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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Monday, March 3, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,849

www.ngrguardiannews.com

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Fuel scarcity lingers nationwide From Anietie Akpan (Calabar), Collins Olayinka (Abuja), Roseline Okere (Lagos) and Gbenga Akinfenwa (Abeokuta) OTWITHSTANDING assurN ances from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the lingering fuel scarcity across the country has been tackled, queues are yet to disappear from fill-

• NNPC, others move to end crisis • No plan to increase pump price, says PPPRA ing stations in Lagos and some states. Meanwhile, NNPC has commenced fresh measures to halt what it described as artificially-induced fuel scarcity noticeable in some parts of the country, particularly in Lagos and its environs. In the same vein, despite the

fuel scarcity, the PPPRA yesterday assured Nigerians that the official pump price of the product remains N97 per litre, as it has not approved any pump price increase and there are no plans to do so. Investigation by The Guardian revealed that the major marketers were yet to receive their

order of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) due to the inability of the Federal Government to release first quarter import allocation on time. In fact, it was learnt that consumers may still continue to face the fuel crisis in the next one or two weeks when the products ordered by the mar-

keters would have arrived in the country.  The little fuel in circulation right now is actually from NNPC depots across the country. It was also gathered that some marketers were unable to clear their consignment of fuel due to delay of cargo ship awaiting clearance at the high sea by security operatives. The Guardian’s investigation revealed that between Friday and yesterday, there were queues of motorists in several filling stations in Lagos, an in-

dication that the scarcity was yet to abate. Some desperate marketers are using the opportunity to rip off consumers who are willing to pay any price to get their vehicles on the road. The Guardianlearnt that a litre of fuel was selling between N120 to N150 as at Friday evening in some filling stations in Lagos.  The situation has given rise to black marketers who now capitalised on the crisis to sell 10 litres of fuel

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Jonathan, Gowon ask Nigerians to have faith in nation From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja LEDGING their unalloyed P commitment to a better Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan and former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, yesterday urged Nigerians not to lose hope in the country but work together to sustain the peace and unity of the nation. Speaking at the inter-denominational church service to commemorate Nigeria’s centenary yesterday in Abuja, the President noted that the nation’s strength lies in her diversity while her hope lies in her unity and appealed to Nigerians to show love, tolerance and respect for one another. He said: “We need a united Nigeria and must love one another irrespective of our ethnic and religious differences. We need tolerance, love and

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Adeboye clocks 72, assures of better Nigeria –Page 5

President Goodluck Jonathan (second right); his wife, Patience (right); Senate President David Mark, his wife, Helen; former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; former Head of Interim National Government (ING), Ernest Shonekan and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, Jumoke Akinjide, during the inter-denominational thanksgiving service to mark the nation’s centenary at the Christian Centre, Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

National Conference presiding officers emerge today By Martins Oloja indications TRONG Sria’semerged from Abuja, Nigeseat of power, yesterday that most of the presiding officers for the national conference to be named today may be pro-establishment people

“that have navigated the delicate terrain of governance processes in the federal bureaucracy”, as an insider put it Guardian. The to Consequently, it was revealed that President Goodluck Jonathan may have settled for a former Chief Justice of Nige-

• Kutigi, Akinyemi, others likely to make list • Why Jonathan prefers establishment people ria who has not been too involved in Nigeria’s corporate politics, an Oxford Universitytrained political scientist/former Minister of Foreign Affairs

and a former Head of Service as Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary to the naconference, tional respectively.

They will be named later today as promised by the President in a centenary broadcast Thursday. last Although names of two former Chief Justices, Modibbo Alfa Belgore from Kwara State and Legbo Idris Kutigi from Niger State, all from North-

Central State of Nigeria, have been bandied in political conference circles, it was said last night that the President preferred Justice Kutigi “because of his reticent nature and the power of his quiet, apolitical

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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

2 Monday, March 3, 2014

Why Jonathan prefers establishment people in confab CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 stance.” It was learnt that some powerful forces that leaked Justice Belgore’s name to a section of the media were still pushing for his choice last night because of what some other President’s men called “Belgore’s proactive nature”. But one of Belgore siblings’

involvement in partisan politics in Kwara State has been cited in Abuja as a factor in the politics of his choice. In the same vein, some Abuja political operatives were not so comfortable with the quiet nature of Justice Kutigi. One of the operatives said at the weekend: “This conference is not going to be ‘business as usual’; it is going to be volatile. You need a resourceful chairman who understands the delicate nature of our diversity that will be thoroughly tested at the conference”. The Guardian was told that, that has been the reason the President preferred Prof. Akinyemi, a former Foreign Affairs Minister who has written many research works on Nigeria’s delicate politics as Deputy Chairman. Akinyemi served diligently on a recent presidential panel that toured the country’s

flashpoints on the ticklish Boko Haram challenge. It was understood that “the Presidency benefited from his experience and knowledge as a political scientist when the recent panel on Boko Haram was meeting and analysing the findings”, The Guardian was told. “Akinyemi is to provide the knowledge support base to the secretariat as he has served as Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister equivalent to the U.S. Secretary of State or British Foreign Secretary. In the same vein, The Guardian was told the President would prefer a Secretary to the conference that has served as

Head of the Civil Service of the Federation or Secretary to the Government. According to a source in Abuja, “the Presidency feels that there is need to anticipate some challenges arising from interactions and debates on volatile areas and only a thorough-bred public servant at that level who understands how Nigeria works can handle the secretariat.” The Secretary will be supported by some serving permanent secretaries and directors for the purpose of easy access to the Presidency through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Chief of Staff to

the President for logistics and exigencies that may arise. President Jonathan had last Monday disclosed during a presidential media chat that he would today name the presiding officers, notably the Chairman, Secretary and others to work out modalities for the conference. His words: “By March 3, we will announce the name of the Chairman and Secretary of the conference. They will then work out the details of the working of the conference. I will then inaugurate the conference…nobody is saying that without the conference, Nigeria will disintegrate. No,

nobody is saying that…” It was not clear last night whether names of delegates from different geo-political zones and platforms already announced will be disclosed today. There have been reports that various groups have submitted their nominees to the SGF’s office in Abuja just as others were still expected at press time. One group from Ogun, for instance, last night complained to The Guardian, wondering “why the Abeokuta establishment should send names of old people, some close to 80 to represent the state.”

Jonathan, Gowon ask Nigerians to have faith in nation CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 peace. We will overcome all the challenges facing us as a nation. “I see a Nigeria filled with hopes, determination and better future.” Jonathan said Nigerians have reason to celebrate the nation’s centenary considering God’s faithfulness to Nigeria in the past 100 years in spite of all challenges. “We have our challenges but we have more opportunities in this country, as other developed societies have passed through more difficult challenges. I have a great hope for this country in spite of all our challenges and I believe we will surmount them all”, he added. In his speech, Gowon called on Nigerians to keep faith in Nigeria in every facet and work towards the sustenance of the oneness and unity of the

country. He noted that through the grace of God and support of Nigerians, he was able to lead Nigeria at the most difficult time when the country was threatened by cessation, adding that many people had laid down their lives to keep Nigeria one. Gowon, who observed that it was a difficult thing fighting with our brothers to keep Nigeria one, stated that Nigerian/Biafran war ended with a reconciliation that was second to none and embraced one another as well as decided to Go On With One Nigeria (GOWON). He said: “During the war, Nigerians asked if I know the meaning of GOWON, they said it means “Go On With One Nigeria” and I said I cannot achieve this without their support. I asked for the sup-

port of Nigerians and promised to do my best to keep Nigeria one and that was what I did.” In his sermon, the former Prelate of Methodist Church, His Eminence, Ola Makinde, proclaimed that the amalgamation of Nigeria by Lord Frederick Lugard in 1914 was not a mistake even though it was done for economic and administrative reasons due to the abundant resources in Nigeria. They brought multi-ethnic and multi-religious groups to be together. He warned politicians not to allow the prediction that Nigeria would disintegrate by 2015 to come to pass by allowing a free and fair election in 2015. “Politicians should not break Nigeria but rather, build it. Politicians should shun

killings, thuggery and rigging. Politicians should not allow the prediction that Nigeria would disintegrate by 2015 to come to pass by allowing free and fair elections in 2015”. He commended the foresight of President Jonathan in proposing the national conference, describing it as the best thing that ever happened to Nigeria in the past 100years. Makinde, however, advised the President not to abuse Nigerians’ acceptance of the conference but ensure that the outcomes are implemented. Present at the service were Senate President David Mark, former Head of Interim Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, former Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and the Service Chiefs, among others.

No plan to increase pump price, says PPPRA CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 for as much as N3,000. In Ogun State, there were long queues yesterday as motorists struggled to get fuel. From Sango through Ifo, Papalanto, Ewekoro, Itori, Wasimi to Abeokuta, only few fuel stations sold the product, but stopped dispensing the product around noon. Some of the motorists told The Guardian that it took them several hours on the queue to get the commodity. They disclosed that some of the stations intentionally hiked the pump price to make profits. The Guardian learnt that a litre of PMS was sold between N110 and N120 as against the regulated pump price of N97 per litre. A tricycle operator, who spoke under anonymity, told The Guardian that the fuel scarcity has also led to increase in transport fare. He disclosed that where they formerly charged N30 per trip has increased to N50. He added that the most difficult aspect of it was that unlike in the past when black market thrived during fuel scarcity, the operators seemed to be on holiday, making it difficult for those who could not endure long queues. In Cross River State, the scarcity is believed to have been caused by the impounding of a giant vessel (MT Diddi) laden with about 15,000 metric tonnes of fuel by the Nigerian Navy. In Calabar, motorists and commuters suffered untold hardship as long queue and black market were visible at

the weekend. However, owners of MT Diddi, Sea Transport Services Nigeria Limited, are insisting that the vessel was on a normal import of petroleum product to Dozie Oil and Gas in Calabar and it has nothing to do with bunkering or illegal transaction. They argued that the vessel which had been carrying on legitimate activities in Lome, Togo, Lagos and other West African coast areas had received an order from Dozie Oil and Gas to discharge PMS to it from offshore Lome when it was impounded . Also, it was gathered that a litre of fuel sells for between N130 and N150 in the Eastern part of the country such as Owerri, Umuahia and Onitsha. In a statement, the NNPC’s Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, said that the NNPC in conjunction with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the PPPRA will commence detailed monitoring of fuel stations in Lagos and its environs as well as any other state to check the incidence of hoarding and panic-buying of fuel. “We tried it in Abuja and its environs and today, the effective monitoring has decimated the hitherto long fuel queues in Abuja. We are extending the extensive joint monitoring to Lagos,” Ibrahim said. The NNPC spokesman added that as the supplier of last resort, the Corporation was doing everything within its mandate to alleviate the avoid-

able hardship caused by the fuel situation while reiterating the fact that the Federal Government has no plan to increase the price of petrol as being speculated. “It is pertinent to state for the umpteenth time that there is no plan by the Federal Government to increase the price of petrol. Once again, we appeal to marketers to refrain from hoarding and to members of the public not to engage in panic-buying. We are convinced that in the days ahead, the fuel situation will normalise as there are enough petrol to go round,” he said. The PPPRA said the clarification became necessary following reports that some marketers are hoarding petroleum products in the vain anticipation of fuel price increase. Also, PPPRA said that there is sufficient quantity of fuel in the country to guarantee uninterrupted fuel supply. The agency therefore advised buyers to shun panic-buying, as loading of products has been uninterrupted in all NNPC depots across the country. It stated in a statement at the weekend: “PPPRA hereby directs all petroleum marketers to release for sale products in their tanks and depots and at the officially approved pump price. To ensure compliance, the PPPRA and the DPR shall be working closely to monitor the situation at all retail outlets, and shall not hesitate to shut down any filling station found hoarding products or selling above the official price.

“PPPRA reassures Nigerians that it remains resolute to its mandate of ensuring adequate products supply and distribution nationwide.” Spokesperson for PPPRA, Lanre Oladele, believed that there was no basis for the purported scarcity being experienced by motorists in Abuja and other parts of the country. Oladele said there was enough stock of products to keep the country wet for days, adding that with the release of quarter one allocation to marketers, there was no reason for the prevailing scarcity being experienced at the moment. However, in response to the situation, Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Obafemi Olawore, assured that the PPPRA has released first quarter allocation of fuel to petroleum marketers. He said that there will be availability of fuel in the next one month when importers would have received their orders. Olawore said even with the release of first quarter allocation, it would take about three to four weeks for marketers to bring in the product into the country. “The best thing to do is to release first quarter allocation on time. However, it is late now because it will take a minimum of three to four weeks to process all the necessary documents needed before oil marketers can import products. That is the seriousness of the situation at hand,” he said. Reacting to the claims by the NNPC that there was product sufficiency, Olawore said such statements were doubtful.

 


Monday, March 3, 2014 | 3

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

News 39 killed, buildings razed in fresh attack on Borno From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi (Jos) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) ERRORISTS suspected to be T Boko Haram members continued their unwarranted destruction of lives and property in Borno State in NorthEastern Nigeria with the gruesome murder of 39 people at Mainok village in Konduga council area at the weekend. The insurgents were said to have invaded the village in 16 Hilux Toyota vehicles and motorcycles on Saturday evening, attacking the village from all directions and setting ablaze all houses in sight, including a primary

shown for some time that

they are vicious murderers • Nigeria must defeat extremism, terrorism, says Sultan without mercy, compassion The atrocity at • Northern Christians warns against dialogue with Boko Haram orBuniconscience. Yadi in Yobe, where 59 school, with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol-bombs. This came on the heels of the declaration by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, that religious extremism and terrorism are common problems that must be confronted frontally in the country to enable the nation chart a new course for development. Abubakar spoke yesterday during his visit to the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Buba,

after attending the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) in Kuru, near Jos. The Sultan said: “We have common problems in this country, whether you are a Muslim, Christian or African traditional religion follower. “It is the problem of extremism and terrorism, of poverty, unemployment, of school children not going to school. We also have the problem of common infrastructure. These are problems that we

should come together and defeat.” And angered by the renewed killings of hapless citizens, the Northern States Christian Elders’ Forum (NOSCEF) has called on the Federal Government to ignore calls from any quarters to dialogue with the Boko Haram sect, arguing that it had become obvious that the sect was at war with Nigeria. According to a release by its chairman, Elder Olaiya Phillips, “Boko Haram has

children were butchered in their sleep, shows them for the evil monsters they really are. Among the slain villagers were 21 women and children, who were burnt in their torched houses and huts, before the insurgents fled. Mainok is 60 kilometres west of Maiduguri, the state capital. A Mainok resident, Ba Modu Kolo, said in a telephone chat yesterday that the gunmen were chanting God is great in Arabic, before setting the entire village on fire with IEDs and petrol-bombs in an attack that lasted two hours. He lamented that there were no soldiers to prevent further attacks and killings until yesterday morning, when their patrol vehicles rushed towards the destroyed village. Spokesman of 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Col. Mohammed Dole, also confirmed the incident but

could not give the casualties. On their part, the Borno Police Commissioner, Tanko Lawal, said that barely an hour after the Maiduguri twin blasts, Mainok village was attacked, adding that over 30 villagers were killed in their houses and huts. Responding to Abubakar, Buba urged Nigerians not to leave the issue of security to the military and the President alone, but to forge a common front to fight the common enemy. He added: “We are part of Nigeria and if anything touches any part of Nigeria, it touches all of us. “The sad things that are happening in Nigeria call for concern. We cannot sit down and look at the military alone or the Presidency alone. These are times that call on all of us to put aside whatever differences for the peace of this country. “It is sad that in a country like Nigeria, young children in schools are being massacred. That is the future of Nigeria that is being massacred. We need to come together, we need to work together.”

Kanu undergoes heart surgery, hails Jonathan IGERIAN football legend N and founder of Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF),

Representatives of Chief of Army Staff, Major General Moshud Adekanye (left); Rear Admiral Paolo Trev; Special Adviser on Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Oladejo Seyi; Ambassador of Italy to Nigeria, Fulvio Rustico and Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Samuel Ilesanmi Alade, during the courtesy visit of the Italian Aircraft Carrier “Cavour” to Lagos port at the weekend. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

JTF shuts 17 illegal oil refineries

Don disproves link between diabetes, sugar, others

From Willie Etim, Yenagoa

From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin

TOTAL of 17 illegal refineries were shut down recently by the anti-sabotage patrol teams. The Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield in Edo and Delta states destroyed five illegal oil distillation sites and 40 Cotonou boats, among other items used by the operators at Takular, Otegele 1, Okpogbene and Ovulaiye in Warri South council of Delta State. In a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the Joint Media Coordinator of the Command Headquarters, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said the troops also intercepted a locally made tug boat conveying 30 drums of stolen petroleum at Ajide, along Benin River in Edo State. According to him, the boats and other apparatus were destroyed in line with JTF mandate, while the six suspects nabbed during the operation have been moved to the Tactical Headquarters of the battalion for preliminary investigation.

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ONTRARY to wide held C beliefs and practice that sugar as a food concept and other sweet foods are sources of diabetes, Prof. Emmanuel Okoro of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, the University of Ilorin, maintains rather that sweet fruits aid control of the disease, not weaken its control. Okoro also said that restriction of food choices, which many diabetic patients are made to practice to control the ailment, escalates treatment cost and jeopardises its control. In his inaugural lecture entitled, “Towards Better Prevention/Control of Hypertension and Diabetes,” Okoro urged Nigerians to shun unfounded theories being propounded on the illness. “Nigerians are constantly indoctrinated to abstain from eating dietary sugar/sweet food items for fear of jeopardising diabetes control. But this is reasonable if DM were a disease that results from eating too much sugar, which is not the case,” he said.

According to him, evidence has emerged that sweet fruits are not only nutritionally good in diabetes but also help to achieve better control. He said: “Notably, eating dietary sugar and sweet fruits in moderation is no longer considered inimical to best practice in diabetes care in many jurisdictions.” The don noted that the nation’s indigenous staples are very valuable in preventing or delaying development of hypertension and diabetes and advised that restriction against such foods and other choice foods is not encouraging in treating the condition. “Our traditional staples such as amala, egusi and efo, which are almost vegetarian, are known to contain micronutrients capable of moderating the genetic expression of inherited risks in a way that can prevent or delay the clinical onset of HBP and DM2. “Unfortunately, ignorance limits vulnerable people from turning abundant food items we have into nutritious/palatable meals. For example, despite evidence that having HBP/DM2 is not considered a barrier to

healthy diets others in the background population are eating, a lucrative market for plantain flour, honey, wheat and imported food items, among others, to those with DM2 as substitutes for cassava, yam, sweet potato, cocoyam presumed to worsen diabetes control is flourishing. “But restricting food choices can escalate treatment cost, jeopardise diabetes control and undermine quality of life.” Okoro advised that as a way of ensuring effective treatment of this and other ailments with lower costs, university hospitals should not operate more as general/specialist hospitals but as academic centres with a mandate of constantly finding new ways, through research, to deliver the best care possible with available resources. He added that health systems that consistently deliver superior healthcare are those constantly driven by new ideas based on research, not necessarily those with the most money or that deploy sophisticated medical technology.

Nwankwo Kanu, had a corrective heart surgery at the Cleveland Hospital in Ohio, United States, at the weekend. The surgery was carried out during one of his yearly medical check-ups at the hospital following the 1997 heart surgery at same hospital. Coordinator of KHF, Mr. Onyebuchi Abia, confirmed the success of the surgery,

adding that the Super Eagles’ former captain has since left the intensive care unit of the hospital and was recuperating. Abia, who said he spoke with him yesterday afternoon, confirmed that he was in a stable condition, and even expressed profound gratitude to President Goodluck Jonathan for the award bestowed on him during the Centenary Awards ceremony in Abuja.

‘Why growth opportunities between Nigeria, Tunisia remain untapped’ By Oghogho Obayuwana (Foreign Affairs Editor) of the huge, IthatGNORANCE untapped opportunities could create jobs for citizens of Nigeria and Tunisia is said to be discouraging trade and business links between both countries. There also exists at the moment a needless language barrier and the attendant problem of widespread ignorance of the markets that could be created once the bilateral relations is raised to the desired level, with a potential of financial revolution for both economies. These were the submissions of the Tunisian envoy to Nigeria, Hattab Haddaoui, who spoke with The Guardian. But the Federal Government has expended huge amounts within the last one and a half decades on foreign investment facilitations, including the creation of one stop shops as well as enhancing the mandate for all its missions abroad to help in the realisation of foreign investments.

Part of this mandate is making information about the potentials in Nigeria known to their host governments and people. He said: “The potentials are there to be developed, but unfortunately today, there are no Tunisian businessmen in Nigeria just as there are not much Nigerian businessmen in Tunisia. “This may be the problem of language and of information. Tunisians do not know very much about the Nigerian massive potentials in many fields. Tunisia and Nigeria have closed up much in that regard, but there is still ignorance about the potentials in Nigeria. There is also a problem of ignorance of market. “Now, this is my role and this is our role together to make business information about Tunisia and Nigeria known to all. The country has many other attractions because a country is not all about business and trade, we can think about sharing experience, tourism, agriculture, health and culture.”


4 NEWS Monday, March 3, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

U.S. FAA begins recertification of Nigeria Category One in March

Nigeria needs N417tr to fix infrastructure By Bankole Orimisan

By Ibe Uwaleke HE Nigeria Civil Aviation T Authority (NCAA) said yesterday that the United States Federal Aviation Administration (U.S. FAA) has notified it of its intention to commence the recertification of the nation’s civil aviation category-one status in March. Nigeria attained Category One on September 18, 2010. Part of the requirements of the Category One re-assessment would include certification of major international airports, the operations of aviation agencies including airspace authority, aviation training college, as well as meteorological agency. The recertification by the U.S. FAA, according to the Director General of NCAA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, is part of processes to revalidate the highest civil aviation rating, which ensures that Nigeria is in line with updated standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Speaking at a briefing yesterday in Lagos, Akinkuotu said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is putting all hands on deck to ensure that the nation acquits itself very well in the impending exercise. To this effect, a technical committee has been inaugurated to provide fillip and drive all the preparation process. Membership of the committee, Akinkuotu said, is drawn from the Flight Safety Group (FSG) directorates. These are Directorate of Airworthiness Standard (DAWS), Directorate of Licensing (DOL) and Directorate of Operations and Training (DOT). Others are Directorate of Finance and Accounts (DFA), Directorate of Human Resources (DHR), Directorate of Administration (DOA) and the Legal Department. Chairman of the Technical committee is Captain Abdullahi Sidi, the Director of Operations and Training while the secretary is Dr. W.T. Haggai Acting Head, Aeromedical Standards. The term of reference of the technical committee is to ensure adequate preparation for the FAA Category One ReAssessment Audit and all the staff of NCAA are ready and prepared for the Audit.”

Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (middle); his Special Adviser on Agriculture and son of the deceased, Mr. Wale Ogunyomade (right) and Mr. Kolalwole Ogunyomade (left) during the burial of Madam Margaret Adunola Ogunyomade in Lagos…at the weekend

Anglican Communion introduces anti-gay oaths for officials HE Church of Nigeria T (Anglican Communion) has introduced a clause into its constitution subjecting members, who intend to hold positions in church, to take an oath of allegiance to God denouncing homosexuality. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the public denunciation took place in Abuja yesterday at St. Matthews, Maitama, during the swearing-in of new members of the Parish Church Council (PCC). The Vicar of the church, Venerable Ben Idume, who administered the oath to members of the PCC, said the

church recognised that those with such sexual orientation needed help and counseling. “But they would not be allowed to hold any position in church,” he said. The legislation is significant because it applies to members of the laity, clergy and house of bishops of the church. It also banned bisexuals from holding any church office. The text of the vow reads: “I declare before God and His Church that I have never been a homosexual/bisexual or (have repented from being homosexual/bisexual) and I

vow that I will not indulge in the practise of homosexuality/bisexuality. “If after this oath I am involved, found to be, or profess to be a homosexual/bisexual against the teachings of the Holy Scriptures as contained in the Bible. “I bring upon myself the full wrath of God and subject myself willingly to canonical discipline as enshrined in the constitution of the Church of Nigeria, so help me God.” One of the oath-takers, Mr. Lucky Erhaikhuemen, 43, the Vicar’s warden of the church, said two decades ago, the oath would have been of no

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significance in the Church of Nigeria. “But with what is happening in Western countries and the churches there, there is a lot a of pressure on church leaders and members here to compromise the teachings of the church. “The oath is a guide and warning that those in leadership positions in the church must uphold scriptural teachings and point to the godly part to the younger generations,” he said. In January, President Goodluck Jonathan signed a law banning same-sex marriages and shows of same-sex

public affection. The law introduced a 14-year prison sentence for people who are convicted of entering into a same-sex marriage or civil union. Under the law, it is also an offence to administer, witness or help at a same-sex marriage ceremony. The law also forbids people from running gay clubs, societies, processions or meetings in Nigeria and the punishment for such acts is 10 years in prison. The law states that marriages or civil unions from outside the country will be void inside the country.

held a 10-point lead over the President. By a margin of 44 per cent to 34 per cent (with 22 per cent undecided), the APC candidate was the clear national choice. When asked, ‘In general, do you think things in Nigeria are going in a good direction or bad direction’, by a staggering more than two-to-one margin (50 per cent -24 per cent), Nigerians responded that the country was going in a bad direction. When asked, ‘What issue would you like the President and National Assembly to focus on most’, an overwhelming majority (60 per cent) said jobs was the dominant issue that the government should address. “And then when asked if they found the following statement convincing or not, ‘Goodluck Jonathan has done nothing to create jobs, and far too many people are still unemployed’, decisively, 58 per cent of Nigerians found that argument about Jonathan convincing. Finally, when asked if Jonathan was doing a good or bad job fighting corruption, 59 per cent Nigerians thought Jonathan was doing a bad job fighting corruption. “The voice of the people was clear: The nation is going in the wrong direction. The nation wants change and would not vote to re-elect Jonathan in part because the number one issue to

Nigerians is jobs and the nation believes Jonathan has no credibility on the issue of job creation,’’ APC said. Meanwhile, APC, Rivers State chapter, has urged the National Assembly to investigate the alleged refusal of the Federal Government to prevent two surveillance helicopters procured by the government of Rivers State to combat oil theft and kidnapping. The party, which made this appeal to the National Assembly yesterday, said the refusal of the Federal Government to allow the helicopters into the country raises serious questions about the sincerity of the PDP government to fight corruption and protect the pipes that transport the crude oil that sustains the country’s economy. APC Spokesperson, Chukwuemeka Eze, said the party is sad that the powers of the National Assembly are being eroded as most of its actions and suggestions are ignored at will by the Presidency that has become tyrannical, insensitive and uncaring about the plight of Nigerians. He urged the National Assembly to begin to exert its powers and also show leadership traits by investigating Federal Government’s refusal to allow the helicopters into the country.

APC unveils ‘roadmap’ on Thursday From Kelvin Ebiri Port Harcourt HE All Progressives Congress (APC) is set to unveil its “Roadmap to a New Nigeria” at the party’s national summit to be held in Abuja on Thursday, March 6. Interim National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement in Lagos yesterday that the roadmap would detail the party’s priorities in fixing the widespread failings of successive PDP governments since 1999, in order to bring hope and succour to the long-suffering people of

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Seeks probe over surveillance helicopters Nigeria. It said the roadmap was a product of an empirical and painstaking process embarked upon by the APC, in a deviation from the old practice of packaging such documents on a whim. ‘’With conditions deteriorating throughout Nigeria, with security and ever increasing concern, with the lack of jobs pushing families and young people further and further into poverty and with new stories of corruption within the PDP government appear-

ing day after day, the APC decided to commission the largest ever public opinion survey in Nigerian history to determine the current status of things in the nation directly from those who knew best - the actual people of Nigeria. ‘’The results were even more revealing than the APC had anticipated: When asked, ‘If the election were held today, would you vote for Goodluck Jonathan or the candidate of the All Progressives Congress’, the APC candidate

NAFDAC begins clampdown on drugs without anti-faking devices By Chukwuma Muanya (Lagos) and John Akubo (Dutse) HE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) will this week begin clampdown on malaria and antibiotic drugs without approved anti-faking devices. Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, had given September 2013 deadline for all pharmaceutical industries to implement anti-faking technology on their antimalaria and antibiotic drugs or face them being taken off the Nigerian market. According to NAFDAC, 80 companies have so far complied with the directive and there are plans to extend the anti-faking technology meas-

TO bridge the infrastructure gap in the country, Chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Mr. Foluso Phillips, has said Nigeria needs about N417 trillion ($2.9 trillion) over the next 30 years. Phillips said this during the investiture of Dr. Temilola Kehinde as the 15th President of the Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria at the weekend held in Lagos. “A total of $2.9trillion is required to close Nigeria’s infrastructure gap with $2.3trillion on transport, energy, ICT and water and $600 billion on agriculture, mining, social infrastructure, housing and regional development,” Phillips said.

Warns bakers against use of bromate ures to food products. The agency has also in collaboration with the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) set to shutdown any media organisations and traditional medicine practitioners engaged in indiscriminate and unapproved advertisement of traditional cures. NAFDAC’s Director of Special Duties and Head, Media and Publicity Unit, Abubakar Jimoh, in an exclusive chat with The Guardian yesterday, said: “We put up a deadline for September last year and we have allowed people to tidy up their things and this year, we will begin the clamp down on defaulters and there is no going back on that. “This is for anti-malaria and

antibiotics and we are saying that anybody that does not implement that or any product that does not have the anti-faking technology features is going to be taken off from circulation.” Meanwhile, in Jigawa State, NAFDAC’s Coordinator, Kunle Olaniran, has revealed its plan to register all bread industries to prevent the use of banned additives that may have health implications on the populace. Olaniran, who made the disclosure when the agency held an interactive session with the executives of the National Association of Bread Makers, Jigawa State chapter, said registration is now a serious issue because

some few things go along with it. Olaniran said: “Registration takes into account the neatness of the factory and whether it has adequate equipment, we would now carry out food handlers test on personal that will be involved.” “The workers must be fit to handle the baking. That is why we would no longer allow non-registered breads and whoever is caught would be arrested and prosecuted because we cannot guarantee the safety of their products for public consumption.” According to him, some of the people that evade registration are those that are using banned additives like bromates.


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Red Cross pledges to help curb small arms proliferation From Joke Falaju, Abuja O help check proliferaT tion of small arms across the country, the

Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke, (left); Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Mrs. Myna Belo-Osagie and Akwa Ibom State Governor,Godswill Akpabio, at the 60th birthday celebrations of Senator Udoma and Mrs. Myna Belo-Osagie, founding partner of Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie in Lagos yesterday.

Adeboye clocks 72, assures of better Nigeria By Isaac Taiwo HE General Overseer of T the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Adejare Adeboye, who clocked the age of 72 yesterday, has assured Nigerians that the “tide drifting the nation will never rock the boat.” In his birthday message to the nation, the cleric disclosed a revelation from God

that what He will do towards the end of the year will surprise every Nigerian. Speaking through his Special Assistant (Administration and Personnel), Pastor Johnson Odesola, yesterday after the thanksgiving service for the month of March at the RCCG headquarters, Throne of Grace, Ebute-Metta, Lagos, Adeboye assured Nigerians that the nation will certainly

return to the glory she was known for before. “Our father in the Lord always declare 2nd day of March, being his birthday, to pray and the wife sometime joins him. “When he declared 100 days fasting, which is ongoing to pray for every other thing, including the situation in Nigeria, some general overseers from other churches keyed into the idea and with

Experts seek conscious move to save Nigerian languages By Olalekan Okusan XPERTS have expressed E worry over what they described as drift of many Nigerian languages into extinction, calling for concerted efforts to save the local dialects. The experts, who attended the second public lecture organised by the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos at the weekend, lamented absence of conscious efforts by successive governments to encourage the use of local languages in public

places. Eminent scholars, including Prof. Kole Omotoso, a visiting professor at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State; former Director General, Nigeria French Language Village, Prof. Samuel Aje, and the guest of honour, Ambassador Olusola Sanu, were unanimous in their declaration that Nigerian languages have remained poorly researched compared with indigenous languages in Europe and America. Omotoso, who was the guest

lecturer at the forum, said: “The number of individual languages listed for Nigeria is in total of 529. Of these, 522 are said to be living languages and seven are dead. Of the living languages, 22 are institutional, 80 are developing while 358 are vigorous, while 20 are in trouble and 42 are dying.” He added that today, Nigerian languages constitute one quarter of all African languages, and besides Papua New Guinea, Nigeria is one of the most linguistically diverse countries on earth.

the generality of these people praying for Nigeria, the assurance that Nigerians will experience a new thing at the end of year is certain,” he said. Disclosing the secret of Adeboye’s success and his health at his age, Odesola said, “according to Adeboye himself, God and His Grace, casting all care upon God and regular exercise whether in Nigeria or abroad, including openness are the secret.” Odesola added, ‘humility’ as another secret of Adeboye’s success, which has helped him to expand the church of God. He also disclosed his challenges as destructive criticism both inside and outside the church. “He admits that as long as anyone is alive, he or she is subject to criticism, which of course should be constructive in nature. “He often said that anyone that criticises me should tell me the better way to do where I have been wronged,” Odesola said.

Airtel prays court to stay execution of N1.17b verdict By Yetunde Oyegbami-Ojo TELECOMMUNICATION A firm, Airtel Nigeria, has prayed the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal to stay execution of a Garnishee Order Nisi made against it by a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja. In its appeal against the lower court’s verdict, Airtel also urged the Appeal Court to set aside the order. The appellate court has reserved ruling on the case, while the one before the lower court has been adjourned till April 7. Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, at the trial court, had asked Airtel to pay a telecoms firm, Procomtel Limited, N1.17billion, which represents awards made by an arbitrator on June 27, 2007 and on August 24, 2007, including interests, over a dispute. Procomtel said it had an agreement with Airtel for the construction of 28 cell cites in 2001, but the GSM com-

pany allegedly terminated the contract on March 5, 2003. The claimant said it successfully executed the contract and provided other services to Airtel, including importing equipment, and that the company was indebted to it. Procomtel had urged the lower court to enforce the awards, claiming that the defendant’s failure to pay the money had adversely affected and almost paralysed its business. The firm said the fact that it had been unjustifiably deprived from using the money since 2007 entitled it to N95million damages. Ruling in the claimant’s favour, Justice Lawal-Akapo held that “an order of specific performance be and is hereby made for the amounts contained in the final award dated June 27, 2007 and additional award dated August 24, 2007 made under the hand of Engr Olumuyiwa Ajibola in the

matter of arbitration between Procomtel Limited and Celtel Nigeria Limited, pursuant to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap A18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.” The judge also awarded N25million damages to the claimant for breach occasioned by non-performance of the awards. In a bid to recover the judgment sum, Procomtel (the judgment-creditor) initiated the garnishee proceedings. Justice Lawal-Akapo, on January 21, made a Garnishee Order Nisi directing the banks to produce Airtel’s bank details to show whether the money in them is sufficient to satisfy the judgment-debt in the sum of N1,188,425,602.49. The court also directed that the accounts be frozen. Some of the banks have filed counter-affidavits in the proceedings, stating that Airtel is either indebted to them or did not have

enough money in their accounts to satisfy the judgement sum. In its defence at the lower court, Airtel denied the claimant’s allegations, insisting that it was not indebted to Procomtel on the basis of any arbitral award or contractual agreement. It admitted awarding contract to the claimant for construction of 22 base stations, but said the contract was cancelled due to the Procomtel’s alleged failure to comply with its instructions as it relates to quality and timescale. It denied any outstanding indebtedness to the plaintiff, adding that the decision to refer the case to arbitration was not mutual, but was based on a court order. Airtel added, it is challenging the legitimacy of the arbitral award and seeking to set it aside on the basis that the arbitrator exceeded the scope of the case referred to him for arbitration.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has offered to provide the Presidency with technical assistance on the drafting, updating and implementation of legislation on Small Arms and Light Weapons. According to the Head of Delegation and Mission, ICRC Nigeria, Mr. Zoran Jovanovic, the organisation offers such assistance to the ECOWAS member states to help them effectively domesticate Conventions on Small Arms and Light Weapons, and as well as the Arms Trade Treaty. Jovanovic gave the pledge at the weekend in Abuja during a meeting between the Red Cross and the Chairman, Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe. He unfolded plans to soon organise a workshop with representatives of the regional governments to see how the treaty and convention could be domesticated, making reference to an earlier workshop sponsored by ICRC for Regional governments in West Africa at which the governments reached a consensus that enabled them to adopt a common position during the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations in New York, United States. He called on Nigeria to lead the process for the domestication of the existing international instruments on Small Arms and Light Weapons control in the ECOWAS states. “Your role is very important because what we can only provide is technical expertise. We lack the political leverage, which you can provide,” Jovanovic said.

Responding, Imohe thanked ICRC for its offer of support. He explained the role of the Presidential Committee on SALW, the main thrust of which is to be the focal point in the efforts by Nigeria to combat the menace posed by illegal Small Arms and Light Weapons proliferation in the country. He reminded that the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Ukaeje, had earlier raised the alarm over the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the country, saying Nigeria has more weapons at the disposal of the people than food. Ukaeje had urged members of the Presidential Committee who paid her a courtesy visit at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, to explore ways of partnering with the House Committee to accelerate the pace of a draft bill before the House which seeks to transform the committee into a commission. The lawmaker who crafted the draft Bill, said that her sponsorship of it was borne out of the desire to ensure that an effective structure exists in Nigeria for tackling the problems posed by the proliferation of illegal Small Arms and Light Weapons, as stipulated by the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which emphasises a commission rather than a committee. According to her, Nigeria is awash with these weapons, and with the general elections approaching, there is cause for concern. The House Committee chairman expressed hope that unlike its predecessor, the panel would be given the necessary backing and resources to upgrade to the level of commission.


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The National Conference Debate

Political Sketch

Again, National Questions up for

By Akpo Esajere ARCH 2014 national conference is holdM ing after-all. This much is probably the only remarkable thing to be said at this stage about the dialogue, commencing in days at Abuja. That — and may be the idea that there is now more “democratic air.” As dispiriting and disquieting the manner the conference was set up may be, it still has the attributes of one conducted by a full-blown civilian elected administration. As it were, there is room and more opportunities for as many ideas, interests and preferences as possible to be canvassed, except that the body may end up not delving too deeply into some of the most touchy national issues of these times said to be settled. It might just turn out a dialogue characterised by hard bargaining, volatile negotiations. There will be fights but something good could come through. The National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) of February 2005, organised by Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military Head of State, who later returned as Nigeria’s elected President from 1999 to 2007, failed the test of “democratic atmosphere.” The NPRC report was never released. The Senate, presided over by Ken Nnamani, had it set aside, following an alleged plot by the former President to elongate his tenure beyond the maximum two terms of eight years provided for in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Tagged “Third Term Agenda,” the former President’s apologists were said to have pushed it into the report through the backdoor. In the end, the entire report was not entertained on the floor of the National Assembly, as the Senate simply slammed the door shut on it. The enduring mysteries around the Third Term plot have often been linked to Obasanjo’s supposed peculiar personality traits, as in seeing himself as the best thing to happen to the country. His critics speculate not only about ego-driven nature, but also of Providence, which catapulted him through a trajectory in the leadership of this country that no other leader has had, or may ever attain. The former President does not readily talk about Third Term; not like former military President Gen Ibrahim Babangida, who will at least go into foot-shuffling double-speak when he has to explain the controversial annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. But may be in his memoir in future, Obasanjo should tell the real story of Third Term Agenda. While his critics attributed everything about the failed plot to Obasanjo’s big ego, that he wanted to be the Robert Mugabe of Nigeria, holding on to power for life, his supporters claim there were “strong reasons.” Nigerians will in future come to the realisation that rather than naked ambition, the Agenda was altruistic than they cared to accept, some, who were close to him, had maintained. It is experiences of this type and others in the past that obviously fuelled public concerns about what Jonathan may be up to in announcing this conference. The President had suddenly risen from a fierce opponent of a national conference to an ardent champion of it, thus making many citizens suspicious. Before Obasanjo’s alleged Third Term Agenda, Gen. Sani Abacha, until he died, schemed for, and nearly succeeded in making himself life President. Babangida before Abacha dribbled the civilian political class for the eight years of his rule. The media called him Maradona, after the Argentina legendary soccer star. After his eight years, he had to go but not because he had run his tenure. He said he had to “step aside.”

From scepticism to cautious acceptance HE Jonathan administration’s convocaTtion of this national conference was

Jonathan questioned on many grounds. Principal among these is the issue of nearness to the 2015 general elections, whereby most of the principal movers of the main opposition political party, All Progressives Congress (APC), notably former Lagos State Governor, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, called it a “Greek gift.” As a party, the APC declined participation at the talks. Now, as delegates get set to be inaugurated, some of these leaders seem to adopt a wait-and-see attitude or wait for the conference to fail; thus, proving them right. The political class in the North was initially suspicious, cynical and ambivalent about the dialogue. Many critics from the region accused Jonathan of seeking to break the country. It is also from there that more critics saw Jonathan’s announcement of a conference as diversionary, designed to take attention from his dismal performance; use the conference to blackmail the country into accepting his alleged bid for second term or set the stage for rebellion by his SouthSouth base if he did not get second term. Leaders of the region, however, went into pre-conference consultations at various levels, to decide their plan for the talks. Southern leaders, on the other hand, were quicker and ready to declare support and hold meetings to map out plans and strategies for the talks. Clamour for a national conference (some had called for a Sovereign National Conference) to dialogue and resolve age-old unfairness, injustice, and inequities, had been long and fervid in the South. Where there were initial rejection or denunciation, as in the case of the APC, the party in control in the Southwest, there is now either a change of heart or siddon look attitude, to see what would happen. Here is how Governor John Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who, along with other APC gov-

Okunrounmu ernors, takes to the public, from time to time, to clarify issues in the spy-me-I-spyyou, fire-for-fire political battles between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition APC, explained the attitude: “The President, in his broadcast, said he would appoint delegates for any state that refused to send delegates to the conference. You cannot imagine if those are speaking for us. The fact that government is not for a particular political party or a section of the public but for the generality of the people explains why it is necessary to allow this (conference). “There is no sudden change of mind. The national conference, in its constitution, has slots for political parties as well as states. APC is well within its rights as a political party to decide on what its position is, as far as the national conference is concerned. “But APC has states being governed by its members, bearing in mind that governors are governors of all. Without prejudice to the position that our party has taken, we preside over both members as well as nonmembers of our party and it would be wrong for us to decide to unilaterally, as governors, not to allow our citizens air their views, as far as the national conference is concerned. “Ekiti people, on which I can speak authoritatively, are very particular about the nature of the federalism we are practising. The citizens have interest in whether we continue to run this kind of feeding-bottle federalism or not, or a co-operative federalism within a regional context…” Like Fayemi, Niger State Governor, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, also chairman of the Forum of 19 northern governors, spoke on how the region will participate. The Governors’ Forum, he said, had endorsed a 30-point agenda for the delegates to canvass

As it were, there is room and more opportunities for as many ideas, interests and preferences as possible to be canvassed, except that the body may end up not delving too deeply into some of the most touchy national issues of these times said to be settled. It might just turn out a dialogue characterised by hard bargaining, volatile negotiations. There will be fights but something good could come through.

at the conference, to enable the North speak with one voice. The North, he said, is sending the most experienced people, “our best and brightest,” as he put it.

Between 2014 National Conference and 2005 National Political Reform Conference HE document produced by Obasanjo’s T NPRC went to great length to recommend practical answers to some of the national issues of the day, which it considered under titles — economy, revenue allocation, fiscal federalism, judiciary, national security, citizenship and indigeneship, immunity, corruption, models and structure of government, rotation of executive positions, power sharing, independent candidacy, cost of governance and secularity of state. It has been conjectured that failure to implement solutions preferred in that report contributed to exposing the country today to worsening scenarios. But while the Jonathan national conference may be advised to take a close look at the NPRC recommendations in order to replicate some of them, these delegates would obviously have to do a lot more. And as they get ready to be inaugurated next week, they would be wondering how far they could go. It is, for example, going to be dicey how this conference skirts around an issue like the “exclusive legislative list.” Long-running campaigns against vesting a huge 68 items on the government at the centre, thereby making it the overlord of other levels of government like the states with a list of 36 items under the 1999 Constitution, has assumed a more dangerous coloration in 2014 than 2005. The danger now is that anything short of substantially reducing those items will not satisfy those who want a “true federation,” who are insisting that it has to be changed because it is “not federal but unitary and that is what is killing this country.” The 2005 conference seemed to have skirted round this. It sought to diversify the economy, as a way to bringing down the country’s many tensions and troubles resulting from over-dependence on oil.


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The National Conference Debate

another round of volatile questioning The report was a good job on agriculture. It also stressed giving attention to solid mineral as alternative revenue sources. It recommended that oil companies be compelled to refine oil, rather than merely exporting the country’s crude and that states and local governments, along with oil bearing communities, should have a say in utilisation of the resources. It recommended privatisation of refineries and setting up of a Nigeria Mineral Resources Trust Fund for future generations; and that Abuja should enact laws to compel government establishments at all levels to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods. Elsewhere, the report asked for the positions of Accountant-General of the Federation and Accountant-General of the Federal Government to be separate; that a new official, a Director-General should be in charge of collation, allocation and distribution of funds from the Federation Account, while the Accountant-General of the Federation’s role will be only to supervise Federal Government funds. The report said “bulk allocation should be made to states in respect of their local governments, irrespective of the number of local governments in any particular state,” obviously in an attempt to ameliorate a situation whereby a state like Kano would arrive in Abuja to carte away allocation for its 44 local governments while Bayelsa, with eight local governments, will take for eight. It also said, “the derivation principle should be applicable to all revenues, except the Value Added (JOINT) Tax (VAT), accruable to the Federation Account,” a concession of sorts for a state like Lagos, the biggest producer of VAT.

Like the Reform Conference of 2005, heavy-weights and other credible Nigerians’ names are surfacing for the 2014 encounter: Former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe; former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade, former Federal Commissioner under Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Rtd); former Nigerian Bar Association President, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN); Human Rights activist, Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, etc

Ukiwe

Akinrinade

Bakare

Agbakoba

Government.” And it was pooh-poohed on the ground that a military dictatorship could not be a federal system but merely operators or undertakers in government. Pro-democracy groups have called for adopting the decisions of this conference “through the democratic process” of going through the people. Unless this is done, the decisions, when integrated into the 1999 Constitution, would still not become the constitution of the people and supreme law of the land. A YES or NO answer will do the trick. Will this happen? The 2005 delegates were un-elected like the 2014 version: Obasanjo did roughly as Jonathan has done, although Jonathan has effected a people-driven set-up, whereby delegates were nominated through stakeholder groups and interest groups of the people. This, however, still translated into the President and state governors alone appointing a third — 157 — out of 492 conferees. The President alone picks 49 delegates, 37 of them statesmen and 36 governors select 108, that is, three each from their states. Obasanjo had assembled his team by fiat! Even so, this arrangement falls short of the desire of pro-democracy organisations like the eminent persons group, The Patriots, a

group of elder statesmen who wanted “a new constitution embodying re-negotiated terms and conditions on which the diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria can live together…” Their representatives are, however, participating in this conference.

Tougher job for 2014 conference N sum, considering how far the country Iinhas degenerated, much of what was said 2005 may not now do. In dealing with other issues of the crises around Nigeria’s peculiar federal system, such as immunity and corruption, the 2005 talks on corruption suggested “any person convicted of corrupt practices should be stripped of any national award and barred from receiving any in future and from becoming a director in any public company.” They suggested that “special courts should be set up for the prosecution of cases emanating from corrupt practice and such cases should not last more than 90 days.” These are unlikely to be enough, to address the systemic rot and corruption now afflicting the country where the political leadership cadre is seen to have failed to launch any serious policy and programme that positively impacts the ordinary people, who are feeling left out and inconsequential in the scheme of things. In this case, all the talk about fighting corruption is mere whimsical talk, lacking in substance and seriousness. On immunity, the 2005 delegates said the clause should be retained, meaning the President, Vice President, Governors and their deputies are immune from criminal prosecution. Affirming faith in the federal system, they asserted that power needed to be devolved to states “to a certain degree.” But they essentially did precious little to actually remove some of the functions residing with the federal government and move them over to the states. Herein lies one of the big issues that the 2014 conference would have to confront. Can the centre be stripped of some of the powers and functions it has gotten used to and given to the federating units? Which are the federating units? Thirty-six states? Six geo-political zones? No matter how hard the National Assembly has tried, it has not succeeded to assume sovereignty of the people. It cannot make the 1999 Constitution, handed down by the military, a constitution adopted by the people. Under the military, they called the federal government “Federal Military

Delegates IKE the Reform Conference of 2005, L heavy-weights and other credible Nigerians’ names are surfacing for the 2014 encounter: Former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe; former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade, former Federal Commissioner under Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Rtd); former Nigerian Bar Association President, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN); Human Rights activist, Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, etc. The 2005 conference had a pre-conference committee headed by former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mohammed Makarfi, now a Senator and a secretariat that did its preliminary groundwork. The 2014 conference starts on the bright note of a pre-conference Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr. Femi Okurounmu, which toured the country to mastermind a debate for about eight months and draw up a framework. Some of the top names in 2005 were: Chief

Emeka Anyaoku, Prof. Joe Irukwu, Prince Bola Ajibola, Alhaji Femi Okunnu (SAN), Prof. Albert Ogbunshola, Dr. Joseph Wayas, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Prof. Attahiru Jega (now INEC chairman), Senator Mahmud Waziri, Chief Solomon Lar, Senator Stella Omu, Dr. Olusola Saraki, and Chief Matthew Mbu. There were Chief Paul Unongo, Chief Barnabas Gemade, Dr. Kema Chikwe, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, Mrs. Helen Esuene, Alhaji Ibrahim Damcida, King DieteSpiff, Sir George Kogbara, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode, Chief Edwin Clark, Admiral Mike Akhigbe, Sola Akinyede, Senator Uba Ahmed, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, Dr. Christopher Abashiya and Alhaji Ibrahim Commaissie. Others were: Col. Bello Kaliel, Gen. David Jemibewon, Gen. Oluwole Rotimi, Chief Olusola Oke, Admiral Akin Aduwo, Oba Sikiru Adetona, Senator Ayo Otegbola, Prof. Ade Ayoade, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (now Edo State governor), Prof. Kimse Okoko, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola, and Mr. Nduka Obaigbena (ThisDay publisher). Members of the conference writing committee were Admiral Murtala Nyako (now Adamawa State governor), Prof. Nur Alkali, Mr. Fidelis Oyakhilome, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema (now Governor of Katsina State), Chief Olaiya Oni, and John Dara. Others were: Alfred Eghobamien (SAN), Ibrahim Lame, Mohammed Buba, Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu, Mrs. Tawa Williams, Danjuma Maina, Francis Doukpola, Ambassador Dapo Fafowora, Aminu Gurin, Ambassador B.A Jidda, Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah (frankspeaking Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese), Prof. I-shaq Oloyede, Dambatta, and Arikawe. A retired Supreme Court Justice, Niki Tobi, chaired the conference, while Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah was secretary. They were backed by principal officers, namely, Alhaji Sule Katagun (Deputy Chairman), Prof. I-shaq Oloyede (Joint Secretary), Nu’uman Dambatta (Deputy Secretary, administration/finance), and Mr. Akin Arikawe (Deputy Secretary, conference proceedings).

Unity HE issue of unity is hanging heavy over T this conference. While announcing modalities for the conference, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, said: “The unity of Nigeria is not negotiable,” a line that has been repeated by many others. When Jonathan visited Kano recently, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, reiterated the non-negotiability of Nigeria’s unity, assuring that he would work with other traditional rulers to ensure it. The FCT minister, Bala Mohammed, spoke on it in the manner that Babangida, as military President, termed it “one of the settled issues of our polity.” Will the 2014 conference weave its way round the demands for unity and the pressures of restructuring the polity? That is the question.


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Monday, March 3, 2014

Traditional wedding between Omotuvie Alexia Ibru and Maxwell Herbert Peile

Publisher, The Guardian Newspaper, Lady Maiden Ibru and Executive Consultant, Mr. Yaya Awosanya.

Ambassador Tayo Ogunsulire (left) and Prof. Frank Okesor.

John Edozien (left); his wife, Victoria and Chief Femi Olopade.

Lady Maiden Alex Ibru (left) and in-law, Emily Morgan.

Chief Segun Osoba (right) and wife, Derin.

Victor Hammond (right) and Mrs. Beatrice Ekwueme.

Prof. Kofi Duncan (left); Sam Amuka and Dr. Alexander Thomopulos.

Tiona Hodgson (left); Emily Morgan and Penny Wilson.


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A cross section of the bridemaids.

Monday, March 3, 2014 9

Deputy Governor, Osun State, Titi Tomori (left); Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Chief Folake Solanke (SAN) and Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi (left) and former Ambassador to Ghana, Musiliu Obanikoro.

Mrs. Folake Omisore and Mrs. Folake Lapite.

Former Chairman Punch Newspaper, Chief Ajibola and Publisher, ThisDay, Nduka Obaigbena.

Mrs. Onojoma Oniwinde (left); Miss Gloria Ibru; Miss Ewina Ibru and Miss Elaine Ibru.

Otunba Adekunle Ojora and his wife, Ojuolape.

Dr. Ladi Awosika (left) and Prof. Feyi Adegoke.

PHOTOS: OSENI YUSUF


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10 NEWS Monday, February 3, 2014

Okorocha okays six Imo delegates for confab From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri MO State Governor Rochas Okorocha at the weekend changed his stand against the planned national dialogue when he approved the nomination of six indigenes to represent the state. A statement issued to journalists and signed by Okorocha’s Senior Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Sam Onwemedo, in Owerri, lists the names of the delegates as Bob Njemanze for Owerri zone; Ezekiel Izuogu, Orlu zone and Chidinma Uwajumogu, representing Okigwe zone while Prof. Chinedu Nwajuba, Uzoma Nwosu Iheme and CY Amako, will represent groups. The statement says the latest approval supercedes the earlier statement.

I

Group tasks Uduaghan on successor From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City GROUP, Defender of A Democracy Group (DDG), yesterday urged Governor of

Corrupt, incompetent judges should be sacked, say lawyers OME prominent lawyers in Lagos yesterday urged the National Judicial Council (NJC) not to relent in its effort to sanitise the nation’s judiciary. The lawyers spoke in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while reacting to the recent sack of two judges by the council. The affected judges, Justices Gladys Olotu of the Federal High Court and Ufot Inyang of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, were sacked on February 26 for “gross misconduct.” The agency reports that one of the reasons given for Olotu’s sack was that she failed to deliver judgment in a suit 18 months after final addresses by counsel in the suit. The NJC said it is contrary to the constitutional provisions, which states that judgment should be delivered within 90 days. Inyang was sacked for including in his judgment, ref-

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If you look at the dismissal of the two judges, you will find out that they were very guilty of the offences they were alleged to have committed. erences to the garnishee proceedings, which came after a judgment had been delivered on December 20, 2011. He was also accused of continuing with the garnishee proceedings, despite an application for stay of execution on the said judgment. According to NAN, the NJC had on February 20, 2013, sacked Justices Charles Archibong of the Federal High Court and Thomas Naron of the Plateau State High Court for similar offences. The council had also on April 26, 2013, suspended Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court for one year. Talba was said to have been handed the suspension for failing to exercise his discretion judicially and judi-

ciously in a matter involving John Yusufu, a Director of Pensions, alleged to have been convicted for theft. Among the senior lawyers, who spoke on the issue was Mr. Onyekachi Ubani, the chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, who commended the NJC for the action, saying it would put judges on their toes. He said: “If you look at the dismissal of the two judges, you will find out that they were very guilty of the offences they were alleged to have committed. “One of them even forgot that she had a ruling to deliver which is quite strange because judges are supposed to be effective and efficient.” Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni,

executive director, SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a rights advocacy group, said lazy judges have no business being on the Bench. “For failing to deliver judgment 18 months after parties have adopted their final written addresses, that judge does not deserve to continue to be on the Bench. “As a matter of fact, there are a lot of terrible things going on in the judiciary and I believe that the present CJN is doing a wonderful job,” Mumuni said. But a human rights lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, advised the NJC to be careful over sacking of judges. “It is very good for them (NJC) to sanitise the judiciary but they should give the accused judges fair hearing. One of the judges was said to have granted a garnishee order, while there was a stay of execution. I know there is a

Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, to consult widely before picking whoever would succeed him as governor to avoid crisis. A statement by the DDG Coordinator, Ejoor Umukoro, which was made available to journalists in Benin City, Edo State capital, charged the governor not to undermine the influence and popularity of Delta Central Senatorial District and core interest groups in the area like the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU), DDG and several others. “The governor cannot just sit down and hand pick a successor or appoint which part of the state the successor is to come from. We must all sit down to ensure the best person who will represent the good of Delta is elected governor of our great state.” Umukoro further said Uduaghan from Delta-South became governor because there were wide consultations before he was chosen. “So we are advising Governor Uduaghan to take a cue from former governor, James Ibori. He should consult more widely, so as not to impose someone who will spell doom for his party in the gubernatorial election.”

Edo senator debunks defection rumour From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City N All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator representing Edo-North District, Domingo Obende, yesterday dispelled rumours that he would be going back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which he left in 2010 to seek re-election. At a well-attended meeting in Jattu, Etsako-West, where the senator got endorsement for a second term from members of the party in the three Etsako local councils made up of Etsako-East, EtsakoCentral and Etsako-West, leaders spoke glowingly of Obende’s performance and urged the party to return him as its candidate next year. Obende was said to have sponsored no less than 12 bills, including the Same Sex Prohibition Bill and had completed 137 projects for the benefit of the people of EdoNorth.

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Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko (right); his wife, Olukemi and the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Alli Olanusi, during the thanksgiving service to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Mimiko’s administration at St. David’s Anglican Church, Akure…yesterday

Why we will appeal N20m verdict against NDLEA, by commandant From John Akubo, Dutse OMMANDANT of the C National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Jigawa State, Mallam Ibrahim Abdu, has indicated that the agency would appeal the judgment, which awarded N20 million to one of its suspects on bail as damages against the agency. Abdu spoke with The Guardian yesterday in Dutse against the backdrop of a judgment delivered by the Federal High Court in Dutse, ordering his agency to pay N20 million as damages in favour of Victor Jonah for unlawful detention and infringement of his rights. According to Abdu, Jonah was arrested by his men

when about six bottles of Benylin Codeine cough syrup, found in the wife’s shop, were linked to him. The commander claimed that Jonah’s wife and the sister had earlier admitted that the lawyer kept the drugs in the shop. “He was invited for two hours and granted bail and he went to court to enforce his fundamental human rights on false claims that he was detained for a number of hours. It is clear that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says you cannot keep somebody for more than 24 hours, even if he claims that we have kept him for six hours, we have not violated the constitution,” Abdu said. According to the comman-

dant, NDLEA operatives only lawfully interrogated Jonah. “The court gave him judgment that NDLEA will pay him N20 million as compensation for the damages he suffered, we are going to appeal the case at the Court of Appeal.” Abdu insisted that Jonah exhibited some criminal tendencies because he was allegedly found in possession of Benylin Codeine, which is a banned drug. He explained that in the course of interrogation, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) interfered on behalf of Jonah, asking the agency to mellow down because it has to do with one of their members. “After we soft-pedaled, he stylishly went to court to en-

force his fundamental human right. Despite that, we are still taking him to court because he was found to be in possession of the banned drug of cough syrup with codeine even though not directly but implicitly.” Abdu claims the law provides that if investigation is not complete, the agency can keep suspects for as long as two months. “Here, we don’t allow any case to last for more than two days. In the case of the lawyer, he was informed to come and bail the wife’s sister after two days, but because he was more interested in the peculiarly damages he was going to get; he waited for seven days and went to court while he left her here.”

decision of the Court of Appeal, which states that a stay of execution does not stop you from going ahead with garnishee proceedings.”

Taraba NBA alleges illegal deduction from law officials’ allowances From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo RISIS is brewing between C Taraba State government and its chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) over alleged plan to slash salaries of the law officers, including the magistrates, without following due process. The NBA has issued a threeday ultimatum for the government to revert to the status quo or be dragged to court. Briefing journalists immediately after its monthly congress, which took place yesterday at the premises of the new High Court in Jalingo, the NBA Chairman, Ibrahim Effiong, alleged that the judicial arm of the government in the state is being relegated to the background in spite of its contributions. It was learnt that the alleged plan to slash the salaries of both law officers and the magistrates by 57 per cent without deeming it fit to amend the law that led to the earlier increase is not going down well with the local NBA. Describing the plan as “illegal”, Effiong said “whoever is responsible, wherever it emanated from, there must be a reversion to the status quo immediately. “It is when there is an amendment to the existing law that anything outside what is in the law can be seen to be lawful. There is no such amendment.” Flanked by other Taraba State NBA executive members, Effiong stressed the need for the state government to, as a matter of urgency, tread the path of peace by stopping alleged deduction from the welfare packages of law officers and the magistrates. According to him, “In democratic setting like is operating in Nigeria, illegality of this nature cannot be allowed. It is impunity. The collective stand of the NBA is that if there is any time the executive arm of the government should be learning to respect the law, it is now.” They collectively argued that the executive arm of the government “cannot amend the law by fiat.” Failure for the state government to adhere to the three-day ultimatum, the Bar, according to Effiong, would not hesitate to engage the government in a legal battle. Stressing the readiness of the NBA to continue to hold tenaciously to the rule of law, the “simple way to save the state from embarrassment is for the government to simply reconsider its steps before it is too late.” The Taraba NBA also frowned at the alleged recent molestation of one of the magistrates, Husseni Galadima, by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police. According to Effiong, “the magistrate was molested by men of the Nigeria Police, Taraba State Command, particularly men from the SARS under the control of the Commissioner of Police. The action was uncalled for.”


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WorldReport Ukraine mobilises after Putin’s ‘declaration of war’ HE crisis in Kiev became T tensed yesterday as Ukraine mobilized for war after Russian President, Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade, creating the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War. “This is not a threat: this is actually the declaration of war to my country,” said Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, head of a proWestern government that took power when Russian ally

…As Pope calls for end to ‘incomprehension’ OPE Francis yesterday called on all sides in Ukraine to P overcome “incomprehension” and appealed to the international community to promote dialogue. “I ask you again to pray for Ukraine, which is experiencing a delicate situation,” Francis said in his weekly Angelus blessing from a window of the Vatican Apostolic Palace overlooking St Peter’s Square. “I hope that all sides in the country work on overcoming incomprehension and build the future of the nation together,” Francis said. “I make a heartfelt appeal to the international community to support any initiative in favour of dialogue and harmony.” Ukraine said yesterday it would call up all military reservists after President Vladimir Putin’s threat to invade Russia’s neighbour drew a blunt response from United States President, Barack Obama. The stark escalation in what threatens to become the worst crisis in relations since the Cold War came as pro-Russian forces seized control of key government buildings and airports in the strategic Crimean peninsula. Meanwhile, Spain’s foreign minister cut short his visit to Iran yesterday in order to attend European Union (EU) talks on the crisis in Ukraine, the Spanish embassy in Tehran confirmed to AFP. “He will leave this afternoon for Brussels,” a diplomatic source said. Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, who arrived in Tehran on Saturday for a planned four-day visit, is to attend an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday. “We are concerned about the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Garcia-Margallo said in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. Zarif said Iran too was “concerned about the developments in Ukraine.” “We hope there will be a peaceful settlement to the crisis,” he added. The EU session was called after the Russian parliament approved President Vladimir Putin’s request for sending troops into neighbouring Ukraine’s Crimea region, triggering an international outcry.

Viktor Yanukovich fled last week. Putin obtained permission from his parliament on Saturday to use military force to protect Russian citizens in Ukraine, spurning Western pleas not intervene. Russian forces have already bloodlessly seized Crimea - an isolated Black Sea peninsula where Moscow has a naval base. Yesterday, they surrounded several small Ukrainian military outposts there and demanded the Ukrainian troops disarm. Some refused,

although no shots were fired. Ukraine’s security council ordered the general staff to immediately put all armed forces on highest alert, the council’s secretary, Andriy Parubiy announced. The Defense Ministry was ordered to conduct a call-up of reserves - theoretically all men up to 40 in a country with universal male conscription, though Ukraine would struggle to find extra guns or uniforms for significant numbers of them. “If President Putin wants to be

the president who started the war between two neighboring and friendly countries, between Ukraine and Russia, so: he has reached this target within a few inches. We are on the brink of disaster,” Yatseniuk said in televised remarks in English, appealing for Western support. At Kiev’s Independence Square, where anti-Yanukovich protesters had camped out for months, thousands demonstrated against Russian military action. Placards read: “Putin, hands off Ukraine!”

Of potentially even greater concern than Russia’s seizure of the Crimea are eastern swathes of the country, where most of the ethnic Ukrainians speak Russian as a native language. Those areas saw violent protests on Saturday, with proMoscow demonstrators hoisting flags at government buildings and calling for Russia to defend them. Kiev said the protests were manufactured by Russia, accusing Moscow of sending hundreds of its citizens across the border to stage

them. Putin’s declaration that he has the right to invade his neighbor - for which he quickly received the unanimous approval of his senate - brought the prospect of war to a country of 46 million people on the ramparts of central Europe. “President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law,” the White House said after the leaders spoke for 90 minutes on Saturday. Ukraine has appealed for help


TheGuardian

12 | Monday, March 3, 2014

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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 Tackling Boko Haram threats HE resolution of the House of Representatives, lately re-stated by the Senate Committee on Defence, that the Chief of Army Staff relocates to the Boko Haram-assailed and crippled North-Eastern part of Nigeria would seem a good symbolic gesture, but it is not a solution to insurgency. The frustration and pains that informed this call are, however, understandable, given the level of killings going on in that area. Indeed with the attack a few days ago on Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako’s convoy, nobody is safe. That part of Nigeria now looks like it is cut off from the rest of the country. In a continued orgy of indiscriminate killings, thousands of Nigerians have been mowed down in extremely brutal manner by the terrorists. Scores of homes, schools and places of worship have been razed and many villages have been sacked. Indeed, the entire North-East has become a killing field for the Boko Haram. The report last week that a convoy of insurgents in 27 vehicles travelled several kilometres at night to murder nearly 60 students and teachers of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, a mere 54 kilometres from Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, followed by the killing of another 16 people in Adamawa is now the poster of how badly the nation is bleeding. The rural areas of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states have become uninhabitable as a result of repeated attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents. And it is most strange that all these happen in spite of the state-of-emergency and a heavy presence of military task forces made up of just about every component of the security forces. The sophisticated methods of the Boko Haram sect, the brazenness with which they have, at will and unchallenged, moved large numbers of men and equipment over wide geographical areas and for many hours to achieve their objective to plunder, destroy and spread fear among the populace, are sufficient reasons for Nigerians to perceive a palpable inadequacy in the effectiveness of military presence in the area. The question cannot but be asked: are there fifth columnists within the ranks or is the problem attributable to mere insufficiency in one form or another? These are for government to answer and soonest too because lives and property are being destroyed as Nigeria is hemorrhaging too much. The country is in a state of war and the management of the situation appears awful. Too many security personnel are being killed by a presumably less trained insurgent group. Even far more innocent civilians are falling victims. It would appear that the command structure and the reporting line between the men in the trenches and the military headquarters in Abuja are too long and bureaucratic. But the present emergency situation cannot tolerate red-tapism. Nor can it allow unhealthy rivalry among the fighting forces as the President hinted recently. The fight against Boko Haram is for the country and not for self or group glory; so, it requires trust, collaboration, and coordinated strategy among the forces. This much was reportedly expressed by the new Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin. And, unless there is more to it than meets the eye, with new service chiefs now in charge, Nigerians would want to see more robust military and government response to the Boko Haram attacks. This must include giving all the material and non-material resources the troops need to overpower the insurgents. As suggested by this newspaper in earlier editorials, the government must continue to explore the carrot and stick option. The Boko Haram should, therefore, take up the offer for dialogue with government recently expressed by the President. At this stage however, symbolism matters and that may have informed the call that the army high command moves to the centre of action. But on the one hand, this needs not be so if all actors play their respective parts. An effective symbolic gesture would be one that sees the commanderin-chief paying a visit to the men and women of the armed forces sent in harm’s way to know how they are faring in the trenches. It would also be a worthwhile symbolic gesture that the President visits the civilian population in the affected areas. Such presidential gestures of empathy and solidarity can boost morale and reassure the people of the North-Eastern Nigeria that they are not and will never be left at the mercy of Boko Haram.

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LETTERS

Looking beyond Sanusi postures coupled with his agenda of the present administration. His postures and actions appeared to be at variwearing the toga of an oppo- ance with the acceptable sition party against the gov- banking ethics and thereby ernment of the day. The mis- working at cross-purposes guided and ill-conceived con- with the Federal Government. troversies often generated by With Sanusi’s exit, the present the suspended governor had administration will no doubt caused monumental embar- heave a sigh of great relief and rassment not only to the should now re-direct its enerFederal Government who in gy towards the speedy ecothe first place was his employ- nomic transformation of the er but the entire nation. The country. unguarded utterances were • Nwabueze Akabogu capable of undermining the Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State. economic transformation

The suspension or S“allIR: “removal” or “sack” of the unguarded public utterances knowing” and “all power- often portrayed him as one ful” Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, by the President did not come as a surprise to watchers of socioeconomic cum political development in the country. Mallam Sanusi’s tenure of office since the past five years was characterised by controversies. From the unpopular establishment of the Islamic Bank to the aborted introduction of N5, 000 currency note into the monetary system, the unprofessional involvement of the CBN in business ventures to the allegation of missing money from the accounts of the NNPC. etc, etc, etc. Never in the history of the Central Bank as a financial institution has a governor of the apex bank, usually regarded as the first banker in the country, conducted himself in such a bizarre manner as if he was above the laws of the country. Mallam Sanusi in virtually all his official engagements and public utterances had always behaved like a head of state within a state as often manifested in his personal carriage as well as exhibiting an air of “royal” arrogance. Mallam Sanusi has an overbearing personality and penchant for endless controversies and debates. His personal

A minister’s faux pas IR: One would have expected in Ibadan, the abode and kingSa Federal that a person of the calibre of dom of Olubadan. Is it so diffiMinister would know cult giving honour to whom it is how to observe protocols. How can the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide who accompanied the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on a visit to the South-West deny the President an audience with the revered monarch of the ancient city of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Osundiran Odulana Odugade 1, Olubadan of Ibadanland. It is appalling that Oloye Akinjide who is a daughter of the soil will commit such faux pas of neglecting a whole kingdom while guiding the President on the tour. More worrisome is the fact that the presidential jet touched down

due? This faux pas is no fault of the President but the tour guide who belittled Ibadanland and the overseer of the kingdom. Is it worthy to sell one’s birthright just for a plate of porridge? Madam Minister has clearly slighted the Olubadan stool. Madam Minister, the ironical first class brain, according to her father, should emulate Governor Ajimobi, who ensured that the President visited Olubadan during his working visit to the state in 2011. A word they say is enough for the wise. We’re all students of history and in this clime, it is mandatory to show respect to the royal stool. • Dolapo Oseni, Ibadan, Oyo State


Monday, March 3, 2014

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Opinion Are Zimbabwe’s workers better than Nigeria’s? By Henry Boyo IGERIANS could be forgiven, if their impulsive N reaction to the above comparison is a derisive sneer because of the general perception that the Zimbabwean economy was dysfunctional. Indeed, about five years ago, Zimbabwe was the ultimate butt of universal jokes because of the abiding inflationary spiral that had gone haywire at 231,000,000 per cent as at 2008! Consequently, the Zimbabwean dollar was exchanging at over two billion Zimbabwean dollars to US$1; in other words, the value of the currency was less than the paper on which it was printed! Inevitably, Zimbabweans forsook the national currency and resorted to simple trade by barter; for example, parents paid the school fees of their wards with farm produce, such as eggs, chickens and other such consumables. Zimbabwean supermarkets, which were once fully well stocked soon became characterized by unending rows of empty shelves. Expectedly, also, the rate of unemployment climbed well beyond 50 per cent of the working population! Thus, it may seem inappropriate to compare such a “horrid primitive” economic environment with that of the self-acclaimed “giant of Africa,” where, in spite of a steady decline in the purchasing power of the naira, the strength of the economy still compared more favourably with the apparent economic crisis in Zimbabwe! However, the preceding dismal picture of Zimbabwe was certainly true in 2008; today, the situation is very different! I agree that in making a comprehensive comparison between economies, several indices, such as Gross Domestic Product, Per Capita Income, level of infrastructure, particularly power, inflation rate, cost of funds, exchange rate stability, etc, etc, would all be important factors. However, for the purpose of our current exercise,

we will beam our searchlight on inflation and prevailing minimum wage levels. Incidentally, our monetary authorities were quick to celebrate, when inflation rate recently receded below eight per cent, after remaining in double digits for several years. Interestingly, however, the implication of Nigeria’s current eight per cent inflation rate is that people with static incomes, such as pensioners, would lose over 96 per cent of the purchasing value of their incomes every 12 years! It is this recognition that untamed inflation is a poisonous plague that predicates the prime mandate of all central/reserve banks on price stability. In addition to inducing poverty, our current rate of inflation, also ultimately makes it impossible to enjoy the advantages of the use of primary currency such as kobo coins. Indeed, such primary coins have become irrelevant, cumbersome, and relatively valueless, and have therefore, become rejected for transactions by the public. In those countries where primary coins have remained a vital component of their currency profile, inflation rates have invariably remained low between one and four per cent; the inflation rates in the United States and UK, for example, where primary coins have continued to be used, is usually below two per cent, while it would be regarded as crisis dimension, if inflation approaches five per cent! Incidentally, on December 31, 2013, Ghana’s leading newspaper, the Daily Graphic, published the inflation rates in 15 African countries; surprisingly, as at August 2013, Zimbabwe posted the lowest inflation rate of 1.28 per cent ahead of Cote d’Ivoire in second place with 2.2 per cent! However, the “Trading Economics” website reported in February 2014 that Zimbabwe’s inflation had further reduced to 0.33 per cent! Certainly, Lamido Sanusi, our erstwhile CBN Governor, had often insisted that it would re-

quire the skills of a magician to bring down inflation to such benign level as in present day Zimbabwe, and at the same time bring down cost of funds to single digit, with a stronger naira exchange rate in tow. Maybe there are lessons that we could learn from the experience of Zimbabwe! In a related development, a recent Reuters report stated as follows “Zimbabwe’s government employees have rejected pay increases of 27 per cent as too small…. The Unions want a monthly minimum wage of US$543, equivalent to the poverty line for Zimbabwe’s 235,000 state employees, the bulk of who are teachers…. Meanwhile, the government has proposed that the lowest paid worker would earn $375 a month, a 27 per cent increase from the current $296”. It will be instructive to compare Zimbabwe’s existing minimum wage level to our own N18,000 (about $110) per month. Evidently, the lowest paid government worker in Zimbabwe currently earns about three times the minimum wage in Nigeria! Incidentally, also, the jobless rate in Zimbabwe is a relatively credible 10.7 per cent, as against almost 24 per cent for Nigeria! Furthermore, Zimbabwean businesses obtain loans at below 14 per cent, whereas in Nigeria, cost of funds to the real sector remains well above 20 per cent! Undoubtedly, other parameters such as peace, political stability, and security would be required in addition to the above indices to paint a more accurate picture and make a fair comparative evaluation of economic and social welfare between workers in Zimbabwe and Nigeria. The ultimate question, however, is how Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank turned around the economic fortunes of that country! Indeed, in line with my consistent position in this column, inflation rates will rise in sympathy with increasing and unrestrained printing/creation of fresh

money supply by a country’s monetary authorities; in such event, too much money will chase fewer goods, and smaller stock of foreign reserves, and ultimately, inevitably drive inflation and weaken the exchange rate of the national currency! Our own monetary authorities have regrettably loyally trodden this path of ‘perdition’, when it unceasingly inundates the system with hundreds of billions of naira, which it substitutes for dollar-derived revenue in monthly government allocations. Five years ago, Zimbabwe’s authorities realised the folly and anti-social impact of such monetary strategy and decided to throw their own currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, which exchanged at two billion Zimbabwean dollar to US$1, into the dustbin, and adopt wholesale and retail use of the US dollar, as their official domestic currency; today, there is no burden of surplus cash or the need for government to borrow back its own money with outrageous interest rates. Zimbabwe thereby succeeded in performing the elusive ‘magic’, and their economy is once again on a steady rebound, with inflation rate at 0.33 per cent! Instructively, Nigeria’s adoption of dollar certificates for the payment of allocations of dollar revenue will also do the same magic for our economy, on a healthy inclusive platform with increasing job opportunities! Besides, government will not have to foolishly borrow its own money back, as it currently does, with double digit cost, as belatedly admitted by Sanusi, while fuel subsidy would become unnecessary, as fuel prices will automatically fall with a stronger naira, and inflation and cost of funds will similarly collapse to levels, which will drive real economic growth. • Boyo is an analyst on financial matters.

Nigeria’s socio-political development (1914 to 2014) By Maduabuchi Dukor IGERIA’S tortuous journey to the present federal 36 states strucN ture and liberal democratic system of government is in accordance with nature’s rhythmic change or what the German Philosopher, Karl Popper called incremental change without the revolutionary disintegration. This trajectory of social change, religious and secular, from 1914 to 2014 with all its booby traps, hopes fulfilled and unfulfilled, had left Nigeria where it is today, yet with much in adulation to celebrate than to bemoan. Therefore, Nigeria’s centenary since amalgamation as both an act of near miss or providence calls for total celebration in adoration of the survival of the statehood and an opportunity to tighten the belt, plug the loopholes and politically engineer a more robust one united Nigeria. An Algerian philosopher once said that each generation must out of relative obscurity rediscover its mission, fulfill it or betray it. As far back as 1900, the Northern protectorate and Southern protectorate, formerly Niger protectorate and Lagos protectorate formerly under the Gold Coast Colony were administered under the charter and mandate of British Royal Niger Company. Lagos later became part of the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, and thereafter, in 1914 the Southern Protectorate and Northern Protectorate were amalgamated to form the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Although there have been sanguine voices, following the fettered footsteps of the nationalists after whom the freedom of Nigeria from British rule was inaugurated in 1960, the vision of Nigeria in 2014 and beyond can be rekindled by this historical and political pronouncement of one of our nationalist fathers, Dr. K.O Mbadiwe in one of the constitutional conferences in London in July 1956 when he stated clearly the twin goal of Nigerian nationalism thus: “First, full self-government and independence, secondly to see that all the components parts of Nigeria remain united”. The quest for self-government and the amity of all component parts of Nigeria still remain an incipient directive principle of Nigerian state. Before the British, it was a separate, disparate, disconnected and incongruous parchment on the sub-Saharan and tropical African landscape. The world war time (1945-1948) gave impetus to socio-political development. Nigeria at this period began to evolve as an emerging state from the shadow of traditional states and stateless societies of Northern and Southern Nigeria like the Yoruba land, Hausa land and Ibo land. The emergent Nigerian State beheld globalisation in its incipient and pristine form, otherwise, best described as a socio-political development. The second world war-time was a period of blessings, colonial reforms and incremental changes, if not revolutionary, for the black West Africa. Accompanied with modernisation and westernisation, this period saw both spiritual and political awakening on the parts of the nationalists in form of Pan-African nationalism, Nigerian-nationalism, Cultural-nationalism, Race-consciousness, Accul-

turization, Detribalization and Expatriatism. These socio-political developments also necessitated the germination and growth of political parties, pressure groups, tribal unions and so on as forms of social, political, economic and cultural expressions. The long and tortuous constitutional developments and conferences as well as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s militant nationalism started from the late 1940s. Between 1914 and 1957 the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was not only a leading all Nigerian nationalist organisation in West Africa but also a major political party in Nigeria. The Action Group (AG) founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1951 became the next major political party and later the Northern Peoples Congress founded by Ahmadu Bello among other political parties. Aside from Herbert Macaulay who founded the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), Edward Wilmot Blyden who naturalised in Igbo land and John Payne Jackson, a Liberian naturalised in Lagos laid the background of liberative and literally Nigerian Nationalism in the 19th century. West African Students Union (WASU) and the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) historically and fervently set the stage for the Richard’s constitution in 1945 until it was replaced by the Macpherson constitution of 1951 and later 1954 constitution which under Sir James Robertson’s constitution in 1957 was revised to Inaugurate a new Anglo-Nigerian relation, give formal attainment of self-government to the Eastern and Western regions and create national government of independence of 1960. The Independence Constitution of Nigeria in 1960 was, therefore, an extant evolution from Lord Lugard’s amalgamation agreement of the Northern and Southern Nigeria in 1914. Between 1951 and 1954, there was regional devolution of powers including financial autonomies to the regional governments. The country became bicameral in 1959 with houses of Senate and Representatives and central executive. There were three regional Premiers and Federal ministers while the Queen of England was the Governor-General. The Regional Public Service came into existence in 1954, even as Southern Cameroon was excised from Eastern Region to become a Federal Territory while the Northern Cameroon remained a part of the North. Lagos was also excised from the West to become Federal character. There were rapid Africanization of Senior service and boards. Higher education was expanded with the establishment of the University College of Ibadan. Evolution of political participation was associated with the seven elections between 1947-1957. The 1953 London conference to separate the Southern Cameroon from the Eastern Region stimulated similar demands leading to creation of Calabar, Ogoja and Rivers provinces and others in federation. Above all, the landmarks in the socio-political evolution of Nigeria would not be complete without mentioning of the free education at all levels and the first Television station in Nigeria introduced by the then

Premier of the Western Region and the leader of the Action Group, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The 1960, freedom proclamation was essentially legally driven by the Sir James Robertson Constitutional amendments and which saw the change over of baton from the Queen as the Governor–General to Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as the Nigerian Governor General and Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces and Abubakar Tafawa Belewa as the Prime Minister, while Chief S.L. Akintola and Alhaji Amadu Bello were the premiers of Western and Northern regions respectively. Of all the socio-politically driven developmental schemata, the Nigerian census history has been a torn in the flesh of the body politics since the Western and Northern regions census in 1952 and Eastern Region Census in 1953 and the most controversial Nigerian Census of 1961. By all means and political convictions, the 1963 Federal Republican Constitution was to strengthen Nigeria’s freedom and unity among the federal units by one, replacing the concept of Governor-General with the President and Commandantin-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There was, however, a lull in the Nigeria’s socio-political stability following political violence in the Western regional election in 1965, the inability of the President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to take right and swift political action and the consequent overthrow of Balewa’s government. Nigeria was plunged into the vertex of ethnic suspicion following a coup in January 1966 led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, a Northern Igbo soldier of Midwestern extraction and four other majors, which unfortunately led to the killing of the Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a northern element and others. The failure of the coupists to seize power brought General Aguiyi Ironsi to power in January, 1966 followed by the enthronement of a unitary system of government reminiscent of 1951 and 1954 constitutions as well as the suspension of the 1963 Federal Constitution. The counter-coup in July 1966 caused a civil war against the secessionist Biafra led by Lt. Col. Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in defence and Nigeria, led by General Yakubu Jack Gowon, from 1967 to 1970. General Gowon remained the Head of State and the Commanderin-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces until 1976 when he was overthrown by General Murtala Mohammed on the ground of corruption and the need to hand over to a democratically elected Head of State. However, the governments of the military in the post civil war period would be remembered as a strong force in coercive nation-building and emergence of statism, state creation, nationalism and reinforcement of unitary government. General Olusegun Obasanjo’s military regime from 1976, when General Murtala Mohammed was assassinated, to 1979, when the former handed over power to a democratically elected government of Shehu-Shagari was driven by the latter’s dream of democracy and decolonization of Africa. • Dukor is a professor of philosophy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University and the President/Editor-in-Chief of Essence Library.


14 | Monday, March 3, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Opinion Much more than worm-feed stock By Raphael Okunmuyide T is very necessary to correct certain posIgrand tulations in Wale Olajide’s article: “The delusion called man” in The Guardian (05/02/14). The main problem is its fundamental pessimism about the nature of man and his role in the world that renders human life completely meaningless. This pessimism drifted the author towards nihilism, a philosophy of nothingness which views human life as only an occasion for sensations and experiences because everything is fleeting and provisional. Thus since Nihilism is a denial of the humanity, identity and dignity of the human being, these postulations can mis-lead the whole society to unacceptabe norms of behaviour. The structural error in the article stems from the avoidable decapitation of Metaphysics from Philosophy that induced the author’s failure to consider man holistically. Metaphysics teaches that man is a composite being of Form and Matter; hence he is innately structured on an orderly management of these components of his being. Form (directly derived from “Life” (deliberately substituted for “God”?) is the animator of his matter which gives meaning to his life, operations and his immediate, proximate and ultimate purpose both as a “being” per se (“Man as man”) and in the world. Thus, with his Form, man abhors form-lessness. Also, the world, through which man achieves his purpose, is structured in an orderly manner i.e not form-less, as it is obvious from the interplay of soil, flora and fauna in both plant and animal ecology (e.g between the herbivores and the carnivores), marine ecology and the ecosystem in general to meet his basic needs in any part of the world through technology and economics. The fact that Life created man as the only composite being of Form and Matter with invisible (immortal) and visible (mortal) characteristics makes him the “pontiff” over the rest of creation. The intrinsic contingency of man on Life is both due to his creation by Life and the fact that, through the immortality of his Form, Life is his ultimate destination (Jim Reeves’“This world is not my

own”!). Hence the author’s postulation: “Human life is only a manifested form of life..” is a fundamental under-statement because Life (Pure Substance and un-caused Causality) delegated the task of “secondary creation” for managing the lower-order creatures (organic and inorganic) to man under His active supervision. Having been thus endowed with these “pontifical” faculties, the structures and activities for executing this mandate are compelling necessities for fulfilling his responsibilities rather than being unnecessary or inconsequential. Thus the author’s postulation: “We are created and exist not as necessary items. We might as well not be (exist) and life in its fullness would go on and not miss us” is not correct. Rather, since Life did not create man accidentally or circumstantially, man is a useful and necessary being to fulfill his assigned purpose which no other creature can achieve. Accordingly, the author’s thematic postulation that man is a “grand delusion” is absolutely unacceptable! Furthermore, since Life uniquely endows man with Form through which he possesses Intellect, Will and Spirit/Soul (with the unique attribute of immortality ), Life gives every human being (living and dead) an identity. With this identity, his Form is accountable to Life for its activities while in union with matter (alive) and after its separation from matter (death). Hence, although some people now regard the lyrics of the hymn, “Dies irae, dies illa” (“The day of wrath, that day ..”) as anachronistic, two of its stanzas are illustrative of every human being’s obligation for accountability to Life after death: “How much tremor there will be, when the Judge (Life) will come, investigating everything strictly!... When therefore the Judge will sit, whatever hides will appear: nothing will remain unpunished..” Also, the immortality of man’s Form precludes/ negates the permanence of death as summarised in the “Vita-mutatur- non-tollitur” (“Life-is-(only)-changed-not-destroyedby-death” cliche. Indeed, Man’s work (through his intelligence (reasoning, knowledge etc) and will as his key tools) in designing the structures (physical or otherwise) and their usefulness or impact

generated for the good of the world, is both necessary and indispensable for determining his Form’s quality of life in the state of immortality even if those structures are materially discarded either while alive or after his death. Hence, the author’s postulations: “Human beings are not necessary beings neither are the structures they erect. The former (i.e Human being) is cancelled out permanently by death and the latter discarded as obsolete” are clearly incorrect. Thus the author’s overwhelming over-capitalization on the intrinsic contingency of man, his being and operations are reminiscent of the existentialist tradition of JeanPaul Sartre and others that emerged from the world wars, characterised by man’s inhumanity to man, that bred nihilism from despair as victims suffered without solutions to their horrendously annihilating problems (e.g the “Holocaust”). Also, in our times and milieu, in which lives are being transmogrified rather than being transformed for the better, it is highly tempting for a similarly ideological drift towards absolute/relative nothingness and meaninglessness of life to emerge and flourish from this type of conjectured serial and spiral contingency between Life and man on the one hand and between man and the rest of creation on the other, through man’s postulated post-death hopelessness. This can mislead the whole society into idealizing Hobbes’ “man-is-a-wolfto-every-other-man”’s socio-anarchial and philosophical parody. This is quite risky because it explicitly gives licence to non-accountability for the actions of individuals and institutions, loss of sense of expectations of rewards for good deeds and punishments for acts of wickedness like pandemic corruption that obliterates the human rights and degrades the human dignity of others, reklessly conscienceless and shameless use-and-dump/condemn utilitarianism, terrorism, fatalism, hedonism, political and socio-economic parasitism that is increasingly breeding human parasitoids, etc. But these episodes of man’s inhumanity to man were/are accidental failures of the society rather than by systemic design. Thus the correct philosophical solution to these problems is to be “metaphysical” i.e looking

beyond these phenomenal failures to the ideal paradigm for man as he was/is designed to exist rather than converting these failures to become the philosophical template for degrading the essence of man to that of an inconsequential worm-feed stock (although the ant, not the worm, is the ultimate scavenger of organic matter!) without moral responsibilities/obligations to himself, Life and the rest of creation. Indeed such a caricaturedly helpless and hopeless man, goal-less, free-wheeling agent-without-principal, end-justifies-the-means, dried-leaf-in-the-river floater-and-drifter that vegetates in an anomie milieu, is aberrational in proper philosophical discourses! However, despite these problems in the author’s postulations, the outstanding challenges for Philosophy in our time and milieu still remain the issues on the correct notions of the nature of man, role in the world, meaning and purpose of his life. This was why Pope John Paul II, in the “Faith and Reason” encyclical, proposed the “need for a philosophy of genuinely metaphysical range, capable..of transcending empirical data in order to attain something absolute, ultimate and foundational in its search for truth. Wherever men and women discover a call to the absolute and transcendent, the metaphysical dimension of reality opens up before them: in truth, in beauty, in moral values, in other persons, in being itself... We face a great challenge..to move from phenomenon to foundation... We cannot stop short at experience alone..If I insist so strongly on the metaphysical element, it is because I am convinced that it is the path to be taken in order to move beyond the crisis pervading large sectors of philosophy at the moment, and thus to correct certain mistaken modes of behaviour now widespread in our society.” Therefore, Wale Olajide’s School of Thought should embrace this holistic approach towards achieving Philosophy’s main objective despite man’s increasingly nightmarish living conditions by offering him audacious reason for enduring hope in being rather than a philosophy of hopelessness! • Okunmuyide wrote from Lagos.

Political thugs and elections By Ignatius Adegoke HE great body of critical discourse on the politics of the era T seems to have little good to say about those in government, the politicians and their parties. Thus, when years ago a military ruler sought to change the face of the country’s transition chain by decreeing a five-party structure into existence, the arrangement was rubbished by a wit who called it “the five fingers of a leprous hand.” Who would want to be part of a terminally diseased system? So, it didn’t last. Earlier another military creation – a twoparty affair that held much promise at the beginning – collapsed because of the chicanery of the evil genius behind it. Successor governments – military and civilian – have borne the scars of the woeful failures of those which came before them. The reason they posted lack-lustre performance was not difficult to locate: they did not have lofty ideas, revolutionary concepts of governance that marked them out as serious custodians of the mandate to rule. It is claimed that ideas rule the world. But they did not seem to believe this axiom and so they stormed the scene largely without a plan. In a word, they were unprepared for the high office they occupied. He, who fails to plan, plans to fail! And how abysmally our politicians might be on the way to flopping again as governorship polls hold in two South West states in a few months, while general elections come up nationwide in 2015, if they refuse to learn from the past, if they refuse to bring up new ideas. Because apart from the preparations being put in place by ballot umpire INEC, where else needs a tender attention, whose neglect could make nonsense of INEC’s   “fool-proof”

strategies and spell doom for the poll and the soul of the nation? So, how are we planning in order not to fail? As I said we must not restrict ourselves to what INEC or its state counterparts say they have worked out to ensure a good outing at the poll. We must put on our thinking cap to identify what can upturn the umpire’s “perfect” plans. A governor in one of the South-West states, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo has done just that coming up with the position that in the past, political thuggery involving the unholy alliance between governors and warring road transport union workers, was responsible for the violence that gave elections and campaign rallies a bad name. His claim is that armed with an understanding of this ruinous enterprise, his predecessors engaged in to unleash sorrow on the people of Oyo State, he “told all the warring road transport union workers that his government was not interested in making use of them for election as was done in the past…” He should know! He is governing the cradle of political thuggery, where one of his predecessors jettisoned the official security outfit and opted for a faction of the transport workers’ unions for protection. Members of this unofficial police killed and maimed during campaign rallies and elections as they “escorted” the governor across the state. It was the height of impunity. These hooligans engaged open and perceived political opponents of the sitting governor. Since the governor procured the weapons and cash for them, they could not be accountable to the law. They operated above the law and trashed any outcome of the ballot. They could raid homes and offices of those not on the side of government in power. They instilled fear in the society and

therefore to fear them was the beginning of wisdom. Almost every week in the period that preceded Ajimobi’s advent, you heard of deadly clashes between the union on the side of the government and those on the opposite side. They were fatal encounters that led to casualties not only on the part of the thugs but alas also on the part of innocent passersby and motorists! Such heavy toll on the society all because of one man’s inordinate ambition to stay put in power which he was not even wielding appropriately in the interest of those he claimed put him there! Ajimobi’s prompt and decisive rejection of these hirelings is what is responsible for the sanity and peace in Oyo in the past three years of his rule. Ibadan motor parks, which used to be the hub of crime, violence and training ground of the ex-governor’s dogs of war, have been tamed. There is no governor to recruit and shield them. There is no governor to pump tax-payers’ money into their bottomless war chest. There is no governor to fund their insatiable taste for extravagance and lust for drugs. What you do not feed starves and dies. The present governor has refused to feed political thuggery and so the union workers who were suborned for the devil’s work have been starved to death. They have been shoved off the scene to make way for tranquillity not only during the poll in 2015 but also for all times. If other key political players nation wide follow in the footsteps of Governor Ajimobi on this score, it is certain that we shall by the Grace of God enjoy a violence-free ballot in the country in the years ahead. Then the conversation will change, with critical observers reviewing their stand that there is nothing good to say about our politicians. • Adegoke is a political scientist in Lagos.


Monday, March 3, 2014 15

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

TheMetroSection Briefs Oloruntoba Falode for burial today

Fuel scarcity hits Lagos hard • Lagosians complain of increase in transport fares, lack of fuel to power generating sets By Isaac Taiwo and Wole Oyebade

UNERAL rites for Falode Ftoday, Oloruntoba will hold after a funeral service at Trinity House, Water Corporation Road, off Ligali Ayorinde Street, next to Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos at noon, according to a statement by the family. It will be followed by interment at Vaults&Garden, by Rodio Nigeria, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos at 2.00p.m.

A 20-litre gallon costs between N2, 500 and N3, 500... Transport fares have also increased by over 50 per cent, leaving several Lagosians either stranded or forced to trek fairly long distances HAT started as artificial scarcity and panic W buying of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), often called petrol, last week in Lagos metropolis has escalated into full-blown scarcity. Findings at the weekend revealed that petrol has dried up in over 80 per cent of filling stations, bringing untold hardship on commuters. The real impact of the situation would be felt by the masses on Monday morning (today), transporters have said. Of all the filling stations visited by The Guardian at lunchtime yesterday, only Oando appears to be dispensing the product on the mainland. This was the case on Ikorodu Road, Ikotun-Egbe/Mushin Road and Agege Motor Road, where heavy queues and attendant traffic snarls were noticed. The scarcity contradicted earlier assurance by the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), responsible for product supplies, that Lagos is robustly supplied with the product. It would be recalled that oil marketers had accused Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) of not giving import permit to them, saying such development may lead to fuel scarcity. But where the produce was available yesterday, it was as high as N105 – N120 pump price per litre. In places where the pump price was perceived to be normal, a toll-fee of N200 was demanded before motorists could gain access into the station. Meanwhile, the essential product that has dried up in several stations, has however re-surfaced on the streets as black market. Depending on the buyer’s bargaining power, a four-litre gallon of petrol now goes for between N1000 N1500. A 20-litre gallon ranges between N2, 500 and N3, 500. Hawkers blamed the difficulty of buying the product for the hike. According to Hakeem, who plies his seasonal trade around Palmgrove, Ikorodu Road, he had spent all night purchasing 50 litres of fuel. By noon had only five litres left for one “lucky buyer.” He said: “I suffered to buy this fuel, so I must make my gain from it. I bought it for N4, 850 and I know that I can sell it for over N6, 000. It is good opportunity to offer service and make good money. If your car suddenly stops on the expressway because the fuel has finished and there is no fuel around, then you will know how important we are,” Hakeem said. Another hawker, Chuks, said he had to take to the streets because he needed money to set up his tailoring trade. “It is an opportunity that doesn’t come everyday,” he said. Transport fares have also shot up by over 50 per cent, leaving several Lagosians either stranded or forced to trek fairly long distances. A commercial bus driver, Banji Aderopo, has increased his Mushin-Idumota fare from N100 to N150. Patronage has dropped sharply, Aderopo said, but there is a very slim alternative. Aderopo said: “Since early morning I have queued to get this fuel and at N105 per litre. I have no option than to increase the price to N150. Yes, passengers are alighting from my bus on hearing the new price, but it doesn’t matter. If I have no passenger, I will park the vehicle, instead of running it at a loss.’ “If they (commuters) are not entering today (Sunday), they will rush tomorrow morning (Monday), even at a higher price of N200. We all must understand that it is an unusual time,” he said.

Falode

Okpani for burial ADY Kate Eze Oko Okpani L (nee Okocha) of Evuma Village in Afikpo, Ebonyi State, is

Long queue at a filling station in Mushin

dead. Aged 66. According to a statement by Dr. Jude Okocha Okpani on behalf of the family, there will be a vigil on Wednesday, March 5, at Mr. Chris Oko Okpani’s Compound, Evuma Village, Afikpo, Ebonyi State at 6.00pm.; followed by Requiem Mass on Thursday, March 6 at Mater Misericordiae Catholic Church, Newsite, Afikpo, Ebonyi State at 10.00am. Interment follws immediately after. Outing service holds on Sunday, March 9 at thesame church at 9.00am. She is survived by Dr. (Mrs.) Nnenna Kate Ituma, Mrs. Chimezie Chikere, Dr. (Mrs.) Cornelia Orieoma Usonka, Mrs. Queen Ezechinyere Chibueze, Dr. Jude Okocha Okpani and others.

Another long queue at a filling station in Mushin Okpani

Dominic Eke, 68, for burial Saturday HE death has occurred of T Mr. Dominic Azuka Eke at the age of 68 A service of songs was held last Thursday in Lagos in his honour. He will be buried on Saturday, March 8, at his compound in Umuhu Okwuato, Ahoh Mbaise, Imo State after a funeral service at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church Parish, Umuhu, Okwuato. He is survived by his wife, Precious Dominic Azuka Eke, children and grandchildren.

Yet another

PHOTOS: ISAAC TAIWO AND WOLE OYEBADE

Eke


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

16 Monday, March 3, 2014

Volunteer Rotarians undergo training in disaster relief By Isaac Taiwo OTARY International, District 9110 Nigeria, comprising Lagos and Ogun States, in pursuance of its course towards service to humanity, recently engaged volunteer members of the club in the second edition of the training of disaster relief corps on disaster management with the theme: “Engage Rotary, Change Life through an effective disaster relief or disaster management” at Rotary District Office, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. The District Governor, Olugbemiga Olowu, who was represented by the past President, Rotary Club of Gbagada, Bayo Windapo said Rotary was about service and all over the world Rotary has been involved in a lot of disaster relief activities. “In Rotary, we put smiles on peoples’ faces and we believe that there is no other people that needs our assistance more than those involved in disaster.” “When there was tsunami, Rotary International all over the world contributed. We

R

do not just contribute money but we also render our professional services. We have doctors who are experts in disaster management,” he said. Windapo who doubled as one of the resource persons said joining Rotary itself was an act of volunteerism and that as a volunteer, he was ready to participate in any-

thing that is called service. “I am going to talk from the medical point of view and to give enlightenment on preparation and first aid in relation to hazard management generally. There is need for a well-equipped ambulance where drip can be set up and wounds dressed.” He added: “When we talk of natural disaster, we cannot

talk about prevention unlike disasters that are preventable. Take for instance, before a building is erected, there are certain regulations to observe which may be overlooked due to corruption. We can also avoid flood by clearing our drains and always resist the temptation of throwing sachets inside drains.”

Police killing in Abia: Wife bids farewell to slain husband From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia R. John Ndubuka, who was killed by a bullet allegedly fired by a Policeman attached to Governor Theodore Orji on February 15, 2014, after the civic reception held for the governor by Ikwuano/Umuahia people at the old Umuahia Main Market, was on Thursday buried in his private compound at Aguiyi Ironsi Layout, Umuahia amid tears and wailings by family members, relations and friends. The burial took place after a funeral service presided over by the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Dr. Licius Ugorji at St. Finbarr’s Catholic Church and attended by family members, in-laws, the state governor, his wife, Mercy, top government officials among others. Bidding him final farewell, his wife, Chibuzor, who has a child and is also expecting a baby, said: “ “John should go in peace where comfort awaits him, where love knows no bounds. My grief is deep and raw, my pain great but I know that you are still with me and watching.” In his condolence message, Governor Orji described John’s death at the age of 36 as tragic saying, “ John’s death at this time is difficult to accept without questions and perhaps that explains why it occurred in a public gallery, with a mammoth crowd to cheer him through to eternity.” According to the governor, the late John who was a civil servant in the state service, was a very loyal and dedicated ally, who easily endeared himself to many people that interacted with him in his short but eventful life adding that “ his death

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can only be a destined event which comes to all mortals in any form and in any place, Chairman, Disaster Relief Committee, Adedayo Aderemi Ajose, Representative of the District Governor and one of and as the the resource persons, Dr. Bayo Windapo giving a plaque to the assistant Zonal Co-ordinator, NEMA, South West Almighty God Zone, Adebiyi Babatunde, Kate Wilkie and others during the disaster relief volunteers corps training at Rotary alone in His infinite PHOTO: ISAAC TAIWO Secretariat, GRA, Ikeja. wisdom decides”. In the family tribute read by Henry Ndubuka, “the late John was reliable, The ambassador said the visit confidence building, coopera- piracy in the maritime dotrustworthy and altion, naval diplomacy and of the 30 Italian Naval Group, main. ways willing to promotion of Italian entrewhich coincides with NigeOn the visit, he said: “The help even before preneurial excellence. ria’s centenary celebration, training visit is one of the reyou asked but was Treu added: “One of our obwas to afford the ship and its newed efforts by the NN to never afraid to take jectives is to promote joint excompany the opportunity to partner international navies of on tasks and chalercises and training in order celebrate the history of Nigethe world for comparative lenges and often to develop the capabilities of ria’s freedom, its people, training and equipping for bet- give in to avoid a some of the navies of the visachievements and aspirater service delivery. disagreement with ited countries to boost their tions. “The training includes ada reply of no He said: “This ship is a display effectiveness in surveillance vance module maritime doworry”. Ndubuka activities and maritime secuof Italian capability and I bemain awareness, force rity in their operational envilieve we can work with the protection and environmental Brief ronment, with Patie results in Nigerian government and pollution protection. Others global security.” harness the enormous potenare, oilrig protection, vessel “Also, we would carry out hutials inherent in both counboarding as well as search and Lagos mediation centre opens new units in Ojo, manitarian assistance tries.” rescue operations.” Alimosho local councils through the operation smile The Naval Group ComIn his speech, Lagos State Gov- By Tunde Alao non-profit organization, the mander, Rear Admiral Paolo ernor, Babatunde Fashola, said N a bid to further extend its free mediation service to the RAVA non-profit foundation Treu, while addressing newsLagos remains the location of citizenry in Lagos State, the Citizens’ Mediation Centre and the Italian Red Cross and men said the presence of the first choice for local and for(CMC), with the assistance of the office of the Attorney Red Crescent.” ship was a respectful tribute eign direct investors in Nigeria General and Commissioner for Justice, has opened two adResponding, the Flag Officer to Nigeria and a special sign and the ECOWAS sub-region ditional offices in Ojo and Alimosho Local Councils reCommanding, Western Naval of friendship from Italy. because it accounts for almost spectively. Command, Rear Admiral Sam He said the mission of his 75 per cent of industries and reThe head of the Centre, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya exAlade, said the NN has country tagged, “Italy-A counmains the hub of socio-ecoplained that the inauguration of the new offices will afford the indigent in Lagos the opportunity of accessing stepped up its training protry on the move,” has seen nomic and cultural activities. them visit 19 countries and 20 gramme and has developed Fashola who was represented justice and having their matters resolved in no time and at no cost to the beneficiaries. strategies to reposition the seaports across the globe inby the Special Adviser, ComAccording to a statement signed by Mrs. Folashade Adeservice to tackle emerging cluding Saudi Arabia, Qatar, merce and Industry, Mr. Seyi bayo, prior to the opening of the new units, the existing challenges. Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, South Oladejo, said the visit would He said this was in line with Africa, Congo, Angola, Kenya, enable both countries cement nearby offices at Ikotun and Iba have often been inundated by a high number of parties who throng the office, the vision and mission of the Dubai and Mozambique, their bilateral relations and adding that the new offices were also conceived to ease Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admi- open opportunities for other among others. the workload of the previous units and to further bring ral Usman Jibrin, adding that He said the task of the cameconomic investments that justice closer to residents. paign was to offer humanitar- the service is ready to wage an would enhance job creation The centre’s head noted that nearness to parties will unrelenting war against oil ian assistance, maritime and wealth generation. pose no challenge or financial burden to residents in Ojo theft, illegal bunkering and security operations, training, and Alimosho Local Councils saying that: “Justice has been brought nearer to the people”. She added that plans are still underway to have mediation units in all 57 Local Councils and Local Council Development Areas of the State stressing that with this in place, the whole of the State will have been covered and alternative to dispute resolution is brought closer to the indigents. the name-droppers before She added: “On the Asaba, the Police Public Chairman of Ojo Local Council, Mr. Mursiq Durosimi, they ran out of luck. 26/02/2014 at about Relations Officer (PPRO), commended the Lagos State Government, the Ministry of He said: “Amaechi Ndah 1500hrs, one Mrs. Monu Ms. Celestina Kalu said Justice and the Citizens’ Mediation Centre for the initiahas been arrested. Also arOlubunmi of No. 5, Afam that Mrs. Nwokoye had tive, noting that: “It is only in a peaceful co-existence that rested is one Anene Street, Asaba reported told the victims that she the desired socio-economic development can thrive”. Nwokoye ‘m’ aged 71 years that sometime in Septemwas the coordinator of a It will be recalled that the Citizens’ Mediation Centre ber 2013, one Amaechi non-governmental organ- of security department, was established in 1999 as a unit under the Directorate of UNIZIK, Awka, the husNdah introduced her to ization (NGO), Women ReCitizens’ Right of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice before band of the principal susone Mrs. Adaeze Nwokoye lief and Restoration it later became an entity by law in 2007 to provide free Initiative (WRRI) in charge pect who had approached of Awka, Anambra State as legal services to the needy and residents of the State. the complainant on an NGO coordinator.” Services rendered by the Centre include matters relating of Delta and Anambra 26/02/2014 to pick up adItems recovered from to landlord/tenant issues, employer/employee disputes, states and that the NGO ditional N250, 000 on beNwokoye included 74 family matters (including marital disputes, child custody was established by the etc). Others are property inheritance and land matters, half of his wife.” copies of Women Relief wife of the President, monetary claims, local disputes and commercial laws. According to her, investiand Restoration Initiative Dame Patience Jonathan In 2013, the CMC registered a total of 28, 556 complaints gation revealed that the membership forms. to empower women. across its sub-offices. Out of this number 17, 368 comimpostors extended their The spokesman reiterKalu charged that over plaints were mediated upon with a total of 17, 368 Mediaated the determination of 327 women from Oshimili operation to other parts tion sessions held. The CMC resolved amicably a total of 12, South Local Council of the of the state duping unsus- the police to arrest the 399 Complaints as evidenced by the Memorandum of Unpecting women of their principal suspect and the state were defrauded to derstanding executed by the parties. This translates into hard earned money. other fleeing name-dropthe tune of N1.6 million by 80 per cent success. per.

Nigerian Navy partner Italy to fight piracy, crude oil theft By Bola Olajuwon and Odita Sunday O nip in the bud the rising tide of maritime illegalities like sea robbery and crude oil theft, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has partnered its Italian counterpart in training to ensure maritime security. The Italian Navy has arrived Nigeria with its flagship warship under the 30 Italian Naval Group, comprising Cavour Aircraft Carrier, Etna Supply Ship, Bergamini Frigate and Borsini patrol ship, with a crew of 1,200 officers and Ratings including 100 female personnel. Aside training, the visit, which was timed to fit into the centenary celebration, was also an avenue to boost investments and trade relations between both countries, as well as strengthen its diplomatic and bilateral ties. While speaking to newsmen on board the ship, which is still berthing at the APM Terminal of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Lagos, Apapa, the Italian Ambassador, Fulvio Rustico, said there is a lot of room for exchange of information between both countries.

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Delta police nab two suspected fraudsters running fake NGO, leader on the run From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba

OR allegedly defraudFwomen ing 327 unsuspecting of N1.6 million,

the police in Delta State have arrested two suspected fraudsters while the principal suspect, Mrs. Adaeze Nwokoye has been declared wanted. The suspects, Mr. Anene Nwokoye and Amaechi Ndah were apprehended for defrauding one Mrs. Monu Olubunmi of 5, Afadia Umoji, Asaba and the other victims. Parading the suspects weekend at the Delta State Police headquarters in

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Financial stocks buoy nSe’s turnover By Helen Oji turnover of 1.809 billion A shares worth n26.698 billion was exchanged in 25,342  by investors on the floor of the nigerian Stock exchange (nSe) last week, in contrast to a total of 6.973 billion shares valued at n24.439 billion that changed hands in 27,633 deals during the preceding week. Specifically, last week, the financial services industry (measured by volume) led the activity chart with 1.461 billion shares valued at n12.754 billion, traded in 15,493 deals, thus contributing 80.78 per cent and 47.77 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. the conglomerates industry followed with a turnover of 109.218 million shares worth n648.477 million in 1,274 deals. the third place was occupied by the consumer goods industry with 97.334 million shares worth n11.308 billion in 3,809 deals.

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Chief Executive Officer, Proximity Communications, Rotimi Olaniyan (left); Group Chief Marketing Officer, Dangote Group, Oare Ojeikere; Head of Marketing, West Africa, Consumer Banking, Standard Chartered Bank, Chima Nwuke; and Africa Marketing Director, Consumer Health Care, Glaxosmith, Rueben Onwubiko, during the Proximity marketing colloquium titled “The Next Big Things,” in Lagos, at the weekend

Govt to remodel Independence Building as trade centre By Femi Adekoya LAnS by the Federal P Government to reclaim its abandoned structures in Lagos State and make them profitable ventures may have received a boost, as it has commenced processes that would see one of its key infrastructure becoming a national trade centre. Indeed, key edifices like the 25-storey Independence building at the tafawa Balewa Square, is expected to be remodeled to a national trade centre following the approval of the Federal Government establishing a national trade and International Business Centre (ntIBC) in Lagos. With the approval, the tafawa Balewa Square Management Board (tBSMB), an agent of the Federal Ministry of Industry, trade and Investment, would drive the project through a PublicPrivate Partnership according to the guidelines of the Infrastructure Concession regulatory Commission (ICrC). Managing Director/Chief executive officer of the tafawa Balewa Square Management Board, Mrs Aisha Bakari noted that the board has commenced plans to ensure that the primary objective of setting up the centre is achieved in due course.

According to her, the trade centre is expected to serve as an engine room for commerce, promoting domestic and international trade as well as propelling the country towards the realization of her vision 20:2020. Although plans have commenced with the renovation of some structures, she added that the proposed facilities and capacity utilization would be enhanced when the facility is concessioned. Delivering a keynote address on the “national trade and Business International Centre as a catalyst for promoting domestic and international trade relations” at a

sensitisation seminar organised by the tafawa Balewa Square Management Board in Lagos, last week, the DirectorGeneral, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, explained that the move to revive trade centres in the country would aid growth of domestic trade, increase participation of small businesses in the economy and position the country for foreign direct investments. According to him, nigeria has not been able to effectively harness its trade potential due to inadequate infrastructure necessary for trade promotion and exhibition.

He said: “our economy is on the threshold of being the largest on the African continent with an estimated GDP of $400 billion, post GDP rebasing. At present we are one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the potential for further growth are tremendous. “nigeria therefore deserves to have a befitting national trade and International Business Centre, which I believe this initiative is all about. those of us in the business of trade promotion, trade fairs and exhibition have suffered enormously from the absence of quality exhibition and trade promo-

tion infrastructures. the basic consequence is that the cost of organizing quality trade shows has become very exorbitant. “Most often, the organizers have to provide the necessary infrastructure and the combination of these consequences has constrained our capacity to deliver the desired value to our clients at our exhibitions and other trade shows. the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry is therefore excited by the proposition of the national trade and Investment Centre and would do everything possible to support it. “We believe that the econo-

Exchange Rates as at Friday, February 28

my and the citizens will benefit tremendously from a standard exhibition and convention Centre. Given the size of our economy and our stature on the African continent, we should be having regular trade shows in this country. In the united Sates for instance, there are 10,000 trade shows annually. Whereas here in nigeria, it doubtful whether we have up to 100 trade shows and exhibitions, with the major ones probably less than twenty. our trade promotion efforts should be scaled up to match the potential that this country offers”.


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Govt offers investors incentives to deepen broadband By Adeyemi Adepetun IGERIA’S broadband drive N has received a boost with the Federal Government’s dec-

laration to offer investors financial incentives that will aid its penetration in the country This declaration was made at the weekend, at the end of the yearly Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, by the

Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian the Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah.  Juwah, in his paper titled, “A Vision for Digital Africa”, tabled the government’s readiness to give financial incentives to new investors in the broadband sector, adding that this is propelled by regu-

Financial stocks buoy NSE’s turnover CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 Trading in the top three equiZenith namelyties International Bank Plc, African Prudential Registrars (APR) Plc and Access Bank Plc (measured by volume) accounted for 487.007 million shares worth N5.399 billion in 3,777 deals, contributing 26.92 percent and 20.22per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. Also traded during the week were 701 units of NewGold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) valued at N1.493 mil-

lion executed in five deals compared with a total of 641 units of NewGold valued at N1.343 million transacted last week in six deals. Similarly, 800 units of FGN bonds valued at N887, 218.99 were traded last week in eight deals,  compared to  a total of 100 units of FGN bonds valued at N113, 286.73 million exchanged in one deal during the preceding  week. The NSE’s All-Share Index and market capitalization appreciated by 3.3 per cent to close on Friday at 39,558.89 and N12.707 trillion.

latory transparency, which gives maximum protection and encouragement to investors as very good reasons to consider the country for investment. While addressing top executives from Etisalat, Airtel, and Ericcson among others, Juwah encouraged them to make more investments in Nigeria and play more visible role in the government’s drive for Broadband deployment. He explained that the Nigerian givernment’s was pursuing a multi-track approach to make the environment more friendly to operators and other service providers. Juwah, who stressed the need to creating a sustainable ICT sector in Nigeria through mobile broadband, gave sundry statistics to demonstrate that although Nigeria tremendous made has progress in the voice sector, the broadband sector which

has recently received the attention of government is a virgin area waiting to be tapped into by resourceful entrepreneurs. His paper provided the foundation for a panel discussion which included Michael Ikpoki, Chief Executive, MTN, NIgeria; Mortimer Hope, Executive Head of Regulatory Affairs, Vodacom; Prof. Raul Katz, Director of Business Strategy Research, University of Columbia; John Nasasira, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Uganda, and Rebecca Joshua of Minister Okwaci, and Telecommunication Postal Services, South Sudan. With connected mobile numbers standing at over 120 million and nine terabyte capacity of international bandwith, the country’s 6.1 per cent of broadband connectivity presents such a huge demand that will immediately make Nigeria a very viable

and lucrative market. Juwah admitted that a lot of investment needs to be put into the industry, like rolling out metropolitan fibre and last mile connection, and this explains why the country recently carried out an auction of  2.3GHz for a wholesale Broadband Service provider. Other areas of opportunity, according to Juwah, are the InfraCos - infrastructure companies that will be licensed very soon to provide metropolitan fibre and wholesale transmission services on a non-discriminatory and open access basis. Besides, the 700MHz, 2.5MHz and 2.6MHz will be up for sale before the end of the year and this will provide significant opportunity for new players to get into the field.Juwah promised that “our Broadband vision will be driven mainly by the private sector. Government will only

encourage InfraCos by providing financial incentives but government will not have any shares in any of these companies.”We are going to continue to have a huge broadband network with wireless tails connecting to the homes.” There is a huge market there in Nigeria and the profitability is not in doubt if we are to look at what happened in the mobile sector where operators are still trying to meet the demand, Juwah pointed out. On efforts by government to foster a dynamic and efficient ICT industry, Juwah listed the following measures: Clear regulatory frameworks governing the telecommunications industry; a fair, firm and forthright regulator overseeing the industry; and an enabling environment and incentives to operators to roll out networks across the country.

Managing Director, GTI Securities, Tunde Oyekunle (left); President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Ariyo Olushekun; Group Managing Director, GTI Capital, Abubakar Lawal; and First Vice-President, CIS, Emmanuel Ohanwusi, during the visit of the council of CIS to Nigeria’s first private trading floor built by GTI Securities, in Lagos. 


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MONEY & BANKING

Renaissance Capital upgrades Nigeria’s growth forecast Stories by Chijioke Nelson IGERIA’S economy may N be in line for improved Gross Domestic Product (GDP), going by indications from the Renaissance Capital, which now projected a 6.9-per cent record for the country in 2014. According to Renaissance Capital, there is a strong expectation of real GDP growth in 2014 on the back of an increased government spending, due to electionrelated expenses that will help spur an increase in economic activity. It also noted a positive development in the international oil price, on the back of a stronger global economy, which will turn positive

Diamond Bank bags Africa’s best issuing partner award HE International Finance T Corporation has awarded the Best Issuing Partner Bank in the sub-Sahara African category Diamond Bank Plc. The award, which was presented to the bank’s officials at the inaugural Global Trade Partners awards dinner, held at the conclusion of the IFC’s sixth Global Trade Partners Meeting, in Lisbon, Portugal, attracted over 350 delegates from 56 countries. Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister, Paulo Portas, delivered the opening keynote address, kicking off two days of insightful discussions on building cross-border banking networks, developing innovative solutions for agribusiness and commodity finance, and enhancing global value chains by financing small and medium enterprises. “Our annual conference provides an unparalleled opportunity for our partners to learn from global experts and develop business leads in all regions. “We are pleased to acknowledge those banks that innovated or worked extensively with IFC last year to support the growth of emerging market trade and help more countries and firms integrate into global supply chains,” the Global Head of Trade and Supply Chain Solutions at IFC, Georgina Baker, said. IFC’s Global Trade and Supply Chain Solutions team was formed in 2010, to integrate working capital financing and trade facilitation initiatives with the institution’s award-winning Global Trade Finance Programme and Global Trade Liquidity Programme. The team has innovations that address gaps in the financing needs of underserved clients in emerging markets through trade finance, supply chain finance, structured finance, commodity finance and advisory services.

• Banking sector records mixed fortunes for Nigeria’s consumer, with a lower inflation. “The absence of any security or monitoring reforms suggests that oil theft is likely to continue to undermine production and keep it from reaching the 2014 target of 2.38mb/d,” it said. The company said the upside risk to the growth projection, though small, marks a significant improvement in oil production on optimism of a slowdown in oil theft. But the company in its analysis of the nation’s banking sector’s market basics and developments, noted that reforms, which

whittled down the number of operational banks, earlier affected growth of branch networks. However, it also pointed out that after series of mergers and acquisitions, branch expansion agenda resurged, with increased growth in number of Automated Teller Machines and efforts to improve banking pene-

tration domestically. The sector’s asset split still reflects dominance by the six biggest banks, which controls 60 per cent of the assets in the industry, with a marginal drop on top four banks’ share of assets that declined to 45 per cent in 2012. The top four banks were First Bank, 15 per cent;

The top four banks were First Bank, 15 per cent; Zenith Bank, 12 per cent; United Bank for Africa, 10 per cent; and Guaranty Trust Bank, eight per cent, while others share the remaining 55 per cent.

Zenith Bank, 12 per cent; United Bank for Africa, 10 per cent; and Guaranty Trust Bank, eight per cent, while others share the remaining 55 per cent. Also, the industry profitability skewed in favour of the biggest four banks, aggregately accounting for 67 per cent of sector’s profit before tax in 2012. The banks’ 2012 earnings were basically boosted by the asset quality clean up, driven by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria. According to the report, generally balance sheet growth in Nigeria dropped markedly from its pre-crisis heights, with credit growth only recovering to nine per

cent in 2012. The banks were well capitalised, with sector’s Capital Adequacy Ratio at 18 per cent, against regulatory minimum of 10 per cent, and 15 per cent for banks with international banking operations. It would be recalled that that government spending tends to surpass that budgeted amount in an election year, like in 2010, with 27 per cent higher than the budget projection. However, the optimism is hinged on the fact that the scope for a sizeable overrun in 2014 is lower, because the buffers are smaller- $2.5 billion by January, against $8 billion in the Excess Crude Account in 2010.


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EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY

MARKET REPORT AS AT 28=02=2014

PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com


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Mainstreet Bank reiterates support for farmers By Chijioke Nelson AINSTREET Bank has reiterated its support to famers and agricultural entrepreneurs seeking opportunities in agricultural business, as part of its contribution to boosting financial the Federal Government Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme. The head, Agricultural Desk of Mainstreet Bank, Kabir Usman, while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the on-going 35th Kaduna International Trade Fair, also commended the organisers of the fair for focusing on agriculture. The fair with the theme: “ A g r i c u l t u r a l Transformation for Industrial Development:

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Public Private Partnership (PPP) Approach” harps on the sector’s development through PPP, skills and resources of both sectors, shared to assist agro allied industries develop to their full potentials. “This clearly reveals the important role the private sector is expected to play in ensuring the development/industrialization of the agricultural sector in Nigeria,” Usman said. he noted that Mainstreet Bank  has over the years been a proud partner of the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA)- organisers of the International Trade Fair. he explained that the bank considers this year’s fair

unique given its focus on promoting agricultural enterprise and by extension job creation and food security. “Mainstreet Bank through its commitment to the

Federal Government Agricultural Transformation Agenda and the GES initiative has successfully mobilised fertilizer agro-dealers, farmers, suppliers and seed companies to create an effective

distribution mechanism that eliminates middlemen and the attendant corruption which existed in the input distribution chain,” he added. he expressed optimism that

at the end of the year, the bank would have impacted directly on over one million farmers across the country, especially in the northern part of the country where the bank’s presence is dominant.

Euro hits 10-month record high, dollar, yuan fall hE euro had its biggest T monthly gain since April as higher-than-projected inflation spurred speculation the European Central Bank will refrain from additional monetary stimulus at a meeting this week. The dollar had its worst month since September even after Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, reiterated in Senate testimony that the central bank is likely to

maintain its strategy of gradually trimming bond purchases. China’s yuan decreased against all, except two of its emerging-market peers in February as the People’s Bank of China considers doubling the size of the currency’s trading band versus the dollar. The ECB meets March 6 in Frankfurt. “The inflation numbers were better than expected,

and some of the expectations for a rate cut next week have been tempered. “Going into this week, there was building anticipation for an ECB rate cut,” Brian Daingerfield, a Stamford, Connecticut-based currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, said yesterday in a phone interview. The 18-nation euro appreciated 2.3 per cent last month to $1.3802 in New York, after

touching $1.3825, its strongest level since December 27. Europe’s shared currency gained 2.1 per cent to 140.49 yen. The dollar fell 0.2 per cent to 101.80. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Global FX Volatility Index fell to 7.64 per cent on February 25, the lowest close since October 28 and down from a 2014 high of 8.98 per cent on February 3.


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Govt urged to float road bond, reduce construction costs

Stakeholders urge action on enforcement of building control Page 45 laws

Fear grips Lagos community over plan to demolish 620 houses Page 37

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MONDAY, MARCH 3, 2014

African ministers chart new course on financing human settlements 

UNHabitat Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary General of the UN-Habitat, Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyiri (left), Nigerian Ambassador to Kenya and Permanent Representative to UNHabitat and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Akin Oyateru and Supervising Minister, Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mohammed Musa Sada during the visit of Kacyira to Nigeria, recently

Habitat III 2016 Stories by Chinedum Uwagebulam MID the need to define A urgently an Africa Urban Agenda that will feed into the ongoing consultation process of articulating a long-term vision, African Ministerial Conference on Housing and

African housing ministers met last week in Chad , when Africa is gearing to effectively participate and influence international agenda during the discourse towards the preparatory process for Habitat III, the post 2015 Development Agenda, World Urban Forum 7 and the Urban Agenda in the context of the Africa Union discussions on Africa Agenda 2063. Urban Development (AMCHUD) met in Chad capital last week, towards charting a fresh course for human set-

tlements for the continent. The delegates in the AMCHUD fifth session had their plates full for four days and some of

the topics dwelled on Regional Strategy for Africa and the road map towards UN Guidelines on Safer Cities,

Africa Urban Agenda and its linkage with AU Agenda 2063,Outcome of the take-off Conference on Strengthening Partnership for a New Africa Urban Agenda, Progress on preparations for WUF 7, Post2015 Development Agenda and Prepcom 1 for Habitat III. Although human settlements financing has faced varied challenges in the past, new

modalities for financing urban development have started to emerge in Africa, including infrastructure bonds, variants of land valuecapture, mortgage re-financing facilities, and micro-lending for housing. In addition, more countries have put in place instruments for access-

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Nigeria’s new urban agenda underway Urban Development OLLOWING the kick-starting Fprocess of a national preparatory for the Habitat III conference, the stage has been set by the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to formulate a New Urban Agenda, which considers the implementation of the Habitat II Agenda and other relevant internationally agreed goals and targets, as well as new challenges, emerging trends and a prospective

One of the unique attributes of the anticipated new urban agenda would be its propensity to integrate all facets of sustainable development in order to set the stage for the promotion of global prosperity, equity and welfare. vision for sustainable human s e t t l e m e n t s . The new urban agenda will be fashioned by a broad - based multi-stakeholder national habitat committee that was

inaugurated last month in Abuja. The committee is expected to provide inputs and support to the national preparatory process of the Third United Nations

Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). In Nigeria, with upwards of 48 per cent of the total population now living in settlements designated as urban, the realities of the growing phenomenon are already clear to all. Not surprisingly, this rapid urban transformation has been a central factor in the nation’s economic growth, which has been seen its cities playing a central role in contributing significantly to economic

growth, accounting for 75 per cent of total volume of national trade, hosting more than 80 per cent of industrial/ manufacturing concerns and offering over 90 per cent of formal e m p l o y m e n t . Unfortunately, the urban contribution to national development in Nigeria has also come at a price, bringing along with it critical challenges including the large proportion of urban residents, put at about 69 per cent, who live in slum conditions, the huge housing deficit

estimated at between 16-18 million units; insecure land tenure, poor infrastructure, lack of basic amenities, high cost of funds, subs standard building materials, incompetent construction workforce and the absence of adequate legislative framework to guide the housing industry. Specifically,  the committee  will convene a national urban forum and engage with all relevant stakeholders and

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Call for applications for Urban Youth Fund Urban Development HE UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund will for the sixth year in a row provide grants to projects led by young people aged 15-32 years who are piloting innovative approaches to employment, good urban governance, shelter, secure tenure and risk rehabilitation. Small development initiatives are eligible for grants up to $25,000. The Fund aims to assist youthled organizations in designing and implementing projects that will contribute to sustainable urbanization in the developing world. Furthermore, the Fund seeks to gain insight from successful grassroots youth projects and create greater awareness of the need for youth mainstreaming in development policies and strategies. This year’s call for proposals will pilot an interesting new component of the Urban Youth Fund focusing on empowerment and gender equality. Increased gender equality and the empowerment of adolescent girls and young women are essential for building equitable, sustainable and prosperous cities in line with the new urban agenda. This requires the involvement of young women and men in promoting gender equality to build the urban future we want. UN-Habitat invites young people based in cities or towns

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from the developing world to apply for grants from the fund. The application will open from February 15 to April 15 2014. More information and details are available at  www.unhabitat.org/youthf u n d . Globally, 85 per cent of the world’s young people live in developing countries, where they often comprise a large portion of their communities. An increasing number of young people around the world are growing up in cities – especially in the fast-growing cities of sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. In many cities across the African continent, more than 70 per cent of inhabitants are under the age of 30. Yet these young people have few resources available to improve their own living environment. This is a major oversight as there are many youth-led initiatives in slums and squatter settlements in urgent need of financial support to develop their c o m m u n i t i e s . UN-Habitat embraces the belief that youth are a solution for sustainable urban development; the 21st session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council recognized this and proposed the fund with the objective to advance the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the Habitat Agenda. The fund has so far awarded grants to 238 projects led by young people from all over the world. 

PROPERTY GUIDE

Yobe awards N6b road contract Roads From Njadvara Musa, Damaturu S part of its administraA tion’s promises to the people, Yobe authorities have resurrected the abandoned Damaturu-Buni/Gari-Magza   and awarded the conroad tract worth N6billion to Messrs Rick Rock Construction Company

(RCCC). Previous governments for over three decades had left the road despite its strategic economic viability, and the renewed interest will bring joy to 25 farming and herds’ communities in the state. Governor Ibrahim Gaidam who spoke last week in Damaturu at the flag-off of reconstruction project, said that the 77-kilometre federal road was abandoned, after it

was built in the early 1970’s. His words: “This Federal Government road has been left in deplorable condition for quite some time without getting due attention. And taking into consideration the plight of our people and the need for opening up this area, which noted for its economic viability; we resolved to award the contract for reconstruction at the total cost of N5.99 billion.

New brand enters building materials’ market Building Materials HE world leading German T manufacturers in sanitary fittings, Grohe is entrenching its foothold within the African market through continued expansion and dedicated commitment to end-users across the continent. The Grohe brands was unveiled recently to local media and clients including architects, home designers, fashionistas and interior decorators at the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, At the public presentation, President, GROHE, East Mediterranean, Middle East & Africa, Mr. Simon G. Shaya and Chief Sales Officer EMEA & Americas, Grohe AG, Mr. Michael Rauterkus, said: “As a global brand for sanitary products and systems, we therefore cannot afford to overlook the economic potential in Nigeria. We have been operating in Africa through the Regional

GROHE offices for the East Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa since 1986 in Nicosia, Cyprus. On this occasion we feel obliged to formerly present our brand to the Nigerian media. Grohe is in 130 countries worldwide. All its products are designed and engineered to contribute to a perfect water experience. The GROHE product range comprises everything from aesthetically appealing designer faucets for bathrooms and kitchens to ingeniously safe thermostats to showers and shower systems that pamper the user, from smart installation and flushing systems to attractive accessories. Positioned as a specialist brand for the trade market, GROHE professional supports fitters and installers with products, services and practical training on a day-to-day basis. GROHE products are manufactured at the company’s

three German factories incorporating GROHE Centers of Excellence in Hemer, Porta Westfalica and Lahr, as well as at its three international sites in Portugal, Thailand and Canada. The GROHE “Made in Germany” seal highlights the company’s special competencies in development, design, manufacturing and quality assurance at its German factories. These factories set the stringent standards complied with by all GROHE factories worldwide while providing stimulation and driving growth at the same time. External certification, e.g. by the TÜV or the DVGW (German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water), plus internal durability tests in the GROHE Lifetest Laboratory and rigorous testing of materials all contribute to quality assurance. These quality tests guarantee longevity, safety and comfort for an unrivalled water experience.

“The work is expected to be completed within 24 months; and having collecting the mobilization fee; the contractor has fully mobilized to site and is ready to commence work in earnest. I enjoined team of engineers of Ministry of Works to work relentlessly to ensure that quality of work is never compromised.” He said last year the state government expended N15 billion on payments for completed roads projects, while this year a capital expenditures of N16billion, was earmarked for the construction of roads. “Government is currently constructing a total of 870 kilometres of roads and 30.2km of drainages. Out of this; a total of 322km have been completed, while construction of 542km is ongoing. With steady payments, work on the seven other roads projects across the state, is going on satisfactorily,” said Gaidam. The commissioner of Works, Alhaji Lawan Shettima disclosed that the roads development sub-sector has been accorded top most priority, by allocating 24-38 per cent to annual budgetary allocations to roads between 2010 and 2014. He added: “We will equally continue to ensure that all our works get value for money spent through compliance with all laid down financial rules and regulations, so that the living conditions of our people could be improved.”


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PRIME ESTATES Industry unites to deliver revised design review principles, practice Housing HE Cabe team at the British T Design Council, the Landscape Institute, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA) have joined forces to produce an update to the widely acknowledged, industry standard best practice delivering Design Review; ‘Design Review, Principles and Practice’. The publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012 reiterated and reinforced the role of Design Review in ensuring high standards of design. The new guide lines clearly sets out the updated 10 principles that underpin the independent and effective delivery of the process and provides authoritative advice for Design Review panels of all types to help them operate in a consistent way and to uphold the quality of the independent, expert advice that they provide. The new best practice advice represents a cross-sector, industry-led effort to condense and update core advicein light of both the NPPF and Taylor Review, setting a precedent for a focus on the key principles necessary to deliver on the ambition set out within the NPPF. Chief Executive of the Design Council, John Mathers, said: “We’re delighted to publish this updated Design Review guidance based on Cabe’s best practice, in collaboration with RIBA, the Landscape Institute, and the RTPI. Following its

inclusion in the NPPF, Design Review is now a key part of the planning process, and is essential to the delivery of quality places. The guidance aims to ensure the consistency and quality of advice offered by design review panels across the UK. We are pleased to continue our collaboration with RIBA the Landscape Institute and the RTPI, and this is a good example of how industry can work together to produce best practice guidance in the future.’ President of the Landscape Institute, Sue Illman noted that “this updated design review guidance, the product of extensive collaboration between four key organisations, will help ensure the development of places that are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.  In helping to underpin the principles of the NPPF, it is not focused exclusively on buildings but on the wider public realm and landscape; and acknowledges that good design cannot be separated from good planning.  The ten updated principles will help panels provide consistent advice, which will help new schemes deliver the highest standards of design – which means better places for people.’ For Colin Haylock, Immediate Past President of the RTPI, “ design is now an integral part of urban planning. There will be few schemes, which have not benefited or could not have been improved by it. ‘Design Review, Principles and Practice’, significantly backed by key cross-sector organisa-

Slip House, a remarkable translucent glass house on a terraced street in Brixton won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) prestigious Manser Medal 2013 for the best newly designed private house.

tions,  reiterates the underlying 10 principles for good Design Review to help guide design panels and built environment professionals to encourage consistently high quality schemes.’ Welcoming the launch of the report RIBA President, Angela Brady said: “Design review is a hugely valuable tool, which has had a proven track record of improving the quality of schemes. The process has been strengthened significantly by its inclusion within the NPPF, so it is now more important than ever that panels are administered in the most effective, professional and consistent way possible. The revised guidance is an important step in achieving this and is a great example of the collaborative, cross-sector guidance that will be needed to ensure delivery of the NPPF’ Key changes included in the new Design Review guidance include: A revision of the 10 principles of design review, which are now firmly the focus of the document – as is the crucial definition of good design review. The removal of the old principle 9 (focused on outcomes for people) and principle 10 (focused on improving quality) which have been replaced with ‘Multidisciplinary’ and ‘Transparent’. A re-structuring of the document to focus on outlining the principles that should constitute core planning guidance on Design Review, followed by  clear, concise and accessible advice on how to deliver


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PROPERTY GUIDE Appeal Court pledges fairness in New Tejuosho market ownership feud Litigation By Bertram Nwannekanma HE Court of Appeal, sitT ting in Lagos has pledged to ensure fairness in the ongoing ownership feud of multi-million newly constructed Tejuosho market. The court made the submission at the resumed hearing of the dispute, when it was

informed that one of the parties had initiated a contempt proceeding before a lower court despite the other’s pending application on appeal. Specifically, two commercial banks – First and Access Banks are at the centre of the feud. During the last hearing, Counsel to First Bank, Kemi Balogun informed the court that its rival, Access Bank has

commenced a contempt proceeding against his client at the lower court in spite of the fact that the matter is now before the appellate court. But the Appeal Court, which pledged fairness over the matter, frowned  at the report on the contempt proceeding at the Federal High Court in Lagos. The court presided by Justice Shagbaor Ikyegh inquired

Lagos materials’ testing laboratory commences enforcement By Gbenga Akinfenwa O ensure compliance and forestall incidences of building collapse among other things, the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory has commenced enforcement, warning all practitioners within the sector to ensure adherence to specified standards. The laboratory said it would not leave any stone unturned in its bid to upholding quality control of properties in the state. The measure, it was learnt became imperative in order to proffer solution to the lingering problem of inadequate attention to materials being used in the building industry, proliferation of quacks and the attendant incidence of building collapse and civil engineering failure. In a statement, by Head of the Monitoring and Enforcement Unit, Mr. Adesola Adeoye, which was made available to The Guardian, the agency said it has commenced enforcement and determined to deliver a safer construction industry throughout the state. The state’s testing laboratory was established by the enactment of a Building and Civil Engineering (Construction) Materials Quality Control, Law No 6 stated in the Lagos State Official Gazette No 23, Vol. 39, May 26, 2006. Adeoye noted that in fulfilling its objective of quality control and assurance, the laboratory has the state of the art equipment and highly-qualified personnel in ensuring that every suspected building in the state is subjected to non-destructive test to determine its structural stability and that every material being used in all construction project works must be tested for quality assurance. “Diverse tests are required to ensure quality control in building and civil engineering works materials among which are compressive strength test in concrete, reinforcement (steel), sub soil and geotechnical test, water/chemical test, aggregate test, pile integrity test (PET) and equipment calibration. “Over the years, it has been observed that most of the site engineers and building contractors do not appreciate the importance and the need for quality control on materials being used for construction project as it was evident in their refusal to collect most of these test results from the laboratory because it is required of them to use the outcome of the materials test results/reports as a control measure for further course of

T

action in the site work,” Adeoye said. He stressed that similar quality control test could be carried out at any recognised independent laboratory in the state that are registered and

certified by LSMTL as stipulated by law, adding that otherwise a confirmatory test will be required from their office for all tests carried out from any other laboratory other than the registered ones.

from Balogun as to whether the lower court was aware of the proceedings at the Appeal Court, to which he answered in the affirmative. The appellate court, however, assured the First Bank counsel that justice will be done in the matter, and urged all parties to ensure that all necessary contentious applications are filed before April 15, when the court will hear all the parties in the matter. First Bank had approached the lower court with an application to be joined as interested party, but same was refused by the lower court. The bone of contention between the two banks is the determination of true owner

of Tejuosho market. Access Bank had in 2006 lent money to Stornberg Engineering Limited, while the borrower executed a debenture in favour of the bank and charged its assets accordingly. But in 2009, Stornberg obtained loan from First Bank to build the new Tejuosho market having won the concession to do so by the Lagos State Government. To secure the loan, Stornberg executed a Deed of mortgage on the land on which the market was to be built in favour of First Bank. However, in 2011, following the default of Stornberg, Access Bank appointed its receiver/manager, Kunle

Ogunba (SAN) to take over the management and control of the market having obtained an order of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos. On the other hand, First Bank appointed its receiver/manager, Kemi Balogun to take over the management of the market after obtaining an order of Justice Okechukwu Okeke (now retired) of the Federal High Court in Lagos. The question before the Appeal Court, therefore, is who in the eyes of the law, particularly under the relevant provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), Laws of the Federation, 2004, is the rightful owner of the new Tejuosho market.   


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PROPERTY GUIDE Fear grips Lagos community over plan to demolish 620 houses ONCERNS remained high C at the weekend that about 620 houses may be

Following threat of demolition, the residents of Parafa, a suburb of Ikorodu have sent a SaveOur-Soul (SOS) message to Governor Fashola to spare their houses, built in area reserved for the Ikorodu Regional Market

pulled down by the Lagos authorities to make way for the proposed Ikorodu Regional Market, in Parafa, Ikorodu Local Government Area. The houses had been marked for demolition by the State’s Ministry Physical Planning and Urban

Development, while stakeholders that included members of the Lagos House of Assembly were making frantic efforts to ensure that the demolition exercise slated for Friday, February 27, 2014, does not materialized. The Guardian gathered that

Urban Development By Tunde Alao

the original landowners and a production firm, Lucky Fibre Plc. have been at loggerhead over 45 hectares of land that formed part of the entire landmass, before it was eventually resolved between the contending parties. But under the recent

Construction experts for CONEXPO/CON-AGG IGERIAN major conN struction companies and allied services will join their counterparts from more than 91 countries for this year’s edition of CONEXPO/CON-AGG 2014, beginning this week in the United States of America. CONEXPO/CON-AGG showcases the newest equipment, technology and product breakthroughs in construction and organized by the Association Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) every three years. Products will include earthshaking big iron to groundbreaking innovations. This year, Niche PR leads a team of Nigerian business technocrats and professionals in the building and construction industry to the event. Among the constructions

companies and public sector institutions on this year’s delegation include Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Urban Shelter Limited, Oak Development, SURE P, Neil Rivers State Ministry of Works, Afam Chris Nigeria Limited, Xenium Engineering Limited, Mezoll Resources, Loense International Limited, Pachus Nigeria Limited, Siva Engineering Limited, Golds and Nigeria Limited. With over 2,400 exhibitors showcasing new products and technologies from every major construction industry including asphalt, aggregates, concrete, earthmoving, lifting, mining, utilities and more. The fiveday expo comes with a comprehensive education programme, with sessions

emphasizing industry issues and trends, management and applied technology. AEM is a North America trade group that brings manufactures and customers in the construction industry together to provide the best return on investment for all participants. Niche PR has supported American Equipment Manufacturers in the last nine years in recruiting delegations to Conexpo/ConAgg, World of Asphalt and AG Connect expo.

dispute, government alleged that some landowners sold some portions of land excised out of the community land for its project. According to one of the landowners who spoke with The Guardian on the condition of anonymity last week, alleged that it was after the dispute was resolved between the two parties, that officials from Lagos State visited the place, informing them that the land was under acquisition. The twist of events have sent shivers down the spine of the residents of the area, (mostly retirees and elderly ones), especially, those whose properties are located outside the “excised plots”. They have also sent Save-OurSoul (SOS) message to Governor Fashola through their representative, asking for clemency, with the assurance that they would be ready to do the necessary ratification. “When government officials came, there were more than 400 houses of different types already completed at the site. But when they came they said the land under dispute is under acquisition and they eventually excised 15 hectares to us. But the

truth of the matter is that the buildings were already completed with people living there”. But when contacted, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde disagreed with their comments. Ayinde, said: “Sometime in 2011, his team that comprised Chairman, “House Committee on Physical Development, Lagos State of Assembly, and the representative of the council in the Assembly and others in the team, visited the location, where they intimated the residents of the status of the land. “The truth of the matter is that these people built outside the excised portion given to the landowners. Besides, they trespassed on the scheme that equally belonged to the New Town Development Authority (NTDA),” Ayinde said. He challenged the residents to produce any document that can validate claims of legitimacy. The Commissioner told The Guardian sometime ago that the project is long overdue. He said government is seeking for a reliable consultant –

investment advisor that would ensure a hitch-free execution and sustainability of the project. “As defined by the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, any person or group that makes investment recommendations or conducts securities analysis in return for a fee, whether through direct management of client assets or via written publications”. The concern for such expert, according to officials, has to do with the ongoing reconstruction of Ikorodu-Ketu expressway, with specific design that is to incorporate special route for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). “It has become imperative that the design of the Ikorodu Regional Market has to put into consideration with the new development along the axis, especially, the expansion of the existing road linking Ikorodu to Ketu. Besides, development along the shagamu-AgbowaEpe road must also be put into consideration in view of the various developmental projects going on there”, said a top government official, who spoke on the issue under anonymity.


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PROPERTY GUIDE

Estate agents move to tackle quackery in FCT, launches Abuja chapter Professional Practice From Terhemba Daka, Abuja N a bid to eliminate the menIsanitize ace of quacks in its fold and the estate agency practice, the Association of Estate Agents of Nigeria (AEAN) has formally launched its Abuja Chapter aimed at ensuring high standards among professional members in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Present during the launch were high profile members of the profession including the  Chairman, Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON), William Odudu, Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, GTN Tabansi, Director of Compensation and Resettlement, Federal Capital Territory, Francis Okechukwu, among others. Speaking at the ceremony last week, President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Mr. Emeka Eleh decried the proliferation of quacks in the business of estate agency hence the NIESV midwifes the establishment of the body as an intervention by the government against the nefarious activities of fraudsters in the profession.  Eleh, who stressed the need for the protection of consumers in all spheres, explained that the launch of the Abuja chapter will help to standardize the profession in the federal capital territory where the activities of quackery has continued to increase,

Eleh and also regulate activities of the sector especially, in the area of land administration.  “The goal is to maintain a database of estate agents in Nigeria and ensure standard practice among members, eliminate the situation where everybody is an agent and promote customers’ services,” he said.  Tabansi stressed the need for a regulated estate agency in the federal capital territory especially in the areas of selling and buying of land and landed property and letting of houses on behalf of clients.  He said the business of estate agency, being an all comers affair, must be regulated to

protect citizens from illegal real estate practices as well as rights and obligations under tenancy agreements and the relationship between the landlord and the tenant.  Earlier, AEAN Chairman, Mr. Chudi Ubosi explained that the formal launch of the body in the federal capital territory would be followed by trainings organized by the authorities for the different stages for the benefit of members and in line with global practice.  “The task is huge but we will not be weighed down in our determination to regain the image of the profession which had been wholly unregulated,” the Chairman said.  383wds


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Committee begins work on national urban agenda CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31 partners, in order to reflect the shared views of all relevant partners in the preparatory process. Already, a working session of the committee has been inaugurated. At the inauguration of the committee, recently, the Supervising Minister, Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mohammed Musa Sada expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to provide the focused and purposeful leadership for the continent by ensuring that African concerns are properly integrated into the new urban agenda, by contributing positively in terms of relevance and impact. “We will work in close unison with the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD) to promote the new AMCHUD pact adopted in 2012 for maximizing the urban advantage, which is focused on four pillars of developing transformation national urban policies, creating more compact cities at human scale, undertaking institutional and legal reforms and learning to so things together,” he said. Sada recalled that the Habitat III conference comes 20 years after the Habitat II in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996. “It is therefore, time for the world to take stock and address the problems facing the world’s cities and towns, where an increasing proportion of the population resides. “We therefore appreciate that the Habitat III Conference will examine the changing structure, form and functionality of towns and cities in the intervening period, and re-strategize towards developing a concise, focused, forward looking and action oriented new global urban agenda for the 21st c e n t u r y . “We expect that one of the unique attributes of the anticipated new agenda would be its propensity to integrate all facets of sustainable development in order to set the stage for the promotion of global prosperity, equity and welfare. Hopefully too, Habitat III would assess accomplishments made in the sector to date, including poverty reduction and wealth creation, as well as identify new challenges and secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development.” Earlier, UNhabitat Deputy Executive Director  and Assistant Secretary General of the UN-Habitat, Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyiri said that with all these processes leading up to habitat III in 2006, the importance of engaging actively at all levels of deliberations, from local to national, regional to global, cannot be overemphasized. She said that the National Habitat Committee is expected to review and document impact of urbanisation on national and local development, urban job creation directly through construction and urban services industries, and indirectly as an investor multiplier of the national economy as well as national urban policy, including population growth forecasts, transportation and energy corridors, intermediate cities, market towns and small settlem e n t s .


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FINANCIALGUARDIAN

PROPERTY GUIDE

Stakeholders urge enforcement of building control laws Development Control By Emmanuel Badejo ERTURBED at the spread of P illegal structures, concerned stakeholders have called on the Lagos State Government and all professional bodies within the building industry to retool their enforcement units, if the plan to make the city a livable one is to come by in the nearest future. The experts, most of who are professionals within the construction industry, though agreed that the state government has the greater responsibility of ensure compliance to law and order, they said all professional bodies within the sector should also step up their involvement towards making the state habitable. Gathered last at week in Lagos at the instance of development firm, Propertygate development and Investment Plc, which organized a breakfast session on “Creating Livable Cities”, said most of the cities in Lagos can become livable if not only the government but everybody takes it upon him or herself to police the community in which we live. Propertygate’s Managing Director, Mr. Adetokunbo Ajai, said that though the laws are there, it was unfortunate that these laws are not being enforced and that is why some people in the country have formed the habit of erecting unapproved developments with impunity. “One of the major challenges we have in this country is lack of enforcement. This is country where anybody develops property without due approval. People have shops littered everywhere. We cannot continue this way and the trend of impunity must be curtailed.” Ajayi added that the way we shape our cities profoundly affects our quality of life – physical and mental health, our opportunities for having friends and neighbors, and how we find a job and hold it, as well as attracts investment, stimulate local economy, boost real estate value and markets, tourism, feel good

Managing Partner, Citymatters International, Mr. Muyiwa Adelu(left); Managing Director/CEO, Propertygate Development and Investment Company Plc, Mr. Adetokunbo Ajayi and Managing Director, Exq-Shore Properties, Ms. Iyabo Adeoye, during the PropertyGate Breakfast Forum in Lagos, recently.

Despite several regulations and laws guiding development in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State, stakeholders, including real estate professionals and others have lamented spate of illegal developments across the state and therefore urged for strict enforcement within the sector feeling and pride. According to him, where lack of enforcement is the order of the day as we have it all around, the real estate sector is badly hit by creating uncertainty and high risk for real estate development and investment, destruction of real estate value, distortion of real estate value, prohibitive pricing for developable land, diminish available quality locations for real estate development and investment, curtail real estate development and investment activities, weaken economic progress and detract from quality built environment. To ensure sanity, Propertygate chief said there was need to revive the enforcement agencies, reintroduce local government

inspectors and that the public should engage the government on its activities, adding: ‘As citizens, we must rise to challenge an action that destroys our society.” In his paper, “Creating Livable Cities: A Call For Physical And Environmental Controls’ Enforcement”, Mr. Muyiwa Adelu, said that the city of Lagos, which incidentally was in the class of Abuja as FCT until early 90s has been federally neglected and this has increased the pressure of urban growth. A situation he described as unfortunate, was more pronounced by poor implementation of the existing laws, Adelu, a town planner said. Noting that since inception of Lagos state, there have being various urban and regional

planning laws and now environmental laws, he argued that the current law of 2010 Urban and Regional Planning Law, which is determined to change the status quo of haphazard development control, is inadequate. “It is not detailed enough to accommodate all that are required to enable great city. Parks and gardens which are essential ingredients of a livable city are left out while laws on cemetery is left to moribund local governments and cremation centers are totally not considered yet in the various development plans within the city. Parks and gardens which are essential ingredients of a livable city are left out while laws on cemetery is left to moribund local governments and cremation centers are totally not considered yet in the various development plans within the city.” On the implementation of the existing laws, Adelu said the way it is being done is not people friendly leaving the entire populace to its own imaginations. “Again, this kind of weak implementation of the laws causes problem for government with various communi-

ties when upgrading needs arise”, he further summited. He called on various NGOs and human rights groups to stand up to fight for the “common man.” On the way forward, Adelu said state government must immediately create a development control department within Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), preparation of development guides with the identified land owners in all parts of the state, political will to implement the 2010 Urban And Regional Planning And Development Law and accompanying regulations as well as empowering various government agencies in charge of monitoring and controlling of development throughout the state. If these are done, Adelu said there will be acute reduction of slum and blighted environment, peaceful and harmonious environment, improved quality and longevity of life for citizenry, good image for the government in power, immediate value appreciation for properties within the city and creation of job opportunities for the populace.

ASO Savings gets CBN’s approval for national bank operation Mortgage Finance FTER scaling through A Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recapitalization hurdle, one of the premier Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs), ASO Savings and Loans announced last week that the bank is now a national mortgage bank, revealing plans to significantly build up their mortgage loan portfolio and aggressively expand to all states of the federation.  Managing Director, ASO Savings and Loans Plc, Mr. Hassan Musa Usman, said in a statement that “with our successful recapitalisation,

meeting the CBN’s N5 Billion minimum requirement for PMIs, ASO is reinvigorating its three-year plan of expanding its business operations all over the country so that existing and prospective customers can have access to all the unique mortgage opportunities that ASO Savings offers. This development is part of our business vision planned for the company this year. We are extending our presence in key areas like Ibadan, Onitsha, Uyo, Aba, and Enugu. “We will be revealing more information about the expansion plans in the coming weeks. However, with

our solid capitalisation, asset base and capital projects across the country in partnership with both states and federal governments, we have grown so much in equity and capital base. All these, I am confident, will further validate our positioning statement and brand promise to be the Mortgage Bank of Choice, creating affordable homes for all Nigerians.” ASO Savings has a variety of products aimed at meeting the diverse needs of its everincreasing clientele. There are five product groups, Individual Banking, Home Financing, Small Business Banking, Real Estate

Investment Banking and EBanking. Under each banking group, there are accounts that have very flexible features (Savings & Current), making it easy for customers to benefit maximally. Interests on these products are amongst the most attractive within the banking sub-sector of the country. Usman described ASO as the nation’s leading Primary Mortgage Bank “with a primary mission to build mutually profitable relationships anchored on a passion for excellence. He revealed that since it started business in 1995, it had created over 15,000

mortgages of over N40 billion as well as financed the construction of several housing estates. The mortgage firm has been in bilateral agreement and strategic alliances with various state governments and even the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Development to provide massive housing schemes for Nigerians. Presently, ASO Savings has its footprints in various states across the country, partnering with State governments in Oyo, Cross Rivers, Abia, Lagos and the FCT among others to provide affordable homes to civil and public servants.

Ogun kicks-off new housing estate in Agbara Projects by the urge to proFlace,IRED vide homes for its popuOgun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC) has handed over sites to the nine Task Managers to be involved in the construction of 30 units of two bedroom flats in its Agbara residential estate. Speaking while handing over the sites,  OPIC General Manager in Agbara, Engr. Taiwo Aridegbe said the step was another fulfillment of the present administration’s promise to deliver housing estates across the State’s three senatorial districts, saying that on completion, the number of houses available within the Estate would increase. Aridegbe, an engineer, said the involvement of the Task Managers would ensure that the housing project was completed within the expected eightweek period as they are to work in clusters. “This project is a unique one and the beauty of having nine task managers was to ensure uniformity and also having our development in clusters”, Aridegbe stated. Aridegbe urged the Managers to work as a team and in tandem with the mission of the present administration on delivering quality houses to the people of the State, saying OPIC’s monitoring team would be on ground to ascertain quality. “You must deliver quality houses and our monitoring team would always be on ground to ensure standard”, he stated. Speaking in the same vein, OPIC’s Head of Building Services Department in Agbara, Olanrewaju Abatan reiterated that the Corporation would not compromise quality, saying “what OPIC is after is solid construction, building must be solid right from the foundation stage to completion”. Meanwhile the Special Adviser to the Governor and Managing Director OPIC, Mr Jide Odusolu has expressed optimism that all projects embarked on by his Corporation would be completed by May. The Special Adviser, who gave this assurance during an inspection visit to the on-going road construction within the Agbara Estate, said that he was satisfied with the quality of work by the contractor handling the project. “Our objective is to have all our projects completed by May, I am satisfied with the level of work going in all of them, the level and quality of work being done on this road attest to this. We are working round the clock to meet our set target, all hands are already on deck to ensure completion within record time”, he revealed.


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PROPERTY GUIDE Ministers hold talks on financing continent’s human settlements CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31 ing local and global capital markets and robust fiscal mechanisms being developed for mobilizing and deploying resources for urban development. These financial advances are taking place against the backdrop of an evolving financial landscape and there is also a new dynamism unfolding on the c o n t i n e n t . The challenges still abound while the initiated efforts although positive have not matured to yield visible impact. As a result African Ministers responsible for housing and urban development at the Special Ministerial meeting that took place at the sides of the 24th Governing Council of UN-Habitat in April 2013 settled on the theme: “Case Studies in Financing Human Settlements in Africa: Appropriate Legislative Frameworks and Innovations in Implementation, “  for AMCHUD V.  The meeting had the following objectives: develop an enhanced operational compendium for legislative framework and innovative practices for human settlements financing; define ‘Africa Urban Agenda 2063’ that will also serve as an input into the African Union’s ‘Agenda 2063 as well as to the Post-2015 Agenda and to Habitat III; approve the foundation documents for the Institutionalization of AMCHUD; and adopt a

Ndjamena Declaration. The meeting was convened at a time when Africa is gearing to effectively participate and influence international agenda during the discourse towards the preparatory process for Habitat III, the post 2015 Development Agenda, World Urban Forum 7 and the Urban Agenda in the context of the Africa Union discussions on Africa Agenda 2063. The pronouncement by African Heads of State and Government on the need for a new vision for the Continent,also builds on the achievements of the past five decades and captures the significance of the evolving situation. Consultations which have been launched by the African Union on giving content to Africa Agenda 2063 also underlines an acknowledgement that the Continent is entering a new phase, almost in every aspect. As the African Union embarks on defining ‘Africa Agenda 2063’ AMCHUD has to ensure that the urban dimension is included within the core of this process. Definitely, the process leading to that horizon needs to be steered and its requirements anticipated. African Ministers of Housing and Urban Development need to define urgently an ‘Africa Urban Agenda 2063’ that will feed into the ongoing consultation process of articulating a long term vision for the contin e n t . Chad’s Minister of Urban

Development, Housing, Land Affairs and Administration Mr. Gata Ngolulou highlighted the pace of urban changes in the world, and particularly in Africa, and the reasons why the African Governments and actors responsible for the production of housing will have to make considerable efforts in view of the funding of housing. He also added that these governments need to respond to the proliferation of informal settlements, often u n s a n i t a r y . Speaking on behalf the Economic Commission for Africa, Ms. Thokozile Ruzidvzo talked of a refocusing process which was based on the fact that Africa was changing. ECA had developed a transformative agenda based on the imperative that Africa must actively pursue a strategy of commodity based industrialisation. Value addition to commodities would play a key role in achieving greater successes, she noted. In her speech UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kacyiri expressed her thanks to the bureau of AMCHUD for creating the opportunity to participate in this meeting; she thanked the government of Chad and the hospitality of the Minister. She also paid tribute to the Governing Council Secretariat, the Committee of Permanent Representatives, in particular the African Group, and finally gave thanks to colleagues of UNHabitat.


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Govt urged to float road bond, reduce construction costs Roads By Chinedum Uwaegbulam NEW study released last A week by a civil society group on road infrastructure development in Nigeria has advocated for the setting up of road bonds, which will be tied to specific roads after good feasibility studies, proper costing and approval by the legislature. The document also  wants cost of road project implementation to be reduced through benchmarking with African and international prices. Taking into cognizance, the cost of building roads in other countries like Ghana, which has nearly the same soil environment like Nigeria, with also a Volta Region, which is swampy will put extant costs in their proper context. According to the study published by Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) on Road Sector Performance Study between 2009 and 2013, “In Nigeria, a 1km paved road is being constructed for an outrageous amount ranging from N400million to over N1billion. For instance, the 9.52km Ibadan – Oyo State Capital township road was awarded at the cost of N5.8bn ($35m), which is approximately N609.24million (or $3.7million) per kilometre. This sum largely exceeds the upper bound of the  estimated benchmark of 1,374,429.60 $/Km as derived from the World Bank.” The study further recommended that the Viability Gap Fund should be activated by Federal government and States to attract investors in to the road sector. This should be preceded by appropriate studies and technical preparations to ensure that such roads can be meaningfully funded under the scheme. Other funding intervention

The study has evaluated the Nigerian road infrastructure, considered budgetary allocations and implementation, analysed the funding gap and other challenges to road infrastructure; reviewed institutional structures and the laws and policy framework guiding road development from 2009 to 2013. models that allow investors to come into the road sector to invest should be encouraged. However, Government must sign guarantees of economic involvement of Nigerians in the actualization of such road schemes by foreign investors, and prevent capital flight by setting standards for gradual repatriation of capital. Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements should be devoid of politics and government must develop the political will to stick to agreement and contracts signed with private sector operatives. However, at the stage of negotiations and signing, the details and facts of the transaction should be available to the public to enable contributions and possible interventions in the public i n t e r e s t . The study authored by Onwusoro Chibuike assistance from Eze Onyekpere and Ikenna Ofoegbu noted that there should be greater transparency in the management and implementation of SURE-P funds in the road sector. “Augmentation and contract variations should be done within the context of prevailing macroeconomic fundamentals such as inflation and the value of the national currency. The National Assembly should demand and review relevant documentation before approving any upward r e v i e w . ” The study also recommended that the National Assembly should take steps to expedite the passage of the

Federal Road Funds Bill, Capital Expenditure Budget Roll-Over Bill and the Development Planning and Projects Continuity Bill. “More multilateral funding especially from the concessional windows should be sought to directly fund road projects or the PPP Model in order to have quick international participation from corporate organizations worldwide, which will see the roads as World Bank Guaranteed Projects or other international donor backed project. This is necessary to bolster the confidence of for-

The on-going 552 kilometer Kano-Maiduguri road dualization project by the Federal Ministry of Works, last week eign investors and remove the fear of policy somersaults that had hitherto plagued Africa, especially Nigeria.” It also recommended that the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Excess Crude Account should dedicate more of their funding to a result based roads infrastructure agenda for Nigeria as well as urged

Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission and Ministry of Works should be more proactive in

the discharge of their duties in facilitating the package of road infrastructure projects.


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THE ENVIRONMENT Illegal development in Osborne offshore threatens Lagos wetlands Conservation By Tunde Alao S physical development on A its wetland in Lagos continued unabated, the State Government has decried the trend and moved to halt encroachment of wetlands, including mangrove swamps on the coast and freshwater swamps. The authorities say it will not condone the act, which is a threat to flood-free campaign and efforts by the State. Senior officials of the state government condemned an approval, which developers claimed to have been given by the Federal Government to ongoing developments along the Osborne Offshore Estate, Ikoyi, where exotic buildings are springing up, with some of them built on wetland. One of the buildings was issued a stop-work order due to an alleged interference on the wetland at Osborne Foreshore, Ikoyi. The Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello, who was on an inspection of drainage channels in the state, said the building being constructed by a firm, Terracore Smart Planning, displayed “flagrant lawlessness in the structure.” Although the workers on site claimed that the owner of the property got approval from the Federal Government, Bello said the building, which is still at the foundational level, would not be allowed to stand. Bello explained that the structure was located under hightension wire and would also

The State has threatened to deal with developers that encroach on wetlands and impede drainage flow. Officials believe wetlands provide valuable services to satisfy economic, social and ecological needs of local, national and international communities. impede drainage flow in the area, which may lead to massive flooding in Ikoyi. He added that the owner of the structure left the alignment pattern of buildings in the area to begin erection of his property on a wetland by sand filling the place, thus, obstructing drainage flow. He said, “I have asked them to stop work, they cannot continue. This is a disaster waiting to happen. We cannot allow Lagos to be drowned because they want to build a house. This is a wetland and no house should be there.” Bello said the state task force officials would be invited to seal off the property and ensure that no work was allowed to continue in the place. Corroborating the observation made by Bello, Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Muyideen Akinsanya, who backed the commissioner’s decision on the building, said if it were allowed to stand,

One of the properties alleged by Lagos officials to be on wetland the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, and several places in Ikoyi would be flooded. “This wetland serves as backup for water in the event of flooding. This drainage is the one that linked the entire Ikoyi-Obalende axis, and it is dangerous to allow anything that can obstructs free flow of water”, said Akinsanya. It would be recalled that the ownership of Osborne offshore had been a source of controversy between the Federal and Lagos Government, in the 1990’s

before a certain portion was ceded to Lagos, especially, the wetland portion, where people are building on now. Bello, said the situation at the Osborne Foreshore estate is a dangerous trend, especially, with the presence of physical construction on the wetland and some of the buildings directly under the high tension electric cables. According to Bello, over 51 per cent of the wetlands were indiscriminately encroached on due to urbanisation. He stressed the need to sensitize

people on the importance of wetlands to the survival of human beings and returning them to their natural state. “Wetlands provide valuable services to satisfy economic, social and ecological needs of local, national and international communities. Wetlands also play an important role in flood assimilation as well as provision of source of food, medicine, fuel and building materials to people living around them,” he explained. The commissioner noted that

the topography of Lagos State harboured about 78 per cent water bodies of various sizes such as ocean, lagoon, lakes, streams, and wetlands. He said the explosion of the state’s population; the limited land size and the demand for housing and industrial development have placed the wetlands on the verge of extinction. Agriculture (fishing and cultivation of crops) has the highest land use with 55.9 per cent occupancy, residential with 31.2 per cent, and recreation 3.9 per cent.


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TheEnvironment Green economy transition is already underway in Africa, says UN chief In this address at the high level African Ministerial Conference on Green Economy, UN UnderSecretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner noted that green development path should maintain, enhance and, where necessary, rebuild natural capital as a critical economic asset and source of public benefits, especially for the poor whose livelihoods and security depends strongly on nature

The Environment HE African Ministerial T Conference on the Green Economy is taking place at a time when the international community is working towards a Post-2015 development agenda and a new set of Sustainable Development Goals. This meeting also comes days before the convening of the first global conference on Partnerships for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) in the UAE in early March to support and promote the adoption of the green economy at the international level. From harvesting geothermal energy in Kenya and plugging into solar power in Algeria and Tunisia, to investing in green funds in South Africa, and building wind projects in Ethiopia; diverse pathways to greener and more inclusive economies are being pursued across the continent.   On account of its geographical location, Algeria, for example, holds one of the highest solar potentials in the world, which is estimated at 13.9 TWh per year. The country receives annual sunshine exposure equivalent to 2,500 KWh/m2. Daily solar energy potential varies from 4.66 kWh/m2 in the north to 7.26 kWh/m2 in the south. Algeria is in a good place to harness this significant potential to lower carbon emissions and support clean power generation.

The next wave of investment and innovation in Africa will be driven by the need for new energy sources, wealth generation and job creation. Currently, projections point to broad-based acceleration in growth in Sub-Saharan Africa to around 5.5 per cent in 2013-2014, reflecting robust domestic demand and increased investment in export-oriented sectors as the main economic drivers, according to the IMF World Outlook 2013. As the continent undergoes such unprecedented development, wealth accounting and the valuation of ecosystem services are critical to Africa’s future growth. Natural capital is a critical asset, especially for low-income countries, where it makes up around 36 per cent of total wealth, according to recent World Bank estimates. The Mau Forest complex in Kenya, for example, provides goods and services worth US$1.5 billion a year through water for hydroelectricity, agriculture, tourism and urban and industrial use, as well as erosion control and carbon sequestration. Alternative accounting has helped spur the government of Kenya to invest in rehabilitating the area and its vital ecological services. Forestry in Tanzania is officially close to 2.3 per cent of GDP, however research suggests that if the wider benefits are factored in, the real contri-

Steiner bution is over 4 per cent of GDP. Emerging research suggests that the contribution of the value of forests to the GDP of Uganda is around US $136 million, which amounts to about 4 per cent of GDP. Since 1995, an estimated 486,000 work opportunities were created in South Africa in environmental rehabilitation programmes. In addition, 85,000 jobs were created through formal conservation of protected areas in game ranching and ecotourism. Natural accounting and valuation, therefore, is not a fringe activity, but a cornerstone of the wealth of nations upon which sustainable, equitable and prosperous societies will be built. But notwithstanding the fast

pace of development, Africa’s countries continue to face persistent challenges. A fast-growing urban population, globalization and climate change, alongside a need to boost governance, are among the challenges facing Africa if the continent is to put itself firmly on the path to a sustainable future. According to the World Bank, Africa’s population is expected to increase by approximately 800 million people by 2040. This projected increase will put even more pressure on the continent’s natural resources. As of 2005, half of Africa’s most biologically rich terrestrial areas shrank by more than 50 per cent due to cultivation, degradation or urban-

ization. In Kenya deforestation stripped the country’s economy of an estimated US $68 million in 2010, dwarfing the economic benefits gained from industries such as forestry and logging. Placing a value on natural resources also demands a rethink of the traditional links between resource use and economic prosperity - separating environmental “bads” from economic “goods”. By 2050, humanity could devour an estimated 140 billion tonnes of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year - three times its current appetite - unless the economic growth rate is “decoupled” from the rate of natural resource consumption.

According to a report by the International Resource Panel, total resource use grew eightfold, from 6 billion tonnes in 1900 to 49 billion tonnes in 2000. In May 2012, 10 African countries, along with various public and private organizations, adopted the Gaborone Declaration, which outlines a set of concrete principles and development goals that include valuing natural capital in the development planning process. One month later, the Rio+20 Summit outcome document, The Future We Want, called for broader measures of progress to complement conventional indices, such as GDP. Released alongside the Rio conference in 2012, UNEP’s Inclusive Wealth Report provided a rethink of traditional economic and development yardsticks. It introduced a new indicator, known as the Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI), which is aimed at revealing the true state of a nation’s wealth and the sustainability of its growth, beyond GDP. If measured by GDP, the economies of China, the United States, Brazil and South Africa grew by 422 per cent, 37 per cent, 31 per cent, and 24 per cent respectively between 1990 and 2008. However, when assessed by the IWI, the Chinese and Brazilian economies only increased by 45 per cent and 18 per cent. The United States’ grew by just 13 per cent, while South Africa’s actually decreased by 1 per cent. In fact, a full 25 per cent of the countries studied by the report showed a positive trend when measured by GDP per capita and by the Human Development Index (HDI) were found to have a negative IWI per capita. The primary driver of this difference in performance was those countries’ declines in natural capital.

Climate Fund Board takes key decisions on resource mobilization Climate Change HE Board of the Green T Climate Fund met this week in Indonesia to progress the eight essential requirements for its initial resource mobilization and take fundamental decisions to advance the institution’s operations. During three days of meetings, Board members agreed on several key decisions that will shape the Fund’s work streams and activities as it moves forward, including the following parameters and guidelines for allocation of resources during its initial phase: The Fund will aim for a 50:50 balance between mitigation and adaptation over time; The Fund will aim for a floor of fifty percent of the adaptation allocation for particularly vulnerable countries, including least developed

Decisions taken ensure that the Fund can help developing countries to cope with the devastating impacts of climate change and become more climate resilient. countries, small island developing States and African States; The Fund will maximize engagement with the private sector, including through a significant allocation to the Private Sector Facility, in order to provide incentives that encourage a paradigm shift to low-carbon development; The Fund will be a leader on gender mainstreaming and will define its gender action plan in October 2014. The Board also discussed additional key elements that will shape the Fund’s support for low carbon and climate resilient develop-

ment: its result management framework, the risk management and investment frameworks, the accreditation framework and the proposal approval process. In May, the Board aims to take key decisions on the remaining essential requirements that will allow the Fund to receive, manage, programme and disburse funds. The Board also mandated the Secretariat to develop a comprehensive work programme on readiness and preparatory support, which will stimulate developing countries to benefit from the Fund. Speaking immediately after the Board meeting, Co Chair Mr. Manfred Konukiewitz

(Germany) stated: “We discussed heart and bone issues for the Fund here at Bali – policies and procedures that should make the Fund a success story. We have to make sure that this institution becomes the innovative and ambitious instrument of climate finance – a significant fund that will make the difference for people in developing countries and the planet.” Co Chair Mr. Jose Maria Sarte Salceda (Philippines) stated: “Decisions taken ensure that the Fund can help developing countries to cope with the devastating impacts of climate change and become more climate resilient. We need to put in place the essential requirements so that the developing world can access climate finance for scalable projects and investments, with a projected floor of 50% of initial adaptation allocations being reserved for

the most vulnerable countries.” Speaking at a dinner hosted by the Indonesian government, Mr. Bambang Brodjonegoro, the Vice Minister of Finance, stated: “During this Board Meeting in Bali, Indonesia announces its pledge to contribute to the Fund. Indonesia also stands ready if all countries are required to contribute for the capital base of the Fund. I am hoping this contribution can support the Fund’s activities in helping developing countries to prepare and finance emissions reduction and adaptation programs, including capacity building programs under the South South cooperation that replicate the success stories of climate change programmes in other countries. I do hope other more capable

countries can consider making pledges, or adding to their pledges, or making an indication of their pledges during this Bali meeting.” It was also decided that the Fund would manage access to resources with a view to seeking geographical balance and a reasonable and fair allocation across a broad range of countries, while maximizing the scale and transformational impact of the mitigation and adaptation activities of the Fund. The Green Climate Fund (the Fund) is a new multilateral fund that was agreed by Parties at the 2010 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference held in Cancun, Mexico, and designated as an operating entity of the Convention’s financial mechanism. The

Fund’s

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ETI to acquire majority stake in Banco PCM By Helen Oji COBANK Transnational E Incorporated (ETI)  has announced plans to acquire a majority stake in  Banco ProCredit Mozambique (PCM), ProCredit Holding Germany’s subsidiary. According to a statement from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, ETI, which is already discussing with  PCH on the acquisition, has formally expressed an interest in purchasing Banco ProCredit in Mozambique by acquiring the shares currently held by ProCredit Holding and DOEN Foundation, which represent 96 per cent  of Banco ProCredit’s total capital. It added that the transaction is subject to the approval of the regulatory

authorities in Mozambique. Banco ProCredit Mozambique, according to the statement, is a development-oriented financial institution and part of the international ProCredit group. Operating in Mozambique since 2000, the company has extensive experience in supporting very small, small and medium-sized enterprises, and finances a wide range of business activities, including agriculture and fishing. It further explained that the company also provides banking services to nonbusiness clients and prides itself on its excellent customer service, on providing products and services tailored to its clients’ needs. “Today, Banco ProCredit serves over 67,000 clients

via its 14 business outlets. Its total loan portfolio amounts to just under MZN695 million and it has a deposit base of about MZN930 million. ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KgaA. ProCredit Holding, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, is the parent company of the ProCredit group, comprising 22 ProCredit banks and financial service providers in developing countries and emerging economies as well as the ProCredit Bank in Germany. “As of year-end 2013, the group’s total assets came to €5.8 billion. The total outstanding loan volume was €4.2 billion, against customer deposits totalling €3.8 billion. The group’s equity base amounted to €503 million,” it added.

IFC, CBN engage global finance stakeholders on sustainable banking today By Chijioke Nelson HE International Finance T Corporation (IFC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will engage global finance stakeholders today on the level of development in the sustainable banking principles. The two-day event, according to the two financial institutions will serve as a platform to share international, local experience and best practice on sustainable banking, and build partnerships to support its implementation in emerging markets. Beside, the forum will bring together policymakers from governments, multilateral development banks, financial institutions, civil society

organizations and technical institutions, to share insights and ideas on sustainable banking. IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, Solomon AdegbieQuaynor, said: “The forum will bring together representatives from the Nigerian financial sector with colleagues from all over the world. It is a great opportunity to promote principles within the industry that advance sustainable business growth and economic development.” The new framework, which was scripted to help banks and other financial institutions to better understand the benefits and risks of environmental and social impacts of their investments and loans, has long been put to test. It provides a framework for

financial institutions to further integrate these considerations into their policies, operations and procedures. “This creates environmental and social responsibility in the financial sector and adds long-term value for clients and other stakeholders. The International Sustainable Banking Forum is a voluntary platform of bank regulators and banking associations established to facilitate knowledge sharing and development of standards, policies and guidelines on environmental and social risk management for regulators in emerging markets. The network’s members currently include Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Lao, Mongolia, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines,

Firm redefines cash-less initiative with ChequePay solution By Adeyemi Adepetun ONTRARY to the belief that C cheque may not be useful in the cash-less economy era, a technology firm has redefined possible ways by which cheque usage can add colour to the apex bank’s initiative.  The solution, called chequePay, which was unveiled to the media, at the weekend, in Lagos, is an online, cheque guarantee service that allows business owners accept cheques from their customers with the full assurance of receiving value when the cheques are lodged at the bank. According to CheckPay Limited, though the cash-less initiative is gradually expanding, there are still much cash based transactions in the system, stressing that over 90 per cent of transactions done through the Automated Teller Machine (ATMs) are cash in nature. The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of CheckPay Limited, Chiadi Emenike Obiabaka said that the firm

recorgnised that since the cash-less economy campaign started, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had encouraged the use of ATMs, Point of Sales (POS) terminals, mobile money, “these platforms are great, however, we felt that not much attention has been given to cheques. Though, there are still challenges with cheques, we believe that those challenges are still surmountable. We believe that if you enter a shopping mall you can still use the cheque to make purchases without any hassles.” Obiabaka explained that any body who has a cheque registered with his or her banks can use use it to pay purchases and services online. He said all the necessary information on a cheque, including the bank’s name, cheque no, account number and name, transaction detail and amount and most especially, one time password (token), which is generated by the user are loaded on the Chequepay platform, sent across to registered mer-

chant, the merchant will communicate with the bank to confirm and the liquidity status of the owner, if satisfied, after all other necessary security checks must have been done, then the transaction will be completed.”  According to him, the solution, which is software based, the main core of which was developed locally, and however, he said a part of it, which has to do with authentication was got from a partner, a Turkish firm, Solid Pass. The CheckPay boss listed some of the perceived benefits of the initiative to include, ubiquitous access; use of shared infrastructure; use of proxies; zero recurrent costs; incremental income; Use Your Own Device (UYOD) based method, among others. Though, he said because the solution is still new in the market, talks are on-going with some of the banks with the possibility of them adopting it, stressing that the firm is targeting to have about 50, 000 merchants on the platform.


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BUSINESS INTERVIEW

We need to develop fondness for SMEs,

Sekibo

Mr. Ifie Sekibo is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank Limited. A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, he attended the University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, where he obtained a BSc (Hons) in Accountancy. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Chartered Institute of Management, Institute of Petroleum London and Institute of Directors. In this interview with CHIJIOKE NELSON, he spoke on the bank’s survival strategy, SMEs and real sector challenges and the monetary policy issues. Excerpts. OW would you describe the impact of H Heritage Bank’s operations on the industry in its first year? The greatest impact of Heritage Bank on the Nigeria banking landscape, modestly I will say, is our contribution to the consciousness of channels for distribution of financial services beyond the brick and mortar. It made other banks to see the importance and the need to continually improve on their distribution. Every one of us, all the banks, suddenly had to rethink their strategy. Because the question was simple, what was Heritage Bank coming to do, if they are not going to have 300 branches that everybody was running for, 1000, highest number of branches, how can they survive. And it dawned on everybody that the only way Heritage Bank could survive is to drive channels basically on the e-banking platform. Of course, they had bigger pockets, so they quickly jumped on it. But honestly, that has been our modest contribution. And it is interesting. The second impact, I will take, is the restoration of confidence in the financial sector. That people saw a bank go down after about 10 years and still have their money come back to them. This gives them hope that Savannah Bank will also come back. That is the hope it Heritage Bank gives to people. It is the confidence it engenders in people and it is very important for financial service delivery and continuous sustainable banking services. The industry is fiercely competitive. How has the bank coped with the competition? We have not focused on competition, rather we have focused on the little things we can be able to do and allow competition to bother on what we are doing. We came out boldly and said we would be looking at SMEs- grow them on our own and empower the sector and of course, the whole market reacted to it. We said we want to deal with channels and the whole market reacted to it. So, the truth is, we have remained focused on the things we can do well and let competition bother around

what we are doing. Again, we said we are going to roll out Automated Banking Centers (ABCs) and the market jumped at it and started looking at how to roll out ABCs. Now some banks are planning to roll out their ABCs because it is the best way, the cheapest and easiest way to get financial services to the unbanked. So, you have to find a way to remain in your position of strength. We can’t compete on brick and mortar. Somebody has about 700 to 1000 branches and I have 10 in the same market, so we can’t compete in that aspect. If we focus on that, I will not do business. So, we focused on our little strength and that is what we have done over the last one year. We have not gotten to where want to be but we can now clearly see the direction we are headed. As part of our anniversary, we shall be launching our agency banking on March 4. It is also part of the little things we are doing to show that agency banking is possible. We need to diversify our own distribution channels and the revenue base. We just got into the market and said we are not going to charge Commission on Turnover (COT), but for some banks, it is 25 per cent of their revenue base. Everybody had thought, “You can’t survive it”, but we are and our revenues are growing every day. It might not be astronomically as you would imagine, but it is growing gradually because for us it is not 100 meters dash, it is building a sustainable business and enduring legacy. My board members are professionals that have the sense of staying consistently on the strategy to build and making sure that the  back end of the strategy is well taken care of. It is understandable, judging from where we were coming from. For the systemic stability, it is important that we don’t do anything untoward, but have our eyes set on a longer vision, five years and 10 years from now. We believe in the next five years, we should be among the first five financially solid banks in the country.  But why do you believe in the gradual process given the competitive market?

We are just one year old, while some of our peers are over 100 years. There is no way I can say I am in a hurry chasing one that is over 100 years, with a business that thrives on trust, personal life style and sentiments. Nobody wakes up one morning and start trusting everybody and the best we can do is to show we are worthy of trust. The best way we can do it is to get people who are not in the financial services space integrated into the system. The beauty of the new way of sustainable banking is financial inclusion and we seem to feature very well in it. So, nobody is old in that space, but what we have as an edge above others is our newness and we can take it on as a viable, new project, without causing the ‘gorillas’ in the system to overwhelm the new initiatives. What is the progress of the bank in terms of branch network? Yes, we started with one branch, increased to six and now at 10, but hopefully we would end this year with about 33 branches. That is our organic growth pattern. We believe that for us to achieve our three to five plans, we should have about 150 branches, which will effectively serve our strategy of being the hub and delivery of financial services. We have a hub, and just around it, we have ABCs that allow you to use your ATMs, open account, do transfers and all kinds of financial services. So, you use a hub, which is a branch or what we call experience centers, to service the spokes, which are the ABCs. With this, our reach that is almost unimaginable, yet branches are not as many as others. This curtails cost and brings technology to beartechnology works for you. So, our progress has been quite gradual, in one year we have been able to put up 10 branches, and 15 are at different stages of completion, and by the time the year runs out, we hope we would have organically achieved 30 branches. And what have you done in terms of  e-payment platform?

Modestly, we did invest a lot in Information Technology and that is one of the strategies we brought to the bank. For us, our e-payment platform is the way of life. It is the only way we have been able to stay in the industry and in the market in the face of all the competition. That we are participating in every activity that every bank could undertake have been because of the robustness of our e-payment platform. Though robust, we intend to improve on it. Technology is one thing that you can’t say I have the best because there is no best technology, but there is best usage of technology. So, it is how you apply the technology that you have deployed. Some people have laptops, Ipad on their desks and they just gather dust. It could be the best in class but they have not used it. So it is not just deploying technology, it is usage of that technology that is key and we are noted for using that technology. People see it as a big deal to do conference call, but we have it as our way of life. Once you make technology a way of life, then you constantly demand for technology to apply to your routine. I don’t think technology takes out the human element, but includes and drags it alongside and all you now do is retrain people to become conversant with technology. I will say it is one of the major pillars of our organisation. So, I believe that our advantage will not be in how many bricks and mortars we are able to create in the next three to five years, but how we are able to get our clients and those who are financially excluded to trust the channels we deploy and based on those channels, take decisions and take control of their lives and their financial activities.   What is your experience with SMEs? Our experience with SMEs is that they are a group of people that are well driven in terms of ideas, how to turn their ideas into product and services, wealth creating opportunities. But there are certain ingredients that are lacking. One, because of the way we are traditionally

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BUSINESS INTERVIEW

real sector to grow economy, says CONTINUED FROM PAGE 58 structured- that one man must own everything, and so rather than work in partnerships and in teams, people like to go it alone, which makes them very un-bankable, high risks and easily default when they are looking for funds. In fact, they are unable to access capital to fund their projects. What we then did to overcome that challenge is to create what we call a SME Clinic. What does that do for them? It makes them know that there is a lot of value in partnership, in knowing what your business requires to survive and what you require to survive. Your business and you cannot be one and the same person. And so there must be separation. Of course, we brought in some persons, some organisations that need to train and give them comfort so that they can be more organised and equipped to understand those challenges,  which hitherto had been something they see as only for the big organisations. Heritage Bank is an SME, because each one of us that invested in it is not very rich, but we thought if we come together as a team, we will form a critical mass and have the structures that will enable us do this business. When they get trained through the clinic, an organisation can come and say we secure you, we believe that your project is doable, so we are going to give the guarantee that the bank would require to lend to you, knowing that if we monitor our work with you, your potential will be high. It is easy for us to keep saying that they (SMEs) are not bankable, but the truth is that if we make them bankable, then we can grow them. And if we grow them we grow the bank, and then they become available for everybody to bank. Their services are needed because for every big organisation, you have hundreds of thousands of SMEs that feed on it, which means they will always be a majority and always be available. The sooner we make them bankable, the better for everybody. We will do our little bit. We have said we would do a “project 50” in three years and out of the 50, we expect three to be listed in the stock market. That is a Key Performance Indices we have set for ourselves. So, if Heritage Bank puts 50 SMEs in a funnel and three of them come out as big organisations on the stock market, then we have just developed and improved the stock market by three. There are 21 banks and if all of us put SMEs through that funnel, and each of us produce three, I think some could produce faster in three years. It means that we are going to deepen the capital market and expand our banking space. So, it is not by chance that we went into SMEs, we are only trying to say this is the way to go.   How has the monetary tightening impacted the bank and what has been the response? Sincerely, the impact has been very severe on us. We have had to struggle most times to deal with it, given what we inherited from our predecessor organisation, which was very heavy in public sector. So, the residue of what we took was largely public sector. But we also know that it was not sustainable to go in that direction and we went out seriously to do the SMEs. You see, when you are on space of SME, you are not worried too much about CRR. But that does not mean we did not feel the impact like every other financial institution. It is a major drain to our liquidity. As a national economic goal of curbing inflation, defending the Naira and dealing with exchange rate issues, what was happening was also not sustainable. Where we take public sector funds and buy treasury bills and lend the same money to the government who gave the money to us to keep, is a bad business model. Should it be a CRR of 75 per cent, 100 per cent or 25 per cent, it is neither here nor there. That is my personal opinion. The real sector has to work and if we were deploying the public sector fund to the real sector, then it is a veritable option to allow the public sector funds stay with the banks, but if we are just moving it into treasury bills, then not. Should we have policies that enable us move that money into the real sector? Maybe that would have been a better way to look at it. I will only suggest that we need to weigh all the options. The one way ticket of saying let us just slam CRR would not be a sustainable policy options for us to take. But something has to be done. My opinion or advice is let’s grow the real sector. Manufacturing must be back on the table, we must build our infrastructure, and the roads must be built. We must support the government initiatives on the power sector. We have to fix the transmission line, for transmission, to evacuate the power that is been generated before distribution can take place. So there are

It is easy for us to keep saying that they (SMEs) are not bankable, but the truth is that if we make them bankable, then we can grow them. And if we grow them, we grow the bank...The sooner we make them bankable, the better for everybody

There are 21 banks and if all of us put SMEs through that funnel, and each of us produce three, I think some could produce faster in three years. It means that we are going to deepen the capital market and expand our banking space

Where we take public sector funds and buy treasury bills and lend the same money to the government who gave the money to us to keep, is a bad business model..If we were deploying the public sector fund to the real sector, then it is a veritable option to allow the public sector funds stay with the banks

a lot of things we need to do. If the government money will help us to achieve that, then there is no need sterilising it. But if there would be no guided policy to make that happen, then sterilise it.  What is the involvement of the bank in the real sector and power industry? Yes we have been involved in the funding of the distribution companies. We are also involved in the funding of the Independent Power Plants, which also are been put out in Lagos and outside Lagos and we would keep on being part of that process because it is a growth area, including telecommunications. We have always been part of the oil and gas sector, providing funding for logistics and supplies. We have also been part of one or two projects that have to do with infrastructure and would continue to do that. That is what our job is as a bank. All we have to do is to secure the money, to ensure that what we take from the depositors are not lost by putting up all the necessary risks and control to mitigate waste.  How successful have you been with depositors of SGBN? That is one success story that I am not sure we have told very well. Before starting, we, regulators and every other stakholder expected a major run. We planned for that run but we are shocked that with a combination of regulatory support, our ability to talk to the clients that we are stable and adequate capital, they did not see the need to come and rush away with their money. The few that came to take their money returned them in one form or the other. Indeed, it is a success story. But it did not just happen by chance, the board, management and regulators did a lot of work assuaging people’s fear, making them to understand that there is no need to rush away with their money, that their money was guaranteed and covered for 100 percent. Yes there were hiccups with interest payment, because people that have left their money for so long expected that interest should be paid. But both regulators and we as investors don’t have that much of assets to be paying interest. At least we safeguarded 100 per cent as against what the NDIC would have paid to them, if they had any asset to sell and give anything to them. So people understood that at least they can get 100 per cent of what they had as against the deposit insurance they would have gotten at the other end. People believed that there is a new wave of change and that we don’t need to have 10 branches before they can have access to their money. There are channels through which they can access their money and it does not matter where they are. So there were a lot of intervening variables that made it possible for us to manage successfully this. Of course, because it is a long time, the challenges of people misplacing their documentation, the things they had used for verification before came up. Their cheque books and I.D cards were missing. On our part, the branches we inherited had been broken into, papers scattered and  there were some challenges- issues in court with the former bank, legacy issues here and there, but we took a concerted position, we need to work through all these and some of them took time. We had one or two cases of forgery, but the Police were well awake to their responsibilities ahead of time, so they too were vigilant. What is your outlook for the bank in the next 12 months? I am sure it is public knowledge that we are one of those in contest to acquire Enterprise Bank, which is important to us in the next 12 months for our dual approach on where we are headed. We have an organic growth plan, that in the next one year, we do hope that we achieve 30 branches. We are growing on our capital and the inorganic option is where we have organic fit, which we believe we do have. We want to make that move because of the strategic fit, because we have been through restructuring and reorganisation and the government and current management of Enterprise Bank is restructuring and putting it together. We have made our case, they will announce publicly those of us that are in contest, but we are not hiding that we did bid.  If we achieve our strategic acquisition drive, then we would have shorten our five-year projections almost in one year, but if we don’t achieve the strategic acquisition, then we would follow through with our five year projection. The beauty of who we are is that we have been through this kind of things before. It took us nearly three years to achieve Heritage Bank from SGBN. So if it takes us another one year to achieve another bigger and stronger Heritage Bank, with an Enterprise Bank in the tow, we would be glad but if not, we still will grow.


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Insurance Insurers urge government to insure assets, obey ‘no premium, no cover’ law By Joshua Nse ORRIED by government inability to honour promises to respect Insurance Act 2003 in insuring assets and payment of premium, insurance mangers have renewed call on all tiers of government to obey the law. Chieftains of the industry who spoke to The Guardian said that many of the government agencies were yet to renew their insurances and pay premium in accordance with current market regulation of ‘no premium, no cover’, except the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and few others who have effected their insurances as and when due. However, the Commissioner for Insurance, Fola Daniel, at a roundtable meeting with the media in Lagos recently said that government agencies were insuring government assets and paid premium, particularly NNPC among others. He said: “I can confirm to you that gov-

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• NAICOM insists govt agencies pay premium ernment agencies particularly NNPC and others who understand the importance of insurance have insured their assets and paid the premiums according to the current market regulation.” He explained: “In order to put a stop to the vexed issue of delayed or non-payment of insurance premium by the insured, the Commission commenced the implementation of section 50(1) of Insurance Act 2003 on January 1st 2013. This law stipulates that “the receipt of an insurance premium shall be a condition precedent to a valid contract of insurance and there shall be no cover in respect of an insurance risk unless the premium is paid in advance.” Invariably, he said that it presupposed that any insurance company should grant no insurance cover without having received the premium. Operators, however, believe that since insurance

concept the world over is the fulcrum in which all economic activities revolve, government has the primary duty and the greatest spender in the economy to support and encourage the industry to grow by insuring its assets and pay premium, as an example for the people to follow. The risk managers said that at our level of economic development and risks associated with it, government at all levels should have faith in insurance, by insuring their property. An industry chief executive

who pleaded anonymity said that government group life business is a serious challenge in the industry because premium for this business are supposed to be remitted by January 1st, each year, but the premium will never come before August. He said: “You realise that some of the major sources of income for the industry like the public sector group life has been delayed in coming to the companies due to some things that are not clear to us, but we must also tell you that the industry is not folding its arms as far as

proposals have been made to the government as to what can be done to avoid reoccurrence and that is probable the commencement date of group life assurance. We are, however, talking to ourselves in the interest of the employees and the industry.” The Managing Director/CEO, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, Wole Onaolapo, explained that the traditional role of insurance business all over the world was to provide financial security to other sectors of the economy to take more risks, as insurance remained the best risk transfer mechanism you

can think of.” For the industry to play this role efficiently, he said, we need the support of everybody – government at all levels, public and private entrepreneurs because insurance provides the peace of mind at any circumstance. According to him, “we want to commend the National Insurance Commission for the effort they are making to enforce compulsory insurance in the industry, particularly the government agencies because government attitude towards insurance of assets and payment of premium has remained a challenge.”

Egypt sustains growth in life assurance HE political revolution T that began in 2011 continues to suppress the Egyptian economy. GDP growth declined from 5.1per cent in 2010 to 1.8 per cent in 2011. The economy is struggling with reductions in foreign direct investment, inflation and high unemployment. Revenues from tourism were negatively affected by the political upheaval, while the Egyptian insurance industry maintained growth. The country’s life insurance segment, which accounted for 46.5 per cent of the insurance industry’s gross written premium, expanded at a CAGR of 8.1 per cent during the review period (20082012). The written premium of the segment valued EGP4.5 billion ($0.7 billion) in 2012. In 2012, individual life insurance accounted for the highest share of the life segment with 41.6 per cent, followed by pensions with 21.6 per cent. The increasing population and rising awareness at times of uncertain political and economic conditions supported the growth. The segment is highly concentrated, with the five leading life insurers accounting for 99.1 per cent of the total gross written premium in 2012. The Egyptian life segment accounted for 46.5 per cent of the total industry’s gross written premium in 2012.

Individual life and pension products were the leading life insurance product category during the review period. Traditional channels such as brokers and agencies dominated the distribution landscape and accounted for 89 per cent of the total commission paid in 2012. The life segment is highly concentrated, with the country’s leading 10 life insurers accounting for a combined 99.1 per cent share of the segment’s total net written premium value in 2012. As of 2012, the life segment comprised 13 companies, of which 10 were domestic insurers and three were the branch offices of foreign insurers. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the life insurance segment in Egypt: “It provides historical values for the Egyptian life insurance segment for the report’s 2008-2012 review period and forecast figures for the 20122017 forecast period. It offers a detailed analysis of the key categories in the Egyptian life insurance segment, along with market forecasts until 2017. “It covers an exhaustive list of parameters, including written premium, incurred loss, loss ratio, commissions and expenses, combined ratio, frauds and crimes, total assets, total investment income and retentions. ”

Managing Director, AIICO Capital Ltd, Dipo Oguntuga (left), MD/CEO Magnartis Finance & Investment Limited, Bukola Oluwadiya, Executive Director, AIICO Insurance Plc, Dr. Adenike Fajemirokun, Chairman, AIICO Insurance Plc. Dr. Oladele Fajemirokun, MD/CEO Vetiva Capital Management Limited, Chuka Eseka and MD/CEO, AIICO Insurance Plc. Edwin Igbiti, at the signing of IPO documents in Lagos.

Capital Express records N2.8b premium APITAL Express C Assurance Limited recorded N2.8billion premium in 2012 financial period. The Chairman of the company, Otunba Babatunde Adenuga, disclosed this during the 12th yearly general meeting of the company held in Lagos. He told shareholders, “Against harsh economic backdrop, your company achieved a gross written premium of N2.8billion for the year ended 2012.” Adenuga noted that the company achieved 79 per cent growth in investment income in the financial period under review. The chairman said that the current year promises to be better in terms of premium drive and increased performance. “With fervent pursuit of our corporate strategy and business approach, we would leverage on our

strength with promises of better and more rewarding 2013,” he said. He said Capital Express was strategically positioned to face the challenges of the new year and respond to the ever changing economic environment. According to him, a series of deliberate actions neces-

sary to turn around the fortunes of its foreign subsidiaries and reposition them for better performance will be a key part of its strategic thrust in the coming year. The firm, he added, would diligently execute its 2013 business plans intended to position the company as a

clear leader in its various markets. “We will continue to focus on optimal resource deployment, empowerment of our employees, utmost professionalism, high values and ethical standards, and sound governance and risk management practices,” he said.

Business Journal holds summit in Lagos HE Business Journal insurT ance summit & exhibition 2014 is set for Monday, March 10, 2014 at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja. The theme is: ‘Closing Insurance Awareness Gap for Business Growth.’ Prince Cookey, publisher/editor-in-chief of Business Journal, stated that the summit is to provide a platform for stakeholders in the insurance industry to brainstorm on key issues driving the immediate and future growth of the market. “It is also our desire to keep

insurance on the front-burner of national discourse to create awareness and understanding of the industry and ensure sustainable growth. “As the theme suggests, we strongly believe that closing the yawning insurance awareness gap in Nigeria will lead to dramatic increase in the fortunes of the industry for the overall benefit of all stakeholders-regulator, operators and consumers.” He urged current stakeholders in the industry to seize opportunity of the summit to

honestly address the challenges retarding rapid growth of the market to rewrite the history of the insurance sector in Nigeria. He described the summit as the little contribution of Business Journal magazine to the development of the insurance industry in Nigeria. He promised that the summit would be an annual event to constantly evaluate the progress of the industry, identify weak spots and generate ideas to address them and move the market forward.


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Unlocking micro-insurance business in Nigeria About Microinsurance and its current position in Nigeria Introduction IDE commendation must be given to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and the German Development Corporation (GIZ) for the successful work done on the Country Diagonostic Study of Microinsurance in Nigeria. NAICOM has also commenced the implementation of the study report and applications are being received for the registration of Microinsurance Providers. Other works had also been carried out on Microinsurance in Nigeria e.g. Mosleh .U. Ahmed (International Consultant) – Mi in Nigeria: Supply and Demand Side Analysis in Kano and Lagos funded by GTZ/IFC 2010. What is Microinsurance? SIGMA Definition Microinsurance (MI) is Insurance for the persons with low income and irregular cash flows often ignored by the mainstream commercial and social insurance schemes. ILO Definition Microinsurance is the protection of the low income people against specific perils in exchange for regular * premium payments proportionate to the likelihood and the cost of the risk involved. IAIS Definition Microinsurance is Insurance accessed by the low-income population, provided by a variety of different entities, but run in accordance with generally accepted insurance practices and funded by premiums. The Regulator in Nigeria as a member of IAIS adopts the IAIS definition. The target group for Microinsurance The target groups for Microinsurance are the farmers, the artisans, the market women in the rural, semi-urban and urban areas and the low-income people of Nigeria in general. This set of people could be divided into those already using financial services (like Microfinance Banks) and those who do not. In general, the low-income people all over the world are those who earn $4.0 per day and below and are further divided into 2 groups (1) the Active poor and (2) the Vulnerable poor. The Active poor are those earning between $2.0 and $4.0 per day while the Vulnerable poor are those earning below $2.0 per day. Since Insurance is to satisfy the security needs of human beings and those earning below $2.0 per day are still struggling to satisfy the physiological needs of food, shelter and clothing, Insurance for them can only be provided through government aid/support. The focus of commercial Microinsurance is therefore the low-income people earning between $2.0 and $4.0 per day. The profile of Microinsurance policyholders The factors that make the low-income people in Nigeria enter into abject poverty are not the opposite of those that make them to escape from poverty. The Low-Income people in Nigeria enter into poverty through ill health, accident, drought, fire disaster, social expenses and high interest private debts. On the other hand the poor people in Nigeria escape from poverty through bumper harvest, income diversification, land improvement and successful children. The ambition to “work out of poverty” that is, tell your success story is universal in all human beings including the Low-income and hence all public support and poverty alleviation programmes are usually viewed as social stigma even among the low income group. The Low-income people in Nigeria live in risky environments vulnerable to numerous perils than the rest of the population. Risk-pooling and informal insurance is not entirely new to the Low-income people in Nigeria but these informal insurance mechanisms do not stand up well against the series of perils confronting them. Microinsurance is not a class of Insurance or a product, it is a business line in itself with all the classes and products of the conventional Insurance and can be delivered through a variety of channels – Mutual Groups, MFIs, Community Based Organisations (CBO), Faith Based Organization (FBO), Commercial underwriters as well as Multi-national Insurance Companies. The Microinsurance market The size of the market The World has 4.0b poor people divided into 2.6b active poor and 1.4b vulnerable poor

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alcoholism Risk coping mechanisms in use in the communities In order to cope with their risk exposure, the low-income people close down their businesses, sell their properties/ animals, borrow from saving club, beg friends and family members for help or simply resign to fate. Problems associated with the risk coping mechanisms in use Disappointment, embarrassment, back to penury, stroke leading to death and loss of community status. Trust issues in financial decision by the sampled communities The low-income people in Nigeria, especially the artisans and the women groups trust their trade associations, their cooperative societies, their religion, their friends and families in that order in taking financial decision more than the government or the provider itself. Soladoye Unlocking Microinsurance business in (Sigma Publication 2011) Nigeria has 112.0m poor Nigeria people (National Bureau of Statistics 2011). Out of The way forward this figure, 75m are Active Poor while 37.0m are Microinsurance is already un-locked in the Vulnerable poor. A publication in the Nigeria through the commendable efforts of Vanguard newspaper in 2012 revealed that the NAICOM and GIZ and the next stage is to number of the poor people in Nigeria equals the keep the door ajar. total population of 7 countries in West Africa. In order to achieve this, four key areas of Microinsurance market penetration in Africa “holes and gaps” in the insurance business of The 10 biggest Mi markets in Africa – 2011 Nigeria have to be blocked. According to the publication from “Making GAP1 – Access Finance Work for Africa” (MFW4A), Nigeria is the Need does not automatically translate into th 9 out of the 10 biggest Microinsurance mardemand and it can be said at 100 per cent kets in Africa in absolute figure but number 22 confidence level that 80 per cent of those in penetration out of 37 African countries that who live in the rural areas of Nigeria are submitted records on Microinsurance perform- poor. ance. Access to Insurance provider is limited in Top on the list is South Africa with 27.23m Nigeria. The number of bank branch offices Insured (54.5 per cent of the population) while in Nigeria is over 5, 000. FirstBank alone had Nigeria had 1.08m insured (0.68 per cent of the 692 branches (December 2012) while the population). number of Micro Finance Banks at the same Market penetration in Nigeria time was 871. The number of insurance In considering the performance of branch offices at the same time was 597. Microinsurance in a country, we probe into The above scenario will require NAICOM to whether or not the insureds are voluntary or give recognition and formalisation to the compulsory insureds, that is, Microinsurance non-traditional providers of Insurance and made compulsory for them as a part of credit stipulate forced – familiarity of the existing facility requirement. The product usually used commercial underwriters with here is Credit Life. Microinsurance provision in line with the The fact of the matter is that Nigeria has the powers conferred on it under section 7 of the potentials to surpass South Africa in NAICOM Act 1997. Microinsurance record if not in penetration at Recognition of non-traditional providers least in absolute figure within five years. As at February 2014, about seven commercial Out of the 1, 079,000 Mi insureds in Nigeria in underwriters were providing 2012, 70 per cent had Credit Life Policy, 7.5 per Microinsurance products in Nigeria while cent had Personal Accident, 2.5 per cent had some six new applications were said to have Property Insurance, 10 per cent Savings Life and been received by NAICOM from intending 10 per cent Health Insurance. In essence only 20 stand alone operators. In any case, the miniper cent of the number were voluntary insureds. mum number of Microinsurance providers Usually those under compulsory insurance required in Nigeria by 2020 is 774, that is, always don’t know that they have bought insur- one per local government area. At the curance. rent rate, the regulators will have to recogCurrent situatiion analysis nise the following non-tradition operators at Since the presentation of the MDRI Report in least as distribution channels if it truly wants 2009, identifying Microinsurance (as a new mar- to provide access to Microinsurance in ket to be explored) the National Insurance Nigeria. Commission (NAICOM) has made remarkable Multi-purpose Cooperative Societies – they progress in the area of introducing Mi in this big cut across the whole of Nigeria and have market with huge opportunities. about 3.0m members. Before the Federal German Development Corporation (GIZ) / Ministry of Agriculture introduced the NAICOM – Country Diagnostic Study of CODAS (Cooperative Data Analysis System), Microinsurance in Nigeria – 2012. which is on-going, there were 125,000 coopIn embarking on this study, NAICOM and GIZ erative societies in Nigeria. According to the wanted evidence-based report on the position of Bye Law 8(8) of the National Corporative Microinsurance in Nigeria, identify the capacity Insurance Society (NCIS), it provides insurof the Low-income people in Nigeria to use ance among its members, had 103 registered financial products and make the report a public underwriters with over 70,000 Insureds as at resource in itself. It is this last mandate that 2012. makes it possible for me to shed some light on This existing structure of the society prosome of the outcomes of the study at this forum. vides easy access to Insurance by the cooperFocused Group discussions (FGD) were held for ative societies who are over 3.0m in number. the demand side in nine states and five regions Microfinance Banks of Nigeria with 207 family units made up of over The Microfinance Banks are the “low-hang2000 family members. 54 public and private sec- ing fruits” in Microinsurance distribution. tor organisation were also met in two states on They have wider and grassroot spread than the supply and enablers side during the six the Commercial Insurance Companies. As at months of the study. December 2012, they had about 871 banks, The nine demand side states were made up of over 20.0m depositors, aggregate loan of two urban communities, three semi-urban and over N70.0b and aggregate deposit of over four rural communities. N1.0tr. This channel needs to be recognised Type of risk faced by the communities as distributors or providers to achieve access All the interviewed communities identify their to Microinsurance by the low-income people major risk exposure as Sickness, Accident, Flood, in Nigeria. Drought Fire, Political Violence, Religious Faith-based organisation Violence, unforgiven quarrels and death. Nigerians are highly religious people. Additional risks faced by the rural communities Religion – both Islam and Christianity - is a Water – borne diseases, hazardous jobs - snake rallying point for low-income people in bite and falling from tree top. Nigeria. Islamic religion also provides a Social Expenses – wedding, funeral, extended good ground to propagate Microtakaful family, absence of medical facilities to diagnose (Microinsurance packaged in line with the and to treat. Sharia Law to prevent riba’ and maisir as Ignorance – Cultural and religious beliefs and there are more Muslims in artisans, market

women etc. and it is estimated that there are 87.6m Muslims in Nigeria. It was also discovered during the diagnostic study that MUSWEN (Muslims in Southwest Nigeria have a Micro Takaful scheme in place with 10,000.00 members which has been running for over 10years. Mutual and community based organizations (MCBO)s These are member-owned and member-managed organisation usually run by non-professional voluntary staff in a small geographic community. Examples of MCBOs are funeral associations, age groups, market women association etc. These can be organised and recognised through their Esusu and monthly contribution collectors. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) NGOs tend to focus primarily on the low-income groups and they are not primarily driven by profit. They play very well in the health Microinsurance market. Example is the USAID/Engender Health Project and the Hygiea/Government of Neitherlands project in Shonga and Isanlu-Isin (Kwara State) and the Lady Mechanic Project (Lagos State) covering altogether about 120 enrollees. NGOs are responsible for 47 per cent of all microinsurance covered lives in China while only one - China Federation of Trade Unions - is responsible for 36 per cent of covered lives. Governments and MDAs Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government are veritable tools for the distribution and even provision of Microinsurance. Provision of Microinsurance is not always restricted to Insurance-regulated entities and the numerous available inter-governmental opportunities in Nigeria Mi are: The Federal Ministry of Agriculture Cassava Growers Association of Nig (CGAN), Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria, the Dept of Cooperative Societies etc. The CGAN has 20,000 members while the Dept of Coops had 125, 000 registered associations some having up to 400 members. The NHIS As revealed during the country diagnostic study, some of the programmes under NHIs are Community Health Insurance Scheme divided into three segments: Semi-urban Mutual Health Scheme – run and managed by each community, Facilitators Mutual Scheme – NGOs, CSOs manage the scheme for the community on Mutual basis and Programme Managers Scheme – Technical Facilitators operate the scheme as programme managers, the MDG Project - A package for the vulnerable group – pregnant women and children under five years of age with 100 per cent government subsidy. As at June 2012, the MDG had covered 12 states, had 1.6m enrollees. There is the need for NAICOM to collaborate with these MDAs in order to provide access to insurance mechanism by the Low-income people in Nigeria. Civil Society Organisations (CSO) This group comprises of the cooperative societies, the trade unions and artisans, the Gender Based Organisations (GBOs), the Community Based Organisation (CBOs), the Community Development Associations (CDAs), the NonGovernmental Organisations (NGOs) the Foundations, Social Solidarity Groups (SSG) Alumni Associations and Membership-Based Organizations – Professional. The key characteristics of these organisations are Autonomy, Solidarity, Not for Profit, Democratic decisionmaking, Non-Political, Non-religious Common Focus, Target Audience, Benefit of others motive, all making them organised bodies for ease of formalisation as Providers or distributors of Mi. The insurance providers As at 2013, Nigeria had 58 NAICOM – Licensed Underwriters, 477 NCRIB-registered Brokers and about 10,000 active agents. The NAICOM Guidelines on Microinsurance permits the existing underwriters to provide Microinsurance on basis of their existing license and capital while there is no law that prevents the brokers from distributing wholesale, retail, Takaful and Microinsurance products. It, however, appears that the Nigerian commercial underwriters are still hesitant about the Microinsurance business despite the huge market and reasonable profit potential of the MI segment as revealed from the diagnostic study conducted by NAICOM/GIZ. As already done in some countries like India, South Africa China and the Philippines, a trigger from within or a threat from without may be necessary from the regulator.

Being the text of a paper presented by Yemi Soladoye- MD/CEO Riskguard-Africa (NIG) Ltd, at INSPEN’s Nigeria Insurance & Pension Award held in Lagos, recently.


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UPSTREAM NEWS

Shell Shuts Nembe Creek Pipeline

Heritage Oil Achieves 17 Per Cent Production Increase from OML 30 ONDON Stock Exchange listed Heritage Lwhich Oil has given a production update in it reports that its year-to-date production from OML 30 has averaged approximately 15,600 barrels of oil per day net to Heritage. This represents a 17 per cent increase on last quarter's production figures. Commenting on this latest update, Heritage CEO Tony Buckingham said: "OML 30 operations are progressing in line with expectations, providing significant revenues and cash flow to Heritage which should enable the company to achieve its goal of paying a sustainable dividend stream to shareholders. Our interest in OML 30 will be used as a platform to grow and obtain additional interests in Nigeria and in other core areas." The company said it has achieved three liftings so far this year and expects future liftings to take place on a monthly basis. Other development work on the block includes the installation of gas compressors, refurbishment of equipment, statutory inspection and testing of all pressure vessels, and inspection of all wellheads and pipelines continue to support well optimisation. All of this the company says, will result in further increases in production. The company also expects an improvement in its bottom line after concluding delicate negotiations with the government over the tax status of its joint venture vehicle, Shoreline Natural Resources. They expect this to be reflected in their 2013 results. Commencement of development drilling is on track for the second half of the year.

DOWNSTREAM NEWS

HELL has shut the Nembe Creek Trunk Sattack. oil pipeline after yet another oil theft The vital trunkline has been targeted incessantly in the last few years. The company has not yet disclosed how much crude oil will have to be deferred as a result. "We closed the Nembe Creek Trunkline on Sunday for the removal of crude theft points. We plan to complete the exercise and reopen the line as soon as possible," a spokesman for Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria said. The Nembe Creek trunkline, located in the Eastern part of the Niger Delta, normally transports 150,000 barrels of crude oil owned by SPDC, but is also used by thirdparties. The 97 kilometre pipeline collects crude oil from 14 oil pumping stations across the Nembe Creek, Krakama, Awoba, Ekulama and San Bartholomew oil fields and transport it to the Cawthorne Channel field and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria's Bonny Export Terminal for dehydration and export. The Nembe Creek pipeline was refurbished in 2010 at a cost of about $2 billion. It was the largest single project under the SPDC joint venture's asset integrity programme that has replaced more than 1,000 km of major pipelines and flowlines in the last five years. Shell said the pipeline was replaced in December 2010 at a cost of $1.1 billion but has been repeatedly targeted by crude thieves since it was commissioned. Shell has previously said that they were losing more than 60,000 barrels of oil a day due to the production shut ins. The Dutch multinational, which has been selling off assets in the Niger Delta and is currently looking to sell Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 18, 24, 25, and 29, has thrown the pipeline in with the latest asset sell off.

OPEC Daily Basket Price Stood at $106.10 a Barrel Thursday, 27 February 2014 HEprice of OPEC basket of twelve crudes T stood at $106.10 a barrel on Thursday, compared with $106.49 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The basket price has been on a downward trend since the 19th of February when it reached $107.15. Introduced on 16 June 2005, is currently made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela).

NNPC: No Fuel Scarcity HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is continuing to T deny the rumours that are circulating

about an impending petrol price hike. NNPC Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Omar Farouk, had to act as queues were beginning to from at petrol stations in Abuja and other cities across the nation. The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA also confirmed that there was sufficient stockpile of products. PPMC spokesperson, Lanre Oladele joined Farouk in calling for the general public to resist the urge to panic-buy as there was sufficient stocks in depots across the country to last for weeks.

REGULATORY

in association with

cessing facilities receive crude oil in exchange for refined products. Ahmed said the NEITI audit revealed that these arrangements are not economically beneficial when the processing fees, freight and in some cases, demurrage, are taken into account. She also reported $866,189,632.47 in under-deliveries. Finally, the Executive Secretary also commented on the Berne Declaration report, saying the accusation of fraudulent crude oil swap deals worth $6.8 billionleveled against NNPC , saying the accusation has some substance. Meanwhile, group managing director of the NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, in giving evidence called the claims "baseless and without material substance." Before he was sent on suspension, former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had called for an end to the crude oil swap deals.

Minister of Finance Calls for Independent Forensic Audit of NNPC Accounts House of Reps Investigates NNPC - Swiss Crude Traders Deals

HE House of Representatives' has T launched its investigation into dealings between the beleaguered Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Swiss Traders begin. The lawmakers are probing the crude oil deals between NNPC and its crude oil trading partners, particularly Vitol and Trafigura. The investigation comes after Swiss non governmental organization (NGO), Berne Declaration, accused Swiss traders of colluding with NNPC to defraud the nation of $6.8 billion in oil swap deals, an accusation denied by all the parties fingered by the report. Giving evidence at the hearing, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, demanded full and transparent disclosure of all alternative funding arrangements in the audited financial statements (AFS) of NNPC. Ahmed is pointing the finger at NNPC over a number of issues. First, she made fresh allegations against NNPC stating that in their 2009-11 audit NEITI discovered $22.8 billion "off balance sheet items" which appear to have been hidden from NNPC's records. The items were from its alternative funding/financing arrangements with its Joint Venture partners in form of third party financing from external financial markets and Modified Carry Arrangement (MCA), which are loans from existing JV partners (international oil companies). NEITI also says that NNPC diverted $1.73 billion that was earmarked for funding its joint venture (JV) cash calls/operations to non-cash call items, namely: security payments ($600,000,000), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) management fees ($486,604,000) and expansion of ESCRAVOS Lagos Pipeline Project ($646,950,000). This meant that NNPC was not able to fund its JV cash calls. Next, she would like to see the government review the allocation of oil to the refineries. She pointed out that the refineries are operating far below their nameplate capacity and yet they are being allocated 445,000 barrels of oil per day. The Executive Secretary also called attention to the Crude Oil-Product Exchange deals popularly referred to as crude oil swaps. In these transactions, offshore pro-

THEMinister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has joined the call for an audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). She has called for urgent action with regard to an independent forensic audit of conflicting claims of unaccounted funds made by and suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamdio Sanusi. Okonjo-Iweala said: "My position on this has been clear from the start. The Ministry of Finance's reconciliation showed a shortfall of $10.8 billion in NNPC remittances to the Federation account. After this, the conflicting claims continued with new figures such as $20 billion being mentioned." She said she had been calling for an independent forensic audit since 13th.

EVENTS

Nigeria Oil & Gas Strategic Conference & International Exhibition (NOG 2014) Postponed HE annual CWC conference, the highT light of the Nigerian oil and gas industry calendar has been postponed. The annual conference had to be postponed due to a clash with the Centenniary Celebrations being hosted by the Federal Government in Abuja. The conference and exhibition will now take place from from 17 - 20 March 2014 at the ICC, Abuja. CWC says it has been able to get the support and commitment from their partners, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors. As a result, the conference programme remains unaltered. The company says it regrets any inconvenience caused by the programme change. have arisen.

Accounting for Upstream Oil and Gas Operations Under IFRS. SIAO is holding a comprehensive 5 day workshop on Accounting for Upstream Oil and Gas Operations Under IFRS. The workshop will be held inDubai from the17th to the 21st of March. Registration closes on the 10th of March. For further information get in touch with David Raggay on 0817 510 3826 or email him at david.raggay@siao-ng.com. SIAO is a one-stop shop for audit and assurance, tax and advisory service.


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SPECIAL REPORT ON REPUTABLE CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT COMPANIES IN NIGERIA

It takes only the strong to take up serious construction jobs in Nigeria The Director General, Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI), Alh. Tijani Adediran Adekanmbi, in this interview, reiterates that local contractors require maximum support from the public sector in order to boost their performance and business. Tell us about Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI): OCI was incorporated in November 1954 as a company limited by guarantee and had no share capital. This makes it the second oldest private sector in Nigeria after the Lagos Chamber of Commerce. Our objective is to protect the common interest of our members and moderate their competiveness in order to foster common good. The initial membership was subjected to eight and they were all colonial construction companies which was during Nigeria’s earliest independent years. By 1970s, we already had a first Nigerian president heading FOCi. FOCi represents the interest of its members including organized stakeholders in the construction industry. We represent their interest before the government and their clients in areas which are of common interest. We also ensure that competition between members does not prevent

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them from getting the best benefit from the system and that, they also move together to protect their interest so that they do not under-cut themselves. Also, there are documents that are commonly adopted by the ministry of works. The first is called schedule of day work rate, which is prepared by the federation in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Works; implying that when you sign a contract, issues may arise which are not specifically stated in the contract. For instance, you may need to hire a trail loader or other forms of labour for some hours. When you get to site, sometimes, you will discover new issues like clearing which needs to be done and such is not stated in the contract document. That is the essence of the schedule of day work rate. What are the activities of FOCi so far: We have succeeded in protecting our members’

Alh. Tijani Adediran Adekanmbi, Director General, Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) interests. There are occasions where the government accumulate so much local debt at the expense of the local economy, which sometimes, you can only pursue by pressure. That means that members’ collective pressure can

TO PARTICIPATE IN PART 2, PLEASE CONTACT 08032189598

Mr. Anthony Odell, Managing Director, Jagal Nigeria Limited (JNL) be used as a strategy to seek a demand from government. We also ensure that contract pricing is moderated for fair treatment to members. For instance, when debt appears too high, the client which is the government


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tends to utilize a game of setting up one contractor against the other by saying we (government) will give you 25 percent back of what we are owing you while at the same time, making similar demands from other contractors. in such a situation, Foci steps in to ascertain what was said to the other party/ contractor so that common interest is upheld. on the other hand, members understand salient issues that can better be handled by their collective organization, which is Foci. We can also call for members’ meeting and everyone presents what was said to them by the government and subsequently, a committee is set up to that regards. What are the challenges or recent trend in the sector: there is really no current trend but the same old factor. it is about you work and you do not get paid. government admitted in a recent national daily that they are owing a local debt of about 10 trillion naira. these are largely on developmental projects. this consequently implies that it takes only the strong construction companies to take up serious jobs in nigeria. When you borrow money, you pay interest and when your schedule operation is disrupted, you will pay high interest on money borrowed. that is one of the reasons construction/contractors’ projects in nigeria are said to be very costly. if conditions of construction works are followed, it leads to cheaper contract. When a contract starts in 2002 and not yet completed in 2014, inflation will surface in many of the items that are needed for the job and when the project is paused, it will require new mobilization. again, failure of clients to pay leads to abandoned projects. other challenges are operational challenges. there is the challenge of withholding tax and even the tax itself. the challenge of non and delayed payment is one. Where is the non and delayed payment often experienced: it is more in the public sector than in the private sector. you do not waste your time with a private client that has not paid. you can go and the client will not blackmail you or use indirect force to push you. But you cannot walk away on the government and you cannot take the government to court unless you have made up your mind to leave the country. it is a different ball-game altogether. Some of our members hardly work for the public sector anymore because of the fact of not being sure when they will be paid, whereas you have committed in paper that you will execute the job. this is also the reason why local contractors are not booming. the local contractor knows the job but no financial backing and support to execute the job. JagaL nigeria Limited (JnL): tHe conStruction Leader agaL nigeria Limited (JnL), over the years, has been professionally providing its reputable clients with reliable solutions in the field of construction works, even more to clients’ most demanding complex structures and is recognized as a leader in the industry. this is as a result of its continuous innovative and professional approach to cutting edge technologies and timely projects delivery system. our expertise spans the complete construction industry spectrum, from renovations to multi-million dollar projects. our team of construction professionals constantly offers solution for all construction related needs. We support our clients from project inception to the commissioning of the fully operational facility. We are committed to quality training and training of our professionals in Health and Safety and modern methods of construction. Services: JnL provides pre-construction/ constructions services, post-construction services, general contracting, construction management, project management, ePc contracting. core Businesses: JnL specializes in the construction of industrial, institutional/educational, healthcare, transportation, water, telecommunication, marine and technology projects. core values: they include customer satisfaction; total quality management to international standards; staff training and manpower development; utilization of the best equipment and technology; co-operation, teamwork and global leadership; empowerment; shared values and competitiveness; as well as unique and excellent result orientation. value/ safety: loyalty to the client is our utmost interest. We ensure best quality services to our clients at a very affordable cost effective price. We always conduct industry research, thereby keeping us abreast of industry safest trends and other industry safety techniques. Quality: JnL is committed to the delivery of quality products/ services in full compliance

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Horation Limited: taking you to tHe rigHt direction oratio Limited was incorporated on 9th January, 1975 as a Limited Liability company under the companies act of 1968, and registered with the Federal ministry of Works in category ‘d’ (Building contractor) to engage in civil engineering, design, construction and maintenance Works. Horatio Limited operated since the beginning in the various building projects moreover has been a pioneer of the Precast concrete fence system. From January 2003 the majority of the shares were acquired by investors active in the country from the last twenty-eight years within the electro-mechanical installation sector. From that date a new board of director took over the management of the company from the previous one with the intention to continue the activities in the building construction field in line with the experiences and quality of service reached in the past. Professional experience: our consultants have solid backgrounds in commercial and residential construction: experience acquired year after year, job after job. By partnering with other world class organizations, we ensure that we provide not only first class services, but cutting edge products as well our partner: Faresin Building Spa is a leading producer of high quality building materials based in italy. to ensure the standard quality of all products is always excellent, Faresin Building Spa uses only raw materials purchased from carefully selected suppliers. the production process is subject to systematic quality controls at every stage; production cycles are highly automated and the staff trained to ensure the appropriate expertise in the use of technologically advanced machinery. all this makes Faresin Building Spa the italian leader in the design and production of technical building materials. the company, which manufactures exclusively in italy, offers a wide range of products: formwork, circular formwork, lift wells, basements, pillars, shelves rampant and systems for slabs of aluminum; all of them are modular, able to meet the entire needs of modern construction industry, in line with the most advanced needs in terms of both performance and security. globally, Faresin building division wishes to be a partner for its customers and guide them before, during and after purchasing and renting products. our team of technicians offers careful design on the basis of the customer’s needs, with a study aimed at optimizing the use of the products on construction site. all of our products can be purchased or rented, which offers excellent logistic support. the goods are delivered speedily with imme.diate formation of a team of technicians to promptly resume work at the site. We constantly ensure worksite safety our philosophy: we are committed to providing services which are of the highest international standards to meet our clients’ requirements; we adhere to both local and international regulatory practices and requirements in order to deliver safe and reliable services and products to our clients while remaining a socially responsible organization.  

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Mr. Roberto Finco, Managing Director, Elektrint Nigeria Limited with its contractual obligations. objectives are set in place to ensure that all procurement, construction, testing, pre-commissioning and commissioning activities undertaken on any given project are planned and executed to achieve the required quality. management Style: JnL adopts customer focus; quality assurance; and process re-design in all its dealings. our processes are designed to accommodate appropriate inputs in a system that generates quality compliant output, with regards to high performance, reliability, durability, conformity to specification and aesthetic values.

mikano internationaL Limited/Hyundai – moving you Further StaBLiSHed in 1993, mikano is currently the largest power generator assembler and control panels manufacturer in sub-Saharan africa. mikano assembles control panels, diesel and gas-powered generators- (output ranging from 9kva to 5000kva), as well as fabricates steel structures. the company has established partnerships with Schneider electric, Philips and aBB for power and automation technology covering low, medium and high voltage, assembling integrated control and power panels. today, mikano is the sole distributor and supporter of Hyundai lifting and construction machinery which includes the full range of Hyundai construction equipment such as Hyundai Hydraulic excavator, Wheel Loader, Skid Steer Loader, Backhoe Loader, Forklift and material Handling products. Hyundai Heavy industries co Ltd is one of the world’s largest shipbuilders operating nine dry docks and six goliath cranes. the Hyundai construction equipment division, which mikano is distributing in nigeria, is widely recognized as an industry leader for its use of advanced ergonomic engineering and technology; backed by highly advanced factory automation, a zero-tolerance quality control inspection system, and innovative engineering. it has been recognized around the world for outstanding performance and value for money. using genuine parts ensures durability, high quality, more reliable operation and greater safety. mikano international Limited ensures that all parts used in repairs are genuine and supplied by Hyundai Heavy industry company Limited. the equipment is also guaranteed a longer lifespan through quality checks and tests by on-ground professional technicians to certify that the highest standard requirements are met. our unique selling points include: availability of all models of Hyundai Heavy construction equipment for immediate delivery; availability of genuine spare parts for servicing and repairs; 24/7 products support and customer service; 12 months comprehensive warranty; free training for end user’s staff; saving 20% of fuel consumption compare to any other similar machine; amazing competitive prices. in a nutshell, mikano international Limited is proud to deliver Hyundai construction equipment products to the nigerian market and to satisfy its customers by delivering industry leading parts, service and support infrastructure; ensuring lasting relationships with both customers and industry stakeholders alike.

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ovamann: WorLd’S BeSt certiFied PumPS deaLer

Sir Peter Oseghale Edeoghon (JP, FNIM, CNIM), Managing Director, Nigerian Dynamic Limited vamann Pumps Limited, incorporated in o 2001, is an indigenous firm and sole representative of maS/daF incorPorated of turkey; cnP pumps, magnet electric motors and Bolton pumps. our Brand Promise: We work with the best professional team in the pumps business to provide quality products and services to both the nigerian and West african market, by providing world’s most reliable pumps at cost effective and affordable prices. in nigeria today, we remain undisputed and adjoined as the nation’s first Sales; installation and Servicer of all types of industrial and domestic pumping machines. vision: to give our local industries, institutions, States and multinational conglomerates in nigeria and West african sub region, quality pumps that meets the international standards, and timely delivered. core value: reliability, excellence, integrity and professionalism. our Business: Horizontal split case pumps, unit single/multiple pumps; end suction centrifugal pumps; engine driven centrifugal pumps; High pressure multistage pumps; Self priming centrifugal pumps; Submersible sewage pumps; Submersible pumps; gear transfer pumps; uncooled thermal oil and water pumps; electrical control panels; domestic pumps; magnet electric motors; Flow meters; Pumps, electric motor accessories and chemical dosing pump. our clientele base: We have built quality products/services delivery for reputable and well acknowledged states governments, oil depots and hotels, factories and breweries. our pumps usages: For irrigations, water distributions, in-boilers, in-sewages, oil transfers, ingas uPg’s, fire fighting equipments. Who needs us: Breweries, distilleries and bottling companies; water corporations; oil depots and tank farms; gas plants; domestic water users; industries and factories; federal, state and local governments; fire service stations; high rise buildings. our projections: establishing rapid response call centres in major cities in nigeria and West africa and establishing more professional outlets across the federation. With ovamann there is always a pump for all application. eLektrint nigeria Limited: ForemoSt one StoP SHoP Lektrint nigeria Limited is a leading electrical and mechanical contracting company in nigeria, registered with the Federal ministry of Works registration Board as electrical contractors. in the past 37 years of existence, we have grown from strength to strength, establishing firm presence throughout the nation including masterpiece branch offices in abuja, Warri and PortHarcourt. We specialize in electrical engineering, plumbing, air conditioning, water pipelines, fire fighting and protection, security surveillance system and structural pre-fabrication. We always strive to satisfy each client’s specific demand and requirements. in a bid to satisfy customers’ requirement, we are committed to procure only good quality products that meet with international standards. For this singular purpose, we have a local purchasing department and overseas import/ export organization. Services: they are design and development of detailed engineering works; supply, installation and testing of piping, valves and fittings; supply, installation and commissioning of electrical systems and mechanical plants; supply and erection of steel structures; supply, erection and commissioning of Hv ac equipments; supply, prefabrication and installation of Hv ac ducting including insulation; maintenance and refurbish of electrical, mechanical and air conditioning plants.

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nigerian dynamicS Limited: toWardS an imProved 21St century conStruction needS He company was incorporated on 1st June, 1974 with the name edok-eter-mandiLaS Limited. owing to changes in the Local Share Holding, reorganization became necessary and the name was changed to nigerian dynamic Limited on 30th march, 1988. Since inception till date, the company has successfully undertaken various major civil engineering projects in both southern and northern parts of nigeria. Latest projects: For edo state government- ojirami-kpeteshi-erhurun-ogute-imiegieli and change in specification to asphalt overlay- Phase 1; n.d.d.c. (sub-contracts)- ekenwan – gelegele road construction and second ugbor – okundia and environs. comPLeted ProJectS: south chad irrigation scheme; little osse water supply, ondo state phase iii supply and laying of pipelines  scope; Bauchi state water borehole scheme; alau dam, maiduguri; Biu dam (Borno state).  main referees: as a result of our professional know-how, we are duely recognized by federal ministry of works and housing abuja; ministry of works and transport Benin city-edo state; chad basin development authority; ministry of works and housing akure-ondo state; Bauchi state water board; edo state water board Benin city; nnPc oil and gas sector (now npdc and idSL) edo state; ministry of production directorate general and rural hydraulic works Bamako – republic of mali; niger delta development commission- Port Harcourt; and ministry of works, transport and housing asaba- delta state.

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FINANCIALGUARDIAN Fidelity Bank hinges sustainability on manpower, commitment MONEY & BANKING

By Chijioke Nelson HE new Managing t Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, said that the combination of youthful energy, positive ambition, shared vision and character would help the financial institution to sustain the legacy already laid by the predecessor. According to him, there was a great need to consolidate on the achievements of the immediate pas chief executive to ensure that the tradition of excellence already at the financial institution would not be in vain.

• Ihejiahi finally bows out Okonkwo, who pointed out that shareholders only invest in organisations to get returns, added that it can only be realised if the company is able to generate revenue that can take care of its bills and retain earnings, but pledged that his leadership will not derail the eight-year tradition of dividend payout by the bank. “We are not unmindful of shareholders expectations from us, especially to sustain the dividend payout. For us, higher dividend is

Ihejiahi our target. We will draw on our youthful energy, positive ambition, shared vision,

sense of tenacity and character to sustain the type of bank that shareholders wish for. We would continue with our corporate social responsibility projects, especially the Fidelity Helping Hands Programme and diversifying it to reach more states of the federation. We have evolved a strength to drive it, because it is our pet project,” he said. But the bank’s immediate past boss, reginald Ihejiahi, while expressing gratitude to God for his successes at the bank at the valedictory/welcome dinner for him and Okonkwo, urged

Fidelity Bank workers to remain committed to responsibilities and take their job as a vocation. Ihejiahi explained that his period at the bank was interesting and challenging, but added that it was the nature of the industry, which can only be navigated with dedicated and competent professionals. “the past 10 years have been marked with challenging and difficult times in our operating environment. It is a special blessing to have gone through it and come out successfully. “But surrounding yourself with army of professionals,

who are technically competent, sensitive to the needs of customers and an eye on the future is the best thing to happen. “the wish of any leader who has gone is that the institution survives him, with the new leadership excelling in whatever foundation already laid. I have a great confidence in the future and continued progress of the bank. According to him, “banking is not the type of thing you do with so many other things by the side. You might succeed, but it is not assured and I don’t think it is the right thing to do.”

Sterling Bank initiates financial literacy scheme By Chijioke Nelson tErlING Bank Plc has iniSEducation!” tiated the “One Sterling programme to further consolidate its strategic focus on education and commitment to youth empowerment. the move, which is coming ahead of the yearly Financial literacy Week, under the Global Money Week, is also a development in line with the financial literacy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Sterling Bank, through the initiative is adopting select schools and deploying teams comprising trained staffers under its “Sterling Volunteers Programme” to educate and enlighten the children, specifically on financial literacy, during the week. the bank had sponsored the 2014 edition of the “We are the Future of our Nation (WAtFON)” programme, an initiative of Edumark Consult, with more than 3,500 final year students from various secondary schools in attendance. the WAtFON programme provides young Nigerians with the opportunity to meet and interact with accomplished professionals, as well as national leaders, who have excelled in their chosen endeavours in the society. the Group Head, Strategy and Communications, Sterling Bank, Shina Atilola, said that the sponsorship of WAtFON  was based on the need to invest in “our collective future and enable society, particularly the children in accordance with the bank’s Corporate Social responsibility focus.”

Lubricant Technical Manager, Oando Marketing Plc, Ayobami Odetola (left); Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Olaposi Williams; a distributor, Hamisu Dantinki who came top among the distributors receiving key to a Hillux Truck as a reward for excellence. Others are Lubricant Research & Development Manager, Mohammed Dahiru and Head, Sales, Sanyaolu Jonathan at the Lubes distributors Award in Lagos.

Foundation seeks collaboration on economic empowerment project By Helen Oji IllCItY Foundation, a H non-profit organisation, is seeking collaboration of government, agencies and international bodies on its educational support and economic empowerment programme. the foundation, according to the lead Coordinator, Obi Imemba, was particularly aims at discovering, developing and deploying young ‘minds’ to become resourceful through a well structured economic empower-

ment, mentorship, self discovery and educational support programme According to him: “the Hillcity educational support programme seeks to promote the attainment of quality education by supporting young, needy people to achieve their dreams and fulfill their destiny. An uneducated young life is a potential hazard to the society. Hillcity foundation hopes to empower young people by providing them some educational assistance annually. “the aim is not to provide

absolute scholarship but it’s just a way of supporting & motivating them to maximize their potentials. the programme as a unit of the Hillcity Foundation focuses on providing educational assistance to needy young persons, hence, enabling them develop their destinies. “We seek to empower young people intellectually, translating to all round empowerment: socially, financially and morally. to provide educational assistance to deserving young people aimed at motivating them to release

maximise their potentials. ” Imemba explained that the organisation was inaugurated and registered in 2004 and 200 with five contributory members. He explained that its membership has increased to 74, noting that the organisation has offered about 500 students educational support since inception. He added that the organisation targets to offer minimum of 1, 000 education support and 100 empowerment fund to students in the tertiary institution on a year-

ly basis in the next five year. “In the next five years our target is to give 1, 000 university scholarship award every year. We are launching and calling on agencies, government and international bodies to partner with us. We have 74 professional members who made contributions voluntary every year for this project, and we improved lives last year with N8.1 million and this year, we forecast N22 million for this project,” he said.

BCAN pledges good banking culture among service providers, consumers By Helen Oji ANK Customers B Association of Nigeria (BCAN), has expressed commitment to promote good banking culture and habits among providers and consumers of banking services. Addressing participants at the launch of the association in lagos at the weekend, the President of the

association, Uju M. Ogubunka explained that the Association is a consumer-protection focused organisation that recognises the inter-dependence between service providers and consumers of banking services. Ogubunka, who stressed the need for operators as well as regulators in the

Nigeria banking industry to collaborate with the Association to build a formidable banking industry in Nigeria, also expressed the Association’s resolve to promote good banking culture and habits among bank customers. He added that the Association also aimed at protecting the rights and

interest of its members. “there is no-gainsaying that this is necessary for the attainment of the much expected inclusive finance for the benefit of the citizenry and the growth of the economy. BCAN is an Incorporated trustee and a non-profit organisation, which one of the objectives is to educate the Nigerian gen-

eral public on the advantages inherent in the operations of efficient banking policies and the need to develop a healthy banking culture. “the membership of the association is by voluntary registration and open to individuals and corporate organisations that maintains or intends to maintain any form of bank account or

banking relationship with any Bank incorporated in Nigeria and licenced by the Central Bank of Nigeria. It is also open to Public and private limited liability companies, corporations, parastatals, sole proprietors, nongovernmental organisations, unions, associations, partnerships, among others,” he added.


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Focus Experts chart Nigerian Civil Service’s revival path The Centre for Values and Leadership (CVL) recently organized a colloquium in Lagos to examine the challenges facing the Nigerian Civil Service and recommend solutions. ROTIMI LAWRENCE OYEKANMIwas there. First, a Digression LOY Ejiogu, a Professor of Educational Management at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), was billed to attend an important event in Bulgaria last Tuesday, when he heard about the plan by the Lagos based Centre for Values and Leadership (CVL) to honour Alhaji Ahmed Joda and Chief Philip Asoidu, two former accomplished bureaucrats. He shelved the trip. When the microphone was eventually handed over to him at the event, Ejiogu explained to a stunned audience, why he had to be at the event to “honour Joda.” It was just immediately after the Civil War in the early 70s, he began; Biafra had just been defeated, its leader, the late Odumegwu Ojukwu had taken to his heels and it was a wrong time to be an identified as an Igbo or a Biafran in Nigeria. But that was also the time the poor Ejiogu found himself as an undergraduate at UNILAG. Nobody was looking after his interest. He had no money, no family in Lagos and he was, in practical terms, “a pauper.” One day, some of his classmates told him that they wanted to visit the Federal Ministry of Education (FME, in Lagos), to check for their names on the Federal Government Scholarship list. Although, Ejiogu had not applied for scholarship and could not have expected to find his name on the list, but he still followed them. At the Ministry, he stood at a corner by the gate, arms akimbo, as his classmates and other expectant students swarmed around the Ministry’s notice board. Shortly after, the gateman shouted at Ejiogu to clear out of the entrance for Oga. He scampered to one side and waited for his friends. Some seconds later, he heard a voice: “What are you doing here, young man?” Ejiogu turned round and saw the Oga, a fair, Fulani man, who turned out to be Joda, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary at that time. He told Joda that he was a student, with no sponsor or scholarship and had only accompanied his friends to the Ministry to check for their names. To his astonishment, Joda invited Ejiogu to his office, saying, “come and tell me more about your story.” After listening to Ejiogu’s sad story, Joda gave him a form to fill and then, asked him to “go.” About two weeks later, the University of Lagos got a letter from the FME, informing the management that Ejiogu had been awarded a Federal Government scholarship. “I was a only poor Biafran, with no hope, no money, no scholarship,” Ejiogu said, rasing one hand and looking across the hall at the audience. “But this man (Joda), the Holy Spirit touched him and he made it possible for me to get a Federal Government scholarship.” Looking into Joda’s eyes, he continued: “I want to tell you today, sir, that the seed you sowed has brought forth many fruits. The seed you sowed is now a Professor.” Between the Past and the Future The late General Murtala Ramat Mohammed (MRM), who overthrew General Yakubu Gowon (retired) via a military coup on July 30 1975, and was assassinated on February 13, 1976, is still being regarded as a hero in the country. He is the only Nigerian Military Head of State, whose portrait adorns the country’s N20 note and Nigeria’s busiest airport in Lagos is also named after him. But discussants and other participants at the CVL’s colloquium with the theme: Reinventing The Nigerian Public Service for Growth and Effective Service Delivery, held last Tuesday in Lagos, as part of activities to honour Joda and Asiodu, are pointing accusing fingers at MRM for taking actions that “decapitated” the Nigerian Civil Service (NCS) in 1975, and putting it in reverse gear. In his quest to restore public confidence in the federal government, MRM dismissed over 10, 000 public officials without benefits, over reasons ranging from age, health and incompetence to malpractice. The unprecedented

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Adegoroye

The awardees, Chief Philip Asiodu (left) and Alhaji Ahmed Joda purge affected the civil service, armed forces, police, diplomatic service, judiciary, public corporations and even the universities. Some officials were also put on trial over corruption. The panel of discussants, which included a retired diplomat, Ambassador Dapo Fafowora, former Deputy Governor of the old Bendel state, Chief John Edozien; Former Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr Goke Adegoroye and Ms Maryam Bashir, with CVL’s founder, Prof Pat Utomi as the moderator, was of the opinion that the 1975 purge marked the beginning of the NCS’ fall from grace, and had also left it mortally wounded. The NCS’ glorious past, personified by the five “Super Permanent Secretaries” – Allison Ayida, Philips Asiodu, Ahmed Joda, Ime Ebong and Abdulazeez Atta – was characterized by merit, competence and commitment to the common good. Corruption was unthinkable and the few dark horses that reared their heads were effectively dealt with. That was why Joda, a Fulani man, could see Ejiogu’s potential by just interviewing him for barely 10 minutes and putting the machinery into motion that eventually provided Ejiogu with the badly needed scholarship. But things have changed dramatically. It is common knowledge that federal civil servants are among the richest Nigerians at the moment. In Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Enugu and other choice areas all over the country, they own the most exquisite estates and drive the latest posh cars. They send their children to expensive secondary and tertiary institutions abroad and own properties in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and some Middle East countries. They travel abroad to treat illnesses and even common malaria, with public funds. And when they attend conferences abroad, they go with their wives or husbands in first class cabins, which is illegal. Yet, getting things done at various federal ministries have become a herculean task. If the files must move fast, some palms have to be greased; otherwise, that file would be transferred to a cabinet to gather dust. But Fafowora is not surprised. He affirmed that the NCS, which was fashioned after the British tradition, had been deeply shocked by the first coup in 1966 while the 1975 purge was ‘a disaster.” The Civil Service, according to him “can only function effectively when political stability is guaranteed,” He observed that the 1975 saga literally convinced civil servants that their jobs were no longer guaranteed, forcing them also to resort to making the hay while the sun shines. He wondered why Nigerians would expect the civil servants to have integrity when politicians were busy stealing recklessly from the treasury.

He said: “Why should the Civil Service not be inefficient? The Civil Service will not change unless the political class rids itself of corruption.” Fafowora also regretted that whereas, in the past, training was entrenched in the service, which sharpened government workers’ skills. But now, he said, capacity building was no longer taken seriously. He said that while Gowon appreciated the service and protected it, Mohammed, “or his actions did the exact opposite.” He insisted that a government could only function effectively if a sound and functioning Civil Service was in place, while a deranged Civil Service would also render to a government ineffective. Adegoroye accused the Ibrahim Babangida administration of inflicting further damage on the NCS with the 1988 Civil Service Reorganisation Decree 44, which he said, eroded NCS’ structure and capabilities. He observed that when the law states that civil servants must go with the administration that appoints them, then the tendency is there for civil servants to act differently. He noted that some senior civil servants were encouraged to engage illegal acts when they see the Ministers doing the same thing. He regretted that corruption had become so entrenched that several agencies under the same ministry would pay for the same trip of a Minister without anybody raising an eyebrow. He also accused the political class of breeding corruption by compelling the ministries to fund their political pursuits. His words: “When a Minister is newly appointed, he would like to go back to his constituency to thank all those who made his appointment possible. So, the agencies under his ministry would be asked to cough out some money for that purpose.” He also accused some Permanent Secretaries of engaging in illegal acts, like travelling on official trips abroad in first class cabins instead of Business Class, which the law stipulates. Bashir underscored the concepts of merit and job security as some of the things that attracted university undergraduates to the NCS in the 60s and 70s, when officials of the service used to visit campuses to seek out the best. She said: “Before you could be sacked as a civil servant in those days, you would have gone through several processes, such that by the time the final decision was taken, even you would have been convinced that you deserved to go.” She also recalled that once an individual was deemed qualified, based strictly on merit and competence, no other consideration such as religion or ethnic orientation of the individual

Edozien mattered. To Edozien, who joined the NCS in 1964 and was appointed Permanent Secretary in 1986, 90 per cent of the country’s woes could be linked to lack of planning. The former Deputy Governor of both the old Bendel and later Delta states, who was part of the team that fashioned out all the National Development Plans except the first, cited the power sector to buttress his point. He said that the while the private firms that had bought over the various units of the sector were ready to key into the national grid, the absence of gas was impeding their progress. “That wouldn’t have happened if there was planning,” he said, insisting that proper planning would have taken care of all the loose ends. With a tinge of regret, he said the “decapitation” of the NCS by MRM in 1975, which led to the mass retirement of the top brass in the service, had a profound negative effect on it. Some participants also argued the so-called Federal Character principle was being misused. It was affirmed that the original idea behind the principle was to bring the best brains from all parts of the country together to serve, so that no section of the country would dominate the other. But “what we now have is a situation where mediocre individuals are brought in at the expense of brilliant and competent ones.” The Path to Glory To prevent the country and the NCS from collapsing, it was agreed that that the NCS must go back to the old ideals. First, the recruitment policy must revert to picking the best candidates for the service. Asiodu revealed that there was, in fact, an agreement between the first set of politicians that ruled the country and the British colonialists that the former would not interfere with the civil service. Such immunity was needed to guarantee the smooth running of the service, in which the civil servants could take appropriate actions without the fear of being sacked or victimized. Nigeria must also return to planning, they argued. Most of the progress the country made in the 60s and early 70s, were attributed the National Development Plans, which were executed to the letter. Prof. Onowu Frank Okoisor was of the view that lack of institutional history had also robbed the current rulers of the opportunity of learning about the significant contributions of certain individuals made in the past. “We need to teach History in our schools,” he said. In the end, participants affirmed: “A conscious change from mediocrity to meritocracy is the only way to save the country’s civil service and return it to the path of efficiency and hon-


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Monday, March 3, 2014

Media NMMA… the journey so far Award By Kabir Alabi Garba NTRIES have been invited from journalists in E print and broadcast media organisations for this year’s edition of Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA). On offer, this year, is a total of 52 categories and journalists are expected to submit works done in 2013. Last year, 53 categories were on offer, but winners emerged in 47 categories at the presentation ceremony held 0n December 7, 2013 at Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort, Ikogosi, Ekiti State. Bank PHB Prize for CSR Reporter of the Year; Radio Presenter of the Year; George Bako Prize for Radio Broadcaster of the Year; Radio Programme of the Year; Television Drama of the Year; and Television Children Programme of the Year are the categories that did not produce winner last year. But they all made the list this year, except Television Children Programme category, which appears to have been dropped completely by the Ideas Communications, the administrators of NMMA. Of all the 52 categories, 40 are for print journalists, while the remaining 12 are shared equally among radio and TV journalists. Submission of entries will close on March 31, 2014. For print categories, criteria for assessment include factuality, accuracy, originality, language (conscience, clarity, balance and objectivity); human interest, freshness of ideas, creativity; as well as caption ability (press photograph). In the broadcast media categories, emphasis is on knowledge of the subject matter, depth, confidence, appeal to positive emotion, eye and body communication, social responsibility, ability to generate and hold interest, touch of the dramatic, courage, breaking of new ground, full exploitation of the medium, technical execution, level of adherence to NBC code, quality and level of professionalism. Regarded as Africa’s foremost media excellence scheme, NMMA’s uniqueness, Yemi Akeju, Chief Executive Officer, Ideas Communications, said was built on the distinguished figures that midwifed its birth. “NMMA’s birth is unique in the sense that practitioners and stakeholders in the media came together to put the scheme together. Ideas Communications as initiators of the scheme came from the public sector, the trustees are renowned and highly respected media practitioners who have made their marks in the various sectors of the media.” The scheme, Akeju insisted, would forever be grateful to the ingenuity of the pioneering Board of Trustees led by the late (Dr.) Ismail Babatunde Jose. “At the inception of NMMA, we had on the Board of Trustees, apart from Ideas Communications as the administrators, distinguished personalities of varied background such as Dr. Babatunde Jose, who came in as the pioneer chairman of the Board. He had had a flourishing career as a distinguished media practitioner. He was a reporter, editor, Managing Director of Daily Times and Chairman of the newspaper conglomerate and later, chairman of NTA. So, he combined a lot in leading the board. We also had Dr. Christopher Kolade, who was involved in radio and TV in Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service (WNBS) and later on became Director-General of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). He is also a respected leader in corporate Nigeria when he moved on to Cadbury and later High Commissioner in the UK. We had Papa Alade Odunewu, he was a veteran in his own right. We had Mallam Mamman Daura, he was editor of New Nigeria, and later Managing Director. We had Dr. Haruna Adamu, reporter, editor at the Daily Times. We had all of these people from all parts of Nigeria come together in 1990 and agreed to establish the NMMA.” Perhaps, what also contributed to the solid foundation that the project enjoyed at inception as revealed by Akeju was the court case instituted by the then leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). “The President of the NUJ then (Mallam Sani Zoro) took the Board to court on why should they get involved in such award. We went to court, tried to settle out of court but it was not possible initially. Later on, reasoning prevailed, he later wrote to thank the board and Ideas Communications for what NMMA has done for the media industry.” The benefit of NMMA having a collective ownership, he said, is huge. “No single person can deter-

As submission of entries opens for 2014 edition mine what would happen in any award and that is the uniqueness of NMMA. It has been established with funds that are kept in an endowment account, with interest yielding so that the scheme can survive any one of us. We do not rely on just sponsorship for the year, the worst that could happen is to just give the prizes and the trophies, all those other activities are what people sponsor but the prizes and trophies are all protected by the endowment that has been given. “With or without a sponsor, NMMA will hold. It is only better that when you are celebrating you have somebody adding some aesthetics to what you are doing. But the award process — giving trophies and prizes to the winners — is covered by the endowment. And it is the interest that is used yearly to finance the package. We do not spend more than 50 per cent of the interest on the award yearly, so that the other 50 per cent is added to the lump sum and continue to grow. And that is one unique foundation of the NMMA scheme.” Akeju is happy that the credibility of the scheme has continued to lift its image among individuals and corporate organisations. “Over the years, we have had so many people identified with NMMA; so many companies; MKO Abiola, Punch Newspaper, which endowed an award for entertainment in memory of the late Olu Aboderin, which is a statement of endorsement at that time. The Guardian endowed for Investigative Reporting; National Broadcasting Commission came and endowed for Radio and TV stations of the year… and many others. So, it is no longer the founders of NMMA, it is indeed the stakeholders, everybody said this is our own thing. NMMA is the only institution in Nigeria that every organization that is part of the media has a stake in, especially in its formative stage. “And in the recent past, organisations such as MTN, British America Tobacco (BAT), Coca-Cola, Union Bank, Nigeria Port Authority, Chevron Nigeria, etisalat, First Bank, WAMCO, IGI, UBA, Nigerite and so many others have joined the league of endowers, these are organisations that do not put their names behind just any product, not to talk of wanting to endow in perpetuity. It is an endorsement of the scheme and this is remarkable.” But the increasing list of endowers, Akeju noted, has not diminished the integrity and credibility of the project. “NMMA is one scheme that where the endower is not considered honourably enough, his/her cheque will be turned down. Indeed, we have turned down cheques of endowers that we felt are not appropriate. It is not just anybody that can come around to endow an award. This is because the name of the person you are putting on the award should reflect the vision of NMMA: excellence, distinction, credibility and integrity. You cannot just say this man has money, so, you want to endow an award for him. It is not about the money. It is not that we are arrogant, but we do not want to derail, and that is why we have always insisted on corporate sponsorship.” The slogan of being the “Africa’s foremost media excellence trust”, he explained, was due to service the award scheme rendered to CNN Award at its infant stage. “When CNN award was going to start, they spoke to us in NMMA. That is the truth and they invariably invited the chairman of our award panel, Dr. (Mrs) Doyin Abiola, who was the first chairman of CNN award scheme, having served as Chairman of NMMA panel for two years. The third year, she could not serve because she was going to South Africa to start the first CNN award. So, when we say Africa’s foremost media excellence award scheme, we are saying the truth.” On the inspiration for the scheme having been conceptualized in 1990 when media in Nigeria was already 131 years old, Akeju narrated: “As chief executive of Ideas Communications, I was involved with a few other organisations within and outside Nigeria. I was involved in programmes and projects promoting what we called corporate communications, promoting industries, businesses to media communication. “I came in contact with the organisers of British Press Award, which the Queen attends every year. If she is not able to attend, she would send one of his children. It is the biggest award in Britain. So, I met the organizers of the award at Flip Street, which is the base of the media in UK, Tony Loynes. He is also the publisher of the British Press

Akeju

NMMA is one scheme that where the endower is not considered honourably enough, his/her cheque will be turned down. Indeed, we have turned down cheques of endowers that we felt are not appropriate. It is not just anybody that can come around to endow an award. This is because the name of the person you are putting on the award should reflect the vision of NMMA: excellence, distinction, credibility and integrity. You cannot just say this man has money, so, you want to endow an award for him. It is not about the money. It is not that we are arrogant, but we do not want to derail, and that is why we have always insisted on corporate sponsorship. Gazette. So, I had an encounter with him in 1988/89. I told him that Ideas Communications was working on a few projects in Nigeria and we would love to know more about what they were doing and how they came about the award and gained momentum. He said the British Press award started in the 1940s, which was started by another organization before his organization, British Press Gazette, took it over. “We discussed, I saw the structure and I decided to come back home to Nigeria, did my consultation. We met with the media veterans, talked to them about the concept of the Nigeria Media Merit Award. A few of them bought into it and felt we could work together, but some questions were asked. One, you are a young man, are you looking for money or honour? I felt what am I doing with money? I have some small change that I can do with. Life is not always about money, but honour, prestige, integrity and I believe if I have that I will be very satisfied. “It took me some time and I did not know that Dr. Babatunde Jose would accept to be part of it. We met Dr. Kolade, Mamman Daura, they all said they love the concept but they were worried because they knew that it was going to be a national scheme bigger than any small company that was out to promote it. “Later, we had an interesting meeting at the house of Dr. Jose, where the rules were set, the conditions were agreed that Ideas

Communications would only be the administrators with no hand in determining any award winner, appointing award panel members, deciding what we want to pay. ‘Your views will be heard, you will be in charge of administration because you are the administrator but definitely this is going to be co-hosted by the board of trustees and registered with the Federal Government of Nigeria, until that is done, we would not take off.’ I said yes sir. “So, we decided to file our papers. But the Ministry of Justice had moved out of Lagos to Abuja. So, registration became tough. While we were doing that, two other media awards came up. We got the Trust registered under the limited by guarantee, public service institution and got all the paper works signed, we were recognized by law, the trustees were recognized and we were given all the rules under which funds of the NMMA should be kept. “So, all of the legal frameworks were established before the call for the first entry. It was not that we started out overnight and was looking for relevance. We started out and were legally constituted and not only that, we later went ahead to talk to the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), we had a meeting with them in MKO Abiola’s house. We met with the Nigerian Guild of Editors at the National Theatre. We met with NUJ though later they said they did not agree, but it was too late as we were ready to move ahead”.


Monday, March 3, 2014 MEDIA

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How to improve election reportage ahead 2015, by stakeholders S 2015 election year draws A near in the country, different groups and organisations have begun to prepare for the big event. The year 2015 holds a lot of prospects for Nigeria’s future, and the media is expected to play a big role towards a successful electioneering process, with a focus on professionalism, ethnic conduct and being gender-sensitive. A two-day workshop was organised by Lagos-based International Press Centre (IPC), with the support of  the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development project (DGD II) had as main purpose the examination of germane issues relating to improving the standards of election and democratic reform reporting, as well as gender mainstreaming, with the 2015 elections in view. In a communiqué released by IPC Director, Mr. ‘Lanre Arogundade, “The workshop also reviewed media performance in reporting electoral and political processes and propose mechanisms for the media to be more professional, ethical, gender-sensitive and issue-oriented”. The workshop was attended by middle career and senior journalists totaling 20 from diferent media organisations - print and broadcast media (public and private) - in the  South-East, South-South and North-Central. The workshop also had presentations and interactive discussions by resource persons and participants that accentuated  the importance and relevance of ethics, public interest reporting and gender mainstreaming in the coverage and reportage of elections and the democratic process. Topics addressed at the workshops included ‘‘reckoning with the Gender Factor in Elections reporting” by Professor Kate Omenugha (Mass Communication Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State); Situating 2015 Election and Political reporting in the Context of the Public Interest” by Mr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren (Director, Editorial/Business, Leadership Newspaper) and “Professional and Ethical reporting of Elections: Understanding the Context and Imperative” by Dr. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika (Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos). The presentations and reactions were followed by the group sessions, which focused on ‘Overcoming the limitations and charting way forward for higher standard of gender-mainstreamed election reporting’, ‘Identifying the issues and developing mechanisms for promoting the public interest in 2015 elections’ and ‘Prerequisites for improved professional and ethical quality of elec-

Participants at the workshop tion and political reporting’. Overall, participants observed as follows – that the quality and credibility of media coverage of elections are direct functions of the professional capacity, ethical awareness and knowledge of the legislative and institutional frameworks for media conduct by reporters and editors; that male journalists have continued to dominate media coverage and reportage of politics and the electoral processes to the detriment of females; that poor attention to gender issues in media coverage and reportage of politics and the electoral processes is largely due to discriminatory socio-cultural, religious and political practices, while undue commercialization of political news also aggravates the disadvantages females face in access and use of media; that media reports on political parties and candidates rarely focus on manifestoes during campaigns and fulfillment of electoral promises after the elections. Others were that reporting of the political and electoral processes usually derives more from press statements by parties’ spin-doctors while there is general undue focus on so-called internal party crisis; that the media has the tendency to play up personality clashes and negative aspects of the private lives of female politicians during campaigns while neglecting issues of concern to ordinary people; that journalists were not making adequate use of investigative tools and instruments, such as the Freedom of

Information Act (FoI), in reporting on political party finances, and that effective reporting of the political and electoral processes were usually been hampered by poor welfare, inadequate resources and lack of protection for journalists in crisis periods. As a result, the following recommendations were made: Political reporters and editors, as well as all other catgeories of journalits should continuously be trained on gender-sensitive reporting; that there should be regular engagement with media owners and managers on the imperatives of mainstreaming gender into media editorial policies; that media gatekeepers should recognise that female journalists have the same potential and capability, as their male counterparts to report on politics and other development issues; they should therefore halt the trend of confining female journalists to the so-called soft beats of fashion and entertainment. Other recommendations were that journalism and mass communication training institutions should urgently incorporate gender-senstive reporting into their training curriculum; that political reporters and editors, as well as all other catgeories of journalits should give greater prominenece to women’s voices and particulalrly recognise women as important news sources during elections; that journalists should enhance the quality of their political and election reports, make them more credible

and relevant by according higher priority to public interest and development issues. Also, journalists should go beyond day-today reporting of happenings in the political arena and give adequate attention to the pertinent issues of preparation and conduct of the Electoral Mangement Body - INEC -, voter education, political party finances, internal democratic practices, etc; journalists should accord priority to professional self-development and avail themseleves of global journalism studies and fellowship opportunities. In addition journalists should network and partner with bodies that fund researches and writing of stories on sundry development issues. Furthermore, journalists were advised to be abreast of the electoral law and regulations, and for jJournalists to adhere to the provisons of the Electoral Act, the National Broadcastng Code and the Code of Ethics for Journalists in Nigeria by uphoding the principles of fair access for parties and candidates, accuracy, balance, conflict and gender sensitivity in political and elections reporting. Participants also had words of advice to media owners and media organisations, and stated that media organizations should openely affirm commitment to ethical values and principles in political and election reporting; that media organizations should incoporate gender mainstreaming into their editorial policy on politcal and election reporting; that media organizations should commit themselves to the continuous training and retraining of their employees on professional and ethical reporting of election and governanace issues. Further, they were advised to provide adequate modern ICT facilities and other needed resources for the effective reporting of the political and electoral processes; commit themselves to the welfare of their employees by regularly paying reasonable salaries; they should in particular establish special funds for the coverage of elections instead of allowing politicians to pay for journalists covering their activities. Also, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other media stakeholders should continue to uphold ethical journalism and act in the defence of press freedom and journalists’ rights; they should in particular explore legitimate means to ensure the prompt payment of wages and expand the scope of the insurance policy for members; NUJ should intensify measures aimed at tackling the problem of quacks in the profession. To cap it off, participants expressed gratitude to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD II) Project, which is funded  with contributions from the European Union (EU), U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the UNDP for supporting the workshop.

NTA Lagos holds workshop to reposition for excellence By Gbenga Salau Or every proactive organisation, it is important to take periodic stock of activities for effective repositioning. This was what Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) did in Lagos last week when it held management training programme for senior officers of the Lagos Network Centre with the theme ‘repositioning for Excellence’. On hand to give the keynote address was the station’s former Director-General, Eng. Vincent Maduka, who, in his presentation went historical and gave insight on the berthing of the television station. After narrating the philosophies behind the formation of the station, he spoke on its operations, especially using how the Ibadan centre carried out its programmes and projects and what transpired during his tenure as Director-general of the organisation. According to him, the projection was to make the NTA a world-class

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television network through providing excellent television services worldwide besides projecting the true African perspective. He disclosed that at the time there was great desire for local production and promotion of excellence as there were competitions for staff to produce programmes that were rated and compensated, adding, “Our objective was to be the first television house to be reckoned with”. In moving forward, he said audience survey was critical, noting that producers often played god because they want to claim they have an understanding Sola Omole

of what the audience wants. To him, producers must cross check with the audience when they come up with ideas or programmes because the customers know best. He said it was important to do so because the view-

Adenike Olufade

ers have the right to switch off. He spoke on the importance of staff going on air with the intent of being regarded and perceived as authority by viewers and mentioned some lapses he said he’d noticed in the activities of NTA across Nigeria, and then harped on the need for training and re-training. He opined that internal censorship had done much damage to the station than external censorship. Explaining the aim of the workshop, as repositioning tool for the station, the Zonal Director, NTA Lagos Network Centre, Mrs. Adenike

Olufade, said it was a product of observation, after resuming as the head of the Lagos centre some weeks back, “On arrival, I discovered that staff morale was low. And I felt we need to look back to see where we were coming from, look at the present and determine the future. This is the reason we are bringing our past DirectorsGeneral to tell us what the plan was and what they wanted for NTA, then compare this with where we are, what we are doing and what we are supposed to be doing to move forward”. According to her, the training will be continuous, as the new DirectorGeneral, Mr. Sola Omole, who was absent at the workshop because of urgent assignment, was keenly interested in every aspect of discussions at the workshop, including questions, answers and responses that would enable management take important decisions to moving the station forward.


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Toyin Saraki urges more action against infant mortality HE Founder-President of T the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Mrs. Toyin Saraki, has advocated more action in the fight to end newborn deaths in Nigeria. Making the call at a ceremony in Abuja where she was honoured as a National Newborn Champion, by Save The Children, an international child-focused organisation, Mrs. Saraki noted that going by the present statistics it was now very urgent for civil society, public and private sectors to give priority to the critical issue of newborn health. While thanking Save The Children for the recognition, she emphasised that her foundation has contributed immensely in the past decade to the reduction in maternal and child death by harnessing key partnerships, advocacy and innovation. According to her: “Through the Wellbeing Foundation Safe Delivery Kits (‘Mamakits’), the Foundation has helped bring clean birthing experiences to thousands of mothers in many parts of Nigeria, by ensuring that they have the necessary tools and supplies, at least three months ahead of their expected delivery.” In addition, through the

Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Personal Health Record (PHR) booklet, a small, hand-held booklet that captures all health information from when the mother first presents for ante-natal care (ANC) till when the child is five years old, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is making sure that at-risk newborns are clearly identified from their time in uterus. This revolutionary tool, therefore, ensures that the right provisions are made for newborn care and serves as a measure to prevent stillbirths. Also speaking at the occasion, which was used to launch the “Ending Newborn Deaths Report,” Susan Grant, Country Director, Nigeria, Save The Children urged all global leaders to take a stance this year and commit to the Five Point Newborn Promise, which has been adopted as the blueprint for change in the fight against newborn deaths. According to her, the agenda, which focuses on training and equipping enough skilled health workers to make sure no baby is born without proper help, also advocates for the removal of fees for all pregnancy and birth services.

She noted that statistics indicate that an estimated 2.9 million newborns die yearly worldwide, and an additional 2.6 million are stillborn. According to Save the Children, within the first 24 hours of life, more than one million babies die annually. The new report, Ending Newborn Deaths, illustrates that half of firstday deaths around the world could be prevented if the mother and baby had access to free health care and a skilled midwife.

Toyin Saraki and Susan Grants at the event

NLC president lauds Imoke IGERIA Labour Congress N (NLC) President Abdulwaheed Omar has commended the housing scheme of Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State. Under the scheme, 200 housing units of various sizes have been provided for the state’s civil servants. He described it as a worthwhile venture. Omar, who made the commendation during a courtesy call on Imoke in Calabar, said as a state that has recorded a number of firsts in several sectors in the country, he was looking forward to a partnership between the state and the NLC in providing affordable housing to workers. He,

therefore, requested for land from the state government to enable the NLC flag off its housing scheme. Omar, who was accompanied by the national administrative council of the union, commended the cordial relationship between the state and the organised labour, adding: “This is because Senator Liyel Imoke is always cool, calm and collected, which is why Cross River is moving. “The way he has managed the affairs of the state after its oil wells were taken away, some other governors would have lost their heads and focus but Cross River is moving forward.” Responding, Imoke said

the state was running a sizeable economy it could sustain which was why it has remained focused and determined to improve the service sector of the economy with its policy thrust on Tourism, Agriculture and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development. Imoke commended the leadership of the council for

strengthening the relationship and cordiality between its members and the government, just as he praised the NLC president’s “wonderful work” which he is doing. Imoke called for the strengthening of the civil service reforms to stimulate increase in productivity, eliminate issue of ghost workers in the service as well as create effective workplace through an enhanced capaci-

Mimiko pledges rapid development of Ondo Councils get N2b for grassroots projects OVERNOR Olusegun G Mimiko has re-assured of the rapid socio-economic development of Ondo State during his second term in office. He also debunked insinuations that his second term in office will be less productive as is usually the case in the country. Mimiko assured that his administration would be an exception as many more people-oriented projects are now ready for commissioning in all parts of the state, in addition to numerous ones already commissioned. Speaking during a thanksgiving service to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his administration, held at the Cathedral Church of Saint David in Akure yesterday, Mimiko  noted that God had surprised the entire people of the state  by ensuring peace and rapid socio-economic development  in all facets of life, including quality healthcare delivery, infrastructural transformation, educational development and empowerment delivery system among others. He said that his administration had been tackling the challenge of unemployment, which he described as   global   just as he  assured  that the state government’s power plant in Ore would soon be ready for commissioning  to boost industrialisation and employment generation. Mimiko  maintained  that work had commenced speedily on the Oba-Ile-Airport road as a gateway to the state capital, stressing further that  other road projects already completed across the state would soon be commissioned while

the on-going ones would be completed soon. He thanked God for the prevailing peace and development in the state, particularly the peaceful conduct of the last gubernatorial election which was adjudged the freest and most peaceful ever conducted in the country. The governor appealed to the people to always pray for his administration and perform their civic responsibilities by paying their taxes to assist government to  adequately discharge its responsibilities.  Earlier in his message, the Bishop of Akure Anglican Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Simeon Borokini,  admonished unscrupulous politicians to stop deceiving the people by  making empty promises during campaigns. The cleric  noted that most intending political office holders deliberately deceive the electorate with promises that they would not fulfill. He warned politicians to   desist from such act in order not to incur the wrath of God.  According to him, Mimiko had tried his best in the last five years to transform the state. This, he said, was evident, for instance, in the governor’s fulfilled campaign promise to construct the Ibule Township road in Ifedore Local Council Area. He said: “If you want to contest into any office, don’t make promises of what you cannot fulfill. The people of Ibule have confessed that when Governor Mimiko came to campaign in their town, he promised to construct their township road and today the governor has fulfilled the promise and this is the hallmark of a credible and truthful politician.”


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Kwara govt, PDP trade words over Jonathan’s visit T

We call on all Kwarans who are tired of servitude and detest our commonwealth being cornered as if Kwara is their private estate to come out enmass to welcome Mr. President as one key step forward in the liberation struggle to free Kwarans. Your security is guaranteed and after all, “a slave has nothing to lose than the chains in his hands

From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin HE Acting National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Bode Ojomu, yesterday in Ilorin alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) ruling government in Kwara State was allegedly exhibiting panic measures over today’s visit of President Goodluck Jonathan. Ojomu at a press briefing alleged some grand design by the APC to scuttle or lessen the magnitude of the visit, but with a resolve that the PDP members and the people of the state would nevertheless accord the President a rousing welcome to the state. But the Acting Secretary of the APC in Kwara, Yemi Afolayan described Ojomu’s allegations as baseless comments coming from “a stranger in Kwaran politics.” According to Ojomu: “Our attention has been drawn to all the tricks, vandalism, panicky measures and verbal drawhorse from the local chapter of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State resulting from their being threatened by the political implications of PDP assemblage of credible leaders at tomorrow’s event which shall be the third in one month to nail to the coffin any still breathing APC support base in Kwara State. “Whereas every right thinking citizen can never be excited about terrorist attacks on innocent children in the North East zone of Nigeria, but for misguided self-serving spokesperson of the APC to advocate the ship of the nation should be grounded to a halt because of these unfortunate killings is to say the least unpatriotic. “To us, it is a clear indication of threat, fear, submission to intimidation by the every growing population of PDP adherents in Kwara State. “The catalogue of panicky measures taken by the Kwara State Government, its agency and APC state chapters include using APC posters to cover PDP posters and cutting down PDP bill boards. (How re-erected and PDP State Chairman had warned that any further vandalization of Mr. President billboard shall be treated as treason). “Several other booby-traps to frustrate the rally for Monday also include threat to burn down the PDP secretariat, threat to life of our commissioned lead artiste for the rally Saheed Osupa, who now pleads with PDP to refund money paid for his appearance on Monday. “To deny our members from easy transportation, the government suddenly woke up to an empowerment programme for Road Transport Workers Union on that same Monday. “We need to sound a note of warning here: those who live in glass houses don’t throw stones. When hundreds of Kwarans were mur-

dered in 2011 and 2013 in a questionable stampede in the process of collecting crumbs, that fell from the table of the Kwara APC leader, the state affairs continued un-abated.” He added: “But now Kwara APC is shedding crocodile tears over Mr. President’s visit, calling on him to mourn and all state affairs be grounded to a halt. “We call on all Kwarans who are tired of servitude and detest our commonwealth being cornered as if Kwara is their private estate to come out enmass to welcome Mr. President as one key step forward in the liberation struggle to free Kwarans. Your security is guaranteed and after all, “a slave has nothing to lose than the chains in his hands. “Kwarans need to be at the Metropolitan Sqaure as early as 8a.m. to be able to have a seat. That is the opportunity they have to convince themselves that every political leader of note in the entire 16 local governments areas of the state are in the PDP and our taken over the reigns of government in Kwara State is a sure success waiting in the wings.” However, Afolayan shot back, saying: “So they are still pretending that they are on ground here in Kwara. What is their population for us to be threatened? We are solid, we are not moved and I think some of them who are strangers to Kwaran politics are the ones making the loudest of noise. “We are peace loving here and we can’t throw our state into any turmoil because of anything. They should examine themselves and see if they are not the ones causing problems for themselves.” The APC had at the weekend urged Jonathan and the PDP to shelve the planned rally in Ilorin, the state capital. It described a campaign visit to Kwara State or any other state at this time as “insensitive, ill-timed and utterly inhuman”. The President and national leaders of the PDP have planned a rally which the Kwara APC in a statement by its Interim Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Suleiman Olatunji Buhari, described as uncalled for.

The APC said Kwara PDP should allow the President sufficient time to mourn the monumental tragedies in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states where Boko Haram insurgents killed many innocent Nigerians including more than 40 pupils who were sleeping in their dormitory. Kwara APC said: “May we remind these insensitive politicians in Kwara State, the President and all those irrelevant politicians that he seeks to rehabilitate in this state that the sane thing to do by all patriotic Nigerians is to feel and act sober, draw the grief-stricken people together, share in their pains and attempt to restore hope in the almost hopeless situation that parts of the country have been thrown into. “We call on our peace-loving President to turn down the request of these desperate politicians who have invited him to Kwara State to further justify his well-known position that no individual ambition is worth the blood of a single Nigerian.” However, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has called on politicians and their supporters to conduct themselves lawfully and avoid any action capable of disrupting the peace of Kwara State. In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Dr. Muideen Akoresde, Ahned said: “Although the President is not on a state visit, we welcome him to our state of harmony. We will accord him all the courtesies and arrangements benefitting of his office. “As a peace loving administration, we urge all to keep the peace, be lawful, and avoid any actions or utterances capable of rupturing our reputation for harmony. “Regardless of political affiliation, our people must remain mindful of the rule of law and shun all actions that contravene the law, especially the maintenance of public order.” Alhaji Ahmed said the empowerment programmes implemented by his administration were made possible due to the atmosphere of harmony in the state. He said all hands must be on deck “to sustain the peace regardless of party loyalties.”


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Sports CAF Inter-Club Competitions

Enyimba beaten in Aba, Warri Wolves win in Cameroun By Christian Okpara HE unthinkable happened in Aba yesterday. Enyimba Football Club, Nigeria’s only remaining team in the CAF Champions League after the ouster of Kano Pillars in the first round of the competition, lost the first leg of their second round game against AS Real Bamako of Mali 1-2 inside the Aba Township Stadium, hitherto a fortress for the 2013 and 2014 champions. The ‘Peoples Elephant,’ who had the habit of trampling down their opponents at the School Road stadium, could not find their feet as the nimble-footed Malians ran rings around the bemused players. Most fans at the stadium yesterday attributed the poor result to the inactivity occasioned by the delay in the kick off of the local league, but Enyimba yesterday did not show any sign of a team that has been working together in anticipation of the game. Enyimba were lacklustre, posted a disjointed display and relied on individual brilliance against their more coordinated opponents. The Aba lords faltered to deceive in the first half when they took the lead in 45th minute through Sibi Gwar, who scored a brace in a preliminary round clash against Anges de Notse of Togo. But AS Real Bamako silenced the home crowd in the 64th minute with a clinical strike by Mohammed Cisse. And as if that was not enough agony for the Enyimba faithful, Amadou Famake added to their agony when he tucked in another goal for the Malians in the 76th minute. This loss has made the

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return leg next week a tough task for Enyimba, who now need to win by two goals to make the next stage of the competition. While Enyimba fans lamented their bad fortune, Warri Wolves gave their supporters something to savour when they beat Cameroun giants, Union Douala, 3-2 away from home in the first of leg of their CAF Confederation Cup clash. New star, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, who joined the club during the off-season from Heartland, scored a long-range goal on debut to seal victory for the Seasiders at the Omnisport Stadium on Saturday. The former Enyimba and ElKanemi Warriors man could not hide his delight after stealing the headlines and gave his side a three-away goal advantage going into the return leg this weekend. “I feel so happy to score in my first game and the winning goal for that matter. I thank God for He made it possible. Kudos to my teammates because it wasn’t an easy game,” the midfielder told SuperSport. “It is good we won the first leg away and definitely it makes our job in the return leg a lot more easy if we go by the result. But in football such counts for nothing, as there’s still a second leg to play for. “So we will have to be at our best if we want to progress into the next round because we still have 90 minutes to play,” he added. The Warri outfit will face either Angola’s Desportivo da Huila or 2013 Tunisian Cup winners CA Bizertin in the second round should they progress.

Manchester City’s Jesus Navas (left), Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri pose with the League Cup after their victory over Sunderland…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP.

Ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup

Today is deadline, as Eagles arrive for Mexico friendly Eagles’ Head Coach, StheUPER Stephen Keshi, has given players he invited for Wednesday’s international friendly against Mexico in the United States (U.S.) up till dinner time today to arrive for the game slated for Atlanta. The Super Eagles delegation from Nigeria, headed by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Aminu Maigari, left Lagos for the U.S. yesterday. Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdulahi, is expected also for the game. Already, Keshi is awaiting the team and his assistants in the U.S. Those on the Delta Airline flight to the U.S. yesterday were Assistant Coach, Dan Amokachi, Hyaondounou

National Awards: IG honours Ajunwa, Oyarekhua, Bada, 137 police officers From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE Inspector General of T Police (IG), Mohammed Dikko Abubarkar, at the weekend showered no fewer than 137 serving and retired, as well as late officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force with honourary award in the maiden edition of the Nigeria Police Sports Award in Abuja. According to Abubakar, the award to the serving and retired men and women of the Force that combined police duties with sports came in five categories, including the Corporate/Friends of the Police award and Retired Officer for Sports Award. While presenting the awards, the IG said the Nigeria Police would continue to produce international athletes for the country,

emphasizing: “Let me use this opportunity to thank my good friends, my colleagues in service and retirement for keeping the fate to make Nigerian Police the best in sports in this country. “I stand to be corrected, there is no organisation in Nigeria today that can boast and is more proud than the police in terms of sports development in Nigeria and that is why for the first time in the history of this country we decided to appreciate you for your support, contributions and partnership, the type that works. “We remain grateful to you for what you have done to take us to this height. We are indeed grateful to every sport men and women in the Nigerian police today and those retired. You are part of the enviable history Nigerian

police recorded today in terms of sports development. “We shall continue to lead in sports development in this country and I believe that officers and men of the Nigerian police are ready for this. In addition to all we have done for those who have contributed towards making us great, I want to promise that I will promote you and I will certainly do that,” he assured. Chioma Ajunwa, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, who won Olympic gold in long jump for Nigeria at the Atlanta Olympics, late Force Sports Officer, Sanomi Dickens, an Assistant Inspector General of Police and late Sunday Bada, a Superintendent of Police, who represented Nigeria at different Olympics, were among the award recipients.

Valere and Ike Shorunmu, the goalkeepers’ trainer. Team doctor, Ibrahim Gyaran, Physiotherapist, Wale Oladejo, Psychologist, Dr. Robinson Okosun, Chidi Ngoka, who is the Equipment Manager, ACP Abubakar Baba, the Chief Security Officer, NFF Protocol man, Emmanuel Ayanbunmi and Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, were also part of the team. The delegation also had four players from the local league on the trip, including CHAN 2014 MVP, Ejike Uzoenyi, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Ebenezer Odunlami and Shehu Abdulahi.

The delightful thing for the team, however, is the fact that teenage central defender, Kenneth Omeruo, has not only returned to top flight football in the English championship, with Middlesborough, but was named Man of the Match in the weekend’s game against Sheffield United, which his side lost 1-0. “We are simply delighted at the performance of Kenneth and the coach is glad that he has started to do those things that he is noted for,” team administrator, Dayo Enebi Achor, said on his way to the U.S. Achor departed Nigeria on

Saturday and by yesterday evening he was on the same flight with Chelsea midfield star, John Mikel Obi to the U.S. for the friendly. “I am on the same flight to the U.S. with Mikel and Victor Moses is expected on Monday like all other players, because the coach has said he wants all his players in by Monday,” he said. They are expected to be first to be welcomed for the friendly by Keshi. Wednesday’s friendly is expected to be played at the Atlanta Georgia Dome with both countries parading their potential World Cup squads for the encounter.

NSC, NFF to defend 2014 budget March 10 From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE National Sports T Commission (NSC), the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the National Institute for Sports (NIS) have been summoned to appear before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Sports on March 10 to defend their 2014 yearly budget. The chairman, House of Representative Committee on Sports, Godfrey Ali Gaiya, said at the weekend in Abuja that arrangement was in place for the session, noting that the delay in the appearance of the government agencies was because most of the members of the sports committee were in other committees. The NSC has a budget of N5.6 billion for the 2014 fiscal year, while the NFF submitted a budget of N1.6 billion to the Budget Office of the Federal Ministry of Finance, through the NSC.

“The defence would be open to the media, just as the floor would be open for questions and clarifications. The highpoint of the defence will be the reduction in the allocation. We cannot understand why there will be slash in the allocation in a very loaded year for sports competitions. “Don’t forget that the envelop is a proposal from the

executive, they know their programmes, but we will open the envelop and ask them the desirability of the required funds and if we find out that they don’t need what they required, we will slash and channel to other areas much more in need of the fund. We want to ensure that funding will not stop them from bringing success to Nigeria,” he said.

Man City beat Sunderland to League Cup ANCHESTER City proM duced a devastating second-half comeback to beat Sunderland 3-1 in the Capital One Cup final yesterday. Stunning goals in quick succession from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri turned the game on its head after on-loan Liverpool striker, Fabio Borini, shot Sunderland into an early lead at Wembley. Substitute, Jesus Navas, then secured what City hope will prove the first of multiple tro-

phies this season by finishing off a Toure-led break in the last minute. It was a powerful fight-back after a lethargic first-half display from City. At half-time, many at Wembley were sensing a repeat of last year’s shock loss to rank outsiders Wigan in the FA Cup final. But now, City have the platform to push on for potential further glory in the two other domestic competitions.


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Lagos to host maiden DAWN Games S part of its efforts to A encourage grassroots sports development in the region, Lagos State will in May host the maiden SouthWest Secondary School Sports Festival, tagged DAWN Games. At the end of a threeday  meeting held in Lagos and attended by stakeholders from  the six South West states,  National Sports Commission (NSC) and Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF) among others, the zone, comprising Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti and Lagos states, said the event would help achieve the concerted strategic developmental process geared towards social, economic and regional integration, adding that sports is one of the tools being deployed to actualise the agenda. The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Sports Council, Bashir Agunloye, explained that DAWN is an acronym for development agenda for Western Nigeria,

which brings together the government of the six states of South West. He said the DAWN Games are expected to create a forum for youths in the region to harness their sporting talents, while also encouraging mass participation in sports at the grassroots level. Speaking at the event, the Director-General, DAWN Commission, Dipo Famakinwa,  emphasised the role of sports in the DAWN agenda and assured all of the commitment of the DAWN Commission to work for the success and sustainability of the games. Also speaking at the end of the meeting, Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Enitan Oshodi, restated the commitment of Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to hosting a very successful maiden edition of the games.  “Governor Fashola believes that development of sports at the grassroots is a major way

of taking our youths off the streets,” Oshodi said. The maiden edition,  which will hold from May 16 to 24, 2014, will involve athletes in Junior Secondary Schools, (JSS) and Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) in the SouthWest states and feature 12 sports including, athletics, badminton, basketball, chess, football, gymnastics, scrabble, swimming, table tennis, tennis, taekwondo and volleyball.       The meeting considered and ratified the rules and regulations for the games, the code of conduct for athletes and officials, the timelines and various other matters bordering on the hosting of a successful games.

One of the long distance races at the on-going Lagos Premier Lotto Schools Sports Athletics Championship.

Ajunwa thanks Jonathan, Nigerians for centenary award HIOMA Ajunwa, Nigeria’s C first individual Olympic gold medallist, says she is grateful to President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigerians for the Centenary Award given to her in Global Sports Competition category in Abuja on Friday. Ajunwa expressed her feelings in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday, adding: “I am excited to be honoured for the second time after 14 years of outstanding performance in sports development in the country. “I must confess that it makes me feel great. When I was in the race, I never knew that a day like this

would come.” Ajunwa was among the five heroes that received awards in the Global Sports Competition category at the just-concluded Centenary Awards ceremony in Abuja. She had earlier been honoured as a Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) by the then Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, for her outstanding performance, which won her the gold medal in Long Jump at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, U.S. The 1991 All Africa Games gold medallist in long jump charged athletes to aim at bringing glory to the nation in every competition. “I task athletes to take advan-

2nd Olusegun Obasanjo Squash competition holds in Abeokuta HE second edition of the T Olusegun Obasanjo Squash competition comes

Chioma Ajunwa won Nigeria’s first individual Olympics gold medalist when she took the women long jump event at the Atlanta 1996 Games.

Orubebe golf tourney ends in Sapele APELE went agog penultiSAthletic mate Saturday as the Sapele Club hosted the Orubebe Invitational Golf Competition sponsored by the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe. The tournament was part of activities marking the centenary celebrations of the club. The Sapele Athletics Club owns the oldest golf course in Nigeria. The game was first played there on a competitive basis before other golf courses like the Ikoyi Golf Club came on board. But the club lapsed into inactivity until the recent efforts by Orubebe to revive and make it regain its lost glory. The tournament tee off was taken by its sponsor, as Chairman of the Nigeria Golf Federation, Dr. Peter Dashi

and seven members of his executive led other participants in vying for honours in various categories. Prizes were available in various categories with Tunde Muze as the overall winner. Philip Laban, Emma Oyibo, Kunle Dada and Joy Solomon won awards. P. Asagba won the veteran prize. Speaking at the presentation of prizes, Orubebe declared his resolve to make the competition a yearly event and his readiness to continue to be of assistance to the Sapele Athletic Club in the pursuance of its goals towards discovering new talents and nurturing them to stardom. He praised the management of the club for its commitment and determination to ensure that the club continues to fulfill the dreams of its founding fathers.

up tomorrow and Wednesday in Abeokuta. The two-day event is expected to attract top U-23 girls and U-21 boys players from all parts of the country. Preliminary stage will take place tomorrow at the Squash court of the MKO Abiola stadium while the final comes up at Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s Hill Top mansion in Abeokuta on Wednesday. According to the President of the Nigerian Squash Federation, Alhaji Adamu Erena, this year’s competition is expected to rank among the best squash championships ever organised in the

country. “We are happy to organise a competition in honour of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who is an ardent follower of squash. The Nigerian Squash Federation is committed to the development of the sport in the country” Niger State Governor Aliyu Babangida is the chief sponsor of this year’s competition, which is being organised as part of celebrations to mark the birthday of Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The governor donated a standard glass Squash court for the competition while cash prizes have been earmarked for the top three winners as well as consolation prizes for other competitors.

tage of their youthful ages to make an impact in any endeavour because people are watching and taking record. “The reward might not come immediately but overtime; even when you may have forgotten, you will be remembered, just like me. “I dedicate this award to the Almighty,” she said. Ajunwa, who is also a police officer, reiterated her commitment to the development

of track and field events, as a way of transferring her wealth of knowledge to the younger ones. “I am aware of some upcoming athletes, majoring in track and field that see me as their role model. I am ready to give them the necessary assistance. “My experience in this field has prepared me for a task of giving back to the younger ones, to assist them to do better than I have done,” she said.

Udo-Akagha is HotSports’ Ladder Challenge champion MO Udo-Akagha at the week- Challenge has become the IClub, end at the Lagos Country foremost competition in the Ikeja, became the 2014 club. champion of the yearly HotSports Ladder Challenge. After 11 days of pulsating squash actions, producing, Imo Udo-Akagha garnered 71 points to win the sixth edition of the prestigious tournament, with Cyril Ayimere, who pulled 66 points and Fred Udo-Akagha, who got 63 points, coming second and third respectively. The veteran category meant for players, who are 50 years and above, was won by Bode Falore, who got 43 points, with Bayo Sodade taking the second, while Taye Ige emerged third. Speaking at the end of the event, Chairman of the Lagos Country Club Squash Section, Demola Olusunmade, commended HotSports for bankrolling the competition in the last six years, stressing that HotSports Ladder

Chairman of Lagos Country Club Squash Section, Demola Olusunmade; winner of the 2014 Annual HotSports Ladder Challenge, Imo Udo-Akagha; CEO of HotSports Nigeria Limited, Taye Ige and Udeme, Udo-Akagha’s wife at the closing ceremony of the tournament at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja… on Saturday.

“We thank HotSports for doing this for the Squash Section and indeed the game of squash. We also urge the company not to relent in its genuine effort to popularise the game,” Olusunmade said. Also speaking at the end of the event, CEO of HotSports, Taye Ige, congratulated winners of the competition and lauded all the participants for the spirit of sportsmanship exhibited throughout the period of the tournament. He also commended the enthusiasm of the participants, who have embraced the tournament heartily and members of the executive who made this year’s edition very successful. “We consider it a privilege to sponsor this tournament and I must say we are happy to do this because of HotSports’ commitment to the development of the game in Nigeria,” Ige explained, pledging his organisation’s continued support for the tournament. The closing ceremony of the competition featured an exhibition match between Onaopemipo Adegoke, who is National U-16 number two player and Lagos State number 1, and Dele Pratt, National U-16 number four star and Lagos State number two. The energy-sapping encounter ended 2-1 in favour of Adegoke. All the winners were awarded medals and other valuables prizes. In addition to a medal and other prizes, Akagha also went home with a trophy and cash prize of N100, 000.


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The rise and shine of the ‘Big Boss’ By Mitchel Obi HE old school motto of diligence breeding T prominence holds a special place in his heart. And nurtured in the best tradition of inter-school competition in which intense rivalry and pride ruled the times, he knew so early that commitment and endeavour made the difference. In the hustle and bustle of Lagos, where the ordinary hardly find a place, it takes extreme passion and industry to get noticed. Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, 52, was not the pearl that caught the eye, but one could not deny his presence in and outside the pitch as a schoolboy footballer. Keshi, as a teenager, was totally enamoured of the game and he worked at his craft with a religious determination that stood him out. Tellingly, his club exposures after secondary school in Lagos came through banking outfits that helped him cultivate the culture of discipline and industry, virtues that shaped his game. With the defunct African Continental Bank (ACB) Football Club of Lagos and later New Nigeria Bank (NNB) Football Club of Benin, Keshi found a haven that provided him the material cushion and institutional instigation to excel. The short lifespan of NNB FC alongside another pacesetter, Leventis United FC, changed radically the face of Nigerian football in the 80s. NNB FC stood out for its rare ensemble of the creme de la creme of celebrated student footballers and their effervescent and colourful play won them many admirers in Nigeria and West Africa, where they dominated the WAFU Cup competition like knights in a tournament. It was in NNB FC that Keshi flourished and surrounded by such gifted players as Henry Nwosu (Nigeria’s youngest player - 18 years at the 1980 AFCON), Tarila Okoronwanta, Humphrey Edobor, Bright Omokaro, Sunday Eboigbe and more, his influence as captain expanded and it was easy to dub him the head of the ‘Benin Mafia’. With having over 13 players from the same club in the then Green Eagles in one spell, the leadership aura of Keshi became more distinct and impactful. No coach or administrator could find the voice of the national team without the echo of Keshi, who deservedly became the rallying point of the players.

They cherished his command and he ventilated their positions and demands with a conviction that inevitably made him the Big Boss. Keshi had been part of the national team in 1982 when Nigeria failed to defend her Nations Cup title by crashing out in the group phase. But it was in 1983 that Keshi blossomed as a leader in the pitch, firmly steering one of the tightest and cohesive defences the African game has known. For some of us just getting to grips with reporting the national team this was perhaps our most absorbing and prolific days, capturing the games and players in words. I still remember that cold night in Casablanca in a crucial Los Angeles Olympic Games qualifier when the Green Eagles featuring over 80 per cent debutants, as it was in South Africa last year, lost on penalty kicks to host Morocco, parading such greats as Merry Krimau, Mustapha Haddaoui, Aziz Bouderbala and Badou Zaki. It was indeed a bitter pill to swallow for a young Keshi, who had dreamt to use the opportunity of an Olympic ticket to explore the United States where eventually he settled in after a chequered playing career. For stylishly taking one of the penalty kicks in the ensuing shoot-out, which keeper Badou heroically stopped and ensured Morrocco’s victory, Keshi almost made his teammate Henry Nwosu pay for the blunder with severe rebuke that came close to bashing. Winning for Keshi is a habit and it was the pain and lesson of the loss to Morocco that they took to AFCON 1984 and shocked defending champions, Black Stars of Ghana, in a heart-lifting opening group game in the Ivoirien city of Bouake. Nigerians fervently remembered the two-goal hero of that game, Chibuzor Ehilegbu, who was then making his debut in the Nations Cup like Emmanuel Emenike in South Africa. That 1984 collection which had the likes of Clement Temile, Patrick Okala of blessed memory, James Etokebe, Paul Okoku, Yisa Shofoluwe and Rashidi Yekini, all of them debutants of the competition, waltzed their way into the final and lost to Cameroun after scoring first in a 3-1 blast that had the stamp of Theophile Abega and his rampaging gang. Cameroun proved a dreaded foe in the glory chase of Keshi, either at the Nations Cup or the World Cup qualification level. But beyond

Keshi (right), Sunday Oliseh and Peter Rufai savouring the glory of their Tunisia 1994 Nations Cup triumph. Keshi and the late Egyptian, Mahmoud El Gohary, are the only two people to win the Nations Cup as players and as coaches

Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, being carried shoulder high by his excited fans after leading Nigeria to the 2014 African Nations Cup triumph in South Africa. national team football, where his charm and command set him apart, Keshi was a true ambassador of club football and along with one of his former assistant coaches, Sylvanus Okpalla, they were pioneers in seeking new frontiers to flaunt their skills and clutch new pastures. For Keshi, it was a circumstantial plunge to play outside having been suspended by the Nigeria Football Association under the inimitable and visionary leadership of the late Air Commodore Anthony Ikazoboh for holding the nation to ransom and failing to honour a national team invitation as and when due. Here again the myth of the Benin Mafia! Thus Keshi and his clique were meant to suffer the penalty that came from suspension. Looking back, it appeared to be a blessing in disguise as Keshi reignited the glow in his football career in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire with Stella FC from where he left for Belgium and became not only the biggest Nigerian export to Europe, but an inspiring captain of Anderlecht FC. This truly was crystallisation point for Keshi and from Brussels to Lagos the game in Nigeria established a cord that held both players and officials together. Now the full dimension of the ‘Big Boss’ found full expression. But with all the rise in prominence, Keshi had little at national team level to flaunt for his exploits. Leading the team to the Nations Cup final in 1988 in Morocco, he lost to the Cameroun Lions of Roger Milla and Emmanuel Kunde, scorer of the winner through a penalty. Cameroun were to deny Keshi and his band a ticket to the 1990 World Cup to Italy. So devastating was this loss having come through a difficult qualifying game against Angola in which Keshi scored the only goal and Nigeria lost a gem on the pitch, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji. He was to chew the bitterness of defeat from the stick of Cameroun later as an assistant coach to Bonfrere Jo in the final of the 2000 AFCON, which Nigeria and Ghana co-hosted. No doubt there was no sight of Cameroun in his first Nations Cup triumph as a player in the 1994 edition in which Nigeria defeated Zambia of Kalusha Bwalya. Notably Keshi was in his twilight years and the wear and tear of the game were having their toll. He still could not be ignored lifting the trophy even as non-playing captain and allowed the luxury of enjoying some moments, especially in Nigeria’s first-ever World Cup participation in USA 94. In all, some countries have been critical in Keshi’s turn around. Cote d’Ivoire, Belgium, United States, Cameroun, Mali and Togo, where he cracked his palm kernel as coach by qualifying the Hawks to the World Cup without taking them there, just as it was in 2002

when assisting coach Shuaib Amodu they could not lead the Super Eagles to the World Cup in South Korea and Japan. Add a dose of his stay in Mali as coach, the picture of an African coach, who has paid his dues and deserves to earn his pay spreads out. And thus when Keshi tells the world: “I am not against white coaches coming to Africa, but against those mediocre white coaches who come to learn here and pretend that they deserve the job. “Some of us will not be easily allowed to coach in Europe so why must we tolerate in Africa those who are not qualified. Don’t get me wrong. I am not against white coaches. Let the best be given a chance above us.” Keshi can afford to be critical, having been named as African Coach of The Year for the second time by CAF and a multiple award winner from different organisations. For the boy from Ilah, a town close to Asabathe Delta State capital of Nigeria, and home also of football greats like Pa John Ojidoh and Matthew Onyeama, the defining moment as a coach and a veritable legend of the game came in South Africa last year when the Super Eagles won the Nations Cup for the third time by beating Burkina Faso in the final. His selflessness and patriotism have carried him and he has not stopped to think about the future of the Eagles, who are bound for the World Cup and are poised to start that journey in the United States- the country in which Nigeria won her first World Cup game and of course superbly clinched an Olympic Gold Medal. “It took us five years to build the 1994 squad. But this team is just five weeks old. We will continue to build and if I get some other players who are better than what I have I will bring them in,” Keshi noted in jo’burg, South Africa after the Nations Cup triumph last year. He was to return there with an innocent team that dismantled Bafana Bafana to lift the Mandela Cup and later victory in CHAN. Now South Africa wants him at all cost. But they have to wait. Interestingly, Keshi’s rise and shine will find a place in these pages as we close up on the World Cup in Brazil. For now, he is in the city where he always dreamt to be with his family, Los Angeles, sipping the sweetness of a deserved break after an inspiring landmark performance in the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) where the homebased Super Eagles in their first ever showing came home with a bronze and fittingly got rewarded by President Goodluck Jonathan. As a Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and a man on a mission to redeem Nigeria’s soccer image, time is here to look again at his story and his style. •  A Mastersports International Presentation


78 SPORTS Monday, March 3, 2014

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Lagos Premier Lotto Schools Athletics Tourney resumes today By Adeyinka Adedipe CHOOLS from Districts Three comprising of Mainland, Apapa and Surulere, will resume hostilities today at the Lagos Premier Lotto School Athletics championship at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. District five schools - Amuwo Odofin, Ajeromi and Badagry - take centre stage tomorrow, while schools from Oshodi Isolo, Mushin and Ikeja who are under district six will also compete for place in the final on Wednesday. Some of the athletes who were present at the opening leg last week commended the state government for securing the sponsorship that would change the face of athletics in the state. Meanwhile, the Technical director of the Lagos State Athletic Association (LSSA) has commended the activities of the five scouts appointed to fish out talents at the championship. He said the gifted ones that would be selected at the end of the championship would be trained by the coaches in the district before they are called to camp for the holiday programmes, which Osheku would handle alongside Lee Evans.

S

Kelvin Dandinson of Police Baton (left) goes for a dunk against Oluyole Warriors during the 2014 Nigeria DStv Premier Basketball League opener at the Indoor Sports Hall of National Stadium, Surulere on Friday. Oluyole Warriors won 69-62 points.

DStv Basketball league:

Police Baton coach calls for improved officiating By Adeyinka Adedipe FTER watching his side lose 62-69 to Oluyole Warriors in the opening game of the DStv Premier Basketball League on Friday, Police Baton coach, Dike Dominic has called for improved officiating to enhance the growth of the league. Despite being a ceremonial game, Dominic stated that his team did not enjoy any favour from the officials unlike its opponent. He noted that officiating in sports especially basketball decides most time outcome of games. He stated that a side, which

A

enjoys favour from officials would most likely emerge victorious after a game. He said: “Basketball has a lot to do with officiating. It plays a major role in deciding, which team wins the game. “In football, you can make do with bad officiating, but there is no way you can manage in basketball, especially when the calls go against you most times. “I pray the referees will improve because our officials still lag behind. It is clear that some clubs enjoy favour from the officials. Though, Friday’s games was a friendly one, some calls went against us and it determined

Athletes thrill swimming federation, parents at Greensprings swimming gala WIMMERS from seven SPresident, schools thrilled the Nigeria Swimming Federation, Babatunde FatayiWilliams as well as parents and guardians at the maiden Greensprings Swimming Gala. The one-day tournament was well attended by students from Children’s International School (CIS), Chrisland International School, Day Waterman College, Ocean Crest School, British International School, Atlantic Hall and host – Greensprings School. The presence of parents and guardians at the event also added glamour to the competition as athletes defied the rain to compete. With cheers from the dignitaries and parents, CIS topped the medal table with 13 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals,

while Greensprings School finished second with 11 gold, 17 silver and 13 bronze medals. From Ogun State, Day Waterman settled for third spot with six gold, eight silver and nine bronze medals. To Mr. Fatayi-Williams, the management of Greensprings should be commended for staging such a well-attended competition. The swimming federation boss was particularly thrilled by the display of the athletes as well as the quality of facilities, which he said should be emulated by other schools. For Greensprings’ Director of Education, Harry McFaul, the tournament was a success considering the large turnout of schools and particularly parents and guardians, who were present to cheer their wards.

the outcome of the game.” He, however, commended the Oluyole Warriors for the way they conducted their transfer dealings during the off-season by bringing players from other established teams in the league. “Some of the players the Warriors have are from Comet and Union Bank. They did a lot of shopping, while I was only able to bring in players from the junior team.” According to Dominic, Friday’s game afforded him the chance to see where the team is lagging and promised to improve on them before the battle for points begins on Saturday. “I have seen some loopholes, which I must work on and I am sure that we will do better in subsequent games.” To avoid the agonising pains

Campbell

of last season when his team narrowly escaped relegation, the coach stated that he has worked on his team’s discipline with the hope that this would be a better campaign. “I have talked to my players to exhibit discipline and that they should not talk when games are on. But basketball is a highly temperamental game. When calls, which are supposed to be to your favour go against you, it causes a lot of disaffection. Even last season, it was impossible for us to get points in Ibadan, but we went to Port Harcourt and picked points. Also, when we play at home, it is like we are away and we enjoy no favour from the officials. He expressed hope of a strong improvement in the league and called on teams to eschew violence.

“I must give kudos to the scouts we have selected. They have come up with some names and I am sure that they would do a good work this week. They were appointed so that it will not be a problem identifying the talents. At the end of the competition, we will invite them to camp for the state’s holiday programme to further hone their skills.” According to Osheku, the athletes who do well at the holiday camp would be registered for the National Youth Games and the National Sports Festival (NSF). He assured that all hands were on deck to ensure a successful event. This year championship opened last week Monday with athletes from district one to three vying for places in the final. Over 8,000 pupils from 1,000 secondary schools are expected to compete at the championship. The state’s Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Wahid Enitan Oshodi, stated that the discovered athletes would be nurtured to worldclass athletes. He assured that the holiday training programme would be given the best technical and human support.

Fashola, Abdulahi for 3rd Greensprings sports S part of support to A sports development in schools, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola and Minister of Sports/Chairman, National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdulahi, are among the dignitaries expected at the 3rd Greensprings Sports Forum. The forum holds this Saturday March 8 at the Lekki campus of the school with the theme: “The role of Government in School Sports Development,” According to the school director of education, Harry McFaul, the event is part of the school’s effort to reinvigorate school sports development in Nigeria. He said that the choice of the theme reflects the importance of government involvement and support in developing sport in schools. Also, Chairman, National Academicals Sports

Committee (NASCOM), Yemi Idowu, as well as the President, Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Ibrahim Muhammad, will be part of the one-day event, while Martin Harris of United Kingdom (UK)-based Football CV will also speak at the event. Corporate bodies and individuals will also be present to brainstorm on the theme. McFaul added: “The objective of the forum is to encourage those in positions of power to realise the importance of an all-round education and commit to providing good physical education alongside sound academics. Ideally, the government will increase its budget and really invest in the future of Nigerian youth.” “Greensprings is organising the event as part of our commitment to raising the profile of sports in education.

Campbell believes colour cost him England captaincy ORMER Arsenal and Spurs Fbelieves defender, Sol Campbell, he would have “been England captain for more than 10 years” had he been white. The 39-year-old, who played 73 times for his country, claims the Football Association and the majority of fans do not want a black England captain. Campbell, who three times captained England in friendly matches, also labelled the appointment of Michael Owen as skipper ahead of him as “embarrassing”. In a new authorised biography serialised in the Sunday Times, Campbell said: “I believe if I was white, I would have been England captain for more than 10 years - it’s as simple as that. “I think the FA wished I was white. I had the credibility, performance-wise to be captain.

“I was consistently in the heart of the defence and I was a club captain early in my career. “I don’t think it will change because they don’t want it to and probably the majority of fans don’t want it either. “It’s alright to have black captains and mixed race in the under-18s and under-21s, but not for the full national side. There is a ceiling and although no one has ever said it, I believe it’s made of glass.” On the appointment of Owen, who wore the armband on eight occasions, he added: “I think the FA didn’t want me to have a voice. Owen was a fantastic forward but nowhere near being a captain. “It was embarrassing. I’ve asked myself many times why I wasn’t. I keep coming up with the same answer. It was the colour of my skin.”


SPORT Monday, March 3, 2014 | 79

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Abesan Cup kicks off March 16

Bayern Munich go 20 points clear AYERN Munich are 20 B points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table as they compounded Schalke’s woes at the end of a week to forget for the Royal Blues with a 5-1 result at the Allianz Arena. After conceding six in the Champions League at home to Real Madrid in midweek, the last thing Schalke would have wanted was to be four goals behind after only 28 minutes. David Alaba, Arjen Robben (2 goals) and Mario Mandzukic put Bayern in control of the game before a charitable Rafinha own-goal gave Schalke some scant consolation. Robben completed his hattrick from the penalty spot after Kyriakos Papadopoulos was shown a red card on a day - and a week - to forget for Schalke. Borussia Dortmund moved above Bayer Leverkusen into second place thanks to a 3-0 win over Nurnberg. Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski’s second-half goals put Jurgen Klopp’s men on their way to three points before Henrikh Mkhitaryan made sure of victory in the 83rd minute. Leverkusen’s miserable run of form continued as they lost their third-straight league game, going down 1-0 at home to Mainz. Eric-Maxim ChoupoMoting’s 27th-minute backheel was enough to earn Thomas Tuchel’s men all three points and keep their hopes alive of playing in Europe next season, while denting Leverkusen’s

HE 2014 edition of the T Abesan Youth Cup will kick off on March 16 at four venues with the Agege Stadium playing host to the opening and final games. Defending Champion Midas will face Ultimate FC in the opening match, Sheriff FC squares up against Rozie, while Peace FC will confront Fellers Academy. According to the coordinator of the event, Tayo Adeyemo, the preliminaries matches will hold at Egbeda, Surulere, Ifako and Ipaja. Other participating teams are 2011 Champion, Prostars of Idimu, 2003 Winner Labro FC of Ifako, Austin Tigers, Oniru United, Corinthians, Embargo, Three Wheeler Association of Nigeria (TWAN), Liberty, Adeshina Babes, FAAN FC and 2010 Champion Future Heroes. The rest are Golden Planners, Lapero, Diamond, Mighty Jet, Sportive Jeuness, Noble, Sadona, Dee Royal, Golden boys, Medical FC, Adoni, Messiah, Jomape and Owobabes.

Champions League aspirations. Werder Bremen took the honours in the 100th northern Germany derby against Hamburg, whose supposed revival ended after just one game with a 1-0 defeat at the Weser Stadion. Zlatko Junuzovic decided matters in the 19th minute of a game, which started with Bremen in dominating form, saw Hamburg recover for the start of the second half only to end with Bremen again in the ascendancy. The result puts six points between the two sides with Hamburg stuck inside the bottom three in Mirko Slomka’s second game in charge. Augsburg and Hannover shared two goals at the Augsburg Arena, with the hosts missing an opportunity to move into the top six with a 1-1 draw. Mame Diouf put Hannover in front against the run of play before Ragnar Klavan headed in an equaliser. The Bavarians pushed for the win, which would have seen them move into a Europa League qualification berth, but Hannover held on to end their three-game losing streak and put six points between themselves and the bottom three. Two extraordinary own goals, both by goalkeepers, ensured Eintracht Braunschweig and Borussia Monchengladbach took a point apiece from a 1-1 draw at the Eintracht Stadion. Culled from Sportinglife.com

Red House rules at Beehive athletics meet ith nine gold, 10 silver W and five bronze medals, Red House was adjudged the

Levante aim for Europe EVANTE’S new year charge Ltinued for a European berth conon Saturday as they beat Osasuna 2-0 - despite playing the last half-hour with a man less. Joaquin Caparros’ men looked more likely to be embroiled in a relegation fight after losing six of seven league matches around Christmas, but since suffering a 2-0 derby defeat to Valencia on January 4 they have compiled an unbeaten eight-match run to storm up the standings. Their latest success came courtesy of first-half goals from Papakouli Diop and Ruben Garcia, although they were made to sweat for the points after losing Victor Casadesus to a red card in the

Hazard

60th minute. Osasuna could not find a way back into the match, though, Lavente still have a lot to do to qualify foe Europe. Elsewhere on Saturday, Elche eased their relegation concerns with a 1-0 home win over Celta Vigo. Substitute Carles Gil struck the winner five minutes from time as Elche moved six points clear of third-bottom Real Valladolid, who drew 1-1 at fellow strugglers Malaga. Roque Santa Cruz put Malaga ahead after 13 minutes, but Daniel Larsson levelled for the visitors after half an hour to leave Valladolid still three points adrift of the Andalusian side and safety. Culled from Sportinglife.com

Robben

Hazard lights way for Chelsea NDRE SCHURRLE is in no A doubt “awesome” but Eden Hazard can help drive Chelsea forwards at the top of the Barclays Premier League after laying on a hattrick for him at Fulham. The German midfielder plundered a second-half treble at Craven Cottage to end the hosts’ brave resistance and send Jose Mourinho’s side four points clear of the chasing pack following a 3-1 victory. Belgium playmaker, Hazard, 23, had a hand in two of the goals with his intelligent runs and perfectly weighted passes, and nearly crafted another when superb reverse-foot chip just eluded Fernando Torres at the far post. Schurrle, signed from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, feels there is plenty more to come from Hazard after the Belgian marked his 100th Chelsea appearance with a man-of-the-match display. “Eden is awesome. He is a great player and everybody knows that,” Schurrle said. “When we are on the pitch, he can take on two or three people, we make a run and he sees us.” Schurrle, 23, made full use of a rare Premier League start, but maintains the win at Fulham was down to a team effort.

“I am really happy for the three goals, but I am more happy for the three points,” the German said. “It’s important for me of course, I want to play and I want to score goals for this great team and the great fans of this club. When I am on the pitch I try my best and today it went well.” Mourinho revealed he had given his side a dose of the silent treatment at half-time following a lacklustre opening 45 minutes, which may well have been a consequence of the gruelling midweek Champions League trip to Istanbul. However, it was a ploy, which had the desired impact. Schurrle said: “It was strange, but everybody knew coming into the dressing room that in the first half, we had played bad. Everybody knew we had to change. “The manager was in there for 10 or 15 seconds, said something, but I don’t want to say it here (again), then he left. The pressure was on us to change [in the second half], so we did.” Chelsea could move further ahead at the top next weekend, given Manchester City and Arsenal are both involved in the FA Cup quarter-finals. “We have a good young

team, everybody grows in this season to be successful,” said Schurrle. “We are top and we want to stay there. We have to believe we can win this.” F ulham had started well in some welcome spring sunshine on the banks of the Thames, and should have taken an early lead when Clint Dempsey glanced a close-range header wide, which would have given the match a completely different dynamic. In the end, though, all Felix Magath’s men had to show for a largely spirited display was a late bundled goal from Johnny Heitinga as consolation. Fulham remain bottom, some five points off safety and with a far inferior goal difference. The bleak outlook, however, could change quickly if Magath’s men can win at fellow strugglers Cardiff next weekend. Midfielder Pajtim Kasami said: “We have to do is stick together and think about the next game. We have to take the positives and look forwards. “We have the quality to do it and we have to fight in the next 10 games and a massive one against Cardiff next week.” Culled from Sportinglife

winner of the 2014 edition of the Beehive School Annual Inter-House Sports Competition after a day of keen competition at the school’s sports ground in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos last week. The competition saw Blue House taking the second position with eight gold, six silver and 11 bronze medals; Green House was third with eight gold, six silver and five bronze medals followed by Yellow House which placed fourth with four gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals. Speaking at the event, the school’s Director, Mrs. Latifat Dosunmu said, “Sports is essential in general development of children. We live in an age where children are almost over-protected. Gone are the days where children can hone their sporting skills on the streets playing with friends.” The highlight of the day was the recognition of Miss Ijeoma Ezechukwu as the school’s most outstanding athlete after exceptional performance in sprint and the high jump events.

Kids display taekwondo skills at Halified sports day By Florence Utor HE Halified Schools sports T arena came alive last weekend with different activities during the school’s annual inter-house sports competition. The event, which kicked off with a colourful carnival procession where Green, Red, Yellow and Blue houses displayed their creativity in carnival costumes design, as well as their coordination round the sports ground. However, the main attraction at the meet was thrilling taekwondo skills displayed by the nursery and year three pupils, who showed that if they maintain their current standard they would grow to becaome champions in the sport. The preschool taekwondo team was particularly interesting perhaps due to their little fists and kicks, as they engaged one another in their full protective gears of helmet and body suites.


TheGuardian

Monday, March 3, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Uzor Ngoladi E always spoke eloquently in class. His use H of English was relatively impressive and impeccable. He claimed to be a Brand Strategist who creates out of this world designs that can make Microsoft green with envy. He left no one in doubt about his wizardry in media advertising and brand management. Throughout the programme nobody got to see his works; we only made do with what we heard him disseminate via elegant and elevated grammar. He carried his shoulders high and spoke tactlessly to any opposing view. Those who sat close to him in class were eager to witness his creative ingenuity. In a class of 50 entrepreneurs, anybody can claim to be a maestro at his game. After all, we were carefully selected from more than a thousand candidates who applied for the sponsored programme in Lagos. And so this ego-tripping classmate of mine was contracted to design the advert that would go on a national daily to express gratitude to our sponsors and showcase the 50 lucky brands that are graduating in flying colours. It was time to prove his dexterity at creating mind-blowing brand designs. Not a few people were shocked when the advert was published. Our grammarian strategist did a very shoddy job, lacking in creativity and steeped in mediocrity. The 50 brands were enmeshed in a suffocated flat font that can hardly be read. Some of the brands were incorrectly spelt in identical fonts! His ego did not permit him to present the advert, which cost the class a fortune for appraisal before rushing to publish. Such is the nuisance created by most Lagos dwellers who habitually find it difficult to identify with reality. They forget that success does not respond to grammar and phonetics. Other fakers who claimed expertise in class could not deliver quality service when they were contracted by fellow classmates. And I began to wonder how they scaled through the rigorous selection process for the course. I did not need to look further. Most Lagosians are renowned in self-deceit, fakery and making bogus empty boasts. Mediocre abounds in this centre of excellence. They are loud mouthed, egoistic and talk before they think. They love to take the centre stage forgetting that genius and inanity cannot be hidden for a long time. Another class member who claimed that anybody can mentor her business and declared a medical doctor to be her magazine publishing business mentor presented a muddled crap when her publication finally graced the newsstands. I realized that those who made so much noise in class were actually presiding over a lackluster enterprise and they were legion. The few who were calm and calculated allowed their work to speak for them. A lady caterer whom I never saw boasting in class baked the best cake I had ever seen for the class party. Another lady who ran a Chinese restaurant gave the class a most delicious and captivating Chinese cuisine when she hosted the party. All her delicacies including the hall were on point. Others gave a good account of their skill in photography, publishing and party deserts to mention but a few. These people were humble businessmen and women who allowed their work to speak for them. Your creativity does not need a thunderous trumpet. Creativity, discipline and industry speak louder than the personality behind it. I have come across several Lagosians who are prolific storytellers. Their endeavour stops at word of mouth. The energy they should have channelled to sharpen and polish their skills are diverted to spinning blatant lies and fabrication. You know very well that this is not your

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line of business, why brandish business cards and tear the roof with imaginary exploits? The truth has become a scarce commodity among most Lagos entrepreneurs and I wonder what we expect from politicians. People choose to claim what they are not. They offer any service

under the sun while operating as middlemen, facilitator, connector or any other nomenclature. I came across a gentleman who regaled me with tales of his resourcefulness at designing websites and managing web solutions. At the

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end of his gibberish, I requested for his company website and the story changed. Another Lagos clown bragged about his online clothing business, assuring me that his business was top notch and attracted high net worth clients. Again, I demanded for his website since the clothes he wore made no impression as a serious clothier. His website was nonexistent! Lagos liars easily forget that internet phones are in surplus and that we can easily ask Google when in doubt to confirm some discrepancies. I want to challenge Nigerian youths to aspire to greater heights with modesty while honing their skills and improving their abilities. Be yourself. Seek out people who have travelled that road successfully and drink from their wealth of experience as you embark on your career or vocation journey. A single or divorced man can teach few things about marriage but can the lesson be as qualitative as the advice of a man that has celebrated his silver or golden jubilee in the marriage institution? Let’s bear in mind that no man ever lied his way to greatness and success. You must imbibe humility to learn at the masters’ feet and resist the temptation to boast and brag about empty and nonexistent accomplishment. Our popular musicians such as 2face, Psquare, Whizkid, Don Jazzy etc do not need introduction any longer. Their work speaks for them. Find out why other Nigerians that have done well in their various vocations always cut a humble picture. They hardly boast about achievement. They don’t need to prove anything to you. Emulate their character traits and put your hand to the plough. Be consistent and innovative in your chosen field and kings will seek you out. Be a good listener, see opportunities and talk less. An acquaintance of mine who was born and bred in Obalende is a champion at concocting lies. No sentence of his is devoid of lies and this attitude made me christen him ‘Lienus’. Yes Lienus was not contented with his phony inventions, he transferred some of it to people around him and manufactured appropriate lies they could tell at any given situation. His introductions came with chief, prince, barrister or Dr. I had to sincerely enquire why such a talented young man choose this path of falsehood. And he revealed to me that the only way to get people appreciate you in Lagos was by creating an image of affluence and influence. Unless you talk big and claim bourgeoisie, people hardly take you serious. But I challenged his submission and made him understand that people can easily see through his mendacity. Even when they pretend to believe you, your integrity meter would have gone down to zero. Why claim blue when you are actually in the red? You may miss great opportunity for life changing assistance just because of one stupid lie. Honesty remains the best policy that I know. This generation must eschew impersonation and other subtle manipulations that go with it. Those charlatans that are into every form of business from oil and gas to real estate to ICT must have a rethink and settle for a profession. If any career interests you as a passion, your best bet is to settle down and acquire the basic skills from the experts. The year 2014 is a New Year and a new dawn. Turn a new leaf and desist from telling selfdestructive lies. Drop your ego and pride and acquire a skill that can guarantee you a genuine means of livelihood. Lagos as the centre of excellence will not uphold mediocrity whether you are a JJC or born and bred here. In the words of Randall R McBride Jr. “Success will not lower its standard to us. We must raise our standard to success.” Happy New Year to you as you make this critical decision to remain pure and true to your dream. • Ngoladi, a writer, author, biographer, actor and entrepreneur lives in Lagos.


Mon 03 March 2014