in the bill before its passage into law. He also urged the Federal Government to remit fund collected as penalties from gas flaring to the communities that suffer the environmental pollution.


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4 | NEWS Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reps caution NIMC over registering foreigners From Adamu Abuh, Abuja HE House of Representatives yesterday urged the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to exercise due diligence against registration of foreigners resident in Nigeria. Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Uzo Azubuike at the plenary session presided by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, the lawmakers enjoined the commission to put in place security measures that can truly identify the nationality of every person seeking registration. They also mandated the Committee on Interior to monitor the ongoing NIMC registration and report progress as well as challenges to the House periodically. Azubuike, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Public Petitions, expressed concern that in the ongoing enrolment exercise in some centres in Abuja, there were persons with doubtful origin claiming to be natives of communities outside their original places of origin.

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Activists remember Kudirat Abiola, demand release of abducted girls By Ijeoma Opara IGHTEEN years after the E murder of wife of the late acclaimed winner of June 12 presidential election, M.K.O Abiola, Kudirat, activists have urged the government and Nigerians to ensure that her death and those of others who

have fought to ensure that the country works are not in vain. At a rally and wreath-laying ceremony organised by the Campaign for Democracy, in collaboration with Women Arise and Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, at the graveside of Kudirat Abiola, President, Campaign for Democracy and

Women for Change, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, described Kudirat Abiola as someone who died because she was stubborn in defense of principle. “She roared like a thunder in the midst of pre-democracy activism, she was so consistent and dogged. And so, comparing the life of this great Ama-

zon, a woman that displayed uncommon courage, it is left for us to imbibe her virtues and what she lived and died for, so that we can have a Nigeria that works. Just as Kudirat would demand, we will ask that we want our girls released”. President, Kudirat Initiative

Tribunal dismisses suit against Obiano as Anambra governor • Obidigbo, another APGA ‘candidate’ appeals

From Chuks Collins, Awka HE Governorship Election T Petitions Tribunal sitting in Anambra State has dismissed the petition of another All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) claimant to the governorship ticket, Dr. Chike Obidigbo, against Governor Willie Obiano. The panel, therefore, upheld Obiano’s victory, declaring him the validly-elected Governor of Anambra State. The tribunal described Obidigbo’s petition as a preelection matter, hence not meant for the tribunal but for a conventional court. It had few weeks ago ruled out the petition in same lines. Obidigbo told journalists yesterday that he was heading to the Appeal Court immediately to challenge the judgment. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will this morning determine an earlier appeal already before it brought by Obidigbo against Obiano on the issue of who is the validly-nominated candidate of the party (APGA), an aspect that was earlier struck out by the tribunal.

PDP mid-convention tops agenda, party’s NEC meets From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja HE Peoples Democratic T Party (PDP) has concluded arrangements for its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting today. Ahead of the NEC meeting, its Board of Trustees (BoT), headed by Chief Tony Anenih, met at the Presidential Villa last night after a national caucus of the party had held to streamline its agenda. It was learnt that the main item in the agenda was to fix a date for the party’s mid-convention. A source in the party’s national secretariat revealed that the composition of membership and how to organise a successful national mid-convention for the election would be top on the agenda. Already, it was agreed that a former governor from North would be nominated to head the convention’s committee.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt. Rev. Justin Welby (left); President Goodluck Jonathan and Primate of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Nicolas Okoh, during Welby’s visit to the State House, Abuja…yesterday PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

for Democracy, Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, described her mother as a brave woman who laid down her life to make the country work. She, however, noted that the blood of her mother and others who died for the good of our nation is calling on the government to ensure that country works. She said: “We would be committed to Nigeria and be against corruption that will undermine our people. The fundamental problem in Nigeria is poverty; we have to solve this problem ourselves, so that we can become the voice of hope and courage to our society”. One of the speakers at the occasion, Mr. Fred Agbeyegbe, said the people who are in government today continue to do what pleases them, while forgetting the M.K.Os and Kudirats of this world. “Those two represent a great number of people whose blood have been wasted so that Nigeria can become good for us all. As long as they keep forgetting that Nigeria has not achieved the hope that was crested in Kudirat Abiola’s grave-side in 1993, I don’t see a future for Nigeria”, he said. Kudirat Abiola’s son, Abdul, noted that what we need as a people is to stand up and question our leaders, demand for what is right, as “we have to go out there and make things better in our own little

First Bank institutes professorial chair endowments in varsities S part of its long-term comA mitment to sustainable educational development in Nigeria, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has constituted Professional Chair Endowments in 10 universities across the nation. These endowments have provided platforms for scholarly research, academic excellence and economic development in these institutions and the country at large. One of such institutions to benefit from the endowment is the Federal University of Technology Akure, where the First Bank Professional Chair in Computer Science Annual Lecture was delivered recently.

Represented by Branch Manager of the bank’s Public Sector Group in Akure, Mrs. Olubukola Tolu-Akinbogun, at the public presentation of the bank’s sponsored research report, titled: “Security Issues in Nigeria: Getting Ready for The Digital Challenge”, the Group Managing Director, Stephen Olabisi Onasanya, said the endowments are meant to promote capacity building and complement efforts of the Federal Government in educational development. The research, which focused on Cybercrime and its security challenges, enumerated the various issues arising from

such crimes and challenges faced in the fight against its increase. It was presented by Dr. B.K. Alese, chair occupant of the bank’s endowment at FUTA. In a welcome address read on his behalf, Onasanya said the research would become a resource tool in aiding our fight against electronic fraud and malpractice, as well as enhancing professionalism, regulation and grooming of future leaders for the sector. “First Bank is proud to be associated with projects that enhance human capital and economic development in the nation. Since 1994 till date, we

have professorial chairs in 10 Nigerian universities, with the total endowments worth over N440 million and we have also strengthened the scheme with infrastructure development. Our vision is to generate sustainable manpower development to drive rapid growth of the national economy,” the bank’s GMD said. In addition to the professorial chair endowment, the bank recently contributed N40 million to support the completion of a 1,000 capacity lecture theatre in the university. Some of First Bank’s infrastructural projects over the years include an ICT Park at

Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria; an auditorium at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan; a lecture theatre at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife; and a Faculty of Dentistry building at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, ItukuOzalla. Others are an entrepreneurship centre at the University of Abuja; a Faculty of Social Sciences building at University of Port Harcourt; and a lecture theatre at the Federal University of Technology, Minna. In some other universities, it has provided buses to ease the challenges of transportation on campuses.

Nigeria, 72 others suffer 96% global maternal deaths By Chukwuma Muanya EVENTY-THREE African, Asian and Latin American countries, including Nigeria, suffer 96 per cent of the global burden of maternal deaths, 91 per cent of stillbirths and 93 per cent of newborn deaths, but have only 42 per cent of the world’s midwives, nurses and doctors. According to report released yesterday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) together with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners, countries should invest in midwifery education and training to contribute to closing the glaring gaps that exist. The report, titled: “State of the World’s Midwifery 2014: A Universal Pathway - A Woman’s Right to Health”, shows that investments in midwifery education and training at agreed international standards can yield - as a study from

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• Investment in midwifery can save women, newborn lives, says UN Report Bangladesh shows - a 1,600 per cent return on investment. UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, said: “Midwives make enormous contributions to the health of mothers and newborns and the wellbeing of the entire community. Access to quality healthcare is a basic human right. Greater investment in midwifery is key to making this right a reality for women everywhere.” The report reads: “Midwives have a crucial role to play in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 (decrease child death) and 5 (increase maternal health). When educated to international standards and within a fully functional health system, they can provide about 90 per cent of the essential care to women and newborns and can potentially reduce maternal and newborn deaths by two-thirds.

“Despite a steady decline in maternal deaths in the 73 countries that are covered in the report - dropping yearly by three per cent since 1990 - and newborn deaths - decreasing by 1.9 per cent per year since 1990 there is more these countries need to do to address the severe shortage of midwifery care.” WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health, Dr. Flavia Bustreo, said: “This report, like the Every Newborn Action Plan recently adopted by the World Health Assembly, sets a clear way forward. Both aim to encourage governments to allocate adequate resources for maternal and newborn health services within national health sector plans. This should include funds for the education and retention of midwives. We will continue to support countries to develop and strengthen their midwifery services as a critical intervention to save the

lives of women and newborns.” The report, launched at the 30th ICM Triennial Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, highlights the progress made since the inaugural 2011 Report and solutions to the barriers outlined in four key areas: availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of midwifery services: A number of countries have effectively strengthened midwifery and improved access: Nearly half (45 per cent) of the 73 countries have implemented measures to retain midwives in remote areas and 28 per cent is increasing the recruitment and deployment of midwives, while 20 per cent has implemented new codes of practice and 71 per cent has improved information collection enabling countries to address shortages and education standards. ICM President, Frances DayStirk, said: “Midwives are central to midwifery care and the lives of women and newborn babies.

The report precedes the Lancet Special Series on Midwifery, which together with the report, will provide the evidence to guide all policy-makers in their quest to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths.” According to the report, despite progress, inequities such as lack of access to services and poverty have increased within and among countries. There are still not enough adequately educated midwives to support the health of women and newborns, and this contributes to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths annually. Today, only 22 per cent of countries has potentially enough midwives to provide life-saving interventions to meet the needs of women and newborns, which leaves over three-fourths (78 per cent) of the countries with severe shortage in proper care. As the population grows, so does the gap in critical resources and infrastructure, unless urgent action is taken.


NEWS Thursday, June 5, 2014 | 5

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News Okuroumu delivers lecture at GCI Old Boys’ luncheon HAIRMAN of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference, Dr. Femi Okuroumu, will deliver the keynote lecture at the 2014 Government College Ibadan Old Boys Association’ (GCIOBA) annual week luncheon and merit award. The event holds this Sunday at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. According to a statement from the office of the Chairman of GCIOBA, Lagos branch, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), the theme of the lecture is, “After The National Conference, Wither The Nation.” Sunday’s lecture will be chaired by a former governor of Old Oyo State, Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo, who was of the 1948 GCI set and a 1957 First Class (honours) Mechanical Engineer from St. Andrews University, Fife, Scotland.

Edo begins demolition of kidnappers’ lodge From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City

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HE Edo State anti-kidnap T law, which was assented to 10 months ago, took a bite yes-

Chairman, FCT Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board, Israel Akanji (left), Chief Imam of National Mosque, Abuja, Sheik Musa Mohammed, and Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Zainab Maina, during a national prayer for the release of Chibok schoolgirls in Abuja…yesterday PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY-ELUKPO

Senate empowers INEC to delist parties From Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja2 OTING on constitution V review resumed yesterday at the Senate, with an amendment to Section 68 of the Electoral Act 2010, among others, empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister any political party that fails to win presidential, governorship, council chairmanship, national or state assembly election. Every effort by Ahmed Lawan to halt the voting on the ground that senators were not served the bill early enough to study and understand the contents proved abortive as the Senate President, David Mark, insisted that the section in view had no issue. He also warned against the

• Wants ex-NASS leaders as Council of State members failure to capitalize on the number of senators on ground, and eventually resorted to voice vote, which favoured those in support of the proposed voting. All the 89 senators, who participated in the voting exercise, also supported Clause Three of Section 68, which alters Section 109 of the Principal Act and inserts new subsection 109 (4), seeking to mandate the Clerk of the National Assembly and Clerks of States Houses of Assembly to notify INEC of any vacancy in the House due to death, resignation or recall. The clerks are expected to write within seven days of such vacancy arising from death, resignation or defection of a member of the National or State House of

Assembly respectively. The lawmakers equally voted in support of clauses four and five, which also seek to alter Section 134 and 179 of the Principal Act, relating to the extension of the time for conducting presidential and governorship re-run elections from seven to 21 days after results have been announced. Clause seven, which deals with the conferment of exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court for the trial of electoral offenses, was among those that received the endorsement of the red chamber. With the approval, Federal High Courts would be solely responsible for the trial of offences arising from, pertaining to or connected to the vio-

lation of the provisions of the Electoral Act and any other election related act of the National Assembly. The Senate also approved Clause Eight of the amendment, which seeks to alter the Third Schedule of the Constitution to include former Senate Presidents and Speakers of the House of Representatives as members of the Council of States. However, it deferred voting on the controversial amendments to Section 9 (3a), which confers on the President of the Federal Republic the power to initiate a new constitution. The chamber will also vote on Clause Three (m), which will mandate INEC to, within six months of the receipt of the draft constitution, cause a referendum to be conducted to approve the draft constitution.

It will also vote on Clause Three (n), which states that, “if the draft constitution receives a simple majority of votes cast in 2/3 of all states of the federation, it shall come into force as constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” Other amendments to the electoral act, among others, seek powers for INEC to issue duplicate voter cards before election, determine voting procedure, hold elections on a single day, and cause the electoral body to conduct debate for all candidates contesting election for President. Additionally, the amendments seek the conduct of general election six months before the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent while bye-elections hold twice a year.

Amaechi seeks true federalism, as Rivers’ judiciary crisis deepens From Charles Coffie Gyamfi (Abeokuta) and Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt)

HERE is an imminent shutdown of courts in Rivers State following directives by the state’s Chief Registrar, Mr. Donald Adoki, to all judiciary staff not to deal with Justice Daisy Okocha, who was recently appointed by the National Judicial Commission (NJC) as the state’s Administrative Judge. Already, the Rivers chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria is contemplating an indefinite strike pending the resolution of the crisis between the Rivers State Government and the NJC over the appointment of the Chief Judge of the state. NJC Acting Director, Soji Oye, had in a statement declared that the body had, during its 67th meeting held on May 27, resolved that the most senior judge in the state’s judiciary should perform functions of assigning cases to all judges of the court and carry out related administrative duties. This followed the earlier sus-

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• Says autocracy gradually creeping into nation’s polity pension of Justice Peter Agumagu, who was recently sworn in as Chief Judge by Governor Rotimi Amaechi. Meanwhile, Amaechi yesterday regretted that just 15 years into the nation’s democracy, signs of autocracy were gradually but steadily creeping into the polity. Amaechi, who spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State, was also sad that good and honest leaders with ability, integrity, commitment and vision had eluded Nigeria. He called for the entrenchment of true federalism in the country, insisting that “a situation where somebody will sit in Abuja and deduct money at will, spend it at will and choose to be a prefect over the states is unacceptable.” Pleading anonymity, sources in the judiciary told The Guardian that the Chief Registrar and Secretary of state’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC) presided over a meeting with all judiciary sectional heads in Port Harcourt yesterday and handed them copies of the JSC resolu-

tion, which prohibits all members of staff from dealing with any judge as chief judge or acting chief judge or administrative judge not duly appointed by the Governor of Rivers State. Adoki was said to have asked them to notify their colleagues that the decision should be carried out to the letter, emphasizing that they are belong to Rivers State Judicial Service Commission and not the NJC, and threatened disciplinary measures, including dismissal, for disobedience. And worried by the directives, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria is planning an emergency meeting aimed at getting workers to begin an indefinite strike. An anonymous source in the union said the industrial action is essentially to keep workers from being victimized by the contending forces. Nevertheless, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Port Harcourt chapter, has earlier endorsed the appointment of

an administrative judge. NBA spokesperson, Angus Chukwuma, said the decision was justified because for over a year, cases have not been assigned to judges and hundreds of persons have been languishing in jail because of the face-off between the state government and the NJC. Similarly, the Rivers chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has commended the NJC for coming to the rescue by appointing administrative judges for both the Rivers High Court and Customary Court of Appeal. In a statement, spokesperson to the PDP Chairman, Jerry Needam, alleged that residents’ right to justice have been trampled by Amaechi, who has refused since August 2013, the emergence of a state Chief Judge according to constitutional provisions, having also emasculated the legislature. Speaking on “Nigeria: The Leadership Question” at the Ogun State correspondents’ annual lecture, through the

Rivers Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, Amaechi said: “We are a proper Republic of Nigeria and therefore the Federal Government does not have the power to sit as a prefect. “The challenge is we don’t have economic equality. We are not running a confederacy, but with all these aberrations, you ask yourself how we can be dealing with the leadership question if those who ought to be leaders don’t even have a clue of what the constitution says about what they can do and what they cannot do.” He challenged Nigerians to rise up and fight any form of dictatorship, adding that the nation’s greatest challenge is building efficient institutions, transparent, consistent and competent leadership. However, Governor Ibikule Amosun, who spoke through his state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged journalists not to use their positions to promote “political noisemakers.”

terday with the demolition of a storey building located on Osasogie Street, off Sapele Road in Benin City, which kidnappers used for their operations. Governor Adams Oshiomhole ordered its demolition at the state headquarters of the Department of State Security, where four middle-aged men, Sunday Ekparamwen, Joshua Igbinovia, Ikpedem Ibrahim and Christian David, were paraded for their role in recent kidnap incidents in the state. They all confessed to their involvement in the kidnap last year of three school children, a mother, a student and a medical doctor, all of who have since gained freedom. The governor said: “As for the house that was used for these operations, according to their narratives, I am obliged to do what the law says...the house will be demolished this week. “These people live in houses. As neighbours, we should be vigilant; know the people who live in our premises and observe what goes on around us. This way we can be security assistants to security agencies to protect lives and property.” Oshiomhole further pledged the state’s continued support to security agencies, urging them to double efforts in the fight against crime in the state.

‘Africa’s agric growth to hit $1tr by 2030’ From Joke Falaju, Abuja FRICA’S agriculture and agriA business is expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2030, while the continent’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in agriculture would increase from $10 billion to $45 billion by 2020, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has said. Adesina gave the projection at the International AgrikExpo, which took place at the Eko Convention Centre on Victoria Island, Lagos. Reassuring that agriculture is the key to Africa’s future, he advised Nigerians to first think of the country’s agricultural potentials. According to a statement by the Agric Ministry’s Director of Information, Tony Ohaeri, the Federal Government is conscious of its decision to refocus the sector and end decades of government domination. Adesina explained that government’s policy on rice self-sufficiency was directed at saving the nation $2.5 billion annually. He added that high-quality Nigerian rice is now in the market and that very soon, the country would be a net exporter of its brand rice, which would become a global exhibition. He also revealed plan to develop the export market for fresh produce, noting that government has already launched a value chain development programme in partnership with the Ministry of Aviation, with a view to building cargo airports to enhance competitiveness in the export of fresh produce.


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FEC okays warranty of $242.2m loan for Lagos From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja HE Federal Executive Council (FEC) rose from its weekly meeting yesterday with the approval for a sovereign warranty for a loan totalling about $242.2 million (N40 billion) for Lagos State government to support the development of infrastructure and other services as well as upgrade secondary education in the state. The Council also approved another N2 billion award of contract for operation, maintenance and for Wupa Basin Sewage Treatment Plant in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and another N722.29 million and €2.05 million for the commissioning of consultancy services for the shore protection and rehabilitation of Escravos breakwaters and greenfield port development at Ogidingbe, Delta State for the Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA). Briefing State House correspondents after the Council meeting presided over by President goodluck Jonathan at the Council Chambers, Information Minister, Labaran Maku, said the approval for the warranty was in line with the President’s desire to ensure even development of all sections of the country. Maku recalled that the state government had in 2010 got approval from the International Development Association (IDA), a World Bank agency to secure loan of up to $600 million for financial management and development of infrastructure in the state. The loan was approved in 2010 and in 2011, the state was granted $200 million and after the implementation of the first phase, sought another loan from the World Bank as second tranche, which is about $200 million. giving a breakdown of the loan portfolio, Maku said $200 million would be used

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for financial services and infrastructure and another $42.2 million to support secondary education in the state. He said the terms for the loan included a 0.5 percent commitment charge; 0.75 percent service charge and the interest rate is 1.25 percent per annum. The loan, he said has repayable period of 25 years, with a moratorium of five years The minister said the Federal government had been supportive to every initiative that would lead to the development of all the 36 states of the federation and this is done as a national commitment and the President has ensured that all states that seek access to resources that will lead to further development of their states and can provide evidence of commitment the government has always approved. The Council has also asked the Finance Ministry to provide it with the details of existing loans by every state in the country, “which will guide us to ensure that there is a history of commitment and execution of projects for the development of the various states. In the case of this loan, the World Bank will monitor the implementation of the projects and we believe that the Debt Management Office (DMO) as well as the ministry that has approved these loans and provided the warranty would also monitor the report to

see that these projects are implemented and that the people of Lagos actually benefit from the expenditure. “The Federal government is the warrantor and would continue to support Lagos because of its importance in the economy.” According to the Transport Minister, Senator Idris Umar, “I presented a memorandum to seek Council’s approval for the commissioning of consultancy services for the Shore Protection and Rehabilitation of Escravos Breakwaters and greenfield Port Development at Ogidingbe, Delta State for the Nigerian Ports Authority. “The project is in line with government desire through the NPA to restore the structural stability of the Escravos breakwaters constructed in the 1950s, develop a new port and build central processing centres for the fertilizer and petrochemical plants as well as infrastructural development to support the gas-toenergy revolution in the Ogidingbe area. “The project upon completion will generate a total of 1,700 job opportunities for professionals and non-professionals during the planning and construction of the Escravos port and related industrial development, breakwater and dredging operations while 10,000 jobs will be created during the operations phase on an annual basis for professionals and

Ebonyi hospital discharges health workers infected with Lassa fever From Nnamdi Akpa, Abakaliki HE Chief Medical Director T (CMD) of Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA) in Ebonyi State, Dr. Paul Ezeonu, yesterday revealed that 21 out of the 22 health workers infected with Lassa fever in the state have been treated and

discharged from Lassa fever centre in Irrua, Edo State. Dr. Ezeonu also stated that the remaining person still receiving treatment would soon be discharged. He said the prompt action taken by the hospital management and the state government in rushing the victims to Edo where they were diagnosed of the virus saved them from dying. Ezeonu, who stated these in his office while briefing journalists on the condition of the health workers and the measures the hospital management has put in place to curtail further spread of the virus noted that the hospital has called on the Federal Ministry of Health to build virology laboratory with dialysis Lassa centre in the state to tackle the scourge. Another measure, according to him, was to keep the environment clean and stop the consumption of rat, adding that one can also contract the disease when a rat with the virus urinates or defecates on foodstuff. He lamented the last outbreak of Lassa fever in the hospital, which affected 22 medical and health workers as well as the re-occurrence of the disease in the state, saying only the establishment of virology lab and a centre to take care of victims of the fever will help save lives. He said that the wards where the pregnant woman who was the first person diagnosed of the fever at the hospital was treated has been re-opened after fumigation.

Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah (left) with the Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun Toure, at the lunch organised by Nigeria at the Global Symposium for Regulators in Bahrain to solicit support for the country’s candidature to the ITU Council, as well as Nigeria’s Shola Taylor’s bid for the position of Deputy Secretary General of ITU.

Demand autonomy for regions, Igbo elders charge confab delegates From Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) gBO leaders of thought led by Prof. Ben Nwabueze have restated their earlier stand on the need to restructure the country with the six regions as federating units and each unit maintaining its powers as provided under the 1963 constitution. They said this was the only way the unity and development of the country could be restored, stressing that the ongoing national conference would be a wasted effort without such recommendation. The group further said yesterday that its leader, Prof. Nwabueze had been discharged from hospital following a domestic accident six days ago, stressing that he was discharged after being certified fit. A statement released after their executive meeting in Enugu on Wednesday, signed by the Deputy Secretary, Elliot Uko and Leader of Igbo Women Assembly, Mrs. Maria Okwor, said restructuring Nigeria with each unit maintaining powers as enshrined in the 1963 constitution is ideal for the country. The statement reads: “After wide consultations with broad spectrum of Ndigbo, we hereby reiterate the position of the Igbo nation on

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the ongoing national conference. If Nigeria is not restructured along the lines of six regions as federating units, with each unit maintaining its powers as democratically provided under the 1963 constitution, the ongoing conference would have served no useful purpose in the struggle to save the nation. “The present 36 state structure was not democratically created, but rather a contraption for lion share of war booty by generals of a section of Nigeria that seized power through coupde-tat and thereafter became absolute dictators,

Magistrate dies at Enugu prison From Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) MAgISTRATE in Enugu State Judiciary, Mrs. Ifeoma Nneji has been reported dead. She died in her cell at Enugu Prison on yesterday morning over alleged complications from shock. She was remanded in prison along with her husband, Ifeanyi on Monday after they were arraigned for “conspiracy, false information and attempted murder.” The Guardian gathered that she collapsed around 2.30am yesterday in her cell, while efforts to revive her failed. It was learnt that Nneji

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Benue residents allege extortion to get INEC voters cards From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi HE voters registration exercise in some parts of BeT nue State has been faulted by residents as INEC ad-hoc staff were yesterday accused of alleged extortion of N50 before issuing voters cards to them. Some residents at the Fiidi polling unit in Makurdi told the reporter that they were asked to pay N50 to get registered. They informed The Guardian that youth corp members working as ad-hoc staff demand the said amount from them to buy fuel to charge

enabling their region to exercise absolute control over the resources of the country, retarding the growth and development of the country. Failure to abolish this fraudulent scheme now will only lead to continuing unrest and agitation. Even as they claim conquest at the ongoing conference, it would have brought them neither victory nor peace. As the forces of retrogression plot to sustain the present unjust unitary structure, we warn that if this last opportunity to rebuild Nigeria fails, nobody can guarantee the continued existence of Nigeria.

the direct data capture machines. But when confronted with the allegation, a corp member who is an ad-hoc staff said the money was not meant for their personal use but a voluntary donation from community members to procure fuel to power the INEC facilities so as to fast track the registration process. According to him, “the decision to collect the money came as a unanimous decision reached with members of the community so as to avoid the exercise been delayed due to shortage of fuel.”

served at Oji River Magisterial District before she was recently suspended by the State Judicial Service Commission for alleged involvement in the abduction of a nine year-old girl. A source said that she took ill shortly after she arrived the prison following her remand by an Enugu Magistrate Court. The deceased, her husband and another relation were alleged to have assaulted a female tenant residing in her husband’s house. The tenant was said to have been physically molested and the case was reported to the police. This led to the arrest of the magistrate and her husband and arraignment on Monday before the magistrate court. State Comptroller of Prison, Mr. Alloy Uchenna, who confirmed the death of the magistrate, disclosed that he was yet to be fully briefed on the incident. The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, said that Mrs. Nneji and her husband were re-arraigned for another case of conspiracy, false information and attempted murder on Monday and were subsequently remanded in prison.


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Thursday, June 5, 2014 NEWS | 7

Jonathan presents N322.6b NDDC budget to Senate CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 to forward the under listed ministerial nominees for consideration and Senate confirmation. “Dr. Abdul Bulama, Yobe State, Dr. Stephen Oruh, Delta State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Kano State, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye, Ekiti State. “It is my hope that this exercise will receive the usual kind expeditious consideration of the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” The President also attached the curriculum vitae of each nominee in the letter. It was learnt that three out of the four ministerial nominees will fill the gap created by the exit of the former Minister of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Godsday Orubebe (Delta), the Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade (Ekiti), and

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the Minister of state for Finance, Yerima Ngama (Yobe). Hadjia Jamilia Salik from Kano State was among the 12 ministerial nominees forwarded to the Senate for confirmation in January but she was not screened for the job. However, Kwara and Anambra states are yet to get ministerial nominees to fill the slots of their states following the removal of Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi from Kwara State as Sports Minister in March this year and Stella Odua of Anambra State, who served as the Minister of Aviation. Besides, Jonathan yesterday presented before the Senate, a N322.600billion 2014 budget proposal for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for consideration and approval. The figure represented 2.1 per cent increase on last year’s budget of N315.085billion.

The proposed budget comprised personnel expenditure of N15.80billion. Others are recurrent expenditure of N10.186 billion, capital expenditure of N2.281billion as well as project development expenditure of N295.051 billion. According to the president’s letter, revenue for the proposed budget include a revenue brought forward of  N23 billion, Federal Government’s contribution by the president of N50 billion as well as the Federal Government’s contribution of excess crude arrears of N50 billion. Other sources are oil companies contributions of N130 billion, ecological fund of N57 billion, other internally generated income of N100 billion and unpaid arrears from 2012 approved budget of N12.5 billion.

scended testes, which are indicative of a “worrying pattern”, scientists say. There is an urgent need to establish the causes so measures can be taken to prevent further damage, they add. Richard Sharpe, professor of reproductive health at the University of Edinburgh and an international expert on toxins in the environment, said the study was “hugely impressive” and answered skeptics who doubted whether the global decline was real. “Now, there can be little doubt that it is real, so it is a time for action. Something in our modern lifestyle, diet or environment is causing this and it is getting progressively worse. We still do not know which are the most important factors but the most likely are … a high-fat diet and environmental chemical exposures.” Researchers from the Institut de Veille Sanitaire, St Maurice, used data from 126 fertility clinics in France that had collected semen samples from the male partners of women with blocked or missing fallopian tubes. The men, whose average age was 35, did

not have fertility problems of their own and were therefore considered representative of the general male population. The results, reported in the journal Human Reproduction, showed the concentration of sperm per millilitre of semen declined progressively by 1.9 per cent a year throughout the 17 years – from 73.6 million sperm per millilitre in 1989 to 49.9 million/ml in 2005. The proportion of normally formed sperm also decreased by 33.4 per cent over the same period. Although the average sperm count of the men was well above the threshold definition of male infertility – which is 15 million/ml – it was below the World Health Organisation threshold of 55 million/ml which is thought to lengthen the time to conceive. Other European studies have shown that one in five young men has a sperm count low enough to cause problems conceiving. Combined with other social trends, such as delayed childbearing, which reduces female fertility, the decline in sperm counts could signal a crisis for couples hoping for a family.

‘Coffee, alcohol do not reduce fertility’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 groups around the world. All of them showed that lycopene improved sperm count and swimming speed, and reduced the number of abnormal sperm. Ashok Agarwal, director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Reproductive Medicine, who led the study, said it was part of a general pattern showing lycopene benefited men’s reproductive organs. Other studies have shown the nutrient reduces diseases of the prostate, the gland, which makes sperm, and may slow down or even halt the progress of prostate cancer. His team has already begun a trial giving lycopene supplements to men with unexplained infertility. They expect to announce the results next year. He said: “There is a need for more large trials to analyse the effects of lycopene on male infertility, and the studies must establish which patient groups would derive the greatest benefit from the therapy - for example, we would need to compare lycopene supplementation in infertile men with low versus normal, baseline sperm concentration.” Ashiru who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, United States, said: “What I think is that we should be cautious of what we eat. Things like stockfish has high amount of mercury in it, it affects men and women and smoking of course. I find out that quite a lot of men now don’t smoke but some of them take alcohol and you have to control it. Of course the last but not the least is infection that can affect the reproductive system.” What should people naturally do to boost sperm count? Ashiru said: “Vitamin is important. The use of multivitamins and vitamin C, which are antioxidants, are supposed to protect the system. Some of these vitamins contain some of these co-factors like zinc and selenium that are helpful in demobilizing these toxins from the body. Selenium will bound the heavy metal and make it pass through the urine.” According to another new study, exercise may boost a man’s sperm count, and therefore may improve a couple’s chances of conception. Meanwhile, two other stud-

ies being released at the meeting found that neither coffee nor alcohol affects a man’s ability to conceive, contradicting concerns raised by earlier research. In particular, men who lift weights or spend time working or exercising outdoors tended to have a higher-thanaverage sperm concentration in their semen, said study coauthor Audrey Gaskins, a doctoral student at the Harvard School of Public Health, United States. “Men engaging in exercise for seven hours or more per week, essentially one hour a day, had 48 percent higher concentrations than men who were engaging in less than one hour per week,” Gaskins said. The study was presented penultimate week at the joint meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, held in Boston. “Even though caffeine and alcohol are generally considered a risk factor for decreased fertility, we saw no evidence of that,” said co-author Dr. Jorge Chavarro, an assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. The exercise study focused on the male partners of couples who sought treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center between 2006 and 2012. Ultimately, 137 men provided semen samples and filled in questionnaires regarding their regular levels of physical activity. “When we looked overall, we found that men who engaged in levels of moderate to vigorous activity had higher levels of sperm concentration,” Gaskins said. Further, the researchers found that particular types of pursuits boosted sperm counts more than others. “Outdoor activities and weightlifting seemed to be driving the association between moderate to vigorous activity and sperm concentration,” Gaskins said. Men who spent more than an hour and a half each week engaging in physical activity outdoors had a 42 percent higher sperm concentration than those who spent no time outdoors, she said. Weightlifters who spent two or more hours a week pumping iron had a 25 percent increase in sperm count

compared to men who did not lift weights. “Weightlifting has been shown to increase testosterone levels and improve insulin sensitivity,” Gaskins said. “Both of those have been related to higher sperm concentrations.” Gaskins speculated that outdoor exposure to sunlight might boost fertility by increasing men’s levels of vitamin D. The researchers found that one form of outdoor exercise actually can decrease male fertility, however. Men who rode a bicycle for more than an hour and a half each week had 34 percent lower sperm concentrations than men who did not bike. Pressure placed against the scrotum by a bike seat or the increased scrotal temperatures caused by such pressure are possible explanations for this decrease in fertility, Gaskins said. The study did not find any difference in the quality of sperm or how well it traveled in the body related to exercise. Although the studies found associations between exercise levels and sperm concentration, it did not prove a causeand-effect relationship. Two other studies assessing male fertility looked at the potential impact of alcohol or caffeine. One study reviewed the alcohol and caffeine intake of 166 male infertility patients, and found no link with the men’s sperm counts. “We found that neither alcohol nor caffeine affected semen quality, which serves as a proxy for male fertility potential,” Chavarro said. A second study by French researchers also looked at caffeine intake, but focused on the possibility that caffeine could do harm to the quality of sperm as well as the quantity. The study, which involved nearly 4,500 men, reviewed semen volume and sperm counts, and performed genetic analysis to see if caffeine caused damage to sperm DNA. The researchers reported that caffeine intake overall did not have a detrimental effect on semen. In particular, caffeine did not seem to cause any significant damage to the DNA carried by the sperm. Until now, research into the effects of caffeine and alcohol on male fertility has been very mixed, Chavarro said. “There have been many pa-

pers suggesting that alcohol and caffeine may be deleterious to fertility,” he said. “But there have been a few papers that say caffeine might help sperm motility, and helps sperm move faster with improved patterns.” Because the new research was presented at a medical meeting, all data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peerreviewed journal. Sperm count: How to boost it 1. Wear loose underwear – to make healthy sperm the testicles need to be below body temperature. 2. Eat food low in saturated fat. 3. Avoid smoking, drinking, using drugs and becoming obese. 4. Reduce exposures to industrial chemicals such as those used in making plastics – they can mimic the female hormone oestrogen countering male hormones. 5. Protect women in pregnancy – there is growing evidence that falling sperm counts may stem from effects in the womb. 6. Avoid anti-depressants – in rare cases they can cut sperm counts. Indeed, the world’s largest study of the quality and concentration of sperm had found that the reproductive health of the average male is in sharp decline. Between 1989 and 2005, average sperm counts fell by a third in the study of 26,000 men, increasing their risk of infertility. A similar proportion also reduced the amount of healthy sperm. The findings confirmed research over the past 20 years that has shown sperm counts declining in many countries across the world. Reasons ranging from tight underwear to toxins in the environment have been advanced to explain the fall, but still no definitive cause has been found. The decline occurred progressively throughout the 17year period, suggesting that it could be continuing. The latest research was conducted in France but British experts say it has global implications. The scientists said the results constituted a “serious public health warning” and that the link with the environment “particularly needs to be determined”. The worldwide fall in sperm counts has been accompanied by a rise in testicular cancer – rates have doubled in the last 30 years – and in other male sexual disorders such as unde-


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Civil society urges confab to adopt state police From Itunu Ajayi Abuja HE civil society task team on security and electoral reforms has called for the removal of the police force from the exclusive legislative to the concurrent list to enable the establishment of state police by individual state. The team also charged the national conference delegates currently sitting in Abuja not to adopt the report of its committee, which rejected state policing. Addressing journalists in Abuja on the state of policing in Nigeria, the convener, Ezenwa Nwagwu explained that the fear expressed in some quarters that state police may be hijacked by politicians is unfounded as there has been no or little discussions on a framework for the operation of state police that would prevent abuse and ensure greater security for the country. Nwagwu revealed that the team had designed a framework that would guide the establishment of state police to suit the context of Nigeria, taking into cognizance the political history of the country. He said the framework would deal with issues relating to control and oversight, recruitment, promotion and discipline, training, funding and the jurisdiction of the state police, which should be limited to the state alone. Nwagwu explained that the establishment of a state police service commission would go a long way into ensuring the independence of the entity as the states’

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houses of assembly would be on ground to oversee the functions of the commission. This, he said would put state governors in check over concerns of the people that state police would be hijacked by them. Citing countries like the USA, Australia, India and other countries that operate the presidential system of government and have both federal and state police, Nwagwu said Nigeria cannot run away from the idea

for fear that politicians would use state police to intimidate political opponents, adding that state police goes beyond politics. He said state police is already in existence in some state in Nigeria under some guise except Nigerians want to continue to live in illusion, adding that all what is required by the Federal Government is to formally give state executives the go ahead by the amendment of the 1999 constitution.

His words, “State police will improve the security situation in the country especially as people recruited for state police will understand the language, culture, values and needs of the people they are serving; especially as Nigeria is a very large and heterogeneous country, which a single police force cannot effectively serve. This is particularly so as each state in Nigeria is more populous than many countries of the world. There is

therefore, the need for a framework for state police force that will ensure effective policing at the state and community level while at the same time ensure professionalism. To prevent the abuse of state police, a proper framework for operation of state police should be adopted and implemented. The framework will insulate state police from political control and manipulation,” Nwagwu concluded.

HE absence of the proseT cuting counsel, Chief Godwin Obla SAN, yesterday stalled the trial of Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA), and his aide, Oyebode Atoyebi, charged with money laundering. The duo are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Federal High Court, Lagos on a 56count amended charge bordering on money

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From Charles Ogugbuaja Owerri USPENDED member of Imo Srepresenting State House of Assembly, Oru East con-

President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Olumide Akintayo (left) ; Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha and Chairman, House Committee on Health, Ndidi Elumelu during a courtesy visit by the joint health sector union to the deputy speaker in Abuja.

laundering Trial was earlier fixed for yesterday but could not go one owing to Obla’s absence. Counsel representing the accused, Mr. Tunde Akirinmisi had at the mention of the matter informed the court of a letter from the prosecutor, intimating him of his absence from court. Following this development, the trial judge, Ibrahim Buba ordered the court registrar to read out the letter in the open court. In his letter, the prosecutor

informed the court that his absence was due to a matter he was handling before a Federal High Court in Abuja. He, therefore, craved the court’s indulgence to adjourn till June 5 and June 6, to enable him continue the prosecution. After hearing from the defence, who did not object to the dates, Justice Buba, in a short ruling, adjourned accordingly till June 5 and June 6 for continuation of trial. The accused, the judge added, should continue with

their bail. Ikuforiji and Atoyebi were re-arraigned before Justice Buba by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on June 24, 2013, following the retirement of Justice Okechukwu Okeke, the former judge handling the matter. They had both pleaded not guilty to the charge, and were granted bail in the sum of N1billion with two sureties each in the sum of N500 million each. The accused were alleged to

have between April 2010 and July 2011 committed an illegal act of accepting cash payments of over N273 million from the Assembly, without going through a financial institution. Ikuforiji was also alleged to have used his position to misappropriate about N500 million of the Assembly’s fund. The offence is said to contravene the provisions of section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.

Ombatse group’s lawyer alleges financial recklessness over probe From, Msugh Ityokura Lafia EGAL adviser to the Ombatse group, Zamani Zakariah Alumaga has accused the Nasarawa State Government of using state funds to hire private law firms in the prosecution of him and others implicated in the White Paper report of the retired Justice Joseph Gbadeyan-led commission of inquiry. Alumaga, a former magistrate, who spoke with The Guardian in Lafia, said this contravenes provisions of the law and maintained that government should have made use of the state legal personnel. He also alleged that Governor Tanko Al-Makura has squandered over N1 billion on the judicial commission

From Charles Akpeji Jalingo WO members of the House of Representatives representing Taraba State have donated various working tools to members of their constituencies. The members: Honourables Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi representing Gashaka, Kurmi and Sardauna federal constituency and Haruna Manu representing Bali Gasso federal constituency yesterday doled out items, which include, sewing machines, grinding machines, hand pump machines to mention just a few to hundreds of women and youths. They admonished them that the donated items if judiciously used, should go a long way to reduce the high level of poverty of the people. While El-Sudi carried out his distribution of the items in Gashaka Local Government Council, Manu did his donation in Bali Council. Both of them urged the people of the state to shun violence and embrace peace, as peace also, according to them would herald the much-needed development to the state and the country.

Imo Assembly recalls suspended member

Prosecution’s absence stalls trial of Ikuforiji, aide By Bertram Nwannekanma

Reps members donate working tools to Taraba constituents

• Allegation baseless, says Nasarawa govt of inquiry into the May 7, 2013 killings of serving policemen and personnel of the State Security Service SSS in Alakyio, adding that he had allegedly used the commission as a conduit pipe for siphoning public funds. Alumaga alleged, “So much money has supposedly been spent by the government in the name of Ombatse probe. In fact, we are watching. What the commissioner for justice and attorney general of the state is doing is just one of the funny games they have always played or else how can he hire private firms to prosecute people indicted by a government set up commission instead of government prosecutors,”

the step, he said is wrong in the first instance. He expressed regrets that the commission, which has since concluded its sitting and submitted its White Paper report to government never visited the areas affected by the crises, which necessitated its coming on board in the first place, wondering how it arrived at its conclusion over the level of property destroyed in the wake of the crises. He faulted Attorney General, Innocent Lagi’s conduct, maintaining that it is an affront on the fundamental human rights of those listed for prosecution, including the traditional head of the Eggon ethnic majority

whom he alleged government plans to depose. Alumaga said, “Al-Makura lacks the moral competence to prosecute any body indicted by the commission.” He re-emphasised the fact that the governor was a member of Ombatse, maintaining the group was instrumental to his becoming governor and wondered why he would now denounce the group now. “One can not shift the goal post in the middle of the game, he was a member of Ombatse and he gave financial support to the group for its activities even in his early days as governor; so if he wants to turn around and devour his members then it is very unfortunate.” “The Oracle we went to gave

us the go-ahead before he became governor. It has now told us that Al Makura’s tenure will not exceed 2015 and the governor is aware of this,” said the former magistrate, who insisted that the series of crises witnessed in the state are as a result of dissatisfaction of the governor’s political style. However, the attorney general, Innocent Lagi, in his reaction, described as untrue the allegation that government spent over N1 billion on the commission. Lagi however, queried if N1 billion was too much to get justice, if at all government spent that much. “I do what I do with expediency so the issue of hiring private firms does not arise,” Lagi told The

stituency, Greg Okemili, was on Tuesday recalled to continue his legislative duties. Speaker of the assembly, Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu, had few months ago announced his suspension based on the advice from the Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice in view of the pronouncement from the court on his election, which was considered not in favour of Okemili. The court’s pronouncement was sequel to a case against his election instituted by Robert Okwuego, said to have run against Okemili in 2011 election. Uwajuogu said the decision to recall Okemili was as a result of the letter indicating interesting to discontinue the legal matter by Okwuego. Okemili of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was subsequently brought into the chamber after the Speaker proclaimed his recall.

NGO donates relief materials to displaced persons in Kaduna From: Saxone Akhaine Northern Bureau Chief O cushion the effects of reT cent communal crisis in Kaduna State, a non-governmental organisation, Neighbour-to-Neighbour (NTN) yesterday donated a truck of relief materials to the government for distribution to displaced persons. Presenting the items at the Government House, Kaduna, Coordinator of the group, Hajiya Aisha Lemu said the items were meant for the displaced persons in Bondom in Kaura, Kachia and Birnin Gwari Local governments. While delivering the items to the Deputy Governor, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, Hajia Lemu explained, “We’ve handed over millet, maize, sugar beans and other grains. This is an organisation dedicated to the development of Nigeria and empowerment of the youth.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Thursday, June 5, 2014 | 9

PHOTONEWS

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim (left); Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomole, and Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, at a meeting of governors of oil producing states, PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA at the State House, Abuja

Hajiya Shatu Alfa (left); Prof. Ike Obiora, Prof. Andrew Haruna, and Prof. Obini Ekpe, at the National PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO. Conference in Abuja

Chief Sanjay Jain meeting with Olu of Mushin, Oba Fatai Aileru, on the ocassion of Mushin Day celebrations

Country Director, Nigeria, IE Business School, Eniola Harrison (left); Prof. Balvinder Powar of IE Business School, and General Manager, Kimberly Ryan Consulting, Victoria Island, Isoken Okusami, during a workshop on Emotional Intelligence for Effective Leadership in Lagos

Prof. Akinlawon Mabogunje, his wife, Justice Titilayo (rtd), and Justice Emmanuel Ayooola (rtd), at the PHOTO:NAJEEM RAHEEM Founders Day of Vale College in Ibadan

Friend of the author, Dr. Victoria Michaels (left); mother of the author, Mrs Elizabeth Ogundipe, the Author of the book, “Little Angel Beautiful Minds” Solicitor & Poet, Adeola Olutosin Sonola, her husband, Olufemi Sonola, and book reviewer, Prof. S J. Thimothy of the University of Lagos at the book launch held at the PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO Oriental Hotel Lekki, Lagos.

Grandmother, Mrs Adetunji Wilhem (left); former Commissioner of Justice, Ogun State, Wemimo Ogunde (SAN), and his wife, Yinka, dauther, Wunmi Ogunde, First Lady, Ogun State, Olufunke Amosun, and former Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Sarah Sosan, during the 50th birthday anniversary of Mrs Yinka Ogunde in PHOTO: OSENI YUSUF. Lagos

General Manager, Air Conditioning and Energy Solutions, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, Junhwa Jeong (left); a winner in the LG Mosquito Away Online Quiz Competition, Mrs Bolanle Demuren, and Managing Director, Fouani Nigeria Limited, Mohammed Fouani, during the LG Mosquito Away Online Quiz Competition PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU presentation ceremony in Lagos


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Thursday, June 5, 2014 www.ngrguardiannews.com

Quest for Fashola’s successor ignites religious debate By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor HE dress rehearsal for the battles ahead over who occupies Lagos State’s coveted governorship seat come May 29, 2015 is now in full swing. For the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the choice of a party flag bearer has been benchmarked on one score: Ability of aspirants to trace their genealogy to Lagos East senatorial district. This zoning arrangement, which is alien to the APC or the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), is a deft move by party leaders to take the governorship round the three senatorial districts. Lagos West have had it for two terms of eight years with APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from 1999 to 2007 before the baton was handed over to the incumbent governor, Babatunde Fashola, from Lagos Central, who is on the last lap of his eight years in office. The zoning clause may not count much for some aspirants in the APC, who only need some high-profile endorsements to validate their claims of hailing from any of the three major strongholds in Lagos East – Ikorodu, Ibeju-Lekki, or Epe. Furthermore, it is not a strange phenomenon for politicians in the state to cross-carpet from one senatorial district to the other without qualms. For instance, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji is currently representing Lagos West after his first term in the same capacity (office) representing Lagos East from 2007 to 2011. But of great concern to Lagosians in the ongoing scheming and game of wits is the faint drumbeat from political gladiators, which is being given expression through religious ‘politricking’. It is the agitation for a Christian governor in 2015. Waiting in the wings to benefit from this crusade (although not of his own making or that of his benefactor, who is a Moslem) is the state’s former Accountant-General, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, whose ‘dark horse’ entry into the race for Fashola’s successor got a massive lift with the recent endorsement by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu. This endorsement, which was viewed as too early by some political watchers, has elicited criticisms, which could end up as a distraction to the Ambode project. However, Fashola unsurprisingly threw jabs at promoters of religious consideration for governorship campaign when he condemned the demand by some groups in the state that a Christian should be his successor in 2015, saying: “Do they really believe in God? It is only God that can insist.” It is believed that Fashola expressed this sentiment while declaring open an inter-faith conference in Lagos, with the theme: ‘Peace, Religious Harmony and Good Governance: Issues and Challenges,’ because of his perceived leanings towards one of the aspirants and his Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Obafemi Kadiri Hamzat, a fellow Moslem. According to Fashola: “People have said that they want one particular governor and I have asked myself two questions – the people who said that they want one particular governor or that there must be this other particular governor, are they still conscious that it is an election where a choice has to be made? If there are two democrats, they should expect that citizens must have a say in who is sworn-in as the governor of their state. Secondly, can you insist that you will be alive in the next one hour?” The governor, who insisted that religion should not used to determine his successor, added: “Good governance means different things to people. For the majority, good governance is just food, the ability to get a job and provision of social amenities. For those people, the faith of the governor is never their problem.” Currently, several Lagosians, aspirants inclusive, have made religion an issue in a cosmopolitan and pluralistic state like Lagos. Prominent among them is Senator Ganiyu Solomon, representing Lagos West at the National Assembly. For him, religion has never been an issue in Lagos politics and should be kept out of it. “It is a very emotional and sensitive issue in view of what is going on in the country today. In this particular part of the country, we don’t dis-

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cuss religion when it comes to governance. This is the first time some people are bringing it up and I can tell you that they are bringing it up because of their own selfish interests. I don’t want to go further,” he said. An APC chieftain, Alhaji Ganiyu Oseni, while describing the attempts to infuse religion into politics as political shenanigans, tricks and manipulations said: “There is a clear cut difference between the church and the state. Can anybody go to Abia, Imo, Anambra, Rivers, Akwa Ibom or Cross River and say they want a Muslim candidate? “Democracy is a government of the people by the people for the people. You can’t go to Zamfara, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa states and say you must have a Christian governor. I am very disturbed that people are bringing religion into politics. We may know the beginning of such issues, but nobody knows the end. “Deep down in me, I don’t believe in imposition. The choice must be by the people. Lagos State is not a state of a particular religion, we have Muslims, Christians and other religious adherents in large number, but all we need is good leadership that will deliver dividends of democracy to the people.” A Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, who is also eyeing his party’s governorship ticket, said the issue of religion is a weapon that aspirants, who, on their own, cannot win election, are employing to gain advantage that they don’t deserve. He declared: “The beauty of Lagos is its religious neutrality and it is in our common interest to protect that.” To sample people’s opinions on the matter, The Guardian took the debate to the streets of Lagos and the following was the response:

The time is ripe for a Christian governor – Akinnibi Damilola Shina Religion would influence the next election because it has suddenly come to the notice of everybody that majority of those in the present

cabinet in the state are Muslims. Sensitization is ongoing about this and we Christians are ready to ensure we determine our fate.

The media should focus more on serious issues – Idris Olakunle Bello I am perturbed and disappointed that the press failed to address key issues. Growth and development of the state should be greater imperatives than question of religion. The press should stop misleading the electorate. We are wiser than the falsity of the pen.

It is politically wise for parties to pick a Christian candidate – Olawale Oladejo Although religion shouldn’t be a yardstick to determine who governs, but many people are clamouring for a Christian governor and to win public sentiment any serious minded political party will choose a Christian candidate and with such scenario, I believe religion will influence the choice of the next governor.

Lagos is a pluralistic state – Akinyele Akinrujomu Religion cannot and will not play any meaningful role. As a Christian, I know that the bulk of the people troubling Nigeria today profess to be Christians. Leadership is a calling, anybody that is called, chosen or elected should be allowed to lead and add value to governance. Lagos is a civilized and pluralistic state. Religion should not be allowed to cause division and disaffection in 2015.

We say no to godfathers – Abdulhakeem Olanrewaju We have both Christians and Muslims in government presently, what have they done? Nothing. Both adherents of the two religions in politics do not fear what their end will be. My opinion is that Godfatherism should be out of politics. Let us vote in a new party entirely that will govern not under the influence of some people. That’s all.

It is a very emotional and sensitive issue in view of what is going on in the country today. In this particular part of the country, we don’t discuss religion when it comes to governance. This is the first time some people are bringing it up and I can tell you that they are bringing it up because of their own selfish interests. If you examine all the aspirants that are using religion today, none of them has the political weight to make any meaningful impact on their own.The beauty of Lagos is its religious neutrality and it is in our common interest to protect that.

Religion will largely determine 2015 election – Charles Iwenofu Religion is something that can never be removed from politics of the under-developing nations, unlike the rest of the developed world. Religious forces will largely determine 2015 election, at least by 60 percent, while credibility of candidates will make up the remaining 40 percent.

Lagosians will vote for personality not religion – Oshiobugie Ronald Religion can’t play any significant role in Nigerian politics at the state level, though it has a way of influencing at the federal level. Lagosians vote personality and not on religious basis.

Religion should not be allowed to divide us – Jamiu Abdullahi My advice to Lagosians is that politics and politicians should not be allowed to divide us. There is hardly a family where you won’t find Christians and Muslims and they have coexisted peacefully.

Religion may end up breaking Nigeria – Adetolu Abdulrazaq That is the beginning of our problems in Nigeria. And if we don’t take religion out of it, we will end up breaking the country.

Those campaigning with religion are enemies of Lagos – Asuni Ademola Religion has never been part of Lagos politics. Those who are calling for religion are jokers and enemies of Lagos. Bringing religion into politics is a very dangerous thing.

Muslim governors are better – Chuks Michael Religion has nothing to do with good governance. Though I am a Christian but I see more development from most Muslim governors. I am not trying to prove others wrong but we Christians still act like unbelievers.

Religion should decide for equity sake – Chiemeka Lloyd Agu Yes, religion has to decide who becomes the next Lagos State governor because to the best of my knowledge, Lagos needs a Christian person as the next governor in

CONTINUE ON PAGE 11


tHe GUARdiAn www.ngrguardiannews.com

thursday, June 5, 2014

... testing the water with debate on religion CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10

History will repeat itself – Paul Yabugbe it has happened before in Lagos when the late Michael Otedola of the nRC beat dapo sarumi of the sdP though sdP dominated the House of Assembly.

Religion will play a factor – Adedoyin Adeleke Samuel it would definitely; because that is just our mentality in nigeria. if God says yes, no one can say no.

the game is played by the Muslims – Iheanyi Wisdom A Christian will hardly rule Lagos. that is the truth, just like a Muslim will never rule Abia state. never.

Religion will play a big role – Innocent Ani Religion will play a big role come 2015 in LAGOS HOUSE: Front view of the governor’s office Lagos. if APC wants to give the PdP a chance, let it field a Muslim candidate. the people. However, i have observed that Muslims can’t exist without being in power.

it does not determine success

Religion should not matter – Anthony Agbo Nath Religion shouldn’t matter but the person who is capable of bringing development to

this debate is a distraction – Akeem Faruq the introduction of religion into Lagos politics is a wicked strategy to create an opportunity for a weakling to become governor. Lagosians have never been known to vote for a governor based on religion. i don’t believe religion can play any meaningful impact in the Lagos governorship elections.

Religion is a non-issue – Banjo Julius

LAGOS ASSEMBLY DIARY

Bariga HIV-rape case: House orders probe ikuforiji, however, expressed serious worries on value degenerHe Lagos state House of ation in the society, adding that it Assembly has constituted a had worsened by the conspiracy five-man ad-hoc committee of silence in the face of injustice. to investigate the HiV-rape Member of the House, Omotayo saga in Bariga area of the Oduntan, brought the case to state. the incident was the attention of the House under main subject that caught Matters of Urgent Public imporattention of the House at tance, citing a newspaper report tuesday’s plenary, besides (not The Guardian) that Helen was their outrage against purgang-raped in Bariga, where she ported plan to ban #Bringlives, around 5am. BackOurGirls protests in Abu- According to the report last ja. weekend, Helen, 19, was on her in a related development, way to work when she was gangthe three-man ad-hoc comraped by five men. two of the culmittee mandated to investiprits, it was alleged, were resigate FestAC face-off between dents of Helen’s neighbourhood. Amuwo Odofin Council the menial job was Helen’s hope Chairman and the Communi- of raising fund for her prospecty Policing Youth Vanguard, tive university education. has laid its report for House’s due to the pervading culture of consideration. deliberation stigmatization, Helen did not comes up at a later date. report the incident. the victim Hearing debate on the rape only spoke up after several weeks saga, speaker of the House, when she was diagnosed of Adeyemi ikuforiji, said thorHuman immunodeficiency Virus ough investigation became (HiV). Oduntan, representing necessary to unravel the rape Alimoso ii Constituency, said the claims as reported. He prom- victim was still crying for justice, ised that the victim would be alleging the culprits were still given all necessary support, walking round the Bariga neighas canvassed by members of bourhood as freemen. the House that empathized Besides the call for justice, sanai with the victim, identified as Agunbiade said Lagos should be Helen. worried because the perpetrators

By Wole Oyebade

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Gridlock: Govt, contractor tasked on speedy rehabilitation of ikorodu road esidents of ikorodu, a suburb of Lagos, has appealed to the Lagos state government to rescue them from the gridlock experienced daily on the Mile 12/ikorodu axis. the road is currently undergoing some expansion. some of the residents said their appeal had become imperative because of the man-hours lost on the only access road to the area daily. the commuters attributed the traffic situation on the route to potholes at itowolo-Ajegunle axis that usually slowed down free-flow of vehicular movement. they, therefore, appealed to both the contractor handling the project and the state government to alleviate the unnecessary suffering being experienced by helping to repair the bad portion of the road at itowolo-Ajegunle. the road users claimed that they spent about three hours daily to commute from ikorodu to Mile 12, a journey that should ordinarily take about 30 minutes. Benson Oyekhari, a banker, who resides in the area, described his experience on the road as hell on earth. “i will leave my house at 5.30a.m., yet i get to my place of work very late. it is saddening. “A situation where it takes over three hours to drive from isawo Road to surulere, almost every day, cannot be justified. What i have observed is that on most occasions, after the bad portion of the road at Ajegunle, the traffic situation on the route becomes lighter,” he said. Bunmi Martins, a businesswoman, observed that the gridlock becomes nightmarish whenever it rains. “each day, we face traffic on this road; it happens everyday, even on weekends. We spend most of our productive time in the traffic. it is worst when it rains because the situation will be bad and transport fares become highly exorbitant. Wasiu ejanla, a transporter, said the traffic had compelled most of them to incur deficits in fuelling their vehicles. “We normally use double of the fuel we budgeted for and that is why we increase the transport fare from n100 to n200, and at times, we even charge as much as n500,” he said. titilayo Agbabiaka, a civil servant residing in ikorodu, said the daily traffic had made it impossible for her to make any savings. “this traffic has almost made me to use up all my salary on transport, such that by the end of month, i am left with nothing. the other economic choice left, which is to access mainland or the island via boat ride is a dangerous venture,” she added.

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2015 for equity.

– Sunmola Temitope Shogbesan Whether it is a Christian or Muslim that rules, it doesn’t guarantee any success. Only God can lead us right. i pray God should give us the person that would have the interest of the masses at heart.

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are carriers of HiV and serious risk to the entire society. He reasoned that the more they go unarrested, the more they would rape and spread the dreaded disease. Agunbiade’s fear was confirmed by Rotimi Olowo, representing somolu ii Constituency, who said gang rape and cult clashes had become daily occurrence in Bariga-somolu axis of Lagos. Most worrisome, Olowo said, was the helplessness of the security operatives to check the restiveness. in his words: “Just last night (Monday), boys numbering 40 came into Anifowose-Fadipe shooting in reprisal of someone that was earlier killed. the same goes for gang raping on daily basis. “i have discussed with the governor on this security matters, yet it has continued unchecked. i want the House to help us. the worst is that they storm in, kill and go scot-free. the government should please beef up this areas heavily,” he said. deputy Majority Leader, Lola Akande and Funmilayo tejuoso were unanimous that rape victims should endeavour to speak up to get justice, because just delayed is justice denied.

it should not but it may. For me religion is no longer an issue, but finding a leader who is more concerned about the people he leads.

the voters are now wiser – Harrison Aduluwa if the people’s wishes speak, i think nigerians are getting wiser. But come to think of it, the southwest never allowed such until Rauf’s unity school plan played up religion as a factor.

Rigging, not religion will decide 2015 – Nwagwu Kelechi Religion won’t, but multiple taxation will. And just as they have been doing in the past, assassination and rigging would also decide the election.

Politics is a game where nothing is impossible – Jephtah Omavueya Politics in nigeria is like football where nothing is impossible.

Prado sUV for Osolo of Isolo He chairman of isolo Local Council develt opment Area (LCdA), shamsudeen Abiodun Olaleye, has presented an official car to the Osolo of isolo, Oba Kabiru Alani Agbabiaka. the presentation of a brand new Landcruiser Prado toyota 2014 model was held at the Oba’s palace last week. the council boss noted that the Osolo is a recognized and influential monarch in Lagos state today; hence he deserves the best among his contemporaries.“ Oba Agbabiaka is a blessing to this administration. Our indefatigable king has shown strong commitment to the growth and development of this council area.” the council boss, however, appealed to the monarch to persuade residents of the area to discharge their constitutional responsibility by paying their levies and rates promptly. in his response, Oba Agbabiaka, who was visibly elated with the presentation, thanked the council boss, management staff and executive members of isolo LCdA for the gift. the monarch seized the occasion to preach Osolo of Isolo, Oba Kabiru Adelaja Agbabiaka (right) holdunity.”Residents must live in peace. We ing the key of the new Prado Jeep donated by Isolo LCDA. should not give room for hatred and vioHe is flanked by the council chairman, Shamsudeen Abiolence,” he said. dun (left).


12 | Thursday, June 5, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

WorldReport Putin looks east to bolster ties with North Korea NGRY with the West’s A response over Ukraine and eager to diversify its options, Russia is moving rapidly to bolster ties with North Korea in a diplomatic nose-thumbing that could complicate the United States-led effort to squeeze Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear weapons program. Russia’s proactive strategy in Asia, which also involves cozying up to China and has been dubbed “Putin’s Pivot,” began years ago as Moscow’s answer to Washington’s much-touted alliance-building and rebalancing of its military forces in the Pacific. But it has gained a new sense of urgency since the unrest in Ukraine and Pyongyang is already getting a big windfall with high-level political exchanges and promises from Russia of trade and development projects.

Moscow’s overtures to North Korea reflect both a defensive distancing from the European Union (EU) and Washington because of their sanctions over Ukraine and a broader, long-term effort by Russia to strengthen its hand in Asia by building political alliances, expanding energy exports and developing Russian regions in Siberia and the Far East. For North Korea, the timing couldn’t be better. Since the demise of the Soviet Union and the largesse it banked on as a member of the communist bloc, the North has been struggling to keep its economy afloat and has depended heavily on trade and assistance from ally China. Sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs have further isolated the country, and Pyongyang has long feared it could become

too beholden to Beijing. Better ties with Russia could provide a much needed economic boost, a counterbalance against Chinese influence and a potentially useful wedge against the West in international forums and particularly in the U.S.-led effort to isolate Pyongyang over its development of nuclear weapons. “By strengthening its relationship with North Korea, Russia is trying to enhance its bargaining position vis-à-vis the United States and Japan,” said Narushige Michishita, a North Korea and Asia security expert at Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

A tank replica is rolled in a street to commemorate China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square events ahead of a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

Mourning, tight security on Tiananmen anniversary IN Min held the ashes of Y her son and wept, she said, as she marked 25 years since he was killed in the crackdown by Chinese tanks and troops on protests at Tiananmen Square. Outside, guards kept a close eye on her home while police blanketed central Beijing to block any public commemoration of one of the darkest chapters in recent Chinese history. “How has the world become like this? I don’t even have one bit of power. Why must we be controlled so strictly this year?” Yin said in a telephone interview. “I looked at his ashes, I looked at his old things, and I cried bitterly.” China allows no public discussion of the events of June 3 to 4, 1989, when soldiers backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers fought their way into the heart of Beijing, killing hundreds, possibly thousands, of unarmed protesters and onlookers. Yesterday, scores of police and paramilitary troops

patrolled the vast plaza and surrounding streets in Beijing’s heart, stopping vehicles and demanding identification from passers-by. Chinese censors scrubbed domestic blogs and social media websites of comments marking the crackdown. Some relatives of the crackdown’s victims were allowed to pay their respects at cemeteries — but only with police escorts. Others did so at home under surveillance, expressing frustration at the restrictions placed on their remembrances. “I told my son this morning, ‘Your mother is powerless and helpless, after more than 20 years I don’t even have the chance to appeal for support,’” said Yin, whose 19-yearold son, Ye Weihang, was killed in the crackdown. Police have kept a round-theclock surveillance of her home since April, she said, and the relatives’ hopes of gathering and holding a public commemoration were dashed. “You’re not only re-opening my scars, you’re spreading

salt and chili powder into them,” Yin said she told her minders. The Chinese government has largely ignored the relatives’ demands for an admission of wrongdoing and for a complete, formal accounting of the crackdown and the number of casualties. Beijing’s verdict is that the student-led protests aimed to topple the ruling Communist Party and plunge China into chaos. Protest leaders said they were seeking broader democracy and freedom, along with an end to corrup-

Guinea-Bissau’s ex-navy chief pleads guilty in U.S. drug case UINEA-BISSAU’S former G navy chief, captured in a high-profile drug sting on the West African coast, has secretly pleaded guilty ahead of a trial on charges he conspired to import narcotics into the United States, court sources said. The trial of Jose Americo

Obama condemns Russian ‘dark tactics’ NITED State President, U Barack Obama has condemned Russian “aggression” in Ukraine. Speaking in Warsaw to mark 25 years since the fall of communism in Poland, he hailed Polish democracy as a beacon for neighbouring Ukraine. “How can we allow the dark tactics of the 20th Century to define the 21st?” he said. Earlier Obama met Ukraine President-elect, Petro Poroshenko, and pledged support for plans to restore peace to the country. Obama called Poroshenko a “wise selection” to lead Ukraine, and said the nation could become a vibrant, thriving democracy if the world community stood

behind it. Poroshenko, a billionaire sweet manufacturer, was elected in May and will be inaugurated as Ukraine’s president on Saturday. Obama pledged $5m (£3m) of military assistance to Kiev including body armour and night-vision goggles. The aid follows $18m promised since early March for food, clothes, radios and other equipment. Obama has now arrived in Brussels for a meeting of the G7 major industrial nations, the first since Russia was removed from the G8 in protest over its annexation of Crimea in March. He is expected to meet Russian President, Vladimir Putin in France tomorrow,

tion and favoritism within the party. Near the square in Beijing, reporters were told to leave following the daily crack-ofdawn flag-raising ceremony and there were no signs of demonstrations or public commemorations. Dozens of dissidents and other critics have already been detained by police, held under house arrest or sent out of the city in what they say is a more restrictive clampdown than usual reflecting the increasingly conservative political atmosphere under President Xi Jinping.

during 70th anniversary commemorations of the DDay landings in Normandy. In his speech, the US president said that Poland’s long struggle against occupation and tyranny was mirrored in the plight of Ukraine today. “We will not accept Russia’s occupation of Crimea or its violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Obama said. “As we’ve been reminded by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, our free nations cannot be complacent in pursuit of the vision we share - a Europe that is whole and free and at peace.” Later German Chancellor, Angela Merkel threatened Russia with further sanctions if Moscow failed to rein in separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Bubo Na Tchuto, 64, had been scheduled to begin on Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.   But Na Tchuto, who U.S. authorities say is a kingpin of West Africa’s illicit drug trade, pleaded guilty at a May 13 proceeding, the transcript of which was immediately sealed, the court sources said. It could not be learned why the hearing was sealed. Nor could it be determined what charges Na Tchuto pleaded guilty to or the terms of any deal he received. The official court record does not indicate that a plea or hearing took place. Guilty pleas are sometimes sealed when defendants agree to cooperate with authorities. Sabrina Shroff, Na Tchuto’s attorney, and representatives for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan and the Drug Enforcement Administration declined to comment when contacted by phone and email. The secret plea came more than a year after the arrest of Na Tchuto in April 2013. He was seized on a luxury yacht off the coast of GuineaBissau following a monthslong DEA undercover operation.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Thursday, June 5, 2014

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INTERVIEW

Sanusi was right on Kerosene subsidy, says Makarfi Former Governor of Kaduna state, Mohammed Makarfi is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance He spoke with Northern Bureau Chief, SAXONE AKHAINE on some of his committee’s findings on the allegations made by former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation failed to remit $20 billion to the Federation Account. Excerpts: AN you shed more light on your committee’s final report recently presented to the Senate? Well, our report which you called final; I will not want to call it final, because in the report, we made certain recommendations as interim. This is because there is an ongoing forensic audit and that would be subject to the outcome of the forensic audit. And in our report, the Auditor General of the Federation, together with external forensic auditors are requested to submit the forensic audit report to us, that is what will certify if the certification by PPRA which in total is almost $10billon is correct, understated or overstated and by who? We were asked to find out the whereabouts of some money. And $47billion out of the $67billion, there was no dispute at all. Right from the time we started our sitting that money was in the Federation Account. Where there was dispute was between the figure of $20 bilion and $10.8billion. Even that dispute was not that the money was really missing. It was on what has been done with that money. Lamido (Sanusi) said at that time that the money was missing, a party alleged that it was not remitted to the Federation Account and if it was not remitted to the Federation Account, it must be hanging in one account or the other. We were to find out where that money was. So, we took the larger figure of $20 billion not the lower figure of $10.8billion to see what happened to that money. Out of that figure, $5.5 billion was spent on petrol payment. Now, what we had to do was to find out if that money appropriated. We checked the budget of the relevant years, yes, the National Assembly appropriated money for that and it was expended. So, if the National Assembly appropriated money for it and it was expended, we cannot talk of money missing, you understand? So, you already have $5.5billion appropriated and expended. Another $4.5 billion was expended on subsidy on Kerosene, but unlike that of petrol, this money was not appropriated by the National Assembly. But there is evidence and certification that it was spent. Again, there is a difference between missing money and the one that was spent without authority. They are two different things. The issue is, was it authorised by law? It was not authorized constitutionally because all money to be spent ought to be appropriated by the National Assembly and that gives you upfront of basically about $10 billion, out of the $20billion. They have to basically account for it. One spent and budgeted for, no problem. One spent, but not budgeted for, so there is a problem. Now, you are left with the balance of $10 billion. The other balance of the $10 billion; over $8billion was the money that was not entirely for the federation. So our job was to find out how much of that money should belong to federation account and how much for other parties? And whether this money was entirely for the federation. It is just like, let us assume that all of you are investors and I need N1 billion to finance a business to make a certain profit, but I don’t have N1 billion. I only have N100 million. Then I ask each of you to bring N900 million, that if you bring N900 million, then, from the profit, you will recover your N900 million and we will share that profit. So right from the beginning, it was wrong to assume that the gross earnings belongs to me because from the gross money, you have to take your money, take your share of profit, then I take my own. That was the assertion that was made wrong by the person that made the allegation. All Sanusi alleged was that, he believes part of that money belonged to the federation. Yes, there are certain monies yet to be paid into the federation account out of that. But we determined substantially that it was money belonging to other people. Even the one belonging to the federation, not all of it was remitted and it is fully captured in our report and we made recommendation that the amount not yet remitted to the federation account be remitted and show evidence to us that they have remitted it. Even the agencies involved did not dispute our calculations and computations. That set-

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Makarfi tles the dispute over $8 billion. This is the most complex because this is the money belonging to so many people, the federation, indigenous companies, international oil companies, so we have to take time to know what belong to who and we did that. Our recommendations are in line with what we have determined to be shared for each party. That leaves you with accounting for N2 billion. The NNPC made submission that the $2 billion was expended in the cause of generation of revenue. This is different from spending on subsidy. The constitution allows for certain expenses used to generate revenue. What ever you are going to remit is net of the expenses, related to generating that revenue. Our job was to first of all see evidence that they were exclusively spent in the area of generating that revenue and that was the area that we said we don’t have the technical expertise and the time. So we appointed two firms of forensic auditors and gave them the auditors to verify. We asked them not to only sit in our office but to have an office even within the NNPC to go through all the documents they needed. They are professional chatered accountants and they made a report to us certifying how much was allowable and how much cannot be defended. What cannot be defended, we recommended that it should be refunded and that basically account for the $20 billion you are talking about. In summary, that is the classi-

fication of the way we conducted our work. There are areas we did not look into and we stated it in our report. Like areas of crude swap, the strategic alliance which involves contracts over transfer of assets because, whereas, they have an impact on how much you generate, but it does not affect accounting for the $67 billion. We thought we should account for the $67 billion first of all, to know how much was missing or not transferred or whatever, put that aside and go in to this area because it is even the larger area that can hurt the nation more. If you enter into contract that will continue to deprive the government needed revenue, that is a very serious business. In other words, it is as if Sanusi, with his allegation, missed the point. No. He did not miss the point in the area of the subsidy on Kerosine. Even before Sanusi raised this issue on Kerosine, our committee had raised the matter with the NNPC. It was not even new to us because he was not the first person to raise it. We got to know that money that was not appropriated was spent and we were on it when his later came, so it was not anything new. So, he was right in the area of Kerosine subsidy being spent without appropriation. When he said that the late President Yar’adua gave instruction to stop subsidy, we are not disputing that there was such instruction, but there was never a time, even during Yar’adua’s time, that government

We have confirmed that some money was spent without being budgeted for. We have found that the money that was not remitted was much smaller than what was alleged. That is not to say that it is an issue you should be wave aside. No matter what it is, all monies should be remitted to the federation account. No matter how small, even if it was a cent, all money should be remitted to the federation account In that respect, you can say that Sanusi had a point, but if you are talking in terms of scale, it was absolutely nowhere near the scale of the allegations that were made

stopped paying subsidy on kerosine. So, continuing to pay subsidy on Kerosine is not limited to the current government. It was an issue that continued even during the time of the President that gave the instruction in writing. So, inadvertently, government must have given an instruction which itself did not abide by. Now who took the action? That is why some people think NNPC on their own took the action; maybe the Minister (of Petroleum) took the action. But we also have evidence and records that the President himself is aware and consents to it. So, if the President is aware and consents to it, you cannot pick one director or one Managing Director and heap all the blame on the person. That is why we recommended that since the President is aware and has consented to it, the constitution says where that happens, he should prepare supplementary budget and bring to the National Assembly. The National Assembly can approve or reject it if it likes. If it likes, it can sanction him, but until he does that, you cannot commence any action. Our report is there. We have confirmed that some money was spent without being budgeted for. We have found that the money that was not remitted was much smaller than what was alleged. That is not to say that it is an issue you should be wave aside. No matter what it is, all monies should be remitted to the federation account. No matter how small, even if it was a cent, all money should be remitted to the federation account In that respect, you can say that Sanusi had a point, but if you are talking in terms of scale, it was absolutely nowhere near the scale of the allegations that were made. What do you think the nation can benefit from the report of your committee’s investigation? First of all we should look beyond the figures, beyond the money we said should be refunded. There are fundamental recommendations which we have made to block the loopholes we have seen. For instance, we made major recommendations on certain financial controls like NPDC account. We made major recommendations even in the area of the subsidy itself. Until we take a decision on subsidy, people will continue to kill this country one way or the other. If have made recommendations in the area of transfer of assets, that is oil bloc where they are transfer to third parties. We have recommended that if that continues, we will wake up one day and discover that our revenue yield will drop drastically because of the way and manner they are being transferred now and that is far more serious than the issues that we looked at. So, there all these recommendations that needed to be implemented right away, otherwise we will enter into an era of dwindling revenue into the federation with severe consequences on the economy. There is this concern that crude oil theft is so enormous that it is having a serious negative effect on the nation’s revenue base. Did your committee look at the issue as well? We did and we made serious observations and recommendations. Before a particular company was appointed to police our pipelines to reduce theft, the money spent on the contract was $2.1 million a year. When this company was introduced, it almost got to $15 million a year, but the theft, more than quadrupled! We made a recommendation there. That is why I said there are fundamental findings and recommendations in the report, not just limited to accounting for this money that this nation can benefit from. Why should I, when it was spending less money protecting the pipeline using only N10, now I am spending more money protecting the pipeline and I am losing N1000, does this make sense? The loss to the federation over that period of time, was certified by our external forensic auditors $809 billion dollars. That is very horrendous! That is why we are spending more to protect the pipeline; we were losing 1000 per cent more than we were losing when we were spending less to protect the pipelines. So, it calls to question the capacity of the agency or company that has been given the contract to protect the pipelines.


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Conscience Nurtured by Truth

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

Editorial On hasty implementation of the automotive policy HE implementation by the Federal Government of an aspect of the new T automotive policy that raised duty paid on imported vehicles without first putting the necessary structures on ground is patently wrongheaded.

By putting the cart before the horse, thus imposing more hardship on a beleaguered and weary citizenry, the insincerity and insensitivity of this government are now beyond compare. The raised import duty should be reversed forthwith in the interest of sanity in the system. Raising the duty on imported cars under the automotive policy is predicated on first rolling out the promised “Made in Nigeria cars” after reactivating the comatose automotive plants as well as setting up new ones. But by this action, it seems that the aim of the policy is simply to raise import duty on imported vehicles and not to manufacture new cars. President Jonathan needs to quickly disabuse the minds of Nigerians; otherwise, the policy would be interpreted as blatant deceit. Over the years, Nigerians have been treated with contempt by successive governments who make empty promises that are never fulfilled. The result is that quite often, hopes are raised and later dashed. The nucleus of the automotive policy is to revolutionise the industry in the country by producing affordable made in Nigeria cars. Under the policy, apart from reactivating comatose auto plants like Volkswagen, Peugeot, Steyr, Leyland, ANAMCO, among others, government would seek to partner with renowned foreign automobile manufacturers to set up plants in Nigeria. In this regard, there have been high level meetings between President Jonathan and the chief executives of NISSAN, Renault and others. The expectation is that by the time new vehicles start rolling out from the factories, it would be needless to continue the importation of used vehicles into the country. And to ensure that people are discouraged from importing or buying second hand cars, a 70 per cent import duty is imposed on imported cars. The choice would then be left to consumers to patronize locally produced cars at affordable price or pay exorbitant duty if they choose to import. There is no doubt that this automotive policy, if pursued vigorously without hitch, would take a while to mature. Given the unconducive environment engendered by poor infrastructure, abysmal power supply situation, high overhead cost, lack of technical manpower, among others, the plan is not something that can be realised by executive fiat. Both the government and the people must therefore exercise patience to allow things work out sequentially. How long it takes to mature would depend on how committed government is to the policy. In the meantime, second hand vehicles would continue to be imported and used under the extant regime in order not to ground the economy and impoverish the populace. President Jonathan had assured that the implementation of the National Automotive Policy would not inflict pains on the people. Against this background, the imposition of the 70 per cent tariff, made up of 35 per cent duty and 35 per cent levy on imported vehicles since May, 2014 when no automobile plant has been reactivated and new vehicles are yet to roll out raises serious doubts as to the sincerity of government. Unfortunately, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) appears to be in the forefront of implementing the new tariff, apparently without legal backing. For instance, the Customs had earlier introduced the new tariff which generated intense controversy and protests by Customs licensed agents, who questioned the rationale for the duty. Government quickly reversed itself and shifted the commencement till July 1 this year. But without waiting for the new date, the Customs re-issued another circular in February to its rank and file with instruction to commence the implementation immediately. This back and forth movement of the Customs shows that it is acting without legal basis on the new import regime. This needs to be challenged in the law court to save Nigerians from undue exploitation. What is the basis for implementing the new import regime now?  It is still premature. The July 1 target is ill-conceived and should be discarded. First things first. The automobile industry must first be revitalised. Prior to the collapse of Nigeria’s automobile industry Nigeria had reached about 45 per cent local content in vehicle manufacturing. The idea of an automobile policy is good as it would promote industrialisation if implemented conscientiously. But the right sequence has to be followed in the public interest. What is being done now is anti-people. The problem in this policy is in sequencing. When to start and end one part and begin the other is crucial. Unless government gets this policy right, Nigerian importers will shift to Benin Republic or other neighbouring ports with the attendant loss of revenue. The automobile industry has collapsed, and to rebuild it, there must be educational integration and intellectual capacity to support it. There must also be infrastructural or raw materials capacity support. Where, for instance, is the research effort to support the planned industrialisation even as schools are not training the required manpower? Lack of energy, of course, shoots overhead up. Nigeria needs a strategic development agenda to be able to achieve lofty targets. Without putting the right structures in place, the implementation of any policy would only remain a wish.

LETTER

As we pray and search for the girls “Wherefore I pray you to take some meat, for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. And when he had thus spoken, he took bread and gave thanks to God in presence of them all, and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer and they also took some meat. And we were in all in the ship Two Hundred Threescore and Sixteen Souls” i.e. 276 Souls – Acts 27:34-37KJV. As the LORD saved S276IR: and rescued the lives of souls who were travelling with Paul in a tempestuous voyage of 14 days with fasting, the same LORD can also save and help us rescue the souls of our 276 Chibok girls who had been abducted for the past six weeks. We should note that this similarity in the number (i.e. 276) is not a mere coincidence. It may be the scripture that the LORD wants us to use for the spiritual back-up as the nation’s armed forces in collaboration with foreign allies survey and comb the forests in this unique rescue operation. The revelation contained in the above quoted scripture is awesome against the backdrop of the secu-

rity challenge under review. And all Nigerians (home and abroad) and well-wishers of this Nation are enjoined to use the above scripture to pray and fast for the success of the Operation Rescue Them Alive (ORTA). However, while we are still praying and busy searching for our Chibok girls, we should not leave our rear completely exposed and unguarded. This was evidenced in the deadly bomb attacks in Kano and Jos respectively within a week when the attention of security forces was focused on the Northeastern Nigerian forests in search of the abducted girls. Has Boko Haram sold a dummy? Is this abduction saga a decoy to strike at soft targets in the other parts of the country while the world’s attention is focused on just one geopolitical zone? We have reasons to be apprehensive for the safety of our lives because no one knows when and where the next bomb may be set to blast. This is where protection of vested interests of certain godfathers and their godsons has landed us in this nation. Definitely, Nigeria as a nation is waging an offensive spiritual warfare now

and the whole world knows it. Greed, avarice and clamour for power at all cost seem to have blurred the spiritual sights of our leaders. Even the priests of the Lord seem to be affected, shying away in declaring God’s total counsel to our political leaders. As the LORD moves the whole world to beam its searchlight on the nation with a view to help us out of the quagmire, so shall His (GOD’s) glory shine suddenly upon this land. And we shall soon forget our current woes. Our weeping shall soon turn to laughter, “…. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” – Psalm 30:5b, KJV. No doubt, it is the whole nation of Nigeria that is in captivity and not just these 276 abducted Chibok girls. But God is saying that He will turn again our captivity in Nigeria. And when the LORD will eventually turn again the captivity of Zion, we shall be like them that dream. (Psalm 126). Something glorious will surely come out of these conflicts or warfare going on in the heavens and in the physical on behalf of Nigeria in Jesus name. • Gbemiga Olakunle, General Secretary, National Prayer Movement


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Opinion BH amnesty: Calculating risks, counting costs By John Cardinal Onaiyekan T is often said that “to err is human and to Icome forgive is divine”. To forgive does not easily to us human beings; we find it very difficult to resist the urge to hit back, to revenge. And yet, on the long run, it is clear that pardon is better than vengeance. While vengeance tends to perpetuate enmity, pardon heals hurt and creates friendship. The command of Jesus: “Love your enemies”, (Luke 6:27) is not only as unrealistic as it may appear, but is indeed excellent common sense. Furthermore, even when pardon is generously offered, it is often not easy to humbly accept it, since this implies the admission of guilt, which our pride resists. We see here the drama of pardon in inter-personal relationships. When this is translated to the level of amnesty of government to citizens, the drama can become very problematic. Although the duty of government to ensure justice and enforce good order normally entails punishing criminals, this may at times not exclude offering pardon and amnesty. This is why each case has to be judged on its own merit. It is often a matter of calculating the risks of “tempering justice with mercy” for the higher purpose of peace and reconciliation in the community. A well-known example is the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” which the government of South Africa under Nelson Mandela set up after Apartheid. Despite its limits, it certainly opened the way for the “Rainbow Nation” to move on after the grievous hurts and

injuries of the Apartheid regime. It is significant that it was promoted by Mandela, a victim who generously offered pardon. Nor should one underestimate the importance of the “Archbishop Desmond Tutu factor”, which turned the whole process into a somewhat “spiritual exercise”. We have other examples nearer home. The famous “Oputa Panel” had the lofty aims of bringing about national reconciliation after the injuries of the military era, though for various reasons, it ended with very limited achievement in that regard. For many aggrieved, the wounds are still festering and waiting to be effectively addressed. The “amnesty program” for the Niger Delta militants, which the Yar’Ardua administration initiated and which was continued by President Jonathan, is another example. It has perhaps appeased a few people. But one can still wonder how much it has effectively tackled the problems of the Niger Delta. The beautiful concept of amnesty can take different forms. In his address to the nation during the last “Democracy Day” celebrations, President Jonathan spoke strongly about matters of national security which are obviously of major concern not only to Nigerians but to the entire international community. Our abducted girls must be brought back home. The menace of terrorism in our land must be brought to an end. Everything will be done to ensure the unity, integrity and peace in Nigeria. Our armed forces and other security agents have been given clear directives, and we hope also adequate means to

get the job done. Nigerians and the world are waiting for concrete action and clear results. Squeezed in between the tough talk is a short but significant paragraph 24, to the effect that government is prepared to offer amnesty to terrorists who lay down their arms and embrace peace with their fatherland. The local and international media have given this story a well-deserved wide publicity. This is a great challenge which calls for a lot of commitment, sincerity and consistency on the part of government and its agents. It should be clear to all that this is not a case of enthroning impunity which could become a precedent to blackmail government in future through violence. The motivation has to be the pursuit of peace and reconciliation with people who admit wrong-doing and are ready to repent. It is therefore not enough to lay down arms, perhaps because of superior fire power of government forces. There must also be a sincere change of heart. And this is a difficult though not an impossible project. The amnesty will be an encouragement to those who are already disposed to abandon terrorism but may not be prepared to submit themselves for summary execution. The promise of Mr. President “to ensure their de-radicalization, rehabilitation and re-integration into the broader society” is a serious commitment that must be sincerely carried out. There is need for patience. If government waits for the entire group to renounce violence before making any move, no one can say how long this will take. We

can surely start with individuals and groups ready to break ranks and take advantage of the generous offer of government. There is of course the risk here that insincere people may infiltrate the process. But it is a risk that has to be carefully calculated and embraced. Amnesty and rehabilitation of repented terrorists raises the bigger issue of rehabilitation of victims of terrorism over the years. There is no way to bring back the dead. But the nation cannot leave surviving victims without any form of adequate compensation. The hurt and anger of victims cannot be ignored if a true reconciliation in the “broader society” is ever to begin to take place. This may involve a greater challenge than amnesty for terrorists. But it is a challenge that must be taken on board, promptly and visibly. It does not make any sense, both in justice and morality, to budget for former murderers and make no provisions for the innocent victims of their atrocities. People have lost loved ones. Widows and orphans have been left without succor. Businesses have been destroyed. Property, homes and even places of worship have been reduced to rubbles. There is a lot of “rehabilitation and re-integration into the broader society” to be done. Amnesty for terrorists must go hand in hand with compensation for victims. We pray for God’s guidance for President Jonathan and his government. May God bless our nation with peace and prosperity. Amen. • John Cardinal Onaiyekan is Archbishop of Abuja. This article is the fifth in his series of Letters from Rome.

Centenary celebration: A nation in pretence (1) By Areoye Oyebola IGERIA which has remained an ever tottering country since N independence, Nigeria which has been an object of shame to the rest of the world for many years, is also a country known

for its absurdities. With its absurdities as well as the naivety, mediocrity and shallowness of thought of its rulers, Nigeria has been recently brought to the most ridiculous and unbelievable level when the Federal Government decided last month to celebrate a century of the country’s colonization and amalgamation of 1914. What Nigerian rulers did in celebrating the forceful colonization of the country and its subsequent amalgamation in furtherance of Great Britain’s decision or more ruthless exploitation of the country’s mineral, agricultural and other resources is unprecedented in history. After all, the colonizers used their superior arms and ammunition to suppress our people and subjugated them without their consent. The European powers met and decided to partition Africa among themselves primarily to obtain the continent’s abundant raw-materials at the prices dictated by them to keep their new industries working and give employment to their citizens. It was so shameful that the Federal Government rejected all arguments of many thinking Nigerians and reputable media organisations that it was unwise, insensitive and wicked to spend billions of Naira in celebrating colonial enslavement at the time the whole world has known that a great majority of Nigerians live in abject poverty and are deprived of basic needs of life by their excessively greedy, callous and notoriously corrupt rulers. It is very sad to know that Nigerian rulers are worse than the oppressive colonial rulers and the former apartheid rulers of South Africa. These rulers display pomp and pageantry in the midst of their fellow Nigerians who are wailing in abject poverty and hunger. It is sad indeed that insurgents slaughtered about 40 students of a Federal Secondary School in Yobe State a day before the ridiculous centenary celebration in Abuja. This event which meant nothing to our rulers should have prompted the Federal Government to cancel this unnecessary ceremony. Was the amalgamation of Nigeria which has led to the present country that has been going round and round in a circle without making any progress worth celebrating? Is the amalgamation of Nigeria, a fragile country composed of antagonistic tribal entities which are always seeking hegemony over one another worth celebrating? Is it not most ridiculous celebrating the centenary of a country which has not been able to agree on generally acceptable census figures since 1914 with the unacceptable figures once described by the former Premier of the old Eastern Region, Dr. Michael I. Okpara as “worse than useless”? What is worth celebrating in a country with an unprecedented insecurity of lives and property? What is worth celebrating in a country where the only serious issue which unites the political elite is monumental, free for all and unbridled corruption that has made the country one of the three most corrupt countries in the world? What is worth celebrating in the history of a country which one of history’s magnificent Heroes, a black man and the im-

mortal Nelson Mandela sadly said of Nigeria before he died: “Your leaders have no respect for the people; they believe that their personal interests are the interest of the people. They take people’s resources and turn it into personal wealth. There is a level of poverty in Nigeria that should be unacceptable. I cannot understand why Nigerians are not angrier than they are”. He said further: “The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of price and confidence”. A nation is characterized by large group of people who inhabit a common territory, have a common culture, common language with a strong common history. In this respect, Nigeria is just a country; it is never a nation but it is recognised as a state because of its membership in international organisations. And the British colonialist, famous for their divide and rule policy, never wished and anticipated that Nigeria would ever become a nation. They knew that we would become a confused, divided, weak and badly governed country that they and their friends in the Western world will continue to exploit and dominate economically. The allocation of a large percentage of our annual budget to recurrent expenditure like salaries, bogus allowances, flashy cars, maintenance of many presidential jets, jumbo pay for our legislators and members of the executives have kept us underdeveloped. But during the time of our country’s founding fathers capital expenditure was more than 70% of the budget while recurrent expenditure was less than 30%. Recently, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala gave some meaningless figures which have overnight turned Nigeria’s parlous economy to number one in Africa. The figures of the GDP she gave are untenable because they are not related in any way to Nigeria’s per capita income. As at now South Africa’s per capita income is US$9,812, whereas Nigeria’s per capita income is about US$2,500. Strangely too, while Nigerians are in darkness most of the time because the country generates about 3,000 megawatts of electricity, while South Africa which has its GDP recently downgraded by Okonjo-Iweala, with a population of 40 million which is a quarter of our own 160,000,000 plus population generates more than 40,000 megawatts of electricity, which is about 14 times of our own megawatts. Also, how does Okonjo-Iweala explain the recent international figures which put Nigerians who live virtually as destitute as one hundred million? Nigeria, which was one of the richest in terms of natural resources in the early 70s has become one of the 25 poorest. According to United Nations Development Programme, while China’s abject poverty shrank from 56% of its population to 12% in the last 30 years, that of Nigeria rose from 20% to 70% within the same period. It is difficult to know those who are the advisers of the Federal Government (FG) on the list of those that were honoured during the unnecessary and wasteful centenary celebration. For how does one explain the detestable decision of President Goodluck Jonathan to honour Lord Lugard and other Britons who coerced and subjugated with their superior arms our ancestors into colonial enslavement? It just doesn’t make sense. Worse still, is the unthinkable decision to honour General Sani Abacha, who looted our country so much that the billions of dol-

lars, pounds, naira and other currencies he stole apart from the other huge funds voluntarily returned to Nigeria by some European countries since 1999 and the ones that are still kept in other countries and international institutions are so unbelievably huge. If these huge stolen funds have been invested on free education for all school age children in Nigeria, our country would have been completely transformed and be clearly on the threshold to modernity like China, Japan, India, South-Korea, Singapore and others. I was with MKO in his house on the day riots broke out in Lagos over the unfair annulment of his free and fair election by Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB). He told me how on some people’s advice, he met Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida in Abuja and fully described IBB and his late wife’s reaction at the memorable meeting. A very clever man that he was, he had earlier told me how he employed brilliant university teachers who coordinate the counting of the presidential votes in all the political zones of Nigeria and using his verse knowledge of modern communication system, he received up-to-date and collated results in his house from the appointed teachers. Unknown to me that there was a plan to assassinate MKO’s wife, Kudirat, some days after I had visited her in Lagos, I asked her why my friend, MKO Abiola decided to return to Nigeria from political exile in Europe which I felt was better. She told me that it was some Western countries who told MKO that Nigeria was too big for him to form a government in exile. I believe that the Western countries were unfair to MKO because the formation of a government in exile would have eventually paralyzed Abacha’s Government through international and domestic pressure and agitations. After all, it had successfully happened before in Iran. Another good friend of mine mercilessly killed by Abacha and which made Goodluck’s honouring of Abacha very painful to me was Ken Sarowiwa, the Ogoni leader. We were good friends at the University College, Ibadan. Some years before he was killed, he came to my book publishing company at Ring-Road, Ibadan and gave me an autographed copy of his latest book. The Federal Government’s decision to honour Sani Abacha was a terrible one. Another Nigeria’s absurdities is the callous and uncaring manner in which the government has further oppressed the people through the imposition of the highest petrol price per litre among all OPEC member countries at N97 per litre, an amount that government has connived with marketers to raise to N110 to N120 under the guise of scarcity. Nigerians are facing the most harrowing experience on fuel hike compared with nationals of other OPEC member countries. • To be continued tomorrow. • Chief Areoye Oyebola, a renowned journalist, author and Chairman Movement For Nigeria’s Total Transformation (MNTT) delivered this lecture at the Inauguration of the New Executive, Board Of Trustees and the Installation of Elite Abiola Mukaila Ambali as the President of Oluyole Social Elite Club, Ibadan on Thursday May 1, 2014 at Mapo Hall.


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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Opinion Brown fields, mangroves and seas (1) By Henry Seriake Dickson ERHAPS unbeknownst to it, the World bore P Bayelsa State of Nigeria in mind as it chose the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, the UN’s principal vehicle for raising global awareness and action on the environment: “Raise Your Voice, not the Sea Level”. In support of the United Nations’ earlier designation of 2014 as the Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), this year’s WED focuses on SIDS. As our Earth faces ever so clearly and presently the reality of increasing greenhouse effect, global warming, sea level rise, marine pollution and other ecological threats and climate change factors, nowhere is there a greater need to raise our voices, do our part, and hold all implicated actors to acceptable standards of environmental responsibility than in this most blessed but environmentally stressed piece of geography named Bayelsa State. So existential has the challenge become for us. Starting therefore on this World Environment Day, Thursday the 5th of June, 2014, through a series of targeted initiatives, we shall raise our voices for good, nay give expression to the cries of our rising and flooding River Nun, the churning of our oil-polluted seas, the sighs of receding species, the flailing of felled forests, and the baleful bellowing in Bayelsa’s brown fields, from Biseni to Bolou-Orua. In Africa, at the southernmost tip of Nigeria and jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean lies one of the world’s sublimest, most diversely bountiful and yet most fragile ecosystems. Named the Niger Delta, it has been described as the ‘richest’ and amongst the three largest wetlands in the world. Its treasures include the rain and mangrove (Angala) forests that it is home to, over 450 km of coastline, and the rare and exotic species that are part of its unique biodiversity, including the Niger Delta red colobus and the pygmy hippopotamus. At the bottom and forming the core of this magnificent delta of small islands is Bayelsa State, home to several forest reserves (the Taylor Creek, Edumanon, Nun River Forest Reserves, etc), a network of rivers and creeks, and an overall low lying tender terrain. In trying to contextualize the fact that the state was the

worst hit by the flood disaster of 2012 in Nigeria, a commentator characterized Bayelsa State as “the burrow pit of Nigeria”. The Niger Delta’s ecosystem is under attack on many fronts. At an estimated annual rate of 3.3%, the delta is witnessing one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, fast losing the varied benefits of forest cover, thanks to excessive logging, unrestrained and callously underpriced virgin land take - mostly for oil exploration activities, fuel wood (‘fire wood’) extraction, and debilitation from perennial oil pollution. Some of the timber species in the area, such as the abura, have plummeted to endangered levels, from decades of over-exploitation. Coastal erosion, seasonal flooding, indiscriminate sand mining, seaweed invasion, and saline water intrusion are some of the other ecological challenges, with coastal communities seeing average erosion rates of 20m per annum. While the incidence of deforestation is by itself alarming, oil and gas exploration activities have visited the worst impact on the Niger Delta’s land, water systems and biodiversity. I refer here to the ecocide that has been unleashed on our communities continually, almost on a daily basis, for over half a century by mega corporations such as Shell, Chevron and Agip in the course of petroleum exploration and extraction. According to Nigeria’s National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), in Bayelsa State alone over 804 oil spills were recorded in a two-year period, making an average of over two spills every day. The environmental cost of hydrocarbon extraction to the People of Bayelsa State, in terms of the displacement of local livelihoods and economies; health disorders and a rising public health bill; impediments to our agricultural and tourism development; other climate change effects, and consequent tensions in the social fabric of our communities, is incalculable. Environmental degradation poses stark implications for food security. For example, coco-yam is one traditional staple crop that is virtually going extinct. Already unlawfully dispossessed of their natural resources by a diseconomic legal-political order of the Nigerian State, our communities and their locals are rendered virtually hapless at their fate with

under-regulated oil mining. Three locations that exemplify the environmental irresponsibility of oil and gas mining corporations in Bayelsa State are Biseni, Brass and Koluama. Spills from oil wells operated by Shell and Agip respectively have created brown fields in the Biseni Clan. Agip’s main legacy on the Brass Island is a canal which it has filled and coated with sludge from its production activities, daily for decades now. In January 2012, there was a blowout from Chevron’s rig, the K S Endeavour, near Koluama Community, disturbing the ecosystem and making life miserable for the impacted communities. In most or all of these cases, as in countless others, the corporate culprits have strenuously dodged responsibility, at best only throwing a few gestures of tokenism the way of some affected communities. In recent years some of our own folks have unscrupulously aggravated the environmental terrorism in the Niger Delta by vandalizing oil pipelines, siphoning crude oil, crudely ‘distilling’ it without any environmental considerations whatsoever (for local fuel supply), and releasing much of it back into the creeks and forests. This betrayal of our ecology joins up with a well-oiled international oil theft syndicate that places a heavy demand pull on illegal bunkering of petroleum, boring a big hole in the national revenue till and making this criminal enterprise a matter of high national economic and security implication. On the domestic side, the deliberate or unthoughtful exclusion of riverine distribution of petroleum products (to serve coastal communities) in the national petroleum product supply framework has rendered the coastal states vulnerable to the shadow political economy of illegal bunkering and artisanal oil ‘refining’. That structural national failure is also an apt metaphor of Nigeria’s gross inequity and iniquity against the petroleum host communities: the paradox of poverty - of petroleum products - in the midst of plenty.  Meanwhile, the toxic practice of gas flaring continues unabated across the length and breadth of Bayelsa, from the horizontal flares along the Yenagoa-Imiringi Road to the giant gas torches at Gbarain. But for recent devel-

opment initiatives of the State Government, Oloibiri Community where commercially viable oil mining started in Nigeria in 1956 remains derelict like a used, abused, maltreated and jilted wife, after the then Shell-BP sucked out all the oil it wanted and abandoned the Community with only the iron well heads still standing as relics of a better forgotten experience. A report in The Guardian newspaper of the United Kingdom, in its 31st May 2010 edition, cites a survey that calculated in 2006 that up to 1.5 million tons of oil – 50 times the earlier record pollution unleashed in the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Alaska – was spilled in the Niger Delta over the past half century. The same report observed that: “more oil is spilled from the delta ... every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico [from] the explosion that wrecked BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig...” As a BBC report of 15th June, 2010 titled “Nigeria [read Niger Delta/Bayelsa]: World Oil Pollution Capital” put it: “Site after site visited by the BBC - in both Bayelsa State and Ogoniland - had happened months before, and still not been cleaned up.” The offending companies are headquartered in advanced economies and democracies such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Netherlands and Italy, where they comply with the high environmental standards laid down by law. In Nigeria, in particular in Bayelsa State, they don’t comply. Worsening matters, the Nigerian constitution practically denies spillimpacted communities and individuals any real access to justice, by attempting to vest judicial jurisdiction in such matters exclusively in the Federal High Court (rather than in the state courts as well). Only one judge of the Federal High Court is stationed in the entire Bayelsa State. A few years earlier there was none, and oil spill victims from Bayelsa had to go all the way to our sister Rivers State to file suits before the one judge (later two judges) covering both states then, and then wait for several years for trials to play out. This exclusionary structure therefore makes it easier for the corporate polluters to avoid responsibility. • To be continued tomorrow. • Hon Henry Seriake Dickson is Governor of Bayelsa State .

International Cancer Survivors’ Day By Abia Nzelu HE first Sunday in June is designated as Cancer Survivors’ Day. T This is marked globally on June 1 this year. The International Cancer Survivors’ Day (ICSD) is an annual celebration of life. It is a day set aside each year to honour everyone who is living with a history of cancer. ICSD started in the United States 27 years ago and is now celebrated worldwide. ICSD provides an opportunity for cancer survivors to connect with other survivors, celebrate milestones, and recognize the healthcare providers, family, and friends who have supported them along the way. It is a day for cancer survivors to stand together and show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, productive, and even inspiring. Because contrary to the false belief by many, cancer is not a death sentence. Indeed, given our current level of medical knowledge, most deaths from cancer are easily preventable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one-third of cancers are preventable, another one-third is curable and the last third can have good quality of life with appropriate care. Sixty years ago, one out of three people diagnosed with cancer survived in the United States. Today, two out of three will survive cancer. Furthermore, the stated target of the American Cancer Society is to improve the survival rate of cancer to 100 per cent, thus making this the last century for cancer in the United States. According to a new report by the American Association for Cancer Research, there are currently nearly 14 million cancer survivors living in the United States and the cancer survivor population in America is expected to rise to 18 million by the year 2022. When the U.S. Congress passed the National Cancer Act back in 1971, that number was only three million. The five-year survival rate for all cancers is now about 65 per cent. Significant progress has been made against some cancers, such as breast cancer. The five-year survival rate for female breast cancer patients is now 90 per cent compared with 63 per cent in the early 1960s. Another example is cancer of the blood in children, where the five-year survival rate is now greater than 90 per cent versus 58 per cent in the mid-1970s. However, what is the situation in Nigeria? Four out of every five cases of cancers die and only one out of five survive (the worst in

the whole world; even worse than what obtained in the United States 60 years ago). The cancer situation in Nigeria is even worse when you consider specific cancers. For instance, out of every 30 Nigerians that have leukaemia, only one survives. This is very unfortunate because leukaemia, a common cancer in children and young adults, is now curable. At the Tata Cancer Centre in India, out of every 100 cases of leukemia, 99 survive. The success in the U.S. and India is the result of several factors: The investments in research by government, philanthropists, and the private sector as well as early detection and access to first class treatment. For instance, India has over 120 Comprehensive Cancer Centres (CCCs), mostly established with the support of the private sector. Bangalore, an Indian city with a population of eight million has four Comprehensive Cancer Centres whilst Nigeria with a population of 167 million neither has a CCC nor a full-fledged Mobile Cancer Centre (MCC). Other developing countries that have Comprehensive Cancer Centres include India, Egypt, Zambia, Mauritania, Pakistan, South Africa, etc. A comprehensive cancer centre is a tertiary health institution focused exclusively on cancer care. Don’t we need to improve the cancer survivorship in Nigeria? We need to act! Attack Cancer Together!! Support the big war against Cancer in Nigeria as we mark the National Cancer Week. The big war against cancer was flagged off by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria) on World Cancer Day, February, 2014. The specific aim of the big war is to take cancer prevention to the grassroots using Mobile Cancer Centres, one for each State and Abuja. A Mobile Cancer Centre (MCC) is a clinic on wheels, in which screening, follow-up and several forms of treatment (including surgeries), can take place. It includes facilities for mammography, sonology, colonoscopy. It will also contain colposcope and cryotherapy equipment for follow-up and treatment, and a side laboratory for prostate and colorectal cancer screening and other basic tests for hepatitis, malaria, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. Thus the MCC takes care of the double burden of disease (Communicable & Non-Communicable Diseases). A surgical theatre is incorporated into the MCC, as well as facilities for telemedicine. Currently over 100,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer and 80,000 die from the disease every year. The Nigerian death ratio of four in five is the worst in the whole world. For example, cervical

cancer which is virtually 100 per cent preventable kills one woman every hour in Nigeria. Prostate cancer kills 14 Nigerian men every day. Worldwide, cancer’s economic toll was $895 billion in 2008 – equivalent to 1.5 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product, making it the most expensive illness on earth. From the economic angle, the private sector will benefit tremendously through the saving of scarce financial and human resources presently being lost to cancer and other related disease conditions. The CECP-Nigeria is an initiative co-promoted by the following bodies of the organized private sector: Institute of Directors (IoD), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and industry (LCCI), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The National Cancer Week is a week set aside for advocacy and fund-raising against cancer in Nigeria. All the funds raised during this period will go towards the acquisition of the Mobile Cancer Centre. Activities lined up for the week include: Sunday, June 1, 2014 (Cancer Survivors’ Day) – Stars in the Church against Cancer. Advocacy and fund-raising against Cancer in churches. All cancer survivors, their friends and families, are invited as we celebrate life after cancer diagnoses in Nigeria. Cancer survivors should join hands with the CECP to ensure that more Nigerians survive cancer just like them. Monday, June 2, 2014, Rising Stars Against Cancer- Advocacy, Awareness & Fund-Raising by Educational Institutions; Tuesday, June 3, 2014, Stars In Media Against Cancer- Advocacy session by Media Practitioners; Thursday, June 5, 2014, Corporate Dress-Down Day Against Cancer, Advocacy and Fund-Raising by workers in offices; Friday, June 6, 2014, Stars In The Mosque Against Cancer, prayers and special collections by Mosques; Sunday, June 8, 2014 (Grand Finale)- Banquet Of Stars Against Cancer (BOSAC), an AllStars All-Brands Act; Venue: Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel and Suite, VI Time: 3 P.M. Prompt; Spectral Carpet: 2 P.M. All are invited to enlist as combatants in this BIG WAR and save lives. Further enquiries can be obtained at www.cecpng.org • Dr. Nzelu is Executive Secretary, CECP-Nigeria.


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Thursday, June 5, 2014 | 17


18 Thursday June 5, 2014

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Politics The National Conference Debate

‘Let’s sit down and tell ourselves we can’t live together’ (1) Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari, leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, on Sunday, June 1, 2014, celebrated his 50th birthday in Abuja. The next day, he spoke to newsmen on a number of issues, including his upbringing, his schooling, his radicalisation, and his struggles; President Jonathan’s style of governance and his 2015 aspiration, and the general insecurity in the country, reports Terhemba Daka. • Boko Haram not fighting a good cause you tell us what you feel about the CTheOULD Nigerian state? Nigerian state was built on falsehood, on false foundation and it cannot stand the test of time. The British fraudulently stole the sovereignty of various nations like the Kalabiri country, which was an independent state. We signed a Treaty of Protection with Britain. We never ceded our independence to them but they fraudulently included us in Nigeria without reference to the treaties they signed with our forefathers. So, that is a fraud. It is built on falsehood; it is built on fraud. It cannot stand the test of time; it cannot stand the moral test. That’s why it will fall and it is falling. So, at 50, do you have any regrets? A lot of regrets! Like Shakespeare said, “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” So, that is what I believe. A lot of times, we take a decisive step. Until we take decisive steps and in most cases, one has not! When you want to go forward, your people want you to go backwards; they want you to apply brakes. With the way we started, if the tempo of our struggle had continued, maybe today, Nigeria would have been history. But the elders and everybody said break, break and we kept on breaking. But God has His own time. My advice to Nigerians on my birthday is that we should go for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC). We should sit down and tell ourselves that we cannot live together. The ongoing National Conference is rubbish. At a time the international community are coming in rescuing the Chibok schoolgirls, many people feel shocked by your statement that their abduction was a scam... (Cuts in) Which international community? The United States of America, with her allies, Britain and the European Union, cajoled the whole world and told us that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. At the end of the day, were there weapons of mass destruction? There was none. So, the international community, for whatever intent and purpose that is compelling them to do what they are doing, is best known to them. But it will not be far from economic interest. How can you believe that 270 girls will be taken? How? It is not possible. If you tell us that 20 girls were taken, 30, maybe 50 girls were taken, fine. How will you tell us that 270 girls were writing physics exam? How? In which school? Where? Even in the most educationally advanced part of this country, can you find any school where even 20 students are writing Physics? I run a school. How many of my students are writing Physics? They just finished their WAEC. And this is an elitist school; we make very good results. How many people are writing Physics? Who are they telling? So, if you are not into education business, somebody can cajole you and tell you a lot of stories. (Mimicking) When they took the students, the Principal, who said she thought they (abductors) were Army, recanted again, saying she was in Maiduguri for medical treatment when they came. Her daughter, too, was in the school. Why didn’t they take her daughter? Why did they take other people’ daughters? En! The military was aware four hours before the attack. The people, who sent the information to the military that Chibok was to be attacked in four hours, why did they not inform the Chairman of Chibok, the SSS Representative, the DPO or anybody in Chibok? The Chibok community leader, who has been talking, why didn’t they say, ‘Please, move the girls, we are suspecting that there was going to be an attack on the school? Move these children out of

Dokubo-Asari the school.’ Why? Why was it only the military they told? They couldn’t reach any other person but the military? What are they telling us in this world now? Okay, today, one of the girls said she ran and jumped the fence. (Continues mimicking) She climbed a tree and then, the man was saying ‘come down, come down o.’ What sort of thing is this? So, the girl can climb a tree faster than a man with a gun? Why didn’t you simply shoot her but he left her and went away? And some four persons were found in their houses and they said they escaped and came back? What sort of stories? Do you think Boko Haram was design to stop President Jonathan from governing the country? Initially, Boko Haram had nothing to do. But now, it has become more of a modern political movement geared towards supporting the northern Gambari hegemony, over and above all of us. When you say Boko Haram, look at the killing that is going on and people say give amnesty to people who have murdered so many people. So, when you grant them amnesty, another group of people will come up. It is a vicious circle. That was why when they wanted to start this amnesty bribe in the Niger Delta, I said no; it was wrong and immoral to do it. Amnesty for what? Pardon for what? What crime have the people committed? Now, you move from people whose crimes were minor, who were stopping the production of oil and gas, to people who are killing people, committing mass murder and then some people came out, because nobody in their family had been killed, to call for amnesty and then the Presidency wants to buy peace? Any peace that is bought cannot last. What do you suggest the Presidency should do? Very clear! Meet them at the point where they want to meet with you, strength for strength. But for me, I don’t have any advice for any government because whatever Boko Haram is doing, it is also hitting us. Let me tell you (speaking in pidgin) All this matter go stop the day there is one bomb explosion in Warri or in Onitsha and 20, 30 people die and they say that bomb explosion na Boko Haram. That day na the day everything go scatter. Mark this word. HILE in prison, did you get to meet with any of W the people linked to Boko Haram? I met with so many people, not even the Boko Haram. Yes, I met with a lot of them: Muda Shiru, Mohammed Isam, Yusuf Hussein, Asan Yusuf, and

Mohammed Bello. Who were these people? They were leaders of the group that is now being called Boko Haram. They were arrested and repatriated from Libya. Do you know if they are still living? Yeah. But some of them are no longer with them. Isam is no longer with them. I don’t have their contacts. But I believe that the majority of those people may have been dead because we had very close relationship when we were in prison even though we didn’t see face to face. They were in their cells and I was in my cell; so, we hit the wall and we talked. During prayers, we prayed together by shouting. If that is the case, don’t you get to talk to them to broker ceasefire or do we have new faces now? No, no, no. It depends on the government approach. Someone in government thought it could be wished away; that it was easy. Boko Haram — that would fizzle away? All the warning that we gave to them (security); they did not accept. They misled the government into believing that it could be wished away. If they had taken a decisive action at that time, I don’t think that this would have reached the stage it has now. But a decision was taken on their leader, Yusuf Mohammed? That was not the sort of decisive action. The killing of Yusuf Mohammed was a mistake. If Yusuf Mohammed were to die, he should have gone for trial. Nobody should use his whims and caprices as the law. Like what Saddam Hussein said: “Whatever I wrote with my hand that is the law.” That was what (former President Umaru) Yar’Adua did. Why should you kill somebody extra-judicially? Take him to court if he had committed any offence. You have the laws. If they had followed due process, it would have mitigated what is happening. But they did not follow. They went outside the law. When you went outside the law, you are also telling the other person to meet you outside the law. How do you reconcile the positions of those who think these people are taking a revenge on the government and others who disagree, saying it is pure terrorism? You have also said they are acting on a wrong ideology. Yeah, they are acting on a wrong ideology. But

even if it was revenge, Islam does not permit you to take (kill) people who are not combatants. When you take the lives of people who are not combatants, then you are no longer fighting the cause of Allah because Allah (SWA) clearly said in the Qu’ran that if you kill an innocent man, it seems you have killed the whole world. Let’s go to the struggles in the Niger Delta. Has the Amnesty paid off? Not 100 per cent. Maybe, I will say 20 per cent. We have somebody that looks like us, dresses like us, eats our food, and dances the way we dance as President. It is a victory over those who feel that they were born to rule. Who says they are born to rule? It is a negation of that erroneous position. But to everyone in Nigeria, Jonathan is Nigeria’s president not an Ijaw president… Yes, it is true. But he came from somewhere; he did not fall from the sky. The president has been accused of not really being presidential, owing to many challenges bedeviling the country, which most Nigerians had expected him to deal with decisively… Yes, most of us feel that he has not done things the way they ought to be done. But there are individual differences. For instance, does Mr. President believe in things that the ordinary Ijaw man believes? The ordinary Ijaw man, who was at the airport to bring the corpse of Isaac Boro; that the Ijaw nation must be liberated, must be independent? Do most of the elite share the same beliefs that we share? No. You insist that Mr. President must come back in 2015. With this array of turbulent issues in the country, do you see that happening? Look, Mr. President has won o; he has won the election. Just forget about it. All of them will just fizzle out. He will win clearly for another four years, fair and square. What if he changes his mind not to contest again, as he has not even declared? He cannot do it! What if he did? (Speaking in pidgin) Where him go come now? If he do am, where him go return now? Niger-Delta land? Him go stay for Abuja with them now when him finish. Him go come carry us reach for senta of the river, then him go come jump enter river, leave us without paddle? Carry our paddle jump inside river, then, come leave us for inside boat for senta of ocean? Ah! No o.

TO BE CONTINUED


Thursday June 5, 2014 POLITICS 19

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Hamidu, face of emerging leader in Zamfara By Eke Agbai E cannot avoid suffering but we W can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose and hope. Moreover, the victim in a qualified situation of distress, pain, anguish or indeed deprivation, being rational, can make a conscious and conscientious decision to walk away from the established cause of misery. Such response is not only psychological but an innate quality, which humans are endowed with as intelligent beings. This context is best expressed as a geographical entity situated in a promising landscape of Zamfara State in Northwest of Nigeria. What is more, Zamfara youths, women, and the downtrodden in this geographical entity may not completely avoid suffering, but coping with abject poverty has even been made absolutely impossible because HOPE has died. But in the face of this moribund hope is fortitude. As expressed in the words of the great Nelson Mandela in one of his glowing tributes to his people in the course of the apartheid struggle: ‘nothing is so empowering than the capacity of the human spirit to absorb pain, humiliation and shock and still maintain a semblance of human dignity.’ In 1996, the then Nigerian head of State, General Sani Abacha, created six new States; Zamfara was one of them, carved out from the former Sokoto State. It has 14 local governments, seven federal constituencies and three senatorial districts. In 1999, following General Abacha’s death and General Abdulsalami Abubakar (new Head of State) making good his promise to return Nigeria to a democratic government, Zamfara had a chance to get the first democratically elected governor in the person of Ahmad Sani Yerima. After Yerima’s eight years in office, his deputy, Shinkafi, succeeded him in 2007. Governor Shinkafi did only one term of four years, and lost the seat to the current governor in 2011. My first experience with Zamfara State was in 1998, when I came from United States to visit a young customs officer friend of mine, Adamu Aliero, who is from Aliero, a prominent town in Kebbi State. In the company of Senator Adamu Augie (now late), we drove through Gusau town of Zamfara on our way to Birnin Kebbi, capital of Kebbi State. Our car had a tyre problem on getting to Gusau and we stopped to fix it. It took about 30 minutes to fix the problem, and while this was going on, I engaged in a brief personal excursion and sight-seeing, taking pictures and appreciating the scenic environment since it was my first time in Zamfara. Since then, I have visited Zamfara again many times, the last being in March 2014, and all I saw in terms of infrastructural and economic development was not different from what I met back in 1998. Why would such a state so endowed with enormous mineral and human resources, huge potentials in agriculture, vast arable land and rich ancient cultural heritage remain so poor, if not the poorest in the nation, continues to beat my imagination. Why has the different successive governments failed to economically develop the state and empower the people? Why are there no economic activities in the state? Why has the government — at least we know of one — used Sharia law in such a negative way that it has adversely impacted commercial and social development and activity and driven many residents out of the

state? Responsible, well-meaning and hard-working people, who came to live, trade and help develop the state were forced to run away from that rich cultural state. The youths, women and the downtrodden are left without any government programme to help alleviate their abject poverty. From lead poisoning that killed many of the citizens to the recent slaughter of innocent citizens in the state, nothing good, worthy of emulation, has ever come out from that state since 1999. Yet, the political leadership has empowered themselves and become very rich, marrying many wives, including 14-year-old girls, at the expense of the money meant for the people. The state monthly allocations have not translated into any meaningful development. During my last visit there, the level of poverty I saw among the children lined up begging along Gusau streets, reminded me of Somalia, Mali and present day Syria. But why? It should not be so and it must not be so. Zamfara is still blessed with great sons and daughters, who have not only reached the height of their professional careers, but also accomplished in their various endeavours. Until recently, I did not know that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Abubakar is from Zamfara, believing erroneously that he is from Kano State. I did not know, until recently, that General Ali Gusau, current minister of defence, is from Zamfara, just to mention a few. These are men I personally hold in the highest esteem because of what I adjudge to be years of meritorious service to this great nation. Enter the Sagir Foundation AST year, I received a call from the coordinator of a foundation that was looking for expertise to help them achieve a skills acquisition programme. The foundation is called SAGIR FOUNDATION, based in Zamfara State. After he explained the details to me, I immediately offered my assistance. When I arrived in Nigeria, our organ-

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Hamidu

isation elicited the cooperation of the Nigeria Entrepreneurship Forum, as we sought to create a model that would work for them in Zamfara. Today, Sagir Foundation has successfully launched a skills acquisition programme, currently training over 100 youths in different skills and vocations in Kano State. On the day this programme was launched in Gusau town, Zamfara, I was close to tears when the man behind the foundation, Mallam Mohammed Sagir Hamidu (Sarkin Rafin Gusau), spoke of his vision for these poor youths, describing how poverty, ignorance, malnutrition and illiteracy have reduced these youths to mere street beggars. Why an individual would assume the role of a government is mindboggling, but an unfolding sad reality is precisely what Sagir Foundation is providing in Zamfara today. This is the kind of a man Zamfara needs. Unlike most rich and powerful Nigerians, this man is not allergic to being around the company of poor people. The youths of Zamfara call him the friend of the masses. I was later told he has been doing philanthropic works for a long time — over 10 years. From what I gathered talking to folks, people only come around to drop token monetary gestures when they want to vie for elections or need political favour from their party. But Sagir Foundation, the youths told me, has been involved with poverty alleviation of his people for many years in and outside Zamfara State. In fact, the foundation has started the construction of a standard primary school in Gusau, as his contribution to promoting primary education in the state at no cost to students who will go there. No wonder his level of popularity is unprecedented, as evidenced on the day his foundation launched 100 youth skills acquisition sent-forth ceremony. Perplexed by what I saw, I asked Sagir why he waited till now to want to be governor. His answer was unceremonious, deliberate and unequivocal, but reminded me of

the response of the great ZIK of Africa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, in answer to a question as to why he was joining party politics in 1979 on the platform of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP). Zik had said: ‘I have accepted the invitation of the NPP to enable me associate with its members in the herculean task of salvaging Nigeria from the wreck of our own making. ‘Were I to be nonchalant consistent with my past profession, history will not exonerate me from a willful act of omission. I am, therefore, determined to exterminate, extirpate and excoriate the bigotry of intolerance manifested by petulant dregs and intransigent renegades in the Nigerian politics.’ There is a parallel between the Sagir’s patriotic zeal and determination and the current quest by Mallam Sagir for the political leadership of his home state, Zamfara. This is why in response to my question, he began by saying: ‘Ordinarily, I would not have been interested in that office, but I can only do so much with my personal resources. ‘It is not enough given the enormity of my people’s sufferings and poverty in all aspects of life, from zero standard of education, to broken health care system, no infrastructural development, agriculture, trade and commerce. ‘I need the institutional structure and instrument of government to do greater good to greater number of people in Zamfara. This is why I want to be governor in 2015.’ I nodded my head, and said to myself, no better reason can best convey justifiable rationality for a worthy cause than this. This is the new emerging face of a young, dynamic and progressive Northern leader. This is the new emerging face of a true leader in Zamfara. Someone who has the calibre and contact to bring in authentic foreign investors, attract Muslims, Christians, Jews and all people back to the state. His friendship cut across all ethnic groups, from Ndigbo to Yoruba to South-South people. I am glad the Peoples Democratic Party has identified this man for recruitment into her party.

Agbai

I am very delighted at the position of the new chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mu’azu (former governor of Bauchi State) that any person aspiring for any position must emerge from the grassroots nomination. The era of imposition must stop. Internal democracy in the PDP, as in all parties, must dictate the trend of events. If such becomes the yardstick, I have no iota of doubt in my mind that this man from Zamfara; this man I met in FCT; this man whose character is a reflection of the venerable old Northern traditions and culture; this man who rose from abject poverty to the pinnacle of affluence; this man who has the indices of the 21st Century qualities of modern leadership, which are vision, courage, antecedent, humility and loyalty; this devoted Muslim and family man; this moderate man, highly detribalised going by his family formation would be given the ticket to contest the 2015 gubernatorial elections in Zamfara under the PDP. When and if this happens, in a free and fair election, even Steve Wonder can see he is going to win and become the next governor of Zamfara in 2015. The youths have already started addressing him as the ‘Masses Governor in situ.’ In the holy book of Qu’ran, as in the Bible, too, the word of the poor people mirrors the word of God or Allah. I hope all leaders of thought, all great sons and daughters of Zamfara, men and women of goodwill, even from outside Zamfara who are touched by the grave sufferings of our poor brethren in Zamfara, should reach out and support this man in his quest to become governor of Zamfara State. The poor people of Zamfara need Mallam Mohammed Sagir Hamidu (Sarkin Rafin Gusau). Unarguably, he is the face of the new emerging dynamic and progressive leader that Zamfara needs to realise its potentials and accomplish the dream of the forbearers of the state. • Dr. Agbai is the executive VicePresident, Centre for Policy and Foreign Engagement, USA.


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TheMetroSection Ruth needs help for surgery By Eniola Daniel HYSICALLY-CHALLENGED 31-yearP old Ruth Morounmubo Olawoye is in need of help that could return little of the joy taken away from her on October 10, 2003 in a tragic road accident, in which she lost one of her eyes, one of her hands and four fingers. Despite the untold hardships this predicament has placed on her, Ruth who would be 31 on June 17, is doggedly forging ahead in life and even daring to make a better life for herself Now she desires to feed herself without begging, but all her efforts have proofed abortive as she has nobody to help her achieve the dream to be independent and become a better person in life Ruth who released her first gospel album in June 21, 2010, titled Ayetoto, could not hide her tears as she narrated her ordeal and pains after she was involved in an accident that lead to the amputation of her hand at the age of 20. She was on a journey from Ketu to Epe for a church programme when a petrol tanker collided with the 14-seater passenger bus she was travelling in. The incident took the life of 10 passengers while four others severely injured.

Ruth recalled that the accident happened before she could get to her destination on that fateful day, saying that, “all hope was lost that I might not survive.” This badly burnt lady lost her father in 2002 before the incident and her aged mother, who is her only help, became ill. Since her aged mother could not take care of her again, the situation forced her out of their rented apartment to start hanging around. She could only get little help from her church that gave her a small room where she lays her head every night, but could not provide for her basic needs. Ruth is now seeking the help of everyone to come to her aid, so she would be able to do something with her life, instead of begging on the streets. She seeks the help of good Samaritans to help her undergo plastic surgery and also start a business to earn a living. Anyone who wishes to assist Ruth should kindly contact her on 08061373838 or send their donations to: Bank: First Bank Account Name: Olawoye Ruth Morounmubo Account No: 3022516333

Olawoye

Amaechi gets UNITAR’s Associated Fellowship Award in Geneva IVERS State Governor, R Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has received the Associated Fellowship of the United Nations Institute for Training & Research in Geneva Switzerland. The award was given for his contributions in the education sector placing Rivers State as the best state in Nigeria with 21st Century Educational facilities. It was also for his outstanding contributions to United Nations Institute for Training and Research Programmes in Nigeria, and for promoting overall United Nations activities in the

of an outstanding facility that can house over 15 UN agencies in Port Harcourt. According to UNITAR, Amaechi is “recognized for his leadership in governance, infrastructural development, social economic development and distributional equity and justice.” “As we enter the last lap of our administration this award is a call to finish strong as it reassures us that we are on the right path” says an elated Governor Amaechi. Amaechi Amaechi’s administration South-South Geo-political Zone has positioned Rivers State of the country by provisioning on the global map of United

Nation Offices, thanks to the governor’s support to UNITAR programmes. In the longer term, the presence of UNITAR would attract more UN agencies to Rivers State, says Larry Boms, UNITAR’s country director. At the moment, there are five United Nation agencies in Rivers State. Housing these agencies in Port Harcourt would open up job opportunities in the system for Rivers indigenes to get into international civil service, Boms said. The UNITAR award entitles Governor Amaechi to a UN

Certificate that bestows Diplomatic Immunity while on UN assignments. Previous recipients of the fellowship have been mainly drawn from Professors Emeritus with huge academic records in research in global governance, security, social justice, development, and environment preservation. The event was held at offices of the UNASG/UNITAR Executive Director, as the UN does not encourage ceremonies outside the General Assembly, Security Council and other globalized conferences.

Obiano’s dragnet intercepts fleeing bandits, kidnappers in Lagos, Enugu From Chuks Collins, Awka HE 24-hour security dragT net spread by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State to fight crime, chase armed robbers and kidnappers out of the state, storm their hideouts and to nip their sources of arms supply in the bud has continued to yield huge and commendable returns. The latest was the parade of 16 armed robbery and kidnap suspects who were trailed to and arrested in both Lagos and Enugu states by the state police command. The apprehended suspects include one Chinedu Chukwudi, a native of Okija in Ihiala Local Council and members of his gang, who were arrested while robbing a victim of N66,000 and raping his nine-month pregnant wife at Okija, Anambra State. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, who spoke to journalists at the Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS) Head-

quarters, Awkuzu, said the collaboration between the police and state government was yielding the desired results. Recovered from them, according to police were of two rifles, six pump-action guns, two locally made pistols, gun servicing accessories, six magazines and some quantities of live cartridges. According to the PPRO, “the breakthrough the security agencies are having in crimeprevention and arrest of criminals across the state is a clear indication that the support of the governor of Anambra State and the people are working and should be encouraged so as to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizens.” Chukwuemeka explained that one Christian Uba, who obtained a Diploma Certificate from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, was arrested in Oji River Local Council of Enugu State for kidnapping and detaining a female students of the same

Obiano university, who was said to be his third victim; while Augustine Nwafor from Ifite Awka and Ndubuisi Agbom from Ezza, Ebonyi, who specialized in robbing commuters through the one-chance technique were also nabbed by the police. He also disclosed that one Cosmas Achum, a member of the notorious Onye-Uke gang that allegedly kidnapped many people and carried out heinous crimes across the state was also arrested, while Chukwubuike Anyamele and Chukwuemeka Nmaduabuchi whom he said had

been in police Wanted List for alleged kidnapping was also caught as well as one Chiagolum Ihejiagwa whom he described as a major receiver of stolen goods, especially vehicles. One of the kidnap suspects, Okechukwu Nnegbo from Agu-ukwu-Nri, was arrested onboard a South-Africabound aircraft at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. The kingpin the PPRO said he was already helping the police in their investigations. Also in SARS’ net were Chibuzo Ugwummadu and Ifeanyi Eneke from Oba, who were arrested for kidnapping a transporter popularly known as Second Tarzan from the same community. Mr. Chukwuemeka explained that the duo demanded and obtained N5 million ransom from the wife of the victim through one Nzube, an informant and cousin of the victim, who aided the kidnappers in their operation but turned round

to defraud them of the money, but luck ran out on him when they caught and killed him and threw him into the river. The ransom was, subsequently, recovered where it was hidden in the forest. The PPRO urged the people of the state to continue to assist the police with useful information to rid the state of all forms of crime. Another suspect, Christian Uba admitted that he had kidnapped three students from the UNIZIK and was arrested after kidnapping his girl -friend, one Lilian in October last year. In his own reaction, the armed robbery and rape suspect, Chinedu Chukwudi said he was arrested after robbing the victim and raping his pregnant wife. Also, the kidnap suspect arrested in a South Africabound flight, Okechukwu Nnegbo, confirmed that he had been involved in three kidnap operations with another suspect (name withheld) still on the run.

Briefs Celina Akinola, 68, for burial Friday HIEF (Mrs.) Celina Monisola C Akinola (nee Omotoyinbo), mother of The Guardian reporter, Tunde Akinola, will be buried on Friday, June 6 at Agbado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. She died on May 24, at the age of 68. She was the Iya Ijo of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Agbado-Ekiti. A Christian wake holds today at 5.00 p.m. at her residence in Agbado-Ekiti, followed tomorrow by a funeral service/interment at Emmanuel Anglican Church.

Akinola

Clement Anwuri for burial Saturday HE death has occurred of T former Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Rivers State Ministry of Health, Dr. Clement Anwuri. He will be buried on Saturday, June 7, after a funeral service in his house in Ndele, Emolga, Rivers State at 10.00a.m.

Anwuri

Ogun moves to decongest prisons From Charles Coffie-Gyamfi Abeokuta HE Ogun State government has put in place modalities that will ensure speedy dispensation of justice towards decongesting prisons in the state. Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mrs Abimbola Akeredolu, who stated this to news men Tuesday, said the government also aims at reducing the large number of inmates awaiting trail. She said Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who granted amnesty to 15 inmates and commuted death sentences passed on nine convicts to life imprisonment in commemoration of his third year in office, was moved by the deplorable condition of prison formations and has met with stakeholders in the criminal justice system, including the Chief Judge, Controller of Prisons, Commissioner of Police and herself. The Ogun State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Joseph Olanrele revealed that 450 inmates are awaiting trial, stating however that the state governor has mandated stakeholders to ensure that those who are not supposed to be behind bars are not kept there unnecessarily.

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22 Thursday, June 5,2014

‘Help us complete this road on time’ • Abesan-Ipaja road users appeal to Lagos govt over pains they are going through everyday By Isaac Taiwo HILE commendation has gone to the Lagos State Government for constructing the road c between Federal and Jakande Abesan axis of Egbeda-Okunola Local Council Development Area (LCDA), aimed at giving a direct link with Iyana Ipaja and Ipaja and most importantly to eradicate the incessant water-logging at the Estate gate junction, the time being spent on the work that started more than a year ago does not justify the inconveniences users of the road are passing through. This area in question, that is Abesan Gate, is very central and the only link with people coming from Ogun State, Aiyetoro, Ayobo, Ishefun, Command, Ipaja and others. The pains the prolonged construction work has been inflicting on the residents and road users cannot be quantified at peak periods. As the only accessible road, the heavy traffic during the rush hours early in the morning and in the evenings is becoming unbearable and intolerable. It also affects Sunday mornings. One of the residents in the area, a civil servant who works near Oshodi, Mr. Michael Edun, said he never believed that such a job would take such a long a time, taking into consideration the importance of that place as the major link with so many areas including Ogun State. “Abesan Estate gate is noted for being water logged because of the type of construction that was there, without drainage. Apparently, a lot of

W

The road under construction money have been wasted on the area because no sooner than they finished renovating the spot, that the place became bad again because of the absence of drainage.” “So, when the sign was seen that the government has decided to not only put things right at that spot but to also reconstruct the road, people in the area jubilated, oblivious of the unnecessary pains that would go along with it.” “The issue is that on a project of this nature, timing has to be put into consideration to ameliorate the sufferings of the people.”

NGO, Chevron empower 100 women, youths in Anambra From Uzoma Nzeagwu – Awka

“The time has to do with the effort that rain does not catch up with the work as this would increase the sufferings of the people.” He continued: “In the morning the traffic stretches from gate to Baruwa and beyond for those coming from Ayobo, Ishefun, Ipaja, Command among others.” “What has compounded the problem is that the access

road that passes through Abesan Estate is no more accessible because of the ongoing construction. It has been blocked at the gate, which has forced people coming out of the Estate as well as those coming from Ipaja, Command among others that used to pass through the Estate to now navigate through Ipaja.” “The government is doing a

good job but the time it is taking coupled with the inconveniences people are subjected to cannot be justified.” “Now that rain has come, one needs to see what it takes for vehicles to pass through the road under construction since there is now diversion from the previous road that has been affected by the construction.”

Nigerian women thank Jonathan for opportunity to serve RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan has been lauded for giving Nigerian women the opportunity to serve in his administration through various appointments. According to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) National Women Leader, Dr.

Kema Chikwe, who spoke at a reception in honour of Otunba Bashirat Noibi who recently decamped from the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) to the PDP, the administration has given the greatest opportunity to Nigerian women to be part of governance since independ-

ence. Chikwe pointed out that “this could be seen in the number of women the President has appointed into positions in government, especially key positions such as Petroleum Minister, Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minis-

O encourage Anambra citizens to be self- sufficient, the DeT velopment Support Initiative (DSI) has begun the training and empowerment of about 100 women in the state on various skills. Speaking to newsmen at the Women Development Centre, Awka, the Executive Director of DSI, Mrs. Jacqueline Yemi Odiadi, disclosed that the programme, which was executed in collaboration with Chevron and Anambra State government, was training 50 women and youths, adding that gatecrashers had doubled the number to about 100. Mrs. Odiadi further said that the skills acquisition programmes involved training on the following: making of beads, cosmetics, body and hair cream, soap/detergents, insecticides, anti-septic, confectionaries and leather works etc. She explained that each participant indicated, at least, two skills for the training, which lasts for two weeks, adding that women and youths ought to have options, as DSI have realized that some of the graduands might be forced out of work when there are no customers to patronize them. “We also educate our participants on how things work out this modern time. Some skills are seasonal and we don’t encourage idleness. Thus, we train them on how to meet up on life situation in at least two minimum skills”, Mrs. Odiadi noted. “At the end, each graduate would receive between N35,000 to N50,000 starter pack for purchasing working materials, she noted, adding that, “our partners would provide the funding”. She assured that DSI has the capacity to train 25 women and ladies, just as she said that about 100 trainees were shortlisted, adding that there would be continuous assessment and monitoring after training through their facilitators. A facilitator, Winfred Kwentua Abdoderin noted, that the graduands would have been equipped to be self-reliant at the end of the exercise, having acquired both practical and theoretical training, as well as establish their own business and start to train others. Mrs. Queen Efetobor, who graduated from DIS some years ago, and now a facilitator with the group, advised women and youths to make good use of the skills acquired for their betterment, adding that they should pay great attention and follow instructions. Some of the trainees who spoke to the guardian, commended efforts of DSI, Chevron and the state Ministry of Women Affairs for giving such an opportunity to women and young girls, and assured to make good use of the skills acquired. While Vituas Okechukwu from Oraukwu in Idemili North of Anambra State said he would be well-equipped to survive in Nigeria and provide jobs for others at this critical time, Miss Aniazoba Ukamaka, who hails from Anaocha Local Council expressed joy that her vision of being an entrepreneur and selfemployed had been realized at last.

“There was a night I was in a public vehicle en-route Ayobo. The driver, looking at the long queue from the Gate had to divert, looking for an alternative road. After much problems with street owners, we came back to the same gate and some people whose time had been badly affected by the traffic disembarked from the vehicle to see if there would be alternative. That was the pain every night,” he said. Another user of the road, who simply identified himself as Olamilekan, also expressed his ordeal. “What we pass through on this road that ought to have been completed before now is inexplicable.” “If you want to leave home in the morning, you have to wake up as early as possible to avoid the grid-lock at the gate because of so many vehicles passing through the gate.” “When coming back home, it is the same story and at times it is even worse. I live at back of the Estate, but because of the pathetic nature of the gate at night when coming back from work, at times, I would have to pass through AbuleEgba, link up with Command and come back to the Estate.” “It pays me to drive like that instead of entering the traffic jam after which I would eventually be getting home, between 11.00 p.m. and 12.00 a.m.” “I do not know the number of private car owners who have

Member, PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Remi Kuku (left); PDP Women Leader, Mrs. Kema Chikwe; former APC stalwart, Otunba Basirat Noibi and Special Adviser to the President on NEPAD, Ambassador Fidelia Njeze at the event

UNIBEN alumni decry insecurity in Nigeria HE University of Benin Alumni Association (UBAA) is disT turbed at the growing insecurity in the country, particularly in the North East, and the worrisome abduction of the Chibok girls. In a communiqué issued at the end of the National Council Meeting of UBAA in Akure on Saturday and signed by the President General, Dr Clement K. Oghene and Secretary, Prof Emmanuel O. Oghre, the Council called on government to do all things possible to secure the release of the Chibok girls as soon as possible alive and ensure the security of lives and property. It also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure free, fair and credible elections in the forthcoming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states so as to build confidence in the electoral process. The group also commended the Federal Government for the practical steps taken so far to ensure the participation of the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and calls on the Super Eagles to do the nation proud While congratulating the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathanand Nigerians on the 15th anniversary of the return of civil and democratic rule, it appealed to politicians to play according to the rules of the game so as to ensure the continued sustenance of democracy.

ter of Finance, United Nations Ambassador and many others.” Chikwe called on Nigerian women to ensure that President Jonathan gets a secondterm in office come 2015 to enable him continue to empower them. In her speech, Hajiya Noibi, who is a National Coordinator of Jonathan Actualisation Movement (JAM), noted that she left the APC because the party “has nothing to offer to the Nigerian people”. She stressed that she would work closely with PDP Women leaders to mobilise Nigerian women to vote massively votes for President Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election. Many PDP women leaders who were present at the event also lauded President Jonathan for carrying women along in his administration. They included Peace Nnaji of the House of Representatives; Mrs. Remie Kuku, member of the PDP Board of Trustees; Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, Director General of NEPAD; and Mrs. Bekky Igwe, a former Minister, among oth-

More documentaries on Zuriel YOUNG leader and true A pacesetter, now 11 years, Zuriel Oduwole, has contin-

ued to make documentaries to show the positive sides of African countries, and has also been at the forefront of making the case to educating Africa’s girls, as a catalyst for the continents sustained economic development. She is still the youngest person in the world interviewed by the 96-year-old iconic Forbes Magazine title, and a growing face on the cover of magazines such as Today’s Woman, AvantGarde and LIFE. Listed as an influential African or Global figure by publications like New Africa and New York Business Insider magazines, Zuriel began an international TV appearance last month, starting on three Networks in London, including

Zuriel the BBC. She appeared as the main guest on Africa’s most successful Talk Show; Moments With Mo, on Ebony Life TV and talked about girls education, her mission to rebrand the continent and the impact it is having in the United States and across the Globe using her documentaries as a powerful voice. Zuriel would be a special guest on select TV shows in the Unites States and Africa over the Summer months, including Naija Bites, now shooting in Los Angeles.


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Business Forum faults white paper on Orosanye report By Chijioke Nelson HE Federal Government's T white paper on Oronsaye Report has been hit with several knocks due to observations ranging from alleged inconsistencies, lack of directions and ambiguous remarks. Participants, at the "Stakeholders' Workshop on the Cost of Governance: The White Paper on Oronsaye Committee Report" were also unanimous that the implementation of the report would take ambitious governance, with strong political will. Analysing government's response to the report in the Ministry of Agriculture, the President of National Association of Nigerian Traders, Ken Ukoha, said that the use of the terms "noted" and "rejected" at observed conflicting positions, still without explanation, makes the document vague.

Ukoha pointed out that there are several institutes and research centers in the ministry over the years, yet have not developed a single indigenous seedling, but collects allocations yearly. For instance, the Agricultural Research and Rural Management Institute (ARMTI), was recommended to be self-funded in 24 months, but government rejected it without stating reasons and still asked the minister to look into it as well, eliciting curiosity on why it would be skeptical about the independence of a 32-year old institution. The institutes, according to him, are also laden with huge number of council members, whose monthly salaries run from N1.8 million to N2.3 million and above per person, which is equivalent to the cumulative monthly salary of over 120 civil servants at the prevailing minimum

wage. The Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria was also scripted for reduction of its council members, with its enabling Act amended to reflect the new status, but government's White Paper, rather than take definite stance, only said "noted", while it rejected entirely the amendment of law to new status. "What actually is "noted" in a White Paper that is set for implementation? If taken to be positive (accepted), does it not contradict its rejection of amendment of the enabling Act to reflect the new composition of the board?", Ukoha queried Also, the Bank of Agriculture, which at present is made up of 27 board members, yet at the recommendations of the committee to reduce the number, it only responded, "noted", when it has been responding to oth-

Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, (UPDC) Property Development Company Plc, Hakeem Ogunniran (left); Chairman, Larry Ettah; and Company Sectary, Godwin Abimbola Samuel, during the company’s yearly general meeting in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: Ayodele Adeniran

U.S. launches new initiative to boost energy in Nigeria, others HE U.S. has announced a T new energy innovation tagged ``Beyond the Grid’’ to boost energy and address supply shortages in Nigeria and five other African countries. The US Secretary for Energy, Ernest Moniz, said this yesterday at the ongoing USAfrica Energy Ministerial conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme of the conference is Power Africa Beyond the Grid: Increasing Access through Small-Scale Energy Solution. Moniz said that more than 240 million people live without electricity in rural and semi-urban communities across the six countries targeted by the project The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ``Beyond the Grid`` will establish small-scale power projects and is part of

President Barrack Obama’s Power Africa initiative announced in South Africa during his visit in June 2013. The project is expected to provide power to communities and help in meeting the target of the Power Africa initiative within five years. The initiative by the U.S Government will involve the private sector, World Bank and African Development Bank, to generate additional 10,000 MW of electricity in Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Liberia, Ghana and Tanzania. It is also expected to attract one billion dollar in investment and connect 20 million households and commercial entities. Moniz said, ``over five year period, ‘Beyond the Grid’ will partner with over 27 investors and practitioners that have committed themselves to invest over $1 billion into off-grid and small-

scale solutions to this under served market. ``These private sector commitment will be significant in helping Power Africa meet and exceed its objective to provide access to 20 million new connections for households and commercial entities.'' He said the initiative would unlock investment and growth for off-grid and small-scale energy solution, adding that the ‘Power Africa’ had already supported 20 small-scale energy projects. ``Beyond the Grid will expand this significantly, facilitating $500 million in new private sector investments to blend with donor and private capital,’’ Moniz said. Nigeria's Minister of Power and Energy Development, Prof Chinedu Nebo is among the participants at the twoday conference.

ers by either "accepted" and "rejected". For the President of the Aviation Round Table, Capt. Dele Ore, government's continued funding of avalanche of airstrips that has no access road leading to them and without proper coordination points till now, is in bad taste, yet the report seems not to present any development direction. "The last time there was a concerted effort to have a comprehensive National Civil Aviation Policy was in 2001. Since then, there have been several policy summersaults on the appointment of any new minister for the sector. "Government's objective (in the White Paper) is to extend the bi-national network beyond scheduled operations between cities and intends to

introduce appropriate incentives for domestic operators with aircrafts seating less than 80 passengers. "I consider this objective as one of the most contentious issues of the new policy thrust. It is designed as another subsidy to serve the interest of some selfish individuals, who are ready to breed and sustain corruption," he said. For the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Eze Onyekpere, the usual way of the typical Nigeria is to reign in more difficult times for the already impoverished civil servants in the name of rationalization, which is not supposed to be. According to him, the group is already in court under the Freedom of Information Act, asking the court to compel

the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to disclose the wage ratio of core civil servants in the total recurrent expenditure. "CSJ is very convinced that the cumulative salaries of core civil servants who do the work and earn peanuts in the name of minimum wage will amount to less than half of what the political appointees (ministers, special assistants), directors, permanent secretaries, lawmakers, among others, are consuming. "They are the source of the bulk of the country's high governance cost, not the poor civil servants the Minister of Finance regularly puts the blame on and that is where the cuts should start. It is unfortunate that the White has no definite decision on that.


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25| BUSINESS Thursday, June 5, 2014

Report affirms bright outlook for African economy By Bukky Olajide

•Standard Chartered Bank stakes $10.76b for regional growth

TANDARD Chartered Bank S“confident Plc has stated that a new African middle

The bank, which stated this in its 2014 African Report, noted “Africa is leapfrogging old technologies and embracing the digital revolution, leading the world in

class is emerging, and trade is expanding rapidly, notably with Asia.”

innovation such as mobile payments.” Standard Chartered Bank commissioned an independent report, put together by Professor Ethan Kapstein of

Georgetown University, United States. According to the report, which was presented to journalists in Lagos, by, founding Partner at Steward Redqueen,

Managing Director, Oasis Group, Wale Adegbite (left); Chief Executive Officer, Multimix Academy, Obiora Madu; President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Alhaji Remi Bello; Country Director, Empretec Nigeria Foundation and former First Lady, Cross River State, Mrs. Owanari Duke; and Managing Director Nigeria, Accenture, Niyi Yusuf, all council members, after the council meeting of the chamber yesterday.

NDIC commences verification, payment of insured depositors HE Nigeria Deposit T Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has commenced verification and payment of insured depositors in 33 out of the 83 Micro-Finance Banks whose licences were revoked in December 2013. This is contained in a report published on the corporation’s Website on Wednesday in Abuja, stating that the exercise, which commenced on June 2 would end on June 6. It gave the names of banks to include, Abriba MFB, Akesan MFB, Argungu MFB, Bekwarra MFB, Citigate MFB, Crown MFB, Daily Capital MFB, Eden MFB and Edet MFB. Others are Egosa MFB, Essence MFB, First Choice MFB, First Heritage MFB,

Omasi MFB, GFB MFB, Gusau MFB, Havilah MFB, Hebron MFB, Idah MFB, Irele MFB, Neighbourhood MFB and Ngegwe MFB. They also include Nkpor MFB, Okwuta MFB, Otun-Ekiti MFB, Plannet MFB, Reunion MFB, Royal Trust MFB, Target MFB, Ughievwen MFB, Ujoelen MFB and Umuhu Okabia MFB. The report urged depositors in the MFBs to visit the last known addresses of the closed banks with their claims. It stated that depositors would be required to present evidence of account ownership and a personal identification document. ``Depositors not having valid identification should obtain introduction letters

with their photographs affixed from the traditional ruler of their town, or their local government chairman. ``They are also expected to bring along details of alternate bank accounts operated by them in any of the living banks,’’ it stated. It further stated that depositors without alternative bank accounts would be expected to provide details of accounts of a close relative to which payment could be made. It added that, if such relatives were to represent them, they must come with appropriate authority letter. The NDIC also announced that the verification and payment to depositors of other closed MFBs not stated would be communicated to the public when liquidation procedures were concluded.

Six Indonesian firms seal business pacts with Nigerian partners official said that with the signIX Indonesian companies SMemorandum have signed a of

Understanding (MoU) with their Nigerian partners. Director of Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), Pontas Tobing, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of an International Agriculture Exhibition in Lagos. The IPTC’s director listed the companies to include Plasindo Bhama Prasaste, Kinocare Era Komestido, Tiga, Sari Incofood, NutriFood and Dolphin. Pontas said that the companies were engaged in the production of agricultural equipment, cosmetics, instant coffee and tea, slimming milk

and chocolate snacks. ``With the signing of the MoU between these six Indonesian companies and their Nigerian business partners, trade relations between Nigeria and Indonesia has been further enhanced. ``I am hopeful that the MoU will promote the exchange of products between the two countries. As we all know, Indonesia has achieved high economic growth since 2000 and we want to share this with Nigeria. ``We will continue to encourage more Indonesian companies to come and invest in and take advantage of the Nigerian market,’’ he said. The Indonesian Government

ing of the agreement, a number of business opportunities had been open to the Nigerian partners. Pontas said that the companies decided to visit Nigeria to have a `one-on-one interaction with their Nigerian partners'. The director said that many more Indonesian companies had indicated interest in coming to invest in and market their products in Nigeria. ``Many Indonesian companies are becoming more and more interested in doing business in Nigeria. ``In the same way, we want more Nigerians to also come and do business, as well as invest in Indonesia,’’ he added.

Dr. Rene Kimal, though the dearth of infrastructure and barriers to intra-nation trade is hampering a much bigger trade, Africa has recorded consistent growth faster than the rest of the world in the last decade. The report, which measured the impact of Standard Chartered Bank’s operations in terms of economic valueadded and employment, also considered the bank’s impact on Africa’s trade, deploying a global network spanning more than 68 countries, as the only international bank with a major presence across both Africa and Asia. It further undertook a qualitative assessment of other ways in which Standard Chartered Bank contributes to local communities in Africa, including through financial innovation, risk management, business practices and community investments. “By measuring direct and indirect impact”, the report shows that “our operations and financing support some 1.9million jobs in the markets where we operate in SubSaharan Africa. The bulk of these jobs are in advanced, high value-added sectors – the fast-growing manufacturing and service industries that are changing the face of Africa’s economies. We contribute $10.7 billion in eco-

nomic value added, equivalent to 1.2 per cent of subSaharan Africa’s GDP. The bank supports sub-Saharan trade worth $7.2 billion.” Kim noted that Africa’s share of world trade amounts to five per cent but records only three per cent of intra-African trade. “A number of reasons can be adduced for the lack of intra-African trade, part of which include lack of or dearth of infrastructure. There is also the issue of barriers which needed to be taken out for effective intra-Africa trade.” He credited the emerging Africa economic success for having been “built on solid foundation that is sustainable for the long time.” He however stated that despite “Africa’s strong performance, poverty and income inequality continue to be significant challenges.” He further stated that, “job creation is not keeping pace with the continent’s rapidly growing population.” Most critically, Kim stated that, “quality jobs are essential to eradicating poverty and fostering real development in economies. Banks fuel employment by providing credit and other financial services that help businesses set up trade and expand – and by working with governments to remove barriers to economic activity.”


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28 Business Thursday, June 5, 2014

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Value-addition should be promoted in Dimeji Owofemi is the Executive Vice-Chairman, Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc and President of Cocoa Processors Association of Nigeria. Recently, he discussed germane issues in the cocoa industry with journalists in Lagos. Business Editor, ADE OGIDAN was there. Excerpts. before, industries that belong to foreign bodies, and he OW would you describe government policy regime revenue; they want to come and wait for that revenue. But they will be setting up packaging industries, every- knows what efforts to be put in for it to stand. H in respect of commodity business over the years? PZ Nigeria is still the highest income earner for the Commodity business has a fluctuating price structure thing will be brought from outside of this country and and the Nigerian market is one that defies every principle in the book; that is, every economic principle. The economic principle of whatever goes up must come down does not apply in Nigeria. I would say government policies are a lot of the time responsible for that; the government is a lot of the time hypocritical and pretentious. We all know what is not right. Everybody talks about it but nobody wants to bell the cat. It is a country where I find it strange that people who ideally will be treated as heroes somewhere else are treated as zeroes here. You should be heroes but you are treated as zeroes. For instance, the Nigerians that are in their private businesses, I am not talking about people who are government patronisers, and when I say government patronisers, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is not a government patroniser. Anybody who is close to him will know how hard he has worked and what he had done; he had taken advantage of government policies that favoured what he needed to do. Take for instance, when the government wanted essential commodities, the government created the environment of essential commodities; he (Dangote) saw that opportunity, he took advantage of it. What are essential commodities? Rice, sugar, milk among others, and the Nigerian government killed those businesses by policies that do not recognise that farming anywhere in the world has to be subsidised by the government because it is food. Food security is core. It is the beginning of any upheaval. When people can’t feed themselves, at some point they will fight back. And we are not saying dole out money to people. We are saying create the environment for people to want to engage in productive business. In this country today, if you want to lay tiles you will go to Cotonou to hire the people who will lay tiles well for you. The people riding commercial motorcycles (okada) are these artisans. We create an environment that makes people not to work hard. It does not make sense. If I can ride okoda and earn N400 a day, why should I do tile work? So, the ecosystem exists in every industry or in every society. But there is no inducement for hard work. In the cocoa industry, take the export of the raw commodities and the value addition and separate them; 70 or 80 per cent of the raw commodity is shipped out in the raw form. I don’t need to explain to you that it has consequences because there is a very clear example of it. Crude oil that we take out in the raw form, while killing the government-owned refineries. Why do you think it is different from other industries? What is the benefit of oil to us other than that it creates other problems of its own? It creates corruption as well. So, if the government is giving incentives to laziness, why should anybody else work hard? About 20 per cent of the crop is value addition. The people that are involved in raw commodity export are mostly European companies who want to keep their factories running outside of this country, because in addition to them getting that incentive, there is double jeopardy for those who are adding value to the remaining 20 per cent, because those European countries also impose tax on anything that is not raw but that is value added; so, you give them double advantage. You give them 10 per cent or whatever percentage and we get charged about seven per cent for exporting the value added product; so, there is already a 17 per cent gap; when you now look at the people who are involved in the value addition, all of us are Nigerians. What is your position on the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga’s stance concerning the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union? It is not Aganga. It is Nigeria. Other African countries have started seeing the sense in what we are saying. The European Union minister was here with his delegation because he has been hearing us work against it. Why should we allow our borders to be opened again when we have a flipper of opportunity to add value? They can see that Nigeria and other West African countries are now generating

they will come with their own citizens to come and run it. In the days when Nigerian Breweries and the rest of them started, there was none of them that did not have expatriates in large numbers. Those they called directors or technologists were workshop officers in their countries. The person knows the limit of his power, he gets the same salary he will get when he is there, but we get charged the salary they want; so, it is a way of repatriating the so called investment. There are fears on inconsistencies in government policies. As an industrialist, how can this be addressed? We will not stop talking. It is no longer wise to leave it to the government alone. If we were not making noise, the policies will be reversed because some civil servants have been compromised, even as far as the manufacturers’ association, but special thanks should be given publicly to Chief Kola Jamodu, who stood his ground, and the reason is because he is coming from this area. He has run industries

Owofemi

group all over the world. Guinness Nigeria is also the highest earner. Now, what they want is 100 per cent, because they have started coming back by acquiring majority stakes again. How did Cadbury get to where it is now? You need to ask more questions about the stories surrounding some of these things that happened. There is no country in the world that has more human resource than Nigeria and I am ready to prove it on any platform. The year 1986 seemed to be a watershed for cocoa industry, with the dismantling of the cocoa board, the privatisation of government enterprises, deregulation and so on. Actually, what did the nation gain through the Structural Adjustment Programme? We did not plan what would happen after the scrapping of the cocoa board. We believed the Brentwood person. That was why I said the Brentwood economy would not work in Nollywood. It is designed for Hollywood. The Hollywood environment is where the Brentwood economy can work. You need another category of modification t o the


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Thursday, June 5, 2014 Business 29

cocoa industry, says Owofemi In the cocoa industry, take the export of the raw commodities and the value addition and separate them; 70 or 80 per cent of the raw commodity is shipped out in the raw form. I don’t need to explain to you that it has consequences because there is a very clear example of it. Crude oil that we take out in the raw form, while killing the government-owned refineries.

PZ Nigeria is still the highest income earner for the group all over the world. Guinness Nigeria is also the highest earner. Now, what they want is 100 per cent, because they have started coming back by acquiring majority stakes again. How did Cadbury get to where it is now? You need to ask more questions about the stories surrounding some of these things that happened. There is no country in the world that has more human resource than Nigeria and I am ready to prove it on any platform.

Owofemi It is passion that is making us stay. The investment in this place has the capacity to employ about 1500 people and it is the same for other factories. We have about eight plants that were functioning. The only two doing very well among us are owned by foreign companies and I give kudos to those foreign companies that dared to invest in Nigeria, in our industry. The remaining six are all Nigerians. The industry needs to be supported. The Minister for Agriculture has been talking about the value chain approach. What is the benefit of that to a company like yours in the processing of cocoa and boosting activities in your sector? The Minister for Agriculture is somebody who likes to be engaged, and when you talk sense he will listen to you. Recently, there was this government pronouncement about industrialisation. I am waiting for the effect of it. The operation Buy Nigeria is facing some challenges as the same Nigerian government that does not think they should give contracts for production of our kind of products for them to consume 52 times they meet in a year. Brazil was in the same situation we were 17 years ago, what they did was that anything that government must use must be produced locally. So, how do we then ensure that we get the benefit of what this minister is doing; he is just laying the foundation. First, the kind of crop that we have on the field has been bastardised for so long; that is the starting point. You need high breed that can give the farmer higher yield on the same size of land to gradually and speedily take him out of poverty line.

The staying power is passion, it is just passion. I mean if you have done something for 27 years, you must love it so much that you are not distracted to do other things. It is passion that is making me stay. The investment in this place has the capacity to employ about 1500 people and it is the same for other factories. We have about eight that are functioning. The only two doing very well among us are owned by foreign companies and I give kudos to those foreign companies that dared to invest in Nigeria, in our industry. The remaining six are all Nigerians. The industry needs to be supported.

Brentwood economy for Nollywood to operate. What we got wrong is that the World Bank said we should go and scrap our cocoa board just like the EPA that is being forced on us with the promise that it will benefit us by just increasing taxes on the existing poor people. “Scrap your commodity board, you are subsidising by using the commodity board, you are protecting them and shielding them’, they said. The mother and father of free economy or capitalism is America. America is forever subsidising its farmers. They created the World Trade Organisation to protect themselves. Then again with the GAT, they created so many things to protect themselves. When one fails, they will devise another one. What we got wrong is that we never planned for the future. And not planning is to plan to fail. If we scrap the commodity board, what will happen to the farmers? What are the structures sustained by this commodity board or cocoa board that will suffer if we scrap it? Do we have the alternative value structure to protect this value chain? That we got wrong. Nobody asked that question. Indeed, the SAP era assualted the financial market too. Everybody who set up finance companies at that time set them up because of foreign exchange. And cocoa, up till today, is about 70 per cent of the foreign exchange earner in the non-oil sector; so, everybody rushed into cocoa; anybody could gather the bags. People saw the opportunity with the supply point of view because they were in hurry to make quick money; you know they were taking deposits at 15 per cent. The only way they could pay that return was to turn the naira into foreign exchange, then bring it back and turn it back into naira, that was the basis of forming the numerous finance companies at that time. Manufacturing sector over the years has been endangered. What has sustained your company? The staying power is passion, it is just passion. I mean if you have done something for 27 years, you most love it so much that you are not distracted to do other things.


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Demystifying ATM customer experience in Nigeria By Austin Okere HE ATM in Nigeria has gone from a mysterious machine of very T high distrust to a basic essential. Understandably, being at the perceived epicentre of online fraud and Internet scams has made Nigerians exceedingly weary of this machine which spits cash at the punch of just four digits. My personal take though, is that there exist more advanced hacking centres outside of Nigeria. Common knowledge seems to suggest that parts of Eastern Europe and Asia top Nigeria by a country mile. My wife and many others like her, who have vowed never to test the efficacy of the banks’ assurances on the safety and security of their ATM systems against the increasing ingenuity of fraudsters have now become unwilling converts due to the higher risk of being unceremoniously shut out of modern day transactions. Regulatory pressures a-la the Cashless Nigeria initiative by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have also played their part in this conspiracy against the conservatives. Hefty penalties have now being instituted on cash transactions beyond a certain threshold. Thankfully, she has broken ranks and acquired an ATM card just only last year. The CBN has tried to allay the fears of Nigerians by enforcing on the banks additional security measures such as the installation of anti-skimming devices, and two camera systems on all ATMs. The rational being that a fraudster who covers both cameras with his hands to avoid detection will have no spare to conduct his nefarious activities. The average customer experience of the ATM user in Nigeria is still a tale of woes, mostly self-inflicted, and inadvertently by the same banks in whose major interest it should be to drive adoption to cut the relatively high cost of serving customers within the branch. Two very glaring examples; it is reported that on the eve of Christmas last year, customers looking for ATMs to withdraw cash for their festivities in the Gbagada area found to their dismay after visiting many ATMs and being greeted with the now familiar ‘temporary out of service’ or ‘Unable to dispense Cash’ messages, that the only ATMs that seemed to be working on the whole axis were the UBA ATMs at the Charlie Boy Bus stop. Of course the queue had built up to the extent that faint hearted customers rather opted to go without cash than risk the possible consequences of a stampede. Similarly, on December 14, 2013 there were reports that virtually no ATM was working in the Badagry area. These experiences are exacerbated majorly by the following factors; firstly, stagnation in the ATM population in spite of significant adoption rate by Nigerians. The ATM population in Nigeria has been stuck at the 11,000 mark for the past six years, resulting in an average of 11.39 ATMs per 100k adult population (adult population in Nigeria being about 56% or 95.2m according to a World Bank report on population). This is not unconnected to the Central Bank’s misadventure with the Independent ATM Deployers (IAD) experiment of 2008 that barred banks from deploying ATMs outside their branches. This resulted in the abrupt halt in the momentum of ATM deployment by Banks. This was largely due to the hasty conduct of the CBN in trying to swallow an elephant at one go. Noble as the intention was, a pilot scheme would have uncovered the soft underbelly of the strategy, the major shortcoming being the fact that the cash in the offsite ATMs would have been too expensive for the IADs to carry, and therefore compel them to charge customers very exorbitant rates or

render them totally unprofitable at the flat rate of N100 per withdrawal, then allowed by the CBN. Six years later we have less than the 11,800 achieved at the highpoint, because many banks had to abandon the long term rents secured for their offsite ATMs and wheeled the ATMs into warehouses and parking lots because the IADs could not afford the book value to take on the sites and ATMs. The operational lives of those ATMs, about a third of the total volume were cut short, as they were subsequently unusable two years later when the CBN rescinded her decision. Comparatively, Indonesia with an adult population of about 90m, more than doubled their ATM installed base from 16.7k in 2011 to 36.5k in 2012, resulting in 37 ATMs per 100k adult population, about three time the ATM per adult capita in Nigeria. South Africa has 60 ATMs per 100k adult population, while the UK has 124 ATMs per 100k adult population. Nigeria clearly has a lot to do as the largest economy in Africa. Secondly, the quality of notes in the ATM are a far cry from standard. In the early days, the ATM was where to go if you wanted crisp notes. Today, the notes in the ATM are sometimes worse that the change you receive at the flea market. This is underscored by the fact that the security features and the general quality of the naira could do with some enhancements. Dirty notes generally cause paper dirt to be lodged in sensitive parts of the ATM when it is dispensing cash, therefore resulting in more frequent system faults or currency jams. A telling revelation when we compare the work rate of the ATM in Nigeria to say the UK is that the Nigerian ATM has to dispense on the average five notes to one in the UK, if it is dispensing N1,000 notes and the UK one is dispensing £20 notes (£20 is approximately N5,000). This coupled with the low ATM density and challenged note quality contributes a lot to the frequent breakdowns and ‘unable to dispense cash’ notices. Thirdly and very importantly, most ATMs in Nigeria are not under any guaranteed service level support program. This is very shocking, and a serious anomaly by any stretch of the imagination. Banks inadvertently encourage this malaise. There is a notion that appraisal and compensation for ATM support heads in the Ebanking departments seem to be heavily skewed on how much they can save in the ATM support costs. So they devise all means necessary to achieve this, even at the detriment of customer experience and the banks’ brand erosion. There is a blatant refusal to sign any Service Level Agreements (SLA) support for the ATMs in the first year of purchase under the illusion that warranty on the systems equates to SLA support. This results in fallacious claims of reduction in support costs. This alluded cost efficiency cannot be further from the truth. Warranty and SLA support are quite different from each other as any owner of a car under warranty well knows. While SLA defines the time within which an ATM should be fixed or replaced in the event of a fault (usually two hours within urban areas and six hours in remote areas), warranty relies on a best effort basis for the replacement of factory defective parts. Parts that are rendered unusable due to wear and tear, or as a result of exogenous effects such as power surges cannot be claimed under warranty (as sometimes the bank officials are wont to ferociously argue). For simplicity, warranty on ATMs is very similar to that on automobiles. If you drive your new car which carries a three year or 100,000km warranty to the dealer for a part replacement. Firstly they check that it is not normal wear and tear, and that it is not due to abnormal circumstances such as the wrong type of fuel or an accident. Then they take in the car and order

Okere the part. They call you when the part arrives, which takes an average of three months, and then slap you with a labour bill. This is the type of service that the Bank is hoodwinked to render to their hapless customers. It is worthy to note that warranty does not cover periodic maintenance of the machines. Imagine driving your warranty car for three years straight or 100,000km without any service or Oil change! Not opting even for the bare bones labour-only quarterly preventive maintenance service does drastically shorten the lifespan of the ATMs. It is therefore not surprising that some relatively new ATMs needlessly break down and cause customers to spend eternity looking for a working one, or in an endless queue. The average yearly support spend on an ATM in Nigeria is $2,500, about half of what obtains in Indonesia and South Africa, both spending about $4,500 per ATM per annum. By investing the right amount to keep their systems properly maintained, they prolong the lives of their ATMs and ensure better customer experiences, which we readily testify to when we visit those countries. Thirdly, we now know that most ATMs work with the windows operating system. Many are currently on the windows XP platform which has recently been announced by

Microsoft as de-supported, and a new operating system, windows 7, announced to replace it. This means that any ATM that is not upgraded to the windows 7 operating system shall be vulnerable to viruses and fraud attacks, since the new security patches shall not work on them. Worldwide, 2.2m ATMs are vulnerable. In Nigeria a significant number of the installed base shall be affected. The solution is a simple upgrade of the operating system if the ATM is upgradable. This is free if the bank has been paying their software maintenance fee. They will otherwise have to incur huge capital costs to repurchase the new software licenses. Available data suggests that many banks have not kept up with the software support fees. A further complication is that certain category of ATMs cannot be upgraded because of non USB Interfaces. These have to be replaced, and will further deplete the already stretched ATM density. Lastly, there are serious challenges in stable and consistent power supply, and network connectivity, both of which the ATM cannot operate without. There are also infrastructure challenges in access roads to ATMs in rural areas which cause support engineers to spend significantly more ‘travel time’ than ‘dwell time’ to fix machines. A possible solution will be for service providers to have enough support offices across the country than depend on engineers being dispatched only from the three commercial centers of Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja. Cross training support engineers on ATMs, inverters and network connectivity will ensure that the first engineer to arrive at the ATM can fix the fault and does not have to call another specialist. A monitoring system if installed by the provider would ensure that the ATM correctly diagnoses itself and advices on the correct spare part to be carried to site. A monitoring system will however, require client licenses on the ATMs for which maintenance fees are due to be paid, and which many banks shy away from. Banks are by no means the only clog in the wheel of good ATM customer experience. Some of the blame lie squarely on the shoulders of the service providers. In a bid to win business at all costs they are ready to accept terms that tempt them to cut corners in quality of products and service delivery. For example, there is a need to install monitoring systems and a call centre

to aid support efficacy. There is also a need to ensure that the custodians are sufficiently trained to provide the crucial first level support. The negligence of these will make the support process expensive, unwieldy and ineffective. This drives the proverbial ‘race to the bottom’ for all stakeholders. A decimation in the number of service providers or their replacement by uncertified operators willing to collect the cutthroat rates offered by the banks will not bode any good tidings for the banks nor their customers. Another emerging class in the clog of ATM availability is the gang of Marauders who attempt to blow-up the ATMs to gain access to the cash in the safes. For this group, Banknote staining could be an effective prevention technique, in which the anticipated reward of the crime is removed by denying the benefits, by marking the cash stolen with special security ink. Of course the ink should be machine detectable to ensure that deposit machines reject stained notes. Surprisingly, some customers are also culpable. Furiously banging the ATM when ‘it swallows your card’ or does not dispense the money on your transaction will not solve any problem. If anything at all, it will only compound the problem by taking that ATM out of service. In the rare instance of this anomaly, the right thing to do is to call the number on the ATM body or visit the bank. There are usually journal entries and time stamps that will prove that you were not paid what you have been inadvertently debited, and a routine for redress and refund instituted. While acknowledging the significant progress that we have recorded in payment systems, underpinned by the opportunity for the average Nigerian to be availed of having access to the global installed base of ATMs, courtesy of his local bank ATM card, and without recourse to a foreign bank account and ATM card, there is still the need to ensure that charity truly begins at home. The above is not intended as an exercise in ATM service indictments, but rather a discourse that will help in the appreciation, and management of the root cause of the below average ATM customer experience in Nigeria from which we are all groaning. • Okere is the Group CEO, CWG PLC & Entrepreneur in Residence, CBS


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Sterling Bank turns heat on bad debtors Bank Plc has SdebtTERLING intensified efforts in its recovery activities. The move, our correspondent gathered, involved a change in strategy as well as the appointment of a senior management staff to drive the initiative. It was also learnt that the bank had devised some novel strategies to ensure the success of debt recovery drive. Sources within the financial sector disclosed that the bank has been aggressively chasing it’s bad debtors in the last four weeks. The major focus of this drive is said to include Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja, where officials of the bank have been consistently seen moving around with law enforcement officers. A customer owing the bank claimed that he had never had it so rough since his facility went bad about five years ago. Sterling Bank recently combined with Equatorial Trust Bank and has been on a consistent growth trajectory.

Chief Executive Officer, Software Business Solutions Consulting, Abdul Balogun (left); Chief Executive, Lagos Business School, Prof. Pat Utomi; I.T leader, General Electric, Rotola Ogunye; and Chief Executive Officer, Cogniko Marketing, Iyiola Obayomi, during the software launch of Business Solutions Consulting in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: Gabriel Ikhahon

Belgium to strengthen trade ties with Nigeria By Helen Oji ELGIUM has expressed B readiness to strengthen the trade ties with Nigeria and make the business structure become more diversified and sustainable. About 50 companies from the European country had already concluded plans to invest in the various sectors of Nigerian economy, explaining that the economy has potentials to grow its middle class. Specifically, Ambassador of Belgian, Dirk Verheyen, explained that a strong middle class will most likely supports inclusive political and e c o n o m i c institutions, which underpin economic growth and development. He said: “We are focusing on other emerging coun-

tries. We would make Nigeria to become top ranking and not in the fifth position anymore. We are well prepared in this mission. These are long-term partners. Belgium has 75 per cent of export and we have the instrument to facilitate these companies.” The Executive Committee Member, Advisor Financing Division PSLO Word Bank, Alexander Herring explained that the partnership would enable Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs) to meet with the Belgian SMEs for business development. “This would allow Nigerian SMEs to find field of cooperation. Nigerian SMEs can form a joint venture with their Belgian counterparts to apply for subsidies in CBE. CBE is an organization set up

Coscharis Technologies seals pact with Seagate on IT solution OR improved sales and disFInformation tribution of quality Technology products and to reduce the influx of refurbished hard drives in the Nigeria market, Seagate Technologies Limited has partnered Coscharis Technologies in Nigeria. This was evident from the statement made by the Channel Relationship Manager, Seagate Tech. Plc in Nigeria, Wahid Ali as he emphasized that, “while searching for a credible partner, out of a good number of companies were considered, we painstakingly screened and finally chose Coscharis Technologies limited (Costech) who from our findings, has the qualified credentials and pedigree that fit into our requirement”. The Managing Director of Costech, Sunday Emomine Mukoro thanked the management of Seagate Tech. Plc for the confidence it has on Costech and promised to

move Seagate products to the next level. “Indeed, this new development will not only reduce the influx of refurbished products but further strengthen consumers’ confidence/loyalty due to the goodwill attained by Costech over the years. Coscharis will be properly implementing Seagate’s two full year warranty on all new authorized Seagate HDDs”, he stated. Partnering with Seagate, Mukoro said Costech have recognized the opportunity to have the edge in the storage drive business in Nigeria as the drives deliver industryleading innovation for every mobile market need, offering superior performance, reliability and value. He said Costech will use this opportunity to have grasp over the volume segments for both Desktops and Laptops and develop the surveillance and video drives also tamping into the NAS drives for large enterprises.

We are focusing on other emerging countries. We would make Nigeria to become top ranking and not in the fifth position anymore. We are well prepared in this mission. These are long-term partners. Belgium has 75 per cent of export and we have the instrument to facilitate these companies. by the Europea n Union to promote SMEs business development and in Africa and Europe. Here, two countries can form a joint venture, apply for the subsidies, show evidence of the project to embark on

and the subsidy will be giving to them. “We believe that the world economy must be triggered by SMEs and SMEs should be getting in contact with others to enhance development.”

Concerning the security issue in Nigeria, Herring said: “We are aware of the security problem in Nigeria but it is not an obstacle for Belgian investors because we are looking at the overall landscape, not on a particular area.” He said. The Managing Trustee, Nigerian-Belgian Chamber of Commerce, Paulette Van Trier, in a recent forum in Lagos explained that the expected huge investment from the 50 Belgian companies would create lot of

opportunities and contributes immensely to the growth of Nigeria’s Economy. She pointed out that the trade mission would commence establishing 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.

Shippers’ Council partners Customs on port reforms from Chuka Odittah, Abuja HE Nigerian Shippers’s Council (NSC) is to partner with the Nigerian Customs Service to scale up clearing time limit of cargo in the nation’s ports, in an effort to increase efficiency at the gatways, NSC Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello has said. Bello stated this during a courtesy visit to the Controller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko in Abuja,

T

where far reaching discussions were made on the mode of partnership at the ports. “We believe that the synergy between the Nigerian shippers’ council and stakeholders in the port sector especially the Nigerian customs service will promote efficiency, reduce port cost, encourage private investments and reduce current mistrust among stakeholders,” Bello said. The Executive Secretary com-

mended the Nigerian Customs Service for the decentralisation of the issuance of transit permit and the introduction of an electronic platform to facilitate trade, which contributed positively to improving ports efficiency and increasing revenue generation for the national economy. “As you are aware, the port sector before now was characterized by high port cost, poor compliance of imports and exports guidelines,

perennial port congestions, administrative bottlenecks and the issue of corruption at the ports”, he added. According to him the infusion of private sector in the transport sector is expected to increase operational efficiency of the port, increase infrastructural development and safety of cargoes. Dikko said that the Nigerian customs is willing to partner with the shippers’ council to improve the efficiency of the port sector in the country.

‘Adequate funding, sustained irrigation critical to all-year-round farming’ HE Federal Ministry of T Water Resources has said that transcending from rainfed agriculture to all-yearround farming can only be possible through optimally funded and sustained irrigation. The Deputy Director, Irrigation Department in the Ministry, Dickson Ahagbuje, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. Ahagbuje was responding to the need to harmonise loose ends on the draft irrigation policy. The director said that findings

showed that many dam components were hardly attended to after the construction and commissioning of dams, thereby resulting in the abandonment of many irrigation facilities. ``Usually when a dam is going to be constructed, studies are done because most dams are created for water supply, irrigation, recreation and a lot of other things. ``As soon as the dam is completed, you find out that funding usually stops for irrigation and other things. ``The irrigation aspect is left or not fully developed because

usually, you have the water supply aspect and the dams being done; so funding has been the major constraint.” He called for synergy between states and the Federal Government in developing all irrigation components of the various dams across the country, to ensure food security and all-year-round farming. On affordability of irrigation systems to poor farmers, Ahagbuje said although construction of conveyance channels and canals were cost effective, government had greatly subsidised water charges to farmers.

“We don’t even charge them; the water charges are very much subsidised that it is not enough to maintain all these facilities. ``Government itself must look for funds to maintain all those facilities because creating conveyance channels and canals which convey water from the dam to the farmlands cost money.” Ahagbuje said that the draft irrigation policy, when fully endorsed, would drive sustainable irrigation development in the country, while creating the enabling environment to stimulate private sector investment.


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Thursday, June 5, 2014 INTERNATIONAL

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Fed may shun global risk rules HE Federal Reserve may scrap international measures aimed T at assessing bank health in favor of imposing its own rules, frustrating bankers who have spent billions of dollars retooling their books to meet global standards. Fed officials are concerned that parts of a key tool that regulators have developed to measure banks’ riskiness—known as “Basel III capital rules” — are flawed and can be gamed by the companies. Under Basel, banks can determine how much debt they can take on by using their own models and computer systems to calculate how risky their assets are, among other methods. The higher the risk, the less money banks can borrow and lend, in turn cutting income banks can earn. In other words, the Basel rules give banks a chance to monkey with their risk models to boost profit. In a May speech, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo condemned the latitude that Basel III gives banks to use their own models. While he was expressing his own views, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Tarullo’s opinion is held by other governors.

Instead of the Basel rules, Tarullo promoted the use of the Fed’s own yardstick of bank health, a test of how bank assets would perform during market turmoil or an economic slump. That process, which the Fed has developed separately from the Basel regulations, is known as the “stress test.” “As a practical matter, it is our binding capital standard,” said John Dugan, former U.S. Comptroller of the Currency and now a partner at the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington. The Fed’s decision to emphasize a different process for evaluating risk is maddening to banks, who complain that the Fed’s tests are opaque. The regulator fears that banks would find ways to cheat the tests if they knew too much about the methodology, so it gives them little detail about it. Every year, the Fed can also change the stressful situations it tests for. Wall Street says it’s getting mixed signals about Basel III from the Fed. Tarullo’s remarks come less than three months after U.S. regulators gave the green light to eight big U.S. banks to use their own risk models. One senior bank executive who refused to be named complained that the regulator wants “a private playbook” which it

can redesign every year. Another called the stress test process “arbitrary and scary.” The world’s biggest banks have probably spent billions of dollars in recent years building computer models, hiring staff and selling assets to comply with Basel III, analysts said. An executive at a major bank told Reuters last year that his firm had spent $500 million on models and systems alone. Without more detail about the Fed’s rules, banks must hold more capital, possibly constraining their lending and global growth, bankers said. Wells Fargo & Co, the fourth-largest U.S. bank, said at a recent conference that it is holding more capital in large part because of the Fed’s stress test. Many regulators have little patience with these complaints. In the run-up to the financial crisis, banks succumbed to the temptation to boost earnings by borrowing more money to fund their assets. If a bank has too much debt, even slight declines in the value of its assets can put it out of business, a lesson that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc learned the hard way. The Fed and other regulators are charged with maintaining the health of the financial system, not maximizing bank profits.


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Appointments Pensions fund assets hit N4.1 trillion in Q1 HAIRMAN, Pension Fund C Operators Association of Nigeria, Misbahu Yola, has said that the total pension fund assets have increased to

Women flay discrimination at work place By Toyin Olasinde ONCERNED women in the C industrial circle have kicked against gender discrimination at places of work across the country. The women who gathered in Lagos to discuss the, “Future of Work Africa – The stilettos” believed there is a need for women across borders to take their future in their hands, by developing adequate capacity and capability to fit into any role in the industrial circle. The programme organised by Career Solutions, brought together women executives from various fields, Talent acquisition professionals, Directors, Managers, Human Resource personnel and women empowerment enthusiasts. According to a communiqué issued by the organisers, the conversation was an opportunity for women from various fields and different levels in their careers to engage with each other so as to gain insights on available roles in the workplace for women, how to juggle their homes and career with precision, provide a platform to share success stories of women holding key positions in leading organizations and project what the future of work holds for women. The key speaker at the event, President/ CEO African American Institute, New York, USA, Amini Kajunju believes women have to stand up to fight against discrimination at the workplace and insist on inclusion in key roles. She said: “The more we talk about it and insist on it, the more things will change” According to her, it might take some time especially in certain male dominated fields but change will come. She also added that with a supportive and enabling environment at home and at work, women could achieve anything. The moderator, Titilayo Akinsanya, reiterated the need for women to find a balance between the home and their work saying “there has to be a nice balance of successful female executives but at the same time the home is not wanting in anyway”. She added, “You can still be number one but you need your avid cheerleaders, your husband and your children supporting you” The event was a sequel to one held in April, which focused on the talent acquisition perspective of the future of work in Africa.

• Pencom to woo state government on enabling laws

about N4.3 trillion from about N4.1 trillion in the first quarter of 2014. Speaking in Abuja ahead of the maiden World Pension Summit Africa billed to begin July in Abuja, he said the contributory pension scheme currently has six million contributors. He noted that the pension reform Act 2004 was arguably the most critical step direction in repositioning the industry.

The acting Director- General, National Pensions Commission (Pencom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, said the summit which would have 55 African countries in attendance would help shape the industry conversation within the next decade as it is expected to attempt to address present shortcomings and other problems related to pensions administration.

She stated that the summit’s focus is to woo more states of the federation to pass enabling laws in order to join the scheme and thereby deepen pensions enrollment. She added that the forum would also provide an opportunity to recognize states and their entities, which had done well regarding, pension matters as well as create further awareness about the benefits of the scheme. The Pencom Boss noted that

the meeting could help to provide insights into how to create investible instruments to tap into the huge amount of pension funds, which remained unutilise partly for viable projects with minimal risks and which could guarantee timely returns to owners. Also speaking at the event, Chairman, World Pension Summit, Eric Eggink, further stressed the need for such gathering which he said

would help to share inspiring and new ideas as well as insights to harnessing the potential and better position Africa’s pension industry. He described Nigeria’s pension reforms as one of the best in the continent and having the possibility to provide the spinoff for Africa couple country’s position as largest economy in the continent made it important in terms of providing leadership in pensions administration.

Chief Executive Offiecr, East Africa Exchange, Paul Kukubo (left); Director General Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria (SEC), Arume Oteh and Africa Exchange Holdings official, Jendayi Frazer, during SEC’s visit to EAX in Kenya.

Osun to train 31 graduates on skills acquisition From Tunji Omofoye, Osogbo O enhance acquisition of skills and self-employment, Osun State government has selected 31 unemployed graduates with engineering background for a two- month intensive training in automobile mechatronics in Germany. The beneficiaries who are expected to return to the state after their training to transfer the skills acquired to local artisans in turn would commence on their the foreign trip on today. Addressing the beneficiaries at a ceremony held at the Government House, Osogbo,

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the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola noted that the training was intended to enhance capacity building of local artisans most of whom lack the requisite knowledge on how to repair computerised vehicles being used in the country today. Aregbesola said the training would provide a ready-made pool of skilled artisans who would service the automobile industry and help in the development of the state economy. Aregbesola held that the Automobile Mechatronic Institute became necessary because the capacity to maintain an automobile in the country is so low despite the

high demand for cars by Nigerians. The Governor said the institute, which is the first in the country would go a long way in boosting the economy of the state and serve as a means of empowering Osun youths. He noted that the 31 youths selected for the two- month training programme would serve as trainers for the local roadside mechanics whom he described as the highest beneficiaries of the mechatronic institute because cars of today are now built with modern day technologies. The governor said the manual for the training institute would be made in the local

language for the purpose of easy understanding by the local mechanics adding that the building of automobile villages, which would have the capacity to build vehicles, would follow the institute. He noted the institute was named after the late chief Bola Ige because of the love he {Ige} had for technological knowledge noting that the late Ige represented everything technology means. Aregbesola explained that about one billion naira committed for the project was an intervention soft loan provided by the National Automotive Council using part of its Auto

Development Fund Loan Scheme domiciled with the Bank of Industry (BOI). In her speech, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Federal Matters who is also the Chairperson of the Mechatronics Institute Committee, Hon. Idiat Babalola stated that the Governor decided to create the institute a s result of the determination to develop the people of Osun, especially the youths. She described the gesture to establish the mechatronics village as means to further empower the youths of Osun so that they can become entrepreneurs and make a living for themselves.


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APPOINTMENTS Thursday, June 5, 2014

NULGE threatens to pull out of NLC over local councils’ autonomy From Collins Olayinka, Abuja supporting the removal Fcils’OR of local government counautonomy, the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) may suspend its membership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The South-South zone of the union stated this recently at its meeting in Benin City, Edo State. Specifically, NULGE berated the President of NLC, Abdulwahed Omar for displaying a high-level of hatred for NULGE and all it stands for. The unions said: “The SouthSouth Zone of NULGE condemns in very strong terms the endorsement of the NLC President on the abolition of Local Government as contained in the recommendation of the Committee on Political Restructuring at the on-going National Conference. By this action, the NLC President has shown the world of his pathological dislike and morbid hatred for the local government workers’ struggle. The zone is therefore calling for the pulling out of NULGE from the NLC as our cause is no longer guaranteed under his leadership.” NULGE insisted that what is needed is the conclusion of the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to give the Local Government a stronger Constitutional backing and direct funding to enable it perform better. It also submitted that development could only be achieved when local government councils are allowed to function without political and financial interference.

A communiqué issued at the end of the parley said the union deliberated on issues that border on granting of autonomy to local government councils. The meeting submitted that local councils as the third tier of government is a constitutional creation under Section Seven of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The union then argued that being the government of the people due to its closeness to

the grassroots, local government councils should be granted political, financial and economic autonomy, which is the panacea for grassroot development and an inclusive political participation. The meeting also agreed that all Nigerians are aware of this fact and voted overwhelmingly in the last constitutional review exercise organized by the House of Representatives in support of continued existence of local government

autonomy in the country. NULGE berated the recommendation of the Committee on Political restructuring of the National Conference, which seeks to relocate local government council under the control of State Governments and creation of a separate account for Local Government, describing the recommendations of the committee, a decision of a handful of some people. It declared that the recommendations are at variance

with the views of Nigerians as expressed in the last constitutional review exercise. “We therefore call on all Nigerians to come out and defend their decision as expressed during the public hearing exercise organized by the Federal House of Representatives in all the 360 Federal Constituencies and 6 Geo-political Zones in Nigeria. This conforms to the principles of Aberdeen 2005 Commonwealth of Local Government declaration in

which Nigeria co-signed,” NULGE stated. It explained that the declaration adopted 12 principles, which included: constitutional and legal recognition for local democracy; political freedom to elect representatives; citizen’s participation in decision-making; accountability to communities; adequate and equitable resources allocation for local government to fulfill its mandate.

Nigeria operations boost Standard Bank’s performance TANDARD Bank Group, to Sbelongs, which Stanbic IBTC has been awarded a number of accolades in several regional categories at The Banker Magazine’s annual Deals of the Year Awards 2014. Stanbic IBTC was recogized for the Best Islamic Finance Deal for Osun State, and the Best Restructure of Term Facilities for Polo Park Mall, Enugu. These awards recognise excellence for deals completed across Africa, taking into account the various categories for deal submissions. One of the notable transactions for which The Banker magazine recognised Standard Bank, was its role in arranging Aspen Pharmacare’s USD2.6bn dollar funding package. This involved structuring a deal which required the bank to underwrite, arrange and syndicate debt for subsidiaries of the Aspen Pharmacare Group. Standard Bank Group was also recognised for the following deals: Best Islamic Finance

Deal for Osun State, Nigeria; Best Real Estate Deal for Orange Farm, Eyethu Mall, South Africa and Best Restructure of Term Facilities for Polo Park Mall, Enugu. Stanbic IBTC acted as the joint issuer and bookrunner for the Islamic finance deal for the Osun State Government of Nigeria. This transaction was the first time a Sukukbond was issued in West Africa and

saw increased demand from institutional investors with the transaction increased from 10 billion (USD 61.87 million) to 11.4 billion (USD 72 million). Stanbic IBTC was also involved in the restructuring of term finance for Polo Park Mall in Enugu State, Nigeria, including overseeing the addition of equity into the deal. The Eyethu Orange Farm Mall in Gauteng represents a signif-

icant milestone in the development of non-metropolitan areas as it is the first mall of its kind in the Orange Farm area. Standard Bank provided debt structuring and debt finance, to the project. “Winning these accolades across numerous categories is testament to Standard Bank’s African capabilities and on the ground local expertise in the markets in which we oper-

ate,” said David Munro, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking, Standard Bank Group, adding that “Our distinctive African footprint has allowed us to gain strategic insights into the various African markets within which we operate, ensuring that we are uniquely placed to provide our clients with world class service’’, he said.

ICAN calls for transparency, inducts 402 members By Faith Oparaugo HE immediate past president of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), Alhaji Kabri Mohammed has called for transparency among members in their activities. Speaking at the induction ceremony recently in Lagos, Mohammed said within the accounting profession, there is concern of inconsistences and failure to comply with accounting and other regulatory requirement.

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According to him it is the prevalence of corruption and sharp practice in low and high places in the nation which has accounted for the slow pace of development of this endowed nation and this exacerbated by the absence of transparency and accountability. He noted that financial improprieties by persons in position of trust have been a recipe for underdevelopment, increased suffering of the citizens, unemployment, hunger

and anger of the poor and insecurity for all. He called for soul searching among the citizens and in particular among members whose main strengths are integrity and credibility. Mohammed advised that members must strive to create oasis of sanity in their spheres of influence such that a virtuous society would emerge. “We must deliberately join the critical mass to support the on- going anti-corruption

crusade by the government. “We must all stand up to be counted in this battle for the renaissance of our social values and those brought into the fold of the profession”, he said. He added that members must strive at all times to faithfully adherence to the profession, which have influence the institute globally and locally. Meanwhile the institute inducted 402 members in the profession.


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DCSL harps on effective regulation of corporate governance practices CSL Corporate Service D Limited has called on regulators of the corporate governance industry in Nigeria to adopt an effective regulatory system to boost corporate governance practices in the country. The Managing Director, DCSL, Corporate Service Limited, Mrs. Bisi Adeyemi explained the need for regulators to work closely with companies both in the public and private sectors to address issues affecting the practice. Adeyemi during a press briefing to announce its the firm’s readiness to be a governance and corporate secretarial training and resource centre of specialized learning for company secretaries, in–house legal counsel, compliance officers and interns, added that regulators must see themselves as partners in progress rather than waiting for companies to default in order to slam penalties. ”We want our regulators to be proactive where they will work with private sectors to get companies to comply to rules and regulations. Regulators are always too quick to slam penalties for violations of codes. We feel there should be a better engagement with practitioners in the field by regulators to see how companies will be able to comply willingly as opposed to waiting for them

to default in order to slam penalties,” she said. “There is an attitude we see in organisations where they see regulators not as partners in progress but as somebody wielding a big stick waiting for them to default. There is need for a paradigm shift where regulators must see themselves as partners in progress because we all owe

a duty to this economy to make sure that companies survive,” she added. She pointed out that in order to enthrone sustainable corporate governance practices, DCSL decided to establish the academy to properly equip those who have responsibilities within the governance framework

for ensuring compliance to deliver on their respective responsibilities. “We are of the opinion that corporate governance serves as a tool for ensuring accountability, transparency, responsible and ethical management of resources. Good corporate governance impacts positively on a company’s operations.” she said.

According to her, topics such as compliance with the various codes of corporate governance, succession planning, effectiveness of company secretaries, understanding financial statements, listing and reporting requirements, stakeholder management amongst others would be discussed extensively at the

academy. “It is intended that the academy would assist participants to have a better understanding of the principles of good corporate governance and equip them with the knowledge required to assist their respective organizations to imbibe these principles for the overall benefit of all stakeholders,” she said.

Dunn Loren Merrifield gets African awards UNN Loren Merrifield has D received the recognition for best innovative investment company in Africa. The award was conferred on the firm at the International Business Star Quality (IBSQ) Awards, which held recently in Accra, Ghana. Also, the founder, Dunn Loren Merrifield, Sonnie Ayere has been named best male entrepreneur – Investment services in Africa by the IBSQ. The yearly International Business Star Quality award organised by Aspire West Africa seeks to reward enterprises and entrepreneurs in Africa for quality, innovation and exceptional leadership management. Receiving the award for Dunn Loren Merrifield, Mr. Henry Ekechukwu – Head corporate brand & strategy communications, affirms that “introducing innovative solutions into the various investment bank-

• As Sonnie Ayere emerges best male entrepreneur ing products we offer resonates with our vision in providing niche services to the markets in Africa, in particular, Nigeria. We blend creativity and informed investment banking strategies to produce solutions that continue to meet the needs of our clients”. In a statement by the President Aspire West Africa, Emmanuel Bernards, he confirmed that the International Business Star award recipients are selected based on their commitment and contribution to excellence, innovation, technology, excellent leadership, management and quality with their areas of business operations. The selection of Dunn Loren Merrifield for this award recognises the adoption of the firm’s Total Quality

Management (TQM) approach to customer satisfaction and the continuous improvement of innovative processes it engages for efficient provision of investment banking products. Meanwhile, Ayere, a recipient of the IBSQ best male entrepreneur, investment services in Africa is a quintessential structured finance & management expert with over twenty years professional experience working in corporate banking, asset management and housing sector financing. He has maintained an astute leadership style over the years with the following institutions in London – (BMO) – Nesbitt Burns (the investment banking arm of Bank of Montreal), HSBC Bank, Natwest Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Bank and the International Finance

Corporation (IFC) in Washington D.C and Johannesburg, South Africa. Ayere established Dunn Loren Merrifield in 2009 with a vision to lead pathways for sustainable investment and capital financing in Africa. The purpose of the firm is to give innovative financing solutions to clients, and identifying asset classes that will help shape new investment products to meet the needs of the market. Ayere in 2013 was appointed as task manager responsible for the establishment of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and is currently seconded by the board as pioneer CEO of the company. The NMRC is set up as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with shareholders spanning government agencies, local and interna-

tional financial institutions, mortgage banks and private equity investors to meet the current housing finance sector needs in Nigeria by bridging the funding cost of residential mortgages.

Ayere


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APPOINTMENTS Thursday, June 5, 2014

NASU cautions against prevention of members from union’s activities From Collins Olayinka, Abuja

HE WAEC/Libraries and Others Trade Group Council of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has cautioned Registrars, zonal coordinators and branch controllers of WAEC and Directors of Library Boards against preventing its members from participating in union’s activities. Rising from its regular meeting held in Ibadan, the union frowned at the unbridled arrogance and unwarranted high handedness of some of the Registrar of the officials, who cultivate the habit of denying the union’s members the right to associate. A statement by Chairman/Deputy President, Michael Adegoke and the Trade Group Secretary, ‘Damola Adelekun, NASU said it is worried the some of the managements have formed the habit of not granting Union Executives permission to attend Union assignments for example the Branch Controller, WAEC, Makurdi. The Council submitted that it is convinced that the freedom to participate in union activities is fully entrenched in the Nigerian Constitution and condition of service of all the examination bodies. The Council-in-Session therefore called on the Governing Councils of the examinations bodies, HNO WAEC and Management of State Libraries to caution erring officers in order to avoid industrial disharmony. The Council-In-Session also frowned at the continued neglect of libraries, which has led

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to deplorable condition of most publib liraries in the country. It noted that the neglect by the government and decline in individual and organisations’ support have contributed in great measure to the decay in this very vital organ of the educational sector in the country. The Council-in-Session expressed belief that for a nation to develop, it must have effective and efficient library services. The Council-in-Session therefore urged government to declare emergency in the sector by improving funding for acquisition of current and relevant books, non-book materials, virtual facilities and infrastructure. It also called for the approval of an enhanced salary structure for the staff of the State Libraries and implored the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to intervene in public library. The Council-in-Session expressed its happiness with the positive development between the Union and the Management of WAEC, Nigeria National office over the settlement of the members’ grievances. However, it called on WAEC Management to fully implement the agreement reached with the Union at the meeting held on 5th March 2014 to expedite action on the remaining issues yet unresolved. While decrying the current security challenge Nigeria is facing, the Council-in-Session frowned at the unabated trend of kidnapping, communal clashes, armed robbery

and terrorism resulting in the destruction of lives, property and other valuables. The Council-in-Session was quick to acknowledge the efforts of Federal Government in curbing the menace and further called on all tiers of Governments to double their efforts towards securing the lives and property of its citi-

zenry. The Council-in-Session noted with great concern the alarming rate of unemployment and under-employment in the country. The Council expressed worries that thousands of graduates leave tertiary institutions every year with no hope of getting jobs and that those employed do

not even earn enough to cover their primary needs of feeding and accommodation. The Council-in-Session therefore called on the Government to come up with conscientious and people oriented policies aimed at getting millions of unemployed Nigerian youths engaged, as an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

NASU also commended the Federal Government for rejecting the recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye Committee on the merger of the National Examinations Council (NECO) with the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and outright scrapping of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME).

Deputy Manager, Top3 Quality Management Consulting, Sani Oke (left) presenting the African Quality Achievement Award (AQAA), won by One Card to its Chief Commercial Officer, Taiwo Ogunkanmi and Marketing Manager, Mrs. Ogbonna Amaka, in Lagos

ICSAN to partner govt agencies on good corporate governance HE President of the T Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN), Dr. Suleyman Ndanusa, has said the

Institute would collaborate with the various agencies of government to promote and propagate the ideals of good corporate governance across the country. Ndanusa, who stated this in an interview with newsmen recently in Lagos, also said a new Secretariat is to be built by ICSAN as part of the plans for the Institute within the next one year. According to him, the Institute would also go into collaboration with the various agencies of government to promote and propagate the ideals of good corporate governance across the country. Besides, he noted that legislations will not work to instill good corporate governance but rather persuasion and moral suasion will be the ideal method. The ICSAN boss said most

companies failed in the past for lack of good corporate governance as they did not embrace international best practices. “Despite the preponderance of abuses in the society, the Institute will continue to produce members who will continue to function as Corporate Governance soldiers and compliance officers”, Ndanusa said. Re-affirming that ICSAN is the leading institution in the promotion of good corporate governance in the country, he said the Institute had in the past contributed immensely to Corporate Laws through the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and various codes of Corporate Governance and would continue to do so. Another area, he said, was the need for the proper recog-

nition of ICSAN Certificates by the government as any other professional body to ensure its enhanced entry point into the Civil Service of the Federation. On the new secretariat, Ndanusa said that the high rise building would be within the same ICSAN complex at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. He said that already, the Council of the Institute was shopping for a reputable developer for the project. The ICSAN President said the Institute would continue to condemn in very strong terms the high level of corruption in the country just as the abduction of the two hundred and thirty-nine students of Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State. He said ICSAN would also continue to react to contemporary issues in the best interest of the nation.

Group condemns headship of hospital units by non-medical staff By Chuka Odittah, Abuja S the health sector continues to face internal crisis, President of Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), Dr Steven Oluwole has warned that continuous appointment of non medical personnel to head core departments in the nation’s teaching hospitals is a dangerous trend that holds grave consequences for all hospital users. Oluwole who stated this in Abuja at a media briefing, stressed that unless the ugly trend is quickly checked, the gains so far made in stabilizing quality of medical prac-

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tice in Nigeria would be completely lost. According to him, many tertiary hospitals now hire noncore medical personnel to head departments in the teaching hospitals, as situation he said negates international best practices and the edict of the practice of medicine in Nigeria. MDCAN president advised that the health sector must be run by a community of trained personnel who work as a team, rather than as rivals. He urged all players in the sector to be guided by the Health sector Act, saying once this is done, rancour in the sector would seize. He stated that core compe-

tence should be used as criteria to appoint personnel to critical sectors in the day-today running of the hospitals, rather than by nepotism. Oluwole added that the situation, which is among causes of agitations in the medical community, should be immediately looked into to prevent further crisis in the hospital community. He condemned allegations of double salary being paid to medical and dental consultants by university authorities, saying consultants earn only between N17, 000 to 40,000 per month for clinical duties, surgeries, care for out-patients and other specialist roles.


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ScienceGuardian ASTRONOMY With J.K. Obatala

Celestial motions- matters “arising” ID you ever wonder D why the Sun, Moon, stars and planets appear

The newly discovered ‘mega-Earth’ Kepler-10c dominates the foreground in this artist’s conception. Its sibling, the lava world Kepler-10b, is in the background. Both orbit a sunlike star. Kepler-10c has a diameter of about 18,000 miles, 2.3 times as large as Earth, and weighs 17 times as much. Therefore it is all solids, although it may possess a thin atmosphere shown here as wispy clouds. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Astronomers discover new type of planet: ‘Mega-Earth’ STRONOMERS announced A Tuesday that they have disWorld’s best thermometer made from light covered a new type of planet- a rocky world weighing 17 times as much as Earth. Theorists believed such a world couldn’t form because anything so hefty would grab hydrogen gas as it grew and become a Jupiter-like gas giant. This planet, though, is all solids and much bigger than previously discovered “superEarths,” making it a “megaEarth.” “We were very surprised when we realized what we had found,” says astronomer Xavier Dumusque of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), who led the data analysis and made the discovery. “This is the Godzilla of Earths!” adds CfA researcher Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative. “But unlike the movie monster, Kepler-10c has positive implications for life.” The team’s finding was presented today in a press conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The newfound mega-Earth, Kepler-10c, circles a sunlike

star once every 45 days. It is located about 560 light-years from Earth in the constellation Draco. The system also hosts a 3-Earth-mass “lava world,” Kepler-10b, in a remarkably fast, 20-hour orbit. Kepler-10c was originally

spotted by United States National Aeronautic Space Agency’s (NASA’s) Kepler spacecraft. Kepler finds planets using the transit method, looking for a star that dims when a planet passes in front of it. By measuring the amount of dimming,

astronomers can calculate the planet’s physical size or diameter. However, Kepler can’t tell whether a planet is rocky or gassy. Kepler-10c was known to have a diameter of about 18,000 miles, 2.3 times as large as Earth. This suggested it fell CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

Scientists identify compound that inhibits MERS, SARS O specific drugs exist to N work against coronaviruses - the pathogens behind severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome - but research published in the journal PLOS Pathogens unveils a new coronavirus inhibitor. Prior to the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, coronaviruses were not regarded as a threat to humans. Only two coronaviruses were known to be in circulation in humans, both of which caused only relatively mild, common coldtype symptoms. The recent concern over Middle East respiratory syn-

drome (MERS), another highly pathogenic coronavirus, has made the need for drug treatments that can effectively combat coronaviruses ever more pressing. An international team of scientists, led by representatives of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the University of Berne in Switzerland, has now identified a compound that they say inhibits coronaviruses. In initial experiments, the researchers found that the compound - called K22 - displayed antiviral properties against a mild, cold-like coronavirus. Follow-up experiments confirmed that K22 is also effec-

tive against all other coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS. K22 also appeared to inhibit viruses in cells lining the human airways - a natural entry point for respiratory viruses. Experiments confirmed that K22 is effective against all coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS. The researchers found that K22 prevents host membranes from being “re-shaped” by the attacking virus. A coronavirus alters the membranes in host cells by building a scaffolding of sorts in order to multiply and spread the infection. By blocking this scaffolding action, K22 is able to prevent CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

to rise in the east at dawn and set below the western horizon at dusk? The question may bore amateur and professional astronomers. But others will be surprised to learn that celestial bodies don’t really “rise” in the east and “set” in the west. It only looks that way, from our terrestrial vantage point. One of the main causes of this visual effect is the orbital position and velocity of these bodies, relative to Earth. Another factor, is that our solar system, like the wider universe, is not only in motion but it also has order and structure. Neither the motion nor the distribution of objects in space is truly random. Otherwise, there would be no need for “Astronomy”because the science is based on the assumption that objects in the universes obey rules and principles that can be studied and understood. All solar system bodies have two main motions. They rotate (or spin) on an axis and revolve around a parent body (or “primary”). Generally speaking, the major satellites of the Sun and their moons revolve and rotate in the same sense: From west to east (or “counterclockwise”). In addition to moving in one direction, the Sun’s eight planets also revolve in roughly the same plane or level (called the ecliptic). Those planets that have moons tend to replicate the order and structure of the solar system. Their satellites generally revolve and rotate in the same sense as the planets. Note carefully, that I said “sense,” and avoided the more commonly used term, “direction”. That’s because the so-called “cardinal points”-“east,” “west,” “north” and “south”—have meaning, only for an observer on Earth’s surface. There is nothing like “direction”no “east” or “west”-in space. Expressions like “up” and “down” are equally meaningless. They are merely terms of convenience. In reality, when we look into space from any point on the planet, we are looking outward from a curved surface. Earth’s inhabitants are domiciled on a spinning hunk of rounded rock, with a diameter of 12,750 kilometers. We are gummed to its surface by the force of gravity, which pulls everything towards the centre of the sphere-

otherwise everybody would go flying off into space! Conversely, neither is inhabitants packed and squeezed into the centre of the sphere (where we would surely be turned into natural gas!). That’s because, in contrast to the four outer planets, the surfaces of Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury are solid; and our bodies cannot penetrate them. So we go about our business here in Nigeria (situated on Earth’s equatorial budge), unmindful that we are actually walking around on a sphere- at the midway point of a giant, rotating football. It there is anything like “up,” it would have to be at the North Pole- or, more precisely, 24 degrees from the pole (since Earth is tilted offcentre, by that value). Only if a person were standing at the same point in the Southern hemisphere, could he claim to be looking “down”. I am often asked, both in my public lectures and private conversations, “How do the celestial bodies stay up there? Why don’t they come crashing down into Earth? The answer, of course, is that they aren’t “up there”: Because there’s no such place as “up”! We’re all whirling about space! Therefore, the more accurate positional designations, for an observer standing on our planet, are “out” and “in”. Since I am writing for earth-bound readers, I will continue to use the familiar terms of convenience. Just remember: There is no “direction,” in the earthly sense, out there! Why then, do celestial bodies appear to travel from east to west? Well, let’s take the Moon. The Earth rotates from west to east, once every 24 hours, whereas the lunar sphere revolves around us monthly. We thus spin eastward “underneath,” giving the Moon an apparent westward daily motion. Finally, just two months ago, Jupiter formed a near-perfect isosceles triangle with the bright stars Pollux and Castor. But it has since moved eastward, relative to the stars (its true motion), while, at the same time, drifting westward from our earthly vantage point! The apparent westward drift of Jupiter arises from Earth’s faster orbital velocity-which make the former appear to move west on the horizon.


42 | SCIENCE HEALTH Thursday, June 5, 2014

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How to ensure tobacco harm reduction in Nigeria, by BAT By Emeka Nwachukwu RITISH American Tobacco B has urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Governments around the world of its desire to see progressive approach to tobacco regulation by adopting a policy of tobacco harm reduction. BAT made this call to commemorate this year’s World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). According to Kingsley Wheaton, British American Tobacco’s Director of Corporate & Regulatory Affairs, “For governments seeking to reduce tobacco use, we believe its time for new, more progressive approaches to be considered. One such solution is to offer adult smokers a choice of substantially less risky products such as e-cigarettes. “This approach is what many refer to as ‘Tobacco Harm Reduction’. However, for this to work, Governments and the public health community

need to embrace this concept and the products that support it.” Recent media reports suggest that less risky nicotine products such as e-cigarettes could be classified as tobacco products by the WHO. This could see governments eventually subjecting e-cigarettes to hefty excise duty, public smoking bans and severe marketing restrictions, all of which would hamper their growth and development. “If e-cigarettes are classified as tobacco products, then the associated regulatory hurdles will mean smokers will find it harder to access less risky alternatives - this can only be a bad thing for public health. “We hope the arguments being made by the scientific community, the industry and public health campaigners will demonstrate the need for policy makers to carefully consider the benefits of tobacco harm reduction and give it their full support,” Wheaton reiterated.

NHF tasks FG, states to emulate Lagos on banning public smoking S part of activities to mark the World No Tobacco Day, the Director of the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) Tobacco Forum, Mr. Dapo Rotifa, has tasked other states to emulate Lagos State Government and declare ban on Public smoking, which aimed at preventing residents from adding to the estimated two million people killed by smoking-related ailments worldwide. Rotifa in a statement said the recently released World Health Organization (WHO) 2013 Global Youth Tobacco Survey Report in Nigeria shows an increase in prevalence amongst youths to 15.4

A

per cent within ten years in Youths from less than 10 per cent a decade ago. “This is alarming!” Rotifa commended the efforts of Lagos State Government and pledged support to the Governments efforts in ensuring compliance to the new law by Lagos residents. The NHF also called on the Federal and State Governments to raise taxes on Tobacco as research according to WHO shows that higher taxes are especially effective in reducing tobacco use and preventing young people from starting to smoke.

NHIS to kick off community-based social health insurance programme in N a definite response to the IUniversal policy framework of the Health Coverage in Nigera, the Lagos Zonal office of the National Health Insurance Scheme through its State Offices of Ikeja and Lekki would be flagging off the Community Based Social Health Insurance Program (CBSHIP) in communities spread across Local Government Areas (LGAs) before the end of this quarter. Some of the communities include; Ibiye community in Badagry , Ajiran and Ilaje communities in Eti Osa, Binukonu Shopping Complex in Kosofe, Orisunbare Spare Parts Associations in Ifako-Ijaye,

Makoko Community in Lagos Mainland, Igando and Onosa Communities in Ibeju-Lekki, Irayi Community in Epe and Sunday Market Ogba in Ikeja LGA. The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Dr ‘Femi Thomas had in a recent forum stated that “the Scheme is working assiduously to addressing the health challenges of the vulnerable groups in Nigeria, who do not have the financial muscles to pay huge medical bills out-of-pocket”. Furthermore, the Lagos Zonal Coordinator of NHIS, Mr. Nasiru Ikharo, has revealed that the CBSHIP is a noble project of Government aimed at improving the entire health status of the citizenry.

Chief Executive Officer, Katchey Company Ltd, Kate Isa (left) Director, BioMonitoring, East Europe Middle East Aferica, Merck Millipore, Dr, Robert Nadaskay, DirectorGeneral, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Dr, Paul Orhii and General Manager, Merck Chemicals, M.S Mahadevan at the Merck Millipore Training: Biomonitoring and Labouratory Water Technologies in Lagos on 03/6/2014 PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

‘Why city elites have 63years life span’ By Chukwuma Muanya O you have erectile dysD function (ED)? Are you finding it hard getting it up? You are likely to have a heart attack soon, say medical experts. The medical experts yesterday in Ikeja, Lagos, at the first edition of Lagos Country Club (LCC) Health Seminar Series said ED, inability to achieve and sustain erection, is usually caused by atherosclerosis, which is predisposed by hypertension and diabetes. Atherosclerosis is the clogging of the blood vessels by fatty deposits that restricts the supply of blood to the organs. The team of medical experts led by the Chairman LCC Clinic Monitoring Committee, Dr. Babafemi Thomas, identified hypertension and diabetes as the two major causes of mortality among Lagos elites with average life expectancy put at 63 years. Other members of the medical team put together by the President of the LCC Ikeja, Barrister Adewale Osomo, include: Consultant Urologist at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH); Dr. R. W. Ojewola; Consultant Endocrinologist at Lagos Stat University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Dr. A. O. Dada; and Consultant Cardiologist at LUTH, Dr. Ale Olagoke. Thomas who is also a former Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association

(NMA) Lagos Chapter said: “We have also taken an average study of the age of passage in Lagos Country Club for example which we found out that in the last five years over 70 members have died and the average age at death is about 63 years. “Though that is better than the average in Nigeria which is about 50 years we believe that people in this environment can live longer years. In every society what happens to the elites will eventually filter down to the more dependent people because if the elites continue to impact their knowledge to the system they can actually improve the system.” The theme of the seminar is “Hypertension” with subthemes “Diabetes Mellitus and Erectile Dysfunction.” Corroborating Thomas, Osomo said: “Basically because we are a club we had situation were our members just die off like that. The mortality rate now or the age is that we are looking at people just in their mid sixties, people who are yet to hit 70s and we are saying no we can do a lot better than this. “There are silent killershypertension, diabetes, and other things that are possibly preventive when you know and we said lets carve something, the issues around diabetes, erectile dysfunction is also an issue that people might not talk about even though it is prevalent among

UNTH boosts services with solar energy From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu HE management of T University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu has begun the installation of solar energy in the 23 wards of the hospital to boost power supply and other medical services. The hospital said it was forced to embark to embark on the project as a necessity following a terrible blackout a r o u n d November/December 2013, where the multi-million naira armored cable supplying electricity to the hospital from the national grid got burnt and the generating

sets in the hospital packed up at the same time, stressing that it caused terrible disruptions in her services. Inaugurating the project, Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo commended the management of the hospital for being the first teaching hospital in the country to key into the project as alternative source of energy. “I’m quite pleased that through the leadership of the Chief Medical Director, supported by the governing board, this teaching hospital decided to take the bull by the horn and this project has been done to ensure no matter what happens with sup-

ply of electricity through the grid, the wards will eventually still have power,” he said. The Minister promised to partner with the hospital to expand the project at a cheaper cost so that with time, they would completely rely on solar power while the national grid would serve as back up, and called on other teaching and general hospitals in the country to key into the scheme. Earlier in his address, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Christopher Amah stated that the solar energy initiative was embarked upon to provide not only a back up but alter-

native source of energy. He said the project started in two out of 23 wards in the hospital as a trial, saying that after about two years, and based on the level of success of the scheme, it would be extended to other wards in the hospital, adding that services at the hospital had always been disrupted by irregular power supply. “As a matter of fact, the need to have constant power supply cannot be more imperative in any other situation than in a hospital setting such as ours because of the peculiarity of services rendered which involves saving human lives.

some people. We just thought let us put something together, lets start something off and we are happy that we have succeeded in that at least so far.” Thomas who is also a consultant haematologist at Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos, said: “It will not be wrong to assume that a sizeable amount of these recorded deaths are related to cardiovascular circumstances and, given recent in care of diseases processes including but not limited to hypertension and diabetes mellitus, predisposing cardiovascular events, these deaths are largely preventable. “This what necessitated the creating a platform to bring health education closer to Lagos Country Club members via this inaugural health seminar series which we hope can become an annual or bi annual event going forward.” On ED predicting forthcoming cardiovascular event such as heart attack, Thomas said: “I picked ED because there is always this stigma about sex. Sex is more like determines the human population. It is a pleasurable circumstance and there is always a tendency for perversion. There is always this stigma. A whole lot of people don’t want to be associated with sexual issues so that they will not be seen as wayward. “But there is a reality that ED can be a very good predictive value for a forthcoming heart condition because basically hypertension and diabetes can predispose you to what we call atherosclerosis. It is more like lipid deposits blocking your blood vessels. Once blood is no longer supplied that organ tends to fail. The penis has vessels and as this deposition is happening it also happens in the vessels of the penis and because these are usually the smallest vessels they actually block first and you start having ED problems on the way to a cardiac even. “So we are trying to bring people more out of the closet and to be more open about an event that may also have cardiovascular event predictive value. Hypertension and diabetes are also one of the common causes, in fact diabetes is one of the commonest causes

of ED.” Thomas further stated: “Basically we are here because we have a club where from time to time members just like the rest of the population are exposed to what we call non communicable diseases. Africa to a large extent is known for communicable diseases because of the tropical environment, infections and so on. But there is a rising tide of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like hypertension diabetes, cancers particularly to which Lagos State is beginning to pay attention to based on statistics that is reaching them in their hospitals and hypertension on its own is already singled out as a public health circumstance. “40 per cent of the world population, four out of every ten people have hypertension statistically. In some environment, in some Scandavanian countries it goes to as high as 72 per cent and in some rural environment maybe as low as six per cent. While for diabetes the prevalence is about six per cent. But eventually everybody is going to be exposed to the modern day and that is also a factor apart from genetics. Medically hypertension and diabetes are interrelated and they come with a lot of complications which are multi-systemic, they target a lot of organs in the body from the eyes, heart, nervous system and so on. “We are actually saying with the poor statistics like the expected lifespan of an average Nigerian which is about 47/48 years, we should not continue to underestimate these diseases. We are now bringing in more like a health awareness campaign for people particularly elites since this is an elites environment to invest more in their health. The problem with the health system is that an average individual would rather pay to achieve a pleasurable circumstance than pay to prevent a health problem or to prevent pain, it is natural. But there is a reality that irrespective of how healthy we are today we don’t know what is coming. There is always a chance that we are all going to come down with an illness. This forum is to help us to be better prepared.”


Thursday, June 5, 2014 43

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NaturalHealth Scientists make progress with ‘milk vaccination’ By Chukwuma Muanya

• Growing number of male athletes drink human breast milk

S part of activities to celeA brated the World Milk Day, scientists have reported • Regular intake decreases knee osteoarthritis progression in women progress in the use of breast

milk as vaccination to boost immunity against diseases even as athletes are patronizing human breast milk as the newest and hottest workout beverage. According to study results published recently in Arthritis Care and Research, women who frequently drink fat-free or low-fat milk may delay the progression of knee osteoarthritis. The finding was not the same for men. Also, not all dairy was associated with this effect- women who ate cheese had an increase in the progression of knee osteoarthritis. Yoghurt did not impact progression of osteoarthritis in men or women. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and swelling of joints in the hand, hips, or knee. Lead author Dr Bing Lu, from Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, said: “Milk consumption plays an important role in bone health. Our study is the largest study to investigate the impact of dairy intake in the progression of knee OA.” Osteoarthritis, the most common form of the join disease, is more common in women than in men and more than one million adults per year consult their doctor due to the disease. World Milk Day is celebrated on the 1st of June. The first World Milk Day was held in 2001. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) proposed this specific day to celebrate all aspects of milk; the natural origin, the nutritional value, the numerous tasty products which are liked by many people all across the globe, the economic importance of milk in rural regions as well as in the entire food chain. In Nigeria, the celebration of the World Milk Day was led by FrieslandCampina. The company in a statement said: “Every calorie of milk, by nature, contains many essential nutrients. Which makes milk extremely nutritious. Scientists have discovered more than 400 components in milk that are important for the energy provision, growth, development, protection and maintenance of the human body. Two to three portions of dairy per day provide important nutrients such as protein, fats, lactose, vitamins and minerals.” Meanwhile, researchers have found particularly high concentrations of immuneboosters in the very first milk known as colostrum, a highly nutritious milk all mammals ingest during the first days of life. They said this form of “milk vaccination” might serve as a basis for developing an immunisation strategy to prevent diseases. Antibodies against C. suis are transferred via the sow’s very first milk to the piglets immediately after birth. This

An acquired taste: A number of men have told how they are drinking breast milk as an alternative to man-made supplements, as they strive to stay fit and strong ‘the natural way CREDIT: DailyMail Online was discovered by veterinarian and parasitologist Lukas Schwarz and his colleagues in 2013. These findings prompted the researchers at the Institute for Parasitology to look for a way to increase the level of these antibodies in sows. The ultimate goal was to provide the piglets with as much antibodies as possible via their mother’s milk during the first few days of life.

Piglets from infected mothers are healthier The idea paid off. Piglets from infected sows suffered less from the infection than piglets from non-infected sows. Overall offspring from immunised mothers had less severe diarrhea or no diarrhea at all. Piglets that became ill recovered faster and excreted fewer parasites compared to those from non-immunised

sows.

“An infection with Cystoisospora suis causes serious gastrointestinal disease in piglets. The infection is continues completely asymptomatic in adult pigs,” explains lead author Schwarz. To stimulate antibody production against Cystoisospora suis in sows, researchers exposed pregnant sows to infectious stages

(oocysts) of the parasite two weeks before parturition. Oocysts as the primarily infectious stage stick to the floor and other objects in the farrowing barns. Piglets ingest them and the parasite colonizes the gut, attacking the mucous membrane. The parasites multiply in the body before being excreted and the cycle starts again. Cystoisospora suis can survive

in pigsties for a number of months and is very hard to kill. This leaves farmers faced with the likelihood of new infections. Sows also ingest the parasite, but due to age resistance they are not affected by this coccidian parasite. High concentrations of antibodies against the parasites are passed on to the

CONTINUED ON PAGE 44

Green tea component upsets cancer cell metabolism new study reveals how an A active component of green tea disrupts the metabolism of cancer cells in pancreatic cancer, offering an explanation for its effect on reducing risk of cancer and slowing its progression. The researchers believe the discovery signals a new approach to studying cancer prevention. Reported in the journal Metabolomics, the study explores the effect of epigallocatechin gallate or “EGCG,” an active biological agent of

green tea. It shows that EGCG changes the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells by suppressing the expression of lactate dehydrogenase A or LDHA, a critical enzyme in cancer metabolism. Metabolism is all the chemical reactions that occur in cells - such as extracting and using energy - that keep them alive, growing and multiplying. These cells can be normal, and they can also be cancerous. Numerous studies have pre-

viously suggested green tea and its extracts may provide suitable treatments for cancer, as well as other diseases. For example, one published in 2012 suggested that drinking green tea may lower risk of digestive system cancers in women while another found EGCG delivered intravenously directly to tumors made two-thirds of them shrink or disappear within one month. But, until this latest study, from Dr. Wai-Nang Lee of the

Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) and colleagues, it has not been clear how green tea and its extracts work to reduce the risk of cancer or slow growth of cancer cells. The researchers found that EGCG - an active biological agent of green tea - disrupts metabolic flux in cancer cells in a similar way to oxamate, a known inhibitor of LDHA. Using state-of-the-art metabolic profiling techniques, Dr. Lee and colleagues found

EGCG disrupts the rate of turnover of molecules known as “flux” - through a metabolic pathway in pancreatic cancer cells. They found EGCG disrupts metabolic flux in cancer cells in a similar way to oxamate, a known inhibitor of LDHA. They concluded that both EGCG and oxamate reduced the risk of cancer by suppressing the activity of LDHA, which in turn disrupts metabolic functions in cancer cells.

Study examines efficacy of taxes on sugary drinks new study of how taxes A might be used to curb consumption of sugary drinks suggests that applying a tax based on the amount of calories contained in a serving rather than its size would be more effective. The study, financed by the Johnson Wood Robert Foundation, which has long advocated taxing sodas and other sugary drinks as part of its efforts to reduce child-

hood obesity, found that consumption of calories in drinks would drop 9.3 percent if a tax of four-hundredths of a penny for every calorie was added to the price, but fall by just 8.6 percent under a tax of half a cent for each ounce in a can or bottle. The study was published online by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. A calorie-based taxing system would also be fairer to

consumers, said Chen Zhen, a research economist at the food and nutrition policy research program at Research Triangle Institute and the lead author of the study. “It provides a better incentive to the consumer to switch to lower-calorie drinks, which would be taxed at a lower rate than highercalorie drinks,” Dr. Zhen said. “One of the concerns about taxing ounces of sugar-sweet-

ened beverages is that consumers are paying the same tax whether they buy 12 ounces of a drink with 150 calories or 12 ounces of a drink with 50 calories.” At a tax rate of four-hundredths of a penny per calorie, six cents would be added to a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola, for example, Dr. Zhen said, while only four cents would be added to a 16-ounce bottle of Vitaminwater.

“From a public health point of view, it makes a lot of sense to tax the sugar, which is the most harmful part of these drinks,” said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health. “We want to shift consumers from drinking more sugar to drinking less, so taxing beverages with more sugar more makes sense.”


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44 | NATURAL HEALTH Thursday, June 5, 2014

Monosodium glutamate, obesity and fatty liver disease HE commonly used food T additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been linked to obesity and disorders associated with metabolic syndrome including progressive liver disease. A new study that identifies MSG as a critical factor in the initiation of obesity and shows that a restrictive diet cannot counteract this effect but can slow the progression of related liver disease is published in Journal of Medicinal Food, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The paper is available on the Journal of Medicinal Food website. Makoto Fujimoto and a team of international researchers from Japan, the U.S., and Italy monitored the weight gain and development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and its progression to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in MSG-treated mice fed either a calorie-restricted

or regular diet. They report their findings in the article “A Dietary Restriction Influences the Progression But Not the Initiation of MSG-Induced N o n a l c o h o l i c Steatohepatitis.” “Although MSG has been deemed a safe food additive, its dosage, interaction with other drugs, effects on vulnerable populations, and effects on chronic inflammatory diseases and neurological diseases are unknown,” says CoEditor-in-Chief Sampath Parthasarathy, MBA, PhD, Florida Hospital Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Central Florida, Orlando, in the Editorial “How Safe is Monosodium Glutamate? Exploring the Link to Obesity, Metabolic Disorders, and Inflammatory Disease.” The findings by Fujimoto et al. “may have far reaching implications, as childhood obesity is a major problem across the globe.”

Can drinking diet soda induce weight loss? EVERAL observational Sthatstudies have suggested drinking diet soda may encourage weight gain, but a new randomized trial finds that it is not so. The study, published in the June issue of Obesity and paid for by the American Beverage Association, suggests that diet drinks may be better for weight loss than plain water. The study tested 303 men and women who followed the same diet for 12 weeks. But half were randomly assigned to drink at least 24 ounces of water daily, and the rest the same amount of artificially sweetened drinks. After controlling for age, sex, ethnicity and initial weight and blood pressure, researchers found that those who drank diet drinks lost

an average of 14.2 pounds, compared with a 10-pound loss for the water drinkers. The mechanism, the authors write, is unclear, but the group on diet drinks reported slightly lower scores on a questionnaire measuring the degree of feelings of hunger. “There’s no magic in diet soda,” said the lead author, James O. Hill, a professor of health and wellness at the University of Colorado. But the less intense feelings of hunger among the drinkers, he said, may have made it easier for them to adhere to the diet. “From everything we know about diet soda,” he continued, “this result was totally expected. There’s not a single randomized controlled trial that shows the opposite.”

How speaking two languages benefits ageing brain EW research reveals that bilingualism has a positive N effect on cognition later in life. Findings published in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society, show that individuals who speak two or more languages, even those who acquired the second language in adulthood, may slow down cognitive decline from aging. Bilingualism is thought to improve cognition and delay dementia in older adults. While prior research has investigated the impact of learning more than one language, ruling out “reverse causality” has proven difficult. The crucial question is whether people improve their cognitive functions through learning new languages or whether those with better baseline cognitive functions are more likely to become bilingual. “Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence,” says lead author Dr. Thomas Bak from the Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. For the current study, researchers relied on data from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, comprised of 835 native speak-

Men grapple for human breast milk CONTINUED FROM PAGE 43 piglets in the first few hours of life through their mother’s milk, where they enter the blood stream and the intestines of the newborns who cannot yet produce their own antibodies. These maternal antibodies protect the piglets from infections in the first few weeks of life. The higher the concentration of antibodies in the sow’s milk, the better protected her offspring are. Piglets with milder symptoms showed higher concentrations of IgA in their blood. These immunoglobulins are not just in the bloodstream, they are primarily found on the surface of the mucous membranes including the intestines where they serve as a defence against pathogens. Researchers found equally high levels of IgA in the blood of the infected mothers. “To date it has been assumed that immunoglobulins do not play a role in the course of swine coccidiosis. Our results provide the first indications that immunoglobulins could actually be quite important. Additional studies are required to identify the exact role played by the antibodies,” Schwarz explains. Researchers found particularly high concentrations of IgA in the very first milk known as colostrum, a highly nutritious milk all mammals ingest during the first days of life. This form of “milk vaccination” might serve as a basis for developing an immunisation strategy to prevent swine coccidiosis. “There are some effective medications for swine coccidiosis, but we would like to use the piglet’s immune response to stop it in its tracks before the infection even gets started,” lead author Lukas Schwarz concludes. Neonatal porcine coccidiosis caused by Cystosisospora suis is a severe parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of neonatal piglets caused by the unicellular organism Cystoisospora suis. Coccidiosis is associated with extensive destruction of the gut mucosa and thus with reduced food conversion, causing decreased weight gain and economic losses for farmers. Infection with Cystoisospora suis results in

heavy diarrhea and may cause fatalities if secondary bacterial infections are present. For animal welfare considerations as well as for economic reasons there is considerable interest in trying to control the disease. According to the American Pregnancy Association, human breast milk is composed of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates plus cells called leukocytes: “They help fight infection. It is the antibodies, living cells, enzymes, and hormones that make breast milk ideal. These cannot be added to formula,” the association said. Florence Williams, author of ”Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History,” described it this way: “If human breast milk, nature’s perfect food, came stamped with an ingredients label, it would read something like this: four percent fat, vitamins A, C, E and K, sugars, essential minerals, proteins, enzymes, and antibodies. It contains 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of virtually everything a baby needs to grow, plus, as we’ve seen, a solid hedge of extras to help ward off a lifetime of diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer. Despite exhaustion, visiting relatives, and even dirty laundry, every time we nurse our babies, the love hormone oxytocin courses out of our pituitaries like a warm bath. Human milk is like ice cream, penicillin, and the drug ecstasy all wrapped up in two pretty packages.” Chocolate milk is seen as a great recovery drink for a number of reasons. Compared to plain milk, water, or most sports drinks, it has double the carbohydrate and protein content, perfect for replenishing tired muscles. Its high water content replaces fluids lost as sweat, preventing dehydration. Plus it packs a nutritional bonus of calcium, and includes just a little sodium and sugar- additives that help recovering athletes retain water and regain energy. The Cut recently profiled an athlete in peak condition that turned to a special formula for keeping his stamina up. While new energy drinks and exercise tips are always com-

ing around, this one is raising a few eyebrows. The miracle drink is breast milk, favored by what seems to be a burgeoning number of men. Athletes are just one segment of breast milk’s new customer base. According to the Washington Post, one man used it to ease nausea related to chemotherapy and another found it to be an immune booster. Of course, there are those that just enjoy breast milk because of a fetish. Freudian concerns aside, human breast milk does contain proteins, fats, and carbohydrates plus cells called leukocytes, which help fight infection. The majority of breast milk consumers are men and most of them purchase their supplies online. They get it from sites such as Only the Breast, Eats on Feets, and Human Milk 4 Human Babies. National milk banks generally do not offer supplies for adults. There are also more casual sources of breast milk, such as Craigslist. However, the Wall Street Journal warns that these internet breast milk sellers are not uncommon and may not be safe. Purchasing breast milk from these sources is tempting, with prices at a few dollars per ounce. However, a recent examination of breast milk bought on the internet found that three-fourths of the samples contained high amounts of bacteria. Milk does the body good, but what about breast milk. Could it be as healthy or tasteful for adults as it is for infants. Before drinking breast milk, consumers should always consider the possible hazards that have caused the Food and Drug Administration to warn against this practice. Meanwhile, the Arthritis Care & Research study “is the largest study to investigate the impact of dairy intake in the progression of knee osteoarthritis.” The new study involved 1,260 women and almost 900 men with knee arthritis who provided information about their dietary habits. Their knees were assessed at the start of the study and again 12, 24, 36 and 48 months later. While the study found an

association between milk intake and knee health, it could not prove cause-and effect. Two experts in nutrition believe milk may have a role to play in maintaining healthy knees. “Certainly more research is needed, but it would be reasonable to encourage women with osteoarthritis to consider low-fat and fat-free milk as one more tool to combat the progression of (the disease),” said Christine Santori, a registered dietitian and program manager of the Center for Weight Management at Syosset Hospital in Syosset, New York, United States. Marlo Mittler is a nutritionist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, in New Hyde Park, New York. She said: “Milk has long been known to play an important role in bone health. It contains the nutrients, such as phosphorus, calcium, protein and fortified with vitamin D, that are essential for daily life.” According to Mittler, “the actual component of milk that allows it to play a preventive role in osteoarthritis progression still needs to be explored. It is also important to note that it is not whole milk but the low-fat and fatfree milk that shows to be effective in the delay.” In the United States, milk has become synonymous with strong bones. It is long been a recommendation by doctors and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that everyone over eight years old include three cups of dairy in their diet every day. But over the years, experts have poked some holes in the milk-bone health connection. Over the years, research has gone back and forth on whether milk really does help build strong bones. A recent study found that elderly men who drank a lot of milk during their teenage years actually had an increased risk for hip fractures. Another study, however, showed that milk (and yogurt) consumption results in higher bone mineral density in the hip. Overall, the majority of research suggests that dairy has some beneficial effects on bone health, in part because of milk’s other nutrients.

ers of English who were born and living in the area of Edinburgh, Scotland. The participants were given an intelligence test in 1947 at age 11 years and retested in their early 70s, between 2008 and 2010. Two hundred and sixty two participants reported to be able to communicate in at least one language other than English. Of those, 195 learned the second language before age 18, 65 thereafter. Findings indicate that those who spoke two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities compared to what would be expected from their baseline. The strongest effects were seen in general intelligence and reading. The effects were present in those who acquired their second language early as well as late. The Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 forms the Disconnected Mind project at the University of Edinburgh, funded by Age UK. The work was undertaken by The University of Edinburgh Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, part of the cross council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Initiative (MR/K026992/1) and has been made possible thanks to funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Medical Human breast milk for sale...Athletes are just one segment of breast milk’s new customer base. According to the Washington Post, one man used it to ease Research Council (MRC).”

nausea related to chemotherapy and another found it to be an immune booster.


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Thursday, June 5, 2014 NATURAL HEALTH 45

Ondo provides succour for trauma victims By Wole Oyebade in Ondo State, StheOMEWHERE what many on this side of world considered only a futuristic possibility is happening with remarkable results. Either the act of opening up of the skull of a living human, tinkering with traumatized brain tissues, and other organs for the purpose of correcting an anomaly, or elongation of a short leg, replacing a hip bone or joint, or piecing together a traumatized internal organ, medical operations hitherto considered the preserve of distant hospitals in Europe, America and more recently Asia, are being carried out with ease. In a brand new structure within the sprawling Medical Village Complex, Off Laje Road, Off the Ondo-Ore Road in Ondo, victims of trauma, old and new, are being treated and their hitherto intractable conditions are being resolved. Name them; musculoskeletal injuries, brain injuries, and other jaw-breaking trauma conditions are receiving effective and efficient interventions in Mimiko’s Trauma Centre. We have a centre of medical excellence built as it were to preserve God’s delicate construction for the coordination of man, and in this case, woman alike,” Duro Adejare, a patient who spoke to this reporter at the Trauma Centre said. His words and experience of others show that indeed the story is changing. Or better put, the story is about changing for the better. That, no one would argue, is the familiar refrain of pastors of the Christian faith prior to delivering another of the miracles that we have come to depend on in complex health challenges on this side of the globe. Yes there are miracles, but they are of a different sort at the Trauma Centre. The change that is here with us is as a result of the creative intervention of the Dr. Olusegun Mimiko government of Ondo State: It comes in the form of the brand new high-end imposing structure called the Ondo State Trauma Centre located in the Medical Village. If the change were to be of structure alone, the Trauma Centre, an architectural delight and an environmentalist’s dream, is a huge success already. But this success pales into less significance if the modernity, efficiency and sophistication of the medical equipment available are factored in. From the crash room, where there are overhead bed panels with oxygen points and suction pump, vitalograph, which has in it equipments like laryngoscope, different range of airway management devices that can be used to quickly establish an airway under an emergency situation, equipments for acute and long term ventilation, multi parameter monitors capable of invasive monitoring, mobile X-ray and 4D ultrasound 64 slides CT scan for quick imaging assessment you get a fair picture of what is on offer in what could well be Ondo’s next signpost for medical tourism. But those are not all there are in the crash room. There are infusion pumps, blood warmers and capacity to quickly establish central lines which provides access for rapid transfusion of large volume of blood in a short interval, there are also various points of care machines that

give instant blood investigation result. The presence of these equipments makes the crash room a resuscitation room, a theatre, a laboratory, an x-ray room and also an intensive care room, because within it all the above five functions could be performed with ease and to the benefit of the patient. Yet there are trolleys that are x-ray compatible. In which case, there is hardly any need to further inconvenience or imperil a trauma patient through turning, shoving and moving. In the Crash room and elsewhere in the Trauma centre, you can slide a film under the patient on the modern trolley and use the mobile x-ray machine available to do a fast and efficient x-ray. There are defibrillators as well as crash carts which have essential drugs that are life saving.

Above all, the protocol in the crash room is such that the possibility of the room running out of stock of essentials at any time is near zero. This is because each item used are replaced immediately before others are needed from among the many stocked. More than this, the personnel that man the crash room are well-trained individuals who have had the benefit of exposure to advanced trauma life support training. If at the Crash room in the Accident and Emergency Unit of the Trauma

Centre, one is regaled with soft-touch equipments that can be used in performing lifesaving operations at the go; that is overhead scanning machines, overlooking for emergency beds/operating tables, other parts of the centre typify excellence and modernity. With ability to scan and churn-out crisp digital pictures in seconds, the Accident and Emergency Unit is equipped to probe, arrest and correct injuries due to trauma even right there at the first point of contact. As soon as bleeding is arrest-

There, the journey of the fortunate patient leads to the wards, either male or female. All of these look simple. They are not as simple as they look. Trauma cases from Road Traffic Accidents account for much of the huge figures of fatalities recorded on our roads in Nigeria. While outright fatalities are many, permanent incapacitation and or disabilities are recorded in their thousands.

ed, resuscitation is concluded and the trauma victim is stabilized, the next point of call is the theater, where more detailed, more profound and deeper investigation and diagnosis could be done. There, the journey of the fortunate patient leads to the wards, either male or female. All of these look simple. They are not as simple as they look. Trauma cases from Road Traffic Accidents account for much of the huge figures of fatalities recorded on our roads in Nigeria. While outright fatalities are many, permanent incapacitation and or disabilities are recorded in their thousands. The reality, more often than not, is of helplessness on the part of Road Traffic Accident victims. The major problems are numerous and multi layered. The first is to alert agencies that could invite help.

The first layer of challenge here is the availability of such ready agencies. The Federal Road Service Commission has become overwhelmed. Police facilities are inadequate. According to Mimiko, the two problems are to become history. There is a brand new Ondo State Accident and Emergency Department working in conjunction with extant agencies to bring immediate care. Several base stations have been established across the State with life support ambulances on stand-by. More than this, the State has procured an emergency toll-free call line. There is now an existing communication centre from which calls could be monitored and help dispatched. More importantly, the State has recruited and trained “accident victims’ evacuation personnel” to man newly procured modern tools for extri-


46 | SCIENCE HEALTH Thursday, June 5, 2014

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‘U-report has role to play in achieving MDGs’ There have been serious fears that some countries in the world, especially in Sub-Sahara Africa, may not be able to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDG) come next year, partly because the voice of the voiceless has continuously remained silent on issues that border on development. But to change the scenario, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) started U-report initiative, a free short message service (SMS)-based system that allows both young and old people to speak out on what is happening in their communities with the aim of bringing such issues into national consciousness so that community people can work together with other community leaders for positive change. Ms. Caroline Barebwoha, a Ureport Start-Up Consultant, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), who has been instrumental in starting the initiative in other African countries, explained that the initiative which has just arrived in Nigeria with over 9,000 membership base has a tremendous role to play in achieving MDGs and making the voice of the voiceless loud in national discourse and development. By Joseph Okoghenun What is U-report all about? -report is a free SMS (short message service) platform designed to address issues communities care about. The way it works is that weekly polls are sent out to users so that people who freely subscribed to the platform through registration can then go on to share their views on issues that concern them. Why did UNICEF come up with U-report platform? UNICEF came up with the initiative of U-report basically because UNICEF strongly recognised the need to respect the right of users and community members especially in highlighting issues of the voiceless. The brain behind U-report is really based on the fact that communities have the right to participate and be engaged in issues that concern them. It is of paramount importance that the voiceless are given a platform where they can speak out and be held. Recognising peoples’ right to participate in issues that concern them and the need for it is really the brain behind U-report, because often times communities are left out when decisions that affect them are being made, especially those that borders on their wellbeing. That was why Ureport was set up as a platform where community members can speak up, get information and be able to influence decision making process. How should one sign up as a member of U-report? To sign up as a member of U-report, type the word join (either in small letters or in capitals) and send it to 24453. Note that all messages are free across all networks. The more the merrier; the number of membership is not limited; gender is not segregated. Everyone can sign up as a U-reporter regardless of where they live. What are the issues that are often discussed on U-report? The issues that are discussed are those that affect health, education, water, sanitation, hygiene, Prevention of MotherTo -Child Transmission (PMTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and security challenges for children in schools. We look at social issues that ordinary human beings in Nigeria would care about; issues that would make their lives better and improve for them to live healthily; issues that focuses on the respect of the rights of the child, and issues that make them more comfortable in their own country. U-report is not a political tool. Therefore, it is not a platform where we discuss about rebel groups. U-report specially discusses issues, which UNICEF has the man-

U

date to work on. Inevitably, although it is not a political tool, it may have political impacts. What we are really interested in is how to improve the lives of the people using the platform. It a tool for addressing issues that have to do with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)- issues that have to do with health, maternal healthcare, access to water facilities among others. You will find out that Ureport as a platform may have potentials to create peace because as communities grow stronger and their services delivered, there will be less need for them to go out of decision making process. U-report will be helpful in achieving MDGs. MDGs is what U-report is forhealth, education, water, environment .All those issues are what U-reporters say they want to discussed and those are the issues that are under the MDGs. How important is the voice of the voiceless in national development? The voice of the voiceless is very important because the voiceless are the people that actually contribute to development. I do not think as a country we are supposed to segregate and say let us listen to these groups who are more privileged and let us leave out the rest because equality is the only way forward for us to have development. Uganda is one of the first countries to experience Ureport globally. What has been the success rate there? In Uganda, U-report has been

very successful because you find that after three years running, we have all 260 members of parliament of board. Members of parliament are using U-report to connect to their constituencies to find out from them how they can improve education and welfare, to find out from them what they think need to be done to lower unemployment rate. Ureport in Uganda has been used to address banana bacterial disease outbreak in partnership with the World Bank and Uganda Ministry of Agriculture; U-report has been used as a platform to get information in cases of disease outbreak. There have been a lot of empowerments that have been done through U-report. Most rural communities in Northern Uganda where Ureport messages are sent out in their local languages, people feel at home and being part of the process of development as they are involved in the process of polling, sharing responses and feedback on the platform. So, there is great synergy between leaders, community members and their mobile phones. How far has U-report gone in Nigeria? In Nigeria, it has started already. We have over 9, 000 U-reporters in Nigeria. It is growing very fast just after few weeks it started. The potentials are really huge. We are looking at over 5 million Nigerians at the end of the year. We are in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and have all the corps members

Barebwoha enlisted on the platform. Although this platform is for everyone, U-report enables us to tap into the potentials of the youths, which have the greatest percentage of the population.

How do you intend to address challenges concerning local languages in sending out U-report messages? In the next couple of months, we will be having U-report in Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo and Pidgin English

added to English language. Corps members have told us that these are the key languages in Nigeria. We believe that if we are able to bring five languages on board, majority of Nigerians will be carter for.

Neimeth prepares Lagos plant for WHO certification By Wole Oyebade O get locally made drugs T acceptable to global community, Neimeth I n t e r n a t i o n a l Pharmaceuticals Plc has reiterated its commitment to acquiring the WHO prequalification certification. The management said this, as it expressed its resolve to deploy more resources to complement N5 billion worth of capital already sunk into upgrading of Lagos plant to meet the WHO specifications. The huge investment, Neimeth said, was in recognition of its’ economic benefits to the company and Nigeria at large, should WHO certification become the standard of supplies and foreign drug procurement system. Prequalification is a systematic process to determine the capacity of a manufacturer to produce a product of consistent quality in accordance with international standards and WHO/UNFPA specifications. Only Swipha Pharmaceutical Nigeria limited has so far acquired the feat in the country.

Director of Administration and Corporate Programme, Rose Oputa recently told reporters that Neimeth was on course on the prequalification plan, which began with $1m investment made in December and still ongoing. With the new machines in place, production has assumed a new dimension. She said: “Some drugs that hitherto would take two weeks to manufacture are now produced with 24 or maximum of 48 hours. The products come out better and the wastages lesser. Since the machines run it, there is bound to be minimal error.” To acquire WHO prequalification, a firm can either build a new factory or upgrade existing one. Neimeth apparently choosed the latter, “because we have that opportunity with the plant we inherited from Pfizer.” It would be recalled that today’s Neimeth is the result of a Management-Buy-Out of the 60 per cent equity holding of Pfizer Inc. The Management-Buy-Out took place in May 1997 when Pfizer Inc. in pursuit of its global

repositioning strategy, divested 60 per cent equity in Pfizer Products Plc. in favour of the existing management. Oputa added: “Our foreign consultant, who was privy to this plant being built by Pfizer, looked at the plant and said there was no need for new plant, but an upgrade. It is when that structure is up that the WHO prequalification team would come back for inspection. We are taking our time to get it right,” she said.

She noted that Neimeth’s promise to its stakeholders was to release a new product based on health needs of Nigerians quarterly, and had been keeping to the pledge, therefore adding to existing 42 products in the market. Neimeth Head of Corporate Affairs/General Services, Ok. Eni Nwaka observed that the advantage of getting WHO certification is huge and in the large interest of the country.

He said: “There are some international pharmaceutical companies that purchase drugs worth N150m at a go, but your plant must be WHO certified to be considered. So, the investment for everyone upgrading is worth it. “Besides that, if all plants in the country are certified, our dependence on importation will reduce because the country would also be self-sufficient to take care of the health needs of her people,” he said.

Delaying vaccines may increase seizure risk HILDHOOD vaccinations C like those for measlesmumps-rubella carry a small risk of seizures. Some parents postpone their children’s vaccinations because they believe the delay decreases the risk. But a new study finds the opposite may be true. The analysis, published online in Pediatrics, involved 5,496 children born from 2004 to 2008 who had seizures in the first two years of life. For children who received

any of their shots as recommended before age 1, there was no difference in the incidence of seizure in the 10 days after vaccination compared with the period before vaccination. But compared with giving it in the first year, giving the measles-mumpsrubella vaccine at 16 months doubled the incidence of seizure, and giving the measles-mumps-rubellavaricella vaccine at that age increased it almost six times. The risk of seizure after these vaccinations at any age

is small — about 1 in 3,000 doses for the M.M.R. and 1 in 1,250 for the M.M.R.V. “Our study demonstrates a low rate of febrile seizure after the M.M.R. and M.M.R.V. vaccines, and that this rate is increased if the vaccines are received at an older age,” said the lead author, Dr. Simon J. Hambidge, a researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research. But, he added, “it is far riskier to delay or avoid vaccination than it is to vaccinate our children.”


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Thursday, June 5, 2014 SCIENCE HEALTH

MDCAN brainstorms on health sector crisis, insecurity By Chuka Odittah EDICAL and Dental M Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) at a recent National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Benin city, the Edo state capital, took a close look at the disturbing waves of insecurity in the country as well as the lingering challenges leading to industrial strife within the health sector. The medical professionals made recommendations for lasting peace not only in the health sector but also the nation in general. Armed with wide ranging perspectives on issues such as welfare of Medical Consultants, kidnapping of medical personnel, nagging rivalry between Medical Consultants and their Medical Laboratory Scientists counterparts, poor remuneration of medical consultants, general state of insecurity, among many others, MDCAN members metaphorically took the nation to the surgical theater in the course of this epoch making event. The meeting kicked off with seminars on best practices in modern day medical practice and how Nigerian medical consultants can leverage on these best practices to scale up the existing standard of medical care in public hospitals across the country. Professor of Surgery and Solicitor of the Supreme Court, Osime Odigie Clement fired the first salvo by expounding legal tips that can help Medical Consultants avoid litigation from clients in the line of duty, just as he exhaustively explained the workings of the law and how it pertains to sustenance of life of all patients. Associate Professor, Bazuaye G.N., in his lecture spoke on the topic; Pioneering Stem Cel Transplantation in SubSaharan Black Africa. He threw light on the success story recorded in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, where the institution has continued to pioneer stem transplantation to the amazement of the international community. These senior medical personnel later digressed to focusing on the insecurity raring its head in some parts of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory, albeit without apportioning any blames. For instance, four major observations were made, while a total of 10 resolutions were passed in a communique read on behalf of the association by its National President, Dr Steven O. Oluwole. On the issue of growing terror attacks, especially recent abduction of young secondary school girls in Chibok,Borno state by insurgents, together with the bomb explosions that killed many innocent Nigerians, MDCAN expressed sadness, saying it was a worrisome development that needed not only to be arrested but prevented in the future. “The pervading state of insecurity in some parts of the country is worrisome. NEC specifically condemned the abduction of innocent school girls in Chibok, Borno state and the unfortunate bomb blasts in Nyanya which left scores of Nigerians dead and many more wounded”,

Oluwole Oluwole said. Further zooming in on national security issues, members of Medical and Dental Consultants Association, while commending the Federal Government as well as the international community for their efforts aimed at ending insurgency attacks and killings in Nigeria, however made some salient calls. One of such calls is that the Federal, States and Local Government authorities together with the National Assembly should take all necessary steps to immediately curtail the spate of extreme violence and killings. They also extended responsibility for lasting peace in the country to chiefs and all well meaning Nigerians who are called upon to out rightly condemn the killings. “We call on the Federal, State, Local Government, and the National Assembly to take all necessary steps to immediately curtail the rising spate of extreme violence and wastage of lives, which have weakened confidence in the leadership of the country, and also threatening the future of Nigeria as a geographical unit. We also call on traditional rulers, chiefs, and other well meaning citizens to cooperate with government and place unity and indivisibility of Nigeria above all interests that will not serve the collective good of all Nigerians”, they said. Commenting on the abduction of over 200 school girls in Chibok, Borno State,the association urged the Federal Government to hasten plans on successful release of the abducted girls, saying that suspected kidnappers should be apprehended and brought to book speedily. “We call on the leadership of the country to ensure the safe release of the abducted school girls in Chibok and elsewhere. We believe those girls have the right to education like other human beings on the planet. The Federal and state Governments should also take action to ensure the safety of Medical Consultants and the release of several that are currently abducted. We also urge that measures be

put in lace to prevent abduction of all Nigerians. Suspected kidnappers that are apprehended should be brought to justice speedily”, they said. In the same breath, the Medical Consultants also gave attention to frequent kidnap of their members in some states as well as the continuing harassment of Medical Consultants by Medical Laboratory Scientists in some some hospitals in the country. As they put it, unless these developments are promptly arrested, they would continue to take their toll on quality healthcare service in public hospitals where they occur. “We note that the frequent kidnapping of medical Consultants in some states in the country which has reached an alarming level is condemnable. This evil acts are considered detrimental to effective healthcare delivery. And the harassment of Medical Consultants by Medical Laboratory Scientists is still occurring in a few hospitals in Nigeria,” he said. While taking a glide through the remuneration structure of Medical Consultants in teaching hospitals, MDCAN members picked a hole in the poor monthly clinical duty entitlement paid to consultants despite huge work load that they carry month in month out. They averred that the less than N20,000(twenty thousand Naira) per month clinical duties pay are too meager when compared with the depth of work they do in the hospital and teaching sub-sectors of medical practice. “The honorary medical con-

sultants in teaching hospitals are paid as low as less than N20,000 Naira per month for clinical duties, which include running clinics, conducting ward rounds and caring for inpatients, performing surgical and other procedures, and several other clinical related activities”, Oluwole said. On the contentious payment through IPPIS, the Medical Consultants said they receive only 11months call duty pay in a year, when in actual fact they take calls month-to-month all year round. Considering this scenario as a disincentive to the volume of work done in the healthcare sector, MDCAN members therefore pushed for an upward review of Call Duty pay for Medical Consultants, to reflect the man-hours they invest in the nation’s healthcare delivery system. In addition to making these known, they also appealed to the Federal and State governments to put concrete measures in place for the protection of Medical Consultants, while also seeking safe release of all members abducted in different parts of the country. On the nagging issue of harassment faced by Medical Consultants,interns, Residents, and any doctor that work under Medical Consultants, MDCAN called on management and boards of hospitals in the country to put disciplinary measures in place to stop further harassment of Medical consultants by hospital community staff. Failure to do this they said would attract withdrawal of their services. “Management and boards of hospitals in the country are called upon to as a matter of urgency institute measures to stop the continued harassment of medical consultants and ensure safe work environment to enable them to provide the much needed care to their patients. “They should be reminded of the communique issued after the last emergency NEC meeting of MDCAN held in March 2014 to the effect that further harassment of Medical Consultants, interns, Residents, and any doctor that that work under Medical Consultants, shall lead to immediate withdrawal of services until a safe environ-

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CECP holds ‘Banquet of stars against cancer’ O climax the National T Cancer Week advocacy programme, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) Nigeria will on Sunday converge donors at the ‘Banquet of Stars Against Cancer (BOSAC). The event, holding at Eko Hotel and Suite, is to

mobilise donations towards the Big War against cancer initiative. Big War initiative is targeting 37 Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs) to take cancer prevention and treatment to the grassroots across 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. Each MCC cost N95 million.

New condom goes on tip of penis to boost sensitivity, inventor claims N American has invented A a new condom, which he says is stronger, safer and enables better sensitivity. The Galatic Cap Pregnancy Prevention device sits on the very tip of the penis, leaving the shaft exposed. It was developed by Los Angeles (LA), United Statesbased Charles Powell after a friend of his contracted Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV). The Galatic Cap Pregnancy Prevention sits on the very tip of the penis, leaving the shaft exposed. The condom comprises two parts - a Ushape polyurethane adhesive film that wraps around the penis - and a cap that sticks to it to firmly trap semen. He believes his product is ‘easier to use, safer and more secure - and vastly more pleasurable - giving a sex sensation the way nature intended.’ The condom comprises two parts - a U-shape polyurethane adhesive film that wraps around the penis like a plaster around a finger - and a cap that sticks to it to firmly trap semen. Powell claims the polyurethane part is like a second skin - and can be put on hours or days in advance as it can be worn while urinating and washing. When a man wants to have sex, he peels off the paper backing on the cap and sticks it to the polyurethane to securely bond the two and trap semen. He insists the device,

which is transparent, will stay on for the duration. Powell believes his product provides a solution to three common issues with condoms: a lack of sensitivity, problems getting into the packaging and applying the condom. He also maintains that traditional products have a failure rate of up to 18 per cent due tto breakage or improper usage. ‘The reservoir cap is thicker and stronger than a traditional condom and is less likely to break or fail.” But critics have pointed out that the device will not provide protection from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as herpes, which can be transmitted through direct skin-toskin contact. Jason Warriner, clinical director of the sexual health charity Terence Higgins Trust, told MailOnline: ‘This will not prevent the spread of conditions such as HIV or herpes as the whole penis is not covered. Some have even hailed as it as condom solution for the porn industry as it leaves much of the shaft uncovered. It is estimated that in 2012, 18.5 billion condoms were sold worldwide. This is expected to increase to 27 billion units by next year, with the market worth $6bn. For more information on sexual health visit The Terrance Higgins Trust website.


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Thursday, June 5, 2014 SCIENCE HEALTH 51

NAFDAC, Katchey build capacity on biomonitoring technologies By Joseph Okoghenun and Wole Oyebade

• Promises balance in product regulation, seeks optimal AGOA utilisation

OOD and drug regulation in the country on Tuesday received a boost, as Merck and Katchey Company Limited partnered with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on biomonitoring training and technologies. The new phase of an existing partnership, which was flagged off with a two-day training workshop in Lagos, is designed to transform regulatory skills of NAFDAC personnel, through biomonitoring capacity and use of latest technologies. NAFDAC Director General, Dr Paul Orhii, at the opening session of the workshop, said the agency recognised the need for continuous capacity building in terms of training, to boost the pool of competent personnel as well as providing current state-of-the-art equipment towards meeting global regulatory standards and trends. He thanked Merck Millipore and Katchey Company Limited for keying in to the Agency’s five-year development plan. Orhii said, as foremost regulatory agency in the country, NAFDAC must associate with credible suppliers of quality products like Merck Millipore, adding that the agency had had long and close relationship with Katchey Company, commending their efforts in equipping NAFDAC laboratories. He stressed that NAFDAC was committed to carrying out its mandate to the fullest and would welcome any institution or stakeholder that is ready to partner with her in this regard. Chief Executive Officer,

Katchey, Kate Isa said the gesture was in line with their drive for the development of science and technology in Nigeria. Back in 2002, Katchey, Merck and NAFDAC signed up a tripartite partnership agreement, which had continued through various administration, “and it getting better.” She observed that the “biggest economy” status that Nigeria recently acquired had made her the toast of multinational agencies, expressing lots of interest in Nigeria. Isa said: “Merck is very interested in deepening regulatory competence in Nigeria. So, NAFDAC and an agency like Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) would be companies they want to help, partner, build up and enabled their staff to be effective in their regulatory oversight. That is Merck’s commitment to Nigeria.” Continuing, Isa said: “Katchey as the leader in the laboratory sector of the economy is very excited to partner with NAFDAC. Besides what Merck is doing, Katchey has also been donating equipments, chemicals, especially to the educational sector; building a brand new lab complex in Government Secondary School in Kogi State and have it fully equipped, among others. “We are very committed to teaching and learning of science and technology in Nigeria. We believe, without a shadow of doubt, that this nation is going nowhere without effective teaching and learning of science and technology. And our scientists and technologists, using science to take advantage of these

F

NAFDAC D.G., Dr. Paul Orhii amazing resources that God has blessed us with in this land, to make our life better. That is what they have done in the West. It is time, as the biggest economy in Africa, to step up; laying the right foundation in science and technology education,” she said. Katchey, 25 years in Nigeria, has trained lab engineers to install, maintain and support the equipment. Director of Biomonitoring, East Europe Middle East Africa, Merck Millipore, Dr Robert Nadaskay added that the collaboration was to enhance capacity of personnel specially related to microbiology: microbiology contamination,

food and drug control and so on. He said: “NAFDAC is a very important partner to us, because they can handle a broad range of products in their laboratory. I see huge potentials in Nigeria for laboratory services. It is very much related to pharmaceutical industry, which is a highly regulated industry. There is also the beverage industry. It means NAFDAC and industries would need more sophisticated technologies and systems for the quality control of these products. Of course, NAFDAC for the supervising of the quality control of the foods and drugs,” he said.

Also, Orhii, on Tuesday, promised to strike a balance between over–regulation and under-regulation of the agency’s regulated products to help the nation’s economy grow to optimal level, even as he bemoaned the nation’s poor ultilisation of opportunities in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) established over a decade ago by the United States Government to assist economies of sub-Saharan Africa. Orhii, who spoke in Lagos recently during the third food and beverage exhibition organised by 151 Products Limited in collaboration with NAFDAC stated that balanced regulation was critical to the growth of the nation’s economy, adding that the agency regulates one-third of the nation’s economy. He revealed that while over-regulation of products could lead to ultimate death of the economy, under-regulation of it would lead to proliferation of adulterated and counterfeited products, which could fast-track death of the economy. While lamenting the fact that Nigeria has not been able to tap into and benefit from AGOA, Orhii stated that the agency has put machinery in motion in collaboration with other agencies and parastals to help Nigeria benefit from the programme. Earlier, Chairman of 151 Products Limited, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, while praising Orhii for bringing to an end the era when the agency used to lock up factories unnecessarily, said that the essence of product regulation globally is to boost the economy. Orhii said: “Nigeria is one

country that has over-depended on oil, but Nigeria is one country that has comparative advantage other countries. We have very huge and fertile land mass and then we have human resources. Yet, we have concentrated solely on the export of oil products. I was very ashamed when I attended AGOA programme in Washington DC about three years ago (AGOA was set up solely to encourage growth of agricultural products from developing countries like Nigeria). When I attended the programme, there was no single agricultural product from Nigeria. “The only African person I met was a lady from Ghana who said she made $3 million that year from the sale of palm oil. We produce palm oil here; even other countries like Malaysia came here to get palm fruit. Today, they are trading palm oil. I was so ashamed that I came back and said let us have a group to add value to our agricultural products. We work with the Bank of Industry and the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) and we gave a guarantee that if you bring agricultural products that you want to export to other countries, within 48 hours we will see whether you meet the standard of the country you want to export to stop the rejection of our products by other countries. “Here is a place where many people come to source for their raw materials or many value added agricultural products, yet we depend on majorly import from these products. I was in china the other time I saw a country with more than 1 billion people able to feed her people and export food to other countries.”

Lagos begins free health screening, education for commercial motor drivers O fewer than 500 comN mercial motor drivers in T&M CMS and CMS-Epe Motor Parks at Marina, Lagos have benefited from various free health screenings including; screening for high blood pressure, diabetes, eye disease, blood alcohol content (BAC) and narcotics during a five day screening, awareness and sensitization campaign organized by the Lagos State Ministry of Health. According to a press statement signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mr. Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, the

State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, disclosed this recently while reviewing the report of the screening and awareness exercise noted that the exercise tagged ‘Motor Park Health and Safety Initiatives programme.’ Idris said the programme was instituted in order to ensure the safety of drivers and commuters by creating awareness about the need for drivers to update their driving skills and techniques, submitting themselves for periodic medical examination especially eye tests on one hand and other

non communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes on the other hand and dissuading them from substance abuse like alcohol and drugs. The Commissioner added that the State government decided to embark on the Motor Park Health and Safety Initiatives programme because human developmental index had shown that the numbers of lives that were lost in a year were not necessarily lost to natural illnesses alone but to violence, road accidents, and other needless and avoidable cause of death.

“This explains why the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation and in Partnership with Guinness Nigeria Plc put together this initiative. Again, that is why the importance of this motor park health and safety awareness campaign cannot be over emphasized,” Idris explained. He stated that the 500 commercial drivers, who benefitted from the just concluded campaign at CMSEpe and T&M CMS Motor Parks between Monday 26th and Friday 30th May, 2014 underwent hypertension

Mimiko pledges commitment to maternal, child survival HE Ondo State Governor, allow the distribution of an opportunity to promote eases adding that Ondo T Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has vitamin A supplement to household practices to state is winning the war to assured of his administrachildren between ages six ensure that all childhood

tion’s commitment to continuous sensitization of the general public on maternal and child survival programmes in the state. Mimiko gave the assurance at the flag off ceremony of may 2014 maternal newborn and child health week held at mother and child hospital Akure on Wednesday. While flagging off the exercise, the governor said previous rounds of maternal, newborn and child health week in the State have helped to reduce the number of un- immunized children and effectively

to 59 months as well as deworming tablets to 12 to 59 months in the state. While calling on the local government caretaker chairmen to provide necessary logistics and financial support for the successful implementation of the programme in their respective council areas, Governor Mimiko commended development partners for their supportive roles in ensuring that childhood killer diseases are addressed. Earlier the commissioner for health Dr Dayo Adeyanju said the event was

killer diseases are addressed in the state. The health commissioner commended the governor for providing all necessary logistics to ensure the success of the programme at all times. He charged the stakeholders on proper sensitization for their wards in their various communities. Also speaking, the development partners through the representative of United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF), Mr. Ayo Ade said, they are delighted to be partners in progress in tackling all childhood killer dis-

eradicate polio. The maternal, newborn and child health week which was initiated in Nigeria primarily to address issues that will promote the reduction of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, featured hand-washing demonstration exercise for some of the primary school pupils and distribution of free insecticides net to present women and nursing mothers present at the ceremony.

and diabetes screening, eye screening, urine drug test, mental counseling and alcohol content test using breathalyzers. “176 people were screened for hypertension and diabetes, 351 drivers had their eyes screened, 120 people benefited from urine test, 80 drivers were screened for alcohol content level using breathalyzer and 83 people benefited from the one-onone mental health counseling”, the Commissioner said. Idris explained the Motor Park Health and Safety Initiative sensitization and screening campaign has been taken to Ojota, Iyana Ipaja, Oyingbo and Bariga motor parks stressing that advocacy, education and enlightenment on what commercial motor drivers should do and should not do as regards their health and well being especially to ensure an accident free commuting is what the programme seek to achieve. “The screening, counseling and advocacy team that run this programme includes medical doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians, officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Officers, Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) officials and administrative workers,” the Commissioner said. He explained that out of

the 500 motor drivers that were screened during the latest exercise at T&M CMS and CMS-Epe Motor Parks, 50 of those screened presented with hypertension while 16 people were found to be diabetic, 100 drivers tested positive to substance abuse and 26 of those screened had excessive blood alcohol level. “Also, a total of 351 drivers benefited from blindness prevention services which include eye screening and eye health education. Out of 351 screened, 117 were given free eye glasses, 42 people were penciled down for special order lenses while 39 were referred for specialized eye care,” Idris noted. He urged commercial motor drivers to desist from taking alcohol, drugs or other related substance before going behind the wheel stressing that evidence abound that road traffic accidents are influenced and precipitated by substance abuse which impaired driver’s ability to manage and manipulate a vehicle well. Idris further explained: “Let us resolve today that we will stop taking a gamble with our lives. Every time you cross the highway, every time you drink Alomo and Paraga, every time you get behind the steering wheels with drugs in your system, it is like putting a loaded gun to one’s head and wondering if it can kill or not. It is a huge risk to take and we should stop taking that risk.”


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Diesel bus alternative LECTRIC school buses that E feed the power grid could save school districts millions of dollars- and reduce children’s exposure to diesel fumes- based on recent research by the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE). A new study examines the cost-effectiveness of electric school buses that discharge their batteries into the electrical grid when not in use and get paid for the service. The technology, called vehicle-togrid (V2G), was pioneered at UD and is being tested with electric cars in a pilot project. Adapting the system for school bus fleets is a logical application. School buses generally travel distances within electric vehicles’ battery range, and they are not in use for much of the day. Electric school buses also do not release sooty diesel exhaust, which contains pollutants that can cause respiratory irritation, lung cancer and heart disease. “I see neighborhood kids waiting for and riding school buses out my window or when walking my dog,” said Jeremy Firestone, CEOE professor of marine policy and director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration. “Electric buses have the benefit of kids not standing around or having their windows open while diesel fumes are being released.” For the study, researchers analyzed existing diesel school bus routes in a midsized suburban school district in Delaware and calculated the costs and benefits of V2G-capable electric bus replacements. Over 14 years, which is the typical lifespan of

a bus, a V2G electric bus fleet could save an estimated $38 million. “I was surprised,” said study lead author Lance Noel. “The savings go through the roof.” The economic research took into account costs associated with fuel, electricity and batteries, as well as pollutionrelated health care expenses and other factors. A diesel bus costs $110,000, compared with $260,000 for an electric bus equipped with a V2G-capable, 70-kilowatt onboard charger. Diesel buses have an average fuel economy of 6 miles per gallon, including the effects of idling, and emit soot, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and other pollutants. These fumes can be disproportionately higher within the cabin of a bus compared to surrounding pollution levels. Add up diesel gas costs plus the medical expenses to society, and the diesel bus looks less cost-effective over time. Electric buses providing V2G services, meanwhile, cover the battery charging and additional capital investment costs, and in addition generate profits while releasing no tailpipe pollution. Choosing a V2G-capable electric bus over a diesel bus would save a school district $6,070 per bus seat, or $230,000 per bus over the vehicle’s 14-year lifespan. Even with taking out the medical and climate change costs associated with diesel pollution, school districts could still save $5,700 per seat. “They could save a large amount of money while also shifting away from the consumption of diesel and enhancing school children’s health,” the authors write in the paper.

New solution for storing hydrogen fuel URNING the “hydrogen T economy” concept into a reality, even on a small scale, has been a bumpy road, but scientists are developing a novel way to store hydrogen to smooth out the long-awaited transition away from fossil fuels. Their report on a new solid, stable material that can pack in a large amount of hydrogen that can be used as a fuel appears in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials. Umit B. Demirci and colleagues explain that storing hydrogen in solids is a recent development and a promising step toward building a hydrogen economy. That’s the idea originated in the 1970s and promoted by former President George W. Bush that we replace fossil fuels with hydrogen, which can serve as a clean fuel. Although a promising alternative to

conventional energy sources, hydrogen has posed a number of technological challenges that scientists are still overcoming. One of those issues has to do with storage. Previously, researchers were focused on developing hydrogen-containing liquids or compressing it in gas form. Now, solid storage is showing potential for holding hydrogen in a safe, stable and efficient way. In the latest development on this front, Demirci’s team looked to a new kind of material. They figured out a way to make a novel crystal phase of a material containing lithium, boron and the key ingredient, hydrogen. To check how they could get the hydrogen back out of the material, the scientists heated it and found that it released hydrogen easily, quickly and only traces of unwanted by-products.

A computer generated image of the Light Thermometer. A slight difference in the speed of the green and red light can tell us the temperature.Credit: Image by Dr James Anstie, IPAS and School of Chemistry and Physics, University of Adelaide

World’s best thermometer debuts CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41 into a category of planets known as mini-Neptunes, which have thick, gaseous envelopes. The team used the HARPSNorth instrument on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) in the Canary Islands to measure the mass of Kepler10c. They found that it weighed 17 times as much as Earth — far more than expected. This showed that Kepler10c must have a dense composition of rocks and other solids. “Kepler-10c didn’t lose its atmosphere over time. It’s massive enough to have held onto one if it ever had it,” explains Dumusque. “It must have formed the way we see it now.” Also, University of Adelaide, Australia, physics researchers have produced the world’s most sensitive thermometerthree times more precise than the best thermometers in existence. Published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the researchers from the University’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) report they have been able to measure temperature with a precision of 30 billionths of a degree. “We believe this is the best measurement ever made of temperature − at room temperature,” says project leader Professor Andre Luiten, Chair of Experimental Physics in IPAS and the School of Chemistry and Physics, pointing out that it is possible to

make more sensitive measurements of temperature in cryogenic environments (at very low temperatures) near absolute zero. “We’ve been able to measure temperature differences to 30 billionths of a degree in one second,” says Prof. Luiten. “To emphasise how precise this is, when we examine the temperature of an object we find that it is always fluctuating. We all knew that if you looked closely enough you find that all the atoms in any material are always jiggling about, but we actually see this unceasing fluctuation with our thermometer, showing that the microscopic world is always in motion.” The paper- Nano-Kelvin

Thermometry and Temperature Control: Beyond the Thermal Noise Limitdescribes a new and very sensitive, but unorthodox, thermometer that uses light to measure temperature. PhD candidate Wenle Weng carried out the work. The thermometer injects two colours of light (red and green) into a highly polished crystalline disk. The two colours travel at slightly different speeds in the crystal, depending on the temperature of the crystal. Meanwhile, planet formation theories have a difficult time explaining how such a large, rocky world could develop. However, a new

observational study suggests that it is not alone. Also presenting at AAS, CfA astronomer Lars A. Buchhave found a correlation between the period of a planet (how long it takes to orbit its star) and the size at which a planet transitions from rocky to gaseous. This suggests that more mega-Earths will be found as planet hunters extend their data to longerperiod orbits. The discovery that Kepler-10c is a mega-Earth also has profound implications for the history of the universe and the possibility of life. The Kepler-10 system is about 11 billion years old, which means it formed less than 3 billion years after the Big

Compound that inhibits MERS, SARS identified CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41 the virus from reproducing. The authors explain: “The remarkable efficacy of K22mediated inhibition of coronavirus replication confirms that the employment of host cell membranes for viral RNA synthesis is a crucial step in the coronavirus life cycle, and importantly, demonstrates that this step is extremely vulnerable and also druggable for antiviral intervention.” The authors also remind that the identification of K22 is only the first, preclinical step towards a treatment for coronaviruses. “One important lesson of the past SARS and recent

MERS coronavirus outbreaks,” they say, “is the need to invest significant efforts to developing efficacious and approved drugs to increase preparedness and combat coronavirus infections.” The news earlier this month that two cases of MERS had been confirmed within the United States (US) was met with concern. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern have “not yet been met.” In response to the MERS outbreak, other researchers such as those from Purdue University in Indiana - are also examining alternative

approaches to stopping potentially deadly coronaviruses. The Purdue team are creating molecules designed to “shut down” the MERS coronavirus. Team leader Prof. Andrew Mesecar explains that the molecule does this by targeting a key enzyme crucial to the survival of the virus: “This enzyme has a big mouth that, in a way, allows it to chew up other proteins the virus needs to live. How do we stop a big mouth from chewing things up? We stuff it full of something else. That is what the molecules we invent do. If you can shut down this critical enzyme, you can effectively shut down the virus.”

Tooth decay could be lasered away with five-minute blast HE agony of root canal surT gery and the need for • Scientists discover a way to make a rotting tooth mend itself using a tooth fillings could soon be ended after scientists discovered a way to make a rotting tooth repair itself using a laser beam. Just five minutes under a laser was enough to kickstart the healing process inside the mouth, the researchers found. The new technique – although only tested on rats so far – could prevent the

laser beam, which could put an end to painful and costly dental treatment need for fillings for some types of decay, and may eventually replace painful and expensive root canal treatment. Researchers, which included experts from the United States government’s dental research team – found a blast of intense light from a laser activated a chemical in the

mouth which “woke up” stem cells within the tooth. The stem cells then formed new dentine, the hard core of the tooth that can easily rot away, around twelve weeks later. Researcher Praveen Arany, of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in Maryland, hopes

to test the technique on people soon. If tests are successful, it could also mean the end for dentures ,which are not as good for oral health as natural teeth. However, fillings may still be necessary for some types of tooth decay, according to the study published in the journal Science Translational

Medicine. Dr. Dusko Ilic, Senior Lecturer in Stem Cell Science, King’s College London, said the technique was low-cost and predicted trials would begin in humans shortly. “The approach seems to be pretty straightforward and although it sounds high tech, the technology is not prohib-

itively expensive,” he said. “Quite contrary, it is low cost. “Since in teeth this process appears to enhance healing, I would expect to see clinical trials in humans very soon.” Professor Chris Mason, an expert in regenerative medicine from University College London, predicted it would be popular with both patients and health care providers because it would be low-cost and involve minimal surgery.


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The immune system and cancer control LL living things are A equipped with a system of cells that are capable of

Participants at the Goldenvita’s “Walk for Life’

Experts task Nigerians on adequate nutrition By Wole Oyebade UTRITIONISTS in the counN try have urged Nigerians to rally behind government’s quest for improved maternal and child health through adequate nutrition. They submitted that adequate nutrition for pregnant women and children, especially in the first 1000 days of life, are important to reducing maternal and child related diseases and death burden in the country. The experts said this at a workshop on complimentary feeding in Lagos, organised by Nestle Nutrition Institute Africa in conjunction with Nutrition Society of Nigeria recently. Nutrition Director of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Abimbola Ajayi reiterated that exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life and complimentary feeding till a child is two years were global nutrition standard Nigerians must promote to reduce the risk of diseases in children. She observed that a larger percentage of infant death in Nigeria could be blamed on inadequate nutritional needs of under-five children, for reasons not unconnected with pervading poor awareness among the public. Former president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo noted that it was worrisome that Nigeria remains one of the 20 countries that present 80 per cent of maternal deaths in the world, and one of the six countries that contribute 60 per cent of global infant deaths. Apparently in agreement with Ajayi that poor nutrition plays a significant role, Onimawo said awareness on complimentary feeding vis-àvis nutritional benefits must be created to reverse the ugly trend. According to him, a six months old baby requires adequate complimentary food for energy, protein and micronutrient needs. He said: “This can be done

even with pap, which can be mixed with soya beans, cowpea, groundnuts and crayfish among others that are well prepared. These should be used to form the 90 per cent of the child’s daily requirement.” Onimawo added that everyone, including husbands should be brought into the frame of child health. “We need to carry the men along in this policy, especially in those regions like the North where women cannot do any-

thing without the consent of their husbands. If the men are carried along, then the statistics can be improved.” He stressed that nutrition becomes vital since the day a women missed her period. “A lot of vegetables, fruits, protein should be involved in the diet. Once the woman feels well, the baby would develop well in the womb.” Apparently impressed by the wealth of knowledge shared at the workshop, Head of Regional Business of Nestle

Sub Sahara Africa, Phidelwa Mba said what was left is the zeal to take adequate action on nutrition. She said though Nigeria had overtaken her home country (South Africa) in terms of higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP), “but we must remember that GDP is one of those indices that do not put food on anyone’s table.” “This we must address nutritionally; feeding our people well by lowering ignorance and poverty,” Mba said.

Emphasis on ‘eating well and living well’ at Goldenvita’s Walk for life By Eno Bassey O promote healthy living, T Goldenvita, the whole wheat meal from Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc., recently held the its Walk for Life at the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos. The event, which was targeted at health-conscious individuals and families, witnessed a massive turnout of participants from all walks of life. The walk, which began at 8.00a.m saw participants branded in adorned Goldenvita t-shirts and caps and trekked from National Stadium Surulere through

Masha- Bode Thomas, Iponri and back to the National Stadium. GSK, makers of Lucozade Sports provided Lucozade Sports drink along the route and at the stadium. Fully equipped ambulances were also on hand in event of any emergency. It was fun all through the seven kilometre Goldenvita Walk For Life route as participants, young and old, demonstrated the essence of healthy living. On stand to thrill participants as they arrived was Nigeria’s foremost comedian Omobaba. Participants were further treated to wholesome Goldenvita

wheat meal and loads of gifts were handed to participants as earlier promised. participants Addressing after the event, the Group Managing Director of Flour Mills Plc , Mr. Paul Gbededo harped on the need for ‘Eating Well & Living Well”. He further said “We all live in an environment that is characterized by professional and domestic pressures that lead to stress and on negatively impact healthy living. It is important therefore that we make out time to relieve stress by embarking on regular exercises.

Three slices of white bread daily raise odds of becoming overweight by half UST three slices of white bread a day were 40 per cent n’t be explained by the white Jbecoming bread a day raise the odds of more likely to pile on the bread lovers having a less overweight or pounds than those who ate healthy diet in general. obese by almost half, a largescale study found. Wholegrain bread, however, doesn’t lead to weight gain, the European Congress on Obesity, in Sofia, Bulgaria heard. The researchers, from the University of Navarra in Spain, tracked the weight of almost 10,000 people for five years. They found that those who ate 120g or more of white

60g a week or less. As one slice of bread roughly weighs 40g, just three pieces could put someone in the danger zone. The finding will dismay the millions of Britons who regularly start the day with two slices of white toast – and then have a sandwich for lunch. Nearly 12million loaves of bread are sold in the UK each day - and nearly three-quarters of those are white. The weight gain seen could-

Instead, it is thought that lack of satiety-inducing fibre and the high sugar content in it takes its toll on the waistline. Prof. Jason Halford, chairman of the United Kingdom (UK) Association for the Study of Obesity, said: “I would say white bread is a concern because it is generally lower in useful nutrients such as fibre and it can contain added sugar and sometimes contains higher levels of salt.”

defending them against invading micro-organisms. With our focus on the human being, the immune system performing optimally has the capacity to prevent any disease from taking place. In fact, it has been confirmed that all human beings are exposed to cancer cells on a daily basis and the difference between those who contract cancer and those who do not is the immune system. An immune system that is compromised may be unable to defend against cancer or any other disease for that matter. As we go on in this article, I shall be discussing how to boost the immune system so as to perform perfectly and defend against diseases such as cancer. Components of the immune system There are two aspects to the human immune system and these are the specific and non-specific immune defense systems. The non-specific or innate immune system comprises the first line of defense, which is the skin or mucous membrane, both of which defend the inner structures against invading pathogens. When the skin and mucous membranes are intact, pathogens are kept at bay, but when there is a breach, such as a cut in the skin, pathogens can get into the deeper structures. On arrival at the deeper structures, there is another line of defense, which is made up of macrophages [phagocytes]. Under normal circumstances, these macrophages, which are white blood cells, quickly attack the pathogens, envelope them and neutralize them with enzymes and toxins. The phogocytes, being nonspecific may not be able to differentiate between a normal cell and an invading pathogen and so will have to depend on another group of cells to help identify the cell. This takes us to the specific immune defense system. The specific immune system This system is made up of specific cells that are targeted at specific pathogens. It is complementary to the phagocytes of the non-specific system. The cells of the specific immune systems are lymphocytes (also white blood cells) of two different types, the Tcells and B-cells. The first type of the T-cells known as the T-helper cells, attach themselves to the phagocytes and helps to determine if the cell or particle the phagocyte has enveloped is a normal cell or an invading organism. If the particle is found to be a

pathogen, it will secrete hormones (cytokines), which signals the start of the immune response. A phagocyte that requires the assistance of a T-helper cell is known as an antigenpresenting cell, which carries an antigen specific to a T-cell. This combination sets in motion different aspects of the immune response. More T-helper cells and phagocytes are called up and the B-cells are activated to begin to grow to maturity. Mature B-cells divide into many plasma cells, some of which are able to destroy the pathogens in the circulation with the enzymes they produce while some return to the lymph nodes to produce antibodies, which will be available if the same specific antigens return. Also activated during the specific immune response are the killer T cells or natural killer cells, which are capable of secreting destructive enzymes and toxins that can destroy any foreign invader or an abnormally growing or mutant cancer cell. More often that not, the immune response I have just described takes place in the blood circulation and is capable of containing what would have been an infection. However, there are times when this response takes place in the tissues or an organ and at such a time the toxins and enzymes and the general reaction, known as inflammation would destroy surrounding tissues not initially involved in the immune response. To avoid the destruction of the surrounding tissues, there is another type of T cell that is released. Known as Tsuppressor cell, its function is to calm down the immune response after the invading pathogens would have been destroyed. They control the immune response and ensure that the inflammatory response does not affect the tissues. surrounding Affecting the surrounding tissues is what makes the inflammation dangerous and if not checked can lead to more serious cases, such as cancer. The various aspects of the immune response, both the specific and non-specific, together with the inflammatory reaction are supported and influenced by micronutrients. The same nutrients that make up the antioxidants that neutralize the free radicals have also been found to enhance the body immune systems. This role of the micronutrients in enhancing immune system function is what I shall be dealing with next week Thursday.


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Education ‘Think of alternatives to lengthy strikes’ Prof. Hope Eghagha is the Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education. In this interview with HENDRIX OLIOMOGBE in Asaba, he spoke on the state of tertiary education in the state, bursary to students, incessant strikes by his former colleagues and other issues. Excerpts: HAT is the current state of the higher W education sector in the state? One of the main thrusts of this administration is human capital development and you cannot develop human beings if education is not properly focused. In the state, we have two colleges of education in Agbor and Warri, a college of physical education in Mosogar and three polytechnics in Ozoro, Ogwashi-Uku and Otefe. We also have a university that has three campuses. In all we are managing 10 campuses as it were, and the campuses at Oleh and Asaba could become full-fledged universities with time. Of course we know generally that there is a challenge with funding and nobody has been able to fund education beyond 13 or 14 per cent of the fiscal budget, whereas the minimum prescribed by UNESCO is 26 per cent. But what we have been able to do is to provide enough to make sure that the system runs. The state government has also been able to allow the institutions to make use of their internally generated revenue (IGR) to develop infrastructure as much as possible. How much does the state government spend on scholarship scheme? Each year, the government releases about N500m. In my first year in office, after making payments, we found out that we had N80m as unspent funds and we declared it to the government. For this year, 28,000 students registered, but only 21,000 were cleared as students by JAMB, others were fake students when they registered. So it was on the basis of the 28,000 registrants that we asked for money to run it. But by the time the verification exercise was carried out, the number dropped to 21,000. So, there would be some money left and usually we declare that to the government. For first class scholarship this year, the state government has released N500m for 82 beneficiaries including cost of administration. So there is no single year that government would just release X amount to run scholarship. In other words, it comes as the need arises, and in tranches. People out there just flaunt figures on their own. There is also scholarship for physically challenged persons, children of deceased civil servants and recently, aviation scholarship. This takes the figure to about N1.5bn. For this year, if we get the full releases as we wish, and as students have applied, it would be up to N2bn, reason being that we have about 82 existing students of first class scholarship and about 200 students, who have newly applied. However, we are making provision for 100 while the balance can spillover to next year. It must be stated that in any system that a clean up is attempted, there would be persons here and there trying to undo things. So what we have tried to do is to be ahead of them, even though there are still challenges. So, every year, we spend an average of N1.6 billion on scholarships. Is bursary and scholarship a good alternative to free education? If you make education free in Delta State, it may not be free for Delta State students outside the state and at the federal level it would not be free. Bursary and scholarship is not an alternative to free education, but is meant to subsidise the financial needs of students. For bursary, the condition to pre-qualify for is very low, that is 2.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). The thinking of government is that let this N20, 000 go round as much as possible. And I have always said that those who try to meddle and play games with the students’ N20, 000 are inviting the curse of God upon themselves. There are so many stu-

Eghagha dents who go to higher institutions without ever having as much as N20, 000 in their pockets at a single time. This last exercise, what the board did was to pay bank-by-bank and so far, 19, 000 students have been paid. How about the alleged bursary scam? I will tell you what we have been doing in the scholarship board from 2009 when we came. For a long time, there were bursary merchants who tried to invade, hack and hijack the process, and every time bursaries were paid, students’ leaders made some money. We then thought that we should remove the middlemen and allow students to register directly; hence the board introduced the e-system of registration. At that time there was a consultant engaged for the registration and then the board members would travel to the institutions to do manual verification. We said no to that. So we invited JAMB to do the process of verification for us. We asked JAMB to produce for us a master list of students who have a CGP of 2.20. With that, we effectively shut out the merchants. What is happening is a backlash because there are certain persons who benefited from the process. In the old regime, there were persons outside and inside the system that benefited and so you had cheats everywhere. In 2010/2011 when we first introduced the esystem, the students did not know that there would be a process of verification, so some persons registered two or three times. There was a particular student who registered 77 times using the same bank account, but changed his name. The bursary merchants did these, and I blew the whistle at the time. What we did was to prevent those 23,000 fake names from getting the money because there would have been tension if we had them arrested. What is the position with the striking lecturers at the colleges of education? There was a time when tertiary institutions

were the very last to go on strike. During the General Yakubu Gowon’s era when there was a strike, students were ejected from the campus accommodation, but for a very long time we did not have any strike. However, from the 1981/82 session, this strike monster came back with a vengeance into the Nigerian education sector. And this is because of the challenges, which the managers and the teachers in the tertiary sector believe that enough has not being done. Having said that, this raises the question of whether the government can finance education 100 per cent. Is there anything like free education? The truth is that somebody pays for it. Where the university runs the educational system for themselves, what they do is that they demand for X amount of money to sustain a programme. And except they have the required number of students, they do not mount the programme particularly at the postgraduate level. To return to the very idea of the strike, they made some demands on their retirement age. On the retirement age of 65, the governor gave the approval for 65 years as retirement age, since last year. On taxation, we looked at the tax regime and told them they had to pay the correct tax because they were paying less before. So they can make an appeal that the tax system should be reconsidered. As for National Housing Fund (NHF), we told them NHF is a Federal Government thing, and we cannot ask you to opt out. Then the pension scheme. We have come to see that it is a question of lack of information. We pay salaries as at when due, we do not owe. We did not expect them to go on any strike but the national body was on strike, so they just wanted to tag along. What is the rationale behind the establishment of four new polytechnics, when most

tertiary institutions are not adequately funded? Time was, if you wanted to access tertiary education in the old Bendel State you had to travel outside the state to the Western region, which was the closest. And then we had the university of Benin. At the time it was created, I remember there were quite a number of people who said it was a mushroom university. They said a lot of terrible things about the university, but it has come to stay. When Delta State University was created after the split of Edo and Delta states, there were some persons who felt it was not going to survive. So each time a new institution is created, there is a lot of criticism. But it always ends up meeting the needs, including the manpower needs. In 2009 when we did the higher education summit, it was discovered that about 25, 000 young men and women applied for polytechnic and then the polytechnics could only admit about 7, 000. When we were looking at our database, we found Deltans in far away polytechnics. If they had a choice here in Delta, they would not go that far. The other time the university was threatened by Boko Haram, over 250 students wanted to relocate from UNIMAID to DELSU. Hopefully by next year we should be able to have our first set of students. Delta State polytechnics seem not to be on sympathy strike with their counterparts from other parts of the country. What is the magic? It seems that their conditions are different because the state government has met its obligations to the institutions substantially, and there is no need for them to embark on strike. In a federation, the parts that have met their obligation should not suffer because others have not met. If Delta State is paying the new salary scale and State B is still paying the old one and they are all going on strike, why should Delta State go on strike? It does not make sense. When the state universities suffer challenges, we do not find the federal institutions going on strike in sympathy with them. Again it is part of the distortion in the federal system of government that we practice that wages and agreements are negotiated at the federal level, without the states being present and later the states are forced to comply. It is a distortion and a challenge. So, our polytechnics refusal to join the strike is the height of federalism. And it means that as far that the state government has discharged its responsibility reasonably towards us, we do not want to disrupt academic activities. To truncate education for eight to 10 months defeats the very objective of education. Keeping students at home for that long stops research and other academic exercises. So, I am calling on my colleagues to think of alternatives to long strikes. Throughout the years of apartheid in South Africa, there were challenges and socio-political upheavals. But the universities remained open and researches were on. But in my days at Ado-Ekiti, the university was an afternoon university. After 5 or 6pm  if you are found around, the security would question you. In other words, you had to shut down thinking after 6pm. For some of us in the academia, real thinking starts from 6 or 7pm when students are gone; when you are on your own; isolated in front of your computer; where your thoughts are flowing. That is when you can apply your mind to different issues. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has to reconsider the use of long strikes in settling issues and look for other options. For instance, a one-week strike will make the whole point and there are other ways of putting pressure on government. A situation where students tend to spend more money… in buying recharge cards or making their hair, than in paying for education, psychologically makes them not to take their education seriously. I see the seriousness with which undergraduates of private universities do their work because they pay a lot. I once went for a trip in 2007 to South Africa and I stayed in a hostel because I did not want to go to a hotel. I met about five Nigerian students there and they said they were paying about N1m as tuition there. And I said, if we ask you to pay N500, 000 in Nigeria would you pay, and they said they wouldn’t pay; yet they were

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56 EDUCATION Thursday, June 5, 2014

Boko Haram activities scare lecturers, students, others from University of Maiduguri From Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri HE University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) has continued to recorded low enrollment figures in the last four years. No thanks to the activities of Islamist group Boko Haram, which has succeeded in gradually reducing the school’s admissions quota compared to previous levels. Immediate past Vice Chancellor of the varsity, Prof Mala Daura, made the disclosure at a ceremony where he handed over the reins to his successor, Prof. Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi in Maiduguri. Daura, who stated that the university, which hitherto had a total of 7,724 students as its quota annually, regretted that the figure has badly plummeted with the school being plaqued by the worst form of decline in students’ admissions this year. Daura who noted that though there was no attack on the campus, the prevailing insecurity in the state “has affected the university indirectly and the university has lost some of its staff members who were attacked and “killed by the insurgents or were felled by stray bullets. This is why some of our staff have left the university. He disclosed that the university presently offers 71 courses, out of which 66 have been accredited, giving the balance of five on partial accreditation status. One of the courses yet to be accredited he said was Theatre Arts because of the need to build a

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modern theatre, a project, which he said would cost huge amount of money. He said he had implemented 80 percent of the recommendation in the White Paper Report of the Visitation Panel to the university, urging the new vice chancellor to implement the remaining percentage especially in the establishment of the Institute of Education and an alumni association. On the finances of the university, the outgoing VC who expressed concerns over the capital subventions from the Federal Government said, “The university is not very poor and not rich either. A total of N323m was budgeted as our capital fund for 2014, but we have received only N16.9 million so far from the government. This is one of our challenges. Our N207 million overhead cost is also grossly inadequate because when we break it down, it means we have to spend N 17.2 million monthly as subventions for 35 sub-heads including electricity, which gulp about N10m monthly, and the running of medical facilities as well as traveling expenses of principal officers of the university and other personnel cost. He, however, lauded the government for ensuring regular payment of salaries and allowances of staff. Daura said he was delighted to hand over the leadership of the university to his erstwhile deputy vice chancellor in charge of Central Administration. On the unprecedented step he took by invit-

ing all principal officers of the university including provosts, deans, heads of departments, students union leaders and other stakeholders to formally hand over to the new leader, Daura, who said it was the first time

such was happening in the history of the university, stressed that it was a move was to acquaint stakeholders on the state of the university and where the new leader would be starting.

Benefits of teaching, learning indigenous languages, by Madichie By Ujunwa Atueyi ITH its capacity to boost W peaceful coexistence among children, curb intertribal clashes and socio-political conflicts across various ethnic groups in Nigeria, the need for education managers to promote the teaching and learning of indigenous Nigerian languages in schools has been stressed. Managing Director of Ethnic Heritage Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, Mrs. Nwamaka Madichie, in her remarks at a training session for select pupils of some public primary schools in the state recently, said inculcating the habit of speaking indigenous languages among students was the way to go in view

of the bonding effect such development has on young persons. At the session, which was part of activities to mark the 2014 Children’s Day celebration, Madichie urged individuals, government and non-governmental organisations to encourage activities that support the celebration of Nigerian culture and practices, “rather than celebrating foreign ways of life.” Insisting that the singular act of promoting the country’s indigenous languages and cultures was reflective of how proud we of our origin, Madichie added that, “We believe that teaching and learning of indigenous languages at all levels, will

encourage better understanding of the beauties of the nation’s environment, as well as stimulate the people to aspire to protect whatever belongs to the country. The present norm of the people’s craze for foreign ideas, cultures and beliefs has robbed the country her opportunities and potentials.” She condemned the gradual abandonment of History as a subject in schools, saying the development was contributing to the moral decadence among the youths and the corruption in the larger Nigerian society. She said the centre since its establishment, within the last one year has trained children and adults on Nigerian languages and cultures.

Babalola, Okojie chart path for sustainable varsity education From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti S the annual conference of A the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) holds at the Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), the need for a review of curriculum of subjects offered by the universities to meet the challenges of the 21st Century was top on the agenda. Speaking at the opening ceremony, which had in attendance Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi and his Ondo State counterpart, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, founder of ABUAD, Afe Babalola (SAN) said while the National Universities Commission (NUC) was charged with the responsibility of maintaining a minimum standard in curriculum development, many universities remained stagnant with the minimum standard. He said, “Such a scenario cannot aid the development of a country or sustainability of its education. Curriculum development must move with the times. I therefore advocate a situation in which universities would be given autonomy in the area of curriculum Development. “At ABUAD, motivated by such ideals, we successfully started programmes such as Social Justice, Intelligence and

Security Studies, Mechatronics, Human Biology, Event Management as part of tourism and media as part of Communication Studies.” Babalola, who expressed optimism that the emergence of private universities would improve the standard of education in Nigeria, charged the vice chancellors to resist undue pressure from the politicians in order to maintain the quality of education. The legal luminary, however, bemoaned the large numbers of illegal universities in Nigeria and suggested that the NUC should be empowered to prosecute founders of such institutions. The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie, vowed to deal decisively with any Nigerian university that fails to meet up with the required standard capable of improving the quality of education in the country. He said such new penalties, which would shift from mere blacklisting through denial of course accreditation or withdrawal of recognition, would not be limited to private universities alone. According to him, the new order will also affect institutions owned by either the states or federal government. Okojie said the need to fully sanitise the system without

fear or favour, to whoever owns the institution had become necessary if they must remain relevant to the development of the nation through functional education. The NUC boss charged each of the universities to run only those courses that they have comparative advantage, as well as capable of solving the problems and challenges of the 21st century. He said officials of the inspectorate division of the commission would intensify their assessment visits to all universities to determine their standards and ability to deliver on courses they advertise. He said the time has come for the universities to review their curriculum to prepare their students for the future because according to him, “there are growing fears now that there will be no jobs without manpower because some universities have continued to operate outdated curricular.” Also speaking, Mimiko, who was the special guest of honour, called for meaningful synergy between all tiers of government and proprietors of universities as a means of improving on quality. Declaring the conference open, Fayemi urged the universities to prioritise acquisition of knowledge so as to make them real centre of Excellence.

Long strikes truncate education CONTINUED FROM PAGE 55 staying in a hostel accommodation, where they were paying about R125 daily. When you say education is free, someone else is paying for it as I said earlier. The private universities that charge very high fees, have small classes and everything is available– Internet, computers, laboratories are all functioning because the money is available. So, we begin to ask our-

selves, does the government have enough resources to provide all of these? If yes, ok. But if no, somebody should pay. We do know that the level of poverty in Nigeria is very high that if you ask all parents to pay as much as N350, 000 annual tuition fee, you are going to shut out quite a number of people from the university system. The point has to be made that somebody must pay and when there is enough fund-

ing and the funds are judiciously applied, the strike would stop. QUOTE To truncate education for eight to 10 months defeats the very objective of education. Keeping students at home for that long stops research and other academic exercises. So I am calling on my colleagues to think of alternatives to long strikes.


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Varsity earns JAMB’s praises for cBT centre By Eno-Abasi Sunday

oR its capacity to host a FBased stress-free computer Tests (cBT) for candidates seeking admission into universities in the country, the Information c o m m u n i c a t i o n Telecommunication (IcT) facility at the American University of Nigeria (AUN) has earned the plaudits of the Joint Admission & Matriculation Board (JAMB). According to JAMB’s Zonal coordinator, Mr. Buba I. Gashua, who spoke during last week’s cBT examinations, the university’s facilities at its African center for IcT Innovation & Training (AIcT), in Yola and Jimeta, fully met the expectations of the national examination body. The AUN-AcIT hosted six sessions of the JAMB cBT examination, which began on Saturday, May 17 and ended on Friday, May 23. The coordinator’s assertion was only a confirmation of the initial submission of the JAMB accreditation team from Abuja, which rated the AUN centre as excellent. “we discovered that they (AUN-AcIT) had quality facilities, enough to accommodate candidates that we need to examine in this center…and the examination is being conducted in an atmosphere that is conducive and candidates are

not experiencing any technical hitches because all of the systems deployed at the center are working perfectly.” “This year, we are lucky to have this AUN centre with the machines on ground, and the networking systems working to specification. It’s the perfect examination setting,” Mr. Gashua said. Ahead of next year’s exercise, the zonal coordinator expressed optimism that AUN authorities would consider JAMB’s request to expand facilities at the AcIT, saying, “I want to appeal to the centre to expand its facilities, because by next year, we will have more candidates to write this examination here. we hope that this partnership with the AUN will continue for the benefit of JAMB and Adamawa people. AUN has promised deploying more computers and expanding the center. we believe that this method of testing is the best, and I am calling upon parents, candidates, and all education stakeholders to rally round JAMB and give us support.” He also applauded the school’s free IT training for atrisk youths in the surrounding communities, from which over 2,000 have already benefited, and advised on ways that it could be more effective. “AUN should extend it to all secondary schools. AcIT should extend the

computerise-Yola-Jimeta campaign to all secondary schools in the state, and aim at state-wide computer literacy.” AUN also organises free JAMB/wAEc/NEco tutorials for candidates from neighboring communities, a scheme which aims to boost young people’s confidence in such examinations and reduce the incidence of failure. For AUN’s chief Information officer, Mr. Julius Ayuk Tabe, by making available its resources for use by the community, AUN as an institution was playing its part in shaping the lives of people. “we are a development university, and one of our major community service elements is free IcT training for youths and the community at large. So we are equipping these centres to fulfill our principal mission as a development university.” Tabe added that AUN would lead the creation of more cBT centres in Jimeta, kano, Port Harcourt, Lagos, and Abuja. AcIT Manager and JAMB cBT coordinator (AcIT center), Mrs. Priscilla Abdul, said the exams were successful and devoid of any hiccups. “we all worked to make this a success; we made sure all our systems worked very well, and also made sure that the network and security aspect were secured according to JAMB specification.

wBF awards scholarship to 36 indigent students By Ujunwa Atueyi has come the way StheyofUccoUR 36 indigent students as recently bagged schol-

arships to study in different tertiary institutions in the country as well as at the Life Theology Schools. The scholarship is by the wilson Badejo Foundation (wBF).  with the latest beneficiaries, the total number of recipients of the scholarship awards is 186 since the foundation came on stream seven years ago. Presenting the awards to the students at the 7th yearly lecture of the foundation, which held recently at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), its founder, Rev. wilson Badejo, stressed that creating empowerment pro-

gramme for youths; ensuring access to functional educational were prerequisites for alleviating the menace of poverty in the country. He said unless the Federal Government, non-governmental organisations and corporate bodies join forces to tackle threats presented by poverty, despondency, illiteracy and despair, which often lead to criminality, achieving a crime-free society may be difficult. His words, “Studies in recent times have shown that in Nigeria today, poverty, human degradation and despondency reign supreme, and this situations need not remain so. The neglect of this segment of the citizens has caused the country more harm than good, records over the years have attested

AUN hosts Grand Alliance Summer Programme for teens Two-wEEk Summer A Programme for youths from Adamawa State is ongoing at the American University of Nigeria. The programme provides lunch, writing materials, and transport to and from their school while it lasts. It curriculum incorporates career guidance, peace education, self-esteem building, and entrepreneurship under the mentorship of AUN students. Declaring the programme open, member of the Grand Alliance for Adamawa and Project Manager of the stateowned Local Apprenticeship Scheme, Mr. Muhammadu Sani Jada, described the pro-

gram as a “pilot project,” which would be expanded if the objectives are met. Describing it as an eye opener for the students, Mr. Jada encouraged them to “maximize and exploit the opportunity” so that they would in turn serve as mentors to their school mates back in their schools.” The 100 students are from two secondary schools in YolaAliyu Musdafa Secondary School, a public institution, and REMI Educational Foundation, a private institution. The schools provided 50 students across both genders, but combined and divided into age groups for effective mentoring.

to this fact. “Tackling poverty in our society is everyone’s responsibility, especially those who have the means” because if the needy are helped today to acquire sound education, “they might be in the corridors of power tomorrow and change things in the country.” Badejo, called on well-meaning Nigerians to contribute their quota to ensuring that the less privileged are exposed to empowerment programmes and given access to education as the foundation has recorded great successes through its empowerment programme for social miscreants in Alagomeji, Jibowu, Ijeshatedo and Fadeyi. However, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adefulire orelope, in her response congratulated the foundation for its initiatives, stressing that it was not out of place for anyone who has the means to adopt and give hope to the less privileged. “we cannot invest or attract foreign investors if we don’t empower our youths because they will be a threat to the country.  Every child is born with great potentials, but its realisation depends on the provision of good parenting and development programmes available for that child. Let us put our hands together and make our society a better place. “A child that you fail to assist today may be a threat to your life in future. If we do not send them to schools (which is the major reason why we have free education in the state), they will create problems and become a liability in the society.”


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58 EDUCATION Thursday, June 5, 2014

PTA spends N15m yearly on salaries of teachers, others in Federal Government College From Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta HE Parent Teachers T Association (PTA) of the Federal Government College, Odogbolu (FEGCO), Ogun State, claims to spend the sum of N15m annually on payment of salaries of no fewer than 76 staff of the college in the interest of their children’s education just as it challenged the government to face its responsibility to the school and students Chairperson of the association, Mrs. Chinyere Itesi, who spoke at the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), disclosed that the 76 staffers include 36 teachers, two nurses, eight cleaners, eight porters, 11 security officers, two cooks, a gardener and two administrative staff. At the AGM, which took place at the school premises, Itesi said those staff were employed by the body following shortage of staff at the college, which the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) was dillydallying to address.” The chairman person who said despite this intervention, more teachers were still needed in critical areas, however, pointed out that they might resort to sending an SOS to the Education Ministry in Abuja, requesting for more teachers. Itesi said: “I want us all to be aware of the situation on ground and proffer solutions because

academics is the basic reason our children are here, and we can’t deny them that. The school will need 12 more teachers to make up with what (19 teachers) the school needs.” She equally called on the government to improve

upon the security in and around the school so that the fate of the abducted Chibok girls would not befall the students of the school. Itesi said following the security threat to the school recently through a

text message, parents responded quickly by employing six more security men and two porters to increase “surveillance and normal security checks, aside from giving the school the sum of N200, 000 for logistics.”

Principal of the school, Mrs. Bassey-Duke Ntekim, said the dearth of teachers in critical subjects areas followed the introduction of new subjects into the school’s curriculum last year. Bassey-Duke said the school authority requested for

more teachers from the PTA last May, adding that employment interviews have already been conducted and the list of qualified applicants presented to the PTA’s executive for its consideration.

Absence of research may spell doom for Nigerian varsities, says Babalola From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado-Ekiti MINENT lawyer and founder of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) Aare Afe Babalola, has cautioned that many Nigeria universities may soon lose relevance, if they fail to accord priority attention to research. Babalola spoke at the yearly conference of International Science, T e c h n o l o g y , Engineering, Arts, Management and Social Science (STEAMS), which the institution hosted. According to him, it has become imperative for various levels of government to ensure proper funding of researches in the various universities that they have established, in view of the growing competition for knowledge acquisition across the globe. He said such a step was urgently required, even at privately owned institutions so that products of such universities, would not end up being mere academics without

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creative knowledge. Babalola said his belief in constant research made him to direct that all students of the institution must compulsorily embrace research as well as engage farming, so as to be job creators rather than job searchers. As a practical demonstration of his belief in farming, he said, the institution today boasts 110,000 mango, 500,000

teak and 310,000 Melina trees, a Moringa factory worth over N1bn as well as 600 fishponds (on campus), with at least 5,000 fishes in each of them. Besides, he said the university currently has a feed mill of its own worth over N500, 000, while it also has an animal section made up of a livestock, snails and Mushrooms as g r o w n . “It is our resolve to pro-

vide all-round education for our students and make them job creators through research and farming after graduation, instead of pounding the streets in search of jobs that are not available,” he said. In a keynote address the Vice Chancellor of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State Prof. Charles Korede corroborated Babalola, saying many uni-

versities exist as mere ivory towers, which he said was not good for the s y s t e m . Korede, in a paper titled, “A Mirror Has Two Faces,” warned that any university that actually has the future of the country and its students at heart, must endeavour to go beyond the Ivory tower mentality to where competitive knowledge is acquired.”

Firms plan solar factory for UNILORIN LANS are in top gear for P the establishment of a five-mega-watt solar facto-

ry at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Kwara State. This is a result of a collaborative effort aimed at making the institution independent of the national grid and also to be responsible for its own power supply. The representative of a Hungarian-based solar energy company, Euro Titan Renewable Resources Limited (ETRR) in Nigeria, Egja Meceng Nigeria Limited, is facilitating the

novel project in conjunction with the school. Egja’s Chairman, Isiaka Olajide Ajede, is very optimistic that the solar factory would be completed in the institution, within six weeks, once the contract has been signed. Said he, “In Nigeria, it is an acute problem to have reliable electric power, as the utility company cannot provide satisfactory services to end users. This results in power outages throughout the country. An interim immediate solution is to create reliable electrici-

ty, utilizing the sun as the main source. “We have an agreement with ETRR in Hungary to introduce renewable energy to Nigeria, with the primary aim of supporting rural electrification. It is noteworthy that the UNILORIN authorities have indicated their interest to be the first entity to benefit from this laudable project,” Ajede affirmed. He disclosed further that his organisation was also engaged in discussions with the Federal Government, through the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, as well as Nasarawa, Gombe and Delta states, with a view to making this project a national scheme.

“We have submitted a proposal to the government on the its “Light Up Rural Nigeria- The Solar Wayproject.” We intend to establish a 10-mega-watt, which would, over time, be integrated into a 50-megawatt solar power generation plant. This would solve the power problem in this country, and discussions between us are ongoing. We recently met with the Minister of Power and there are indications that the federal government will positively respond,” he said. He stated that aside from ameliorating the power generation problem, this project would create employment in the communities where the power plants would be located.

Cleric wants ASUP, govt to end strike By Chikezie Obidimma ARISH Priest of Orthodox P Archdiocese of Nigeria, Cathedral of the Resurrection of the Lord, Lagos, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Osuji, has called on the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) to end its prolonged strike and resolve the lingering dispute between it and the Federal Government in the interest of the Nigerian students. In an interview with The Guardian recently he said, “Actually, the issue of this strike has gotten out of hand and the truth is that the students are at the receiving end. It is said that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. And that is what is happening today. “It is very saddening to know that many of our governors, minister, senators, and all other government appointees have none of their children schooling in this country. They all send their kids to other countries to school thereby punishing the innocent ones, how would they feel if it was their own children that have been at home for over nine months now doing nothing,” he querried? He lamented that, “The

Federal Government has failed to demonstrate simple commitment to resolve the strike. I am pleading on behalf of all Nigerian students that the Federal Government should meet ASUP’s demands and think of a way to resolve the strike no matter whatever it takes.” He said some months back, YABATECH went on a peaceful protest against the ASUP strike, chanting solidarity songs and displaying placards with inscription like “Wike do something”, “We are tired of watching cinemas”, “We are tired of sitting down at home,” “ASUP, FG come to our aid,” and I am very sure other schools also protested. Is it not enough for the government to hear the cry of these children? “We are surprised that the Federal Government has not shown enough concern and commitment to end the strike. Parents and guardians are tired of seeing their young ones and children at home. So, we want the strike to be called off so that students can go back to school and continue their studies and do something with their lives. “We want to also appeal to ASUP to device other means of achieving their goals instead of putting students at home,” he pleaded.


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Taxman wants doctorate degree as minimum qualification for lecturing in tertiary institutions By Ujunwa Atueyi ERHAPS in a bid to radicalP ly improve the quality of graduates churned out by tertiary institutions in the country and generally improve learning outcomes, the least qualification for lecturing in an ivory tower should be a doctorate degree, so says the Director of Tax, Audit Processes and Programme, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Michael Abimbolu Olulenu.  Olulenu also wants the issue of paucity of funds addressed

Invest in education, Umeh urges wealthy Nigerians

just as he believes that exchange programme with foreign institutions should be encouraged and private investors in tertiary education be given utmost encouragement by governments at all levels. The taxman who was the guest lecturer at the 8th Commencement of Lagos City Polytechnic (LCP), in his lecture titled, “Enhancing the Standard of Tertiary Education in Nigeria,” also advised members of the academic community that in view of the debilitating effect strikes have had on the education sector, industrial actions as a tool for getting government attention should be an instrument of last resort, which should not be used as often as it is currently being

used because the effect of long school closure on the lives and psyche of students and parents cannot be quantified, neither is it good for the nation’s economy. Olulenu, whose paper was presented by Mr. Olasunkanmi Azeez, advised that government should fast track the plan to make doctorate degree the minimum qualification for teachers in tertiary institutions, adding that with a well-grounded tertiary education strategy in place, Nigeria would attain the lofty heights while her potentials would finally be realised. Said he, “Tertiary education is the stage that shapes significantly, the economic performance of a country and that explains why a lot of

interest is generated at this level with global ranking of institutions becoming a norm.” He decried the minimal support from government to emerging entrepreneurs, saying many who desire to pursue private ventures after acquisition of basic skills find it difficult to raise capital, a situation, he said is even worse now that entrepreneurship is an integral part of tertiary education in the country. President and Chairman, Governing Council of the school, Mr. Babatunde Odufuwa, has in his address stressed the need for tertiary education managers to lay a lot of emphasis on entrepreneurial skills acquisition rather than certificate acqui-

sition. His words, “In Nigeria, we need more skills than we need certificates. There is in fact a growing disconnects between the products of our tertiary institutions and skill requirements of the economy. This underscores the need for closer interaction between our institutions and the operators in the economy.” He highlighted that knowledge and advance skills were critical determinants of a country’s growth and standard of living, as learning outcomes are transformed into goods and services. Odufuwa, advised education managers to ensure they were churning out men and women who can think; who can make new scientific

discoveries; who can find more adequate solutions to impending world problems; who can adapt to change and maintain sanity; men and women who cannot be brainwashed. That is what our society is yearning for,” he added. He urged the graduands, to “ensure you are adding value to your organisation or society because as graduates, you are either solving problems or causing problems; or you are either adding value or you are a liability, and no employer tolerates liabilities.” Over 800 students were awarded the National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in various programmes.

From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu ACTIONAL National FProgressives Chairman of the All Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, has urged wealthy individuals to invest in education. Umeh spoke after inaugurating a building donated to the General Studies Department of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, by a renowned industrialist, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Group of Companies. The APGA chief urged other wealthy individuals in the society, particularly in the South East to emulate Chukwuma. “There are so many rich men in Igboland who are building mansions and plazas, they should emulate Chukwuma by donating some of them to educational institutions. This will go a long way in ensuring the development of the nation’s education sector,” he said. The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Cyprian Onyeji, who expressed gratitude to the donor for the gesture, noted that government alone cannot effectively fund education in the country. Onyeji added that the building was the first donation received by the university from an individual since the university moved to its permanent site at Agbani. He explained that Chukwuma was an alumnus of ESUT, having received an honorary doctorate degree from the institution in 2011. In an address at the event, Chukwuma explained that the donation of the multi-million naira “General Studies Complex” was a fulfillment of a promise he made to the institution in 2011. He promised that he would do more for the university, saying, “This is the beginning of what I intend to do for the university.”

Pupils of public schools identifying indigenous food items during a cultural training programme, organised by Ethnic Heritage Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, as part of activities to mark this year’s Children’s Day celebration.

ZODML donates library to Araromi Baptist School By Ujunwa Atueyi ITH the belief that qualW ity learning can only take place when learners have access to necessary information materials and resources, a non-governmental organisation, Zaccheus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries (ZODML), has established a new library facility at Araromi Baptist Primary School, Obalende, Lagos. The ZODML free library initiative, is aimed at providing resources for knowledge acquisition, recreation and self-development, having observed a significant impact of reading on pupils. Speaking shortly after the official launch, the Chief Executive Officer of ZODML,

Mrs. Ifeoma Esiri, remarked that the organisation was not ignorant of the learning challenges facing some local government schools thus its resolve to assist through the library donation. She said the urge to have large numbers of literate individuals in the society prompted the initiative, as several studies have proved that information is power. She noted that the launch of the facility brings the number of benefiting schools to six in the series within Ikoyi and Lagos Island local areas. Esiri said plans were underway to extend to other local areas. Her words, “This is something we have been doing for a while, and we have seen the impact availability

of library and its usage have on people. So we felt that it would be good to make libraries available to local government schools, because that is where there is a need. “We have done a couple of libraries before and we have seen the impact it had on the children in those schools. They have started reading, they can spell correctly and even a student in one of the schools where we established library won an essay competition on Climate Change and will be going to Germany to represent Nigeria. So these are the things that have shown us that libraries in school environments help the children to read and to write correctly.” On the value of the project,

Esiri said, “We were very lucky because we had a partnership with Stanbic IBTC Bank, so they gave us most of the books. The most expensive items in the library are the books. We had an arrangement where we are able to get a lot of people to donate books to us. And so we just brought the furniture and fittings and all that came under a million. If we have provided the books, which is 4000 in number, it would easily be estimated between N5m to N6m.” On her part, Head of Country Legal Services, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mrs. Angela Omodare, informed that the presence of a library in a school does a lot to an individual child. “Reading opens a complete new doorway. It puts you

into a magical world, where things can be done and you start for yourself, a journey towards life. The more fluently you are the more opportunities there are for you.” Head Teacher of the school, Alhaji Ismaila Olawale Ojikutu, said the establishment of the facility would in no small measure improve learning. “But we need computers in that library and we need instructional materials because we have inclusive students in this school including the blind and other physically challenged students. It would do their teachers a lot of good if we have computers in the library. So, if other NGO’s can come in and assist the school, it would be appreciated.”


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India to establish teachers’ training varsity in Nigeria • Firms woo Nigerian students to school in Asian nation • Varsities plan campuses in Africa’s most populous country

Ene-Obong Daniella (left), Awodola Winnie and Enwere Chidinma of Ifako International Nursery & Primary School, who came first at the NAPPS’ All Lagos State Private Schools Quiz Competition …recently

From Niyi Bello (Akure), Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) and Bankole Orimisan (Lagos) HE Indian High T Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Ajjampur Rangaiah Ghanashyam, says his country plans to establish a teachers’ training university that would help improve the quality of teachers as well as the standard of teaching in Nigeria. Speaking with journalists at the just concluded India Education Fair 2014 in Abuja, Ghanashyam disclosed that the idea of setting up the university was informed by several discussions he has held with top government officials, who are longing for the return of Indian teachers to the country. The envoy said that at a recent meeting with the supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike,

a lot of modalities were tabled for the proposed varsity, adding that Nigeria’s quest for world-class education for her citizens cannot be over-emphasised. The diplomat who pointed out that for the sake of maintaining standards, universities must have rich, well known history as well as integrity to encourage enrollment, queried the reason why Indian teachers cannot come to Nigeria and take up the once upon a time job they did with passion. “We may not have the money to come and build fancy buildings and make luxurious apartments and hotels, but we can help Nigeria in running schools, in educating your children, and the hope that we have is that these children who are going to India should come back and teach other child r e n . “If you speak to anyone in

Nigerian who is in his 50s and 60s, they would most likely tell you that their mathematics or science teachers were Indians. Indians always have good teachers and those people who taught your parents and that generation taught from their hearts. That is why they are still remembered. People have fascination for Indian teachers. “Why can’t we bring the Indian teachers back to Nigeria? Why do Nigerians have to go to India? Nigeria is a big country and can join India to lead the world and education is key…” Ghanashyam stated. He added that with over 343 universities offering the widest range of courses, India has the second largest education system in the world. He said that with world-class facilities at affordable prices, a holistic learning approach, and an embracing attitude

towards international students and professionals, India has become one of the most preferred education and training destinations in the World. Meanwhile, plans are afoot by some Indian universities to establish campuses of their institutions in Nigeria. This development will among other things, give Nigerian students a lot more opportunities to realise their educational dreams as well as further international understanding between both countries. Managing Director of Bruhas Educational Services Limited, Mr. Musunuri Srinivas, who revealed this during the Port Harcourt, Rivers State leg of the education fair organised by Bruhas, in conjunction with the Indian High Commission in Nigeria and EdCil (India) Limited said presently, there were more than 50,000

international students, including Nigerians studying in colleges and higher institutions in India. Srinivas observed that in recent times, millions of Nigerian prospective university candidates who write JAMB examinations were unable to get admitted because existing universities in the country lack the capacity to admit them. He explained that soon some universities in India would set up their campuses in Nigeria as a panacea to this lingering crisis in the education sector. “While aspirations are so high, there appears a very serious gap between the number of aspiring students and number of seats available in Nigerian universities and polytechnics. Here, we have observed one thing. Students who could not go through in JAMB examinations are not dull students. When availability is less and demand is high, the process followed is elimination process, but not selection process. This situation is leaving students and parents with fewer options, either to wait for the next year or pursue education outside Nigeria,” he said. In the interim, he urged Nigerian students to avail themselves of the opportunity Indian universities offer stressing that India remains an ideal place for Nigerians who want to pursue quality tertiary education. According to him, in an increasingly globalised world, Indian education provides opportunity to study various disciplines catering for most academic and career interests in a truly international environment. He pointed out that for decades, students from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and various other countries have been studying in India due to the availability of quality education at most affordable prices. “Bruhas has tied up with 25 most reputed Indian universities and institutions offering a wide range of educational programmes, ranging from engineering, medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy,

management, IT, agriculture engineering, sports management and many more at affordable fees. On the other hand, for more than a decade or so, students from US, UK and various other countries are looking towards India because of the availability of good standards of education at the most affordable prices,” he said. The Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Ms. Alice Lawrence-Nemi, said the state government appreciates India’s strides in the area of Information Communication Technology and other spheres of education. This, according to her, is the reason why the state government contracted Indians to manage some of its schools in a bid to improve the standard of education. Lawrence-Nemi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Michael West, said the state government appreciates the relationship that has existed between Nigeria and India, and hopes that through education, both countries international cooperation will be further strengthened. Earlier at a similar fair in Lagos, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria Ghanashyam, who was represented by the Head of Lagos Office, Mrs. Rani Malick, said India with its diversity fascinates one and all. Indian education has recently gained recognition and due to this many students from foreign countries are eyeing India for gaining higher qualifications. The Chief Operating Officer, STPL Africa, Gautham More, who spoke on the benefits parents can get by sending their children’s to India to study said the country symbolises “unity in diversity, “ and we completely understand and respect differences in ethnicity and cultures. India is not a melting pot of cultures; rather, it has been compared to a salad bowl in harmony. This outlook makes the foreign students to easily acclimatise and make themselves comfortable in India.

Govt moves to transform libraries into public access venues From Kanayo Umeh, Abuja HE Federal Government T has concluded plans to transform public libraries in the country into public access points. This means using the facilities to provide citizens in every corner of the country, and at all levels of society, reliable and affordable access to information and communication technologies in a public shared manner, while bringing them into the global conversation. The supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, who disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the 1st Conference of Certified Librarians organised by Librarians’ Registration Council of Nigeria (LRCN) recently in Abuja, said the government would partner state governments in its turnaround programme for the public libraries. His words: “The Federal Government is planning many strategic interventions

in the library and information science sector… Plans are underway to work with state governments to reposition public libraries in Nigeria as public access venues. As public access venues, libraries will engage with communities to provide such services as e learning, skills-for-life, community enlightenment and civic education services. Others are health and gender information services, career counseling services, youth collection and gaming stations as well as small business counseling, among others.” He urged the certified librarians and relevant stakeholders in the information sector to rise up to this challenge. Registrar/CEO of LRCN, Dr Victoria Okojie in her address said as part of efforts to fast track the transformation of the libraries, LRCN surveyed all public libraries in Nigeria with a view to determining their present state. “A database of the over 300 public libraries in Nigeria

has been created for the first time in the history of Nigeria. One of the main aims of the survey is to write a proposal to the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology justifying why public libraries should be used as public access venues, which will provide e-governance services to the community.” Dr. Okojie said 21st Century library services were characterised by advancement in the use of information and communication technologies in accessing, retrieving and disseminating information to the public. “ICT has changed the face of public libraries in many developed countries of the world. For Nigeria to attain the vision as enunciated in the Vision 20:2020 document, concerted efforts must be made to ensure that the potentials of Nigerian public libraries are deployed maximally in order to connect Nigerians regardless of their physical locations to the

global economy. “In this regard, Nigerian public libraries in the digital age should, among others, provide universal access to online resources for reading, information and education and the resources provided must be consistent and customer focused; help to build vibrant communities by encouraging community based activities, which target social capital creation and civic engagement; help to promote social, financial and digital inclusion as well as support learning in the information society,” she said. The registrar equally underlined that LRCN has, through its programmes, prepared librarians for this transformation programme as the number of certified librarians keeps increasing annually. She informed that researchers have demonstrated the impact of public Internet access in public libraries on the communi-

ties and individuals that the libraries serve and concluded that public access computing and Internet access in public libraries function as a first choice and last resort in offering the citizens access to a range of services including e–government services. Justifying the need for turning libraries into public access venues in Nigeria, Dr Okojie hinted that although access to the Internet by Nigerians is put at about 41 per cent of the population, Internet access in the rural areas where more than 70 per cent of the Nigerian population resides is less than 20 per cent.  In addition to this, many Nigerian families, according to her, cannot afford end user devices necessary to access the Internet, while the cost of home Internet is beyond the reach of average families.  In her keynote address, wife of Vice President of Republic of Ghana, Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur, a librarian, called on the library and

information science professionals to reposition themselves for the digital revolution taking place in the country. She said librarians have really no choice now than to refocus, retrain and embrace the changing dynamics of librarianship. “Due to their role as society’s default providers of computers and Internet access, today’s public libraries do more than just lend books. They help people find jobs, obtain specialised information and get connected to government services. “Public libraries are now supporting and complementing the work of other public and quasi-public agencies. This is where librarians should act as facilitators and partners in development. Librarianship is now a digital information profession and you have no choice than to step up and embrace the challenge it throws you in national development,” she said.


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Firm takes investment education to higher institutions By Kenechukwu Ezeonyejiaku INANCIAL services instituFFinancial tion, Investment One Services, is taking

Professor Okogbaa (third, left) flanked by colleagues and executives of the African Students Union Parliament (ASUP) during the awards presentation

investment education to tertiary institutions in the country as a way of educating undergraduates and other young people on the imperatives of investing their incomes as well as developing entrepreneurial spirit necessary for their economic growth. Also, as a way of catching and sustaining their interest in investment, building their investment knowledge and skills in a virtual space before they going into the real market, the firm has also come up with an investment competition for young people called Virtual Investment Simulator. In the competition, the competitors are given imaginary funds to trade with in the stock market, at the end of which the three people with the highest return on investment are rewarded with cash prices ranging from N50, 000 to

Group says Boko Haram’s stance on girl-child education is modern day slavery From Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt NON-GOVErNMENTAL A group, the Social Action, which says that the Boko Haram stance on the girl-child education is tantamount to modern day slavery, has called on the Nigerian government to take advantage of the immense support pledged by the international community to secure the territorial integrity of Nigeria and quell insurgency within its borders. Speaking in Port Harcourt, rivers State recently, Communications Officer of the group, Lillian Akhigbe, said that a report recently released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

(UNESCO), states that Nigeria and Pakistan have some of the largest out-of-school children in the world. She noted that both countries have been experiencing violent acts of terrorism aimed at abolishing western education and discouraging girls from acquiring knowledge. She said the April 15, 2014 kidnap of the over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in Bornu State as well as the very recent abduction of at least eight girls, also in the state by unknown gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents, are obviously targeted at enslaving the girl-child and preventing her from attaining great heights in future through education. “We therefore must lend our

We therefore must lend our voices to the call for more global support. The international community has gradually become more convinced that Boko Haram’s anti-western war is indeed not a threat only to Nigeria, but to the entire world. Hence, there is a global participation in the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign. All across the world, placards are been lifted, all bearing the same message, a call to action voices to the call for more global support. The international community has gradually become more convinced that Boko Haram’s anti-western war is indeed not a threat only to Nigeria, but to the entire world. Hence, there is a global participation in the “Bring

KWASU to graduate 349 students soon Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin. TOTAL of 349 students will this academic session graduate from the Kwara State University (KWASU) Malete, so says the Vice Chancellor of the institution Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah. Na’ Allah, who made the disclosure while briefing reporters on the second convocation programme of the institution, said two of the graduating students have first class degrees. According to him, 86 of the total number bagged secondclass upper degrees, 193 had second class lower, while 68 had third class degrees. He explained that the students would be conferred with degrees in Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts in humanities as well as Bachelor of Science in agriculture. He said the institution, which commenced lectures on December 17, 2009, had all its programmes accredited. The VC informed that this year, the Engineering

A

Department is expected to go through the accreditation exercise, adding that the university’s management was poised to ensure that the institution becomes one of the world-class institutions in the country. “Everyday we are moving closer to attaining the status of being classified as one of the finest institutions in the world as this is the only university in Nigeria offering aeronautics and astronautics.” He maintained that the university has also entered into collaboration with another institution in South Africa to make Kwara State one of the tourist states in the country. The vice chancellor said the institution has registered about 3000 companies for the practical and industrial use of the students, nothing that the institution’s graduates have no business roaming the street in search of job as they have been imbued with skills that would make them selfemployed. He assured that the university would continue to contribute

to the development of its host community through schemes encapsulated under its Corporate Social responsibilities (CSr) programmes.

Back Our Girls” campaign. All across the world, placards are been lifted, all bearing the same message, a call to action.” While noting that the activities of Boko Haram appears to be in tandem with the operations of the globally-recognised, albeit infamous terrorist group, Al Qaeda, she stressed that it “should therefore be tackled with the seriousness with which western nations such as the United Kingdom have so far handled Al Qaeda and its sister-organisations.” She said her group condemns in very strong terms, the

actions of Boko Haram, which militate against the education of the girl-child in Nigeria, adding that the kidnap of these young girls and their decision to sell them as slaves into forced marriages, is outright crime against humanity as it infringes on the right to freedom of the girls. “It is modern-day slavery. The Nigerian government, which has the legal responsibility to ensure that our children (girls and boys) enjoy the fundamental right to education, must protect them from intimidation, harassment, persecution and violence. This is a duty no government in the world, is permitted to trivialise. With this abduction of over 200 girls who have still not been rescued, Boko Haram has successfully brought itself to the front burner of global attention. While calling on President Jonathan to seize this opportunity to make a serious onslaught against the militant group, she added that the demobilisation of Boko Haram was long overdue.

N300, 000. Speaking at a recent Young Investors Forum (YIF) for undergraduates in SouthWest Nigeria, which was at the instance of the firm at the University of Lagos, the Chief Executive/Managing Director, Investment One Wealth Management and Trust, Mrs. Abimbola Afolabi-Ajayi, said that like other climes where the bulk of investors in mutual funds were found in the younger generations, the company desires to elevate mutuals for the next generation in the country through education. She said that firm considers investment education as a very important avenue for increasing investment in the country’s market, while also protecting existing and potential investors, adding that the forum serves as a good platform for impacting the university communities, which also produces the entrepreneurs that the nation craves, and further lead to a more desirable level of investment in the local market. “We are therefore directing our efforts to reach particular investor communities especially, institutions of higher learning in order to prepare them for eventual investment of their future income. We hope that our maiden Young Investors Forum (YIF) would serve as a veritable platform to impact the university communities and to guide them in the quest to develop and foster the entrepreneurial spirit that our dear country so keenly craves, which will ultimately lead to a more desirable level of investment in our local market,” she said. Meanwhile, General Manager, Listings Sales retention, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Taba Peterside, informed the students “stock market price has no age limitation, no sector limitation and no share price limitation.” So, “It is a platform for raising funds, for saving and for building wealth.” In a paper titled: “Capital Market Investment and its Inherent Opportunities for Wealth Creation Early in Life”, Peterside enumerated the benefits of investing, which include long term savings plan; viable investment choices with revenue potential, profit sharing and participation in strategic decision making, diversification of financial position and membership status in a select middle class group.

School proprietor blames poor planning, policy inconsistency for falling standard of education Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta rOPrIETOr of Paragon P International Group of Schools, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr. Holumidey Lawrence, says poor planning, inconsistency in implementation of educational policies were among the root causes of the falling standard of education in the country. Lawrence who made the assertion while briefing journalists on activities lined-up to mark the school’s 20th anniversary celebration, lamented that Nigerian pupils who have the opportunity of being in schools were not getting qualitative educa-

tion. The proprietor, who expressed fears about the future of the nation considering its dwindling education profile, recommended that governments at all levels should carry out periodic inspection of both private and public schools, in order to stem further decline. He stressed that allowing the status quo to remain was a clear invitation to chaos and a disaster waiting to happen. According to him, if governments ensured that needed and necessary facilities were put in place in both public and private schools, there would be gradual improvement in

the quality of teaching and learning, sincerity of purpose and progress in the sector. Lawrence who noted that most parents enroll their wards in schools based on affordability of the fees charged without considering the facilities and standard of education in such schools, regretted that the state plays host to various privately owned mushroom schools that constantly run foul of all requirements of the state education Policies. However, no fewer than 50 private and public primary and secondary schools from different states in the South West would participate in the

inter house sports competition of the school, taking place today at the MKO Stadium. The anniversary celebrations would also feature a talent hunt competition, exhibition, literary activities including quiz and debate competitions, awareness rally, anniversary lecture and a novelty football match among others. Among the dignitaries expected at the event are legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola, the traditional ruler of Ise-Ekiti, the Arijale of Ise-Ekiti, the state Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Lanre Tejuoso,


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Why OAU is reviewing its charges, by vice chancellor From Tunji Omofoye, Osogbo UTHORITIES of Obafemi A Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, Osun State have defended the recent upward review of fees payable by students of the institution, saying the decision was informed by the need to continue to provide quality and competitive education, maintain infrastructural facilities and be in line with contemporary economic realities. Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Tale Omole at a press briefing Tuesday, said the students were misguided to embark on series of protests against the new charges by the figures released to the public by student union leaders. He insisted the figures were bogus and calculated to blackmail the university’s management. Omole, who said the last upward review of charges by the school was done 10 years ago during the 2004/2005 academic session, stressed that the position of the school management was inevitable, if the university is to maintain her position as a leading institution in the country. He said, “It is pertinent to say that before this review, the charges being paid by the students of our university were not only the lowest in the entire Nigerian university system, but also the most ridiculous in the entire tertiary education system in Africa.”

“Before the upward review, students in the faculties of Administration, Arts, Education, Social Sciences and Law were paying N5, 300 as charges, those in the Faculty of Science paid N7, 800, their counterparts in the faculties of Agriculture, Environmental Design and Management, and Technology paid N10, 300 while those who study Medicine, Dentistry, Medical Rehabilitation and Nursing paid N12, 800 per session. All the students were charged N2, 590 for accommodation

per session. After the controversial upward review, students in faculties of Law, Social Sciences, Administration, Education and Arts are expected to pay N43, 700. Those in the faculties of Science, Environmental Design and Management, Science, Technology and Agriculture are to pay N54, 700 and their colleagues in the faculties of Medicine, Pharmacy, Health Sciences had their charges increased to N57, 700 per session. The university authorities

fixed new charges for returning undergraduate students in faculties of Law, Arts, Social Sciences, Administration, Education, and Arts at N19, 700. Those in Science, Environmental Design and Management, Education, Science, Technology and Agriculture are to pay N30, 700 while students in faculties of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health Sciences had their charges increased to N33, 700 per session. The Vice Chancellor said most fresh students have already complied with the

new charges, but expressed worry that returning students, who were granted concession due to the intervention of prominent citizens including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade were recalcitrant. In addition, all fresh students of the university are charged a flat rate of N18, 000 development levy payable once throughout the duration of their study in the university. “The university administration is not insensitive to the plight of the poor as being peddled in arriving at the cur-

rent charges. Indeed, in order to assist the poor but brilliant students, the Senate of the university has also set up a Student Education Relief Committee, where scholarships, grants, opportunities for work study will be provided for this set of students.” In a swift response however, the President of the Students Union Government (SUG), Comrade Isaac Ibikunle, said the union at a congress had resolved that returning students should not comply with the new charges.

Jonathan urges investment in Nigerian youths By Kenechukwu Ezeonyekjiaku RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan has called for concerted investment in youths of the nation stressing that it was the only way the development of the country can be achieved. Jonathan made the call in Omadino community in Warri, Delta State, during the groundbreaking ceremony of Eagle Heights University, floated by the Senior Pastor of Word of Life Bible Church, and President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayodele Joseph Oritsejafor. The President said that there was the compelling need to plan for the youths and to impart into them,

knowledge-driven technology, which he noted was vital for the progress and development of any society. Jonathan said when a society only cares for the present interest without planning for the future, which is personified by the younger generation, the country was surely planning to fail. Latching onto the motto of the institution, which is “Building and Equipping the People Who Build the Nation”, Jonathan said: “Without building people, you cannot build a nation; you cannot give out what you don’t have. If we don’t put something into our children, they will have nothing to bring out to develop the country. As a nation, we must

impact on our younger ones.The President who stressed on the importance of technology in contemporary world said when you are operating in a society that is knowledge-driven, without knowledge, you will never go anywhere. So any individual, corporate body or government must emphasise that aspect of impacting knowledge on our children. We must plan for our children.” Jonathan who cited an 18th Century book he read with the title “Planning for our Grandchildren,” stated that it was the article that sparked the repositioning of the leaders of that part of the world to plan for their young ones, for which they are reaping the dividends today.

He said: “If we only think about today and don’t plan for the young ones that are coming, we won’t make any headway as a nation. The quality and welfare of the younger ones coming; that is where we should all invest in. We should all invest in our children and grandchildren, if we really love this country. When we travel out, we admire what we see there, it was all done by people because they invested in their children, who have now come to develop their socie t i e s . ” He thanked Oritsejafor for striving to improve the lot of the young ones saying the gesture indicates that he shares the vision of the Federal Government, in

assisting states to ensure that their citizens have basic education and by also establishing federal universities in every state of the federation. Meanwhile, Oritsejafor said that the university when operational, would be in the forefront of academic transformation in Nigeria in particular and on the African c o n t i n e n t . According to him, the institution was not being established to join the league of the many private institutions already present in the country, but established to revolutionise the nation’s academic landscape and also further the mental development of the average Nigerian university graduate.

American University of Sharjah woos Nigerian students to Middle East By Eno-Abasi Sunday ORE opportunities are M opening for strike-weary Nigerian students, with deeppocketed parents to realise their academic dreams abroad and in record time. The latest to join the long list of schools shopping for Nigerian students is the American University of Sharjah (AUS), which team was in the country on a recruitment mission, as well as to explore cooperation with high schools, and with relevant ministry at a later stage. According to the school’s Director of Student Recruitment, Mohammed El Shahed who led the team on a visit to The Guardian, having graduated more than 100 Nigerian students in the past and with others still seeking knowledge out there, the school was encouraged to have more Nigerian students come over to enjoy the solid academic atmosphere they have prepared for the next generation of world leaders and problem solvers. According to El Shahed, “We decided to come to Nigeria, because of the fact that we already have a good number of Nigerian students in our university. Not less than 100 Nigerian students have already graduated and we always thought that our university could provide a lot to Nigerian youths, in terms of good quality education and certainly provide them with a very good opportunity to grow mentally and professionally as well, in a very healthy academic environment. So this is the reason of our visit to Lagos and Abuja, to introduce the highquality American education opportunity offered by the American University of Sharjah to a segment of the

Shahed Nigerian youths, both in undergraduate and graduate programmes. This is basically our mission. “We are also here to explore cooperation opportunities with high schools, and with the ministry in charge of higher education at a later stage; see how things are going and what kinds of educational services we can provide for the Nigerian youth.” With the American University of Nigeria (AUN), also giving the much-talked about American-style education in Nigeria, what does the AUS think Nigerian youths stand to gain by going all the way to the United Arab Emirates. El Shahed responded: “As a matter of fact, I have not had much

information about the American University of Nigeria. I will certainly gather some information about them. But right away, I can tell you that what we can offer is that our university is the only university in our region, which is among the top 440 universities according to the QS World Universities Ranking. That simply means that the quality of the graduates from the university speaks for itself. “The second thing that I believe that we can offer to the Nigerian students is the wide range of programmes on offer both at the undergraduate and the graduate levels as well. All of our programmes are accredited at different levels. Ranging from our engineer-

ing programme to our architectural programme, they are all accredited by the relevant bodies. In fact, our architectural programme is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). And this is a very prestigious accrediting body. Only our university has that accreditation outside North America. There is no other architectural programme that has the NAAB accreditation. “Also, all our business programmes are accredited by the relevant bodies. So, what we are talking about here is a very serious academic setup, supported by about 365 fulltime faculty members, drawn from some of the finest institutions in America. And 75 per cent of our faculty members come from United States, while the remaining 25 per cent come from Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany and some other countries. So, that kind of diversity is quite difficult to find in other universities. And I believe that the diversity comes with a lot of experiences and expertise that certainly enriches the student’s experience as well. It is also important to note that we have students from 92 different countries of the world on our campus. “So our students get in touch with people coming from so many different backgrounds, people who think and look at things differently and even assess things in different ways. Our students are better prepared than others to be part of multinational companies, to be entrepreneurs in the world of multinational businesses.  Keeping in mind the fact that we are a young university-only 17 years old, the graduates of our university have achieved the highest

employment rate among graduates of all the universities in the gulf region, the student recruitment director stated. Asked what was responsible for that, he said, “It is because of the quality of education that they get and because they are more prepared than others to go directly to the workplace. I strongly believe that our students are more prepared to join the labour market without additional training courses or lots of briefings or instructions. All these are because of the environment, which they have been prepared.”   Shedding more light on this, he said the university organises employment fairs and sundry networking opportunities for its students, “but even if we do that without having quality students, they would not be employed. We have a department in the university, which is called Alumni and Development Affairs. They are mainly responsible with helping our graduates find their way after graduation. But if those graduates are not good enough, or are not competitive, that department would not be able to help achieve a lot. “However, the department organises several programmes including career forums and invites hundreds of multinational companies to our campuse to meet our senior students, where their resumes are collected and they are also invited for interviews. But again, we are able to attract that large number of multinational companies to our events because of the quality of education our graduates have received. I am really stressing the quality of education they have received because it is what really makes

the difference. The library, IT services, the laboratories, the facilities in general and the extra-curricular activities that you expose your students to are some of the things that determine the quality of a university. When the students benefit from all these, then certainly the outcomes must be different from other students. On how affordable the institution was to the average Nigerian, he stressed that the institution founded by Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Sharjah, was strictly not into education for the purposes of making money from the endeavour. Said he, “It is true that our university is kind of expensive because it costs about $22, 000 per year. But about 20-25 percent of our students are receiving full scholarships from outside the university as they are sponsored either by government, companies, different businesses and charities and so on. Forty five per cent of our students receive financial grants and scholarships from the school regardless of their nationalities or backgrounds. “However, our university is a not-for-profit university because the university owns itself, and nobody looks for financial benefits of any sort. So whatever money we make in the university goes back to the university community in the form of financial grants, salaries and scholarships and so on. And every first day of the year, we allocate between 20 to 25 per cent of the university budget for financial grants and scholarships. For example, this year, we are allocating 80m United Arab Emirates dirham, which is almost $23m United States dollars for that purpose.”


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‘Make available your disabled children for school enrolment’ From Anthony Otaru, Abuja TAkeHOLDeRS in the educaSworking tion sector, especially those with physically challenged children have called on parents of disabled children to assist their wards to become better citizens of the country by making such children available for school enrollment at the appointed time. They said apart from allowing these children to benefit from the ongoing “all inclusive education” policy of the Federal Government, it would also afford government the opportunity to get accurate statistics of the total number of disabled children in the country. “It is a sorry case that as we speak, there are no accurate data on the number of disabled children we have in this country. Various organisations, agencies and non-governmental organizations (nGOs) have been coming up with unconfirmed figures of disabled children in our country. This has also made it very

difficult for proper planning for them to have a better life.” The national Moderator of the Civil Society Action Coalition on education for All (CSACeFA), Okafor Toochukwu, in his opening address at an event to mark the Global Action Week 2014 for Persons Living with Disabilities in Abuja said, “GCe’s new report on education and disability synthesises current evidence around the scale of the challenge, high-

lighting levels of exclusion from education, faced by children with disabilities as well as outlining the common barriers faced in gaining access to a quality education. It also aims to set out the case for inclusive education systems, where children living with disabilities are brought into mainstream schools and classrooms respond and adapt more effectively to their needs.” He urged governments at all levels to take concrete actions

to ameliorate difficult challenges facing disabled persons in nigeria. “Governments at the three tiers must create legislative frameworks and set out national plans for inclusion. They must provide the capacity, resources and leadership to implement national plans on inclusion, improve data and building accountability for all, ensure enough appropriately trained teachers for all, chal-

lenging attitudes, which reinforce and sustain discrimination and create an enabling policy environment for inclusive education through cross sectorial interventions.” In a presentation on the way forward, a former director in the Federal Ministry of education, Mrs. Stella Okafor said, “If the implementation of inclusive education would be a reality in nigeria, policies and guidelines should be avail-

able to guide implementation, adequate planning and release of funds, taking into consideration, the degree of under developed nature of the special needs education.” In his contribution, the Founder and Chief executive Officer (CeO) of “The Albino Foundation,” Mr. Jake epelle argued that time has come for the nigerian government to sign into law, the physically challenged

Rewarding academic excellence with ‘Unique Heights Scholar’ awards By Ujunwa Atueyi OnSCIOUS of the fact that C motivation serves as an elixir for greater successes as well as play a key role in students lives, the Management of Unique Heights School, Magodo estate, Lagos, has gone a step further in motivating hardworking students. The initiative tagged “Honour

Roll Award,” which is in its third year, takes into account, students who cumulatively score ‘A’ grades in not less than ten subjects (including english Language and Mathematics) in the junior secondary school category, while in the senior secondary category, the egg heads must earn at least seven ‘As’ including english and Mathematics.

The incentives for maintaining the scores for one academic session, qualifies students to earn a blue tie, which is different from the wine-coloured tie generally used by the students of the school. Consequently, the eggheads adorn blue ties on campus and are proudly identified as “Unique Heights Scholars”. A day, usually graced by parents is set-aside

on yearly basis to honour the awardees. At the well-attended 2013/2014 awards ceremony, the Chief executive Officer of Unique Group of Schools, Mrs. ebunoluwa esther AyereAlatise, remarked that the exercise has awakened the untapped power of students. Maintaining that nothing inspires students like motivation and exceptional honour, she stressed that indeed was the reason the school resolved to continue with the exercise it started three years ago. Principal of the school, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olatunbode, noted that the number of awardees has consistently increased since the inception of the initiative. “We started with 17 students, and the figure rose to 28 awardees last year. This year, we have 42 awardees. Gladly we are achieving the purpose for which this exercise was set upmotivating students to work hard on their own and maintaining excellent results in their higher academic pursuit.” Head of Corporate Affairs of the

school, Mrs. Omorinsola Ogunwunmi, remarked thus: “This is a simple idea that excitingly improves students’ academic performance. The blue tie award has reawakened the ingenuity in the students as everybody wants to be seen in blue ties and be admired by all. The whole idea for us in running a total child system, is to ensure consistency, encourage hard work and impart competiveness among the students.” A parent, Ms. Pauline Onyegbuna, whose son was one of the awardees, described the programme as a good innovation adding that children should be encouraged when they demonstrate hard work. “It is not only when they misbehave that we should reprimand them. We should also encourage them when they do something exceptional; maintaining 10As and 7As respectively for a session including english and mathematics is not all that easy,” she added.

Student’s parliament bestows award of excellence on Okogbaa ICe Chancellor of the V Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State, Prof. Geoffrey Okogbaa, has been awarded with an award of excellence by the African Students Union Parliament (ASUP). According to ASUP’s Director of Programmes, Comrade Bala Mohammed, a thorough assessment of Okogbaa’s conduct revealed that he is outstanding among his contemporaries hence his nomination for the award. While extolling the humility and commitment to duty displayed by the school’s helmsman, and his determination to make the institution a reference point in the area of infrastructural development, Mohammed said his courage to work in an environment awash with security challenges must be hailed. Similarly, the Country Director of the parliament, ezeh Dominic described the award recipient as an icon in the education sector. He said the decision of the parliament to honour educational administrators like him was apolitical, adding that the school has witnessed speedy development under the pioneering leadership of scholar. He further stressed that, “In addition to embracing an open door policy, Prof. Okogbaa’s leadership style has been found to be a morale booster to the university’s management team and members of staff.” While reaffirming the importance of honouring

people who have distinguished themselves in the society, Dominic expressed optimism that the award would encourage the vice chancellor to do more in that direction. In his congratulatory message, speaker of the parliament, Samuel Mensah, noted that the choice of Prof. Okogbaa as recipient was based on merit, having taken into consideration, the positive transformation of the school he superintends. “At this point that youths need to have exemplary leaders as role models, we are carefully selecting such leaders like your good self and honouring them with the award, after serious scrutiny and constructive deliberations at our students’ annual conferences,” Mensah remarked. “The desire to build a better or secured society is sacrosanct. Though tedious, it can be perfectly achieved through a collective and collaborative effort, especially of well-meaning individuals as being exemplified by our recipient for today’s award.” Prof. Matthew Aremu of the Chemical Sciences department, said the group’s decision to honour Okogbaa was akin to putting a round peg in a round hole even as he said having Okogbaa as vice chancellor of the institution was a blessing. Okogbaa thanked the student body for finding him worthy of the award, addeding that that it would help the university to grow, and promised to support activities of ASUP.


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Edo and the Almajiri politicians By Nosakhare Osarodion T’S another season for serious politicking, horse-trading and carpet-crossing as the 2015 general elections draw near. Already, in Edo State, even when the gubernatorial election i is not due until sometime in the year 2016, the political gladiators have sharpened and brought out their long knives to, as they say, share the loot! In year 2007, some politicians in Edo State, citing alleged disenfranchisement from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) formed an association of like-minds, which they called the Grace Group, with the motto: “No Man is God.” Their motto was carefully chosen to reflect what they perceived as the choking influence of Chief Tony Anenih, then Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, also a “son of the soil,” who was Lord and master and whose word was law. In fact, the fear of Anenih was the beginning of wisdom such that, even though he himself has never faced the electorate to test his popularity at the polls, elected governors, National Assembly members and others deferred to him and he was fondly referred to as either the leader or the godfather! The Grace Group was led by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, at different times chief of staff and secretary to State Government (SSG) to Chief Lucky Igbinedion’s government, which is regarded as having failed woefully to live up to expectation. Even Lucky’s father, the Esama of Bini Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, begged the people of the state to allow his son repeat as governor having failed in his first tenure. He said, “if a child fails in a class, you ask him to repeat!” Lucky was known as an absentee governor and Ize-Iyamu as SSG was effectively in charge, leaving crumbs for the then Deputy Governor, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe. If Lucky’s government failed, Ize-Iyamu was a major contributor to that failure. Always a political schemer, he plotted and turned Lucky and his political godfather (Anenih), against each other, such that neither wanted to see the other. That was in 2007. Fast- forward to May 2014: In an interview he granted the media and which was widely published, Lucky Igbinedion just woke up to realise how he was used and kicked around like a football by his own appointee, Ize-Iyamu. Lucky said, “the quarrel was not between Anenih and myself, it was those that were playing the intrigue of 2007 elections. We were both used as pawns. We (Anenih and I) never quarreled,” (Emphasis mine). It is now on record that IzeIyamu dumped the PDP, Lucky Igbinedion and Anenih and joined the Action Congress of Democrats (ACD), which later metamorphosed into Action Congress (AC), then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and then All Progressives Congress (APC). Now the question: What is the truth behind the dumping of the PDP by Ize-Iyamu and his group? The answer is not farfetched: naked, inordinate, unbridled ambition to become the governor. Now, don’t misunderstand me.   I can’t stand a man who lacks ambition, but I also detest a man whose ambition is as open as a naked live wire. Just

I

• “A rolling stone gathers no moss” -Publilius Syrus as the naked wire can be deadly, the overambitious man can also do anything to fulfill his dream. Ize-Iyamu dumped the PDP because the godfather, the Leader of the PDP wanted his kinsman, Odion Ugbesia, now a senator, as governor. IzeIyamu would have none of that. To him, it is either his way or the highway. He chose the highway. The rest is now history. Neither him nor Ugbesia became governor as the then President, Chief Aremu Olusegun Okikiola Obasanjo, had another card up his sleeve, throwing up Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, whose election was eventually upturned by a court of law and Comrade Adams Aliyu

Oshiomhole has been in the saddle in the state since November 12, 2008. Now the Almajiri politicians, who dumped the PDP yesterday, abused everyone therein and joined the ACD, which has over the years transformed to APC, now want to go back to their vomit, the PDP today. Of course, Nigerians are familiar with the way an Almijiri works. An Almajiri, like the Fulani nomad, in tending his cattle, moves from place to place, never staying in one place permanently all in his search for greener pastures. The Almajiri are ubiquitous in the north, bowl-in-hand, seeking the next target for the next meal. It is no wonder the Almajiri never builds permanent structures for himself

and his family as he is always on the move. Same scenario is playing out in Edo politics now as the almajiri politicians, who moved from the PDP yesterday to the APC are quickly dancing to the PDP when they realised that their dreams of grabbing the governor’s seat will not be fulfilled in the APC. During a meeting with the president on April 29, 2014, IzeIyamu and 20 others, who were with him gave their conditions to re-join the PDP, which among others include; that doors must be open to them when they eventually join the PDP; that they get a blanket waiver, get special considerations for themselves and their members; that the zoning formular of the PDP as regards Edo governorship be

made known to them and that the gubernatorial slot be given to them in the 2016 election. They promised to use this bargaining chip as a means of helping the President in getting a second tenure in 2015. They got a positive response from the president. Well, 2016 is by the corner and the people of Edo State are waiting to see how Ize-Iyamu and his group, the rolling stone which gathers no moss, will get the gubernatorial ticket of the PDP when others who kept faith with the party in their dark days when they were trampled underfoot by the galloping APC stallion are also eyeing the same ticket. It will be interesting to see Ize-Iyamu upstage the likes of Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, Mike Onolemenmen, Osunbor, Ugbesia and

Kenneth Imasuagbon, who stayed with the party and did not jump ship into the APC when things were rough and, who are also eyeing the gubernatorial ticket. What will be most interesting to see, however, is how IzeIyamu, who had for seven years poured invectives on Anenih as a godfather playing God, leading to his coinage of the motto “no man is God” relate with the man who is known to have his anointed candidate for Osadebey Avenue. It is when all these scenarios play out that we will know that man can truly play God and the Almajiri politicians may then be forced again to move to another platform, bowl-inhand in search of the next meal ticket! • Nosakhare writes from Benin City


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FINANCIALGUARDIAN

EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY

MARKET REPORT AS AT 5=06=2014

PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com


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MARKET INDICATORS

MARKET REPORT PRIMERA AFRICA

AS AT 5=06=2014

UPDC’s shareholders endorse firm’s 70 kobo dividend, bonus issue Stories by Helen Oji HAREHOLDERS of UACN SCompany Property Development PLC (UPDC), yesterday, approved the firm’s N962,500,000 dividend, translating to 70kobo dividend due to every investor of the company for the 2013 financial year. The shareholders, who lauded the management of the company for efficient running of the affairs of the company, also endorsed the company’s one for four bonus issue. Specifically, the President, Nigerian Shareholders Solidarity, Timothy Adesina commended the company’s performance, while urging them to do everything within its powers to reduce its cost of sales in order to enhance profitability and add value to shareholders investment. Another shareholder, Akinsanya Solomon Sunday lauded the company for the bonus issue of one for four. He urged the company to engage in more business activities that would enhance profitability in order to increase the dividend payout in the next financial year. Reviewing the company’s performance, the Chairman of the company, Larry Ettah explained that the company, amid hash economic environment posted a revenue of N11.29 billion against N12.04 billion in 2012. He explained that profit before taxation also increased to N3.71 billion, from N2.45 billion achieved in 2012 while profit after taxation hit N3.16 billion during the year under review. Ettah, who assured shareholders that firm’s growth momentum has increased significantly, said: “We successfully completed the floatation of the UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in 2013 on a capital value of N26.7 billion, of which

UPDC currently holds 62.2per cent. The REIT was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on July 1, 2013.   It is our plan to reduce our holding to 40per cent in line with our strategy.  “In the luxury residential category, we completed and delivered to buyers the prestigious 32-unit ‘Cameron Green’ Ikoyi. Phase 1 of Metro City, Abuja comprising of 88 units of mixed residential apartments was also completed and is being gradually handed to buyers, while construction work on Phase 2 has commenced. “We also took advantage of the lack of a formal retail channel in the Festac axis of Lagos State by undertaking the ongoing Festival Mall development, which is expected to open to customers by end of 2014.   He explained that the hotel arm of the business, (Golden Tulip) also improved in performance during the year under review, with room occupancy averaging 44per cent. This, according to him, represent an increase of 91per cent over 2012 performance. The Chairman added that with five international airlines currently utilizing the hotel’s facilities and continuing upward trend in residential conferences by blue chip corporate customers, the hotel is set for improved performance from 2014.   He added:“It is expected that the revised guidelines for Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) and a fully operational National Mortgage Refinance Company will provide a wider scope of activities and opportunities for estate developers and ultimately result in affordable mortgages and increased home ownership for middle and lower income earners.” 

SEC tasks stakeholders on guidelines ECURITIES and Exchange Surged Commission (SEC) has the various shareholders associations to comply with the provisions of code of conduct and guidelines for shareholders association issued by the commission. relative to rules on AGM meetings relative to rules on AGM meetings relative to rules on AGM meetings Besides, the commission also urged them not to allow quoted companies to use them manipulative tools against any individual or company in yearly general meeting s (AGM).                                         Director General, SEC Ms. Aruma Otteh who stated this yesterday in Lagos at a shareholders workshop entitled ‘AGM as a Platform for Value Optimization’ organized by the   Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) and the PR Plus Consulting Limited              Oteh explained that observation at some yearly general meetings indicated that organisations are commended even when their performance are poor. She said that the roles of

shareholders was to ensure the effectiveness of internal control systems of companies.                                         Speaking further, she said for us to succeed in ensuring effective corporate governance in public companies, the regulators and shareholders have to work together to ensure that the right people are on the board of company. Oteh who was represented by Deputy Director SEC, Mr. Suleiman Alhassan both the regulators and investors are expected to  make sure that the companies are doing their job effectively, evaluating the outcome of the processes and structure they  put in place and proper scrutinisation of individuals before they are put in higher positions that would have impact on shareholders benefits.            Describing shareholders associations as the watch dogs on the excesses of the executives of the companies, he said that they are whistle blowers in ensuring that managers of companies work in accordance with good corporate governance.


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GlobalStocks US stocks rise, S&P 500 sets record high intraday .S. stocks rose on yesterday, with the S&P U 500 hitting another intraday record high as investors brushed off weaker-than-expected labour market data and focused on an acceleration in services-sector growth. But with the Dow and the S&P 500 near record levels, volume continued to be light ahead of the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday and the U.S. government’s May nonfarm payrolls report on Friday. Semiconductors ranked among the day’s biggest gainers. The Philadelphia semiconductor index, known as the SOX, rose 0.3 per cent, down from a 14-year high touched earlier on Wednesday. Many market participants, however, are becoming concerned about the sector, with the index is up for the 10th straight session and up 14 per cent for the year so far. Key semiconductor markets like industrials and autos are likely to face slow demand in the second half of the year, according to a Goldman Sachs research note. The note also pointed out that inventories are building and the sector’s valuation is no longer attractive. The CBOE Volatility Index jumped 0.9 per cent, its third straight daily advance. The VIX, known as the “fear index,” remained just below 12 and well below the historical average of 20 - a trend that some interpret as a sign that investors have become compla-

cent. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 9.25 points or 0.06 percent, to 16,731.59. The S&P 500 gained 3.21 points or 0.17 per cent, to 1,927.45. The Nasdaq Composite added 18.24 points or 0.43 percent, to 4,252.32. If the S&P 500 closes higher on yesterday, that will mark its eighth advance out of the past nine sessions - a run in which the broad index has set multiple record highs. In macroeconomic news, the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index showed that growth in the U.S. services sector accelerated more than expected in May and rose at the fastest pace in nine months. The ADP National Employment

Report showed that fewer private-sector jobs were added in May than had been anticipated. “With some data strong and other data weak, we don’t have a clear picture of the market or the economy right now,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer of Sarhan Capital in New York. “We don’t seem to be strong enough to grow without help from the Federal Reserve, but we do seem to be trending in the right direction.” While economic reports have largely been positive lately, investors are concerned about any data that could indicate weakness in Friday’s May jobs report.

In company news, Protective Life surged 18.1 per cent to $69.33 in heavy trading after Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co agreed to buy the company for $5.7 billion. The stock of Tibco Software Inc was one of the Nasdaq’s most active, slumping 6.7 percent to $19.40 a day after the company gave a second-quarter outlook sharply below expectations. NQ Mobile Inc soared 37.1 per cent to $10.46, its biggest one-day advance ever, rising on heavy volume after the Chinese mobile security software maker said a special committee had found no evidence of fraud, following an accusation made by short-seller Muddy Waters Research Group.

China’s equities slide on weaker property HINA’s shares sank on yestersday, led by C losses in property counters as investors fretted that soft demand for new homes in the mainland could cut prices and hurt developers. Hong Kong shares slipped from Tuesday’s five-month high as some investors took profit after recent strong gains. At midday, the Hang Seng Index and the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong both were down 0.6 per cent. The Hang Seng was at 23,161.43 points. The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings shed 1.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.9 per cent at 2,019.22 points. Mark To, Head of research at Wing Fung Financial Group, said the improving Chinese economy is helping boost sentiment about the Hong Kong market. But on Tuesday, when mainland media reports cited soft property demand in the mainland, property developers fell. China Fortune Land, the top CSI300 percentage loser, tumbled 7 percent. China Vanke lost 2.3 percent, even though the country’s biggest residential property developer said late Tuesday its January-May contract sales were up 16.2 per cent from a year earlier. Hong Kong-listed peers followed, with China Overseas Land & Investment down 2.2 per cent and China Resources Land down 1.8 percent. Faced with slowing sales and funding issues for some property developers, China’s real estate market has softened this year after last year’s stellar performance. Prices rose at their slowest pace in 11 months in April. No improvement was seen in May and recordlow turnover in major cities during the past holiday weekend added to concerns that an oversupply in the housing market will result in more price cuts, mainland media reported. On Tuesday, environmental protection-related counters rose sharply. Combustion Control Technology surged the maximum allowed 10 per cent and CNlight gained almost 10 percent. China is considering an absolute cap on its CO2 emissions from 2016, a senior adviser to the government said on Tuesday. On Friday, the central government released stricter emission standards, which take effect in July. Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group rebounded 1.5 percent from Tuesday’s big drop after the company said all its factories which produce infant formula had secured licenses, denying a report on Tuesday that four of its subsidiaries failed to make the latest list of qualified infant formula producers.

Stockbrokers at an Exchange, yesterday.

European shares flat on slow euro zone recovery UROPEAN shares held steady on yesterday E after data confirmed a slowdown in the euro zone’s economic recovery in the first quarter, with investors awaiting fresh action by the European Central Bank to spur growth. The 18-nation bloc’s economy expanded by just 0.2 percent in the three months to March, statistics office Eurostat said, cementing investor expectations for the ECB to trim its refinancing rate, send its deposit rate into negative territory and launch a cheap-lending initiative targeted at businesses. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed flat at 1,374.75 points, hovering below a 6-1/2-year high hit on Monday. “No-one’s really eager to make any aggressive moves ahead of tomorrow,” said CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler. “It seems unlikely the ECB would disappoint in terms of action...(But) the real crunch is going to be what the ECB guides for the next meeting and beyond.”

Stocks in the euro zone’s more vulnerable economies have been rallying on hopes of radical policy measures from the ECB to fend off the risk of deflation. Milan’s FTSE MIB index is up 14 percent for the year-todate and Madrid’s IBEX up nine percent. The market’s pause for breath left national benchmark indexes in France, Britain, Italy and Spain down between 0.1 and 0.3 percent, while Germany’s DAX index ticked up 0.1 percent. Stocks in the euro zone’s more vulnerable economies have been rallying on hopes of radical policy measures from the ECB to fend off the risk of deflation. Milan’s FTSE MIB index is up 14 percent for the year-to-date and Madrid’s IBEX up 9 percent. Shares of Spanish oil-and-gas company Repsol fell 3.6 percent, one of the worst performers on the FTSEurofirst 300, after Mexico’s Pemex sold the bulk of its stake in

Repsol for 2.09 billion euros ($2.85 billion). Construction companies Holcim and Lafarge rallied more than 2.8 percent after a report said that private-equity companies were considering bids for some assets as part of the companies’ planned merger. Hopes for ECB intervention have often prompted a bullish investor response to weak data in recent months. Now some traders see a growing risk of a pullback after the central bank’s meeting on Thursday. “There’s a real danger the ECB has created a rod for its own back (with expectations),” said Nick Beecroft, analyst at Saxo Bank. “The risk is that if some of the expected measures are announced but not all of them, the market strengthens the euro and tries to force the ECB into more action.” Shares in Tesco fell 1.3 percent after Britain’s biggest retailer posted its worst quarterly UK sales drop in 40 years on Wednesday, ratcheting up the pressure on boss Phil Clarke to show his turnaround plan can address the challenges of the grocery industry.


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Akwa Ibom pension law for governors and deputy governors - The siege on truth Full text of a statement by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, June 3, 2014 N the last few weeks, truth has come under IState. siege by agents of falsehood in Akwa Ibom The good people of Akwa Ibom State have been unfortunately subjected to the cruelest and most unkind political gimmickry in the history of our state over the amendment of a sixteen-year-old law. This tidal wave of propaganda, misinformation, lies, falsehood, mischief and cynicism, we fear, may already have sucked in some unsuspecting members of the public who lack the ability to appreciate the salient points of this law and its ennobling attributes.  Regrettably, one of the best-kept secrets in the political scene in Nigeria is that in Akwa Ibom State some politicians do not circumscribe their activities within the limits of morality and decorum. Some of them can abase the most hallowed and sacred things for their selfish advantages. The present matter is a case in point.   The GOVERNORS AND DEPUTY GOVERNORS PENSION LAW was first enacted in 1998 as the Special Grant (Former Chief Executives) Edict. It was amended in 1999 by the Special Grant (Former Chief Executives (Amendment) Edict of 1999) and was retained in Cap. 122 Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000. It was amended in 2002 by the Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Law 2002, which was later repealed by the Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Law 2006 assented to by my predecessor in office on 26th April 2007. However, in the course of its implementation, We noticed a lacuna in the 2007 law, particularly on account of its open-endedness in the provisions relating to the medical expenses and provision of funds for the employment of domestic staff for the former Governors and Deputy Governors.  Working with the House of Assembly, we sought to protect the law from abuse by putting a ceiling on the medical expenses for the treatment of these senior citizens of Akwa Ibom State. The ceiling, which was pegged at N100 million per annum for former Governors and N50 million per annum for former Deputy Governors, was never meant to be given either in part or in whole to anybody at anytime for any reason. It was meant to be paid to health institutions involved in the treatment of the former Governors or former Deputy Governors and their spouses. It was, therefore, deliberate falsehood and organized misinformation to claim that the said money will be paid to former Governors or Deputy Governors every year. This has never been the practice and the amendment has added nothing to give credence to this obviously politicized orchestration. Former Governors and Deputy Governors and their spouses who were not sick were not to receive a dime from the fund. These sums, which were for the Governors and the Deputy Governor’s medical treatment, suffered the most bashing from a mischievous vocal minority who sought to reap political capital out of it. In their frenzied desperation, they even claimed that the law was made for my personal benefit. They lost sight of the fact that I am not among the beneficiaries as I am not on pension. The other sickening claim was that we excluded some categories of eligible former Deputy Governors and Governors. This is absolutely incorrect. Since the Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Law 2006 referred to above, a new eligibility provision beyond just being a former Governor or Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State origin was introduced by the last administration whereby certain persons who served in these two offices and who would otherwise have benefited from the pension, were excluded on account of resignation otherwise than on health grounds, impeachment or holding office for a period less than three years. Section 3 of the 2006 version of the Law

Gov. Akpabio attests to this, and this provision, retained in section 3 of the 2014 version of the Law has attracted unsavory comments as though it was a new provision just inserted. It is distressing to all patriots in our state that this well reasoned and thought-out solution to an open-ended law, which common-sense indicates can be subject to abuse, has been cast rather as a problem by fifth columnists in our state. I share the sense of revulsion of all decent Akwa Ibom people in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in particular and the entire State in general at these politics of blackmail. I believe in the Akwa Ibom project as evidenced in my work in the state. I am under oath to protect the constitution of this great country, and this I have done to the best of my abilities. I am obligated by the mandate given to me by the

good people of my state to do good to all manner of people and I have not been found wanting in this responsibility. This amendment was undertaken, with the patriotic understanding of the House of Assembly, in fulfillment of these articles of faith. I reject in its entirety the unwarranted condemnation of this altruistic amendment. I am deeply saddened by the vilification of the Honourable Members of the House of Assembly for undertaking a course of action, which we as a state, we should applaud. Truth has been under siege and today I have decided that we should lift this evil siege by proposing to the House of Assembly that the parts of the amendment putting a N100 million ceiling and a N50 million ceiling on the medical treatment of former Governors and former Deputy

Regrettably, one of the best-kept secrets in the political scene in Nigeria is that in Akwa Ibom State some politicians do not circumscribe their activities within the limits of morality and decorum. Some of them can abase the most hallowed and sacred things for their selfish advantages. The present matter is a case in point.

Governors respectively be expunged from the amendment. Let it revert to the open-ended situation inherent in the law, before the amendment. I will further advise, in observance of the articles of faith guiding the discharge of the Office of Governor that, through extant circulars, a medical insurance scheme be put in place for the authentic and proper management of the medical treatment of former Governors and Deputy Governors and their spouses in order to ensure that the open-ended nature of the law is not abused. It is my hope that with the excision of these sections from the amendment, the agents of falsehood would lift their siege on truth and not distract the good people of this state from the task of the Uncommon Transformation of our dear state. Let them remember that I am not a governorship candidate. Instead of firing brickbats at me, let them tell the good people of Akwa Ibom State their plans for Akwa Ibom State. Ladies and gentlemen, I consider this case rested and I take solace and comfort in the immortal words of the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, that “History will vindicate the just.”  Thank you for your kind attention.


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Reps panel asks NCAA to return bulletproof cars By Ibe Uwaleke HE House of T Representatives Committee on Aviation yesterday mandated the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to return the controversial bulletproof proof cars purchased for N255 million to its suppliers, as the lower legislative House faulted the circumstances surrounding its purchase. Also, the committee also described as fraudulent the agreement signed between aviation agencies and First Bank Nigeria Plc for the payment of revenue and automation platform provided by the bank through a firm Avi-Tech Nigeria Limited. Avi-Tech Nigeria Limited was engaged by First Bank to facilitate the automation and collection of aeronautical revenue for aviation agencies. The Chairman of the committee, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, who disclosed this yesterday during oversight inspection of the aviation sector, said the committee insists that NCAA must return the controversial cars to the suppliers because the House was not satisfied with the relationship between First Bank Nigeria Plc that facilitated the purchase of the cars and aviation agencies. She said if the NCAA does not return the cars to its suppliers, the committee would be forced to call for a public hearing on the matter. She said,”those bullet cars should be returned to the suppliers and the money recovered. We will call public

• Faults pact on revenue collection, others hearing on the matter if they fail to return the cars.” The committee therefore mandated aviation agencies to communicate to it in writing response to all issues raised before next week to enable it take a formal position on their activities. She further said that the way and manner FAAN terminated its concession agreements was not transparent. She sought to know those behind the Aerotropolis Project Limited, saying that as much as the airport city initiative was key in developing the aviation sector, it is important to know the promoters. Meanwhile, the aviation pro-

fessionals squaretable has condemned the lawmakers low rating of the aviation agencies, alleging that it as a decoy to blackmail chief executives. The co-ordinator of the group, Capt Usman Shehu Idris stated this in Lagos while speaking with journalists, adding,” it is purely hypocritical for the some law makers to say there has been no development in aviation when they attended the commissioning of remodelled terminals in Lagos, Benin and Enugu where they praised progress in the sector,” Usman further said, “it is

Tambuwa

Oduah

clear that the financial fortunes of the agencies have improved with the gradual

ongoing automation of its revenue points and the law maker wants a reversal.

Dorcas Musari for burial UNERAL rites for Madam FOyenola) Dorcas A. Musari (nee who died recently at the age of 74, begin tomorrow with a Christian wake at her residence, 96, Odemo Road, Isara Remo, Ogun State at 5.00p.m. She will be buried on Saturday, June 7, after a funeral service at El-Shaddai Reconciliation Evangelical Ministry, 1, Jesus Avenue, Alagomeji, Ayegbami, Isara Remo, at 10.00a.m. Guest will be entertained at Ansar Ud-Deen (A.U.D.) Primary School playground, Oke Bola, Isara Remo, Ogun State.

Police, federal task force clash vindicates us, says Lagos APC HE Lagos State chapter of T the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the recent clash between the police and members of a federal task force in Ojota has vindicated its earlier stance that the latter were hoodlums assembled by inordinate individuals to disrupt the peace and progress. The party said that the existence of the task force would seriously impede the peace and progress of Lagos and called for its immediate disbandment. In a statement by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Joe Igbokwe, the party said that the formation of the taskforce was purely political as it has no legal or statutory backing. It urged all Lagosians

to be vigilant and report the activities of the task force to relevant security agencies as Lagos is prepared to deal with this political nuisance. “We recall that we had earlier called attention to the existence of this so called task force in a FERMA facility in Ojota Lagos some weeks ago. We recall we had pointed out the inordinate mission of the task force, which is the recruitment of hoodlums to leverage mayhem in Lagos in the guise of securing federal roads in Lagos. We have alleged that this was the resurrection of the FERMA thugs which the erstwhile Minister of Works, Adeseye Ogunlewe recruited when he presided over the

complete ruination of Nigerian roads while being fixated with disrupting the relative peace and progress Lagos was then making. “We recall that FERMA was to deny being behind this task force some days after our allegation but no one has come to claim being behind this task force. We recall that surreptitiously, this group has attached SURE-P/FERMA task force to its name even as there is no proof of legal backing behind it and even after it had been proved it exists only in Lagos. We recall that last week, the Lagos State Police Commissioner has come out to declare the task force illegal. We note the spirited effort by those alleged to have packaged that illegal task force had made to disown the group even when no effort had been made to stop its illegal operations.” APC added: “Our original position was proven last week when the task force moved into Lagos and violated the traffic laws and regulations in Lagos, which led to a clash between the members of the task force and the police. We see this annoying affront in

Lagos as a prelude to the original mission of the so-called Federal Task Force, which is to wage serious war in Lagos and cause a breach of the peace and security Lagosians have been enjoying. We note that the mission of the task force is to levy war on Lagos and arrest the globally lauded development in Lagos. We re-state that the so called federal task force is a reincarnation of the old FERMA thugs on Lagos roads and is packaged by a few inordinate PDP chieftains in Lagos to prosecute the 2015 electoral battle in Lagos. “We laud the efforts of the police task force and we urge them to be at alert to the diabolical intents and mission of the so called task force. We urge all Lagosians to be watchful and report any illegal operations by this task force to relevant security agencies for proper action. We promise that nothing and nobody will be allowed to compromise the peace and progress of Lagos and we warn Lagosians to be wary of this task force as it is nothing more than a front by the PDP to recruit hoodlums to cause mayhem in Lagos, en route 2015.”

Archbishop of Canterbury, Delby, meets Jonathan, condemns Jos blast From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja HE Archbishop of T Canterbury, Rev. Justin Delby yesterday expressed sadness over the recent bombings in the country, particularly, the recent Jos incident. Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Delby said it was deeply saddening that Jos had become a theatre of bombings. According to the cleric, “it was deeply disheartening because I know Jos very well. I came to pray with President Jonathan and express our condolence for the losses. “I don’t have words to describe the good potential this country has. There is great difficulty at the moment but it is a country with such enormous potential. I think Nigerians, by nature are joyful, hopeful and vigorous and they work hard,” he added. For him, what is happening in the country was a phase that would pass after which

Nigeria could be great again. Going biblical, Delby said, “God is faithful. In one of the letters that St Paul wrote to the church, he talked about the sufferings they were going through being known throughout the world and that’s exactly true here because the suffering in Nigeria is known throughout the world.” “The country has so much going for it. In the meeting, the President talked about the need for a solution that will reach all people, not just the security, the economy, spiritual and every part of the human life. “People throughout the world pray for the country. It is a country which I have profound respect and deep love. And like many, I am deeply grieved by what is happening but God is faithful. “He is always faithful to us and as Christians, in Jesus Christ we believe in His faithfulness and we can trust Him for the future,” Delby further stressed.

Musari

Ahmed pledges to sustain Kwara’s development WARA State Government K says it earned only N38.7billion last year from the federation account as one of the least benefiting states, yet succeeded in sustaining its infrastructure and human capital development programmes by being resourceful and continuing the programme of the immediate past administration. Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed who said this when the leadership of the All Progressive Congress paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Ilorin, added that the continuity programme has ensured the completion of the International Diagnostic Centre, Share township road, Offa/Ira, Ganmo/Afon, Ijara-Isin/Isin, Omu-AranLandmark University and Tsaragi market roads, among others in Kwara Central, while all processes for the KaiamaKishi road, a federal government road, have been completed, awaiting release of funds to the contractors. Dr. Ahmed who advised the opposition party to criticise constructively rather than its current posture of being manifestly against progressive policies of government to gain undeserved relevance, said the continuity programme of the administration has also resulted in taking the International Aviation College and the Kwara State University to the next levels.   Ahmed said it was obvious from the membership registration and the convention it had, that APC has shown it is the major party in Kwara State while the movement from the Peoples Democratic Party PDP is premised on the need to ensure sustained progressive agenda of the government.  The APC Chairman, Alhaji Ishola Balogun Fulani, in his remarks, commended the State government on its various developmental programmes, especially in health, education and development of infrastructure.


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Plateau Assembly in rowdy session over petition against Jang From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos EMBERS of the Plateau M State House of Assembly had a rowdy plenary yesterday as they began discussions on the allegations of gross financial misconduct levelled against Governor Jonah David Jang. The stormy session began when the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Titus Alams tried to stop the mention of the petition against the governor during the plenary. A group known as Plateau Patriotic Front had petitioned the House stating sundry allegations of gross financial misconduct to the tune of over N20 billion against Jang. The petition titled: “Allegations of Gross Misconduct Against Governor Jonah David Jang of Plateau State,” which was copied to all members of the House, became the number one agenda slated for discussion. Opening the debate, Alams informed his colleagues about the petition and asked for comments. A member representing Dengi Constituency, Wokdung Abbas, who spoke first on the matter said, “having carefully read through the petition, the contents are too weighty to be ignored. In all the petition, the House is Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan (middle); Commissioner for Information, Chike C. Ogeah, (right), and Economic more hit because the peti- Adviser to the Governor, Afam Obiago, at the African Finance and Investment Forum to promote entrepreneurial initiative in Cologne, tioners called us names and Germany… yesterday. also alleged that we have been bribed by the governor not to check the govern- tioned even if the discussion issue.” not anytime we reconvene, Ecobank, Jos, Manager, According to Garkuwa, we must discuss this issue, FCMB Jos, Commissioner of may not take place. ment.” Istifanus Muansat from “the content of this petition we must probe the state govAbbas added, “the House Police, Plateau State, chairNorth is about 85 per cent factual. ernment over this huge men of all the state local must get to the bottom of Pankshin this petition in the interest Constituency said, “this There is no way to pretend as financial scam because we governments, Auditorof the entire people of the attempt is not to discuss the if we don’t know most of are talking of public fund General and director, SSS, these allegations. The peti- here.” state. We also need to probe petition against the goverPlateau State. the allegations to clear our nor, but at least let the tioners have stated the obviThe petition added, “the On May 27,2014, The ous facts. The governor is Guardian exclusively reportnames. The petitioners said House read the petition forpresent House is docile, we are clueless, docile, boot mally and then we can shift only buying time to kill the ed the petition by the inept and clueless. It is made petition. lockers and praise singers of the discussion.” up largely ‘yan amasan Plateau Patriotic Front alleg“My annoyance is that the ing financial misappropriagovernment. So we need to But the speaker insisted the shata’ (It is a House of anyspeaker had forced the tion against Jang . clear our names as a house.” petition can not be menthing goes). Because of your But Abbas was interrupted tioned until all members are House to adjourn without In the petition, the group inability to recognise and by another member from Jos served copies. He thereafter mentioning the petition but alleged that the House was exercise your constitutional this kind of scandal is not docile and have been roles, the House has been South Constituency, Dalyop adjourned sitting. the type we can sweep under brought over by the execuHowever, angered memMancha, with a point of relegated to a mere governorder. The Speaker immedi- bers of the House spoke to the carpet. We must discuss tive arm of government. ment department. This ately recognised the point of journalists after the sitting it or we are not worth our The petition was signed by House may go down as the order but some members expressing disappointment value as legislators.” the group’s Secretary, Felix most uneventful in the hisAnother aggrieved mem- D. Obadiah, and copied to tory of the state.” went rancorous over the over the way and manner House forcefully ber, who also spoke to jour- Jang, President Goodluck halting of Mancha. Alams the Obadiah stressed that the nalists, Hassan Baba Ahmed Jonathan, the PDP National governor may have bribed had to overrule by abruptly adjourned. Jos North-North Chairman, Adamu Muazu, his way out in the legislaOne of the lawmakers from adjourning the sitting for Abduallhi Ladan Garkuwa Constituency said, “the miss- State PDP Chairman, Dr. ture so that they will let him another date. Mangu South ing N10 billion SURE-P fund Haruna Dabin, members of “have his ways and do as he Alams in his ruling said, “it from mentioned in the petition is the State House of Assembly, wishes. We are, however, is obvious from the point of Constituency said, “this petireal, I am a member of the State order raised that some mem- tion is already a public docuFinance aware that majority of members have not been served ment. Why is the speaker SURE-P committee of the Commissioner, Mr. Davou bers prefer to be settled copies of the petition and it frustrating our attempt to House and I am not aware Mang and the Manager, rather than fight for the welwill not be fair to talk over it. discuss it? The claim that the whereabouts of the Central Bank of Nigeria, fare of the people they repWe have to adjourn to dis- some members are not fund. This is the fact the (CBN), Jos. resent.” cuss the period another served copies is only an speaker is running away It further alleged the misOthers, who were copied from. attempt to frustrate memdate.” include, Manager, First Bank management of SURE-P “But whether he likes it or of Nigeria, Jos, Manager, funds, deductions of local But some lawmakers insist- bers from discussing the ed the petition be men-

government revenues, VAT shares to councils and so on. It further stressed that the speaker was doing nothing to check the executive, adding, “yet the House under your leadership is not bothered about the activities of that tier of government (local governments), which could have impacted positively on your people, has been emasculated. How can you remain so disinterested? “The constitution has given the legislature vast powers to oversee the affairs of the LGs. Why do you choose to abdicate those responsibilities to the governor? Wake up and reassert your authority. You and your members have remained characteristically quiet over the governor’s taking of loans from First Bank Plc (N10b), Ecobank (N15b) and FCMB (N10b)…without any resolutions and authorisation from the House, which contravenes Section 120 of the Nigerian Constitution. “You cannot claim ignorance of these dealings. The people will hold you responsible for not checking the excesses of the governor.” The petition alleged plans to purchase new governor’s convoy vehicles, which the group said it was not necessary considering the fact that the present government has about a year to go especially as it was not budgeted for. The group also said the plan by the state government to take a fresh loan was aimed at imposing a stooge as Jang’s successor, adding that the loan is meant to achieve that purpose. “Acceding to that loan would amount to the lawmakers digging their own graves as the governor has already shopped for their replacements. He has used you and is planning to dump you. Because of your ineptitude, the governor has taken you for a ride by using you and your members to strip you of a role in his plan,” the petitioners added. They further alerted the House to be wary of the law they are amending now as it is meant to tie their hands and shut their mouths before taking the “loan without recourse to you. Shine your eyes and see clearly before you completely sell the state for the peanuts you are being given now.” The petitioners also spoke on appointments and resource allocation in the state, religious leaders, the issue surrounding the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and other institutions.

Oshiomhole alleges impeachment threat in Edo From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole yesterday E alleged that some politicians are planning for his impeachment and that of his deputy and the Speaker of the House of Assembly to pave way for the take over of the state by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Meanwhile, the PDP during a press briefing alleged discrepancies in the published audited account of the state compared to figures it claimed to

have obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The chairman of the party in the state, Chief Dan Orbih, pointed out that the audit report lied on the exact amount the state spent on internal debts servicing. He said the Edo State government in the report put the yearly internal debts servicing for the year 2012 and 2013 at N1,386,190,950.62 and N503, 676, 517.68 respectively, but that figures obtained from the CBN showed that the sum of N520,000,000 was being

deducted from the state’s account monthly since July, 2011 for incurred debt. “The inconsistency in the figures as regard the internal debts servicing has put a big question mark on the credibility of the audited report and the entire report can no longer be trusted. Governor Oshiomhole should have been bold enough to tell Edo people how much his government has borrowed and exactly how much they are paying to service it. “He travels in the name of

bringing foreign investors to the state but he has not been able to bring one foreign investor in about six years of his administration. We challenge him to show us one gain of his numerous trips abroad”, he said. Orbih said the PDP would write a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) on the discrepancies. However, Oshiomhole speak-

ing with youths under the aegis of Initiative for Youth Awareness on Migration Immigration, Development and Reintegration led by a Libyan returnee, Solomon Okoduwa, has accused the PDP of plot to change the leadership of the state House of Assembly. He said: “I know you have read in the newspapers that some of them are planning through corrupt means to change a popular mandate that was conferred on me by the great people of the state,

including your good self. History will have it whether they like it or not that for the first time, Edo Central, North and South, and everybody voted for me overwhelmingly in all the local councils.” But one of the APC lawmakers who defected to the PDP, Friday Ogierakhi, had last week denied any plan by the legislators to impeach the governor but said that the House would not hesitate to exercise their constitutional responsibilities should the governor commit an impeachable offence.


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My roadmap for Ekiti State’s Y vision is driven by the conviction that Government priM marily has responsibilities to perform and must be held to account on improved conditions that meet basic standards

IN GOD WE TRUST “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” - Psalm 139: 1-2 INTRODUCTION Providing Leadership To A Unique People “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” Prov 29vs2 (NKJV) EKITI State, no doubt, is the land of a unique people. Indeed, her uniqueness is exemplified by integrity! However, the growth of Ekiti State has been stunted and her development arrested by some certain leaders, in whom so much hope and expectations were invested. Unfortunately, these categories of leaders carry in them a huge sense of alienation, abandonment and are a disappointment. Ekiti State had, for too long, been ravaged by poverty and declining standards of living; and the story of Ekiti today, unlike some other States in Nigeria, portrays a picture of a State at the brink of precipice; precariously tending towards anarchy at the slightest nudge. Like an orphan in the midst of despair and a wrecked ship at the middle of the ocean, Ekiti has become a State whose leaders prefer to enjoy the trappings of office, without willingness to make sacrifices towards selfless service. In the midst of this leadership crisis orchestrated by political treachery, great values and institutions for which Ekiti people had been envied for centuries and upon which a modern, prosperous, virile, united, caring and enduring State could be built, are being eroded as a result of crude subversion by those in the corridors of power. Indeed, the dream of building a peaceful and united Ekiti State worthy of emulation among her compeers has almost become a mirage. The prevailing order in Ekiti State epitomizes poor policy performance, low capacity for service delivery and lack of responsiveness to the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens. This worrisome picture prevails in Ekiti in the face of very challenging development ratings, which categorises the State as one of the poorest States in Nigeria. Ironically, few years ago, overwhelming indigenes of Ekiti State, home and abroad; basking in their characteristic progressive pedigree, zeal for resistance and unbounded optimism for progressive governance, yielded to the promise of better days and invested their aspirations in the expectations for a brighter Ekiti State. In the eagerness to do away with the inglorious past, our people did not only vote for a political party adjudged as the best with pro-people policy and programme but they also stood at the trenches and at the barricades when their mandate was believed to have been subverted. In the ensuing struggle, many foot soldiers were imprisoned, brutalized, maimed and dehumanized while some paid the ultimate price of martyrdom. By and large, at the advent of the new democratic order envisioned, in the aftermath of a very challenging but collective struggle for political change, Ekiti people were very much expectant of the gains that would sufficiently assuage their pains and sacrifices. But it did not take long before their optimism, zeal, expectations and dreams were dashed with sheer impunity. Hopes and aspirations were sooner than later frittered away on the altar of egocentric and arrogant display of state power. The collective investment in governance became personalized with the citizens traumatized on a daily basis. As it stands today in Ekiti, naked show of power and crude brutality in the full glare of the public are signposts of the prevailing reign of political vendetta. The hallmark of subsisting brutality in Ekiti State consists in serial undermining of the rule of law, destruction of institutions, subversion of values, assaults on individual rights and freedoms, corruption, misplacement of priorities, misappropriation of resources and liquidation of democratic aspirations at the local government level; resulting ultimately in economic stagnation, social instability and political misery. Enmeshed in deep contradictions and an endemic crisis of integrity, the regime in Ekiti State has polluted the democratic credentials of the platform with which it rode to power and it seems the principal functionaries are preoccupied with settling too numerous scores with real or perceived “enemies”. The resultant effect of the fascistic order in Ekiti is the wide gulf created between the Government and the governed; manifesting in embarrassing disparities between the privileged few and the marginalized majority as well as fanning the ember of discord and bitterness. Rather than yield to wise counsel from public servants and well-meaning groups as well as individuals, those in position of authority in Ekiti prefer to indulge in highhandedness and witch-hunting against striking workers and systematic alienation of those perceived as potential threats. What is, however, more important is that the future of Ekiti State can no longer be subsumed under a political platform associated with unbridled isolation of the people by Government; abdication of constitutional responsibilities; subversion of the rule of law; flagrant disrespect of the principle of party supremacy; abject distraction from the core business of governance and jettisoning of viable ideas and policies capable of salvaging the State from poverty, stagnation, squalor, backwardness and misery. In the midst of all these, I recognize and appreciate the peculiar difficulties faced by overwhelming majority of our people and their expectations in the change we crave for. For me, this is a great challenge for which all the illustrious sons and daughters of Ekiti, home and abroad, who mean well for our

Opeyemi dear State must brace up to. The redemption of our dear State from the taskmasters masquerading as democrats will, no doubt, assuage the pains and anguish to which our people have been plunged. This is the historical responsibility and generational task that must be fulfilled. Whereas the objective reality of the situation at hand is clear for all to see and the challenges too obvious for all to decipher, there is no doubt that the responsibilities lie with the patriots of Ekiti who are in the overwhelming majority. The decision and choice we make collectively today will determine the side of history we will belong in no distant future. This is precisely why I stand on the progressive platform of the Labour Party and the Ekiti Bibiire Coalition to urge like-minds in Ekiti State to be united on the right side of history. The hurdles may be gigantic; the odds may be enormous, but it is certain that the challenge is surmountable; the task is doable. Victory is certain! I do not pretend about my concern for the people. I genuinely share the burden and feelings of my people. My mental and spiritual attachments with the good people of Ekiti State underscore the quest of the Labour Party and the Bibiire Coalition to invest governance in Ekiti State with solid, credible and pro-people intervention. It was this concern about credible intervention that necessitated my introduction of social welfare intervention programmes in Ekiti since February 2004. Largely, this concern gave credence to networking with well-meaning sons and daughters of Ekiti with a view to according serious attention to the leadership question. This concern led me into seeking the mandate of the people as a representative in the National Assembly. What we seek to do with the 2014 governorship election is to deepen our resolve to liberate our people by restoring order, confidence and trust in governance through the solemn invention of a pro-people, allengaging, responsive and resourceful leadership to the people of Ekiti State. God willing, I remain resolute in seeking an opportunity to provide leadership as a way of addressing our shared concerns about governance in Ekiti State. Development in modern world is driven by ideas and I intend, with the support of all and sundry, to ventilate ideas to bring development to bear on the human resources and the environment in Ekiti State in such a manner that the growth of Ekiti State and the development of our people would forever remain irreversible. I have chosen to put these ideas in the public domain with this Blueprint on Ekiti Growth and Development Agenda. It is a manifesto of change and Charter of Prosperity through which Ekiti will be catapulted to the next level rather than being left behind by the rest of the Nigerian States as well as the international community. This publication is crucial for two reasons at this juncture in the history of Ekiti State: First is to place on record my covenant with GOD and the people of Ekiti state. The second reason is to provide basis for estimating and evaluating the agenda of the Labour Party and the Bibiire Coalition for Ekiti State so as to create a foundation for mobilizing our people for collective process of democratic engagement such that someday and in accordance with God’s purpose and timing, I will be held to account as GOVERNOR of Ekiti. And by the Grace of God, who has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind, His will shall be done. Part A CHAPTER 1: MY VISION, MY DREAM, MY ASPIRATION FOR EKITI

of living; employment generation and livelihoods sustainability, rural transformation and infrastructural development, access to quality and affordable education as well as security of lives and property. It is my conviction that the Government is failing in its responsibilities when on-going public works are abandoned and contracts are re-awarded under questionable circumstances; when household income is grossly encroached upon for lack of capacity optimisation; when the public taps are not running; when good healthcare delivery and other social services are declining; and when workers are neglected and hopes of ordinary citizens are dashed and their psyches traumatized. No one should expect the people to pledge their support to a Government that fails in its responsibilities to deliver on its promises. It is, therefore, my desire to develop new strategies towards effective governance in Ekiti State in line with the vision of selfless service of Bibiire Coalition, which is to lead by example as reflected in our private lives and corporate dispositions. We will only be able to respond to emerging challenges as they unfold if we approach governance on the basis of collective responsibility in Ekiti State. This way, we are convinced that hope would be restored to our people, I strongly envision a more responsible, responsive, constructive, inclusive, all-engaging and resourceful leadership to steer the ship of the State. With the support of the good people of Ekiti State, we will passionately commit ourselves to deploying governance to make life better for our people. I am committed to translating the limitless potentials in Ekiti State into socio-economic advancement and sustainability. My vision is to mobilize the people; particularly young men and women, to activate their latent potentials in consultation with relevant stakeholders at the Local Government level with a view to evolving strategic roadmap for agricultural development and rural transformation in Ekiti State. Therefore, our Government, within the first twelve months in office, will positively translate expectations of Ekiti people into reality through the commencement of programmes aimed at providing specific and direct interventions in Education and literacy; Agricultural development and rural transformation; Vocational training and entrepreneur development; Microcredit facilities; Access to water and sanitation as well as Adequate and affordable health care services. Regardless of what my opponents and critics would say about me, I don’t think anyone who knows me can sincerely be in doubt of my passion to serve. MY PASSION TO SERVE GREW up in the typical setting of a modest town in Ekiti State in Nigeria’s southwest region. The son of a low class income earner who had to borrow sometimes to meet my school needs, I was fortunate to be the first person in my family to have a university education. At some points of the very challenging circumstance, I had to partly work my way through school. Given this background, I see poverty as a serious challenge that must be tackled from all fronts. To do Ekiti and indeed Nigeria a great service is to put the issue of poverty where it belongs; front and centre. What we do about the millions of Nigerians who wake up every day literally worried about feeding and clothing their families says something about the content and character of our soul! Something is definitely wrong when, in a country that prides herself as the giant of Africa and rated as sixth largest exporter of crude oil, nearly 100 million Nigerians wake up daily to the miseries and uncertainties of poverty. Our politicians can no longer pretend that poverty could be handled with kid gloves. We must, most aggressively, pursue an ambitious program to wage war against poverty if the future must be secured in the interest of all and sundry; both rich and poor in the society. We reckon that corruption, to a large extent, fuels poverty. Our focus, therefore, is to be unequivocally committed to openness, transparency and accountability in governance. We would ensure fiscal discipline and due process in carrying out Government policies. That way, we would be assured the commitment of the people to work hand-in-hand with Government to create the much needed environment for wealth creation through socio-economic opportunities at household, community and societal levels. To love and to serve is my mission. I’ve been made to be a light, so I am going to shine wherever I go. I am convinced, like Mother Teresa, that being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

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CHAPTER 2: THE CHALLENGES AHEAD: BUILDING A NEW DEMOCRATIC EKITI Y esteemed Ekiti kete; brothers and sisters, we can no longer surrender our today, tomorrow and future to extreme poverty. We must resolve to collectively deploy our wealth; mostly hidden and untapped potentials, into building a future that guarantees prosperity for our generation and generations coming behind. Inspite of our individual weaknesses, we must collectively derive strength in the denials and deprivation of the moment and pursue the cause of enthroning a truly democratic Government. This is the only way we can give meaning to our common existence as a people. Indeed, an inclusive and people-centred Government, warming up to all beyond political boundaries, is possible in Ekiti State. Our focus is to preside over political institutions, which patriots and leaders of thought and all stakeholders can freely relate to without hesitations and inhibitions in the collective desire to make valuable contributions to the growth and

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development, by Opeyemi development of our dear State. I am convinced that there are good men and women across social and political platforms in Ekiti State. Yet there is nothing absolutely wrong in belonging to different political parties to advance our political ambition. I am, however, unequivocally convinced that there are positive and scientific changeagents who could be rallied across and beyond political divides to add value to governance. Our mission, therefore, is to mobilize partnership for effective governance amongst the political class, the academia, the civil society, organized and informal private sector, traditional institutions, the media, faith-based organizations etc. If given the mandate of Ekiti people to lead as Governor, by God’s grace, I am determined to evolve an environment that will give the right sense of belonging and opportunities to capable hands who will contribute to running of state affairs. There is no doubt that machineries of Government will benefit tremendously if those in position of authorities work closely with stakeholders; including elder statesmen and women who laboured to ensure the creation, successful take off and subsequent development of Ekiti State. In the same vein, critical stakeholders like career civil servants, at both the State and Local Government levels, must be accorded their pride of place in the decision making process, in a manner that will recognize that the civil servants who are career officers have equal stake in the scheme of things as coservants of the same master; the master being the people whose overriding interest political office holders were elected to serve. Indeed, the political space is wide enough for unhindered expression of individual thoughts and opinions, within the limits of the law. The political environment must necessarily accommodate as many people as possible; regardless of their political, ideological, religious, ethnic, and social leanings and encourage them to fulfil their aspirations and pursuits in a legitimate, transparent, civilized and decent manner. Regardless of the inclination of political functionaries, a level playing ground must be created for all shades of opinion to thrive without necessarily working at cross purposes. Our Government will ensure that freedom to express diverse opinions is a minimum pre-condition for sustainability of democracy and attainment of peace and mutual co-existence in a plural democratic society like ours. We believe mutual respect invariably connotes that voices of opposition political parties and groups, labour unions, professional bodies, traditional rulers, lawmakers, journalists, the women folk, youth as well as vulnerable groups are not only heard but are taken into account in the running of the affairs of the State, regardless of whether or not such opinion are at variance with that of the Government. It is our conviction that a political environment that derives strength from mutual respect amongst the stakeholders will provide equal opportunity for individuals and groups and will also ensure that affairs of the State are conducted and managed in a transparent, accountable, participatory, equitable and effective manner, for the common good of the society and to the approval of, at least, a vast majority of the people, if not all. There will be complete deviation from the perennial deceits that attended governance whereby electoral promises are disregarded in violation of global best practices in terms of dedication to accountability, transparency, probity and the observance of the due process. The chronic crisis of integrity which has become a recurring decimal that has attended successive administrations in Nigeria over the years would be accorded zero tolerance in the new democratic Ekiti State that we envision. Therefore, commitment to integrity would be the hallmark of the leadership we promise Ekiti people. To this extent and in furtherance to our commitment to popular participation in the governance process at the grassroot level, our administration will conduct Local Government elections within the first six months of our stay in office to enable the creation of such political institutions and social platforms that are incidental to community governance and rapid development at the grassroot level. Beyond democratization and stability of our polity, there is also the critical question of what is to be done to grow the Ekiti economy and ensure prosperity? CHAPTER 3: THE WAY FORWARD: EKITI CHARTER OF PROSPERITY I equally carry the conviction that: …Tough experiences make tough leaders while the road to success is dotted with many tempting parking place. Children of today are our future kings and queens ….. Our mission is to enhance the lives of the youth and adults. So, they become productive members in society ….. Our stake is to help and support the needy in our communities; to provide counselling on everyday life skills to help them reach their fullest potentials… My passion for Ekiti state is driven by commitment to deploy governance to meet the expectations of Ekiti people. Therefore, our strategy for governance in Ekiti state will consist of the following deliberate and rigorous interventions: - Rapid rural transformation and agricultural development Infrastructural development, - Access to water and sanitation, - Adequate food and quality nutrition, - Quality and affordable education, Vocational training and entrepreneurial development - Adequate and affordable healthcare services, - Security of lives and property Micro-credit facilities We propose these key interventions as Ekiti Charter of Prosperity and a social contract between Ekiti people and our Government. Ekiti Charter of Prosperity recognizes the rights

of the people to effective, responsive and enduring public service delivery in meeting the expectations. We do not have any hesitation in affirming our conviction that Ekiti people are ready to give their full support in demonstration of the love, faith and honesty that are the attributes of Ekiti. This Charter will empower the people to challenge the Government and hold it to account in fulfilling its side of the bargain. Ekiti Charter of Prosperity recognizes that poverty has many strands and must, therefore, be tackled from all fronts. The Charter recognizes that Government must work not only to improve income and multiply streams of income generation but to provide appropriate interventions in order to address poverty. We, therefore, intend to empower the poor by tackling social exclusion head on by paying particular attention to job creation to improve incomes; provide affordable housing; improve healthcare services; provide functional education system; encourage democratic engagement through popular participation in governance; enhance manpower development for the growth of an effective workforce; protect the vulnerable as well as promoting public peace and security. Our Government will be committed to protecting and sustaining the livelihoods of the people in local and urban communities. Government will rigorously pursue empowerment initiatives to rapidly recreate and redistribute wealth in the immediate families, communities and society at large. In collaboration with the relevant federal agencies, organized private sector (OPS), multilateral agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), our Government will address the varying needs of different categories of people, including the women, aged, widow, youths, students, special people, unemployed citizens, etc. The physically challenged will equally have access to free education and other forms of sponsorships to facilitate access to equal opportunities, and the infrastructural development initiatives in the State will be handicapfriendly and inclusive, ensuring that public buildings and walkways cater for the sensitive needs like the building of ramps and provision of Braille signs, where possible; thus setting the pace for other States in the federation. Mass empowerment initiatives will be deployed into harnessing the potentials of our youths and to encourage the development of specialized skills in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other technical vocations such as Welding, Barbing, Electrical/Electronic Installation and Repairs, Hairdressing, Fashion Design, etc. Part B BUILDING A NEW EKITI: REINVENTING THE ART OF GOVERNANCE CHAPTER 4 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT HE people of Ekiti State can rely on my assurance that they will be at the centre of our policies and actions which shall be implemented by a highly motivated and efficient civil service. The task ultimately before us is to reinvent public trust in government and to drive the process of governance through popular participation of all critical stakeholders at the various platforms of the society. To this end, the first six months of our government in office will be devoted to creating vital and sustainable links across the socio-cultural, economic, religious and political divides in Ekiti State. Our government would embark on community roundtables that will draw participation from representatives of community, opinion leaders, traditional institutions, religious groups, youth, women, the physically challenged, professionals, students and other non-state actors in each of the 16 local government areas across Ekiti State. The purpose of the community roundtables is to conduct critical need assessments in each of the local government areas leading to strategic mapping of problems, issues and demands that require prompt and properly-articulated attention of government. Our resolve to adopt and implement pro-poor policies is underscored by our commitment to periodic interactions at the community level. Our focus is to empower the populace and sustain their active interest and participation in the busi-

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ness of governance in Ekiti State and to stem the tide of pervasive apathy among our people towards government policies, arising from endemic policy somersaults and fascist posturing of the present administration. The various local government areas would be encouraged to conduct similar roundtables in each of the wards within their jurisdiction. To the extent that I am emotionally and psychologically prepared to reinvent social consciousness and orientation among our people, our government will work with organized groupings and platforms of the civil society including non-governmental organizations and community-based groups to bring about a new understanding of governance as a participatory process rather than an elitist facade. Our mission is to ensure that consultation, openness, transparency, accountability, probity; popular engagement and regular feedback on our stewardship become the hallmark of governance in Ekiti State. Our strategy is to impact on the human and environmental development through deliberate and specific actions in the following areas: Our government will deploy human and material resources into harnessing potentials for Ekiti development. A skill acquisition institute will be set to coordinate the effective learning and skill transfer for the people of Ekiti who have interest in developing business initiatives. The Institute will be equipped with standard training facilities as well as designated sites for farmland and mining activities. The institute will facilitate training in mining, piggery, horticulture and other forms of agricultural practice, handiworks, craft-works, creative designs, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as other technical vocations. The institute will develop and review, from time to time, curriculum for socio-economic empowerment and development to sustain skill transfer. The institute will designate and coordinate business incubation clusters with appropriate and sufficient facilities within Ekiti state. i. Deploying Agriculture as a Springboard of Economic Prosperity Agriculture is the backbone of rural economies in sub-Saharan Africa as statistics have shown that young people make up approximately 30 per cent of the total population in Africa. Ekiti State is not left out of this analysis, as its youth account for a sizeable proportion of the total population. Ekitis State substantially share similar characteristics and demographics in relations to agriculture and development. Therefore, our government will be committed to supporting rural farmers with incentives to encourage agricultural activities. The youth living in cities, towns and villages would be encouraged with incentives and attractive environments to live and be engaged in mechanized and productive agricultural activities. Given agriculture’s major role in the rural economy, it has significant potential to provide solutions to the current problems of youth unemployment in Ekiti State. Created on 1st October, 1996, with land area of about 5,307 square kilometres and a population of about 2,384,212 (2006 census), Ekiti State constitutes one of the component units of the Nigerian federation. The State is located between longitude 4 45 and 5 45 East of Greenwich Meridian and Latitude 7 15 to 8 5 North of the Equator. It is situated in the Northern part of the old Ondo State and covers a land area of about 7,000sq km. Its NorthSouth extent (i.e Ilejemeje Local Government of the State boundary with Kwara State at Iye/Eruku and Ikere/Iju boundary) is 88km while the West-East extent (i.e Efon Local Government of Ekiti State boundary with Osun State at Itawure / Ijebu Jesha and Ekiti East Local Government with Akoko North Local Government at Omuo / Igasi is 100km. In the 1991 Census, Ekiti State population was 1,647,822 while the estimated population on creation of the State on October 1, 1996 was about 1,75million.The 2006 population census released by National Population Commission puts the population of Ekiti State at 2,384,212. With about 70% of her population engaged in farming, and over 90% of her land coverage suitable for farming and agricultural related businesses, Ekiti State offers untapped potentials for lifting millions of people out of poverty, hunger and squalor. Agriculture, therefore, stands out eminently as the surest means of setting Ekiti State on the path of Economic Growth, Industrialization and Development. Role of the Agricultural Sector Before the 1970s, agriculture has traditionally been characterized as the mainstay of the Nigerian economy with many assigned roles to perform in the course of the country’s economic development. Among the roles conventionally ascribed to the agricultural sector in a growing economy are those of; 1) Providing adequate food for an increasing population; 2) Supplying adequate raw materials for a growing industrial sector; 3) Constituting the major source of employment; 4) Constituting a major source of internally generated revenue; and 5) Providing a market for the products of the industrial sector. Major Problems of the Agricultural Sector The problems and constraints of the agricultural sector can be grouped into four (4) broad categories: Technical; Socio-Economic; Organisational; and Technical Problem. Technical Problem: These are problems associated with

Opeyemi

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‘My pact with Ekiti people’ (1) CONTINUED FROM PAGE 85 I) Inadequate quantity and quality of Farm inputs; ii) Low level of agricultural technology; iii) Inadequate infrastructural facilities for agricultural production; iv) Marketing and distribution disconnect; and v) Disruptive effects of some natural phenomena on agricultural activities such as drought, erosion, flood, pest and disease problems of crops and livestock. Socio-Economic Problem: These include: i) Those associated with high and increasing cost of agricultural production and the relatively low rates of return from most agricultural investment; ii) High labour wage rate due to shortage of farm labour; iii) Inability of most farmers to benefit fully from the high and rising market prices of agricultural commodities due to poor/lack of product marketing and other constraints; iv) Rise in the opportunity costs of investment in agriculture which has discouraged private investment in agriculture. Organisational Problem: i) Lack of conscious and concerted effort to transit from the traditional system of farming to the mechanical, incorporating modern management technique; ii) There is duplication and uncoordinated efforts among Ministries, Agencies etc on issues bothering on agriculture and allied industry; iii) There is problem of wastes, conflict of goals and poor quality of services due to bureaucratic bottlenecks. AGRO ALLIED VENTURE The soil type and experience of the various communities in Ekiti State appears to have evolved a sort of crop localization. For example, the Iworoko-Are/Igbemo axis is noted for rice production. The same can be said of the Aramoko-Erio-Efon axis. Ido-Osi on its part is famous for the cultivation of yam, cassava, maize and plantain. Ogotun-Ikere-Ise axis flourishes in the production of Cocoa and Citrus. Based on the specialization and the comparative advantages of these communities, it is therefore our intention to encourage agrarian development and industrialisation thus: Rice production during our administration will focus on three essential axis, namely Iworoko-Are/Igbemo axis; Aramoko-Erio-Efon/Okemesi axis and Ayedun axis; Establishment of cattle ranches and dairy farms, beginning with the resuscitation of existing ones, such as the Ayede/Igede farm settlements; Establishment of oil palm estate at Orin Ekiti; Establishment of citrus farms at Ogotun, Igbara-Odo and Ijan; Resuscitation of the various Government owned poultry farms; and Establishment of storage facilities close to farmers in all the Local Governments.

To ensure real growth in agriculture in Ekiti State, our administration will work towards making critical infrastructures available, including: (I) Water irrigation where possible; (ii) Farm machinery such as tractors, bulldozer etc;(iii) Training and extension services to local farmers; (iv) Silos and cribs so as to reduce waste and make for price stability (v) Rural roads; and (vi) Seeds and seedlings including 2million (2,000,000) improved cocoa seedling 1million (1,000,000) early maturing oil palm seedlings 1million (1,000,000) plantain suckers 2million cashew seedlings. Tree Crops Development Our Government will give priority to the development of some tree crops such as cocoa, plantain, banana, oranges, and cashew. Aggressive provision of seedlings of these crops will be pursued. The Horticulture Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture will be tasked with the provision of improved orange seedlings, mangoes, kola, vegetable and pineapple. Arable Crops In order not to make issues to be cumbersome as regards agriculture, our Government will pay specific attention to arable crops such as yam, maize, cassava, cowpea (beans) and rice by encouraging peasant farmers to embark on mechanised cultivation to increase output. For example, investment in yam production will lead to increase in yield far beyond what can locally be consumed in Ekiti, thus creating surplus and drive for such excess to be exported to neighbouring states -Lagos, Ogun etc. Bee-keeping The project of bee-keeping which hitherto is under the Ministry of Women Affairs will be transferred to an Agency that will be dedicated to the development of its full potentials while the Ministry can be better focused on issues of women development. Sericulture Project This project was initiated by Governor Olumilua in Ondo State. Efforts were made to bring it to limelight by successive governments in Ekiti but the red tapism of the civil service did not let it see the light of day. Our Government will to inject fund to it and give it proper supervision under the same Agency as Beekeeping. Sugarcane Plantation A project like this was conceived years ago even before the creation of Ekiti State and it was located at Otun Ekiti because of the soil and climatic condition of the area. This is an agro based project which, if properly harnessed, can be the source of raw material for a sugar factory in that zone at the nearest future. JATROPHA PLANTING

Jatropha, locally called LAPALAPA, is a source of alternative energy capable of producing products such as petrol, superdiesel, bio-jet fuel to mention but a few. The soil and climatic condition for growing this tree abound in Ekiti State. It is a drought resistant perennial plant capable of producing seed for 50 years. It is a genus of flowering plant and one of the best candidates for biodiesel production. It has a 37% oil content. The oil can be combusted as fuel without being refined; the oil is produced when the seed is pressed. The oil from Jatropha carcass is mainly converted to bio-diesel for use in diesel engines. The cake can be used for fish or animal feed (if detoxified), it is a high-quality organic fertilizer. Government will encourage local farmers to plant the tree. But in addition, a large part of different farm settlements will be reserved for planting the tree on a large scale. RESUSCITATE FARM SETTLEMENTS In the 1950s under the Western Regional Government in Nigeria, farm settlements were set up across the region. Today, Ekiti State inherited two (2) of such, now located in Ayede Ekiti and Orin Ekiti. Apart from these two, there are four (4) optimum centres located at Erio, Osin, Odo-Owa and Eporo. The lands in these centres are underutilized and specific actions as listed below will be taken on these settlements: (i) Modern residential buildings will be constructed on the farm to enable farmers that will work in the settlements have abode, where necessary; (ii) Irrigation system (5g to cover 300 hectares) will be installed; (iii) As stated earlier, storage facilities such as silos and cribs, shall be made available so that produce can be stored after harvesting and surplus preserved; (iv) The post of Extension Service Officers will be reactivated to render advisory services to farmers; (v) Parcels of land will be made available for horticulture including floriculture, arboriculture and related services in plant conservation, landscape restoration, horticultural therapy, and much more; (vi) Seedlings for the farmers will be made available and affordable; (vii) Modern day farm implements-tractors with associated gadgets such as harrowing machine, planters, boom sprayer etc will be made available; (viii) Provision of chemicals, pesticides and insecticides to farmers at affordable rates; (ix) For awareness purposes, phone-in programmes on radio and television will be encouraged; (x) Cooperative officers from the Department of Cooperatives in the Ministry of Agriculture will closely monitor the activities of the farmers cooperatives to provide Government with accurate information and statistical data of cooperative farmers activities.

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PHOTONEWS EXTRA

Women praying during the National Prayers for the release of Chibok Girls in Abuja yesterday. It was organised by the federal ministry of women affairs

Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhll (left), former Chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Mazi Sam Ohuanbuwa, and Director, Registration and Regulatory Affairs, NAFDAC, Monica Emujieze, during the Agric Expo 3rd Pan West Africa Int’ L, Agric Exhibition and Conferences in Lagos PHOTO: GABRIEL IKHAHON

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, explaining a point to an investor, the President/CEO, MilHouse, Mr Wilbur C. Milhouse, at the Governor’s Lodge, Abuja

Trade Development Manager, UK Trade and Investment, Patricia Kenneth-Divene (left) ; General Manager, Corporate Services, Alpha Mead Facilities and Management Services, Wale Odifalu, Managing Director, Alpha Mead Facilities and Management Services, Femi Akintunde, and Commissioner for Forestry, Ogun State, Adebayo Fari, during the 2014 Alpha Mead Facilities and Management Services Conference in Lagos yesterday        PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Chief Executive Director, JSK Etiquette Consortium, Janet Adetu (left); Managing Director, Chapel Hill Denham Management Limited, Ononuju Irukwu, Managing Director, Montgomery West Africa, Tori Abiola, and Director, ODDESSUM / GUONO – Nigeria, Ejiro Onome Jakpa, in a press conference announcing WOWe 2014 - Women of West Africa Entrepreneurship Conference in Lagos PHOTO AYODELE ADENIRAN

Catholic Archbishop of Ilorin, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo; founder of Lumen Christi Television Network, Mr. Soji Olagunju, Archbishop of Metropolitan Lagos, Dr. Alfred Martins, and Episcopal Vicar, Mosignor Francis Ogunmodede, at the inauguration of Lumen Christi Television Network in Lagos

Provost, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola (left); President, Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, Dr. Fred Achem, the celebrant, Prof. Oladele Akinla, chief launcher, Dr. John Abebe and Chief Medical Director, Lagos State Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Prof. Akin Osibogun, during the re-launch of the Prof. Oladele Akinla Trust Fund to commemorate his 90th birthday, in Lagos

Chief Legal Counsel, Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Laoye Denike, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Jibril Aku, Head Teacher, C&S Primary School 11, Majidun Ikorodu, Mrs Olabode Olasunbo Kudirat, with some pupils of the school, at the handover of block of classrooms renovated by Ecobank to the school authority


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88 | NEWS Thursday, June 5, 2014

EKITI 2014

Bamidele unveils manifesto From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti ROADMAP for total transA formation of Ekiti State and to develop its economic potentials was yesterday unveiled by the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Hon. Opeyemi  Bamidele. The 116-page blueprint that contains 12 chapters gives a detailed analysis of how the party wishes to govern the state in the next four years if elected in the June 21 governorship election. Bamidele, who said he acknowledged the fact that the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has done his best, however, said he has the requisite experience to surpass the level of achievement already recorded by the present administration if given the chance. Speaking in Ado Ekiti during the official presentation  of his manifesto, Bamidele promised to improve on the lives of the people through integrated and commercial agriculture, robust  infrastructure that would provide jobs for over 400,000 unemployed youths, regular water supply, low cost housing units,  human capital development and other pivotal areas of the economy. He said: “I concede to the fact that Governor Fayemi has done his best… But the reason why I am in this race to take over from Fayemi in the June 21 election is simply because I know I can do much better. “Today marks a turning point in the history of this state. Our LP’s manifesto, which involves massive agriculture, quality and affordable education,  water supply to rural and urban centres and robust infrastructure will be implemented in a manner that will generate jobs for our youths. “I call this manifesto, a blueprint for Ekiti growth and development because I  know that this is a contract with Ekiti people and we will do our best to wipe away poverty  and raise the bar of governance to the admiration of all.” Earlier, the Chairman of the Elders’ Forum in LP, Professor Joseph Oluwasanmi, said  the people of the state must prevent those without dignity and honour from assuming the governorship seat. The former Commissioner for Health under Otunba Niyi Adebayo-led government, stated that “Ekiti is known to be a Land of Honour and Dignity and we have to live by this. We should not allow those who cannot spell the names of their parties correctly or those who are not worth being  elected chairmen and are parading themselves as governorship

candidates from taking over the reigns of leadership in our land.” Oluwasanmi urged the Ekiti populace to prevent poll riggers from having their ways, saying the LP members must vote and be vigilant during the election. The LP Chairman in the state, Akin Omole, said the blueprint of his candidate will rescue the state out of the present frustration, he said the All Progressives Congress (APC) has brought to Ekiti. He added: “LP is a party with a difference because we have been marching forward  in ideas. We are in this state to bring a progressive change. We have witnessed a lot of provocations, but we are steadfast in the struggle. “With this manifesto, we have signed a contract with our people and by the grace of God this will be implemented to the letter to bring the expected changes in the lives of our people.”

Ekiti, Osun polls will show INEC’s preparedness for 2015, says DFID From: Lillian Chukwu and John Okeke Abuja HE British government is T to spend 35 million pound sterling for ‘deepening democracy in Nigeria 2’ (DDiN2) programme and said that the success of the coming Ekiti and Osun states elections will determine the level of electoral preparedness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Permanent Secretary at the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), Mark Lowcock, who made this assertion upon arrival in Abuja yesterday, said that strong INEC’s electoral manage-

Jega

Fayemi flays LP candidate over comments on Ekiti varsity Stories by Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti) HE Kayode Fayemi OrganT isation has advised the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele to stop spreading lies in a desperate attempt to win over the Ekiti electorate who are far more informed than he assumes they are. In a statement yesterday, the Fayemi Campaign Organisation said it was laughable that both the candidate of the LP and the PDP have now turned the university merger into an object of lies with which they are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the enlightened Ekiti electorate. Spokesperson of the organisation, Dimeji Daniels, said, the decision to merge the university was not unilateral, but a product of painstaking deliberations at an education summit of eggheads of the state origin such as the late Professor Sam Aluko, Professor Akin Oyebode and other eminent educationists who are very knowledgeable in the management of university education. Daniels added that the merger of the universities had brought a new lease of life to Ekiti State University (EKSU) which now ranks 17 in the webometic ranking of universities as against its ear-

• Ohanaeze Ndigbo declares support for gov lier ranking of 79. According to Daniels, the confusion about which of the three universities to give the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) to was only laid to rest after the merger. “The ability of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) to access the TETFUND, coupled with the capital grants it receives from the State Government, has enabled it to build new structures, thereby sky-rocketing the institution from a hitherto glorified secondary school to a world class university.” Daniels said it was out of sheer desperation that Bamidele who as a member of the defunct ACN was part of the decision-making process could turn around now to ridicule same on the alter of desperate politicking. Meanwhile, apex Igbo sociocultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Ekiti State has declared support for the re-election of the Governor Kayode Fayemi in the forthcoming governorship election. The ethnic group led by its Southwest president, Prince Nathaniel Uzoma said Fayemi is “a diamond which the State cannot afford to replace” and should be returned to Government House on June 21.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s President, while speaking on behalf of the Igbos who filled up the Bishop Adetiloye Hall in Ado Ekiti, venue of the meeting, said South Easterners are not oblivious of the various transformations that the Fayemi administration has put in place in the last three and a half years and would want the good works to continue. Uzoma, who noted that the State has experienced relative peace since 2010 when Fayemi assumed office stressed that the Igbos are aware that their businesses cannot thrive if there is no peace in the state. The President who commended the present administration for not being sectional and bias in treatment of non-indigenes in the State said Ndigbo were pleasantly surprised when Fayemi appointed a South Easterners as political aides. Uzoma said the Fayemi-led government also gave Ohaneze Ndigbo two 18seater buses when other tribal groups were given buses last year and this recognition accorded Igbo shows that Fayemi is a friend of Ndigbo and should be well supported. He assured that the Igbo people in the State will not only

Jonathan to kick off Fayose’s campaign Saturday RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan will on Saturday lead the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to Ado Ekiti to present party’s flag to former governor Ayo Fayose. According to a statement issued by the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Pastor Kola Oluwawole, the mega rally will begin at 10a.m at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado Ekiti. Oluwawole said the president will be accompanied by the Vice President, Architect Namadi Sambo; PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu; Senate President, Senator David Mark; Speaker,

• PDP lauds Adeyeye’s nomination as minister House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; BOT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih; Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan; Minister State for the Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and other PDP big wigs. Oluwawole said that watertight security measure has been put in place by the security agencies to make the ceremony hitch-free. He appealed to the leaders and members of the PDP and as well lovers of Ayo Fayose in the state to come out enmasse to welcome the president. Meanwhile, supporters of the

PDP went into celebration yesterday over the nomination of Prince Dayo Adeyeye as a minister, saying the appointment will assist the party to win the election. Thousands of PDP supporters trooped to Adeyeye’s Ise-Ekiti country home to congratulate him on the appointment. PDP Secretary in Ise/Orun Local Government, Toyin Okoro said; “This is the best news that I have heard this year. With Adeyeye as minister, Fayemi should begin to pack his belongings from the government house.” Also speaking, former Speaker of the State House of Assembly,

Hon. Sola Ajigbolamu hailed President Jonathan for the appointment, saying, “for the first time in recent time, Ekiti will be having a minister worthy to be called a minister.” A former member of the State House of Assembly, Hon Ajibade Owolabi said, “If I were Fayemi, I will simply withdraw from this election because this is the last straw. Fayemi’s camel back is already broken and I can say it confidently that June 21 is seal and delivered to the PDP.” Reacting to the appointment, the Arinjale of Ise-Ekiti, Adeyeye’s hometown, Oba Ayodele Ajayi, thanked President Jonathan for finding Adeyeye worthy for the appointment.

vote enmasse for the Governor but also campaign for him to ensure his victory in the forthcoming poll. “Ohanaeze Ndigbo is for JKF, Governor Fayemi walks the talk. Let me start by appreciating the governor for what he has done so far for our people. Right from the inception of this government, he is a listening governor and has been attending to our requests. I can recall that the Governor gave us two buses last year. Your Excellency, what we have not witnessed before, you have done it for us by appointing one of us as a member of your cabinet. Apart from what you have done for us directly, some other things, which you have done including the infrastructural development in the State, I want to say that Ohanaeze Ndigbo is not blind. There are some people, maybe because of political reasons who tried to sacrifice the truth on the altar of politics but Ohanaeze Ndigbo is not like that. “We appreciate the good roads that we have done in Ekiti. We appreciate what you have done in the education sector, agricultural sector and other sectors. You have done well but the most important thing, which you have done, is that you have brought peace to Ekiti state. don’t know if your mind is shaky but I want to tell you that you can rest assured that come June 21, 2014 you re returning as governor of Ekiti State”, he said. Responding to Uzoma’s speech, Governor Fayemi redeemed the pledge of N5 million, which he made last year towards the Igbo Indigent Students Education Fund. The Governor said the donation is not a favour but a duty to the group of people who have contributed immensely to the economy and development of the state. Fayemi said his administration is not discriminatory against any of the tribes living in the State, saying that this is evident in the appointment of some Igbo people as his political aides.

ment was critical in elections in the two south western states. In his words: “I hope that Ekiti and Osun will demonstrate INEC’s successful electoral management, working together with political parties and security agencies, and the potential for peaceful elections to be conducted fairly between credible candidates, with a more engaged electorate, and civil society working together to support this process.” The 35 million pound DDiN2 initiative will be implemented from 2014 to 2018 and is aimed to strengthen democratic governance in Nigeria with main objective for a more efficient, effective and responsive political, electoral and democratic institutions. Lowcock said, “Nigeria matters, for the 180 million Nigerians living in it, it matters for Africa and it matters for the UK. This global focus on Nigeria represents an important moment for the country. As Africa’s biggest democracy, countries look to Nigeria to lead the continent in many ways. Delivering credible elections in 2015 are a key pillar of that leadership. “This is why I’m pleased to launch our next Deepening Democracy Programme. Supporting the 2015 elections in Nigeria is a vital part of DFID’s global commitment to support freer and fairer elections across the globe,” he added. The envoy noted that the programme is working across the electoral cycle to strengthen presidential, national and state elections and mitigate the risks of violence and that elections on their own do not ensure democratization. He stressed that DDiN2 is also working with the National Assembly while encouraging a broader and more engaged electorate, in particular women and youth, to make a more informed choice at the ballot box. Lowcock noted, “We are working in partnership with many different people and organizations, supporting key Nigerian institutions and actors, from INEC to the National Assembly to civil society organizations and working in coordination with international partners and non governmental organization, private foundations and local civil society organizations. It is through all of us working together that we can improve the probability of credible and safe elections in 2015.” He expressed concern over the levels of insecurity and the potential for violence in Nigeria as it affects the 2015 elections and beyond adding that INEC has an important role to play to ensure credible, fair and safe elections.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

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OSUN GUBER POLL 2014

Aregbesola promises more welfare projects Stories from Tunji Omofoye, Osogbo OVERNOR Rauf G Aregbesola has reiterated the commitment of his administration to consolidate and initiate new projects that would boost the welfare of people of Osun State if re=elected in the August 9 polls. Addressing a mamoth crowd at a rally at Ikire, headquarters of Irewole local council, Aregbesola said that his desire to seek re-election was to move the state from the shackles of underdevelopment. According to him, power to the progressives is responsibility whereas to the reactionaries it is a means to amass wealth at the expense of the people. While stressing that the progressives and reactionaries are not equal in all ramifications, the governor noted his

Aregbesola

administration would not disappoint the people in terms of ensuring that more dividends of democracy are brought to them especially those at the grassroots. He said that the achievements recorded by his administration would be a tip of the iceberg when compared with what would be achieved if the administration gets a second term in office. Aregbesola said that his government had distributed 2,229 computer tablets to pupils in senior secondary schools in the area apart from massive roads construction in Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan federal constituency of the state. He stated further that about 88 boreholes had been sunk by the government to make life more meaningful to the people of the area, adding that the administration had

also commenced work on a dam to enhance availability of portable water supply in the constituency. The chairman of the State Local Government Service Commission, Elder Peter Babalola, thanked the people for trooping out in support of the All Progressives Congress {APC} and appealed to them against selling their voters card. The first civilian governor of Osun, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke, who recently defected to APC, noted that Aregbesola had succeeded in fulfiling his electoral promises to the people urging them to reciprocate the gesture by voting for the party en mass. Hon. Ayo Omidiran representing the area at the National Assembly assured the people of the state that there would be adequate security during and after the election.

Omisore

Adeleke pledges to deliver constituency votes to APC ORMER governor Of Osun FwhoState, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) last weekend said he would deliver 95 per cent of votes in his constituency to the APC in the Osun August 9, 2014 election. Adeleke, who noted that his dumping the PDP with his supporters had created serious panic in the PDP camp saying leaders of the party made dying minute fruitless efforts to stop his defection. Addressing reporters at his countryhome, Ede, he said the standard bearer of PDP,Senator Iyiola Omisore and some chieftains of the party visited his house to stop him from moving to APC but were chased away by his supporters who were bitter about alleged assault on their principal by Omisore’s group. However, Senator Omisore said Adeleke refused to open the gate of his house for the PDP delegates because of his desperation to justify huge sum of money allegedly collected from Aregbesola to fight against the PDP. Omisore, who spoke through his Director of Publicity and Strategies, Prince Diran Odeyemi, also alleged that Adeleke had secretly joined

APC about two years ago, adding that there was no way he could honour the visitation of those who wanted to get across to him. Adeleke hinted that a few hours to his defection, Vice President Namadi Sambo and some ministers communicated to him on phone that he should have a re-think but “I told them it was too late then because they came at injury time.” He went on: “I wondered they could be trying to reach me when they heard that I wanted to defect. If they had taken the action at the initial stage to pacify me when the trio of Omisore, the Minister for Police Affairs, Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan and Sogo Agboola, brutalized me, I may not have found myself in any other political party now but it is too late for them because they acted wrongly at a wrong time. “What stops them to act when I was molested by Omisore and his boys? If the vice president, the ministers and the leadership of the party had made the calls they were making to me at the injury time, probably wonders could have happened but they ignored my complaints and petition letter I wrote to

protest against my molestation. “It is a pity that they came when I have finally made up my mind to leave PDP and I did so when I discovered I was no longer safe in the PDP and concerned authorities failed to act in good time. “It was unfortunate that few hours to my defection, Senator Omisore and some chieftains from PDP visited my house to apologize for their inaction. They know my worth in politics and politicking of the state and I assure them that APC will get 95 per cent votes in Ede where I hail from and if they want to prove me wrong, let us wait and see.” On the rumoured choice of the former Speaker of the state, Hon. Adjure Bello, who hails from the same town with him, as a running mate to Omisore probably to give him a tough political fight during the election, Adeleke said Bello was  small boy to him in politics and that he made him to become what he is today. He added: “My base is in Ede and Adejare Bello can never be a threat to my political victory in my base. When I was the state governor, he was still in school and there is no way he can outsmart me in politics. In fact, he is still a toddler in the field.”

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90 SPORT Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sports Thunder Balogun U-15 tourney gathers momentum

Countdown To Brazil 2014 World Cup

Eagles will play better against USA, Keshi promises OT satisfied with what he N saw in Nigeria’s performance against Greece on Tuesday night, Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi, has stepped up work on the team to rev them up to his expected standard. Keshi came hard on his team when he said the team did not play to style in the game against Greece that ended goalless in Philadelphia, USA. Speaking at the post match press conference that said the team played a strange game in the first half and only started to play to style 15 minutes to the end. “It’s a game we should have won easily but here we are not playing to our style. We play possession football and press the opposition to give up but we didn’t do that till towards the end of the game, but its part of the learning curve and we will get there before the World Cup starts,” he said. On the players’ output, Keshi said all the boys picked were desperate to impress in the game, noting that when such happens, the manager has to understand the realities. Speaking specifically on Osaze Odemwingie, Keshi said the player wanted to give what he thought he had not given in the last two years and in the process made mistakes. “Osaze is one of our versatile players, who can play anywhere in the forward line and he tried to give his all against Greece, but it was simply not his day, even when I shifted him to the right wing he kept pushing but as a footballer myself I knew he has to rest

Ronaldo

and give his best at the World Cup,” Keshi said. He also praised the output of Skipper Joseph Yobo, who played in the second half of the game, describing him as sharp and ready to go, adding: “Of course that’s why he is the leader of the team.” He declared that the Eagles would play better expects a better against USA in another friendly, adding, “With Jurgen Klinsmann in charge we expect a little bit of German mentality, but we have a Nigerian antidote and we hope to see a better game.” The Super Eagles left for Jacksonville, Florida yesterday, with Keshi promising that his wards will give their all in the game against the Yankees. Meanwhile, Odemwingie has revealed that he has missed the Eagles for the last two years and is desperate to contribute to the team before he calls it quits with football. Describing the team as having raised its standards, which other countries, especially in Africa, will struggle to catch up with, Odemwingie said without doubt the Keshi regime as coach has positively impacted on the team and he was desperate to be part of the success story. “Luckily, I have been picked to go and do battle for the nation in Brazil and I can assure you that I will give my all to the team. The talent is there, the stars are here and we work as a family. Yes I have been away but now that I am back I want to give my all and ensure that we do well in Brazil,” he said.

HE 2014 Teslim Akanni T ‘Thunder’ Balogun U-15 Football Competition, which

Greece’s Kostas Mitroglou (right) holds off Super Eagles’ Joseph Yobo during their international friendly in Pennsylvania, USA…on Tuesday. PHOTO: AFP

began on April 18 and will end on June 21 at the Campos Square Sports Centre, Lagos, has continued to generate interest among lovers of the game. Teams drawn from Lagos Island, Surulere, Apapa, Fadeyi, Somolu, Oshodi, Agege, Ikeja, Ipaja, Egbeda, Ketu and Mile 12, among others, began the quest to win the competition, which offers the players the opportunity to exhibit their skills in the presence of scouts and football administrators.   Speaking on the programme for the tournament, the sponsor and a member of Teslim Balogun Foundation, Rasheed Olamide Balogun, said the organisers have invited national youth teams’ coaches to the competition, adding that outstanding players will receive various gifts for their efforts. At the final game on June 21, Rozie Academy will battle with Media Sport Academy for the gold medal, while Godswill Academy and Flying Cat Academy will fight for third place at the same venue. on the same day at the same venue. To get to the final, Rozie Academy defeated Godswill by 5-3, just as Mediasport piped Flying Cat 5-2.

Brazil in last-minute rush to be ready for World Cup ith just over a week to go W before the World Cup kicks off, Brazil is racing to get its stadiums, airports, roads and phone networks ready before hundreds of thousands of soccer fans descend on the country. Airports in nearly all 12 host cities are swarmed with construction workers laying parking lots, installing check-in counters and kicking up clouds of dust with long-

delayed expansions. Workers at several stadiums are still struggling to set up cell phone networks that can withstand tens of thousands of smartphones. Temporary bleachers in Sao Paulo’s stadium, which will host the opening game on June 12, have still not been tested under the full weight of fans. After more than 13 years of intermittent construction, trains are finally making test

runs on a metro that will deliver ticket holders to the stadium in the northeastern city of Salvador. Only about half the projects promised for the World Cup have been delivered and many of those are only partly done, souring the mood in a country obsessed with soccer but increasingly skeptical about the benefits of hosting the show. The late rush means most of the critical infrastructure will be in place and few doubt that the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950 will be one to remember.

President Dilma Rousseff promises Brazil will be fully ready on time even as she recognizes delays with some big projects. “Nobody does a (subway) in two years. Well, maybe China,” she said with a smile during a meeting with foreign journalists on Tuesday night, calling delays “the cost of our democracy.” Still, frustrations over broken budgets, sloppy planning and missed opportunities to build a more enduring legacy fueled a wave of protests last year and still loom over the World Cup.

Ghanaian witch doctor claims responsibility for Ronaldo’s injury Lagos International Badminton Classics RISTIANO Ronaldo has of a long taxing club season. C been frustrated by injuries “I know what Cristiano as Portugal prepare for the Ronaldo’s injury is about, I’m Czech Republic, France target titles, World Cup. working on him,” Bonsam, He was unable to play in their friendly against Greece due to a thigh strain and now the Portuguese federation says he also has tendinitis in his knee. The impact this will have on his ability to play in Brazil remains unclear, but a feared Ghanaian witch doctor, Nana Kwaku Bonsam, is taking credit for the ailments. After Portugal and Ghana were put in Group G together with Germany and the USA, Kwaku Bonsam (which means devil) vowed he would prevent Ronaldo from playing by “inflicting him with a severe injury.” Now, with a “special powder from his gods, he says Ronaldo’s injuries are his doing and not, say, the result

who serves at the ‘Kofioo Kofi’ shrine, said in an interview with Kumasi-based Angel FM. “I am very serious about it. Last week, I went around looking for four dogs and I got them to be used in manufacturing a special spirit called ‘Kahwiri Kapam. “This injury can never be cured by any medic, they can never see what is causing the injury because it is spiritual. Today, it is his knee, tomorrow it is thigh, next day it is something else.” Making it so he can never be cured seems a bit much. Perhaps, this is why Jurgen Klinsmann left Landon Donovan off the U.S.’s World Cup squad. So he could avoid a similar fate.

as main draw begins vEN without having E played any game, Czech Republic’s Jan Fonley and France’s Harold Jennings say clinching the title is their target as the main draw of the Lagos International Badminton Classics begins. Preliminary matches for players that are aiming for places in today’s main draw were played yesterday at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Rowe Park. Speaking ahead of the main draw, Czech’s Fonley said amassing points to improve his world rating is part of his priority in Lagos. “I trained for this tourna-

ment just like every other big tournament and this Lagos Classics is also a big tournament, but I am not really thinking about the money, “I am really going for the points for the world rankings and that is the motivation that is driving me forward and that is I came to Africa to win some points,” he said. For Frenchman Jennings, claiming the title would surely boost his world rating, but admitted that the quality of players in the championship may make it difficult for him.


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Nigeria will lift World Cup in Brazil 2014 come July 13, says prayer group By Samuel Ifetoye prayer group, Nigeria Wins A World Cup Intercessory Network (NWWCIPN),

Enyimba of Aba and Warri Wolves battling for honours in the Nigerian league last season. The LMC says it is determined to eradicate match fixing and other vices in the Nigerian league.

Glo Nigeria Premier League

EFCC moves against match fixers, as LMC reduces number of referees From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja N an effort to monitor the Icadres officiating in the various of Nigerian league and check match fixing, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has demanded from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) details of its listed referees in both the Glo Nigeria Football Premier League and Nigeria National League (NNL). In a similar move, the League Management Company (LMC) has written to the

Nigeria Referee Association (NRA) to furnish it with the names of 50 referees that would be used for premier league matches. An NRA national officer, who pleaded anonymity, told The Guardian that the LMC and the NFF have received a lot of complaints about irregularities at match venues and therefore decided to restrict the number of the officials to a manageable proportion. According to our source, “the football authorities are really worried that despite all efforts by the LMC to reduce irregu-

Imoke in Lagos, meets stakeholders ahead 19th National Sports Festival ROSS River State C Governor, Liyel Imoke, has restated his government’s commitment to hosting the best ever National Sports Festival, tagged the Centenary Games, in November. To this end, the governor will be in Lagos on Monday for a stakeholders’ meeting at the Whitbaker Hotel in Ikoyi, where he would explain the importance of hosting the event and its benefits. The state’s Commissioner of Sports and Youth Development, Patrick Ugbe, yesterday revealed that Imoke would address Corporate Nigeria at the meeting, where “he will unveil the state’s plan for the games and how Corporate Nigeria can come in and partner with us to deliver the best games ever in the history of the event in Nigeria.” Ugbe, who spoke glowingly about the quality of infra-

structure the state has put in place for Nigeria’s miniOlympics, added: “Cross River State has invested millions of naira to provide world class infrastructure for the games and his excellency will be calling on Corporate Nigeria to take advantage of this and come on board. “It is going to be a win-win situation for everybody that partners with the state.” According to Ugbe, “hosting the even would be mutually beneficial in that both the Cross River State government and the sponsors that come on board will be helping to positively shape the future of our great country and what a better time for the rebirth of the country than now that we are celebrating 100 years of nationhood.’’ Ugbe revealed the state has been playing a strong role in ensuring youths were not only gainfully engaged but also economically empowered.

larities, the reputation of the domestic league has remained questionable as most away teams continue to complain of gross cheating.” The Guardian gathered that the EFCC’s letter to the NFF urged the federation to furnish it with the names, addresses and occupation of all the referees involved in the leagues. According to the source, the

EFCC demanded that details of the referees should get to its office before the end of July 2014. An NFF sources confirmed yesterday in Abuja that the federation has received the letter, noting that the Federation would support any move by the EFCC to rid the Nigerian league of corruption and illegalities.

Airtel Rising Stars Season Four kicks off ELECOMMUNICATIONS T Services provider, Airtel Nigeria, yesterday announced the commencement of the fourth edition of Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) U-17 male and female tournament, a grassroots football talent search programme aimed at identifying and nurturing budding soccer talent from the grassroots onto a national stage. This announcement is coming barely 10 months after a successful hosting of the third edition of the ARS, an Africawide grassroots tournament that underscores the company’s avowed commitment to

creating excitement for sports lovers as well as providing empowerment opportunities for Nigerian youth. The registration for the programme kicked off yesterday and would end on June 27, the organisers disclosed. Speaking at an event to announce the commencement of ARS 4 in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, noted that the soccer initiative is the company’s contribution to sports development and youth empowerment in Nigeria.

through its President, Rev. Udo Nwoke, has appealed to individuals, corporate bodies and all the 36 states of the Federation “to support a divine call to move the hand of God to favour Nigeria in winning this year’s World Cup, which is scheduled to start on June 12 to July 13 in Brazil.” Rev. Nwoke, who led some of his members to The Guardian on Tuesday, said this movement is a non-denominational intercessory ministry with a divine mandate to pray for the Super Eagles to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. “There is a spiritual mandate for Nigeria to repeat their victory of Atlanta 1996 Olympics at this year World Cup. We are delighted to inform you that this international prayer network was the spiritual force that gave Nigeria victory at Atlanta 1996 as prophesied by me. “We are not only praying for the World Cup, but also over the turmoil Nigeria is going through. This prayer is aimed at changing the face of things in the country.”

Secretary General of the NGO, Pastor Prince Charles Ekwebelem, said their mission is a revelation from God through His son, Rev. Nwoke, adding that the prophesy has been confirmed by some men of God, who said they saw Nigeria lifting the World Cup in Brazil. “Nobody ever believed that a black man will ever rule America, but President Barack Obama showed that with God everything is possible because Christians live by faith and not by sight.” Also speaking on the prophesy, the treasurer of NWWCIPN, Evangelist Anayo Achimba, said what they were doing was not new as they interceded also at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics for the success of the Dream Team One, captained by Kanu Nwankwo, when Nigeria won the gold medal in the football event. The group disclosed that the Nigeria Win World Cup International Prayer Network was mobilising over 4,000 spiritual prayer giants from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to fast, pray and support the Super Eagles to victory at the Brazil 2014 at different camps and locations nationwide.

Taekwondo federation’s national referee seminar begins seven-day National Referee Nigeria an advantage on the A global stage, Nigeria Seminar/Workshop, organized by the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) Taekwondo Federation (NTF), has commenced at the National Stadium Abuja with 24 participants drawn from Benue, Kebbi, FCT Abuja, Oyo, Lagos, Imo, Kaduna, Delta, Plateau, FUT Minna, and Nigeria Civil Defence Corps. The seminar, which began on June 1 will end on June 7. According to the organisers, during the course, participants would learn and practise the latest competition rules, how to set-up and use the latest technological gadgets for and also complete a course in competition management techniques. At the end of the seminar, participants would write examinations to test their understanding of the new things they learnt from the workshop. Reiterating its commitment to developing all aspects of the game that would give

Former internationals, Peter Rufai (Left), Anne Chiejine, Airtel’s Managing Director, Segun Ogunsanya, Chioma Ajunwa and Mutiu Adepoju during the launch of the Airtel Rising Stars Season Four in Lagos….yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

President, George Ashiru, said “the referee plays a vital role in the scheme of things when it comes to winning international medals, and Nigeria simply does not have enough referees on the global stage.” Highlighting the strategic importance of the on-going exercise, the NTF Boss noted that, “the event is part of the Federation’s vision to get our referees in place by the 2015 All African Games and beyond. “The Federation decided at the beginning of the year to organize a series of National Referee workshops throughout the year that would help standardize our local referees and bring them up to speed with the latest technological equipment and competition rules” Buttressing the stand of the NTF President, the NSC High Performance Coach for Taekwondo, Kim Jin Beom of South Korea, who is a top class World Taekwondo Federation (WTF)-sanctioned referee, emphasized the need for Nigeria’s referees to be brought up-to-date on the latest rules. “The quality of referees in Africa is generally low, but the countries that have the best and most influential international referees generally come out on top in 50-50 decisions during critical competitive matches. Nigeria must cultivate this advantage year by year.” He further connected the quality of referees to the tactical awareness of the national athletes.


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92 SPORTS Thursday, June 5, 2014

World Cup

Iniesta hopes Spain’s reign continues in Brazil NDRES Iniesta hopes A Spain’s period of dominance will continue at the 2014

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (third right) walks onto the practice field during training.

PHOTO: AFP

Ronaldo in injury scare for Portugal RISTIANO Ronaldo is sufC fering from tendinosis in the region around his left kneecap, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) revealed yesterday. The FPF said the 29-year-old forward, who missed last week’s 0-0 draw with Greece, underwent “specially adapted, individual” training on Monday. The World Player of the Year

had minor injuries last season but scored in Real Madrid’s Champions League final win. Portugal’s opening World Cup match is against Germany in Salvador on 16 June. BBC Health and Science reporter James Gallagher explained that there were significant differences between tendinosis and the

more commonly known tendinitis. “Tendons attach muscles to bone and are a common source of injury in sport,” Gallagher says. “Tendinosis is caused by long-term wear and tear of the tendon. Low levels of damage build up if there is insufficient recovery time between matches. “It is not the same as ten-

dinitis, which is the result of overloading the tendon, resulting in inflammation. “Pain and difficulty moving are common to both injuries and rest is the main treatment. “Recovery times for tendinosis depend on the scale of the damage, but in the most severe cases could be several months.”

There is excitement in our camp, says Oxlade-Chamberlain RSENAL winger Alex A Oxlade-Chamberlain insists England is heading to this summer’s World Cup in Brazil brimming with enthusiasm and admits it is a refreshing camp to be around. Roy Hodgson’s squad are currently in Miami for warmup matches against Ecuador and Honduras before travel-

Oxlade-Chamberlain

ling to Brazil for their opening match against Italy on June 14. Past World Cup campaigns have seen England burdened by expectation, but OxladeChamberlain insists the present crop are not going to be deterred by a sense of optimism. “Golf is a big one. The best are James Milner and Phil Jagielka. We don’t count them

because they are in a different league to the rest of us Average Joes.” Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on relaxation Hodgson’s decision to recruit psychiatrist Dr. Steve Peters has been well-documented and the Arsenal winger revealed the message is clear. “We can’t control what is being said about us, how people approach it and the expectation levels that are put on us as a squad and as individuals,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “We are going there to do the business and win it. They are the expectation levels we put on ourselves. “It will take a lot of hard work, a lot of great performances and maybe a bit of luck along the way to achieve that but we are not going there as an inexperienced team to not do well.” Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of 11 players in Hodgson’s squad yet to have experienced a World Cup, but the 20-year-old insists it is an exciting prospect. “The young element of the squad is an exciting one and definitely brings a freshness to the team but it’s not just young enthusiasm,” he added. “All the young boys who have come in are really talented and deserve to be there. I think it’s a really good mix. We are a young team with great experienced players helping out the young boys as well. “It’s not a fresh start as such but in a way it does feel like that because there are quite a few new faces around the

squad. It’s quite refreshing. It’s great to be around the camp.” As well as expressing an air of optimism, OxladeChamberlain also revealed the emphasis being placed on relaxation within the England camp. “We understand that Brazil is a long way away from friends and family,” he admitted. “It’s one of the small sacrifices you have to make to be lucky enough to come to an amazing tournament like the World Cup. You are in a hotel for a long time. “The good thing with our manager is he does understand that there are times, if possible, when a mental break from football for six or seven hours is really good. “Little breaks are good because then you can hit the ground running when it comes to training. He did that in the Euros with us.” Replicating the humidity England will face in Manaus has been another key feature of their training camp, but Oxlade-Chamberlain expects Italy will suffer a similar shock. “A lot of people have built up Manaus as a dangerous place to play but at the end of the day it is just going to be a lot hotter and a bit harder to play in,” he added. “As players, we can’t worry about that. If you do, your performance levels will drop. The doctors and the sports scientists in the camp are the ones that are worrying about what different techniques they can use. “It’s going to be the same for all countries out there. I think

World Cup in Brazil, but warns England must always be considered among the favourites. The Barcelona playmaker netted the winner in the 2010 World Cup final as Spain beat the Netherlands in South Africa before going on to help Vincente del Bosque’s side defend their European Championship title in 2012. Two years on, thoughts return to the global stage where Spain again have a crown to retain but the 30-year-old admits it will difficult to replicate the overwhelming sense of joy experienced after their South Africa triumph. “England has always got to be a candidate, it has always got to be considered one of the favourites because of the history, because of the players, because they have a particularly defined style.” Andres Iniesta “It was the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Iniesta recalled when speaking to the Daily Mail. “Not only for me on a personal level but also for the Spanish team. There are not many other moments in life when you can feel any more overjoyed than that. “When I scored, what was in my mind was that there wasn’t a lot of time left and I just really wanted the referee to blow the whistle!” Despite heading to Rio as defending world and European champions, Iniesta believes there are plenty of challenges to face and is eager to see their reign extended. “We hope it will continue,” Iniesta added. “We have managed an unprecedented feat

but there are always challenges. “This is going to be a new, big challenge going to Brazil in the position of defending champions.” Much of Del Bosque’s trophywinning side, featuring Iniesta’s Barcelona teammates Xavi, Fabregas and Sergio Busquets, plus Xabi Alonso of Real Madrid, remains intact while exciting new additions such as Atletico Madrid’s Koke add further optimism. “I don’t believe we are hugely different from last time,” he said. “We’ve had our moments but we have to keep in mind that Spain has one World Cup and Brazil has five.” Spain has been paired with Holland, Chile and Australia in a potentially awkward Group B, although Iniesta has no fears of an early exit. “I think they will all bring different styles but ultimately football is a leveller,” he added. “They are all difficult but we are confident we can get out of the group.” Should England make progress from Group D they could be on course to meet Spain at the quarter-final stage and Iniesta believes Roy Hodgson’s side could pose a significant threat. “England has always got to be a candidate, it has always got to be considered one of the favourites because of the history, because of the players, because they have a particularly defined style,” he claimed. “They’ve got really good players, talented players, but apart from that what will really drive them is the desire to improve on the performance

Iniesta

‘Our World Cup hosting will be a success’ RAZILIAN President Dilma B Rousseff has defended the way her country has organised the football World Cup, which kicks off next week in Sao Paulo. She insisted it would be a resounding success, despite criticism about late stadiums and infrastructure delays. She told reporters these kinds of problems were common everywhere. Ms Rousseff, who faces the possibility of fresh anti-government protests, said they would not be allowed to disrupt the tournament. “Everywhere in the world these big engineering projects always go down to the

wire,” Ms Rousseff told a group of foreign reporters at the presidential residence in Brasilia. “Nobody does a (subway) in two years. Well, maybe China,” she said about delays in infrastructure projects which have riled many Brazilians who were expecting to benefit from upgrades planned for the World Cup. Urban transport systems in Cuiaba, Salvador, Recife and many other cities have not been finished as all efforts went into completing work on football stadiums for the tournament. The president called the delays “the cost of our democracy”.


Thursday, June 5, 2014 SPORTS 93

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World Cup Le Saux believes Baines should man England’s left full-back The Manchester City man is RAEME Le Saux believes G Leighton Baines should expected to start against get the nod over Luke Shaw Ecuador in tonight’s friend-

England manager, Roy Hodgson (right), Rickie Lambert (left), Daniel Sturridge (second left) Wayne Rooney (third right) and Danny Welbeck during a training session. PHOTO: AFP

Gerrard says he’s learned his lessons in taking penalty TEVEN Gerrard says Spenalties England is practising ahead of the World Cup but insists it bears no relation to the pressure on players during the

shootouts. England has been beaten on penalties in six of their last 10 major championships, the last two years ago when they lost to Italy in the quar-

ter-finals of the European Championship. Gerrard, who was on target during that decider having missed from the spot six years earlier against Portugal, told the BBC: “We are going to practise penalties a lot but it is a difficult situation to put into words and describe it. “There is a lot of pressure. You have an awful lot more time to think about your penalty and what is at stake is a lot bigger and it is a pressure situation. “A penalty shootout is a more pressurised situation than any one penalty in a league game. “Unfortunately for me I failed in that situation when I took a penalty in a World Cup

environment and it was a difficult atmosphere to be in. “I learned my lessons from that and a couple of years ago I scored the penalty I was asked to take.” Sports psychiatrist, Dr. Steve Peters, will travel with the England squad to Brazil and skipper Gerrard added: “I can understand the fixation because we have failed in quite a few shootouts. “But I would say don’t get carried away with it because it might never come about. “As players hopefully we perform well enough in 90 minutes or 120 minutes to prevent it going to a shootout. “But we will be ready for a shootout if it comes around.”

when England opens their World Cup campaign against Italy on June 14. The former Chelsea fullback, who represented England at the 1998 finals in France, says the Everton man will be first choice when manager Roy Hodgson names his side. Le Saux, 45, told Sky Sports News: “Luke is at the beginning of his career path, has had a great season with Southampton and totally justifies his inclusion in Roy’s squad. “As a left-back myself, I have confidence in his ability defensivelya but also creatively - he has great pace and fantastic energy - so I have no doubts about him. “But I think it’s safe to say that Leighton Baines, given the season he’s had, is the first choice left-back.” As for right-back, Glen Johnson’s position is under threat with midfielder James Milner now a possible option for the role with England.

ly in Miami and Le Saux said: “Glen Johnson has been fantastic for Liverpool all season, with his creativity and getting forward, but there’s always been a question about him defensively. “But I think modern fullbacks are more exposed than they used to be. When I played, we had a bit more cover in those days because of the way teams were set up. “But if James Milner, a wide midfielder dropping back plays, he’s going to have to be a lot more wary of what is going on behind him and runs coming from wide areas behind him, because that’s not something he has had to worry about too much as a midfielder. “So it’s going to be a very fast learning curve for him but if it is successful it gives another option for Roy. “And, of course, James’ physique is better than say somebody like Chris Smalling or Phil Jones who are bigger and less mobile.”

Mirante included in Italy’s travelling squad HE Italian Football T Federation (FIGC) announced yesterday that Mirante has been included in the Azzurri’s travelling party. Italy is hoping to have second-choice goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu in top physical condition by the time the tournament starts in Brazil. Sirigu, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain and started in Saturday’s goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland in London, suffered a rib injury during training earlier this week. Doctors have ruled out a serious injury but the player will need several days to recover.

A statement from the FIGC read: “Antonio Mirante will also be in tomorrow’s charter flight that will take the Italian national team to Brazil. “The Parma goalkeeper, who has taken part in all of the team’s preparations in Coverciano, has been called up as a precautionary measure. “He will train with the team until June 13, the last day in which a team can replace any injured player according to the FIFA rules.” Italy will start with Juventus goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, in goal. Genoa’s Mattia Perin is the Azzurri’s third-choice keeper.

Hazard

Hazard focuses on World Cup DEN Hazard’s father insists E that there will be no news about the Chelsea star until after the World Cup finals. Thierry Hazard, who looks after the interests of both Eden and his younger brother Thorgan who is also at Chelsea, was quizzed about the future of his eldest son amid reports that Paris SaintGermain were lining up a deal. Reports claim that PSG’s owners have met Hazard’s representatives and are looking to pay €75 million for the Belgian. Hazard senior refused to talk about PSG, but insisted that nothing will be discussed about Eden until after he has finished playing in the World Cup finals in Brazil with Belgium. “I read transfer news on Eden every day, but at this moment nothing has happened,”

Thierry Hazard told Sudpresse. “Eden had asked me one thing, that he can focus on the World Cup. “There will be no transfer news during the World Cup.” Hazard senior also spoke about his younger son Thorgan, who is due back at Chelsea this summer. The 21-year-old - also an attacking midfielder - has impressed back on loan in Belgium over the past two seasons, but is now looking to feature in one of Europe’s top leagues next term, with the Bundesliga looking likely. “I’ve had a meeting with Jose Mourinho on Thorgan’s future. He wants to loan him again, but to a higher-rated league,” he said. “Thorgan has to get guarantees on playing time, because it’s important he keeps on making progress.”

Belgium’s midfielders Marouane Fellaini (left) and Kevin De Bruyne, and Belgium’s defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany run during a training session PHOTO: AFP


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94 | Thursday, June 5, 2014 Sports

What is the point of FIFA now it has damaged the World Cup? By Paul Wilson ORLD Cups are woven W into our life stories – as Nick Brownlee’s new book of facts and trivia shows – and it is time for change Did you know that the last time the World Cup was held in Brazil, in 1950, only 13 teams took part? England flew there: the flight took 31 hours, stopping in Paris, Lisbon, Dakar and Recife, and when the squad landed in Rio de Janeiro three men in gas masks stepped on to the plane and sprayed everyone on board with pesticide. I didn’t know that, I admit. Not all of it, and certainly not the pesticide bit, so let me heartily recommend Nick Brownlee’s new book Viva World Cup, which boasts the above paragraph as an intro. It is a mix of historical facts and arcane trivia, just the thing for whiling away those empty hours waiting for a game to start by taxing your friends with a few not-so-general knowledge questions. Just to give you a flavour of the thing I will ask a few questions here and now. Only a few, because I do not wish to put Mr. Brownlee out of business, but football fans love a trivia test so have a go at this short quiz for starters. What the book, and others like it, show clearly is how World Cups, arguably more than even the Olympics, become woven into our own life stories and used as convenient mileposts to mark the passage of time. That is not to say the World Cup is bigger or more important than the Olympics, but the athletics event is essentially the same show every four years. The World Cup is still evolving. From humble beginnings it

only began to resemble a genuine world event in the fifties, before being defined in this country in 1966 and reaching a glorious peak four years later in 1970. Some would argue the World Cup has never been as much fun since, which is perhaps a little harsh, it probably depends on how old you happened to be at the time and whether you had a colour television. While Mexico 70 stands out as a high point for most people, an uncomplicated festival of football with a genuinely high level of skill and entertainment, history will probably not judge what followed in the next three decades too severely. Only the 1990 tournament was depressingly dire and defensive, and sensible changes were made after Italia 90 to ensure that in USA 94 and the contests that followed the spirit of the game could not be crushed by cynical, negative tactics. That was perhaps the last useful service Fifa performed for world football, apart from organising goalline technology at least four years too late. Without delving into the extremely disturbing controversy about bribery and rigged voting in the processes that led to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups being awarded to Russia and Qatar, it is plain to even the most casual observer that FIFA’s role in football’s global festival has grown into something unhealthy and grotesque. It has long been recognised that global sporting authorities operate as private fiefdoms and are prone to corruption, but for most of history the average sports fan has been prepared to shrug when presented with evidence of

Greek defender, Giorgios Tzavellas, helps Nigeria’s Michel Babatunde get up during their World Cup preparation friendly in Pennsylvania, U.S…on Tuesday. PHOTO: AFP irregularities and view it as a victimless crime. The tireless investigative journalist, Andrew Jennings, has been blowing his whistle in the wind a lot of the time for though his information was correct and his exposes accu-

Quiz 1) Stanley Matthews was the oldest player at the 1950 World Cup at the age of 35. Who was the oldest player at the 1954 World Cup? 2) Which is the smallest

city to host a World Cup final? 3) What was the first group of death, ie, the one for which the expression was coined? 4) Which was the first

game played indoors? 5) Name the three wingers Alf Ramsey used in the 1966 tournament before coming up with his famous wingless formation in time for the last couple of games.

rate, it barely seemed to matter once another successful tournament got under way. FIFA might have been at best a secretive organisation, at worst a corrupt one, but as long as it stayed in the background and the World Cup was undamaged few people seemed to mind. They mind now. The World Cup is damaged. South Africa lost a fortune four years ago (FIFA remained in profit) and Brazil stands to do the same this summer. The protests might cease for the duration of the tournament, Brazil is football-mad, after all, but the sums are unlikely to add up once the crowds and the excitement have gone. Russia in 2018 will represent a remarkable hat-trick for FIFA, a third successive World Cup where security and crime are sufficiently big issues to deter many fans from travelling. Security is unlikely to be a

problem in Qatar in 2022, but that is almost the only positive thing to be said about that desperately unsuitable venue. Football is asking, quite rightly, what is the point of FIFA. How can the process of handing out a World Cup every four years go so far off track? Brazil has had to spend £11 billion on stadiums and infrastructure, which as the people on the streets have been pointing out, is money the country can ill afford with a long list of higher priorities than a four-week football tournament. No one really cares what the 2022 World Cup costs the Qataris, because they can probably afford it, though immigrant workers dying as stadium-building projects are rushed through is a different matter. Some reckon Qatar will spend over £100 billion on the World Cup, which of course is ludicrous. They have to build up practically

every amenity and facility from scratch, not to mention air-conditioned stadiums to make them usable in extreme heat, but whose fault is that, exactly? Could not FIFA have simply awarded the World Cup to one of the many willing and able would-be host nations under its jurisdiction that happens to have stadiums and infrastructure already in place? FIFA now seems to be getting in the way of World Cups, not merely facilitating them. It is about time a few of the leading football nations got together to discuss alternatives to being run from Switzerland. Because some of the statistics from Qatar, in particular, already make unpleasant reading, and the trivia questions thrown up by the 2022 World Cup might not turn out to be quite so harmless. •Culled from www.theguardian.com

Quiz answers

Stanley Matthews (left) was the oldest player at the 1950 World Cup.

1) Stanley Matthews, now aged 39. 2) Berne, Switzerland, 1954. 3) England’s group in Mexico 1970. Apparently the Mexican press were responsible for the expression, first used to describe Group Three –

England, Brazil, Czechoslovakia and Romania. You have to remember that England were the holders at the time, and that Brazil and Czechoslovakia had contested the 1962 final.

4) USA v Switzerland (the latter coached by Roy Hodgson) at the Pontiac Silverdome, Detroit, 1994. 5) Terry Paine (v Mexico), Ian Callaghan (v France), John Connelly (v Uruguay).


Thursday, June 5, 2014 Sports | 95

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Ahead Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

Again, NWF president calls for early release of fund From Ezeocha Nzeh and John Okeke, Abuja ReSIdeNT of the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF), Chibudum Nwuche, has harped on the need for early release of fund for the preparation of the country’s lifters for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. This, he said, would help the federation to maintain the momentum it achieved at the just concluded African Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana. The federation won six gold medals at the youth games, with Joy Chika Amalaha and emmanuel Appah as the champions. Nwuche, who spoke in Abuja yesterday at the official reception of Amalaha and Appah, stressed that early release of fund for camping would help the team prepare well to achieve the same feat at the forthcoming championship. The NWF president, who expressed the federation’s gratitude to the Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Tammy danagogo, for the tremendous support the federation got from the commission, assured NWF would pick the best lifters that would put Nigeria on podium position at the Commonwealth Games, stressing that it would select only fit and qualified athletes for the games.

P

• Federation fetes victorious lifters “I want to urge that they begin to release funds to the federation so that we can prepare on time for the Commonwealth Games because in athletics, in games and in sports the more you prepare the better you will perform. “I want the Minister of Sports to support us because when Nigeria excels it promotes national unity. In nation building, the impact of sports cannot be underestimated,” he said. Nwuche also commended

the two gold medalists for their hard earned victory at the African Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana, saying, “You have done the country proud by winning several medals at the African Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana. “Of course, you did the best by winning six gold medals and you have done extremely well. I am very proud of you.” Nwuche explained that the team was able to achieve the feat due to high level of discipline in the federation.

MTN Football Scholar academy begins with 42 Starlets He first Academy of the onT going MTN Football Scholar Season 4 camp has opened at the Testim Balogun Stadium, Lagos with 42 youngsters, who were picked from across the country in the just concluded auditions. This year’s edition of the MTN Football Scholar commenced in April with auditions in six cities across the country, with the organizers combing the nooks and crannies of the country to bring together thousands of not just young football talents, but also kids who have the academic capacity to study in an American University. From the academy, the selected student-athletes will proceed to the second academy after undergoing special foot-

ball training under the supervision of invited foreign soccer and Nigerian coaches. There, they will also have intensive classes in preparation for Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Meanwhile, the finalists from the Season Three of the initiative, who will be hosted to a sendforth dinner later in the month, continue to savor the experience of traveling to an American University for studies. Ahamad Raji, a sixteen yearold student of Kings College Lagos, who will be travelling to US to study at Masters Academy, Miami, said there was nothing comparable to the opportunity MTN has provided for him through the football scholarship.

NWF President, Chibudum Nwuche (middle), presenting the gold medalists, Joy Chika Amalaha (left) and Emmanuel Appah to the media in Abuja… yesterday.

Second Sam Ocheho Handball tourney begins June 12 He second edition of Sam Ocheho Invitational T Handball Championship will hold from June 12 to 22 at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Rowe Park, Yaba, Lagos. Sponsor of the competition, Sam Ocheho, told the media at the Rowe Park, Yaba, yesterday that the success of the maiden edition held in 2012 encouraged him to continue with sponsorship of the tournament, which he promised to hold every two years. According to Ocheho, a former handball player, 17 male and female teams spread across the federation have

been invited for the tourney. This is unlike what happened in the first edition, which featured only eight teams from the South-West region. He said that the tourney this year would feature a lot of side attractions, adding that the winners in both female and male categories would get N300, 000 each, second position N200, 000, while the third place teams would pocket N100, 000 each. “Sponsoring this competition is my own little way of giving back and help revive the once popular sport that has gone moribund.

“This is an effort with assistance from some people who share this vision with me,” said Ocheho, a former player of Plateau State. He disclosed that the teams would arrive on June 12 and depart Lagos on June 22, adding that competent officials would be on ground to officiate in the competition. Also speaking at the event, Chairman of Lagos State Handball Association, Mrs. Adeola Opeifa, said the tourney was a way of exposing the players and keeping them busy, adding that the association was grateful to the sponsor.


TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Goke Omolade T was the Ghanaian James Kwegyir Aggrey Iwho of blessed memory (18/10/1875-30/07/1927) was once quoted to have said that he was black and proud…without regret; and that whosoever was ashamed of his (her) colour was not fit to live. By early ethnographic/archaeological accounts, mankind in universality ‘‘originated’’ from Africa and owing to hostile environmental conditions and human quest to explore further afield, the then first stock of Africans subsequently dispersed to the virgin lands of the unknown world that have now evolved to Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceanic and the Pacific. Having secured succour and set-standards for tackling societal problems as they emerged, their fellow beings they left ‘back home’ relapsed to lethargy, inertia and sheer laziness and in the process of time, slowly but steadily, Africa became to be associated with virtually all the oddities and avoidable miseries that the ‘‘new Africans’’, in their increasingly developing mentality, had mastered to put behind them. Apparently swinging back and forth on dissimilar tunes of self-induced deprivation, ridiculous sorrow and tears; Africa gradually reduced itself to the pitiable position of a traumatised pauper yet in the midst of a superabundantly resourced region. In fact, what other regions spend pots of money to create through artificial means regrettably lies fallow and idle here in the supposed cradle of homo sapiens. Take the almost all-round year favourable weather conditions, fertile soils, ingenuity for diligence, dexterity to withstand hardship and the swell of irrepressible youth yearning to be fulfilled but stiflingly devalued through unemployed/underemployed needless preoccupations. After a while in the 19th and 20th centuries, the ‘Africans in the Diaspora’, having had a change in their skin pigment from black/dark to white, red or brown as a result of glacial effects of the period made daring adventure back to their ‘motherland’ but for different purposes; top of which were slave trading, pecuniary/economic gains and later missionary pursuits. Be it Anglophone, Francophone, lusophone or otherwise; Europe had a singular purpose for coming to Africa and that was to make it an appendage of sort in deed and need and perhaps that was why the insulting British induced us-over-them mentality of apesobey syndrome prevailed while colonialism, ala London-driven, lasted. On a measuring scale, the consequences of colonialism had different meanings to different shades of different people. For Europe, ‘‘at that dark-age, it came in the niche of time to save humanity from the bestiality, anomie, inequity, cannibalism and utter hopelessness oozing out of Africa, where it helplessly lay prostrate.’’ That, without any definitive functionality of purpose in infrastructure, governmental processes, representative governance, educational acquisitions and societal cohesion; a touch of doing things differently and better was indisputably necessary…and this was why colonialism came to its rescue! On the face value, the coming of Europe had its mixed grills on Africa at large since the craving need for sound development was absent and obviously existing in a void unmindful of the purpose to rally round the common goal of making things happen for the better on all fronts. Its largely disoriented elite (ruling, intellectual and moneygrubbing) were self-egoistic/parochiallyfocused. This was one main reason why it took Africa such a while before it came so late to the point and rationale for freedom and independence.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

ing an irritating anathema, colonialism was forced to make a shamefaced retreat, ranging from hurried withdrawal, graduated disengagement to repulsive disgrace. The excited, far-away case of the United States (aka America) was instructive enough. In almost every conceivable way does modern America has its early agitators for independPlease send reactions and feedback for YOUTH SPEAK to: ence and freedom to thank because of the editorial@risenetworks.org and 07067976667- SMS ONLY manly and patriotic fashion they fought the British colonial adventurers to a disgraceful exit, as nothing of note was cowardly conceded. With the strong-will, superior power and a singular focus on nonnegotiable/total freedom, London was forcibly made to beat a never-come-back retreat. Today it is only in mere but guided historical archives that the attemptedBritish colonisation of America can be referenced and not as a tag-along member of the imperial-relic labeled Commonwealth of docile membership of over 50 nations. Indeed, America had its admirable independence in the 18th century while Africa had most of its (essentially change-ofbaton/flag symbol) in the 20th century. Africa has ever since been saddled with the intrigues and antics of a somewhat recolonisation/neo-colonial never-let-go externalities. These centripetal forces are still from their avuncular ex-overlords domiciled in London, Paris, Brussels, Bonn, Lisbon and Madrid. Looming so engagingly is the United Nations (UN)’ arts of diplomacy and politicking in the universal sense of fierce assertiveness on the one hand and the larger-than-life decisional influences of the Breton Woods sisters (the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD/World Bank). It could not have been just a coincidence that the headquarters of the UN’s three most powerful organs are sited in America; the General Assembly/Secretariat in New York and those of the IMF and World Bank in Washington in fact some measurable distance from the White House, America’s seat of power? As if operating on an oath of conspiratorial silence; the UN’s policy thrust is predominantly American-driven while its functional dynamics are mostly euro-centric. If anything, this is recolonisation by intrigues at its height! Before the invading colonial forces; natives in Africa had an arguably modest lifestyle in disposition and accumulated possessions Next on line was the corps of colonial expected of them. During the colonial era, but afterwards, almost everything was dislothe cultural ethos and socio-economic realiantagonists who railed against it as a historcated. Having studied the realities on ical mistake that left Africa worse off and ties of the respective native lands were dis- ground and coupled with their narrowdainfully discarded and in their yawning that its major/direct interest was economic minded interests, the colonial task masters under missionary covering. What was vacuum; Europe’s prejudices, idiosyncrasies raised a new indigenous, ruling class that more, the colonial adventurers came with and preferred ways of life were, at first was carefully worked upon to doing their their smoking gun on the one hand (for instance, subtly introduced and where there imperial biddings while for the rest of the complete subjugation of their helpless vic- were resistance; compulsion as well as force- society, there was hardly any change in their tims) and the Bible on the other while they ful measures were meted against such fortune. Even in the outer section of the took imperial instructions straight from ‘‘erring offenders of the royal crown’’! After having had its full fill of the resources world, gaining entry to the global market their home government on why they were and related economic alliance, first, posted to where they were and what was of its host-nations and increasingly becom- required ‘IMF/World Bank certificates of proficiency, good behaviour and creditworthiThe YOUTHSPEAK Column which is published daily is an initiative of THE GUARDIAN, and powered by RISE NETWORKS, Nigeria’s Leading Youth Development Centre, as a substantial advoca- ness’. Whichever nation falls short of the Breton Woods sisters’ expectations or diccy platform available for ALL Nigerian Youth to engage Leadership at all levels, engage Society tates may have to content associating with and contribute to National Discourse on diverse issues especially those that are peculiar to the wretched of the earth. Nigeria. Regarding submission of articles, we welcome writers‘ contributions by way of well Coming to the everyday norms of the crafted, analytical and thought provoking opinion pieces that are concise, topical and nonworld at large; the cultural craze, fad, fashdefamatory! All articles (which are not expected to be more than 2000 words) should be sent to editorial@risenetworks.org To read the online Version of this same article plus past publica- ion and trends of humanity have overtions and to find out more about Youth Speak, please visit www.risenetworks.org/youthswhelmingly been westernised by peak and join the ongoing National Conversations’’. American/European lifestyles. For instance, America’s ethos of pop music, fast food and blue jeans are usually the in-things. Often, Also join our on-line conversation 21676F3E @risenetworks RISE GROUP except one is solidly well-resourced, alternative options from this part of the world may Published by Guardian Newspapers Limited, Rutam House, Isolo, Lagos amount to illogicalities, irrelevancies or Tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 Fax: 4489712; Advert Hotlines: museum folklores in the global market Lagos 7736351, Abuja 07098513445; Circulation Hotline: 01 4489656 place of ideas. All correspondence to Guardian Newspapers Limited, P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. E-mail letters@ngrguardiannews.com; www.ngrguardiannews.com To be continued. Editor: MARTINS OLOJA ABC (ISSN NO 0189-5125) gokeomolade@hotmail.com .

Recolonisation by intrigues (1)

Thur 05 June 2014  

The Guardian Nigeria

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