Page 1

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,872

www.ngrguardiannews.com

N150

‘1,000 die, 250,000 displaced by insurgency in three months’ From Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna), Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Joke Falaju (Abuja), Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri), Joseph Wantu (Makurdi) and Msugh Ityokura (Lafia) N assessment report by the A National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on the humanitarian situation in the State of Emergency (SOE) states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, has shown that

• 47 feared killed in Nasarawa, Benue, Borno • Mark urges death sentence for terrorists from January to March 2014 alone, insurgency and other humanitarian challenges left 1,000 people dead and 250,000 displaced from their homes. Besides, 47 persons were yesterday feared killed in violent attacks in Nasarawa, Benue

and Borno states. In Nasarawa State, unknown gunmen invaded Giza village in Keana Local Council, killing 19 persons, while suspected herdsmen murdered 20 people in Agena and Mbatsada communities in Benue State. Also, a twin suicide car

bomber crashed into a Police Federal Highway patrol vehicle along the Maiduguri-Bama Road in Borno State, killing eight persons, including five policemen. Similarly, Kaduna metropolis was yesterday saved from another attack as the police

detonated a high-calibre Improvised Explosive Device (IED) allegedly planted at the ever busy Sultan /Kashim Ibrahim Road junction by an unidentified motorcyclist. Meanwhile, Senate President David Mark has reiterated the resolve of the Federal Government towards ending the insurgency in the country just as he insisted that capital punishment is the antidote to the menace.

Also, the Kaduna State Government yesterday began a retreat with traditional rulers to enhance the capacity in dealing with emerging security challenges in their various domains. In a related development, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Benue State chapter, has called on the state government to urgently initiate a concert of the Middle Belt CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Court summons Sanusi over alleged fraudulent sale of Intercontinental Bank - Page 4

Govt raises panel on modalities for grazing reserves - Page 6 Fear of Ebola virus global spread heightens - Page 5

I don’t see anything wrong in dialogue now, says Osoba – Page 10

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Lagos office gutted by fire… yesterday.

Govt apologises over power cuts, absolves new owners of blame From Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Emeka Anuforo (Abuja) HE Federal Government T yesterday absolved the new owners of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) – successor companies – of blame in the power cuts being experienced across the country. Rather, government heaped the blame on non-availability of gas, infrastructure vandalism, sabotage in the sector and low water-level to power the hydro power plants. Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who addressed newsmen in Abuja on

the worsening power supply, also apologised to consumers over the development, promising that government was tackling the issue from all fronts. He was still optimistic that the nation would witness visible improvement in power supply by June this year. In a related development, the minister, also yesterday, said about 30 million households in the country lack access to electricity. He stressed that the trend, if not reversed, was capable of truncating sustainable development of the nation’s economy. Nebo, who disclosed this in

• 30 million households lack electricity • Presidency raises gas-to-power panel • May set aside gas export agreements Nsukka during the First African International Conference/Workshop on Application of Nanotechnology to Energy, Health and Environment holding at University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), stated that without steady power generation and supply, no nation will attain sustainable development. He added that increased access to electricity was crucial

to fundamental, economic and social development not only in Nigeria but globally. He said: “The United Nations (UN) estimates that about 600 million people of sub-Sahara Africa lack access to electricity. In Nigeria, 30 million households have no access to electricity. “This is the reason the Federal Ministry of Power is rolling out comprehensive roadmap on access to power. This roadmap will systemati-

cally connect households through grid and off-grid solutions.” The minister, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Access of Power and renewable Energy, Mr. Albert Okorogu, said it was in view of providing electricity to all households that President Goodluck Jonathan in January inaugurated three pilot projects of the Federal Ministry of Power under Operation Light up Rural Nigeria Initiatives. “The pilot programme will provide energy-efficient lighting to homes, streets and community centres with up-

to-date solar technologies. There is plan to replicate this pilot project across 36 states of the federation.” Nebo commended the organisers of the conference, noting that nanotechnology had helped in fabrication of energy storage devices and energy generation technologies which had resulted in energy efficiency. “Exploitation of nanotechnology in Nigeria will provide sustainable solutions to our environment, social responsibility, overall well-being and increase in access to electricity”, he said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


2 | NEWS Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

30 million households lack electricity, says minister CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Barth Okolo, commended organisers of the conference, noting that with a high calibre of scientists in various fields within and outside the country attending the conference, he had no doubt that the conference would proffer solutions to obstacles in achieving rapid technological development in the country. The minister, while responding to a question in Abuja as to why Nigeria continues to export gas when the local electricity market is under-served,

said government might reconsider its gas export commitments as a last option to improve gas to power supply. Available statistics indicate that Nigeria exports a vast quantity of its natural gas in the form of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and through the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) to nearby countries. Late President Umar Yar’Adua had promised to declare emergency in gas sector wherein government would set aside its export obligations on gas in order to satisfy supply to the power sector. That promise never saw the light of the day. Nebo, who lamented the issue of poor gas supply to the power sector, also announced that the President had approved the reconstitution of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Gas to Power. The committee, he stressed, would be charged with the responsibility of identifying and ensuring that all the enablers and interventions required to deliver adequate powers to the nation’s power plants are delivered on time. He stressed: “The reform of the Nigerian power sector has

been very much on course culminating in the handover of generation and distribution assets to private investors on November 1, 2013. We are very much on our way to the next phase of the reform, the declaration of Transitional Electricity Market in which relationship between market participants would be strictly governed by contracts and rules emanating from the regulator. The power sector has also recorded significant increases in available generation from a dismal capacity of about 2000mw in mid-2013 to a peak of 4,248mw in February 2014. “The reform has however not been without significant difficulties and this is not unexpected in the light of the unprecedented scope and magnitude of the Nigerian initiative. The recent dip in power supply has been mainly due to inadequate gas supply to thermal power plants arising from recurring acts of vandalism on gas pipelines.” Some of the more recent attacks on gas infrastructure associated with the power sector, he said, include ELPS A pipeline out for over seven months with a loss of 200 million standard cubic feet of gas and generation capacity of about 800mw; the Trans-Forcados out now with a loss of 200 million standard cubic feet of gas and generation capacity of about 800mw; the Alakiri-Onne LBVS which blasted in March and had had adverse impact on gas supply to industries. He said there had been similar attacks on Trans Niger with a loss of 120 million standard cubic of gas and a loss of

500mw from the Afam VI IPP and that the temporary shutdown of the Chevron gas plant this month contributed to the low peak generation of 2,672mw on March 12, 2014. His words: “I wish to reiterate that gas shortage not only affects the availability of power for dispatch to consumers but the frequency of system collapses is also strongly correlated to this menace. Other factors that recently impacted on service delivery in the sector include occasional loss of transmission lines and substations across the country. Many of you here may have read of the collapse of 12 towers on the Sapele/Delta 330kV transmission line that occurred on March 9, 2014 thus constraining the evacuation of power from the Delta power plant. “The incident was caused by a petrol tanker that caught fire in the vicinity of the high tension transmission line. Despite the far-reaching impact of losing the line, the cost of restoring the line has been estimated at over N600 million with a completion period of six months. Other recent incidents that affected availability of power include the fire accident at Osogbo in which a 150MVA transformer was completely lost thus significantly reducing the capacity of the sub-station. The nation’s power infrastructure suffered attack with the hacking of three towers at Ibuzo.” Insisting that the outages had nothing to do with the new utility owners, Nebo said a lot of rehabilitation work was going on by the new owners. He went on: “The hydropower plant units at Kainji are for the

first time since they were commissioned in the 1960s being rehabilitated with funding from the World Bank. Some of the major components of the Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Plant are also being rehabilitated thus reducing the plant by about 300mw. The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has also taken advantage of additional funding sourced from multilateral agencies to expedite urgently needed repair work. The impact of all these ongoing works upon completion during the year would be improved service delivery in the entire value chain.” On resolving the gas challenge, he said additional 295mscf of gas would be available by June 2014 and another 370 mscf by the end of the year. On efforts to check vandalism, Nebo said: “I am also pleased to report that the issue of security of pipelines is receiving the attention of the highest level of government. It is gratifying to note that President Goodluck Jonathan has recently pledged a sum of $1 billion towards addressing the challenge of vandalism of pipelines and theft of crude oil. I am confident that the strategies being proffered by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the IOCs and other security agencies would significantly curtail such occurrences.” The minister maintained that the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) was still at its mid-term phase and would require patience from the populace.

His words: “Associated with this is the transition from largely government-driven enterprises to the private sector. To address the post-privatisation challenges that may arise, the Vice President has recently inaugurated a standing committee under the Chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, to address issues that include, but not limited to sector liquidity, legacy debt overhang, metering gap, and so on. I trust that you will agree that timely payment for gas by the GenCos is a confidence building enabler for even more gas to the power sector. In this regard, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Bureau of Public Enterprises have developed a robust frame-work for the monitoring of the activities of all players in the market. I want to assure that the Federal Government would not hesitate in applying necessary sanctions against any investor that fails to meet the expectations and deliverables agreed with the government. “The distribution sector represents the interface and the last mile to consumer premises. As part of the effort towards ensuring the sustainability of the reform agenda, the NERC is developing a frame-work for fasttracking the roll-out of pre-paid metering across the country. It is planned that the prevalent case of estimated billing would soon be a thing of the past and consumers would only pay for the electricity they consume.”

47 feared killed in Nasarawa, Benue, Borno CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 states to stop the killing of farmers by marauders. The report confirmed that of the 9.7 million population (according to the 2006 population figure), in the affected states, 3.1 million are directly or indirectly affected by the crisis, while 1.5 million people are in urgent need of assistance, 245,000 displaced people are living in host communities and 5,366 people living in Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps. The report further revealed the grim situation of the affected communities and councils as the meal consumption was said to have dropped from three to once daily because most of the displaced persons complain that their property have been lost, either left behind, stolen or completely destroyed by the insurgents. The report further stated that the sanitary conditions are also horrendous with an average of 500 persons sharing latrines, which is far from the 50 persons per latrine sphere standard in most of the affected areas. It added that there were no pit latrines in most of the camps that were visited as most of the residents had to use alternative means, such as bush, plastic bags, paper, among others. An official of the agency, Auwal Abubakar who presented the Multi Sector Rapid Assessment report of the SOE states in the country during a humanitarian co-ordination fo-

rum’s meeting yesterday in Abuja, said that most of the IDP camps had no refuse bins, communal refuse pit or bathing areas. He further disclosed that many of the residents had to take their bath in the stream, while women take theirs at night. The report further lamented that of the 1,500 boreholes in all the SOE states, only 500 are functioning, though with good quality water, but the taps are not enough to serve the host communities, talk less of the IDPs. It further said that NEMA had to provide water using water tankers from its zonal office in Maiduguri to make up for the water shortage while some residents resort to streams, rivers and stagnant water. Lamenting the horrible situation in the SOE states, he noted, “the overwhelming feeling of being insecure is a constant pattern among the displaced persons, the fabric of society is being torn apart with the increase of female headed household, unaccompanied children, and the most vulnerable being left behind. There is no mechanism to address violence-probe situation, for instance, there is no presence of human rights commission, social welfare and security officials. The NEMA official further expressed nostalgia that the crisis in the north eastern states had collapsed all the health system in most of the affected councils, adding that though the number of functional structures was extremely low before the insurgence.

Abubakar recommended that with unrelenting insecurity and increasing number of IDPs fleeing the violence, the humanitarian community must prioritise the rapid and co-ordinated response to growing needs of the displaced populace, stressing the need for food, water, sanitation, hygiene and protection in the affected areas. He also called on the Federal Government to distribute fertiliser and seeds to the displaced people so as to quickly reintegrate them back to the society. The gunmen armed with sophisticated weapons were said to have stormed Giza community at about 6.00 a.m., killing and destroying property worth millions of naira, including the palace of the paramount ruler of Giza chiefdom, Alhaji Umaru Elegu Abu ll. According to an eyewitness, Hemba Chia: “They came and killed several people. As I speak with you, we have been able to recover nine corpses from the surrounding bushes while some are still being searched for. The ones so far discovered have been taken for burial.” The Nasarawa State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Umar Ismaila, confirmed the attack, but said only five people were killed. He added that the police had mobilised to the affected community to provide adequate security. However, the swearing-in of the newly-elected officials of

Keana Local Council scheduled for yesterday was cancelled due to the incident. Confirming the marauders’ attack, the chairman of the GwerEast Local Council of Benue State, Dr. David Maor, told journalists in Makurdi that he had so far received 12 corpses; adding that the herdsmen invaded the council ward in the early hours of yesterday and subjected the entire village to heavy shooting which led to many deaths. Maor described the attacks as “unprovoked and unwarranted” and called on the security operatives in the state to station a unit of the police to prevent the invaders from further attacks. The council chairman however commended the prompt response of the police and their efforts in calming the situation in the area and called for sustained efforts. But the State Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ezeala, confirmed seven deaths, a woman and six men, adding that more security has been beefed up in the area, while no arrest has been made. According to an eyewitness, Ba Modu Mustapha, “the suicide cars loaded with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) crashed into the police patrol vehicle at Dolori Housing Estates and killed five policemen, including three suspects in vehicles used in the operation. As the deafening sound of the blasts were heard in Maiduguri, some residents, including school children scampered for safety.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | 3

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

News PPPRA rules out fuel scarcity From Bridget Chiedu Onochie and Azimazi Momoh Jimoh (Abuja) ITH over nine vessels currently discharging about 200 million litres of petrol across the country, the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr. Ahmed Faruk, yesterday called on Nigerians to shun panic buying of the product. Faruk, who revealed this during his agency’s 2014 budget defence before the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream),

W

• Says 200m litres of product imported admitted that the non-payment of oil marketers caused the initial fuel crisis. However, he explained that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Finance had settled all outstanding debts. He further told the committee that rumours of alleged moves by the Federal Government to raise the pump price of petroleum products based on pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also

forced some marketers to hoard the product. According to him, there was adequate supply of fuel in various depots across the country, just as he assured that Nigerians would not experience scarcity again, with daily consumption of the product estimated at 40 million litres. He added: “As it is today, we have over nine vessels currently discharging products in various depots across the country. We have Atlas Cove

vessels discharging for PPMC. We have vessels discharging in Apapa. So, in a nutshell, we have over 200 million litres being discharged by various vessels as at today. “So, there is no need for any panic because we have the product there. There is no need really to queue up for a long time waiting because we know that the product is there. This is in addition to the products we already have in tanks and the vessels also waiting to discharge.” The PPRA boss said the outstanding payments to oil marketers would have been

settled as at last week, noting: “Before now, some of the marketers were finding it difficult to secure credit lines in order to open letters of credit to bring their importation. But I understand that payments were made last week.” However, a member of the committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, lamented the problem in the petroleum industry, especially with PPPRA’s admission that the current fuel scarcity was not based on the rumoured deregulation but the inability of importers to promptly get their payments. “I don’t know whether it is NNPC or any (other) appropriate agency charged with the responsibility of paying these importers that had somehow failed to do that and as a result, the importers had to cut down the amount of petrol imported, thereby

causing fuel scarcity,” he said. “We should guard against this practice where we don’t do our work promptly. Once you have a loophole somewhere, it takes time before the problem is resolved. I will advise the Ministry of Finance or any agency responsible for paying the importers to do so in the interest of the suffering masses of this country.” Chairman of the committee, Senator Magnus Abe, hoped that Nigerians would not be taken through similar situation in the nearest future, “so we can take your word for it that products are available and that there is no need for the public to panic. “We need to confirm from PPMC on what is being done to ensure that these products are effectively distributed across the country.”

Govt sues don over illegal varsities From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja ROFESSOR David Iornem P was yesterday arraigned at the Federal High Court,

Chief Executive Officer, Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu (right); Minister of Finance, Cape Verde, Cristiana Duarte; Chief Executive Officer, Africa Finance Corporation, Andrew Alli and Economist and former Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Jim O’Neill, at the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) Live Summit, “Building the Infrastructure Investment Divide 2014” in Lagos…yesterday PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Abuja, for allegedly duping unsuspecting Nigerian students of over N200 million through two illegal foreign universities’ admissions. Iornem was arraigned before Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed on a 14-count criminal charge bordering on extortion and money laundering. In the charges filed against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission

IG, ministry deny receipt of N19.7b Police Equipment Fund From Adamu Abuh, Abuja HE last is not yet heard of T the Police Equipment Fund, as the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday denied receiving N19.7 billion to procure helicopters and other equipment for the Police. Abubakar, who appeared before the House Committee on Public Accounts, was accused of collecting the monies from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) prior to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s suspension as the governor.

However, the IGP, represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Air Wing, Ilesanmi Aguda, told the lawmakers probing the transaction that he had no knowledge of the alleged payment from the CBN. He asked the Solomon Olamilekan-led committee to direct queries on the whereabouts of the Police Equipment Fund to the Ministry of Police Affairs. Olamilekan further disclosed that the ministry had equally denied receipt of the fund from CBN.

“If the IGP and the Police Ministry deny receipt of the said N19.7 billion, then the committee can rightly assume that the money is missing, until proven otherwise,” he noted. “All the major actors involved in the alleged transaction, including the CBN, have a case to answer.” The committee then resolved to summon the CBN Governor, IGP and the Police Affairs Minister to appear before it next Tuesday to explain the whereabouts of the “missing” fund. Sanusi had, in a written

response to government’s allegation of financial recklessness against him, insisted that the police project was at the instance of President Goodluck Jonathan. Meanwhile, the committee also summoned the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Jonah Otunla, the CBN Governor and the Head of Budget Office, to explain the alleged disappearance of the sum of N59.6 billion subsidy monies meant for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). An official of the NNPC told

members of the committee that all attempts to make the Budget Office and AGF do a formal letter stating that the said N59.6 billion was not cash backed had failed. Consequently, the committee directed the NNPC authorities to formally write, informing it of the non-receipt of the aforementioned monies. Its chairman added: “You will do us a formal letter explaining that at no time (did) you receive N59.6 billion, but Deloitte Accounting firm, in its report, claimed the fund was disbursed.

“Our men are there and we are making sure that security is tight so that hoodlums would not take advantage of the situation to loot” the source said. CBN also yesterday (Tuesday), confirmed that there was a fire incident at its Lagos Branch office at about 5:30 pm. In a statement signed by Isaac Okorafor for the Director of Corporate Communications Department, the fire, which occurred on the first floor of

the building, has already been put out by a combined team of fire fighters from the bank and other institutions. However, the statement did not mention losses incurred and its equivalent in value, but assured that records are secure. “We wish to assure our numerous stakeholders that the records of the bank are intact, as the bank has an effective back-up of all its records, as part of our disaster recovery infrastructure,” the statement said.

Fire outbreak at old CBN Lagos office By Odita Sunday and Chijioke Nelson ROPERTY worth millions of naira was, early yesterday evening, feared destroyed during a fire outbreak at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lagos office in Broad Street, Marina. But for the timely intervention of Area A Police Command led by the Area Commander, Lion Building, Mr. Imohinmi Edgal and the Fire Service in Marina, a much heavier loss would have been recorded.

P

• Cleric wants dialogue to produce new constitution A senior police officer, who confirmed the incident to The Guardian, said the cause of the fire which started at about 6.00 pm was yet to be determined. But the fire was said to have destroyed sections of the ground floor and the first floor before operatives of the Federal and State Fire Services and the Police raced to the scene to contain the inferno. It was gathered that the fire

started at the old building as workers were preparing to move documents and other sensitive items from the block into their new building. It was further gathered that the incident threw the whole area into pandemonium causing heavy traffic snarl on the Island. The source confirmed to The Guardian that the Police and Fire Service in the area jointly put out the fire.

(ICPC), Iornem was accused of running two private foreign universities to dupe unsuspecting Nigerians through fraudulent admission offers. The two foreign, illegal private varsities are Island Open University Incorporation and Commonwealth University Incorporation of Belize, which were charged as second and third accused respectively. Iornem, a former senator from Benue State, was said to have conspired with one Bruce Robert Duncan and others at large to publish an advertisement in which he allegedly offered fraudulent admissions to Nigerians while acting as consultant and academic adviser to Commonwealth University Belize. The trial was adjourned till May.

Ekiti LP okays Bamidele for guber race From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head, S’West Bureau), Ado-Ekiti KITI State chapter of the Labour Party (LP) yesterday affirmed Opeyemi Bamidele as its standard bearer for the June 21 governorship election. Bamidele, a member of the House of Representatives, was the only aspirant on the LP ticket and his candidacy was affirmed by the 444 delegates at the state congress in AdoEkiti. Chairman of the chapter, Mr. Akin Omole, recommended Bamidele to the National Working Committee delegation led by the Deputy Chairman, Chief Joseph Akinlaja, for ratification in line with the party’s constitution. Thereafter, Akinlaja presented the party’s flag to him, stating that as at March 19 when the procurement of forms was closed, only Bamidele had obtained form at the party in Ado-Ekiti. He warned that whoever parades himself as governorship candidate of the party other than Bamidele would be treated as impostor.

E


4

NEWS Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Lack of participation in discussions may mar confab From Terhemba Daka, Karls Tsokar (Abuja) and Nnamdi Akpa (Abakaliki) HE lack of opportunity for T every delegate to contribute on issues at plenary during the ongoing conference may trigger crisis if not checked, as some delegates, who were ignored by the Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, during the debate prior to the adoption of rules and procedures for the conference yesterday have voiced their reservations. Meanwhile, the conference yesterday backed the media’s reporting of delegates caught sleeping during plenary. The backing followed an objection by a representative of a civil society organisation, Mahmud Aminu, that the media’s reportage of proceedings at the conference were “slanted” because Leadership Newspapers published “sleeping” delegates at Monday’s plenary. And in Ebonyi State, the Bishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Abakaliki, Rt. Rev. Godfrey Agupusi, has expressed the need for this conference to produce a new constitution for the nation. Speaking yesterday during the opening of the 20th Annual Synod of Diocese in Nkalagu, Agupusi observed that the country has no constitution and that the amalgamation was unconditional, therefore, the conference

should not conclude without a generally acceptable document. Stressing the need for all delegates to be allowed to contribute at discussions were Prof. Ruqyattu Ahmed Rufai and Sam Egwu from Ebonyi State, while Dr. Magaji Dambatta from Kano State, noting that it would not be possible for every delegate to speak on every issue raised,

suggested that delegates selected at random from the five sitting sections should be noted, so as to give opportunity to all. However, a delegate from the South-East, Clement Mgada, accused the chairman of acknowledging those he is familiar with over others he had never met, just as a delegate on the youth platform, Hassan Rilwan, lamented that the

elders, who were “responsible for some of the decisions that have led us to where we are today” were being given chance to speak while ignoring the youth. At the end, Justice Kutigi noted their “observations and reservations.” However, as the conference continues, delegates fear they might not be given a fair opportunity to present their interests for

consideration. But the allegation of “slanted” reporting was countered by a delegate and spokesman of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, and National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Dr. Dan Nwanyanwu, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), cautioned against any attempt to gag the media in its reportage of

S’East govs plan joint action against insecurity

Abuja HE Monetary Policy ComT mittee, (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday decided to continue the tight monetary policy adopted by the suspended Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in the last two years to keep inflation under check by retaining the Monetary Policy Ratio at 12 per cent. Arising from a heated Monetary Policy Committee, the first to be headed by the apex bank Acting Governor, Dr. Sarah Alade announced the raising of the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) on all private sector deposits in banks from 12 per cent by 300-basis point to 15 per cent.

Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil (left); Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali during a press conference on the current challenges of power supply nationwide held in Abuja … yesterday. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY-ELUKPO

The consequence of the new policy action is the attendant rise in interest rate as this will lead to the reduction of funds available for lending to the domestic economy and particularly to the real sector for expansion of activities to diversify the Nigerian economy. Announcing the outcome of the MPC meeting at a press briefing in Abuja, the Acting Governor said that of the nine members of the MPC present at the brainstorming, five voted for the review of the MPR while four voted for the wholesale retention of its indices. She explained that the MPC considered the success of Monetary Policy in attaining price and exchange rate stability; the potential headwinds in 2014; the ultimate

goal of transiting to a truly low – inflation environment; and the need to retain portfolio flows. Accordingly, she added that the Committee unanimously voted for further tightening of monetary policy but were divided on the instruments. While some voted for an increase in the MPR to retain and attract more inflows, others, she noted, felt that such increase could impact negatively on access to credit and domestic growth. Giving more details of the decisions Alade said, “Five (5) members voted to keep MPR at 12%, while four (4) members voted for an increase in MPR. Seven (7) members voted to retain the MPR corridor at +/-2%, while two (2) members

voted for an asymmetric corridor; seven (7) members voted to increase CRR on private sector deposits by 300 basis points to 15%, while two (2) members voted to retain the CRR on private sector deposits at 12%. The Committee, therefore, decided by a majority vote of 5 to 4 to hold the MPR and its corridor at current levels but raised the CRR on private sector deposits by 300 basis points to 15 per cent.’’ Alade gave further background on what informed the Committee’s decisions: “The Committee unanimously agreed that a continuation of a tight monetary policy was needed to consolidate recent gains. “The MPC welcomed the growth expectations but expressed concern that the in-

dustrial sector has continued to lag behind. The Committee noted that growth remained consistently in favour of the agricultural sector, noting that the continued achievement of relative exchange rate stability and single digit inflation in 2014 given the risks in the horizon will require extraordinary measures. The Committee viewed some of the developments as positive optimism by the market relative to other emerging market economies. While tension in Ukraine over Russia’s claims to Crimea remained serious, direct trade and financial links between Nigeria and the duo remained largely limited. Thus, the risk premium could come from rising oil and gas prices, which were deemed positive shocks.’’

Court summons Sanusi over alleged fraudulent sale of Intercontinental Bank FEDERAL High Court sitting A in Abuja has ordered the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to appear before it in a suit filed by some aggrieved shareholders of the defunct Intercontinental Bank of Nigeria who are asking for N10 billion damages. Ruling on an ex-parte application filed by Mr. Chris Uche on behalf of one Abdullahi Sani, Adaeze Onwuegbusi and Chijioke Ezeikpe, Justice AbdulRamat Mohammed ordered the service of the originating summons on any adult in the office of the governor of the CBN or the notice board of the bank. The plaintiffs, in their originating summons supported by a seven-paragraph affidavit, want the court to determine

By Kodilinye Obiagwu and Lawrence Njoku OUTH East governors have expressed worry over the security situation in the zone and resolved to work together towards tackling insecurity in the zone. After four hours of deliberations at the Government House Enugu, venue of their meeting yesterday, the governors said they have recognised lack of wisdom in individual states working alone on matters of insecurity. Briefing journalists after the meeting, the South East Governor’s Forum Chairman and Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, said that the meeting was determined to do everything to support the delegates from the zone to the National Conference in order for them to bring out their best. Said Orji: “We reviewed and talked about our delegates at the ongoing National Conference. We discussed how far they are doing, the ways and means that we can also hear and ensure that they are doing very well. The forum also welcomed its latest member, the new governor of Anambra State, Chief Willy Obiano into our fold and briefed him very well.” The security situation in the zone might have become an issue amid speculations of an impending invasion by the Biafran Zionist Movement (BZM) of some state Government Houses. The group, which on March 8, 2014 invaded the Enugu Government House had issued a warning and gave the Nigerian Government till March 31 to vacate what they called Biafran territory. The leader of the group Benjamin Onwuka had mentioned the five states in the South East, South South, Ondo and Benue states as part of the Biafran territory. Meanwhile, the Police Command in Enugu had declared Onwuka, a London trained lawyer wanted for treasonable felony. Last week, the Imo State Government warned the group against any activity that would threaten the “new feeling of security in the state . Any attempt to hoist any flag in any part of the states will be strongly resisted.”

S

CBN retains MPR at 12 per cent, tightens liquidity From Mathias Okwe, Assistant Business Editor,

the conference. According to Odumakin, “in as much as we are trying to ensure that the media report accurately what is happening here, I think there should be no attempt to gag the media. We have not been sent here to sleep. If the media observe that people are sleeping, they have the duty to publish all the people that are doing that.” For Nwanyanwu, “anybody who has to sleep may take an excuse and climb the isles out to take a nap. The press must report what they have seen and they are not lying by what is on page six of Leadership (yesterday). They have just said the whole truth. So, if we are here to do business of nation-building, we must be serious.”

• Shareholders seek N10b damages from him whether the suspended governor, Lamido Sanusi, did not act fraudulently by deliberately strangulating the banking operations of Intercontinental Bank to the detriment of the plaintiffs as shareholders. They are therefore praying the court to declare the sale of Intercontinental Bank by Sanusi as unlawful, fraudulent and of no legal effect whatsoever. Joined in the suit as defendants are the CBN and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The plaintiffs’ counsel, in the originating summons, argued that Sanusi deliberately strangulated the operations of his clients’ bank by falsifying its actual financial state before revoking its operating licence.

He said that the suspended CBN governor went on to undervalue the bank and sold it to his friends to the detriment of the plaintiffs, who were shareholders. The plaintiffs claim that Sanusi’s friends who bought Intercontinental Bank constituted the bulk of the alleged non-performing loans, which was the purported reason for declaring the bank insolvent. Uche submitted that instead of recovering the loans totaling N25 billion from them, Sanusi waived the repayments and sold the bank at a ridiculous N50 billion to his debtorfriends. He said that at the time of the transaction in August 2009, the bank had a paid-up capital

of N230 billion, 330 branches nationwide, a balance sheet of N1.6 billion and staff strength of over 12,000. The plaintiffs’ counsel, therefore, urged the court to declare the take-over of Intercontinental Bank by Access Bank under Sanusi’s instructions and supervision ``unlawful, fraudulent, illegal, null and void.’’ He also prayed for a court order for SEC to conduct a detailed investigation into the circumstances of the transaction to protect his clients’ interest and apply appropriate sanctions against parties in the fraud. Uche also prayed the court to order the CBN to recover the N25 billion loan still being owed by Sanusi’s friends with accrued interest, while Sanusi should pay the plaintiffs N10

billion as general damages. ``It is also in the interest of justice for this court to grant us damages as we have suffered untold hardships, including retrenchment from the services of the bank. This was due to fraudulent acts, corrupt practices, collusion and abuse of public office by the first defendant,’’ the plaintiffs said. Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted the plaintiff’s application to serve Sanusi by substituted means as prayed by their counsel and adjourned the case to May 14 for hearing. He ordered that Sanusi should be served with the originating summons and all other processes through an official of the CBN or the notices be pasted on the CBN Notice Board.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Police arrest ex-media aide of Yakowa over postings on Internet From Saxone Akhaine, Northern Bureau Chief HE Police in Kaduna has arrested former media aide to late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, Mr. Reuben Buhari, for posting pictures of the recent killings by gunmen in three villages of Kaura local council of the state on the Internet. Buhari, who is now a journalist with ThisDay Newspapers has since been transferred to Abuja, allegedly on the orders of the Inspector General of Police. He was first invited for questioning on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, detained for about six hours and made to write an undertaking not to post more pictures because “they were inciting” before he was released. The state Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Umar Shehu, said he arrested Buhari for onward transfer to the Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigations over the pictures he posted on the Kaura killings on an enclosed Internet discussion group, Gurara Forum (GF). In a text message to journalists at about 12.38 pm, Buhari said, “I have been invited to police headquarters again by the CP. Right now on my way.” The Police Commissioner said he was arresting and taking him to Abuja on the instructions of the Inspector General of Police. He added that: “Look, look, no one has the power to tell me to transfer a case to Abuja, if not the Inspector General of Police. I cannot on my own transfer a case to Force CID, Abuja if not on the instructions of the Inspector General of Po-

T

Arinze meets, tasks Obiano From Chuks Collins, Awka ARDINAL Bishop of VelC letri-Segni, His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, yesterday paid a surprise visit to new Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, to congratulate and wish him well in his office at Government Office Awka. The Cardinal, who returned from the Vatican earlier in the day, reminded the new governor that he has enormous obligations as a leader to the people of the state. He urged him to use the ideas especially from the private sector to provide good and commendable leadership that would yield huge democracy dividends for the electorate. The cleric noted that, “If this is done, everyone in Anambra will say God is blessing us again through Governor Obiano.” Responding, Obiano expressed his appreciation to the Cardinal especially for his very kind comments and useful advice.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 NEWS 5

Fear of Ebola virus’s global spread heightens By Chukwuma Muanya HE fear of global spread of T the deadly Ebola virus from Guinea to other countries in Africa and other continents has been heightened with report of suspected cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Canada yesterday, even as Guinea has banned the sale and consumption of bats as the number of victims rises to 62. Reuters and AFP monitored reports yesterday said the deadly virus has made its way towards Canada, as a local came from Africa with suspicious symptoms. It comes after the ‘molecular shark’, as the virus is branded, killed 59 in West Africa. The local Health Ministry in Canada’s Saskatchewan province said a man had been put in solitary confinement, with the test results expected on Tuesday. The patient’s fam-

• Guinea bans bats • Canada, Liberia, Sierra Leone record cases ily also remains in quarantine. Dr. Denise Werker, the province’s deputy chief medical officer, declined to say how long the man had been in Africa but said he only fell ill after returning to Canada. Liberian Health Minister, Walter Gwenigale said in a statement, as quoted by AFP: “As of this morning six cases have been reported of which five have already died – four female adults and one male child. One of the suspected cases, a female child, is under treatment.” Doctors Without Borders reported that the patients were mostly Liberian citizens, mainly because they attended a funeral in an Ebolahit region of Guinea and were infected there. Denise Werker, joint director

of health in Saskatchewan, in western Canada, told AFP: “All we know at this point is that we have a person who is critically ill who travelled from a country where these diseases occur.” Meanwhile, Guinea has banned the sale and consumption of bats to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. Health minister, Rene Lamah, said bats appeared to be the “main agents” for the Ebola outbreak in the remote south. Sixty-two people have now been killed by the virus in Guinea, with suspected cases reported in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ebola is spread by close contact and kills between 25 per cent and 90 per cent of victims.

There is no known cure or vaccine. Symptoms include internal and external bleeding, diarrhoea and vomiting. It is said to be the first time Ebola has struck Guinea, with recent outbreaks thousands of miles away, in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Lamah announced the ban on the sale and consumption of bats during a tour of Forest Region, the epicentre of the epidemic, reports the BBC’s Alhassan Sillah from the capital, Conakry. The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it had set up two quarantine sites in southern Guinea to try to contain the outbreak, the Associated Press news agency reports. Health officials reported one more death on Tuesday, bringing the number of people killed by Ebola to 62. Sierra Leone’s health ministry said it was investigating two

suspected cases of Ebola, the AFP news agency reports. Aid agencies and the government are taking medical supplies to the affected areas in Guinea Outbreaks of Ebola occur primarily in remote villages in central and west Africa, near tropical rainforests, the World Health Organisation says. The scientists are actually warning that the epidemic risks spreading due to mobility – both among humans and animals. Sierra Leonean aid organisation the Health for All Coalition told AFP: “People, goods and animals – such as sheep, goats and cows used in Sierra Leone – come from Guinea and it is these districts that they are brought into. And in these areas, people hunt for birds, monkeys and baboons for food.” The Ebola virus kills from 25 to 90 per cent of those who are infected, and no vaccine or treatment is available. The decease’s symptoms include severe fever and muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhoea. Afterwards, organs shut down, causing unstoppable bleeding. The virus is called ‘a molecular shark’ in health publications. Transmission to humans can come from wild animals or from direct contact from infected human blood, faeces or sweat, or by sexual contact and the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses. The latest epidemic of Ebola, in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) infected 62 people, with 34 of them dying

FG releases N113.75b for girl-child education O help Nigeria achieve UniT versal Basic Education with focus on the issues of

President Goodluck Jonathan with other heads of state and government at the 2014 plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague in Netherlands. PHOTO: NAN

Presidency denies reports on $10b irregularities by NNPC From Mohammed Abubakar and Collins Olayinka (Abuja)

• Why we hire private jets, by corporation

HE Presidency yesterday deT nied media reports quoting President Goodluck Jonathan

sure operational efficiency in compliance with industry standards. Abati’s statement however confirmed that there was indeed a problem with the NNPC resulting in various figures being bandied around but added that the government was on top of the situation. According to the Presidency’s statement, “Sensational reports in the media to that effect are reckless, mischievous and unprofessional misrepresentations of the President’s restatement to the Nigerian community of the Federal Government’s position on the allegation that $20 billion is ‘missing’ from the NNPC or the Federation Account, by reporters who were not at the event or even in Holland at all. “President Jonathan’s verifiable words while responding to questions from members of the community on the allegation and other domestic issues were clear and unambiguous. “After asserting that allega-

confirming that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) wrongly withheld $10 billion from the federation account as false and misleading and distortion of facts. A section of the media (excluding The Guardian) in their reports yesterday quoted President Goodluck Jonathan as “confirming” in Amsterdam that the Corporation wrongly allegedly withheld $10 billion from the federation account during a meeting with the Nigerian community in the Netherlands. A statement by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati said, “At no time during the well-attended reception did President Jonathan confirm any ‘irregularities’ in the NNPC.” Meanwhile, the NNPC has said the decision to hire private jets for its senior staffers is influenced by the need to en-

tion that various sums – $49.8 billion, $12 billion or $20 billion - were missing are inconsistent and lacked credence, the President’s exact words were as follows: “As at the time, the Finance Ministry was saying they had not been able to reconcile only $10 billion. There are issues in NNPC, but we are on it.” “President Jonathan went on to say that to reassure Nigerians of his administration’s continued commitment to openness, transparency and probity in the aftermath of the unsubstantiated allegations, the Federal Government had authorised a professional forensic audit of NNPC accounts to clear the air. “The Presidency deplores the mischievous and unethical distortion of his comments in the media today. Once again, we urge the media to show greater regard for truth and accuracy when reporting on the President.” An industry source told The Guardian in Abuja that the NNPC’s hiring of private jets

for the official functions of senior officials and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is also the board chairman of the Corporation falls within acceptable standards. Indeed, findings in Abuja yesterday indicated that the Corporation had two jets in its fleet before 2012 when the aircraft became unserviceable. It was revealed that one of the aircrafts lost altitude on two occasions while the other crash-landed at Osubi airstrip, Warri, Delta State. Another aircraft in the NNPC’s fleet, Hawker 4000, which crash-landed in Osubi airstrip, Warri, was manufactured by Hawker Corporation, while efforts at reviving it hit the rocks as the manufacturers were said to have gone bankrupt as a result of inability to manufacture spare parts. Consequent upon this development, the plane no longer has valid warranty for its operations while the remains currently lies within the premises of Osubi airstrip after it crashlanded in 2012.

quality, capacity, access and relevance, the Federal Government had released N113.75 billion for girl-child education programmes. Senior Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Dr. Precious Gbeneol, who announced this yesterday in Abuja at the launching of three million free exercise books distributed to  pupils across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, revealed the MDGs has made available over N113.75 billion of debt relief to the Federal Ministry of Education from 2006 to date to implement various programmes. “The programmes include the girl-child education, National Programme on Almajiri, support to the National Teachers Institute and support to UBEC for the Federal Teachers Scheme (FTS),” he said. She noted that N26.1 billion was invested in 261 local councils with the execution of more than 15,000 high impact projects. She also said that the projects were in the area of education, income generation, agriculture, health, water and sanitation sectors. According to her, there has been a successful execution of 12,342 water and sanitation projects nationwide, with the construction, renovation and equipping of 5,206 health facilities.


6

NEWS Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Govt raises panel on modalities for grazing reserves

‘Why I’m for bill against public funds thieves ’ From Adamu Abuh, Abuja bill being sponsored IofbyF aaRepresentatives, member of the House Mr. Kingsley Chinda sails through, capital punishment awaits anybody found to have stolen public funds. Chinda, who represents Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency of Rivers State, told reporters yesterday in Abuja that such bill has become necessary in view of the widespread theft of public funds in the polity. Justifying the proposed legislation, he noted: “I have a bill before the House that I have proposed, although very reluctantly, that anybody who steals public fund should be sentenced to death. Such punitive measure is operational in China. If you steal public fund, the punishment should be capital punishment. I say I proposed that bill reluctantly because I don’t believe in capital punishment. “But with what is happening in the system you are so vexed that I don’t know whether I would say that one would rejoice when you see some of us being handed down capital punishment if that would deter others from stealing public funds. “It is disheartening not stealing from an individual but stealing from the public coffers because you can imagine how many people you are killing in the cause of that.”

FCT to have more telecom base stations From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja HE Nigerian CommuniT cations Commission (NCC) has said it is working with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to resolve the issue of Right of Way to enable telecom operators build new base stations to address the problem of poor quality of service being experienced within the FCT. The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, who disclosed this while answering questions from Abuja residents at the ongoing Abuja Centenary Trade Fair, noted that in spite of increase in the number of telecom subscribers, no new base station has been built in the last two years in the FCT due to issues of Right of Way and inability of the FCTA to grant approval to that effect. Juwah said a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is being signed with state governments for them to make it easier for telecom operators to roll out infrastructure that would address the issue of quality of service. He said: “Quality of service is about infrastructure, the commission is engaging the governors and administrators at different levels to see how we can ease these bottlenecks that would help to address the matter.”

From Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja LARMED at the ugly A clashes between cattle grazers and farmers in

Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko (left); Deputy Governor, Alli Olanusi; Head of Service, Toyin Akinkuotu and Secretary to the State Government, Rotimi Adelola at the signing of the Contributory Pension Scheme and Land Use Charge bills into law at the governor’s office, Akure … yesterday.

500 decision makers discuss bridging Africa’s infrastructure investment divide at AFC summit • Cape Verde signs membership instrument CONOMIST and former E Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and creator of the BRICs and MINT acronyms, Jim O’Neill has said that “Africa’s future depends on the continent’s policy makers doing the right thing. That is working to create better governance, reducing crime, fighting corruption and delivering improved infrastructure. Infrastructure development is both a defining challenge and a standout investment opportunity for Africa and investors around the world. Speaking at Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)’s inaugural Summit held yesterday in Lagos, O’Neill said : For example, Nigeria is growing at 7 per cent despite poor access to power; decent power could boost economic growth to 10 per cent-12 per cent. There is no reason why Nigeria should not become one of the G20.” The Summit, which attracted

more than 500 leading thinkers from government, academia, business and finance, fuelled energetic debate on both the opportunities and the challenges of the African infrastructure landscape. Infrastructure in general has been estimated to have the potential to add an average of 2 per cent to Africa’s economic growth rate over the next decade as investment is brought to bear to bridge the current circa US$40 billion per annum investment deficit. President and Chief Executive Officer of the Africa Finance Corporation, Andrew Alli, told the Summit: “The sheer number of people here today, passionately engaged in the debate on infrastructure and what it means for the future of this great continent, is inspiring. Our vision at the AFC is to bridge the infrastructure divide and seek a strong return for our shareholders at the

same time. We believe our core role comes at the earliest stage of project conception and development. While international capital will be fundamental in bridging the investment divide, that capital will have nowhere to go if Africa does not focus on the development of bankable, sustainable projects. By focusing on supporting project development and using our local knowledge and sector expertise to identify and mitigate risk we come in to transactions at an earlier stage than many investors. Our role is to accelerate the number of viable, bankable projects across the continent, creating the market for other forms of capital that will follow, and ultimately bridging the investment divide that exists. We believe landmark transformational projects can yield financial dividends every bit as powerful as their social ones and our success to date

demonstrates this.” At a ceremony, Cape Verde Minister of Finance, Cristiana Duarte signed the instrument of accession for membership of the AFC. Cape Verde becomes the 9th country to join other member nations, including: Chad, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. AFC is a pan-African investor and its investments are not limited to member states. Duarte said: “I am very pleased today to be able to formalise Cape Verde’s membership of the Africa Finance Corporation. Cape Verde and the AFC have enjoyed a very productive and collaborative relationship over the last few years. As the lead investor in Cabeolica, our award winning US$90 million 26MW commercial wind farm we have firsthand experience of the expertise the corporation can bring to innovative projects and we look forward to working to deliver more projects over the coming years.”

Ekiti PDP secretariat set ablaze, Olubolade rejects result of primaries From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti) SECTION of the secretariat A of the Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was set on fire in the early hours of yesterday by yet to be identified arsonists. Badly affected by the fire was the office of the Chairman of the party, Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe, and the conference hall of the one-storey building located at Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti. Sources said the arsonists stormed the secretariat at about 5.00 a.m. yesterday and set the place ablaze. They said but for the intervention of the neighbours and passers-by, the whole rented building would have been burnt to ashes. The party had on Saturday elected Fayose as its governorship candidate in a controversial election boycotted by 13 aspirants.

• Fayose’s campaign team emerges The Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Victor Babayemi, said the incident is being investigated by the police. He said no arrest has been made, but assured that those behind the attack will be tracked down and made to face the full weight of the law. Meanwhile, former Police Affairs Minister, Navy Capt Caleb Olubolade (rtd), has rejected last Saturday’s congress that produced Fayose as the party’s candidate for the June 21, 2014 election. In a statement yesterday by the Olubolade Campaign Organisation and signed by the Secretary, Mr. Remi Osabusua, the group called on the leaders of the party to cancel the exercise. The group noted that after a careful study of all the events that led to the special state

congress on Saturday, it came to the conclusion that it fell short of acceptable standard. Among the reasons given by the group for the rejection of the result of the congress was that it was manipulated to favour Fayose. “The whole exercise was clearly manipulated from Abuja in favour of only one aspirant, that is former governor Ayo Fayose, as all other aspirants were shut out and election materials made available only to him, thereby turning the event into a oneaspirant show,” the statement read. The group also said the fraud was conspicuous such that the State Chairman, Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe, and some other members of the State Working Committee did not show up at the event. It then wondered where the or-

ganisers got seven votes Olubolade reportedly got when his delegates were shut out of the exercise. “From these ugly events, it is now clear that our President and leader of our great party has now been vindicated by his advice that in order to avoid this kind of avoidable crisis, the consensus option should be adopted as was done in the Ondo governorship election in 2013,” the group added. But the state chapter of the party has set up its Governorship Campaign team to sell Fayose to the people for the June 21 election. In a statement made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti by the party’s State Secretary and Publicity Secretary respectively, Dr. Tope Aluko and Pastor Kola Oluwawole, an Ado Ekiti based businessman cum politician, Chief Dipo Anisulowo is the director general of the campaign outfit.

various parts of the country, the Federal Government yesterday approved a panel to work out modalities for the establishment of grazing reserves across the country. As a first step towards realising the objectives, a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) slated for tomorrow is expected to deliberate on the modalities for implementing the proposed policy aimed at finding a lasting solution to the ugly incidence. Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, while briefing State House correspondents after a stakeholders’ meeting chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo yesterday, cited recent communal clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau states and other parts of the country, noting that government has resolved to address the issue head on. Also at the meeting were Minister of Environment, Lawrencia Laraba Malam, Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mike Omeri, the Minister of Communication Technology and Supervising Minister of Science and Technology, Omobola Johnson, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr. Taiwo Hassan, among others. Adesina said the grazing reserve would also help to reduce incidences of smuggling of arms and ammunition across the Nigerian borders by foreigners, who come into the country disguised as grazers. According to him, government has put in place short-term measures, including the creation of new functional grazing reserves, deployment of satellite imagery, remote sensing and GIS maps to track movement of animals across the country. He cited the increasing population of cattle, coupled with the influx of foreign cattle from neighbouring countries, as well as urbanisation and resource degradation as necessitating the new policy. He disclosed that government plans to expand existing reserves and create new ones, noting that the nation has a total of 415 grazing reserves while only 141 has been gazetted. He further announced that government would immediately restructure the beef industry in Nigeria to halt the movement of cattle in favour of the movement of beef.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 NEWS | 7

Abia Assembly mourns member

SIN tasks govt on rule of law

From Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia EMBERS of the Abia State House of Assembly have declared a seven-day mourning for their late colleague, Nwogu Christopher Iheasimuo, who reportedly died recently. Announcing the mourning period, the Speaker, Ude Oko Chukwu, said during the seven-day mourning period, the national flag in the Assembly will fly at half mast while the House plenary and committee assignments will be suspended. Also, while speaking at the Osimiri Palace, Ohazu country-home of the deceased, when he led members of the Assembly on a condolence visit, the Speaker counseled the family to take solace in God, whom he said, is the giver of life and knows best. He called on Abia people to dedicate themselves to the service of God and humanity so as to be remembered even after death.

By Tunde Akinola

M

Taraba gov’s Chief of Staff quits From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo HE Acting Governor of T Taraba State, Alhaji Garba Umar, has approved the request of his Chief of Staff, Ahmed Yusuf, to “step aside”. But it was gathered that Umar sacked Yusuf following pressure from the House of Assembly. Yusuf was said to have been at loggerhead with the lawmakers, a situation that allegedly made the Assembly members to turn their back on the acting governor. A statement made available to newsmen in Jalingo, the state capital, by the Chief Press Secretary to Umar, Mr. Kefas Sule, stated that “the announcement of a new Chief of Staff will be made in due course.” Though the statement claimed that Yusuf willingly decided to “step aside”, some members of the House who spoke with The Guardian on condition of anonymity, said the sack was a result of pressure from the entire members.

Nigerians back anti-smoking law From John Okeke, Abuja HE latest weekly poll reT sults released by NOI Polls Limited have revealed the opinion of Nigerians as supporting the laws to restrict smoking in Nigeria. NOI polls findings revealed that majority of Nigerians (84 per cent) believe that tobacco smoking has become highly predominant in the country, indicating that this high predominance is observed mainly among males (88 per cent) between the ages of 18 to 25 years (47 per cent) and 26 to 40 years (26 per cent). The poll further revealed that the vast majority of those polled (94 per cent) believe that smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products are very harmful to individuals, while 80 per cent believe passive or second-hand smoking poses serious health hazard to

GROUP of non-governA mental organisations, under the aegis of Stop

Executive Director, The Guardian and Director, Municipal Nigeria Export, Mr. Tive Ibru (right) and Chief Ken Nwokedi, president, Municipal Nigeria Export, a commercial vehicle export and brokerage firm based in the United States, during Nwokedi’s visit to The Guardian’s Corporate Headquarters, Rutam House

Cash-less policy not to eliminate use of physical cash, says CBN From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin

• Begins sensitisation

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that the concept of its cash-less policy does not intend to eliminate use of physical cash for payment for goods and services, but to reduce cash transaction. Speaking at a sensitisation exercise on the policy in Ilorin, Kwara State capital yesterday, the Acting Governor of CBN, represented by the Principal Manager, Shared Services, Abuja, Mr. Ogunfolami Akinloye, said the policy limits an individual’s transaction on a single account to N500,000 per day, adding that people in rural areas and other Nigeri-

ans with less than N500,000 transaction are not really concerned. Besides, he said, Kwara State would go cash-less from July 1, 2014, like other remaining 30 states of the federation, adding that six states, including Abuja, had commenced the programme since 2012. The acting CBN governor, who canvassed cooperation and support of all Nigerians on the programme, added that the policy would help to reposition the country’s financial system in addressing current challenges faced and transform Nigeria into first

T

world economy. According to him, the sensitisation programme became necessary because people need to know what to do. “We are also enlarging the financial contact points to include areas such as post offices, motor parks and corner shops”, he added. In his remarks, the Controller of CBN, Ilorin, Mr. Monday Olotewo, said his office was more interested in how the programme itself would be accepted in Kwara State, adding that efforts would be put in place to ensure that everybody knows about the cash-less pol-

Mark disowns Moro over recruitment tragedy From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja

• Wife denies role in exercise

RESIDENT of the Senate, David Mark, has washed his hands off the crisis bedevilling the Interior Minister, Abba Moro, over the tragic Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise. Although the Senate Committee on Interior is currently investigating the tragedy, it was learnt that Mark had resisted the temptation to get involved in the matter, which is seen as a serious threat to the political career of his political god-son and interior minister, Moro. A source within the National Assembly confirmed that upon the return of Mark from Geneva (Switzerland) where he had gone to attend the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting last week, he gave marching orders to the Senator Atiku Bagudu-led Senate Committee on Interior to do a very thorough investigation. Confirming the development, a senator playing very active role in the investigation, said: “Mark has simply decided to stay away from the matter and allow the Sen-

ate Committee conduct its investigation without bias and influence. You know that being a man touted to have influenced the appointment of Moro as minister, the Senate President would be perceived in many quarters as protecting Moro, particularly if the President fails to remove him eventually.” Another member of the committee, who is a very close ally of the Senate President, said: “The man has told us in the committee to do a thorough job irrespective of whose ox is gored and that is exactly what we are going to do. I can tell you that Mark was very worried about the tragedy that befell the recruitment exercise and as such, would want the investigation to be as independent and unbiased as possible. The concern is that if the Senate President is seen as protecting the minister in this matter, the Senate would not have any moral justification condemning other persons that might be found to have committed other misdeeds in future.” Mark’s wife, Helen, had

P

equally denied any link with the consultancy firm that conducted the ill-fated recruitment exercise. She described as a “wicked lie” the reports in certain media alleging that she has a link with the consultants that organised the recruitment exercise. “It is very strange to me because I do not know the consultant that organised the recruitment exercise, neither did I play any role in the exercise. “I have no relationship of any sort and in whatever form with the said consultant. This moment demands solemnity and mourning of the precious souls that were lost in the tragic incidents that occurred last Saturday. It is not a time to settle political scores and I will, therefore, leave those dragging my name into this painful death of our youths to their consciences and unto God. As a mother, I honestly sympathise with the parents of these youths, as well as the nation, in general over the loss of our children,” she said.

icy. “Apart from this sensitisation programme, there is going to be road show to markets, motor parks and all parts of the state. We want to ensure that everybody in the nooks and crannies of the state gets to know how to make use of this policy, how they can stop carrying cash about. “In places like Kenya, it is established that even cattle sellers can transact businesses, without going to the bank, through the phone. What you only need is the account number of the person you want to send money to and before you know it, the transaction is almost completed,” he said. The CBN official noted that the benefits of the programme are immense, adding that robbery and cash-related crimes, kidnapping, election rigging, revenue leakage, inefficient treasury management and corruption would be reduced, “because you are not carrying cash anywhere.”

Impunity Nigeria Campaign (SIN), has stressed the need for the Federal Government to take urgent and deliberate steps to quell what it described as crises confronting the rule of law in the country. SIN is a collaborative effort by a multi-stakeholder group of civil society organisations, religious bodies and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) aimed at re-orienting Nigerians and promoting new ethical values to free the country from the debilitating effects of impunity. Addressing journalists at a press conference in Lagos to announce week of action against impunity organised by SIN, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Edetaen Ojo, noted that the group has chosen to focus on the rule of law in order to enlighten members of the public about the problem of impunity. According to Ojo, the group would engage traditional rulers, religious leaders, opinion leaders, the youth, and other stakeholders to urgently intervene in the situation. He said the 2014 Rule of Law index recently released by the World Justice Project was an indication of how far Nigeria has fallen in the area of rule of law. “It ranks Nigeria as number 93 out of 99 countries in the world surveyed, while in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is ranked as number 16 out of 18 countries surveyed. “This means that our rule of law situation is so bad that we are only better than two countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This status is one that each of us here should find unacceptable,” Ojo said. Outlining the SIN programme to mark the first quarter of 2014, which began yesterday and will run until Saturday, Ojo said impunity has become pervasive and entrenched in Nigeria. “|As part of the campaign strategy, we will be seeking to attack it in four critical thematic areas which are: Public Finance Management; Rule of Law; Electoral Process; and Patriotism, Ethnics and Civic Responsibility,” he said. Similarly, the Executive Di-


8 | NEWS Wednesday, March 26 , 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

PHOTONEWS

Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade (left); former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.) and the Executive Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Council, Lagos State, Ayodele Adewale, during the presentation of “Emerging Leader 2013 in Nigeria” award to Ayodele Adewale, at the second Oba Okunade Sijuwade Annual Leadership Lecture and Awards at Ile-Ife, Osun State.

A group of Indians celebrating NaMo Tea Party organised by Overseas Friends of BJP Nigeria in Abuja.

PPRO Oyo State Police Command, Bisi Ilobanafor (left); Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Indabawa, during a visit to Soka forest in Ibadan. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke (left) with Director General, CRSDA, Pastor Ovat while presenting a cheque to one of the beneficiary communities of the N470 million development grant in Calabar.

Managing Partner, Equitrust Advocate and Solution, Kayode Aderemi (left); President, Chrisgate International, Christopher Alabi and the Managing Director, Drug Consult Pharmacy, Charles Oyeniyi during the 10th Chrisgate Motivational Network Success Summit and book launch in Lagos. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Philip Okojie (right) during the handover of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ward 4 secretariat to party officials in Uromi, Edo State.

Guest speaker at the workshop, Professor Akin Abayomi (left); Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris; Chairman of the occasion, Professor Ayoade Oduola and Director, Family Health and Nutrition, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Osunkiyesi, during the workshop on Human Biodiversity Genome Project with the theme: “Preparing Lagos for entry into the new era of Genomic Medicine” in Lagos.

CEO, Bufferzone Limited, Akin Fadeyi (right); Executive Secretary, National Health lnsurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Femi Thomas; NHIS Zonal Coordinator, Lagos, Nasir Ikhaor and comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka, at the maiden edition of NHIS TV talk show in Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

9

WorldReport Uganda recovers 107 bodies from Lake Albert boat disaster

Angry Chinese families clash with police, slam Malaysia over lost jet day after it confirmed the A plane crashed in remote seas off Australia Dozens of angry relatives of passengers on a lost Malaysian jetliner clashed with police in Beijing yesterday, accusing the Southeast Asian country of ‘delays and deception’. About 20 to 30 protesters threw water bottles at the Malaysian embassy and tried to storm the building, demanding to meet the ambassador, witnesses said. Earlier, the relatives, many with tearstained faces, had linked arms and chanted “Malaysian government has cheated us” and “Malaysia, return our relatives” as they marched peacefully and held banners. The relatives’ grief and anger was unleashed on Monday night after Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak announced that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished more than two weeks ago while flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. Citing satellite-data analysis by British firm Inmarsat, he said there was now no doubt that the Boeing jet came down in the ocean in one of the most remote places on Earth - an implicit admission that all 239 people on board

had died. Bad weather in the region far off Australia’s western coast yesterday forced the suspension of the search for any wreckage, just as a series of satellite images and other sightings of floating objects had raised hopes that debris from the plane would be found. Malaysia’s confused initial response to the Boeing 777’s disappearance and a perception of poor communications has enraged many relatives of the more than 150 Chinese passengers and strained ties between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur. After Najib’s announcement, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, Xie Hangsheng demanded Malaysia hand over all relevant satellite analysis showing how Malaysia had reached its conclusion about the fate of the jet. In a separate statement, Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang said China would ask Malaysia to provide more detailed and accurate information on the plane, according to a government microblog account. Chinese President, Xi Jinping would send a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur to consult with the Malaysian government, state news agency Xinhua said.

GANDA said yesterday it U has recovered 107 bodies, including 57 children, after a boat capsized at the weekend on Lake Albert, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The boat, which was packed with refugees from the DRC hoping to return home from a camp in Uganda, was believed to have been carrying up to 250 people when it overturned on Saturday. “The exact number of passengers on board has yet to be established,” Uganda’s Refugees Minister, Hillary Onek told reporters. “The number of bodies recovered are 44 females, 63 males. Among them are 57 children. The total number of the dead is 107.” The minister said 45 people had been rescued after the disaster, adding that police, armed forces marine units and civilian fishing boats were still searching for bodies.

United States President, Barack Obama (right) with Chinese President, Xi Jinping (left) and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon at the end of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

World leaders urge more action to prevent nuclear terrorism ORLD leaders yesterday called for countries to minimise their stocks of highly enriched nuclear fuel to help prevent al Qaeda-style militants from obtaining atomic bombs, at the end of a two-day summit overshadowed by the crisis in Ukraine.

W

Egypt sets judgment day for 700 Islamists N Egypt court which trigA gered a global outcry after it sentenced 529 Islamists to death has set April 28 as judgment day in the trial of about 700 co-defendants, a lawyer said. Badie, the supreme guide of deposed Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, is among the defendants, but he was not brought to court yesterday for security reasons, security officials said. He faces several other trials that could also result in the death penalty. Defence lawyers boycotted yesterday’s session of the trial, branding it “farcical” after Monday’s mass sentencing which the UN denounced as a breach of international human rights law. The roughly 1,200 defendants in the case are accused of the murder and attempted murder of several policemen during riots in the city of Minya south of Cairo on August 14. The rioting erupted as news spread that police had killed hundreds of supporters of Morsi while dispersing two Cairo protest camps. Lawyer Mohamed Tousson told AFP that the defence had walked out of the session of the Minya court.

Morsi is himself currently on trial in three different cases. The army removed Egypt’s first freely elected president after a single year in power following mass protests demanding his resignation. “We boycotted the hearing because the trial is farcical,” he said. Tousson later said that the trial was adjourned to April 28 when the judge is expected to deliver his verdict on the nearly 700 Islamists.

Egyptian media reported that the judge, Said Yusef Sabry, has a history of delivering harsh judgements, including a 30-year prison sentence for a man who stole dresses from a women’s clothing store. Legal experts said the unprecedented sentences on Monday are likely to be overturned on appeal, after the court rushed through the verdict in two hearings.

Holding a third nuclear security summit since 2010, leaders from 53 countries including United States President, Barack Obama said much headway had been made in the past four years. But they also made clear that many challenges remained and stressed the need for increased international cooperation to make sure highly enriched uranium (HEU), plutonium and other radioactive substances did not fall into the wrong hands. The United States and Russia set aside their differences over Crimea to back the meeting’s final statement aimed at enhancing nuclear security around the world, together with other big powers including China, France, Germany and Britain. “We encourage States to

minimize their stocks of HEU and to keep their stockpile of separated plutonium to the minimum level, both as consistent with national requirements,” said the communique, which went further in this respect than the previous summit, in Seoul in 2012. A fourth summit will be held in Chicago in 2016. The summit process began in Washington in 2010. Analysts say that radical groups could theoretically build a crude but deadly nuclear bomb if they had the money, technical knowledge and fissile materials needed. Obtaining weapons-grade nuclear material - HEU or plutonium - poses the biggest challenge for militant groups, so it must be kept secure both at civilian and military sites, they say.

Pollution kills 7m people yearly, WHO reveals

disturbing revelation A was released yesterday as air pollution kills about

seven million people worldwide every year, with more than half of the fatalities due to fumes from indoor stoves, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO). The agency said air pollution is the cause of about one in eight deaths and has now become the single biggest environmental health risk. “We all have to breathe, which makes pollution very hard to avoid,” said Frank Kelly, director of the environmental research group at King’s College London, who was not part of the

WHO report. One of the main risks of pollution is that tiny particles can get deep into the lungs, causing irritation. Scientists also suspect air pollution may be to blame for inflammation in the heart, leading to chronic problems or a heart attack. WHO estimated that there were about 4.3 million deaths in 2012 caused by indoor air pollution, mostly people cooking inside using wood and coal stoves in Asia. WHO said there were about 3.7 million deaths from outdoor air pollution in 2012, of which nearly 90 percent were in developing countries. But WHO noted that many

people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Due to this overlap, mortality attributed to the two sources cannot simply added together, hence WHO said it lowered the total estimate from around 8 million to 7 million deaths in 2012. The new estimates are more than double previous figures and based mostly on modeling. The increase is partly due to better information about the health effects of pollution and improved detection methods. Last year, WHO’s cancer agency classified air pollution as a carcinogen, linking dirty air to lung and bladder cancer.

WHO’s report noted women had higher levels of exposure than men in developing countries. “Poor women and children pay a heavy price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves,” Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General for family, women and children’s health, said in a statement. Other experts said more research was needed to identify the deadliest components of pollution in order to target control measures more effectively. “We don’t know if dust from the Sahara is as bad as

S’Sudan peace talks resume as mediators call for truce EACE talks between South P Sudan’s government and rebels resumed in Ethiopia yesterday, as mediators urged the warring parties to return to a moribund ceasefire agreement. The talks, mediated by regional bloc IGAD, are aimed at ending the three-month-old conflict and forging a lasting political solution between the government of President Salva Kiir and former vice President and now rebel leader, Riek Machar. “The IGAD special envoys are in consultation with the parties on the conduct of a political dialogue towards national reconciliation and healing,” mediators said in a statement. The violence, which has killed thousands and displaced nearly one million people, has persisted despite a ceasefire signed by both sides in January with clashes continuing in recent days in the oilrich Upper Nile state.

diesel fuel or burning coal,” said Majid Ezzati, chair in global environmental health at Imperial College London. Kelly said it was mostly up to governments to curb pollution levels, through measures like legislation, moving power stations away from big cities and providing cheap alternatives to indoor wood and coal stoves. He said people could also reduce their individual exposure to choking fumes by avoiding traveling at rush hour or by taking smaller roads. Despite the increasing use of face masks in heavily polluted cities such as Beijing and Tokyo, Kelly said there was little evidence that they work.


10

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Politics THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

I don’t see anything wrong in dialogue now, says Osoba Chief Segun Osoba, a former governor of Ogun State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), told Seye Olumide and Tunde Akinola that though the party is critical of the ongoing national conference and refuses to be part of it, it has not asked any of its members representing other interests not to participate in the dialogue. UE to the Boko Haram insurgency in parts of D the country, there are concerns about the security of the 492 delegates to the national conference; aren’t you worried that there may be security breach there? I expect the Federal Government to have taken adequate measures to ensure that there will be full cover for delegates throughout the conference. I have no fear whatsoever. Some sectors have gone to court to challenge the legality of the conference. Are you not bothered that if the court grants their request, the exercise might be a waste? As a journalist, I would rather wait and see what the pronouncement will be than to comment on a matter that is already before a competent court of law. I have never been a pessimist and I will never toe the line of pessimism. I am an optimist. Your party, the APC, has condemned the conference and has declined invitation to participate in it. Yet, you a founding member of the party and a delegate; is this not contradictory? There is no contradiction anywhere. First of all, the party is a legal body and I am first an Egba man, a Yoruba man, then a Nigerian before being an APC member. At the conference, there are many interests and many groupings that are involved. Yoruba, which happens to be my tribe, is involved. I have been a former governor of Ogun State; the Ijebu people within the state I governed want their own state. That is the only province that has never been made a state in all the provinces in the country. There are so many interests that are out of the political arena of the APC. APC as a political party is not sending anybody and it has not asked any of its members representing other interests not to participate. You must, therefore, draw a line between the party’s decision and the interest of individuals within the party and the groups they represent. When I die, they will not bury me in Abuja but Abeokuta in Egba where I come from. So, if my people have interests to protect at the conference, I must be there for them. I remember that I will still come home and be buried; so, I must participate to protect my people’s interests. You will notice that our (APC) governors nominated delegates; it is simply because our governors are not governors of the APC members alone. They are governors of card-carrying members of APC, other political parties within their states and a large chunk of people who do not belong to any political party, who have interest of their states to propagate at the conference. Our governors acted as governors of everybody within their states and not for the APC alone. I am representing former governors and this group cuts across different political parties right from the 1979 class of governors. And I have been unanimously selected the leader of the delegation. The conference is not about politics alone; there are many major issues like ethnicity, fiscal federalism, mode of governance, conditions of staying together and so on. Therefore, there is no conflict or contradictions. We are not just being sincere. I am not the only APC member in the conference; Buba Galadima, Dr. Garba Abari from Yobe State and other members are there. Why must we dialogue now? I don’t see anything wrong in dialogue now. I will give you a few examples. In Ireland, the IRA (Irish Republican Army) waged several guerilla wars for many years, and at the same time the people were talking. After all the killings and everything, the British government went to a round table to settle the issue of the IRA. I will give you another example. The British system is one of the oldest democracies but they are still dialoguing and the devolution of power is happening in Britain today. Powers are being transferred from Westminster to Scotland and Wales.

have achieved something. Is it not already having a sovereign status if our deliberations are subjected to referendum? I, therefore, do not see anything wrong in participating because I see that as shortchanging my people. Are you saying it was a mistake that the APC did not send delegates to the conference? APC is not a Yoruba party. I am talking as a Yoruba man now. But you are a chieftain… Yes, I am. I respect the party as a legal entity but I am not going to the conference as an APC member. I have been a member of several political parties; parties come and parties go but Yoruba tribe will remain forever. I will live and die as Yoruba. I have been a member of the Action Group (AG), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Action Congress (AC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the APC. Why then should I neglect the foundation of my life, which is my culture, upbringing? IGERIANS are worried about the money alloN cated to the conference compared to money earmarked for national Job Creation Scheme.

Osoba In spite of centuries of being together, they are still dialoguing and still rearranging the system of government in the United Kingdom because they are different peoples. So, tell me why we should not dialogue? Even if we don’t talk now, the generations to come will still talk. There is no perfect system in the world. Some people believe the conference has a hidden agenda considering its timing; they complain about the content of the people, appointed by the President, as being PDP members. They also feel some people have no business attending the conference. What will be your response here? If we must be honest with ourselves, (President) Jonathan must have a motive. In everything in life, people must have their selfish interest. I have no doubt he has his motives; the onus is now left on those of us in the conference to ensure that we carry out our functions and duties to the best interest of Nigeria. For example, there was this conference organised by the late General Sani Abacha; he loaded the delegation with people sympathetic to his agenda. I recall vividly, when those of us in National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) debated the issue, those of us who were politicians in the group, like the late Abraham Adesanya, Guy Ikoku and myself argued that we should attend the conference, to use our influence to achieve the same goal NADECO was preaching. But the prodemocracy activists in our midst insisted that we must boycott. In retrospect, I think it was a mistake. At that conference, Dr. Alex Ekwueme led the Eastern delegation and he was very vocal; the

late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua led the Northern delegation and he was vocal as well. The Yoruba did not have anybody of that stature and status to complement both the efforts of Yar’Adua and Ekwueme. Yar’Adua was able to force through a resolution, insisting that Abacha must leave office by February 1995. If we were there for the Southwest and supported the efforts of both Yar’Adua and Ekwueme, maybe Nigeria would not have been what it is today. We were not there and even people, who went there from the Southwest, were not the first 11 of the Yoruba people. I will give another example. In the Republic of Benin, Mathieu Kérékou convoked a national conference while he was a sitting president. The issue went beyond what he thought. The conference produced another person as the president of the country, although he came back to become the president. What makes you think we must be prophets and prejudge the outcome of this conference? We never know at the end of the day what will happen but people like me are determined to make success out of the conference. For instance, from the waters I have been testing around from other delegates, it seems that we may have to go back to the parliamentary system of government. If that is the only thing we can bring out of the government, so be it. It also seems that there is consensus on the issue of security. If we can come out with a kind of state police, that will be something. There are various areas I can feel consensus. Jonathan has said the National Assembly is set to pass a legal backing for a referendum, which a lot of us have been preaching. If this conference were subjected to referendum, then we would

There are so many interests that are out of the political arena of the APC. APC as a political party is not sending anybody and it has not asked any of its members representing other interests not to participate. You will notice that our (APC) governors nominated delegates; it is simply because our governors are not governors of the APC members alone. They are governors of card-carrying members of APC, other political parties within their states and a large chunk of people who do not belong to any political party, who have interest of their states to propagate at the conference. Our governors acted as governors of everybody within their states and not for the APC alone. I am representing former governors and this group cuts across different political parties right from the 1979 class of governors.

Some delegates have also been reported to be demanding money for their aides; what would you say to these? I must say that everybody in the conference feels downcast and unhappy about what happened to our young and unemployed people who died in a manner that was painful to us as parents. We are very upset about the killings of young people by insurgents, but first of all, we must realise that this country must move forward and that is why we must sit down and talk and try to find a lasting solution to insecurity in this country. If we are spending much money to guarantee security and a better future, I do not think it is a waste. Apart from the allowances, the government will spend money on security and other issues. People talk about the money but I am not there because of that. As a matter of fact, I had to go and put in order my house that I have been working on for the past 10 years in Abuja, to make it tenantable and this will cost me a lot of money. The same people that talk about modesty will be the first set of people to cast aspersions on you when they see you eating at a cheap restaurant. I had to go with my cook and steward in Abeokuta, to stay with me in Abuja because I cannot eat outside. I had to organise my own security. Somebody like me, I have to come back every weekend to nurture my constituency. If you calculate all this, you will realise that someone like me and some other delegates will be subsidising the conference. But to ordinary people, they look at it as if N4 million (per delegate per month) is a lot of money. I doubt if we are even getting up to that. They are already making it look like N4 million is a huge sum of money. I agree with those unemployed people. But when you talk of the cost of financing all that we need to do, you will see it is not easy financing it. If we were in a country where we have effective railway system and nice public transport services, I might not need a driver, but I have to get a car and a driver to take me around. Don’t blame that on the delegates or me. So, when you calculate the totality of the cost to an average delegate, you will realise we are not going there to make money. Do you think the president has the political will to implement the outcome of this conference? As I have said, if the National Assembly passed the law to subject our conclusion to a referendum, I do not think any president in this country can stop it. President Jonathan, in his opening speech, said he would agree to the outcome of the conference. I have no reservation whatsoever.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

11

TheMetroSection Ritualists on the prowl… • Man jumps from flyover to escape from robbers

From Iyabo Lawal, Ibadan

The other suspect caught with price list for human parts was said to have disguised as a destitute along Adeoyo State Hospital Road. After being beaten to stupor, the policemen took the three men to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).,.. The hidden acts of the “mad man” were exposed as his hidden Blackberry phone rang. This aroused suspicion of passers by, who had all the while, known the man as a destitute T was yet another case of ritual killing in Ibadan as residents yesterday arrested four persons for being in posIsession of three human tongues in the city. Another man was also mobbed by an angry crowd after a price list of human parts was allegedly found on him. This came as a man who was about being dispossessed of a large sum of money he withdrew from a commercial bank at Mokola area of the city jumped down from a flyover with his money. The suspects who were caught with human tongues were arrested at Oni and Son Memorial Hospital area. The Guardian gathered that over 400 posters of a politician contesting the 2015 governorship election, pants and underwear of women were found on the suspects with some weapons allegedly used for the illegal act. The source said they were rounded up by policemen from Oluyole Police Station. The other suspect caught with price list for human parts was said to have disguised as a destitute along Adeoyo State Hospital Road. After being beaten to stupor, the policemen took the three men to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID). According to information gathered, the hidden acts of the “mad” man were exposed as his hidden blackberry phone rang. This was said to have aroused suspicion of passers by who had all the while known the man as a destitute. They subsequently descended on him and after a thorough search, a paper where he listed those owing him outstanding balance and the parts of human beings they bought was found. Meanwhile, the man who jumped to escape being robbed of his money by two men on commercial motorcycle has since been taken to the hospital for treatment. It was gathered that some policemen who were on duty under the flyover allegedly took the bag containing the money and rescued the man who was injured in his arms. The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Olabisi Ilobanafor confirmed the arrest of the man who was beaten by the mob but said she did not know anything about the Adeoyo State Hospital incident. She said: “I can’t say whether he is a ritualist or destitute. I don’t know whether things found on him were human tongues or not. It is only a forensic expert who can say precisely what they are. We use this opportunity to warn members of the public not to take laws into their hands by resorting to jungle justice whenever they see a suspect. We also want to advise parents not to allow their wards to mix up with the mob to break the law.”

Suspected ritualist attacked at Adeoyo State Hospital Ring Road in Ibadan, Oyo State ...yesterday

The suspect being taken away by the police

PHOTOS: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Briefs Ondo hosts Centenary TV quiz competition HE South West edition of the Centenary Television Quiz Competition holds tomorrow at the Ondo State Cultural Centre, Akure. It will be declared open by the Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko. The competition, being a youth-focused programme, is one of the events marking the 100 years existence of the Nigeria nation.The competition is meant to broaden the minds of Nigerians through knowledge of the nation’s history as a spring board for the future growth of the nation. It is also meant to educate Nigerians about the history of the country as a means of promoting the nations unity. Among those expected to participate at the event are the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, university undergraduates, Senior Secondary School students , women and others. According to the organizers: “it is also intended to promote cultural awareness, instill the spirit of patriotism and foster unity, encourage active involvement in government and Community development, stimulate interest in positively moving Nigerian forward and imbibe a feeling of pride in being a ‘Nigerian’”.

T

Pa Sylvanus Ikem dies at 78 A Sylvanus Ugbe Ikem, the father of a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Venatius Ikem, is dead. He died on March 6, 2014 in his village, Begiaba, Obudu Local Council, Cross River State at the age of 78. He will be buried this weekend in his village, Begiaba, Obudu. Pa Ikem was an educationist, farmer and community leader. After his retirement as Headmaster, Special Grade, in 1993, he devoted his life to farming and community service in the community and beyond. He is survived by a wife, 12 children and 24 grand-children, among whom are Venatius Ikem and Mr. Vivian Ikem, Head, Government Relations, Nigerian Breweries Plc. Ikem

P

Dr. Nkiru-Nzegwu Danjuma for burial Friday HE death has occurred in Lagos of Dr. (Mrs.) Nkiru-Nzegwu T Danjuma, a Lagosbased Lawyer and the Principal Partner !" of Johanan Chambers. " A Service of Songs " holds tomorrow at Harbour Point (near

Naval Dockyard) between 5:00pm – 7:00pm. According to a statement by the Head of Chambers, Mr. Arasomwan Edwin Osagie, she died on Saturday, March 15, 2014 at the age of 56and will be buried on Friday while at the Vaults and Gardens, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Lagos at 10.00am She is survived by four children: Saratu, Asibi, Jessica and Jennifer Danjuma.

IDanjuma


TheGuardian

12 | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

www.ngrguardiannews.com

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 The Second Niger Bridge HE ridiculous fact that seven years after former President Olusegun T Obasanjo laid the foundation stone for the Second Niger Bridge in grand style, President Goodluck Jonathan, the other day, performed another ground-breaking ceremony for the same bridge, should, but must not, dampen enthusiasm over the bridge. Even if that bridge is commissioned promptly this time around, it will still go down in history as a dream accomplished behind time. No thanks to inept leadership. Also to call a critical infrastructure so deferred and still to be built “a promise kept” is taking public relations gimmickry too far. President Jonathan deserves measured praise for re-starting it but the long delay in putting the bridge in place over the years made that fanfare unnecessary. The President’s presence ought not to have been turned into a celebration but a moment for reflection on the failure of government to deliver on a bridge project that has been on the drawing board for 49 years. Nigerians, if the Presidency must be told, want more commissioning of completed projects instead of ground-breaking ceremonies that end up as mere ceremonies, and there are several projects in many parts of the country that were flagged off with great fanfare but later abandoned. Cynicism is high based on this experience. It is hoped that the Second Niger Bridge flagged off by Jonathan would not be abandoned once again while another foundation laying ceremony is in the waiting. The President appropriately used the occasion to disclose details of the bridge project. The 1,590-metre bridge, which would form part of the 11kilometre Onitsha by-pass, would be completed in four years at a total cost of over N117 billion and the project would be executed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement for a period of 25 years. The importance of the bridge to the economic and social development of the country cannot be over-emphasised. The bridge is a critical national infrastructure that would boost economic activities across the nation. There is a misconception, deliberately reinforced even, by many people with their words and actions, however, that the bridge would benefit Nigerians from the South-East zone. What is more, this is being wrongly celebrated for political reasons. Let it be told: That bridge is not more important to the East than the West, no more to the South than the North. People on all sides of the River Niger would have equal value and economic advantage from the bridge and it is, therefore, no favour to the South East. If the attempts at cheap gain by politicians over the bridge did not rankle the President as it appears, then the level of understanding of what service to the people means, even at the highest level, is lower than is feared. Which raises some pertinent questions: Why is the foundation being laid now that the 2015 election is close by? Or is it truly politically motivated? What are the details of the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement? What has been disclosed at the moment is a mere projection of N117 billion but is that all that is needed to complete the bridge? What about the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)? These are serious issues that should not be overlooked and the Ministry of Works should bring details to public knowledge. Contemporary experience shows that the so-called PPP arrangement has not worked too well in Nigeria. For instance, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway BOT arrangement with Messrs Bi-Courtney awarded in 2009 didn’t work too well for four years and government was forced to cancel and re-award it directly. And in Abuja, the road reconstruction project from the Abuja City Gate to the Airport Road junction awarded under same arrangement has been unimpressive. So, a critical infrastructure such as the Second Niger Bridge being awarded under a PPP arrangement gives little cause for joy. With sincerity and commitment, the Federal Government has the where-withal to build the one and half kilometre Niger Bridge and there is no need for an arrangement that may never yield any result. On that score, a review of this arrangement must be done immediately and government should fund the project directly. Having said that, it is also the hope that due diligence has been done on the engineering features of the bridge design and for the sake of cost and future needs, the design should include a rail link. Also, the design must include iconic details and features for aesthetic appeal to make it a tourist attraction like similar bridges in other countries. And the cost can only be brought under control with prompt execution.

LETTER

Shame of a nation IR: I couldn’t help tears dropping down my eyes Sa few days ago when I saw our youth, unemployed graduates end their lives untimely in the quest for Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) job. This, no doubt, was an avoidable tragedy. Every leader, both past and present, has his share of blame in what our country has turned to. In those days, as I was told, a secondary school leaver was a ‘gold’ while a university graduate was seen as a ‘god’ who had surmounted all hurdles to gain knowledge. As such, the tradition was that the graduate should choose and pick the most preferred job out of the many juicy ones that come begging his attention. Today, the opposite is the case as a graduate could even lose his life in the process of looking for a manageable job to ‘put body and soul together.’ This is the picture of the experience of over 500,000 youths who applied for less than 5,000 Immigration job slots. This is the same genera-

tion that Boko Haram is unleashing its dastardly acts on with bombings of university campuses, secondary schools, maiming and killing of corps members, thereby decimating the ranks of number in spite of being tagged, ‘leaders of tomorrow.’ Those who escaped the horror of terrorists are made to die of hunger, joblessness or stampede during a recruitment exercise. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, General Household Survey ((1999-2011), Nigeria’s unemployment rate jumped from eight per cent in 1999 to an average of 13.3 per cent in 2000 to 2008, and then jumped again after the global crisis to an annual average of 21.66 per cent in 2009 to 2011, to peak at 23.9 per cent. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s economy has grown very fast in the last 13 years in response to global oil and non-oil commodity prices. In particular, as stated by National Bureau of Statistics (1999-2009), Nigeria’s nominal Gross Domestic Product dou-

bled from N20 trillion in 2007 to N40 trillion in 2012. I pray we will not wake up someday to hear that our country has been sold due to lack of resources to run it despite endowments of natural resources. One of the responsibilities of government in a sane environment is job creation. However, this should not be based on ‘who knows who’ but on merit. Also, good jobs should not be the destiny of the few privileged while the poor are asked to make do with the crumbs that fall from the table and even die in the process of scavenging for it. Government should be committed to creating an enabling environment where business can thrive; where investors can freely operate. The leadership class should see the Immigration recruitment stampede which resulted in the loss of 19 promising youths as their failure and shame. They should take deliberate steps to salvage this nation from collapse and end avoidable loss of human lives. •Femi Onasanya Abeokuta, Ogun State.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

13

Opinion To National Conference delegates By Victor Anazonwu ISTINGUISHED delegates, considering the calibre of men and women in your ranks, I would probably spend the entire day if I were to attempt recognising each and every one of you by your proper titles. So, please permit me in addressing you, and in the interest of brevity, to respectfully say, “All Protocols Observed.” I must admit that after carefully going through the list of your names and sectoral representations, as published by the conference planning committee, I was overcome by a cocktail of emotions. First, I was relieved that, at last, the conference which had been foretold for years was at hand. Second, I was impressed that the eventual composition of delegates (a major source of worry for so long) reflected a brave and genuine, even if imperfect, effort by the conveners to capture the highly complex character of the nation in one room. Third, I was worried that a good many of you who made the list may individually and generationally be classified as part of the trouble with Nigeria and therefore may be indisposed to finding a genuine solution. Indeed, I suspect that if the average age of the conference delegates was calculated, it will be well over 50! This means that the youth of this country, who constitute up to 70% of its population, and who statistically have a greater stake in the future of our country, is grossly under-represented. Lastly, I was disappointed that in a country of highly intelligent individuals like Nigeria, we are yet so lacking in the area of leadership that nearly 500 very busy men and women like you, each accomplished in their own right, have to be assembled at great public expense and loss of GDP to discuss and agree a simple matter which one man or woman with a good heart could very easily have deciphered – Why Nigeria flounders and the best way forward. Yet, in my disappointment, I am reminded that commonsense is sometimes not so common.

D

And there is wisdom, sometimes greater wisdom, in numbers. So, if like the Israelites, we have to travel the wilderness for 40 years (instead of 40 days) and gather in multitudes to figure out our Promised Land, then so be it. Distinguished delegates, I do not mean to downplay the enormity of the task before you when I say that the work of the National Conference is a “simple matter.” Far be it from me to be disrespectful. I only mean to draw your attention to the fact that even the most complex of human challenges can, with the benefit of hindsight, be reduced to a simple idea or a few words. The advantage of such simplification is that it becomes easy for everyone, including the common folk, to understand and engage. This makes success surer. Thus, for instance, when Jesus was asked which was the greatest of the Ten Commandments, he promptly obliged with a simple answer: LOVE – love of God and of neighbour. Similarly, Albert Einstein’s energy-mass equation (E=mc2) is a model in simplicity. Yet it is the key to some of the greatest technological inventions in modern times. In other words, the best ideas are also the simplest. Following from this logic, I wish to suggest that you do not go to the conference hoping to help develop a large volume of recommendations, a vast array of prescriptions or a complex equation for Nigeria’s progress. Experience has shown that plenty of words and large volumes of paper often mask ignorance and poor understanding. So, during the life of the conference, I pray that you look for simple ideas that will clarify the problem and unlock the Nigerian potential. Indeed, I dare say that if your final document is more than one page, you should consider yourselves to have failed. Another matter which I wish to bring to

your attention is the danger of going to the conference with narrow ethnic, religious, regional, political or economic agendas. I am aware that since last October when the president set the ball rolling for the realization of the conference, many of you have been part of smaller interest groups preparing position papers ahead of the dialogue. This is good and helpful because nothing beats preparation. But now that you are in Abuja, please remember to drop your narrow group interests and become part of the greater Nigerian interest group. I believe that after 100 years as a nation and 53 years as an independent country, one conclusion which every honest Nigerian has come to is that we are all deeply unhappy and unfulfilled people – because our highly dysfunctional country is a source of shame. If that is so, then we must think differently and do things differently to expect a different outcome. Speaking of thinking differently, I wish to share with you, distinguished delegates, my own humble reflections on the subject of why corruption festers in Nigeria – a challenge which has been widely identified to lie at the heart of our backwardness and failed nationhood. The objective is not to impose these views on you, but rather that you may consider them alongside yours and the many others available, in coming to, hopefully, a worthier resolution. I submit that Nigerians are highly inclined towards corruption because the people are poor, un-catered for and therefore instinctively seek to “help themselves.” Why are they poor? Because their governments and leaders don’t really care. Why don’t they care? They do not consider it their primary responsibility to look after the people. Why? They were not truly elected by the people. How come? In our country power is usually hijacked by gangs and brigands; they are not among the bright-

est and best of society. Why? Why? Why? Because the people let them. Why do the people let them? Because the people are always too busy looking after their individual and sectional affairs that they do not have time to look after the collective and civic good. Why is this so? Because they lack wisdom to understand that individual and sectional good is directly connected with and cannot (for long) be separated from the common good! In my humble view, the failure to grasp this simple connection is at the root of Nigeria’s problems in nation-building – not corruption, not the absence of “true federalism”, not a faulty revenue sharing formula, and not our ethnic or religious diversity. Those are mere manifestations of a failed value system for which we all (not just our leaders) must take responsibility. The National Conference must rise above those clichés to recognize the attitudinal foundation of our problems, otherwise it would have failed woefully. To borrow the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Inherent in the concept of “brotherhood” are the values of love, justice, equity, fair play and collaboration – not competition. Those are the values that build a nation. Those are the values that we must all subscribe to, going forward, or perish. Ethnicity and religion never built any nation, nor does unbridled individualism. Separation is not an option because it will leave us in smaller, weaker units which will disappear into inconsequence. Besides, even in those smaller units, we will continue to find peace and progress elusive – as long as our value systems are unchanged. Any narrative which fails to recognise this truth above all else is a farce and a waste of time. May that not be the fate of this national conference. Amen. • Anazonwu is Chief Ideation Officer of Elipses Projects Limited, a marketing communications company based in Lagos.

Flight MH 370, Crimea, the super powers By Pius Isikwene OR much of the month of March, reports of the missing FCrimea Malaysian plane (Flight MH 370) and Russia’s annexation of have dominated the international news scene. Despite the concerted efforts of national and international search teams, the whereabouts of Flight MH 370 and its 239 passengers and crew remained a mystery two weeks after it disappeared on March 8. Russia’s rushed annexation of Crimea and the United States-led West’s imposition of sanctions have been as engaging in space and intensity. The only major news item from Africa during the same period was the trial of Pistorious over the shooting of his girlfriend on February 14 last year in South Africa. The developed nations’ preoccupation, if not obsession, with the missing plane and the plight of Crimea underscores the present world order of national pride, territorial adventurism, and to a much lesser extent, global humanitarianism. While many nations, at least 19 as at the last count, had joined the plane search out of a genuine desire to unearth the mystery, for some of them, joining was a mere diplomatic gesture. For the United States and Russia, their passion and zeal over Crimea cannot be compared to their near-feeble concern for the missing plane and 239 lives. The global media have, expectedly, echoed these super powers’ priorities with corresponding ideological colourations. Of course, credit must go to the Americans for re-directing the search to the remote southern part of the Indian Ocean which has helped to narrow the coverage. U.S. officials had insisted that contrary to the initial focus of the search, the plane may not have flown northward over land as it veered off course. The Malaysian authorities had reluctantly acceded that the plane may have been deliberately flown off its programmed path. The latest search effort, championed by the Australians, point to the remote southern Indian Ocean. Aircraft from Australia, New Zealand and the United States along with a Norwegian merchant ship late last week pursued the latest lead following the sighting of some sizeable objects thought to be parts of the missing plane. China had also understandably been massively involved in the initial and continuing search. The missing plane with mostly Chinese passengers was scheduled to land in Beijing before its disappearance. Little is said of Russia in the global search for the missing plane. In the Crimean face-off, it is also doubtful if humanitarianism

was the sole or main motivation for Russia’s annexation or the staunch opposition by the U.S. and the European Union to what they perceive as Russian imperialism. Are the Americans and the Russians truly concerned about the well-being of the ordinary Crimeans or their territorial post-cold war hegemony? The Americans and their European collaborations are spurred by their self-ascribed roles as the global policemen and enforcers of democratic ideals all over the world. Thus, they see Russia’s annexation of Crimea as “illegal,” citing the Ukranian constitution and the United Nation’s article of non-interference in the affairs of sovereign nations. They were thus not impressed with Russia’s resort to the March 16 referendum in which most residents of the Black Sea peninsula voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. The Russians have mostly ignored the U.S. and the EU and hurriedly consummated the annexation process through the passage of relevant bills in the parliament. Both President Vladimir Putin and the law makers have scoffed at the sanctions imposed on 12 officials of the Kremlin and Crimea by the United States. Informed Kremlin-Washington relations experts speculate that wider sanctions, jointly imposed by the U.S and EU may hurt the struggling Russian economy with a projected Gross Domestic Product growth rate of 1.5. percent for 2014. But whether this arm-twisting approach would sway the Russians to reconsider the annexation policy which has gone full circle remains doubtful. But the U.S and EU opposition to Russia’s annexation policy stands on rather shaky legal and moral grounds. Going strictly by the constitutional law of Ukraine as a sovereign state, the referendum was illegal. The ouster of the duly elected pro-Russian President of Crimea, Viktor Yanukovych, was equally illegal. The anti-Russian protestors who stampeded Yanukovych out of office enjoyed the tacit support of the U.S and the EU which now seek to punish Russia for reversing the gains of the pro-Western forces through outright annexation. Russia’s main argument for annexation is that Crimea had been a part of Russia and should have remained in the federation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Here, Russia invokes her historical and cultural ties with the predominantly Russian-speaking population of Crimea. The Kremlin also takes shelter under the United Nations article on peoples’ right to self-determination. Ironically, the U.S and her allies anchor their opposition to the annexation of Crimea on another article of the United Nations on the sovereignty and inviolability of

nation states. The Russians have also latched on to the “Kosovo precedent,” an allusion to the 2008 declaration of independence by Kosovo while still an integral part of Serbia. This act of self-determination was applauded by the U.S and EU allies which recognized Kosovo as a nation state. But in all of these, Crimea may just have become a needless battlefield for the re-enactment of the cold war hostilities between the super powers the United States and the Soviet Union as represented by Russia. It is a power tussle that does not guarantee a better life for the Crimeans. The Russians in Crimea were not under any imminent threat while in Ukraine, prior to the annexation. Neither could a Western-backed government in Ukraine following the ouster of Yanukovych have solved all the region’s problems. For the U.S and the EU, it is a territorial ambition gone awry. In instigating a change of government, they seem to have reckoned without Russia’s surprisingly creative and proactive redress. Having now annexed the region, it is up to the Russians to prove to the Crimeans that they are better off, not merely culturally and politically, materially. But can it, given the current and projected state of the Federation’s economy? Now, back to Flight MH370. Though the superpowers give little credit to Africa, mysteries like that of the missing plane could have been easily and speedily resolved the African way. Not through witchcraft for which the continent attracts global media attention, but through open and fair contest. When traditional African societies were confronted with life-threatening situations or unsolvable mysteries, the town crier simply went to town on the orders of the king. All the able-bodied men were gathered and anyone that could solve the puzzle or overturn the threat got the foremost price – automatic marriage to the princess. Only earth-shaking and life-threatening matters bordering on the well-being of the entire community were so treated. No frivolities. No petty quarrels between neighbours. If only the United Nations Organization would adopt the African approach, the Flight MH370 mystery and Crimea crisis would be resolved in one fell swoop: Revert Crimea to pre-annexation status quo via a veto-free resolution. Then let the superpowers send in their Expression of Interest in finding the missing plane and controlling Crimea. Whichever superpower recovers the plane carcass first gets Crimea as its bride. Who says Africa has nothing to offer the world? • Isikwene, a media manager, is based in Lagos.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

14 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Opinion Not a Pope for all seasons By Malachy Igwilo READ with pains in my heart the piece by the IHassan Catholic Bishop of Sokoto dioceses, Bishop Kukah titled “Pope Francis for all seasons” that appeared in The Guardian of March 17 and 18 and wondered at the level we can go in order to join in the praising of an anomaly which has become normal in the world. Bishop Kukah tried to point out to us that the current pope is a man that we should cherish and love because he is in agreement with the last Catholic Council, Vatican II which held from 1962 to 1965. This council indeed damaged the Catholic church, endorsing all sorts of ideas that indeed removed the church from the path of evangelism. Majority of the ordinary Catholic knows nothing about this council but Kukah’s views seem to be based on conclusions of this council. Bishop Kukah told us about his friend Richard Daniels who is not Catholic but who has interest in Catholicism. The man is on the verge of converting to ‘the one true church’. But bishop will not help him convert by pointing out the way for him. Why? Because Bishop Kukah, being a proponent of Vatican II council does not see any need to convert anyone. If he points the way to Richard, he may indeed convert and perhaps, he will come to see that the current pope that he sees as a man with an African heart is indeed not one, as far as authentic Catholicism is concerned. In presenting the pope, Kukah said that “the first sign (of Francis revolutionary intent) was a spectacular demystification of power, a signal of the hammer the pope was going to use to break down layers of some walls that have held back the blessings of God for his people”. This is a clear falsehood if the bishop will admit. There are no walls in the Catholic Church preventing God’s blessings, except sin. Catholic church has existed for 20 centuries and God’s blessing is with this church and this is manifested in her survival today despite huge assaults from the enemies and Catholics themselves have been receiving all sorts of blessing from God. But this pope is not going to break the walls of sin. He has no concept of sin in his diary. There is no word or document said or written by this pope that contains the Catholic understanding of sin. Perhaps Bishop Kukah meant that the Pope’s rejection of his traditional dresses and of-

ficial protocol constitute ‘demystification of power’. If this is what the bishop means, then it is either that he does not understand papal powers or he is playing to the gallery. This pope makes it appear as if the usual papal opulence should be discarded as symbols of raw power. The pope’s robes are replete with symbols. Each papal robe and the opulence surrounding it show how Christ is adorned in His majesty. Also, according to Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of 1286 written by Guillaume Durand, a Dominican priest, “The Supreme Pontiff always appears wearing a red mantle on the outside but underneath he is dressed in a bright white garment. For whiteness symbolises innocence, and the red on the outside symbolises charity and compassion, to show that he is always ready to lay down his life for his sheep because, indeed, the Pope represents the person of the one who, for our sake, stained his own garment red.” So, suggesting that abandoning traditional papal robes is a symbol of ‘demystification’ of power is absurd. But we are not just sure what the bishop means by “demystification of power”. Yes! The pope has enormous power, as far as the church is concerned. He is the Vicar of Christ, the person who uses Christ’s power to ensure that the church fulfils her mission on earth. There is no rawness in this power. It is a holy power. But enemies of the church, understanding that the pope is the bastion of the church, seek to attack that office left, right and center. They create false ideas like suggesting that ‘there is a raw power in the papacy’ and so they seek to remove papal legitimate powers and grant it to those who cannot use it. Bishop Kukah also suggested that this ‘demystifying’ by Pope Francis was witnessed by him when he went to the Vatican for a meeting and the pope walks in for breakfast “without any swagger of power”. He also said that the pope allows people room to pass through a door since he is suggesting that each person has as much right (to passage) as himself. These tell us who Francis really is. He hates protocols but he likes being paid special attention. He wants to be the talk of the town not on account of the faith but on what the world wants. From Pope Francis’ actions, is he telling us that there should be no orderliness? We have

witnessed children run up on stage to tug at his white robe, pull out his skull cap and want to climb on top of him - just to prove that there is nothing much about this office. He even rode on a bus with other cardinals after his election. At face value, there is nothing wrong with these events. But everyone who may care to know should know that each office, even in the world, has a protocol associated with it. There must be decorum. But this pope thinks otherwise. He abandoned the usual papal apartments and decided to live elsewhere to avoid the opulence of the apartments. But he has ended up in another form of opulence since his current apartment is on a whole floor, bigger than his official one. Those in the world press who praise him for demolishing protocols are praising him for trying to destroy the prestige of the papacy; they so much hate it being the centerpiece of Catholic moral high ground. They praise him in public but scorn privately. We see that this is part of the very gradual destruction of the papacy established at Vatican II council. The pope is putting this destruction on top gear. Eventually, Bishop Kukah suggested that based on these sentiments about Francis tending towards a “Francismania” his atheist friend from India (who Kukah is not trying to convert) is considering converting. This clearly shows that that friend is not a serious atheist. How can someone suggest that because of emotional outbursts he will abandon his position? Such abandonment will have no depth whatsoever! The allusion made by Kukah concerning Francis asking Christians not to allow the devil to rob them of fraternal love, missionary zeal and sense of community and hope is just one of those sentiments coming from Pope Francis who truly does not believe in the devil, missionary zeal or compassion. We have heard him suggest that ‘preaching is a holy nonsense’ thereby undermining missionary zeal. We have seen Pope Francis punish the Franciscans of the Immaculate, a group of Franciscan priests for living a Catholic life Francis wants abandoned. This undermines compassion. The Bishop should provide us with any writing of Francis or his sermons where he talked about the devil in the traditional Catholic sense. None! The document quoted, the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelium Gaudium, is one

of the most unbelievable documents coming from a reigning pontiff. It departs from the Catholic faith wholly. But the average Catholic will never know how revolutionary this document is. According to Pope Francis in this document, “I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.”(No.27). This means that he wants to change everything that has survived simply to be loved by the world. Reading through the ‘missionary option’ mentioned, one could wrongly get the impression that the pope will really go out there to convert people. No! He wants to evangelise the Catholic church by taking her from her age-old path towards another, a more world-friendly path. The same document admonishes that we should abandon Catholic life and militancy, build bridges, show mercy and be tolerant of the world. Militancy here means that Catholics are called to live the faith by resisting the world’s corruption. This resistance is a battle for everyday. Just as AIDS destroys the immune system of a body and exposes it to all kinds of diseases and even death, so also the tolerance and abandonment of tradition preached by the pope destroys the militant character of the church and opens her to every type of dogmatic and moral abomination and relativism. This infection of false tolerance among Catholics reached a new paroxysm with Evangelium Gaudium. Indeed, everything in this document speaks in a feminine way - of love, mercy, beauty and joy. Nothing is about militancy or dogmas of the church or heroic holiness. Instead, militancy and core Catholic teachings are set aside as irrelevant and out-of-place. This is the document Bishop Kukah is presenting to us as a sign that Francis is a pope for all seasons and a pope that has lit up the world. I agree with Kukah that “it is too early to see how this papacy will shape the world” but there are signs about where it is heading. Because of these problems of Pope Francis, I will not follow Kukah in chanting “long may he live”. Rather, long may Francis live, but may his papacy be short! • Igwilo writes from Bells University of Technology, Ota.

Ajibola’s princely steps at 80 By Idris Katib CIENTISTS attribute a number of factors to longevity or life Sitiveexpectancy: genetics, healthy lifestyle, culture, exercise, posthinking and good diet. To the longest-serving Attorneygeneral and Minister of Justice in Nigeria, Judge Bola Abdul Jabbar Ajibola, all come with the grace of God. At 80 years - a momentous occasion he marked the other day - the former Judge of the World Court in The Hague is worth celebrating. For posterity, too, the eminent jurist, arbitrator has also chronicled his positive contributions to humanity and history in a book entitled “Tribulations and Trophies: Memoirs of Judge Bola Ajibola”. We are informed in the Creationist Theory that in the reckoning of our Creator, 1000 years is like only one day. Therefore, a period of 80 years of any human existence can only compared to a flash or a blink before God. The words of elders are words of wisdom, they say. What a young boy cannot see climbing a tree, an old man will see sitting down. This comes from experience and knowledge of the aged because they have gone through thick and thin in life. They have witnessed the proverbial downpours and showers of life. Elders are teachers, philosophers and seers because they have witnessed many pasts. They have seen green and dry vegetation. However, there are elders of substance and those of straw. The former are elders who have been grossly favoured in their existence. They have risen to the pinnacle of their trade and profession. They are recognized by destiny. In the other category are those who do not make it in life, however hard they might have struggled. Judge Ajibola is an elder of substance who has been recognized by God and humanity.

Early in life, he was unconsciously learning in the palace, the art of law, arbitration and justice under the tutelage of his father, His Royal Majesty HRM Oba Abdul Salam Gbadela, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom who reigned between 1949 and 1972. It was more of a rote learning of the blue-blooded young Adesunmbo Ajibola than the formal classroom knowledge of the law. And consciously, at a point, his father encouraged him to tow the line of arbitration and law when he noticed his son’s preference for farming and acting. Literally, the road to The Hague is narrow, only the destined would thread it. By a dint of hard work and providence, Judge Ajibola was destined for the most prestigious legal assignment in the World Court. He had steadily walked the road behind the late Judge Teslim Elias whom he had understudied, as a guide. He had applied the golden nights’ rule of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “the heights that great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, when their companions slept, kept toiling on through the night”, to proactively mark his steps to The Hague. He was forced to memorise this quotation in elementary standard five and that was the beginning of his “golden nights” rule. It is on record that he used to write not less than 80 pages of judgment per night as a world court judge. Within three months, he was able to read a boxful of books meant to tutor him, by the late Justice Elias, for the daunting job of the International Court of Justice. As a writer, Judge Ajibola is a wordsmith. He is a maverick in idioms and proverbs. He had used the Yoruba traditional proverbs to solve problems among his colleagues at ICJ. His firm belief according to Yoruba tradition, that when words are lost, only proverbs are used to locate them afforded him the wherewithal to solve problems at the ICJ.

Oftentimes, his dissenting opinions/judgments were backed by proverbs and it so happened at a time all the judges had to vote on a contending issue. His was the only dissenting voice backed by the rich Yoruba proverbs. In recess and afterwards, all other judges gave their consensus to Ajibola’s dissent, having realized the richness in his forefathers’ proverbs. Chinua Achebe succinctly captures same cultural approach in Things Fall Apart as “proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”. Judge Ajibola was a good cook of words with proverb recipe for other judges to relish! His audiences are never bored with his delivery as he garnishes issues at stake with humour and rib-cracking jokes. His reading speed, although with good pace and pitch that blend well with the delivery, is amazing. Even with age, he reads a typewritten page of A4 paper within three minutes and he hardly exceeded the time given by any moderator or play to the gallery. Prince Ajibola traverses history, blends with philosophy, science and logic. He treats issues frankly and fairly. When impressed, he falls in love with the word “effective” or “efficient”; when planning, he adores adjectives such as “pro-active” and “proficient”; when irked, he employs a phrase like “patent anomalies” or “ incongruous situation”. When surprised, he first and foremost whistles like a singing bird and then applies the contextual vocabulary. But then, Judge Ajibola’s most cherished legacy is Crescent University, Abeokuta, a private university he founded in 2005 through a parent body, Islamic Mission for Africa, to impact not just knowledge but good moral conduct in the youths. The vision will surely live for ages. • Katib wrote from Crescent University, Abeokuta.


15

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Business Shell declares force majeure on oil export By Sulaimon Salau HE nation’s oil export may have suffered another setback, as the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) joint venture yesterday declared force majeure on lifting of Forcados crude. Shell spokesperson, Precious Okolobo, who confirmed this to The Guardian yesterday, said the force majeure was effective 09:00hrs (Nigerian time) Tuesday, March 25, 2014, due to ongoing repairs on the 48inch crude export line at Forcados Terminal in the Niger Delta. The subsea line was shut when a leak was discovered on March 4, 2014, leading to the suspension of SPDC and third party crude oil exports through the terminal. Okolobo said helicopter overflights showed a slight sheen around the export line. “A joint investigation conducted by representatives of communities, SPDC, regulators and security agencies determined that the leak was caused by third party interference; unknown persons had installed a crude theft point on the line in water depth of about eight metres,”

T

he added. He assured that SPDC has mobilised equipment and materials to the site, to effect repairs on the affected pipeline. The Managing Director of SPDC, Mutiu Sunmonu recently lamented the spate of vandalism on Shell’s facilities, which he described as dangerous to the national economy. He said: “As a Nigerian, I am extremely worried about this dangerous menace. I have flown across the Delta many times and my heart sinks whenever I see barge- building yards and storage depots for the stolen crude. “What I worry most about is the visible devastation. Crude theft also causes massive environmental damage through oil spills. Over the last five years, sabotage and oil theft accounted for around three-quarters of spills from SPDC facilities. In 2012, they accounted for over 95 per cent of the volume of oil spilled. “This has a devastating impact on the surrounding environment. The scale of the problem puts an enormous

CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema (right) Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Power, Engr, Reynolds Dagogo-Jack, Minister for Power, Engr, Chinedu Nebo and Partner, Mckinsey and Company, Scott Desmarais at the EnergyNet Power Investors Summit Nigeria ‘Maintaining Momentum in Nigeria ‘s Power Sector in Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Nigeria gives condition for signing EPA By Ade Ogidan,Business Editor HE Federal Government T may not sign the European Partnership Agreement (EPA), if it considers the clauses not to be in the interest of the economy. The government’s position was given on Monday by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, together with two other ministers, after a meeting with stakeholders in Abuja on Monday. The forum was held ahead of the March 28 ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments’ meeting in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, where the pact has been scheduled to be signed between the sub-regional countries and the European Union. Aganga,who spoke after the

meeting with the organised private sector to harmonise Nigeria’s position on the pact, explained that there was the need for Nigeria to take a strong position that would protect its economy and strengthen its leadership position within the West African sub-region. He said: “We will not sign any agreement that will jeopardise the interest of the Nigerian economy and undermine the ongoing efforts of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan towards industrialising the country. We must take the overall best interest of the country into consideration. “Nigeria’s position should however be to encourage regional economic integration and put in place the conditions that are acceptable for the whole of ECOWAS to enter

into such partnership.” Also speaking at the event, the Supervising Minister of National Planning, Bashir Yuguda, noted that there was the need to consider Nigeria’s overall economic interest before signing the EPA. “Our country’s interest must come first. We need to consider the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan, which is part of the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan before signing the EPA. We have plans to re-base our GDP and will not do anything that will impact negatively on our GDP and the Nigerian economy as a whole,” he said. Also,the Minister of State II for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, said Nigeria should give greater consideration to the economic implica-

tions of EPA before signing. “We are confronted with a very difficult decision whether to sign or not to sign but we must take a stand over the matter. We have considered the implications from the diplomatic and economic perspectives but I think that we should be more concerned with the economic implications for our country. We must take a decision that will advance our current efforts towards industrialisation,” he noted Stakeholders agreed at the meeting that the position to take on the pact must be in the overall interest of the Nigerian economy and should encourage regional economic integration. For instance, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Chief Kola Jamodu,

stressed that the Federal Government should not take any decision that would lead to the collapse of the nation’s manufacturing sector. According to him, “the driving force of Nigeria in the EPA is different from that other West African countries because they don’t have strong industrial base compared to Nigeria. Head or tail, signing or not signing will have negative consequences for our economy but we are working with the Federal Government to ensure that whatever decision that will be taken on behalf of Nigeria will not lead to the collapse of the manufacturing sector.” Also at the meeting were representatives from the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; and the National Association of

Nigerian Traders, among others. It could be recalled that Economic Partnership Agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have been fraught with disagreement. Over a decade after the launch of negotiations, many ACP countries are not happy with the deal on the table and only 36 out of the original 76 ACP countries have accepted an EPA. Till now, Nigeria has maintained its protectionist stance in issues of liberalisation and tariff dismantling calendar of market access, the EPA Development Programme (EPADP) and the texts relating to the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause, cooperation in agriculture and food security, rules of origin and the non-execution clause among others.

Naira, inflation, yields on securities record mixed fortunes By Chijioke Nelson, with agency reports HE yields on Naira notes T due January 2022, which rose seven basis points since Lamido Sanusi was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan on February 20, compared with a 19 basis-point drop in South African rand-debt maturing March 2021, may have nosedived. The development may have been attributed to the freefall in the nation’s foreign exchange position and overhanging uncertainty in the credibility of the apex bank.

Specifically, yields on Nigerian 2023 bonds dropped to 6.08 per cent yesterday, down from 6.51 per cent on February 24 and the Naira traded at N165 per dollar, a 2.4 per cent stronger since touching a record low February 20 after Sanusi’s suspension. Sanusi, had tightened the monetary system by keeping the key interest rate at a record high for more than two years to bring inflation under 10 per cent since January 2013 and stabilize the currency. However, the departure prompted concern that the

independence of the central bank risks being undermined, with yields on Nigerian dollar-denominated bonds due in July 2023 climbing to a seven-month high on February 24 at first, with the Naira dropping to a record low against the dollar and yields on the securities dropping 45 basis points to 6.06 per cent through yesterday. Meanwhile, inflation eased to 7.7 per cent in February from eight per cent in the previous month, remaining within the bank’s six per cent to nine per cent target band.

Johannesburg-based economists at Morgan Stanley, Michael Kafe and Andrea Masia, said the policy makers will probably need to increase borrowing costs by at least 200 basis points in the next six months to help support the currency, as oil output misses objectives and the threat of rising government spending before elections next year. The regular foreign exchange auctions have been sustained to peg the Naira within a range of three per cent above or below N155 per dollar, but $3.1 billion has already been

spent to defend the currency since it plunged to an alltime low of N168.90 per dollar. The Naira was unchanged at 164.85 per dollar by 2:51 p.m. in Lagos for a decline this year of 2.8 per cent, compared with a drop of 12 per cent in Ghana’s cedi in 2014 and a 2.6 percent decrease in the value of the rand. But a money manager, who oversees Nigerian debt at Aberdeen Asset Management in London, Kevin Daly, said: “They can and will continue to intervene in the coming weeks, as there’s been a big shake-

out of foreign positions and they still have the firepower to support the Naira.” However, the need to maintain the apex bank’s independence has been reiterated by former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Jim O’Neill. “If I were a leader in this country, I’d pay attention to the fact that the markets didn’t like how things were done. “Clearly a lot of oil revenue has gone missing and the issue needs to be placed on the table and brought into more public focus,” O’Neill said.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

BUSINESS Wednesday, March 26, 2014

16

Seven Energy to invest N80b in Nigeria’s oil, gas sector By Roseline Okere Energy Limited, a Sof EVEN wholly owned subsidiary Seven Energy International Limited, has unveiled plans to invest over $500 million into its existing

and new projects in the country this year. This is in addition to the $400 million equity investments by the company in the country’s oil and gas sector. Speaking with The

Guardian yesterday on the company’s operational update, the Managing Director of the company, Phillip Ihenacho, disclosed that the outfit’s gas pipeline project, which allows it to supply gas to Calabar will be

completed by the middle of this year. Ihenacho stated: “This year, we plan to invest more than $500 million in oil and gas projects this year. We have focused on Calabar, Oyo, Port Harcourt and Aba. The

Director, Stakeholders Relations and Corporate Communications, Dangote Group, Ahmed Mansur; Chief of Staff to the President of Dangote Group, Joe Makoju; Group Managing Director, Dangote Cement, Devakumar Edwin; and Director, Knut Ulvmoen, at the launch of Dangote Cement’s new 3x bag, in Lagos, yesterday.

gas business is very expensive and we are planning to invest a substantial amount in the nearest future. We are planning something for Benin City, because we like to be close to where gas is exploited. We will consider investing across the country”. He disclosed that that the company has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of East Horizon Gas Company Limited (EHGC), a gas marketing and distribution company. The acquisition, he said, would further enhance Seven Energy’s gas marketing and distribution position in the South East Niger Delta region, expanding the reach of its pipeline network in this growing regional market to over 200 kilometres, diversifying its customer base and increasing long term contracted gas sales volumes to 225 MMcfpd. He said that the company has also made initial deliveries of gas to the 190mw Ibom Power station to enable the power station to undertake commissioning and testing, following a major repair and maintenance programme. Ihenacho added: “We have made significant progress

with Phase 2 of the Uquo Field development project to supply gas to the 560mw Calabar NIPP power station. “There is mechanical completion of Train 2 of the Uquo Gas Processing Facility, which completes a total of 200 MMcfpd gas processing capacity; and we have drilled the Uquo-7 and Uquo-8ST wells, which are scheduled to be completed in this year”. He stated that the company’s subsidiary – Accugas, has completed and commissioned the first train of a two train 200MMcfpd gas processing facility along with a 62km 18 inch pipeline running from Uquo to Ikot Abasi to supply gas to Ibom Power). He noted that Accugas has a further contract to supply gas at a rate of 131MMcfpd to the Calabar Power station for which it is building a 37km, 24 inch pipeline from Uquo to Oron. The company entered into a $225 million senior debt facility with a syndicate of Nigerian banks. “The Facility, which replaces an existing $60 million project finance facility, is being used to fund the expansion of Accugas’ gas processing and distribution infrastructure in the South East Niger Delta region.

NSC decries unilateral fixing of port charges by operators By Moses Ebosele AS Nigerians await the passage of National Transport Commission Bill by the National Assembly, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has pledged to tackle unilateral fixing of prices by some terminal operators, without consultations.

The Federal Government had recently appointed NSC as economic regulator of the maritime sector. In a chat with The Guardian, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NSC, Hassan Bello described unilateral fixing of prices as unacceptable.

“What we are saying is that there must be a mechanism. Prices should not be fixed arbitrarily and unilaterally”, said Bello. He added: “Some terminal operators increase prices without recourse to Shippers Council. No serious country will allow that. We are going to

have scientific ways of arriving at reasonable tariff. We are going to monitor the quality of services. We want to see that the maritime sector make its contributions to the Nigerian economy because what is happening now is not half of what is expected”. Besides, Bello said the charges are astronomical and not easily justifiable. “Nigeria Shippers Council is not a price fixing authority. We know the dynamic of the port system. You cannot say ‘X’ is the price of clearing container. You cannot say ‘X’ is the price of demurrage, among others because price changes. Sometime price go up or down”. He said: “But, what we are saying is that there must be a mechanism. Prices should not be fixed arbitrarily and unilaterally. The Nigerian Shippers Council has been able to step

down some of the cost of doing business in Nigeria. If the cost is done arbitrarily you lose your competitiveness. People will take their cargoes to neighbouring countries”. Bello explained that the Council meets regularly with terminal operators to discuss issues affecting the sector. “We have MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with them. We meet a lot. Almost every month they are in the office over one issue or the other. “They bring their problem to us. We tell the government what should be done. “For example, the issue of Progressive Storage Charges. Nigerian importer finds it easy to keep cargoes at the port rather than have a warehouse because it cheaper. “Leaving a cargo at the port is

detrimental to the Nigerian Economy because the port is a transient point. Its not a storage place. Nigerian Shippers Council suggested Progressive Storage charges as a detriment for people who want to keep their cargoes at the port.”

Shell declares force majeure CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 strain on our staff and operations teams, diverting time and resources to deal with this menace. There is arguably even more environmental damage from the actions of illegal refiners, who typically pour the heavy residue from their activities directly into the rivers.” Sunmonu said Shell and the joint venture are taking action where they can. “We do this through operational measures such as daily overflights and surveillance over our areas of operation; removing crude oil theft connections; providing additional security and technology,” “Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the menace persists, with some being carried out by well-financed and highly organised criminal operations, a parallel industry with a developed supply chain and growing sophistication with long-term social, economic and environmental implications that can only be imagined. “The scale and complexity of this problem is beyond the control of any one company, institution or even country. It requires coordinated action, both at the national and local levels inside Nigeria, and at a regional and international level outside Nigeria.”


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 17


18 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

19

For The Record Affluent society: Can Africa make it? (2) 66th Inaugural Lecture delivered by Prof. Sheriffdeen Adewale Tella on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State Continued from Monday, February 24, 2014 MPoRTANT in determining how important the monetary sector could be in effecting activities in real or production sector of the economy. The higher the ratio, the higher the financial depth Iandthe ability of the sector to, at least in the short-run, influence activities in the real sector. For the G8, the financial depth is high, implying well developed money and capital markets that could influence positively, activities in the production or real sector. It needs be noted that Russia is an emerging market whose economy moved from command economy into mixed economic system only after the communist government was dismantled in the early-1990s. Thus, its low level of financial depth relative to other members of the group should be understood from this perspective. The outcome of the foregoing discussion on economic development indices is always rubbing off on the social status of the society. The social statistics are presented in Tables 6-9. First however, the affluent countries are regarded as those with: High human development index value which is between 0.8 and 1. This is a measure of longevity, educational attainment and decent standard of living. high literacy level, school enrollment and whose large proportion of the citizens are highly educated and skilled; with low death and birth rate; low ratio of health facilities to population; and high life expectancy for both males and females. Table 6 shows that the population growth rate is very low and in some cases very marginal (e.g. Japan and United Kingdom), unchanged (e.g. Germany) and negative (Russian Federation). The literacy level in each country is in most cases over 90 percent while life expectancy at birth for male is above 70 years and over 80 years for females in virtually all the countries except Russia which invariably also has lower income level than others. Table 6: Selected Social Indicators of G8 Counties, various years Country Population 2010 Population growth rate 2010 Population age composition Ages 0-14 2010 Life Expectancy at birth 2007 Adult literacy rate % ages 25 and over 2010 Male Years Females Year Canada 33 1.0 17 78 83 100 France 62 0.7 18 78 85 78.4 Germany 82 0.0 14 77 82 96.5 Italy 60 0.6 14 79 84 98.9 Japan 128 0.1 13 79 86 81.1 Russia 142 -0.4 15 62 74 94.7 UK 61 0.5 18 77 82 99.7 USA 304 0.9 20 75 81 94.5Source: World Development Indicators, 2010, 2013. The affluent countries have gone beyond the concern for meeting basic needs like food, shelter, primary health issues, basic education, electricity and such other needs which are major concerns of developing economies. Thus, they worry less about living and dying through common diseases. The low infant mortality rate, which trend is given in Table 7 and life expectancy of about 80years as depicted in Table 8 are indicative of good health programmes. Table 7: Infant Mortality rate, 1971-2011 (per 1,000 births) Countries 1971 1981 1991 2001 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Canada 17.5 9.8 6.6 5.3 5.1 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 France 14.3 9.7 7.0 4.3 3.7 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.4 Germany 21.2 11.7 6.6 4.3 3.7 3.6 3.5 3.4 3.3 Italy 27.7 13.4 7.9 4.5 3.6 3.5 3.4 3.3 3.2 Japan 12.6 7.0 4.5 3.2 2.6 2.5 2.4 2.4 2.4 Russia 32.8 26.8 22.6 16.9 12.3 11.6 10.9 10.3 9.8 UK 17.5 11.5 7.3 5.5 4.9 4.7 4.6 4.5 4.4 USA 19.1 12.1 9.1 7.1 6.7 6.6 6.5 6.5 6.4 Source: World Development Indicators, various years Comparing the figures in Tables 7-9 for 1971, 1981 and 1991 to the present trend, it is clear that the infant mortality rate continues to go down in each country just as life expectancy goes up as affluence progresses. Table 8: Life Expectancy, 1971-2010 (Years) Countries 1971 1981 1991 2001 2007 2008 2009 2010 Canada 73.0 75.5 77.6 79.5 80.8 81.0 80.7 80.8 France 71.9 74.3 76.8 79.1 80.8 80.9 81.1 81.4 Germany 70.7 73.1 75.3 78.3 79.5 79.7 79.8 80.0 Italy 71.8 74.4 76.9 79.8 81.3 81.4 81.4 81.7 Japan 72.9 76.4 79.1 81.4 82.5 82.6 82.9 82.9 Russia 68.4 67.3 68.5 65.5 67.5 67.8 68.6 68.8 UK 72.3 74.0 76.1 78.0 79.4 79.6 80.1 80.4 USA 71.1 74.0 75.4 76.7 77.8 77.9 78.1 78.2 Source: World Development Indicators, various years It is noteworthy in Table 6 that each country’s dependent population or youthful ratio is relatively small, implying small labour force in future. Table 9 actually shows that the fertility rate is on continuous decline or constant from 1971, 1981, 1991 to 2001 and thereafter. Thus, this trend supports the yearly family immigration package applications from these countries to many developing countries to attract labour to service their industries. We shall still reflect on the statistics for Africa in the next section. Table 9: Fertility Rate (children per woman) Countries 1971 1981 1991 2001 2007 2008 2009 2010 Canada 2.1 1.7 1.7 1.5 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 France 2.5 1.9 1.8 1.9 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 Germany 1.9 1.4 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 Italy 2.4 1.6 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 Japan 2.2 1.7 1.5 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.4 Russia 2.0 1.9 1.7 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.5 UK 2.4 1.8 1.8 1.6 1.9 2.0 1.9 1.9

Prof. Tella USA 2.3 1.8 2.1 2.0 2.1 2.1 2.0 2.1 Source: World Development Indicators, various years lV. Characteristics of African Countries Africa has 54 countries including the newly created Southern Sudan. According to Wikipedia (2011), it is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent with a size of about 30.2 million km2 or 11.7 million sq. mile and a population of 1,033 billion. In terms of per capita income categorization, Appendix 1 shows that 32 of the independent 53 African countries belong to the low income group and 15 are in the lower middle income group while seven are in the upper middle income group. Equatorial Guinea belongs to the high income group, given its small population relative to huge income from oil resources. However, it is important to note that South Africa is one of the top 20 countries in the world and is the most industrialised country on the continent. Table 10 presents the per capita GDP for period 1971 to 2011 for the 20 African countries selected equally from each of the sub-regions. These countries were considered as having fairly good growth Table 10: Per Capita GDP at Current US$, 1971-2011 Sub-Region/ Countries 1971 1981 1991 2001 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 North Algeria 358.41 2281.03 1762.99 1781.05 4005.22 4966.57 3951.91 4566.89 5244.03 Egypt 224.92 508.53 637.95 1417.26 1695.80 2078.80 2370.71 2698.37 2780.95 Libya n.a n.a 7235.09 5330.83 11921.41 15150.16 9957.49 n.a n.a  Tunisia 158.90 345.04 195.23 187.20 303.69 348.32 323.45 325.48 373.98 West Cote D’Ivoire 280.11 948.99 810.50 624.24 1061.62 1233.17 1190.78 1161.26 1194.56 Ghana 271.30 375.46 433.96 270.72 1090.05 1226.27 1090.42 1319.08 1570.13 Nigeria 156.30 772.10 273.17 378.83 1129.09 1374.67 1091.26 1443.21 1501.72 Senegal 250.09 571.42 752.82 499.81 986.50 1135.68 1054.69 1033.91 1119.36 Central Equatorial Guinea 227.95 n.a  337.86 3231.82 19528.57 27818.64 17944.39 20703.10 27477.71 Cameroon 175.73 814.19 992.38 600.58 1113.45 1265.30 1157.14 1144.25 1259.87 Congo DR 268.40 451.31 240.07 92.02 164.78 186.88 174.51 198.71 231.02 Gabon 707.18 5494.58 5630.21 3730.98 8127.68 10021.87 7408.65 8767.83 11113.89 East Angola n.a n.a 1144.57 314.71 3526.12 4414.06 3511.76 4237.35 5318.04 Kenya 152.56 405.59 336.28 404.85 726.60 792.23 774.93 794.77 808.00 Rwanda 57.66 263.34 278.21 198.02 384.96 470.98 509.41 529.41 582.56 Zambia 386.38 671.66 418.54 349.65 957.37 1182.65 1006.39 1252.49 1425.31 South Botswana 177.37 1039.62 2769.71 3381.29 4160.66 4223.23 3965.19 4189.69 4377.56 Lesotho 72.56 322.54 358.87 345.14 758.48 764.33 796.27 1003.70 1105.91 Namibia n.a  1885.51 1700.99 1831.68 4078.68 4017.32 3983.24 4875.97 5292.89 South Africa 874.45 3073.12 3345.81 2638.16 5930.13 5612.89 5738.27 7271.73 8070.03 Source: World Development Indicators, various years prospects within each sub-region. Regional comparison indicates that per capita GDP in Southern Africa is higher than in other regions with all the countries except Lesotho in upper middle income. The Northern sub-region also has only Tunisia in the Low Income Countries (LIC) group while others are in the higher middle income group. The Central Africa with three oil exporting countries

Continued on Page 20


20

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Affluent society: Can Africa make it? (2) Continued from Page 19 equally has three countries in the middle income and Equatorial Guinea in high income group. The Western and Eastern sub-regions have more countries in the low income group than other regions, implying that they are worse off than the other three regions. Figure 2 depicts per capita income of some representative African countries from Table 10. It is clear that over time, per capita in the sample countries have been on the increase though South Africa stands clear ahead of others. Fig. 2: Per capita income of selected African countries, 1971-2011 The important issue to note is that per capita income or income per head in African has not only been quite low on the continent but the disparities between and among the countries show huge gaps when compared with those of the affluent countries in Fig. 1. Fig. 2: Industrial Output as % of GDP for selected African countries, 1971-2011 The trend in industrial output as percentage of GDP is given in the appendix but Fig. 2 shows that industrial output contributions to the GDP have been on the decline in a number of important African countries that were showing some promises in the past. From the figure, though South Africa maintains its dignified potential as an industrial country, there was still continuous decline and Egypt that portrays sustained industrialization might have been affected by the civil unrest that started with the Arab Spring in 2011. The general industrial decline evident here is a big challenge for a continent that is aspiring into affluence. Literature is replete with the fact that Sub-Saharan Africa is the home of agricultural products where the continent has comparative advantage and should concentrate on producing such products to feed industries in emerging and developed economies. Figure 3 with the selected countries on Fig. 3: Agricultural Output as a % of GDP, 1971-2011 contributions of agriculture to GDP also show a glorious past for all the countries. The huge cotton production in Egypt had disappeared and position taken up by India and China; the cocoa, cotton, palm oil, rubber and other cash crops Nigeria is known for have virtually disappeared, Kenya still maintains her high quality tea and coffee production but on a lower scale while mining and industrial productions have taken over production attention in South Africa with positive results. A number of factors have been identified with decline in agricultural production or contributions of the sector to GDP. These include persistent use of traditional method of production in the face of growing urbanisation and population, poor land policy, declining soil fertility, shift in production to more foreign exchange promising sectors, etc. The implication is the large proportion of budget devoted to importation of food by many African governments. Trends in the agricultural sector is shown in Table 12 in the appendix. Table 13 in the appendix presents saving rates in the representative countries. Generally, the saving rate is low except in few cases. Again, figure 4 shows general decline in saving rate. The low savings in most countries, partly due to declining incomes, imply huge gap in funding requirements for capital projects that are essential for economic development and, consequently, the need for borrowing and/or dependent on aids, which incidentally is common with African countries. Fig. 4: Savings rate as a % of GDP, 1971-2011 The financial system, comprising broadly the money and capital markets, acts like the heart of a person that, though small relative to size of the body, pumps blood that circulates throughout the body and keeps other organs well-nourished or jaundiced depending on the quality of the blood. The financial sector remains under developed in West Africa (Osunkunle, Tella and Ogunkola, 2002) and even in the whole of Africa (Tella and Akinboade, 2004; ADB, 2010). The ratio of population to a bank remains high with distribution of such banks skewing in favour of the urban centres, leaving large proportion of the population which reside in the rural areas without formal banking institutions. The scope of operation of financial system in most African countries is within the small scale region where the cost of providing services is relatively high (Levine, 2005; Honohan & Beck, 2007; World Bank, 2007). This implies that the financial depth in most countries on the continent is shallow and cannot provide the needed long term fund for development. In figure 5, only Egypt and South African financial markets present some high level of depth. Current financial reforms towards financial inclusion as complementary to inclusive growth, if sustained, could improve the situation. Fig. 5: Financial Depth (M2_GDP ratio), 1971-2011 On the social sector indicators, the concern is to look at the birth rate, infant mortality rate, fertility rate, death rate and life expectancy. All these are related directly to the development in the health sector and indirectly to the education sector in a country. In most developed and some emerging economies, there have been continuous decline in birth rate either through deliberate efforts of government like the case of one child policy in China or indirectly through economic development and social change, in accordance with demographic transition theory. Figure 6 presents the infant mortality rate per 1000 birth in the selected African countries. In the strict sense, infant mortality relates to death of children before the age of one year while childhood mortality refers to death that occurs for children under age five. Fig. 6: Infant Mortality Rate 1971-2011, (Per 1,000 Births) It should be noted that the higher the figure, the worse the situation. The Figure shows that there have been decline in infant mortality in Africa over the period 1971 to 2011 but the figures remain high when data in Table 15 are compared with those on Table 7 for the G8 countries. Whereas in 2011, the highest infant mortality was 6.4 and 9.8 in USA and Russia respectively and the average is less than five deaths per 1000 birth while the average for the selected African countries was 56.8 deaths per 1000 birth in the same year! Fertility rate refers to the ratio of life birth in a population or frequency with which women give birth per 1000 population in a particular area or country. High fertility rate implies high population growth which has both positive and negative implications for the economy. High population growth is said to impact heavily on the use of available scarce resources to meet education, health and development needs of a country, even though such population provides the needed labour and market for production and output. Fig. 7: Fertility Rate, child per woman, 1971-2011 As at 2010, fertility rates in developed economies had fallen gradually to the highest of 2.1 in the United States and France or lower in Italy and Japan with 1.4 per cent. In Table 16 in the appendix however, the lowest rate was 2 per cent in Algeria and South Africa while the highest was 6 per cent in Congo D.R. and Zambia. Figure 7 shows decline in fertility rate in the selected African countries but in comparison to the affluent countries, the rate is still very high and has to be so, given the living conditions and level of development. Life expectancy in the selected African countries is presented in Table 17 in the appendix. It shows that, over time, there have been some levels of improvement in life expectancy in few countries, particularly in Northern Africa. Figure 8 also indicates marginal improvements in life expectancy in virtually all the countries, except South Africa, over the period. However, relative to the affluent societies where life expectancy is generally about 80 years, Africa is not the best place to live. Actually, for a long life, a check on Table 17 shows that it is better to live in Ghana than Nigeria. Fig. 8: Life Expectancy, 1971-2011 ( Years) The foregoing presentation has provided insights into the economic and social status of African countries relative to the pictures in the affluent societies as represented by the G8 countries. In the

next section, a new approach to looking at the situations in African countries is presented by comparing economic and social situations in Sub-Saharan Africa with the rest of the developing economies and the world in general. V. Africa within the World It is imperative to compare African economic and social data with the rest of the world or at least with other developing countries. The objective of this section of the lecture is to present a comparison of socio-economic indices between Africa and the rest of the world. In comparison with the rest of the developing countries, Table 18 shows that 32 countries or 60.4% of the Sub-Saharan African countries are in the low income group (LIC) compared with three or 37.5% in South Asia, five or 21.7% in East Asia and the Pacific, three or 12.5% in Europe and Central Asia, and the remaining two regions – Latin America & Caribbean and Middle East & North Africa having less than10 per cent each. Table 18: Regional Income Groupings of Developing Countries, FY 2010 Source: World Development Report, 2010 and Author’s calculation In the category of the lower middle income group (LMC) Sub-Saharan Africa still has the highest of 15 countries but the lowest in percentage terms (28.3) and also, excluding South Asia, has the lowest percentage (11.3) for upper middle income group (UMC). The import of these statistics is clearly presented in Figure 9. It is clear that as the income levels rise from UMC to LIC, the proportion of African countries in the income group drops. Fig. 9 : Developing Countries’ Income Grouping by Region Table 19 presents economic indicators of developing countries within regional groupings as well as by level of income. The table shows that for all the regions, there have been improvements in income either in absolute or in terms of per capita. It is clear that the Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) income is the least among the developing countries’ regions. South Asia is next to SSA in the income bracket while developing countries in Europe and East Asia & Pacific are relatively better off, particularly the latter where countries like China, the Asian Tigers and India are part. Table 19: Selected Economic Indicators of Countries in Regional Groupings, 2009-2011 Country Gross National Income ($bn)Gross National Income $ per capita PPP Gross National Income ($bn) PPP Gross National Income per capita ($) Gross Domestic Product ($m) 2009 2011 2009 2011 2009 2011 2009 2011 2009 2011 East Asia Pacific 10,933.5 12,037.9 4,998 5,432 19,543.9 22,918.8 8,954 10,342 11,558.6 11,946.5 Europe & Central Asia11, 010.1 11,497.2 12,408 12,851 20,847.3 22,517.623,493 25,169 11,038.3 11,540.3 LAC 2,695.1 3,007.5 4,629 5,052 6,118.2 7,036.9 10,508 11,821 2,789.3 3,094.7 MENA n.a n.a n.a n.a 4,000 4,152.9* 10,659 10,856* 1,366.3 1,501.6 South Asia 1,126.8 1,301.6 700 786 4,588.3 5,459.4 2,850 3,296 1,682.7 2,271.1 SSA 461.9 500.0 554 571 1,724.4 1,960 2,070 2,239 509.2 560.8 High Income 1,478.2 1,594.8* 16,053 16,971* 3,033.8 3,510.7 32,946 36,758 1,580.3 1,790 Middle Income 9,438.5 10,827.6 1,922 2,156 30,778.3 36,229.7 6,266 7,214 9,501.2 10,887.7 Low Income 274.1 314.6 350 385 958.4 1,119.2 1,224 1,370 264.9 297.9 World 39,525.9 42,463.7 5,799 6,089 71,666.8 80,538.9 1 0 , 5 1 5 11,549 39,704.3 42,560.4 Source: World Development Indicator 2012; Note: LAC – Latin American and Caribbean; MENA – Middle East and North Africa; SSA – Sub-Saharan Africa * denotes 2010 figures. A pictorial view of the Gross National Income (GNI), using purchasing power parity (PPP) and GNI per capita for developing countries and income levels, are presented in figures 10-11. The bar representing Sub-Saharan Africa in figure 10 is hardly discernable, indicating that, relative to other developing countries, Africa has the least national income and by implication the highest level of poverty. But as shown in the Table 19, the 2011 figure is an improvement over the previous years. Fig. 10: PPP Gross National Income It is, however, the figures for SSA that dragged down the bar for low income countries relative to other levels of income in the right side of the chart. The bar for the high income is small relative to the middle income because there exists few high income countries in the world. Figure 11 is the chart representing the PPP income per capita. It is quite clear that the SSA bar remains the shortest or the lowest income per capita in the world. The low per capita income in the LICs, where most African countries belong, dragged down the world’s average as indicated in the chart. Again, the per capita for the year (2011) is an improvement on the preceding years. Fig. 11: PPP Gross National Income per capita Table 20 presents the social indicators for the various regions of the world. The poor regions of East Asia & Pacific, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa control the world’s population in 2011 with the three of them harbouring 4,202 million or 64.1 of the total world population. The other two regions have comparatively low population growth, Sub-Saharan African (SSA) population growth remains the highest in the world (2.5 %) with large proportion of the population (43%) under age 15 years. Even in terms of growth rate, the SSA rate increased between 2009 and 2011 while those of others reduced. Table 20: Selected Social Indicators for Various Regions, 2009-2011 Country Population (million) Population Growth rate Population Age Composition. % (0-14) Life Expectancy at birth (2010)* (Years) Adult Literacy (% ages 15 and above) 2009 2011 2009 2011 2009 2011 Male Female 2010 East Asia Pacific 2,188 2,216 0.66 0.65 22 21 71 75 94 Europe & Central Asia 887 895 0.42 0.41 17 17 72 79 98.6 LAC 576 589 1.14 1.12 28 28 71 77 91.4 MENA 375 390 2.04 1.85 31 30 70 74 77.6 South Asia 1,610 1,6561.46 1.44 32 31 64 66 61.6 SSA 832 875 2.49 2.53 43 42 53 55 62.6 High Income 1,121 1,135 0.72 0.63 17 17 77 83 98.3 Middle Income 4,912 5,0211.13 1.11 27 27 67 71 83.3 Low Income 783 817 2.08 2.12 40 39 58 60 57.5 World 6,816 6,974 1.17 1.15 27 27 68 72 84.1 Source: World Development Indicator 2012; Note: LAC – Latin American and Caribbean; MENA – Middle East and North Africa; SSA – Sub-Saharan Africa * denotes 2010 figures.

TO BE CONTINUED


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

FinancialReporting

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 21


22 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Insurance&You Educating The Next Generation

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com Published in association with


Wednesday, March 26, 2014 NEWS | 23

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

FOrEigN ANAlySiS

Undying rumpus in Nigeria’s diplomatic community By Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor  HE “quiet rumpus” within the diplomatic T community over what some envoys initially referred to as a “veiled upbraid” of representa-

President Jonathan with diplomats Last September, shortly before departing Nigeria at the end of his tour, erstwhile Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Chris Cooter stepped out from the usual diplomatic track, maintaining that the fight against the national malaise (corruption) needs to be demonstrable and result-oriented otherwise, to the rest of the world, it would be just another African sing song, hung up like a shinning armour but lacking in the conviction that can attract cooperation and assistance that are sustainable with partners out there who want to see real movement beyond all the talk. Giving his parting shot to The Guardian then,

he said: “It (Nigeria) is a vibrant country and it is politics all the time. But I think you still have a long way to go to get credibility. Look at corruption for example, people talk about it a great deal but you don’t see much real movement. I know the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti graft agencies are strengthening their capacities but I think it has to be through the whole system. It is not just for the political class, everybody has to own up...” Ambassador Cooter also made reference to the vexatious jumbo pay currently being received by Nigeria’s legislators while majority of Nigerians have a minimum wage that cannot take them home.

Some of the diplomats who expressed reservations about the presidential upbraid, however, said their home governments would continue to engage the Nigerian authorities as development partners, hoping to see their “cooperative programmes meant to help the Nigerian poor and disempowered” to the finishing

tives of foreign governments in Nigeria is yet to abate in the real sense. Instead, its hue now smacks of a suppressed flux, which was even evident during the customary maiden briefing of diplomats accredited to Nigeria by the new minister of foreign affairs ambassador Aminu Wali, the other day. From their un-attributable comments, these envoys are still sulking in their disappointment with the manner the Nigerian authorities have peppered them over what is generally perceived by the presidency, as misconceptions by the outside world about happenings in Nigeria. Earlier feelers of the diplomatic pulse in this regard have now been strengthened by the comments of some highly regarded diplomats who spoke in confidence last week, pointing to some controlled discontent among their ranks about being dragged to “the centre of the Nigerian negatives” By expressing the desire for the diplomats to do more in terms telling the better side of the Nigerian story at a recent meeting with the envoys, was president Jonathan doing anything unprecedented in the diplomatic practice? Was he in breach of any diplomatic convention? For instance, the president was quoted to have told the departing Italian envoy: “The knowledge you have acquired here (Nigeria) should be used positively to help us as you go back home,” Scholars and international relations experts would be coming up with varied interpretations and we should put this in the public domain also.  Even though characteristically, the envoys are not opening up on the matter publicly, their displeasure may have already been transported to sympathetic whistle blowers outside the shores of Nigeria. One sure proof! According to a recent edition of The Economist, a respected international News Magazine, there seems to be more to be corrected by the Nigerian government itself than poor “harmless diplomats” can ever achieve in the debate over perception.   The News Organ (not for the first time as also other international magazines and online publications) then went on to catalogue some of the woes bedeviling Nigeria. Not surprisingly, corruption again swam to the top even as it also drew attention to the Nigerian potentials.  It is never to be lost on diplomatic watchers that the World Bank had once estimated that since independence half a century ago, at least $400 billion has gone missing from the Nigerian government coffers. Now without crediting its author, the Magazine in its Middle East and Africa segment described Nigeria as a “big country” with “thin skin” It started by describing the aforementioned meeting by President Goodluck Jonathan with envoys accredited to Nigeria at the State House this: “It was meant to be a friendly occasion earlier this month (last month) at the State House in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, where the president, Goodluck Jonathan, would thank foreign diplomats for their work. But he could not help himself, instead unleashing an angry broadside. Foreign representatives, he said, should correct what he deemed to be misconceptions abroad about his country. The magazine went further to peripherally examine the other Nigerian vices including insurgency and advance fee fraud. Some of the diplomats who expressed reservations about the presidential upbraid, however, said their home governments would continue to engage the Nigerian authorities as development partners, hoping to see their “cooperative programmes meant to help the Nigerian poor and disempowered” to the finishing line Noting for instance that corruption is always a recurrent decimal on the index of Nigeria’s progress and that it is still central to the way Nigeria develops and is perceived even by the outside world, one of the envoys from a western country said on strict conditions of anonymity “we value these interactive sessions (meetings with president Jonathan). But we also want your government to look more inwards. There have been hints given in the past drawing lessons from our own experiences, on how your country can move a further step forward, we would like to see those steps taken and being pushed through and not to be poking at us” 

He then said: “Look at the National Assembly pay issue. That is a big issue because it is a lot of money. People are complaining about it but what outcome has it? It has been more than two years ago that the issue broke but has anything changed?” A supportive case here is the submission in a recent report by the Economist magazine to the effect that from a diligent peer review, the Nigerian federal legislator’s earning put at about $189,000 (N30 million) annually was the highest in the world even as the amount is nothing compared to what they get from the system through other means. That old uproar over the legislators’ pay (being just one of the many instances), which recent heat has not fizzled out.  Again the Economist was the envoy’s source when he said: “President Barack Obama receives $400,000 (N60 million) per annum while the take home pay of his counterpart in Nigeria is largely kept under wraps. Besides, according to the report, with a monthly salary of $7,707 or N1.2 million, it would take a Swedish legislator, 12 solid years to earn what his Nigerian counter-part earns in one year. Now, Sweden is among the world’s richest and highly developed, while Nigeria is among the world poorest and least developed”  With realities like this, is the current undying rumpus over a seeming innocuous presidential upbraid understandable in the eyes of Nigerians or in the eyes of the rest if the world, or both? 


24 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com By Adeyemi Adepetun and Bankole Orimisan HE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may no longer tolerate what it described as the activities of frequency jammers because of the impact on telecommunications services. Frequency jammers, according to NCC, use jamming devices to disrupt or prevent communication via a broadcasted RF signal. According to NCC’s Director, Spec-

T

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NCC warns against frequency jamming trum Administration, Austin Nwaulune at the weekend in Lagos, these devices are illegal to sell, install or use in Nigeria without authorisation from the commission Nwalune, who also stressed the importance of spectrum harmonization and management in the country, informed that the frequency jamming devices

have been found to be used by hotels, security operatives, courts, religious institutions to prevent the operation of phone devices in their premises and areas of security concerns. He said these actions contribute to degrade the quality of service (QoS) in the areas they are deployed and could affect a large area depending on the range and transmit

power of the jammer. “Like any radio transmitter they can radiate beyond the intended perimeter of coverage. The use is prohibited by extant laws of the country”, he stated. Going forward, the NCC’s Director said there was need to ensure spectrum management in the country for efficient telecommunications services.

25

According to him, spectrum harmonization refers to the designation of spectrum bands for specific uses across entire regions and not just individual countries. Quoting the GSMA, Nwalune said by allocating spectrum to the same use in multiple countries, mobile devices such as smartphones can be built less expensively, bringing more products

CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

Operators sell broadband vision to consumers At the 10th anniversary of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament held in Lagos, at the weekend, it was a time for operators, while keying into the Federal Government’s vision of five-fold increase in broadband penetration by 2017, to sell their possible offerings to subscribers. ADEYEMI ADEPETUN was there. DVANCES in technology have elevated the importance of the A Internet in economic development and citizens’ empowerment. The availability, quality, and competitiveness of broadband service have become and will continue to be a key issue for many locations. Broadband service connects businesses and individuals to the global marketplace. It has flattened the world by allowing businesses to communicate and collaborate in ways never before possible due to the increase in the amount of information that can be transferred at faster speeds and new software technology made possible by its bandwidth. While many dial-up plans charge for minutes used, broadband is always on and can be less expensive due to unlimited usage and, in certain locations, competitive market. The difference in speed saves companies money when considering the increased productivity. Today, it is no more news that people want to live where there is broadband service, simply because among other benefits, it improves the manner in which health care and many public services are delivered. Moreover, it has become an essential quality-of-life amenity for many as it opens new doors to entertainment and communication options like downloading or streaming movies and television shows directly to a computer or TV, accessing music through applications like iTunes, and video conferencing through applications like Skype or Facetime. Broadband allows for a more flexible lifestyle by providing greater access to education through distance learning programs or remote employment. In recognition of these immense benefits broadband can deliver, the Federal Government, in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) has set a five-fold increase in broadnand penetration in Nigeria. It is interesting to note that broadband penetration in the country is still at six per cent, though latest subscriber statistics said Nigeria currently has about 62 million Internet users. This has been majorly achieved through the mobile revolution in the country, but the fibre to home has been a major challenge. Though some operators including IPNX are working to get this done, it has been discovered that government must be at the fore front of this campaign. So, it was interesting to see the Federal Government through the Nigerian Communications Communications Commission (NCC) and some private operators including MainOne Cables; MTN; Globacom; Etisalat; Airtel at the 10 anniverssary of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament share their experience going forward. With the theme, ‘Broadband Penetration: An Imperative for National Development,’ NCC said the theme was very apt especially at this point in time when it was focusing a great deal of attention in facilitating and promoting broadband revolution in the country. NCC to ensure penetration through Open Access Model Acknowledging the role of broadband to national development, the Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said the Federal Government had taken several steps including the articulation of a national broadband plan as well as con-

Top executives of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and consumers at the 10th anniversary of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament in Lagos, at the weekend. tinually taking steps at providing an enabling environment for ready, the firm has been providing bandwidth to tertiary inthe development of infrastructure that would support the stitutions and government establishment across the country, growth and access to broadband services at affordable cost to stressing that more will be done because the capacity is very consumers. much with MainOne. Juwah informed that the framework to support the broadFor Globacom’s Isa Aremu, the telecommunications firm will band infrastructure had been fully articulated and was being in the next one year, deploy backbone fibre with redundancy implemented by the commission as reflected in the Open Acacross all the states capitals; create hot spots (fibre to home); cess model adopted for the country. take metro fibre to major cities; assist universities with bandAccording to him, the recent successful auctioning of one slot width facilities through its Glo1 and enhance 3G across the of 20 MHz bandwidth in the 2.3 GHz spectrum in February this country. year, is a step towards the successful rollout of broadband servWhile the promises rage on, MTN believed that the forces of ices through the open access framework in Nigeria. demand and supply will be a major contending issue in the He said, “in the drive towards the provision of pervasive broaddrive towards broadband revolution. band infrastructure, challenges do exist. Some of these are isAcknowledging the fact that broadband is like electricity critsues of Right of Way, multiple regulations, multiple taxation ical to enhancing e-application initiatives like e-health, which by several government agencies, vandalism of telecoms infraenhances the delivery of health care service to citizens; e -Comstructure, and security challenges in some areas of the coun- merce, which enhances the delivery of business activities; e – try.” education, which provides access to knowledge and learning The economic impact of broadband, he said, was positive as to citizens; and e-Banking, which provides financial access to shown from studies of the World Bank, which showed that 10 all, MTN’s Nigeria’s Corporate Service Executive, Akinwale per cent points increase in broadband penetration leads to a Goodluck said the opportunities are very wide, especially for 1.38 per cent in Gross Domestic Product. an emerging market like Nigeria. The NCC boss said, “although, this percentage appears small However, Goodluck was quick to say that government must but if you relate it to the trillion Naira national GDP, the in- be at the forefront to champion the course by providing an encrease is quite enormous. abling environment, operators and private sector cannot do it “The impact of broadband penetration on national develop- alone. ment is immense. It stimulates economic growth, increases Already, he said MTN has invested in microwave backbone; productivity, and provides citizens access to government aclaid fibre across the country and had since 2006 offered Nigetivities”, he stated. ria 3G services, “going forward, we believe we are positioned Broadband drive from operators’ perspective for 4G/LTE to drive further growth. We are and will continue to Accelerating penetration, MainOne Cable Regulatory Man- help the youths in developing apps; share resources with uniager, Kemi Adeyanju proposed massive infrastructure pene- versities and accelerate eCommerce growth in the country.” tration, stressing that last mile connectivity must be developed Goodluck said broadband must be seen as a social capital, if the NBP targets must be actualized. stressing that broadband holds 10 times what voice offers now. According to her, while MainOne has been in the frontline For the Regulatory Affiars Director at Airtel Nigeria, Osondu championing penetration through the landing of its sub ma- Nwokoro, who restated that the telecommunications firm is rine cable, the impact of broadband lies in the optic. She said al-

CONTINUED ON PAGE 26


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

26 i-Tech & Telecoms Wednesday, March 26, 2014

UN wants nations to recognise broadband as development enabler HE United Nations has reiterated that access to broadband T could be the universal catalyst that will lift developing countries out of poverty and puts access to health care education and basic social services within reach of all. According to the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which met in Dublin this weekend, it reiterated its call to International community to recognise the transformational potential of high-speed networks and ensure broadband penetration targets are specifically included in the UN post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. It also urged governments and international financing bodies to work to remove current barriers to investment. Globally, as much as 95 per cent of telecommunications infrastructure is private sector-funded, but better incentives are urgently needed if investment is to expand in line with the coming exponential growth of connected users and so-called ‘Internet of Things’ data streams. According to Cellularnews.com In the world’s 200 biggest cities, the number of connected devices is forecast to increase from an average of 400 devices per square kilometre to over 13,000 devices per square kilometre by 2016. The commission, which includes some of the world’s most prominent leaders from the tech sector, government, academia and UN agencies. gathered in Dublin at the invitation of Denis O’Brien, Chairman of the Digicel Group and one of the founding members of the group. Established in 2010, the Commission is a top-level advocacy

body which focuses on strategies to make broadband more available and affordable worldwide, with a particular emphasis on accelerating progress towards the eight UN Millennium Development Goals. It is chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helú, with ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova

as co-vice chairs. “The long-sought panacea to human poverty may at last be within our reach in the form of broadband networks that em-

Skepticism greets operators promises in Nigeria CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 committed to the NBP, said that the firm was already working ahead with coverage of 3G and 3.75G across major cities in the country. Besides, he said Airtel is currently considering running several test on 4G/LTE; partnered Cross-River on eHealth; Lagos on eLearning. He said the firm currently works with some OEMs to push out devices that will drive broadband penetration. Speaking on behalf of Etisalat Nigeria, the Regulatory Affairs Director, Ibrahim Dikko said the telecommunications firm, which is just over five years in the country has invested much in the country’s coverage, including terrestrial fibre to drive growth of broadband penetration and has instituted innovation prizes to drive creativity, stressing that the firm would do more as time goes on. Challenges seeking urgent attention Dikko was emphatic that telecommunications firms must not

be seen as a cash cow by states and their agencies, stressing that they must see operators as patners in progress. He said policies must be set right for broadband penetration. Like Dikko, Adeyanju asked government to provide protection for telecommunications infrastructure both on land and in the waters. From MTN’s perspective, Goodluck said digital adoption is faster in emerging markets compared to developed countries, “so it is high time right policies are in place to prevent any future challenge.” Goodluck, Nwokoro and Aremu shared same industry challenges including right of way policies in some states; fibre cuts; multiple taxation and regulations and above all poor electricity supply. The Airtel Director was also quick to say that to facilitate usage, government must lead in patronage, stressing that apathy to Nigerian made goods is a limitation to broadband ex-

power all countries to take their place in the global economy, overcoming traditional barriers like geography, language and resource constraints,” said O’Brien, whose companies provide mobile services in some of the world’s most challenging environments and disadvantaged countries, such as Haiti and Papua New Guinea. To drive faster broadband roll-out, O’Brien called on governments to lower spectrum license fees and advocated for the establishment of a ‘champion’s league’ index that tracks best practice in broadband investment and deployment. In his welcoming remarks, Rwanda’s President Kagame noted that broadband and ICTs can deliver more efficiency in education, health, finance, banking and other sectors. “In Rwanda, the broadband model we have adopted is based on effective public private partnership, guided by what works on the ground,” he said. “This has allowed broadband and ICT to continue to play an important role in the progress we have made towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.” Rwanda is currently rolling out a nationwide 4G mobile broadband network through a public private partnership. Kagame urged commissioners to go beyond infrastructure and work to ensure its use: “Our initial focus was on connectivity: to put the infrastructure and tools in place to connect citizens to the digital era. Onwards, our efforts need to focus on unleashing the smart use of broadband to help people use services in ways that will significantly improve their lives.” pansion. Consumers skeptical With government and operators promising to deliver broadband services as targeted, there are sorts of skepticism from consumers. A Barrister, Ikechukwu Clement, who spoke to The Guardian said the promise of improved broadband penetration is a dream. “I don’t think they are ready. The voice services they offer is full of hitches—drop calls; wrong connection; illegal credit deductions among others still bed evil this service. Some of them claim to offer 3G services, but it takes 30 minutes to have a successful download and they are targeting five-fold increase in penetration. I wish them well. “I am skeptical about all these promises. They will need to do more to convice the consumers”, he stressed. At the forum, a web developer, Muyideen Muhammed carpeted Globacom, saying that data offering through the dongle has remained a problem, “to download is problem, to upload is a task. I don’t see any one of them ready for this improvement.” According to the Co-ordinator of Leadership Watch, Iwanyanwu Martins, there is a doubt about 2G service offerings


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 i-Tech & Telecoms 27

‘Grey market activities threaten tech growth’ By Adeyemi Adepetun XCEPT combative measures are stepped up, the increasing grey market activities across the various value chain of technology products and services in Nigeria may limit the further expansion of the sector. This was the view of Core Group Africa, Apple’s official partner in Nigeria and other part of Africa. At a media interaction in Lagos, the Chairman, Core Group Africa, Rutger-Jan van Spaandonk advised Nigerian consumers to avoid buying grey products from unauthorised resellers, saying the products did not honour warranty agreement and would deny consumers of the fullbuyer’s benefits. He pointed out that countless technology consumers and buyers of Apple products in Nigeria, for instance, who failed to purchase the devices through official channels were denied of the full Apple experience. These include outright product replacement in cases of factory fault, authentic two-year warranty, after sales support, access to professional personnel, device set-up training and others. Spaandonk added: “For our customer, Apple devices are investments and we always strive to ensure they get great value for money. Because we understand this, we want consumers to purchase devices

E

MainOne opens Abuja branch office AINONE, a leading M provider of telecommunications services and network solutions for businesses in West Africa, has opened its branch office for business in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. Speaking on the formal opening, MainOne’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Folu Aderibigbe stated that the opening of MainOne’s Abuja office is part of the company’s long-term plan to provide cost-effective broadband solutions for Nigeria and in particular, the seat of government in Abuja. He noted the MainOne office in Abuja opened for business to ensure improved, effective and speedy customer service delivery of the Company’s services to its customers in Nigeria’s capital city. Aderibigbe further stated that MainOne is poised to deliver its world-class solutions and unique broadband services to the city of Abuja for improved e-governance, productivity and profits. In his words, “our competitive solutions offer Abuja customers a reliability advantage, as well as, the opportunity to obtain enhanced value added solutions.” The Main chief explained that as an indigenous communications solutions provider, MainOne has transitioned from a telecommunications cable company to the leading provider of innovative telecom services and network solutions for businesses in West Africa, adding that the Abuja office is an addition to its growing presence in Nigeria and West Africa.

with guaranteed peace of mind and access technology that truly impacts lives.” He explained that grey products were a rampant situation in which marketers smuggled non-counterfeit but mostly refurbished products into the country without the permission of the intellectual property owners or paying all necessary taxes and customs duties. “Though a grey product tends to be cheaper, it is not in the customer’s best interest. It is usually not the standard version, has no record with manufacturer’s exports, neither are there provisions for warranty, spare parts, consumer education, product set-up and after sales support. The sellers do not pay custom duties or make false declarations at entry point. “Though the combination of economically strapped consumers seeking very low prices and unauthorised

traders eager for huge profits present this compound problem to both brands owners and the government at large, the undiscerning consumers are the worst hit”, he stated. The Core Group boss explained that buying a grey

product was like having an unregistered birth in your country, which would lead you to be tagged an illegal migrant and denied of all benefits of authentic citizenship. “When you require it the most, a grey product would

disappoint you and deny you the best Apple experience because the product didn’t go through the official channel,” he added. He noted that the company was in talks with relevant officials and agencies towards

collaborating to check the infiltration of grey and fake products into the Nigerian market. Spaandonk enjoined Nigerian consumers to patronise only official dealers and designated stores to get the best value for money.

E-PPAN tasked on S’West grassroots mobilisation for cash-less economy ITH a renewed determination to succeed in its campaign W for the adoption of cash-less economy initiative in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mandated the E-Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN) to sensitise and mobilise the grassroots in the South Wastern state of Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Osun states on the initiative nationwide by July 1, 2014. In a statement, E-PPAN said the mobilisation would include series of interactive sessions with nonorganised markets, trade associations, market leaders, tertiary Institutions and other stakeholders. It said that the sensitiation exercise for the South West would flag off in Ondo State on the 24th of March through to the 19th of April 2014. “If the greater percentage of Nigeria’s population embraces the alternative forms of payment, the move to transform pay-

ment life style will be far-reaching. This will ultimately bring more of the money in circulation into the banking sector, lowering bank costs and improving the transmission of monetary policy,” the statement said. E-PPAN has been involved in the advocacy of electronic payment amongst the grassroots since the onset of the cashless initiative in 2011, which piloted in Lagos State. E-PPAN also carried out the sensitisation in the five states in the second phase of the initiative including the FCT Abuja. According to E-PPAN, “the experiences garnered during all these engagements has been very expository and has formed the basis of its enlightenment message as it moves into Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Osun states.” During the advocacy campaign, E-PPAN said it would promote the use of alternative channels to cash with emphasis on mobile payment.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

28 i-Tech & Telecoms Wednesday, March 26, 2014

ISPON decries NIS recruitment debacle By Adeyemi Adepetun HE Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has lent its voice in protest against the outrageous, intellectually fraudulent and totally unacceptable management of the recent nationwide recruitment tests by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). ISPON said it is appalled at the NIS for employing such crude techniques in short listing graduates for employment in its service, stressing that it is uncalled for to bring thousands of applicants to an open space whilst being exposed to the elements to conduct a recruitment test in an age where e-testing can be implemented. ISPON, in a statement on Monday said, it “wishes to state unequivocally that as a professional body, it stands aloof of politics, and firmly on the side of Nigeria and its millions of youth that have chosen to work diligently, applying their intellect and energy in meaningful pursuit of their aspirations for self-actualisation. “We would be negligent in ignoring this national catastrophe that borders at best on gross incompetence and intellectual laziness. Given the loss of precious lives of Tomorrow’s leaders, it is our view that the actions of the NIS are arguably criminally negligent since there were many options available that would not have threatened the lives of these children. “It is inconceivable that in the 21st century, any responsible organisation should assemble 68,000 youths in a single location apparently to be tested manually – how?

T

Says indigenous software solution would have helped Pertinent questions to be asked include how were the scripts to be distributed, candidates supposed to answer questions independently and answers protected all under a manual invigilation? It is clear that the whole exercise lacked a structured process leading to questions as to the professional competence of the consultant presumably cleared through Due Process to handle the recruitment. Certainly, no professionally certified consultant would ignore the multiplicity of software solutions available for this purpose.”

According to the institute, the abuse must be protested and protect the integrity of the profession because it is a software challenge that has long been solved by Software Nigeria, “but is being ignored by an agency of the very government that has demonstrated a commitment to the cause of growing the capacity of indigenous software companies. Nigeria will continue to record avoidable losses and embarrassment if our Government and its affiliated agencies continue to have technophobia and underrate the efficacy of Software Nigeria.”

NCC urges spectrum harmonisation CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 and services to more people. He said this also allows people to use their connected devices easily and more cheaply when they travel. He explained that licensable frequency spectrum regime under NCC is categorized into two; Wireless Local Loop (WLL) and microwave frequencies. According to him, WLL frequencies administered presently include; 800, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.5, 5.4, 10.5, 26 GHz. He said they are assigned exclusively to operators through any of - First-come-first-serve, auction and beauty contest, adding that they are used for used for access network. Some of the specific uses in Nigeria, according to Nwalune include 900, 1800 MHz (GSM roll out); 800, 1900 MHz (CDMA roll out); 2.3 GHz for Wholesale Wireless Broadband; 10.5, 26 GHz For Point to multipoint and 2.2, 2.5, 3.5, 5.4 GHz for Wireless Broadband roll out. He said microwave frequencies currently administered include; 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 15, 18, 23 GHz frequency bands, which are used in point to point mode for backhauling the traffic generated by the access networks to the core network, adding that microwave frequencies are assigned administratively on shared basis and so require coordination. Nwalune pointed out that the third category of managed spectrum are those not licensable but regulated by establishing guidelines that set out limitation on transmission parameters like power of transceiver and transmission distance, which is the ISM band, which include 2.4 GHz, 5.2 GHz and 5.8 GHz and are used by Internet service providers for wireless Internet services and hot spots.


i-Tech & Telecoms Wednesday, March 26, 2014 29

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Security printers debut in Nigeria By Adeniyi Idowu Adunola O manage the ongoing challenge of documents fraud faced by many organisations most especially the banking sector, Crosswalk, a Nigeria database company in collaboration with TROY Group a worldwide leader in secure on-demand printing has enhanced HP Printers which is consumables for use in secure printing work flows. TROY’s line security printers provide built-in features, which safeguard your preprinted forms against unauthorised removal.

T

The Regional Manager Europe and Middle East and Africa, TROY Group, Mark Bond at an exhibition on costs effective high-end document security printing solutions, said that each printer utilised the built-in capabilities of HP print drivers providing the ability to map to specific tray and the ability to release print job utilising PIN authentication. Bond said that TROY security printers integrated paper tray locks and security shielding on the back of the paper tray assuring the highest level of protecting against paper and

documents theft. Other features included disable jam recovery, which helped to prevent fraudulent creation of cheques by the unauthorised operation, who might choose to create a jam. “It help enterprise to manage frauds, operational risk and comply with regular issues and government regulation related to protecting information privacy,” he stated. Security features on the finished document with TROY secure check flow secure print enterprise and transactions. He said that TROY 601 security printers provide customers 45

Subscribers endorse Glo’s mobile newspaper service LOBACOM customers G who subscribe to Glo MPaper, a mobile newspaper application, have hailed the service for fulfilling their daily needs for current news about developments within and outside Nigeria. Some of the subscribers expressed satisfaction with the quality of delivery of the service, adding that the service had enabled them to read Nigerian newspapers at their convenience, anytime, anywhere. The subscribers described the value added service in glowing terms, asserting, “it stands out as a very convenient and useful information tool, making life easier for users.” One of the subscribers to the service, Zinne Amaka said that M-paper was meeting one of her social needs. “This service is giving me fulfillment; I can read all my favourite news on one spot,” she said. Another user, Aife Agboifo, praised Globacom for its avant-garde initiatives: “Globacom is always ahead of its competitors; Glo M-paper is a unique service that is rich in its content and innovativeness.” Ndubueze Obialor said that he was interested in the service, because it kept him up-todate on current information about the world. Obialor gets his news from Nation newspaper through his mobile phone. In the same vein, Bio-

Firm wins award By Bankole Orimisan EASY International Company Limited (Teasy Mobile Money) emerged winner of the Kalahari Awards for the 2013 ‘Best Mobile Money Startup in Nigeria’ with the judges saying the company scored high in innovation and product offering in the mobile money services industry. The award was presented to the company at the 4th Mobile Money Africa Expo held in February this year in Lagos, which was organised by Kalahari, the South Africa online store. According to the organisers: “Teasy Mobile Money has demonstrated “Innovation, scalability, impact, robustness of service amongst the recently licensed nonbank mobile money providers in Nigeria, and our award programmes are tailored to provide a comprehensive analysis of the very best in each market.”

T

dun Durojaiye gave more details as to what makes the service unique. “The service is superb and cheap, very reliable and I can pick my choice of newspa-

pers,” he said. For Bernard Atonsa, “Glo Mpaper is the best service I have ever subscribed to, it helps me stay current and get updated news.”

pages per minute; MICR 602 printer series price to 52 pages per minute. The 602 MICR printer series low cost of ownership, increased speed and higher Input capacity bring a new class of printing to all levels aspect of a secure check printing work flows. With MICR 806, it robust print capabilities is 55 pages in a minute. TROY 806 is integrated to secure document production in high end distributes printing environment. It has a vast array of accessories providing the ability to meet high production demands. Bond added that HP also introduced the low melt toner requiring less energy by reducing less energy by reducing the fusing temperature. “The adding of the troy software, hardware utility allows users to easily add digital signatures, logos, customised patterns or forms macros to their printers.”


30 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


i-Tech & Telecoms Wednesday, March 26, 2014 31

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Oyo computer village panel submits report HE committee set up to structure plans for a Computer Village by the Oyo state Ministry of Industry, Applied Science and Technology has submitted its report. The 18-page report gives a detailed and expansive analysis of the modalities to actualise a Computer Village in Oyo State with suggestion of possible names, which the

T

Tobeit plans IT security show OBEIT Consulting, a fast growing Information Technology company, plans to organise the first ever IT Security Festival in Nigeria. The technology conference and exhibition is schedule to take place in Lagos, Nigeria from June 5 to 6. This event which has been tagged “Hackess” is aimed at bringing together ICT experts from the West African region to come and discuss issues and challenges around IT security. According to the Chief Operating Officer of Tobeit, Tobechi Ndubuakur: “Hackcess was born out of a desire to help educate corporate organisations, both large and medium scale companies and the public on some of those burning technology areas that are most times rarely discussed.” The Hackcess festival will discuss the ‘Hacking idea’ in such a way that has not been discussed in this part of the world before. The conferences at this festival will play hosts to some of the world’s most reputable ICT companies who have invested a lot in IT security solutions and are

T

spending a lot of resources on research and development to curb most of the IT challenges most organisations are currently undergoing.

project would be identified, a list of suitable locations for the project and a list of sponsors/partners for this enviable project. The Chairman of the Committee and Director of Applied Science and Technology, Mrs. Olajide-Momoh while submitting the document to the Commissioner, Dapo LamAdesina thanked him on behalf of other members for the opportunity given them to contribute their quota to the Transformational Agenda of this administration and promised to always give their best anytime their service was needed. In his response, Lam-Adesina expressed delight at the report and praised the members of the committee for their diligence. It would be recalled that the committee was set up by the Commissioner to look into the nitty-gritty of an ICT cluster on January 13.

ICT chief lists benefits of 2014 ‘digitalafrica’ S preparation reaches the peak for the knowledge exemplary organizations and inA yearly Digital Africa Conference and Ex- dividuals that have pushed the boundaries hibition, tagged: ‘digitalafrica’, its organisers have assured intending participants that this year’s edition promises immense benefits and success stories for all participants. Disclosing this in a media statement, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Digital Africa, Dr. Evans Woherem, said that the 2014 edition would be a double event as it would also be a forum for the 19th edition of the world electronics forum. “That means many more people, many more products and services, increased network, more business and business opportunities, among others,” he said. Giving details of both events slated for Lagos on April 24, Woherem said that the forum included the giving of awards to deserving practitioners in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) and an exhibition of assorted, up-to-date and stateof-the-art electronic products. In his words: “The Digital Africa Award Series 2014 is an event dedicated to rewarding the behaviours that we want to encourage as Digital Africa. This event is geared to ac-

of excellence and have risen above competition. They must also have demonstrated outstanding performance in ICT sector in Africa in the fields of Academic and Intellectual Excellence, Innovative technology, Venture Capital, Regulatory services and in creating Innovative Mobile Applications.” He added: “Benchmarked against the highest standards of measurement, recipients of these awards indeed represent the best in class. Companies that are commended as Digital Africa Award recipients are those with the diligence, perseverance, and dedication required to develop a successful business plan, and excel in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.” Stressing that the award conferred industry recognition on recipients, the Compumetrics boss also listed other benefits of the award to include the following: higher academic and intellectual morale, improved investor relations, enhanced visibility for products or services, increased value to PR and marketing efforts, Digital Africa acting as an incubator for the start-up companies and reinforced positive client relationships.

LG forecasts new tech trends for TVs OUTH Korean technology Sthere firm, LG has predicted that will be new discovery, technology trends for televisions in the 21st Century. Which will be championed by innovations. According to LG, while the High Definition TV market landscape is undergoing more changes than ever, it would take some time to see which technologies and market strategies eventually stuck. The firm maintained that it would be essential to communicate the benefits and purpose of these emerging technologies to allow consumers to confidently choose the TV that was right for them. LG noted that the future of TV market/industry is driven by three key technologies at the moment; the lion’s share of the television market today still belongs to LED LCD TVs. These use light-emitting diodes to light up the LCD Screen and offer the widest array of price points, sizes and features. LCD TVs still exhibit imperfections when displaying rapid motion, as in sports and because of the nature of the technology, the color black is represented by dark grey. Besides, the firm said navigating the minefield of acronyms and nuanced differences between superior quality technologies like OLED and ULTRA HD will leave many confused yet will be key to purchasing decisions in 2014.Both Ultra HD, OLED and the effect of new game-changers such as intuitive OS and CURVED screens will all have their part to play besides higher resolution, panel technology is seeing

some changes to make them look brighter, sharper, more immersive, these technologies are not mutually exclusive and in most cases exist side-by-side. General Manager, Home Entertainment division, LG Electronics West Africa operations, Steve Ryu said, “we are fully committed to bringing next generation technologies to the Nigerian market. “The next-generation display technology and the advanced ultra-thin depth of 4.3mm come with a unique curved design which represents a new era in home entertainment. It must be seen to be believed.” Therefore, rather than using a new or different display technology, Ultra HDTVs are LED LCD models that “cram” more pixels onto the screen. With more pixels in a given area, images are sharper and more- detailed than on regular HD TVs. Also known as 4K TVs, consumer Ultra HD sets have four times the resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) of traditional HD TVs (1920 x 1080 pixels).” Also speaking at the event, Managing Director, Fouani Nigeria Limited, Mohammed Fouani said: “Our groundbreaking CURVED OLED TV marks the beginning of a whole new era in home entertainment. Its IMAX-like curvature guarantees an amazingly immersive and comfortable viewing experience. Indeed, it is a point of pride that we were able to bring the CURVED OLED TV into the Nigerian market and we will continue to expand and improve our industry leading television technology.”


32 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 33


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

34 | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NEWSINTERVIEW

What belittles Nigeria’s foreign Osita Agbu is a Research Professor of International Relations and Head of the Division, International Politics at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA). He is also the Head of Department (HOD) of Political Science and International Relations at Caleb University, Imota in Ogun State. Agbu, a specialist in Science, Technology and Development as well as Democracy and Governance told OLALEKAN OKUSAN that despite the clout that Nigeria commands globally, the internal insecurity has diminished how the country is perceived abroad. OW can you situate Nigeria among the H comity of nations as well as in the continent and sub-region?

Agbu mation and getting our economics fundamentals right. Although the problem is that while we are trying to get our economics fundamentals right, it appears that particular segment of the society is going down because there is what we called trickle-down economics. Whatever we are achieving up there in terms of the economics fundamentals, GDP and income per capital does not seem to be trickling down to the people. That is why the people are complaining. People had even adduced the reason for some of the insecurity we have in different parts of the country especially in the North East to issues that has to do with socioeconomics or the lack of it on the part of the people that they don’t have adequate employment. So this is why trade and investment are very critical. Nigeria, surprisingly, however is reputed to be one of the recipients of the highest number of investments in Africa. To take the figure of 2013, Nigeria received total investment package of $6.8 billion which is either the first or second probably after South Africa receiving investment into Africa. Despite the problems we are facing domestically and insecurity in different parts of the country, Nigeria is still one of the highest recipients of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa and also one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Indeed some countries in Africa are said to be

among the fastest growing economies in the world, while other parts of the globe are losing in terms of economic development. African countries are picking up and they have higher growth rate including Nigeria. But the problems in terms of what you called liberalization, western understanding of economics, which by the way many have agreed that growth does not equal development. You can have growth without development. So Nigeria has been growing, the fundamentals have been rising, although it decreases a little bit recently to 6.9 per cent. But we are still one of the fastest growing economies and the reasons are very obvious. Apart from the economic policy of the government, which is geared towards that, you could see a lot of infrastructural development and rehabilitation going on in Nigeria. This is bringing in money, expertise, businesses, infrastructure development and service to the manufacturing sectors. To a very large extent, the government has been trying to address the economic issues; but in terms of welfarism economics, it is not trickling down to the masses. So they need to re-tinker with it a little bit to make sure that some of the benefits of the growth get to the ordinary people of Nigeria. As the most populous black nation in the

As we all know, you cannot have an effective foreign policy without having a strong domestic base. So we have a lot of work to do at the domestic level, which is what is being done now.

Nigeria’s position globally can be said to be satisfactory against the backdrop of where we are coming from between 1995 and 1999, when we transited to civilian governance. Remember that Nigeria was a pariah nation against the backdrop of all what late Sanni Abacha did as well as the human rights abuses. It took quite a lot of efforts from both General Abdulsalam Abubakar and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, who became president in 1999 to try to bring Nigeria back into the comity of nations. Against that backdrop and considering where we are today, especially Nigeria’s representations in international organisations, our leadership position in West Africa and the important role we play in the African continent and within the African Union (AU). We cannot but say that to a very reasonable extent, the perception of Nigeria globally is satisfactory. Yes, there are misgivings, domestic problems and we could have done much better than we are doing. But that is not to say that Nigeria’s standing has derogated so much that we cannot see anything that is tangible. No, I do not believe that. I think we still have a reasonable amount of clout by virtue of all the concentration of power, which we have always mentioned in the past and yet I believe we can do much better if we were to get our domestic imperatives right. No, we are not where we should be. The most important function of any government is to provide security and welfare for its citizenry. In terms of the various governments that have ruled us in recent past, I don’t believe they did very well. They can do much better in terms of the governance, security and welfare of the people. The security and welfare of the people are the basic functions of every government. Any government that is unable to provide security and welfare for the majority of its citizens cannot be said to be doing well. How can we regain our lost glory? For me, it is not a question of regaining lost glory because when you say that it appears as if you want to dance to the gallery on the canvass of global yardstick. But bringing it back home, simply, how can your government govern better? And take better care of Nigerians by addressing those issues and values that are key to Nigerians because if they can do that and doing it satisfactory, they don’t have to prove anything at the global level. At the global level, it will be seen and understood and you will be given your right place. What role do trade and investment play in enhancing Nigeria’s image? In today’s world, you cannot but agree that trade and investment issues are very important to the welfare of citizens not just globally but because trade and investment are factors within the conceptual environment we called globalization. Thus globalization is a globalization of people, trade, politics, economics and all the institutions that revolve around trade and investment. So you cannot but pay particular attention to trade and investment issues. I want to believe that since the present government of President Goodluck Jonathan came in, he had always talk about transfor-

world, does it commensurate with the respect the country has globally? That is where I want to believe that there is a bit of a disjoint between the expectations of Nigeria as a political entity and what we have been able to achieve so far. For students of history and political science, we know the reasons why this is so. I am not one of those who deceive myself that the Nigerian entity has attained what it should be or that it should be the way it is. There is this perennial adage that our unity is not negotiable. No, our unity is negotiable because today we are celebrating centenary, which is 100 years of existence as an entity wedded together in 1914 and still we have fundamentals and teething problems that we should have solved several years ago. That obviously tells you that we have a problem. I wholeheartedly welcome the national dialogue and discourses that are taken place as well as the issues that have been articulated for discuss. I will also personally follow what is happening to ensure that Nigerians talk to themselves; our elites also talk, so that we can mould a new framework of agreement for relating with ourselves, which they called the constitution. So that the energies inherent in the people of Nigeria can be released and meet the expectations of other people of the world in terms of our potentials both in material terms and human potentials. Based on the United States reports on corruption in Nigeria, does that has anything to do with the image of the country? I quite agree with you that corruption has a negative impact on Nigeria’s image and our ability to convince businesses and business partners as well as governments to bring in more investments into the country. The fight against corruption in Nigeria has been going up and down and I agree with large number of people that at present it does not seem that the fight against corruption is really being taken serious like in the past during the days of Nuhu Ribadu as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) boss. There seems to be a downturn and I don’t know whether that is a new strategy or something else. But we are not hearing about what is being done about corruption in terms of investigation and interdiction. So the government needs to take that much seriously. Corruption is everywhere in the world. It is not only in Nigeria as it is even in the advanced industrialized countries of the world like the United States, United Kingdom, Russia and China. But in these countries, swift actions are taken to serve as deterrent to others. In Nigeria because probably those who have been indicted for corrupt practices have not been punished adequately according to our laws. Some still think they can do that and get away with it. The problem with Nigeria like every other African country is that our corruption is systematic. It is what is called systemic corruption and by the way corruption is fundamentally the abuse of public office for private gains both in the private and public sectors as this has been happening in Nigeria at all levels. So corruption is not only at the top level. I also get so vexed when I see corruption at the low level just as I see it at the high level. Why will a policeman extort money from me with a barrel of the gun when I have done nothing wrong? And he would not allow me to go until I part with some money. That is abuse of public office and confidence, which is corruption. Of course at government offices and other places where you have to settle people to be able to get something done. So it is systemic and it is not only the government. It is just the same way you can also perceive leadership and what we like to call positive or good leadership. Inasmuch as government is trying to do something about corruption it also behooves the citizenry to support the government in the fight against corruption. It can never be wiped out but it can be reduced. Can you assess Nigeria’s foreign policy under President Jonathan? Nigeria has made the right noises with retinue of diplomatic personnel to push her foreign policy, won a few outstanding issues and positions in respect of global activities. But at the same time, it does also appear that there has been some erosion of our clout as a pivotal state both in the sub-region and also at the continental level. The key question is, why is this so? The issue of South Africa where Nigeria played a key role in its independence and making sure that apartheid is eradicated and yet by the action of many South Africans and their


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 35

NEWSINTERVIEW

policy, by Agbu government, they seem not to appreciate what Nigeria has done. For me, it is all a matter of examples and leading by example. In this case, it implies that what is happening internally within the country and the perception of what is happening internally within the country to the people who are observing it. We have the clout, diplomatic personnel and the resources supposedly to influence other smaller countries in the sub region and within the continent and make the right noises at the AU. But when they peep into where you are coming from and what they see is a disjoint and riotous situation and people that don’t seem to get things right. Of course it will erode in their categorization of who you should be or should not be. It is not that they do not recognize your potential but the fact that you have not managed those potential well to be able to make an impression on them. I think that is what has affected our foreign policy in recent time. As we all know, you cannot have an effective foreign policy without having a strong domestic base. So we have a lot of work to do at the domestic level, which is what is being done now. Again, I must commend President Jonathan for having the courage to plan, institute and convoke a national dialogue in a relatively proper manner than the ones we have had before. Now, you are talking of issues that have been debated while the committee has transverse the country canvassing for opinions. Everybody cannot be satisfied but the majority can be and whatever comes out of the dialogue should be analysed to Nigerians and later take to the National Assembly to be enacted into law for us to have a new constitution to govern us. Nigeria can now be well positioned outside with this kind of national discourse. How does the security challenges affect Nigeria’s image? Definitely, it is affecting Nigeria’s image in

our ability to access certain things at the global level. I was in Japan few years ago where I visited some of the manufacturing companies and I questioned them why they are not coming to Nigeria to set up their plant. But they told me stories of how some companies have come and were robbed coupled with the security challenges. The perception of the security in Nigeria was negative then and it was this dimension that is discouraging investors from Japan from coming to Nigeria. The environment must be conducive for them to come to Nigeria. If you check very well, there are not many Japanese huge investments in Nigeria but you may find it in some other countries. But the Chinese are always ready to take risk while the Japanese are more reticent and reserved. I am very much concerned about the quantum and volume of lives that have been lost in the country in the last three years particularly, the insurgence in the North East of the country. Some have said it is a terrorist kind of thing but I called it insurgence because we have a group that simply do not believe anymore in the Nigerian State or the capacity of the Nigerian State to stop them. Therefore, it is a specific challenge to the security of the Nigerian State and I trust Nigerian military because they are one of the best disciplined and trained militaries you have in Africa. I know with time, they will get the insurgence under control. What I am not sure anybody can get under control, even the United States have not been able to get is terrorism because in terrorism, you have the dissident individual, cell or group, which on their own we just make the bomb and blow the whole place up. There is need for us to improve on our intelligence by soliciting for more political will to engage the insurgence we have around the country. Aside the North East, other major area of concern is the Middle Belt. With what is going on in Benue State in which overnight some armed disorganized group attacked and wiped out the whole village and

President Goodluck Jonathan (left) with President Barack Obama during a recent visit to Washington. we will do as if nothing happened. It is terrible and it is something we don’t want to see as it indicts our government and indicts us as a people. As quickly as possible we should do something about Fulani herdsmen and local farmers fighting over farmland. I think that in the 21st century, it is an anomaly to allow a bond of herdsmen to move freely from the north to the south and on their

way they will have disagreement and this result to violence. It is high time government began to think more seriously about how to control the movement of herdsmen in the country. If they can do that, it reduces and restricts volume of violence that arises from Fulani herdsmen/farmers around the country.


36

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Money Minimising losses in forex trading: The ‘stop’ strategy By Chijioke Nelson OR a certainty, every aspect of human endeavour has element of risk irrespective of how little it could be, especially those involved in financial transactions like foreign exchange (forex) trading. They can never be under-estimated and good strategy will always include an exit plan. In forex trading, it is called “Stop Loss Order” (Stop). The Senior Sales Manager, MTrading Nigeria, Esther Oyanna said: “Participating in the markets without a plan is like ordering from a menu that has no prices, then letting the waiter fill out and sign your receipt.” According to her, there are three equally essential elements to every trade, each equally important to the long-term success of a trader, which unfortunately, most new and unsuccessful traders only pay attention to one, or at most two of these elements. The three elements are the entry- the price at which the trade is entered; the stop- the price at which the trade is exited for a loss; and the target- the price at which the trade is exited for profit). But most new and unsuccessful traders only pay attention to the entry and the target price, ignoring the risk tolerance level, which should be a factor taken central in a game plan to help determine what type of stop to use. A Stop is an order used by currency traders to specify the exact rate or the actual price point to close out current position for a loss. Some traders may question the importance of stopswhy quickly stopped out for a loss? Stops allow traders to protect and grow their capital and can be used in different form to create an advantage- tailor it to a strategy, depending on the type of market one is trading. “It only risks what the trader decides is worth it.” Given the volatile conditions of the global economy, in which the forex market responds to, the strategy becomes more important as part of a trader’s arsenal of trading tools. Some traders have also confirmed the potency of Stops in protecting capital and locking in profits in forex trading, stock, futures and indices. The strategy allows decision making to be free from any emotional influences during tradingthe belief that if more time is allowed, the loss may be turned around, procrastinating and little delays, but unknowingly giving the currency pair yet another chance to increase the losses rapidly. Stop-loss orders can help you stay on track without clouding your judgment with emotions. Financial stop-losses are part of a trader’s  money  and risk  management strategies, through the calculation of how much risk the trading account will be exposed to during each trade. Ideally, this should be limited to two per cent of the account value as an

F

absolute maximum. Still, the amount of risk depends on what the trader is capable of losing without causing harm to self. The second factor is for the stop loss to be relative to the potential gains. Ideally, the risk of losses on each trade should not be greater than the potential profits. Oyanna noted that some experienced forex traders prefer to use technical stop loss levels in order to protect their accounts. This favours swing traders, who hold longer-term positions and require that the trade have reasonable amount of space to ‘breathe’. The strategy is technical because it is usually placed at levels, which would show that the trade has failed. This could be above or below a “key support” or “resistance level”, “pivot level or Elliot wave”,  within the price chart. Even though technical stop losses may offer more flexibility to forex traders, they are generally only

employed where the potential profit is anticipated to far exceed the loss that the trading sessions present. Another strategy is the trailing stop orders, which similar to a stop-loss, can be used to restrict losses and avoid margin closeouts. A trailing stop resembles a stop-loss in that it automatically closes the trade if the market moves in an unfavourable direction by a specified distance. The key feature of a trailing stop is that as long as the market price moves in a favourable direction, the trigger stop price automatically follows the market price at a specified distance. This allows your trade to gain in value, while reducing the amount of loss you are at risk for. Generally, the Stop strategies work designed for profit making in forex trading. For example, if you are buying USD/JPY pair at 109.58, you could set a stop-loss at 107.00 and if the

exchange rate falls to this level, the trade is automatically closed, thereby capping your losses. However, it is important to understand that stop-loss orders can only restrict  losses, not prevent losses, assuming that trade is closed at the current market rate. In a fast moving market, there may be a gap between the current market rate and the rate you set for your stoploss. Therefore, it is best to include stop-loss instructions for open positions. “A stop-loss order is a simple tool, yet many investors or currency traders fail to use it. Whether to prevent excessive losses or to lock in profits, nearly all trading styles can benefit from using this great tool. Think of a stop loss as an insurance policy- you hope you never have to use it, but it’s good to know you have the protection should you need it,” she added.

ANAN worries over dearth of accounting educators By Chijioke Nelson HE President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Sakirudeen Labode, has expressed concern over shortage of accounting educators in the country. Labode made the remark in Keffi, Nasarawa State, during a courtesy call on the Acting Vice Chancellor of the state’s university, Prof. Muhammed Mainoma. According to him, ANAN is planning to partner with the university for the “production” of more accounting educators at the Masters and Doctorate levels, to bridge the widening gap. “ANAN will collaborate with the Nasarawa State University to find ways and means of including current trends in accountancy profession, like the

T

Seeks partnership for development of finance professionals International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS),” he said. Labode pointed out that these trending accounting methods and International Auditing Standards (IAS) should also be incorporated in the curriculum of other universities’ for accounting students. He explained that the association was in Keffi to launch the maiden edition of a two-day ANAN-Certified Public Accountants of Ireland (CPAI), a co-operation for capacity building for members of the association, to the public at large. “Hope you will see this as a sign of our readiness to collaborate with the university.

We deliberately chose this institution to host the first edition of our collaboration workshop on IPSSA. “We encourage every professional accountant to come and benefit from the latest developments in the area of IPSAS during the workshop,’’ he said. Labode also pledged that ANAN was prepared to sustain the GAFAR Accounting Research Centre of the university. “As a body founded with the object of advancing the science of accountancy, ANAN is very willing and ready to collaborate with the university on sponsorship of accounting research in furtherance of its objectives. We will surely look at the expansion of the

accounting research centre in the university,” he said. Labode, who described Mainoma as a hardworking person, whose role the association is well appreciated as a member, added that his “emergence as the acting Vice-Chancellor of the institution did not come as a surprise. We are here to congratulate you and urge you on in your endeavour.” Also, the Vice-Chancellor said that the university’s management was open to collaboration with ANAN. “We are aware that the quality of accounting researchers and those with PhD is very minimal. If not for the efforts made by ANAN within the last 10 years, you could count the number of those with PhD

in Accountancy. “I have developed seven programmes in various universities in the country that have to do with Masters and Ph.D in Accountancy and by God’s grace, we will have an accelerated Ph.D programme in accountancy that can stand the test of time,’’ he said. Mainoma, however, said that the GAFAR Accounting Research centre in the university could be expanded because the university had more than what it takes to do more than its current operations of the centre.   He said that the centre, which had been effective and produce journals, would focus on government and financial accounting researches. The vice chancellor said out that in line with the object of ANAN, science could only

be advanced through research, adding that the mandate of the university research centre revolved around teaching and researching. He described the president of ANAN as a leader, a bridge-builder, effective, very dependable and astute professional. Mainoma expressed gratitude that the very first accounting research centre established in the country was sighted in the university. “I am not surprised that ANAN is the only accounting body to have visited me, because my personal development was attached to the association. More than 50 per cent of my researches were sponsored by the association and I remain committed to the progress of the body,” he added.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 37

Maritime Enhancing confidence in maritime sector through regulation By Moses Ebosele OLLOWING a Federal Fresolution Executive Council (FEC) which empowered the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to regulate commercial activities in the maritime sector, the stage appears set for the historic exercise. The Federal Government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had in 2003 handed over Port operations to private investors without making adequate provisions for a commercial regulator. The development over the years prompted criticism from stakeholders who also accused terminal operators of alleged exploitation. Though terminal operators meet with the Council on a regular basis, some stakeholders are quick to point out lack of necessary legal frame work. Indeed, representatives of the Ministry of Transport are presently holding meetings with relevant committees in the National Assembly as part of measures to close identified legal gaps. The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, in a chat with The Guardian, explained in details benefits of the Council’s new role to stakeholders and the larger economy. The Council according to him is adequately prepared to assume its new role, adding that “This is what we have been doing even with weak laws”. Explaining further ,Bello said:“Now, we have been given express directive. We have the pedigree. We have the capacity. Over the years, Nigerian Shippers’ Council has developed capacity. I don’t think there is any agency in the transport industry that will have the qualification of staff of the Shippers Council as far as commercial shipping is concerned. We have had people trained in transport economy. We have port operators. We have logistics and don’t forget, Shippers Council is an economic institution. The first Managing Director of Shippers Council came from the Central Bank. All the past Chief Executive of Shippers Councils have developed the institution. It is a versatile institution. It is an economic institution. The orientation, the culture of  staff of Nigeria Shippers Council has made it most qualified and the most equipped to handle this very important assignment”. According to Bello, there is the urgent need to satisfy clamour by Nigerians for efficiency is the delivery of Cargoes especially when

compared with other jurisdiction. Bello said: “The private sector is the engine room that will propel reforms in this sector. We need some economic regulations. Economic regulations simply means the government will have its eyes and ears in tariff and issues like competition. The idea is to prevent monopoly. We cannot replace public monopoly with private monopoly. There must be competition. Government must also be very serious about the entry and exit in the sector. “The issue of regulation is not new to Nigerian Shippers’ Council. The section   3 of Nigerian Shippers Council Act provides that the council should be the government eye especially in the area of freight rate, availability and adequacy of shipping space, terms of shipment, class and quality of vessels, port changes and facilities and other related matters. That in itself is economic regulation. “But, this law was made when Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) was   the one handling Cargo. Things have substantially changed with the coming of the private sector.  The Nigerian Shippers’ Council also have to change to reflect such changes. The absence of an emphatic economic regulator is of concern to the government because a vacuum has created a lot of distortion. If you look at the port, efficiency has been recorded. We have more tonnage coming to Nigeria than before. “The turnaround time for ship and dwell time for cargo has increased. The NPA has been alive to its responsibility as a landlord and technical regulator. “The terminal operators have made investment and this has to be acknowledged and appreciated. “However,  the economic regulator is the umpire, is the coordinator and the moderator of many interest in the port. That has been missing. Nigerian Shippers’   Council has acted that role with weak legislation. “The Federal Government seized  the opportunity to say the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is the economic regulator. This is a temporary measure pending the passage of the Nigeria Transport Commission Act. The Nigerian Shippers Council is going to bring a lot of its experiences, pedigree, its qualification, the wealth of trained staff and its facilities and knowledge of the industry to bring about this very important and cardinal role of economic regulation”, said Bello. The Shippers Council boss who spoke on sundry issues explained how the agency handled legal challenges in the past.

Bello He said: “We were created to take care of cargo interest. Over the years, the industry has gone through tremendous development. The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has always found itself at the middle. You have providers of shipping services bringing complaints against the users. Before you know it, Nigerian Shippers Council is at the middle. Nigerian Shippers’ Council is the only government body with no interest. Nigerian Shippers’ Council   sees things from a very impartial perspective.  We have tremendous respect for the providers. We have been approach to settle certain disputes.   We have developed the mechanism. We are experience in settling disputes. We have trained staff. We also coordinate quality of service that providers give. Nigerian Shippers’ Council is well equipped to do that. On charges at Nigerian Ports. “The charges are astronomical. The charges are not easily justifiable. But, most annoying, the charges are unilaterally and arbitrary made. There is a law on local shipping charges on import and export regulation which was the first attempt to make Nigerian   Shippers’ Council a regulator. The law says ‘As from commencement of this regulations, the council shall have power to negotiate  or review notifications on increase of Nigerian Port Authority tariff and rent paid by the importers or exporters at all Nigerian Ports and enter into an agreement.

“Now, you change Nigerian Ports to terminal operators. That is the extra collocation that we are looking for. If we have this law, it will provide some punishment if you fix charges without consultation with Nigerian Shippers’ Council. “Nigeria Shippers Council is not a price fixing authority. We know the dynamic of the port system. You cannot say ‘X’ is the price of clearing container. You cannot say ‘X’ is the price of demurrage, among others because price changes. Sometime price go up or down. “But, what we are saying is that there must be a mechanism. Prices should not be fixed arbitrarily and unilaterally. The Nigerian Shippers Council has been able to step down some of the cost of doing business in Nigeria. If the cost is done arbitrarily you lose your competitiveness. People take their cargo to neighbouring countries. Regular meetings with terminal operators. “We have MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with them. We meet a lot. Almost every month they are in the office over one issue or the other. “They bring their problem to us. We tell the government what should be done. For example, the issue of Progressive Storage Charges. Nigerian importer finds it easy to keep cargoes at the port rather than have a warehouse because it cheaper. “Leaving a cargo at the port is detrimental to the Nigerian Economy because the port is a transient point. Its not a stor-

age place. Nigerian Shippers Council suggested Progressive Storage charges as a detriment for people who want to keep their cargoes at the port. “Some terminal operators increase prices without recourse to Shippers Council. No serious country will allow that. We are going to have scientific ways of arriving at reasonable tariff. We are going to monitor the quality of services. We want to see that the maritime sector make its contributions to the Nigerian economy because what is happening now is not half of what is expected. Our role is to coordinate, to supervise, to moderate and sometime to regulate so that there would be equilibrium, there would be fair play so that potentiality of the maritime sector would be felt in the economy in terms of competitiveness, in terms of international trade, in terms of efficiency of our ports and in terms of labour content of the maritime industry. All this will be under the purview of the Nigerian Shippers Council. Awareness campaign “We are against unilateralism or arbitrariness. When you are a regulator or a coordinator or moderator, you need constant communication with stakeholders. We are not going to regulate this industry by ourselves. Every decision made must have the inputs of stakeholders. Be they providers, terminal operators, shipping companies, international organization, freight forwarders or the consignees or warehouse owners among others. “Among the government agencies, NPA is the Landlord, the owner of the Port. But all Ports are also customs Ports. Custom is Central, its fundamental to the operation of the Port. Nigerian Shippers Council has its roles cut out for it. We are going to have a port community committee made up of  important stakeholders such as  NPA, Customs, Freight forwarders, agencies now present at the port so that we streamline the clearance procedure, make it modern and competitive so that cargo will not dwell at the port. “The more you clear cargo from the port, the more tonnage you get and that means profitability to the investor. That means activities in the economy. That means employment. That means so many things. Nigeria economy is changing. Look at agriculture. Look at mining. Things are moving up. We need modern transport infrastructure to take care of the changes” Established in 1978, the main statutory functions of NSC include protecting interests

of the Nigerian importers and exporters “who are known in the industry as shippers, on matters’ affecting the shipment of imports and exports”. The December 2013 edition of The Shipper, NSC in-house publication said: “It is also to advise the Federal Government on all matters relating to freight rates, availability and adequacy of shipping space, terms of shipment, port charges and facilities and generally on problems of the country’s shipping industry. “Basically, the NSC’s responsibility is to ensure efficient and timely delivery of shipping services to the importers and exporters by the shipping service providers under the most economical arrangement; minimization and stabilization of costs (freight rates, port charges, local shipping charges, haulage charges among others.); adequate understanding and knowledge amongst the various practitioners in international trade both at the micro and macro levels; regular and reliable advice to the federal government on matters affecting the shipment of goods to and from Nigeria”. The publication added: “Over the years, Nigerian Shippers’ Council has, in the course of performing its statutory functions, gained experience in economic regulation, within the limitations of its legal framework, through the following interventions: Intervention in Tariffs “Freight rates stabilization – NSC has been negotiating with international shipping lines and ensured zero increase in freight rates from 1986 to 1992 saving the Country Hundreds of Millions of Naira. “At present, freight rates have remained relatively stable. In contrast to what obtained before the interventions of NSC, there used to be an annual average increase of about 20 per cent in freight rates. “Intervention of NSC at subregional level (through the Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC) led to the withdrawal of surcharges by European West African Trade Agreement (EWATA) in 2009 and this resulted in savings of over two Billion Euros (€ 2b) over a period of three years. “In the same vein, NSC through USAC influenced the scrapping of EWATA by the European Union (EU) due to its anticompetitive and monopolistic tendencies; negotiating haulage rates with Road Haulers (Joint Action Committee of Transport Owners (JACOTTO) within Lagos and environs which led to reduction in haulage rates; negotiating the cost of haulage for bulk cargo from the North to the East”.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

38 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Industry Building a coalition to address standardisation challenges To further strengthen its zero tolerance campaign against fake and sub-standard products in the country, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) developed a new strategy by embarking on a coalition formation with other key stakeholders. FEMI ADEKOYA examines how leveraging this strategy can aid SON’s mandate. TANDARDISATION allows for clear communiSulators cation between an industry, its suppliers, regand other stakeholders. However, in contexts where rules are circumvented, strategies may be overhauled to address emerging trends. For Nigeria, such is the case, considering the high level of influx of sub-standard products in the country. To curb the excesses of importers and manufacturers alike, developing and implementing a new strategy becomes key for SON in achieving its mandate. Indeed, the agency recently commenced a move a building a national coalition to fight dealers and producers of counterfeit products. Announcing this recently in Sokoto during a working visit to the Members of the Sultanate Council, SON’s Director-General, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, justified the move noting that winning the campaign against counterfeiting and sub-standard products required the concerted efforts of all. The need for a coalition He said the support and co-operation of the ordinary people were needed in the fight against the prevalence of sub-standards goods in the country while underscoring the role of traditional institutions and rulers towards this regard. Specifically, the flag off of the national coalition campaign programme forms a part of efforts by the agency to ensure that only goods that meet the minimum requirements of the Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS) are allowed in the nation’s markets. According to Odumodu, SON will stop at nothing to increase the level of enlightenment and awareness on the harmful effects of sub-standard products to life, property and the economy at large. "On this trip, we launched a national coalition to ensure zero tolerance for substandard products, taking off in Sokoto. We are going to appoint some of your traditional rulers as patrons who would help us because you know that in this part of the country, when an emir says something, people are most likely to believe. “We would be holding seminars and after that, we are going to pay courtesy visits to the Governor, the Sultan and the other traditional rulers. We are doing a second phase of the cam-

Aganga

Odumodu

paign to reach out to all Nigerians in all parts of Nigeria and one way we can do that is launching a campaign in Sokoto which would also be carried to other parts of Nigeria," he added. He stated that SON's line of assignment in 2014 was to establish six zonal offices and laboratories with Sokoto representing the Northwest zone, maintaining that the move was to expand the agency’s network nationwide. “We want to strengthen our programmes in all parts of the country and Sokoto happens to be a major outlet because it has a lot of borders," Odumodu explained. "If we remove substandard products, those products we produce locally, will begin to get patronage which would in turn boost local production. That is why we believe that if somebody like you add a voice in what we seek, a lot of people will believe you. We want to strengthen the presence of SON in the NorthWest most especially in Sokoto and we are graciously requesting your support to assist us with a land and also supporting to build our office.” Odumodu told the Sultan of Sokoto, Sir Sa’ad Abubakar III. Odumodu said the move by SON was to get traditional rulers involved in the fight against the influx of substandard goods into the country. "If we remove substandard products, those products we produce locally, will begin to get patronage which would in turn boost local

production. That is why we believe that if somebody like you add a voice in what we seek, a lot of people will believe you. We want to strengthen the presence of SON in the North-West most especially in Sokoto and we are graciously requesting your support to assist us with a land and also supporting to build our office.” Odumodu added. On his part, the Sultan said: “We have also come a long way with SON since it was set up in the 70’s. We want to wish you the very best because it is not an easy task considering the environment we are operating where most of our people still believe in foreign goods. “The job is for you to ensure that products manufactured locally are of better quality compared to the imported ones, unless that is done, we will continue having problems of importation of substandard goods into the country by unscrupulous Nigerians, bringing death to so many innocent consumers in the country. "We are pleased with what SON is doing in order to ensure that the quality of lives of people improve and this is the reason why we must partner with SON and other agencies who are out to reform our society to help people achieve their desired goals in life," the Sultan reiterated. He added that there was a lot to be done to win the battle against substandard goods in the country, calling on the federal government to empower SON with the legal authority to shut down companies that produce sub-

standard products as well as warehouses stocked with such products. Addressing Nigerians’ aversion for locally made products The SON boss also expressed concern over the attitude of Nigerians who he claimed, prefer foreign goods to locally made ones, stressing that about 80 percent of products in the country were from overseas. "What this means is that we are paying the salaries of other people and what we want to do now is to re-industrialize Nigeria and I am sure you are aware of the President’s recent National Industrial Revolution Plan and our role is to support that process so that Nigerian industries will become more robust to employ our teeming youths leaving the universities and if we do that, all these social tension being faced by the country will cease to happen. I have made a lot of efforts to reduce the influx of substandard products. Today, what we are doing is reaching out to the people to sensitise them about the harmful effects of substandard products," the SON’s DG reiterated. "We still want to use the quality of life of the average Nigerian to measure our success and we believe the successes achieved in Lagos and Abuja axis would serve as a challenge to other states in the country. The reason we are launching this campaign is that we want to send the message through to Nigerians because it is the average Nigerian that would determine his own fate in using the right product," the SON boss declared.

Imoke commends Dansa on CSR projects OVERNOR Liyel Imoke of G Cross-River State has commended Dansa Agro Allied Products ltd for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects among its host communities in the State describing it as a boost to agricultural activities within Akampka Local Government Area. The Governor, while speaking at the commissioning of the Ibe bridge built by the company to link the host communities and the farm at IsobaOban, Akampka Local Government in Cross River State said that Dansa has raised the bar in CSR as it singlehandedly built the bridge and distributed a total of 80,000 high yield oil palm seedlings to the host communities-Oban, Okarara, Ekong Anaku, Neghe and Ekpene Eki

communities. He described the company as a full-integrated investor who has planted a vast pineapple plantation, built a bridge to link farms, plantations and host communities, while building a pineapple concentrate factory in the farm as well as distributing oil palm seedlings to the host communities. He charged the host communities to derive the multiple benefits accruing from the presence of the company by cultivating the oil palm seedlings and selling the products to the company for processing as well as training their children to gain meaningful employment in the company. He added that the company’s distribution of oil palm

seedlings to the host communities is inline with his administration’s drive to empower rural dwellers to embrace agriculture as means of livelihood. Chairma of the company, Sani

Dangote expressed the company’s willingness to give more oil palm seedlings to the communities in the coming years in order to have more out growers who will

supply the company will raw materials for processing. He explained that Dansa is planting five trees for every tree cut down during the clearing process as to reforest

the pineapple plantation. According to him, the company is establishing beehives to promote cross-pollination, produce honey and stabilize the ecosystem.

Honeywell targets skills acquisition through cooking competition ONEYWELL Flour Mills Plc H has reiterated its commitment to promoting cooking talents among youths, saying its sponsorship of such competition among corps members was aimed at bringing out their unique skills with a view to equipping them for future challenges. According to the firm, the move will also endear them early enough to the company’s products by making them Honeywell Ambassadors.

Executive Director, Marketing, Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Benson Evbuomwan stated this, on yesterday, at Honeywell Wheat Meal Cooking competition at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Lagos State camp, Iyana Ipaja. Explaining the rationale for the competition, Evbuomwan said the company is utilising the opportunity provided by the unique change point of the youth

corps members who are basically future mothers and fathers by introducing to them the company’s products so as to appreciate them with a view to shaping their choice of food items in future. “We are looking beyond today. Our expectation is in the long run. These are prospective mothers and fathers who will be opinion moulders in their respective families. They will virtually be Honeywell Ambassadors as

they have affinity with the products already. Besides, we are doing this to also lift the social activities in the camp so that the corpers’ stay will not remain boring”, he said. He assured that the programme will be extended to other camps nationwide more so with the completion of the company’s expansionist programme when its products will be readily available and meet customers’ demand.


GUARDIANENERGY Total buoys domestic ‘OK LNG gas utilization with requires new NOPL pipeline project

ENERGY /40

ENERGY /40

investors’

ENERGY /42

OIL

GAS

POWER

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2014

www.ngrguardiannews.com; www.theguardianmobile.com

Stakeholders strategise for oil sector’s development Refinery plant By Roseline Okere OR decades, crude oil has remained the nation’s major foreign exchange earner for the economy, accounting for almost 90 per cent of earnings from the outside market. It has, for obvious reasons, therefore, eliciting political intrigues, especially in respect of revenue sharing formular. Despite various hiccups in production, due to strifes, grafts and operational challenges, the country has sustained its top position in Africa and one of the leading producers in the world. To ensure therefore that the country continues to maintain this position as one of the largest producers of crude oil globally, stakeholders gathered at the just concluded oil and gas conference with the theme: “Nigeria’s Strategy to maintain its position as Africa’s leading producer” in Abuja last week to discuss the way forward, proffering possible solutions to the challenges

F

hampering development of the country’s oil and gas sector. A strategic leeway prescribed at the forum was total deregulation of the sector in the country. Speaking at the conference, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani AlisonMadueke said that payment of subsidy on petrol “cannot be sustained any longer.” Alison-Madueke stated, “the continued regulation of the downstream sector has its positive and negative impact on the economy, but the negative effect is more than the positive. The subsidy policy cannot be sustained any longer. “This is because the subsidy payment did not benefit the poor it was targeting, but rather it is benefiting the rich.” Alison-Madueke stressed was the need to deregulate the downstream oil sector to attract investors. She said that in considering the deregulation of the down-

stream sector, government must strike a balance in implementing some of its policies to meet the needs of Nigerians. “Now that reforms in power sector are underway, the next focus should be reforms in the downstream sub-sector. The industry needs to move to next level by increasing revenue and curb oil theft and pipeline vandalism.” The minister outlined challenges confronting the government to include perennial oil theft, pipeline vandalism and non passage of the PIB. “The PIB is still with the National Assembly and we hope that it will be passed very soon,” she said. “However, we have been confronted with the menace of pipeline vandalism for decades and it has become much more prevalent in the last few years. She said that in spite of these challenges, the country still maintained a stable 2.3 million barrels per day production of crude oil achieved in

2013. The minister said that the country had the capacity to boost production to three million barrels per day. She said that gas production had also increased from 6.3 trillion standard cubic feet per day to 8.1 trillion standard cubic feet per day in 2013. Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, said that the prevailing gas infrastructure component of the Gas Master plan is designed to increase domestic gas consumption three fold from 1.7 billion cubic feet per day to 5.4 bcf per day by 2019.

Reeling out the country’s rich profile in oil and gas, the NNPC GMD stated that the country’s reserves stand at 36 billion barrels of oil and about 182 trillion cubic feet of gas and produced an average of 2.2 million barrels of oil per day in 2013 with a reserve to production ratio of 42 years for oil and 155 years for gas. The NNPC helmsman maintained that even in recent times with the emerging African oil producers, the discovery of the Ogo field in 2013 with reserves of about 750 million barrels of equivalent shows that the Nigerian Delta remains one of the most prospective areas in the world.

He revealed that about 49 per cent of Nigeria’s licensed blocks (397) are still open and active stressing that the availability of production allowances would also provide a welcome boost for small fields and profitability would increase in the proposed petroleum industry bill currently before the National Assembly. “Nigeria’s quest to grow its reserves is promoted in the PIB through a robust acreage management system to be superintended by the Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate, involving the release of acreages that have been held without activity,” Yakubu submitted.

Ikeja Disco to inject N600m to improve electricity supply By Sulaimon Salau HE Ikeja Electricity DistriT bution Company (IKEDC) has unveiled plans to inject about N600 million into the system to improve power supply through the ongoing projects within its network. The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IKEDC, Abiodun Ajifowobaje, at the customers’ forum in Lagos, assured of IKEDC’s plan to update them on the company’s new products and future plans. “We also want to create more mutual interactions on way to improve and serve our customers better.” According to Ajifowobaje, “the board has approved about N600 million for quick intervention on transformers installations and pre-paid meter and we have started the pilot metering scheme. “Our board under the quick ‘win-win’ intervention approved about N600 million

Plans to install 115 transformers in one month for us to do all projects including metering, commissioning of transformers projects that are ongoing, installation of vandalised transformers, remetering and do some overhead line clearance which often cause network disability. The IKEDC boss said that about 30 transformers had been installed to cushion electricity supply, while about 115 pending transformers projects have been ongoing at various sites for completion within the next one month. He said that about 30 transformers had been bad while about 42 vandalised transformers had recorded before the new management took over in November, but as at today, all the bad transformers had been restored under the new management ``The board of the company had approved some installations of some transformers under what we call ``win win’’

approach to address customers complaints and to replace all the bad transformers. ``Going forward, we are going to commence installation of all bad transformers and complete all pending transformers projects in all site within the network. All this we are assured that customers within our network we enjoy stable and effective power supply when completed. ``The ongoing 115 transformers in various locations of the IKEDC will be completed and commence effective power supply to customers within next one month,” he added. The IKEDC boss said that installation of pending customers who paid for pre-paid meters have commenced, adding that the company’s technical partners are also working towards initiating more effective and durable meters for customers within the zone.


40 | ENERGY Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

A CROSS-SECTION OF PARTICIPANTS, SPEAKERS AND

Executive Director, Guardian Newspapers, Toke Ibru, President,International Institute for Petroleum, Niyi Ayoola-Daniels and Chief Executive Officer, ME-A Resources, Mr.Adam Habib

Honourable Minister of Petroleum, Diezeni Allison-Madueke (left) and Board Member, CWC Group Limited, Dr. Alirio Parra

Government Relations and Compliance, Shell Petroleum, Morenike Adewunmi, and GM Finance, Shell Petroleum, Guy Janssens

L-R-General Manager, FENOG Nigeria Limited, Chukwudi Uwakwe, Chief Executive Officer, Marine Platforms, Taofik Adegbite Executive Director, Total E&P Nigeria Ltd, Dr.Kingsley Anthony Ojoh, Executive Secretary Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, Ernest Nwapa,Local Content Development Manager, OneSubsea, Sunny Nwankwo, Vice Chairman, Dorman Long Engineering

L-R- Chairman PETAN,Emeka Ene, General Manager,Nigerian Content Development, Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd,Callista Azogu,Former GM,Local content Monitoring NNPC, Muhammed Bello,Nigerian Content &Training Manager,Kaztec Engineering & Chrome Group,Prof.Otokpa Chris Agada, Executive Secretary PTDF, Dr.Oluwole Oluleye

Honourable Minister of Petroleum,Allison Madueke -Diezeni (middle)during the Nigerian Oil and gas strategic seminar

Chairman, Exxon Mobil, Mark Ward,Partner, Chairman,Chevron Nigeria, Andrew Fawthrop, General Manager, Aveon Offshore Ltd, Managing Director, Halliburton, Sanjeev Verma, Odujinrin & Adefulu, Adeoye Adefulu and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum, Danladi Kefasi, Joseph Duntoye

Board Member, CWC Group Ltd, Dr. Alirio Parra,Director, DPR, and George Isahon, Group Chief Executive Officer, Oando Plc, Adewale Tinubu

Deputy Director General, Sonagas,Serapio Sima Ntutumu, Co-Founder/Group Chief Executive, Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, ChiefExecutive Officer, Oando Energy Resources, Olapade Duratoye, Director, FIN , Olayinka Fayomi, Managing Director, Energy & Chemicals, Africa, Standard Chartered, Ade Adeola and Senior Vice President, CAMAC International Corporation,Fisoye Delano

L-R-Head Pad, NCDMB,Ejiro Dortie,Director,Joint Venture,Levmora/CWC,Funmi Marinho,and Head of Learning and Development Africa,CWC School For Energy,Patrick Murray Photos by Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014 ENERGY | 41

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

DELEGATES AT THE NOG 2014 IN ABUJA

Board Member CWC Group Limited, Dr. Alirio Parra (3rd left) and General Managing Director, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu during the Opening Ceremony Group Managing Director, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu,Board Member CWC Group Limited, Dr. Alirio Parra and Vice Preisdent CWC group,Tanya Crossick during the Opening Ceremony

L-R-Managing Director,Bentham Black,Stephen Bourne,Board Member CWC Group limited, Dr. Alirio Parra,Honourable Minister of Power,Prof.Chinedu Nebo, and Minister of State For Power, Alh.Mohammed Wakil

L-R-Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, Mr.Rumundaka Wonodi, Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprise,Ben Dikki, Partner, Detail Commercial Solicitors, Dolapo Kukoyi,Chairman,Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr.Sam Amadi and Principal,CPCS,Bunmi Folayan

L-R- Director, Levmora/CWC,Funmi Marinho,Chairman/Managing Director,Chevron Nigeria Limited, Andrew Fawthrope and Osten Olorunshola

Secretary ,Independent Power Providers'Association of Nigeria,Ifidon Okaisabor,Managing Director,Geometric Association of Nigeria,Ifidon Okaisabor,Managing Director,Geometric Power,Agatha Nnaji,Managing Director Emtech Energy Services,Engr.Uzoma Achinanya,MTN Nigeria,Mohammed Aliyu and Country President,Schneider Electric Nigeria,Marcel Hotchet

L-R-Honourable Minister of Power,Prof.Chinedu Nebo,and Minister of State For Power, Alh.Mohammed Wakil

Head of Buisness Development Africa,CWC school of Energy,Gary Touhparian,Chief Executive Officer,Brittiania-U Nigeria Limited,Uju Ifejika,Executive Director,Guardian Newspapers,Toke Ibru

Cross Section of attendendants during the Nigerian Oil and gas strategic seminar

Chairman, Neiti, Ledum Mitee, NNPC, Prince Haruna Momoh, Governor of Delta State, Uduaghan, President, International Institute for Petroleum, Energy Law and Policy, Niyi Ayoola-Daniels


42

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

‘OK LNG requires new investors’ By Sulaimon Salau HE Olokola Liquefied Natural Gas (OKLNG) project may soon hit the brick wall, if urgent level of investment profile is not acquired to revive the dying project. The oil export processing facility was once celebrated nationally with high expectations that the project would join others across the country to position Nigeria as the second gas exporting country in the world. Contrary to the make-believe by the previous government, the hopes on the project have continued to fade since the uncelebrated pull out of the co-initiators such as Chevron and British Gas, leaving only Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with the project. The Guardian gathered that some political imbalances were responsible for the present state of the project, but the operators believed that the scheme could still come alive, if the necessary investments are sourced. The Manager, Commercials, OKLNG, Rowland Omoregbe, at the just concluded Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, solicited more investments to bring the project back to live, and he appealled to the federal government to help woo new investors into the project. “We are at the moment looking for people to join us in the

T

project, since our partners have pulled out, and we are still targeting the window of 2019-2020 completion of the project. We still believe that the window will be met. We hope with the support of government, we can get investors and move ahead with the project,” When former President Olusegun Obasanjo laid the foundation stone in 2007, it was believed that the OKLNG project would develop an LNG and natural gas liquids facility in Olokola. It is expected to produce two by 6.3m million tonnes of LNG and ultimate capacity of about 35 million tonnes per year. The LPG production will be 30,000 barrels per day, while about 15, 000 barrels of condensate is expected to be produced. The project profile obtained by The Guardian showed that it started experiencing setback in 2009 when the project was put under ‘preservation” by shareholders primarily because of PIB issues. The shareholders however agreed to take the project out of preservation after several issues and project recovery programme commenced in 2011, followed by a new blueprint developed in 2012, but the project now awaiting new investors that would bring in financial and technical commitment to revive the laudable project.

Fenog emerges best indigenous oil and gas firm Pledges commitment to quality service delivering By Roseline Okere ENOG Nigeria Limited has emerged the best indigenous oil and gas company at the just concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja. Director, Gas, TOTAL, Bunmi Obembe, presented the plaque for the award to the Executive Director of the company, Mathew Tonlagha, at a dinner organised to celebrate participants at the conference. According to the organiser of the conference, the company was recognised for its “innovation and excellence” in the oil and gas industry. Tonlagha, in his remarks, dedicated the award first to God and thereafter President Goodluck Jonathan and Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke. He described the president and the minister “as unre-

F

pentant supporters of local content in the oil industry.” He said that their support and encouragement served as catalysts for the local companies to strive for excellence in a sector hitherto dominated by foreign players. He also commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which he described as “ a mentor and motivator of Fenog” in the quest to attain greater heights and compete favourably with foreign players. “The International Oil Companies (IOCs), especially Shell, Chevron, NAOC (Agip), Total and others have done so well to encourage the indigenous oil and gas companies. We thank them for their support and encouragement, but they can do better and they can do more”.

Director, Gas, Total, Bunmi Obembe (right) presenting the award to Executive Director, Fenog Nigeria Limited, Mathew Tonlagha.

Effective domestic gas supply will reduce gas flaring, say stakeholders By Roseline Okere S industry experts, we need to capture the gas that is currently being flared in the country and transport it economically to domestic market for highly effective and reliable power supply,” the CoChief Executive Officer of Atlantic Energy, Scott Aitken, has said. Speaking at the Nigerian oil and gas conference in Abuja, Aitken believed that the move would also help to achieve domestic gas utilisation in the country. Aitken said that with International Oil Companies (IOCs) divesting interests in 25 onshore blocks made up of eight billion barrels of oil, 46 TCf gas gross reserves and resources, indigenous participation was crucial to meet this target and remain the leader in Africa.

“A

Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) currently produces 140,000 bpd and expects to ramp this up to 300,000 bpd next year. Some of the solutions proposed in Aitken’s presentation before leading the panel discussion on “Overcoming Challenges & Supporting the Growth of Independent, Indigenous Producers & Service produces” were detailed evaluation and phased infrastructure replacement/upgrade, terrain based asset management, community engagement and updated needs assessment among others. Atlantic Energy, in its strategic partnership with the NPDC, has successfully made NPDC the fifth largest oil producer in Nigeria and also helped in replacement and upgrade of the Utorogu Gas Plant to a 360 million stan-

dard cubic feet per day facility. This plant is the single largest gas supply facility for the Escravos-Lagos pipeline system which distributes critical gas feedstock to power plants in South East Nigeria and to a number of countries in the West African region. The Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, explained that there was increase in local financial support for independents oil producers and indigenous services companies. It had also helped that banks now stronger came with increased capacity and willingness to fund oil and gas projects up to the tune of $150 million. “Supporting independents in the oil and gas sector is different from other sectors. A lot of technical evaluations have to precede any relationship. Then you have to study the na-

ture of infrastructure available, expected revenue, impact of taxation on expected cash flow etc before a final decision is taken to provide funding.” He highlighted, governance structure supporting the business, financial discipline and accountability as major issues in dealing with independent companies, “governance structure supporting the business has been a major issue over times especially as there is soften no physical structures available to serve as collateral for some types of transactions.” Group General Counsel/Executive Director of Atlantic Energy, Dayo Okusami, described risk management service as a platform to provide alternative funding arrangement for the NPDC to meet its cash call obligation whilst developing technical competence.

Total buoys domestic gas utilization with NOPL pipeline project By Sulaimon Salau HE domestic gas utilisation agenda of the federal government have received a boost, as Total Exploration and Production Company has embarked on construction of a 500 kilometres of 24 inch Northern Option Pipeline (NOPL). However, the project, expected to supply Alaoji independent power plant, is projected to be completed by the third quarter of 2014. The project profile, obtained by The Guardian, 35 kilometres of the 500 kilometres stretch

T

of pipeline had been completed, while work progressed on site to meet the set delivery target. “The NOPL is expected to carry 300 standard cubic feet of gas per day. When completed, it will convey gas from O-U-R pipeline to the Alaoji Independent Power Plant, through the Imo River. “NOPL is Total’s main infrastructure to support the federal government domestic gas infrastructure initiative. The gas project would meet the growing demand for domestic gas,” it stated.

The Total’s revelation came as the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, disclosed that the project along with all other strategies initiated in the industry would result into significant production and utilisation of gas in the near future. “Gas is a fuel of the future. It is environmentally friendly, the Niger Delta is considered a gas basin with potential of about 600 Trillion cubic feet (TCF), and gas is the key to our economic development though power and industrialisation. Nigeria expects to grow do-

mestic gas consumption threefold (from 1.7 BCF per day to 5.4 BCF per day by 2019) through the implementation of the gas master plan. While implementing the gas master plan, he said that the necessary framework was in place for significant gas utilisation and the building of Nigeria’s industrial platform on gas. He also said that gas production was expected to show more dramatic increases once the master plan was fully implemented with a gas infrastructure blueprint operational.


44 SWEETCRUDEREPORT

THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, March 26, 2014


46 SWEETCRUDEREPORT

THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, March 26, 2014


THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SWEETCRUDEREPORT 45


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 47


48 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 49


50 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY

AS AT 25-03-2014

PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

MARKET INDICATORS

AS AT 25-03-2014

51

PRIMERA AFRICA

Guinness, Dangote Cement, others lift NSE’s market capitalisation by N40b Stories by Helen Oji RICE gains recorded by P some blue chip companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, especially Guinness and Dangote Cement yesterday, pushed market capitalisation by N40billion. Yesterday, the All- Share Index (ASI) improved by 126.97 basis points to 37728.50 points from 37601.53 points traded on Monday. Also market capitalisation of listed stocks grew by N40 billion to N12.118 trillion from N12.078 trillion traded the previous day. Investors yesterday bought 273.253 million shares worth N3.563 billion in 4939 deals. This is against 253.339 million shares valued at N3.358 billion traded by investors the previous day  in 4459 deals.                                  An analysis of the transactions showed that Guinness Nigeria Plc led gainers table for the day, appreciating by N6.99 kobo to close at N175.99 per share. Dangote Cement followed with a gain of N2.00 to close at N230.00 per share. Forte Oil, WAPCO and UAC Property enhanced by N1.50 kobo, N1.47 kobo and N0.90 kobo respectively to close at N92.00, N110.58 kobo and N20.00 per share.  Stanbic IBTC garnered 0.65 per cent to close at N21.00 per share. Total oil added 0.60 kobo to close at N153.60 per share. Ashaka cement added 0.41 kobo to close at N14.90 per share while Presco gained 0.28 per cent to close at N41.00 per share.

Vitafoam added 0.17 kobo to close at N4.28 per share. Oando and National Aviation Handling Company garnered 0.13 and 0.10 kobo to close at N17.81 and N5.20 per cent. On the contrary, Seven UP Bottling Company topped losers chart, dropping by N1.00 to close at N90.00per share, Betaglass trailed with a loss of N0.90 kobo to close at N17.35 per share. UACN declined by N0.63 kobo to close at N59.36 per share. Other stocks that recorded price depreciation were Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN) and Stanbic IBTC, shedding N0.87 kobo and N0.74 kobo respectively to close at N9.68 per cent and N9.30 per cent. Financial service sector led trading activities in volume terms, recording 227.230 million shares valued at N2.502 billion in 2862 deals. Banking sub sector was the most active in the sector with account of 142.565 million shares worth N1.994 billion in 1747 deals.                                             Further analysis of the investment indicated, that Zenith International Bank from banking sector recorded the highest volume of activities for the day, exchanging 41.349  million shares worth N842.364  million in 504 deals, FBN Holding  followed with account of 34.182  million shares valued at N422.641 million in 508 deals  while Access Bank traded 33.297  million shares cost N248.477  million. GT Bank took fourth position accounting for 22.052 million shares worth N567.785 million in 392 deals and UBA  sold 19.997 million shares worth

Chapel Hill Denham plans to merge two leading mutual funds HAPEL Hill Denham C Management Limited, the asset management arm of independent investment banking group, Chapel Hill Denham, has concluded arrangement to merge two of its longest running Mutual Funds: the Nigeria Global Investment Fund (NGIF) and the Chapel Hill Denham Millennium Fund (CHDMM). The firm, in a statement yesterday said the merger is expected to bring enhance efficiency in terms of operating costs and better professional management, as well as create wider inclusion of the investing public. According to the statement, the restructuring plans would be presented to unit holders at its forth-coming Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) in Lagos on Thursday. The Group Chief Executive Officer of Chapel Hill Denham, Bolaji Balogun, said the company is committed to ensuring that stakeholder’s interests are protected. He added that Chapel Hill’s track record and sound market knowledge make it the preeminent choice regionally for clients in need of guidance and advisory services. According to him, “Chapel Hill was ranked the “Best Investment Bank in Nigeria” and “Best Debt House in Nigeria” for the last year. The firm provides comprehensive advisory services to a diverse client base which includes financial institutions, major

corporations, individual and institutional investors and government agencies. Our transaction experience spans across several sectors including banking, insurance, real estate, manufacturing, telecommunications, oil & gas, aviation and the public sector. “Chapel Hill has raised significant capital for a number of institutions and is the number one investment bank in “success story” companies and new listings. We have a strong track in sell side and buy side advisory and are the leading M&A adviser in Nigeria; having completed a number of sizable mergers. Our investment banking team has garnered indepth regulatory and policy knowledge over years of practical experience. The team has expertise in the origination and execution of corporate and project finance, divestitures, restructurings, buyouts, M&A, privatization and share buy-back advisory, as well as public offerings and private placements in equity and debt markets.” Chapel Hill Advisory Partners Limited is the investment banking business of the Chapel Hill Denham Group and is the leading independent investment banking firm in Nigeria. The firm commenced business in July 2005 and is licensed by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) as an Issuing House and Market Maker and is one of the most capitalised independent investment banks in Nigeria.


52

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Midweek Arts BlackRealvolution… that keeps Lagosians guessing Showbiz By Gbenga Salau Since last Friday, a luxurious bus with the inscription, BlackRealvolution etched boldly on it has been traversing the city of Lagos. Initially, especially on the first day, many residents were in darkness of its mission as the bus drove through some streets of Lagos. The bus passed through Oba Akra to Adeniji Jones, Oladipo Oluwole road, Akilo-Acme, Lateef Jakande to Africa Shrine where it made its first stopover and thereafter at Ikeja Shopping Mall. As the bus was driving through, there were three power bikers who were like forerunners. These bikers dressed in all black with their bikes also in black and a flag hoisted announcing the event. One thing for sure is that many who read the inscription on the bus could probably not situate what is in the offing. Their interpretation became cloudy since nobody stopped to explain to them what it meant. So, they were left to predict what it was all about. For those who are political, knowing that politics is in the air, they would feel aspirants at this time use different gimmicks to announce their emergence to contest a political office and sell themselves to the people. Those who are entertainment inclined would probably naturally feel a show is hitting town in a big way. This is more so for those who must have visited the website written on the bus. The site provides the date, venue of the event and personalities who have endorsed the programme. But the guess that it could be a show could be right. After all, top Nigerian artistes such as Femi Kuti, Tuface Idibia, Gordons have endorsed the programme. Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, for instance described the movement as a non-partisan, peace advocating group, group of individuals, who jointly seek an end to oppressions emanating from governments and organisations with suppressive tendencies. He said: “I lend my voice to the Blackrealvolution movement. Even though I am one of Africa’s most respected and notable musicians, I have thrown my weight behind struggles which seek to support the masses and the down-trodden of the society’ Expatiating on his support for the movement, he said: “I have always advocated non-violence and peace. Music is my only weapon and it is my medium of support for the BlackREALvolution movement. Music is a universal language capable of soothing frayed nerves. It can also be used to arouse consciousness of any kind- be it economic, social, political or cultural.” Ditto multiple award winning artiste, 2Face Idibia, popularly known for his exploits in music has also pitched his tent with the forthcoming event billed for March 28. The talented artiste, who is regarded as one of Nigeria’s veritable musical exports, said the movement represents peace, love and unity, which are values, which he has strongly promoted through his award winning songs. His words: “The Blackrealvolution is about stirring up the spirit of consciousness and good tidings in Nigerians. The movement rep-

Registration desk inside BlackRealvolution city tour bus

Supporters sign up for the event resents positivity, being our brother’s keeper and forming a united front against negative forces. I preach the message of love, peace and unity through many of my songs. And I have also written songs advocating for better leadership.” The widely travelled hip-hop singer said he’s a firm believer that Nigeria can compete with countries considered as being far developed if Nigeria’s vast potentials can be properly harnessed. He said: “I believe in perfection, I believe in excellence. Blackrealvolution is about being innovative and distinctive in one’s endeavour. It is about being real.” It is not only comment from music artistes, as renowned comedian, Gordons has also supported the initiative. The veteran comedian stated that his decision to join the BlackRealvolution was borne out of the spirit of patriotism and his love for change in the society. Besides the endorsement from the performers, promoters of the project provided this brief about the event on the site: “The BlackRealvolution…. stand up to be counted! A society devoid of development is one that is bereft

of ideas! Complacency looms, permeating stutle skins, infiltrating ordinary souls with the spirit of feebleness! Soon, the cacophony of once vibrant voices is drowned by inner fears and doubts. “Mediocrity becomes commonplace and ordinariness becomes a trait acceptable of all. The day of doom slowly approaches. But out of the weakness emanates the inner strength to conquer the spirit of torment. Traits of routine give way to strands of excellence and the firm belief that even excellence is just the stepping-stones to attaining greatness. Fading drums suddenly clatter in a high crescendo and the dousing flames of distinction engulf traits of pessimism. Only REAL societies Evolve. Welcome to the BlackREALvolution. Stand up to be counted.” For those who did not visit the site advertised on the bus about the programme but had a personal encounter with the jumpsuits ladies, field officers of the project whenever the bus had stopovers, it was different ball game entirely.

For instance, when the bus flagged down at African Shrine, the ladies went round informing and canvassing for people to go get a free ticket for a programme coming up on Friday. No doubt many of those told were surprised and they expressed it according to the jumpsuit ladies. This, these ladies said made some of the people told to come into the bus were they would be issued their tickets, to ask questions. Those who were more inquisitive and wanted to know more since the ladies refused to give out all the detail came into the bus to get their free ticket after registering. It was after then they got a faint idea of what it is all about. This is because the free ticket they got had the venue of the event, which is Bar beach, the date but not what the event and the format it would take. Also, on the ticket is the shape of a bottle, and this statement, Something Realvolutionary is brewing, be the first to see it, which further gave room for more guess work. After he registered and got a free ticket, Uzor Dike, in a brief chat, said he expected something big on the night, what it would be he would not predict. He however hopes that at the end of the programme it would worth the time he would spend at the venue. Femi Davies guessed it is something big besides suspecting it is a programme by one of the bottling company because a bottle was imprinted on the ticket. Tolu and Ore were at Shoprite when the bus flagged down. According to them, they saw the inscription on the bus and decided to draw closer, without prompting, because the statement on the bus was vague. So they wanted a better insight. After enquiry from a man standing by the bus, they were asked to go into the bus to get register to get their tickets. Also, Binta and Kola got their tickets together. Binta felt any free event is usually rowdy. So, when the canvassers informed her about the need to go get a free ticket for an upcoming event, she requested what earned her the free ticket. She said if not for her friend, Kola who convinced her on the need to go get the ticket she would have ignored the ladies. On her part, Debunmi Bankole after getting her ticket said that she couldn’t wait to see what the programme is all about since nobody has told her the details. She said she however expected a fun filled time on the day because on the messages on the ticket. The jumpsuit ladies commenting on the reactions they got said many of those they spoke to about going to get a free ticket really wanted to know what the programme is all about even when they were told it is a free ticket event. According to the lady canvassers, even when they were told it is a show, they wanted to know what kind of show and who are those behind it. This they said made some people to back out as they felt they were not provided detailed information about the programme. The Black Realvolution is painting and keeping the city in suspense, as nobody seems to know what it is really about, while those who know refused to provide complete information about the programme. But come Friday at the Bar beach, the masquerade would be finally unveiled and what the Black Realvolution means, stands for and is all about would be revealed and Lagos will stop guessing and there would be no more suspense.

Akinrinade, Anyaoku others, for launch of book on Awolowo’s political movement ORMER Chief of Defence Staff, General Alani Akinrinade (rtd) Fasoranti, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, General Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd), how Chief Awólowo re-made Yorùbá history in modern FLagos will lead eminent Nigerians to Agip Hall, MUSON Centre, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Chief Bisi Akande, times,  the book  combines the perspectives and disciplinary on Thursday, April 17 for the public presentation of  a Chief Segun Osoba, Chief Olu Falae, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, and methods of anthropology, historical sociology and political scibook, ‘The Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and Corporate Agency’ written by Dr. Wale Adebanwi. Mama HID Awolowo as the mother of the day and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade as the father of the day. The host governors are Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos. The special guests of honour include   Governors Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo, Segun Mimiko of Ondo, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Rochas Okorocha of Imo  and Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano. The guests of honour are Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Chief Reuben

Otunba Niyi Adebayo. Executive Editor of TheNews, Kunle Ajibade, is the book reviewer while Deputy Editor-in-Chief of TELL Magazine, Demola Oyinlola, will be the MC. The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) and the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Lagos, are the joint hosts of the presentation ceremony, which commences at 11am prompt. ‘The Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and Corporate Agency’ investigates the dynamics and challenges of ethnicity and elite politics in Nigeria. It is the  first authoritative, scholarly book on the political elite of one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. In its examination of

ence. The book titled The Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and Corporate Agency is written by Dr. Wale Adebanwi, Associate Professor at University of California, Davis, U.S. is published by Cambridge University Press. The definitive book on the political movement and parties led by the late sage investigates the dynamics and challenges of ethnicity and elite politics in Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy. The author also demonstrates in the work how the corporate agency of Chief Awolowo transformed the modern history and politics of one of Africa’s largest ethnic groups, the Yorùbá, and Nigeria.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014 ARTS 53

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

With Arrows…, Edo Youth Corps lifts city of culture Tourism CDS. Although designed to raise money LITTLE over a fortnight ago at Oba for the troupe’s trip to Abuja, audiAkenzua Cultural Centre on ences got far more than they expected Airport Road, Benin City, the NYSC with the various performances that Theatre Troupe, Edo State Chapter were on display. From Prince, White staged its art and tourism project, Angel, Jide Sax to MC Maleke, the audiArrows in the Art, as part of its prepa- ence got a fair dose of singing, dancration for the national NYSC Cultural ing, acting, comedy and cultural disCompetition that was held in Abuja. plays. It was a lively afternoon inside the More traditional dances also folmain hall of the cultural centre, as lowed. But what was clear from the act after act and NYSC’s cultural initiative of NYSC Theatre Troupe, Edo troupe thrilled audience with their State Chapter, was that there is performances that was put together hunger for sustained stage performby the Edo NYSC Cultural and ances and other cultural offerings in

By Anote Ajeluorou

A

the ancient city of the obas. Although token gate fees ranging from N200 to N1000 were charged, Corpers as well as folks from Benin trouped in to see what artistic offering the amateur Corps members to offer. From the sheer enthusiasm, it was clear that the ancient city is in dire need of artistic and cultural revival of sorts. Poor patronage by the state government and lack of support for local troupes are just some of the hindrances for artistic flowering in the city reputed for its tradition as a performance centre in years gone

Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Olayinka Idowu (left); Chairman, Planning Commiittee, ‘Arrow of God at 50’ Dr. Wale Okediran; and Guest Speaker, Prof. Darren Kew at the symposium marking 50th anniversary of ‘Arrow of God’ written by Chinua Achebe at University of Ibadan last Friday PHOTO:

by. The attitude of state government towards culture is a clear disincentive to cultural offerings. The Adams Oshiomhole-led government repeatedly shuns the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre for its events, from where it ought to earn enough 0ot put up occasional cultural shows. Government prefers to patronize private events’ centres in the city and pays three times more for such places than it costs to rent the governmentowned centre. The adjoining Nollywood Cinema is long abandoned. For a state that has an abundance of youth creative talent and a rich cultural heritage to woo the world, government has consistently failed to harness the state’s creative potentials to give employment to its youths and create cottage industry through the creative arts. Such woeful neglect has made a migration of youth creative energy to Lagos and other more friendly centres, where talent is treasured and rewarded. In an age where such states as Lagos, Rivers, Cross River, Ekiti, Niger and Osun have long realized the importance of culture and art as components of tourism investment and have invested heavily in one festival or the other, states like Edo and Delta that ought to be at the forefront on account of their youth potentials still lag behind and hasten the rot in youth energy, which is often conveniently unleashed in kidnappings, oil bunkering, armed robbery and other vices! BUT on the foyer of the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre, a visual art exhibition was mounted with works by four Corpers – Gbadebo Oluwaseyi, Taiwo Owoyemi Raji Ade and Seyi Fajimi. They were works that showed budding talent in painting. Particularly, Fajimi’s works stood out from the rest. A graduate of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology,

Ogbomoso, Fajimi had on display ‘Reflections’ on three ladies looking at themselves in the mirror and ‘Lovers’ kiss’ of a man and a woman in lovey-dovey mood. But ‘Night reading’ and ‘Landscape’ give a glimpse of Fajimi’s prodigious talent as a painter. Also an animation expert, Fajimi particularly caught the attention of filmmaker, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, who promptly engaged him for a TV animation cartoon series on such characters as Adesuwa, Oguan the giant and other folk heroes that would specifically appeal to African children as against Disneyland’s cartoons that orientate African children away from their cultural backgrounds. The next day, Fajimi was taken to the palace of Enogie of Obazagbon on the outskirts of Benin City to see the 198-year palace where the setting of some of the cartoons would be based, as a model of Africa’s enduring architecture. Imasuen’s Invasion 1897, an epic film on the last African king to resist the British, Oba Ovoranmwen Nogbaisi was partly set on that palace. A play skit, E don die, was performed by the troupe to the excitement of the audience, which remained wondering at a woman’s exaggerated wailing over a death that captures the imagination of a community, which joins in what becomes a communal mourning when it isn’t known exactly who has died. But when questions begin to be asked, it becomes clear the cacophony has been about the death of a fowl that belongs to the woman who raised the alarm! One after the other, all the sympathetic mourners begin to disperse to their various activities in disgust, as they leave the real mourner to her incredulous frivolity! The audience applauded endlessly in appreciation of the suspense generated and the successful handling of the anti-climax.

Bayelsa woos private investors for proposed N20b film village By David Ogah AYELSA State Governor, Seriake Dickson B said last weekend in Lagos that the proposed film village in the state would gulp N20 billion and called for Organized Private Sector partnership in the promotion of local talents in the creative industry and sponsorship of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). Governor Seriake Dickson made the appeal at the Sponsors’ Night and Dinner, which took place at the Civic Centre, in Lagos. According him, “government hopes to realize its vision of nurturing local talents through the establishment of the film village by working with the private sector and create a suitable environment where actors and actresses from all over the world assemble in the great state of Bayelsa to act their films.” Governor Dickson, who noted that government has been funding AMAA for the past one decade, stressed the inability of government to continue with the funding in view of ongoing reforms in government in the light of present economic realities. He stressed the need for government to formulate appropriate policies and seek the right collaborations towards making the sponsorship of AMAA sustainable in the future. His words: “AMAA is only going to be sustainable if the private sector buys into it; drives the process and guarantees its continuity. Government will not be in the business of directly taking responsibility of funding AMAA, that is not sustainable particularly in the light of present economic challenges.” Urging corporate organizations and well meaning Nigerians to donate generously to the sponsorship of the academy, the Governor assured donors of the effective management of their funds under a special account and the Bayelsa State Accountant General, the Chief Executive Officer of AMAA and the Director of the Tourism Bureau

would be signatories to it. Chairman of the occasion and Managing Director of First City Monument Bank, Mr. Ladi Balogun, noted that the event was about the celebration of the arts, creating employment and promoting unity of the country and enjoined all to contribute to the development of creative arts. In her remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of AMAA, Ms Peace Anyiam Osigwe, said over the years, Bayelsa has invested in the future

of Nigeria through the creative arts by encouraging and nurturing budding talents, thus contributing to the capacity building of the human resource. Also speaking, the Director General of the Bayelsa Tourism Development Agency, Mrs Ebizi Brown, highlighted the benefits of the academy, which include training of 500 youths annually in various aspects of the entertainment industry. She pointed out that AMAA over the years has

gained international recognition and has helped to project the tourism potentials of the state. Chairman of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, retired Major Lancelot Anyanya called for the support of tourism development in Bayelsa and across the country, adding that oil bearing communities make huge sacrifices for the prosperity being enjoyed by all.

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left); Chief Executive Officer, First City Monument Bank, Mr. Ladi Balogun (middle); and the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo (right) during the 2014 AMAA Fund Raising Dinner at the Civic Centre in Lagos… last week


54

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Focus Compelling threat to national security Not too long ago, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, told federal legislators that he may, before long, not be able to pay officers their salaries due to a significant slash in the force’s 2014 budget. ODITA SUNDAY writes on the damage that years of neglect has done to an important security apparatus few weeks ago, the Inspector-General of A Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, raised the alarm that a major crisis might be looming in the force if the Federal Government did not reverse its decision to cut the force’s personnel budget in the 2014 budget. Abubakar had appeared before the Federal House of Representatives’ Committee on Police Affairs to defend the Police Force’s but the session turned into a lamentation over the challenging work conditions of policemen in the country. The committee’s chairman, Mr. Usman Kurmo, confirmed the IGP’s worries when he said the salary budget cut was about N13billion. He said: “As a committee, we have done a calculation on what the IGP is saying. The money is about N13bn. That is the much that was reduced in the personnel cost of the police force in the budget.” He said that in 2013, the Police’s personnel cost was N293.5 billion, which has now been reduced to N279 billion in this year’s budget. He described the slash as “surprising” since, according to him, there has been no large-scale retrenchment or retirement by the police in the last one year that could justify the reduction. The IGP, at the hearing, appealed to the committee to look into the matter urgently and resolve it before it begins to affect the salaries and allowances of officers and men of the force. Abubakar said: “Mr. Chairman, this is a serious shortfall. Very soon, it means that we will not be able to pay salaries. I urge the committee to address this in order to avoid a likely crisis. This has to do with the welfare of our personnel.” Responding, Kurmo said he had already met  with the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogu, who assured him that the issue would be sorted out. The lack of proper funding of the force is not new. Past Inspectors General of Police (IGPs) had complained over neglect, but their calls were hardly taken seriously by the political leaders. Yet, the often neglected policemen have the vital task of protecting the same politicians, their wives, children, investments and all Nigerians. They are also expected to ensure peaceful coexistence in the country. Five years ago, an average police constable earned N8, 000 monthly. Former IGP, Mike Okiro raised the bar and convinced Late President Umar Ya’ardua to increase to N28, 000. In this day and age? Even at that, the salary is regarded as very poor and cannot be compared to what their contemporaries in the military and other Para-military organizations earn. Pundits have argued, severally, that the salary “is nothing compared to the risks policemen are faced with in the course of maintaining order and protecting lives and property in the country.” Added to the poor salary are other problems such as poor training, lack of motivation and lack of modern equipment. These factors, stakeholders also argued, encourage corruption among police officers. Speaking on funding generally, Abubakar told the lawmakers that the Police’s overhead cost had, in fact, been dropping since 2009. Giving a year-by-year report, he said the overhead cost was N10.8 billion in 2009; N15.6 billion in 2010; N5.5 billion in 2011; N8.1 billion in 2012; N7.6 billion in 2013 and N6 billion in 2014. Abubakar expressed concern that at a time the police were over-stretched by insecurity, government was consistently underfunding their operations. For example, he said the N6 billion voted for personnel cost could not even cover the cost of fuelling the 10, 232 police vehicles scattered all over the country. The committee resolved that one way of addressing the problem was to prioritize the expenditure of the force, so that more money could be moved to areas of importance. “If we are really serious about transforming this country, then we must first transform the security agencies,” he added. Experts told The Guardian that a sizeable number of the nation’s over 400,000 Police force undertake menial jobs of escorting goods

Policemen on parade

Abubakar

Police barracks because of lack of welfare, poor pay and low morale. Many policemen and women also wear tattered uniform and worn-out shoes. Slow promotion is another problem. A source said a policeman could remain in one position for upwards of 12 years, not minding that the officer may have undertaken further academic programmes such as acquiring a degree or its equivalent. Many Inspectors General have attempted to stop the use of policemen as house helps to the mighty and powerful in the society. In fact, Tafa Balogun and Ogbonna Onovo directed all policemen on ‘private’ duties at the behest of influential individuals to report to their commanders for retraining and posting for pure police duties. Respect for senior officers is also very low. Abubakar had once demoted a junior officer for failing to pay compliments to the Inspector General of Police and other top police officers during an official ceremony at the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos. Police officers were also reported to have shot themselves at checkpoints over money “ that was not equitably shared.” At Police stations, complainants and suspects have to provide money for pen and paper used in taking their statements because there is no provision from the government. A senior officer confided in The Guardian: “ We run police stations on charity and the goodwill of public-spirited Nigerians. “ A visit to dozens of police stations in Lagos and other parts of the country revealed that modern information and communication technology gadgets, like computers, are not available in their offices. Police barracks across the country are also in despicable conditions. Some of the barrack structures were built by the colonial government and have become too small for the growing police population. Besides, the Ministry of Police Affairs

has done no significant expansion or maintenance work to revamp the structures over several years. From Obalende, Surulere, Victoria Island, to Apapa and Pedro barracks, all in Lagos, it is a sad tale of utter neglect. The situation is not different in other parts of the country. While the sewage pipes in many of the barracks visited have become damaged, the rooftops of several structures had also broken down. Some had even fallen off. A security expert once described Police Barracks as “a habitation for animals.” While politicians live in beautiful mansions, policemen who protect them live in squalor. So many officers still do not have decent accommodation. Many still sleep in their stations and officers mess. Another challenge is the poor state of the force’s forensic laboratory, which is vital for the successful handling of murder cases. From 1985 to date, many murder cases could not be successfully prosecuted due to poor forensic evidences. The force’s forensic laboratory has no equipment. All the machines there are either moribund or not functional. On May 24, 2011, some soldiers allegedly went on rampage in Iberepo, Badagry killing the Divisional Police Officer, a Chief Superintendent of Police and his two other colleagues who are also Senior Police Officers (SPO’s). Since the killings, their families have been abandoned. One of the victims, late Samson Okedusi, left four children and his wife, Omotayo behind. Two of his children were in the University and two others in secondary school before their breadwinner died. No grant or scholarship was awarded the officer’s children since their father died, while serving the Nigerian Police. The story is the same for many other officers killed in the line of duty. Members of their families are forcefully evicted from their official quarters barely three weeks after their bread-

winners’ demise. But for the generous support of state governments for the police, their activities would have been crippled since the federal government has consistently failed to provide the force with the state-of-the-art patrol vehicles and Armored Personnel Carriers (APC’s). Secretary to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Mr. Fola Athur Worrey does not find the Federal government’s poor attitude to the Police funny. According to Worrey, who retired from the public service as a Solicitor-General, “the key problem of the police is funding. We find ourselves in a situation whereby citizens of each state and even the Commissioner of Police now look up to the governor for their needs. This is clearly one of the fault lines in the police institution. It is not the responsibility of a governor to fund police operations in his state. What we have today is a Federal Government that is increasingly less responsive to police needs, while the police increasingly turn towards the state government and individuals for their need. “That was why we have a police force that operates on donation in Lagos. This is totally wrong. There is need to beam the searchlight on the central government, and the question should be, why is the Federal Government of Nigeria not effectively funding the law enforcement agencies in the country? When one engages any law enforcement agency, their complaint has always been underfunding. “We need to be clear on which arm of government that has the budgetary responsibility under the 1999 Constitution for funding the Nigeria Police. We cannot effectively police a country like Nigeria without ensuring that the police and other agencies are well supported in terms of welfare, working tools and other operational requirements among others.”


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 55


56 NEWSEXTRA Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Govt assures over success of privatisation process From Mohammed Abubakar, Matthias Onwe (Abuja) and Roseline Okere (Lagos) THE Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has unveiled plans to complete the liquidation process of Nitel/Mtel and review the policy, legal and regulatory framework that will prepare ground for the commercialization of media enterprises, that is, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), National Film Corporation and News Agency of Nigeria. This is coming on the heels of Vice President Namadi Sambo’s assurance that everything needed to ensure the success of the privatization exercise through post privatization activities has been put in place. BPE has therefore, projected a gross proceeds of N535.3 billion from about 23 definite transactions and 29 prospective transactions this year. The agency also hopes to realize about N211.3 billion from prospected transactions when they are executed. The Director-General of BPE, Benjamin Dikki, who made this disclosure in the agency’s work plan for 2014 in Abuja, yesterday, stated that the transactions approved for the department include, the guided liquidation of Nitel/Mtel and to review the policy, legal and regulatory framework that will prepare ground for the commercialization of the media enterprises: NTA, FRCN, National Film Corporation and NAN. He said: “We reported to coun-

cil that the court process for the appointment of the liquidator for Nitel/M-tel has been concluded when the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, granted the Petition for the Winding-up NITEL/M-TEL through a ‘guided liquidation’ process and the appointment of Otunba Olutola O. Senbore as the Liquidator. “On the media enterprises, we reported to council that a concept paper for the reform of the media enterprises has been sent to the Minister of Information and his inputs are being awaited. The objective is to review the policy, legal and regulatory framework that will enable the enterprises to operate as commercial outfits while still owned by the government. “The definite transactions in the Information and Communications department are to conclude the guided liquidation of NITEL/MTEL and the Policy/Legal and regulatory framework review to prepare

ground for the commercialization of the Media Enterprises, NTA, FRCN, National Film Corporation and NAN”. Dikki listed the passage of the eight reform bills currently before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval; implementation of the approved transactions; effective and robust monitoring of privatized enterprises; effective public enlightenment and stakeholders engagement; and enhancement of the IT infrastructure of the Bureau as some of its key performance indicators this year. According to Dikki, the critical element in the 2014 work plan will be the review and follow up, until passage of the eight reform bills currently before the FEC for approval. He added that the bills have been reviewed and finalised by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and presently before the FEC.

Dikki said that the passage of the bills would lead to the abrogation of monopoly sector laws, liberalization of the sector and set up of regulatory agencies. In pursuit of the Goodluck Transformation Agenda, these Bills seek to create an enabling environment for private sector investments in these various sectors of the economy. “The expected outcomes are inflows of private sector investments, job creation and economic growth. Once the bills are enacted by the National Assembly, the regulatory agencies would then be set up”, he added. He unveiled government’s plans to privatise the Skypower Catering and Hotel Service and Sale of moveable assets in the ports. The sale process for Skypower Catering & Hotel Services, he said, will commence as soon as the steering committee is inaugurated.

“However, the sale of moveable assets in the ports had reached advanced stage of conclusion”. Sambo was speaking when he received members of the Senate Committee on Privatization led by their Chairman Senator Olugbenga Obadara who paid him a working visit in his office. The vice president, who expressed delight with the new initiative of cross-fertilization of ideas, used the occasion to explain to the Senate the efforts of government in the entire privatization exercise. He noted the concerns expressed by the senators and posited that such issues arising after power privatization are normal and that the Federal Government was working round-the-clock and has gone far to ensure that power situation was improved and that when it finally materializes, it would take the country out of the trajectory of power problems.

Idanre agog as Ondo govt promises more succour HE ancient town of Idanre T was set agog when thousands of people trooped out in thousands to celebrate the annual Labour Party (LP) Day in the hilly town. Members came out in traditional attires specially made for the occasion as well as customized shirts with inscriptions such as: Labour Party for Life in Ondo; Mimiko is a performer; Labour Party All The Way; Mimiko All Time Winner, among others. The crowd was treated to different kind of music as the

• LP chairmen deny defection report shout of LP rented the air. Addressing the party members during the event, Chief of Staff to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Dr. Kola Ademujimi, thanked them for their support and unquantifiable contributions to the re-election of Dr. Mimiko for a second term in office. Saying that the party is still on course, Ademujimi added that the people will enjoy

more dividends of democracy as the Mimiko-led Labour Party government in the state will provide more life changing projects in the town more than they experienced in the first term. He cited the government’s safe motherhood programme – Abiye, the social security card, otherwise known as Kaadi Igbe-ayo, Mega Schools, and the urban renewal programmes of the government as part of what distinguished the Labour Party as the party for the people. He urged party leaders in the town to begin preparations in earnest for the presidential election and other elections coming up, since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released its timetable. He further urged them to commence meeting in their wards and go all out to sensitize the people with details of the coming elections.

Chairman of Idanre Elders Council and former state chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Blessing Kayode said he was excited by the turnout of the people at the event, adding that the people are happy with the Labour Party because it’s the only party that has been able to make its impact felt by majority of the people, adding that the party is the only one with the capability to  liberate the people and transform the state. The politician who had also served as the Chairman Owena Bank commended the state governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko for the transformational agenda of his government and the peace being enjoyed in the state. In his speech, the state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade said  the  love of the people for the Labour Party government has been the drive in its determination to ensure the people’s needs are met at all time.

Fowler, LIRS chief denies resignation rumours, sack By Kamal Tayo Oropo MIDST rumours of his A abrupt resignation from office to join the governorship race, the Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has declared that he has neither quit nor was he sacked over allegations of corruption. Speaking yesterday in his Ikeja office, Fowler described the report as unfounded and baseless, saying there was no way he would have resigned unceremoniously as reported in the report. He said he has no immediate plan to contest in any election, describing the reports as figment of imagination. He added that there is no way he would have done so without following the due process. “I remain in office and continue to serve the people of Lagos State in my designated position,” Fowler said. He allegedly resigned over uncertain developments and was said to have been prevailed upon to withdraw the resignation, while others claimed the LIRS chairman was axed over allegation of corrupt practices. Those holding the latter view claimed that prominent people in the state intervened on his behalf and got state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to recall him. He said the LIRS has increased the state Internally Generated Revenue monthly from N3.6 billion to N20.5 billion, saying it would continue to do its best to sensitize the general public on the need to observe their civic responsibility.

Nigeria needs N1.92tr yearly for universal health coverage By Chukwuma Muanya O ensure that all Nigerians have access to health care through a form of health insurance, the Federal Government needs to spend N1.92 trillion annually. Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Martins Oluwafemi Thomas, told journalists in Lagos that the scheme also plans to provide health insurance for 70.8 million Nigerians by December 2015. Thomas said when the National Health Bill, which has been passed by the Senate, is assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan, about one per cent of the consolidated national revenue which amounts to N30 billion yearly shall be available for providing health insurance and universal health coverage in Nigeria. Thomas, who is also a consultant surgeon at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), said the

T

amended Act of the NHIS that will ensure that the scheme becomes mandatory for all employers of labour to provide for their employees and translate the scheme to a commission that is National Health Insurance Commission (NHIC) is currently under consideration by the National Assembly. He expressed regret that unlike Ghana which has achieved 60 per cent universal health insurance coverage, Nigeria is still covering less than 10 per cent of the population despite introducing the scheme before Ghana. Thomas said: “When we talk of universal health coverage, we talk about the minimum package required to take care of the people. N1.92 trillion is needed annually to take care of health in Nigeria. We don’t have that yet but we hope to get N30 billion annually from the National Health Bill when it becomes a law after presidential assent. The N30 billion will be the one per cent

of the consolidated national revenue as provided by the bill. “The recent passage of the National Health Bill by the Senate, and the processes of amending the Act establishing the NHIS currently going on in the House of Representatives, will increase the capacity of the organisation to be more effective and responsive to the yearnings of Nigerians. “We have a presidential mandate to put 30 per cent Nigerians on health insurance by 2015 but we have actually raised that to 70.8 million Nigerians, which amounts to about 42 per cent. “The Act establishing the NHIS has been amended to make it mandatory and change it to a Commission that is National Health Insurance Commission (NHIC). We believe that universal health coverage can only be possible when health insurance is made mandatory just like the pension scheme.”


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

57

ISSUE

Historic port of Gwato and Edo’s development By Onaivi Mayaki T was Dr. Benson Osadolor, IInternational Department of History and Studies, University of Benin who wouldn’t stop talking about the ancient Benin Kingdom without the mention of the “port of Gwato.” Ugbiyiokho is the link road to port Gwato, the popular Gelegele port and 65 other communities in Benin City. The port of Gwato, which is today known as Ughoton near Ekenwan village, was the port Captain Phillips and his crew, berthed their ship, and invaded Benin Kingdom in the battle historians now refer to as the Benin Massacre of 1897. The Ughoton port and Oduna, where the village captain Phillips and his men were ambushed, killed and buried by the Benin warriors, have since become tourist centres. More important is the government’s plan to dredge the Gelegele seaport to international standard, which in itself has put communities in the oil producing areas of Ovia NorthEast Local Council Area, in limelight. And one of such communities that has gained recognition and experienced exponential growth is Ugbiyokho, meaning the community that grows “cocoyam’’ crop in commercial quantity. Ugbiyokho community is the link road to the famous Ekenwan barracks including the Gelegele seasport, Oduna and Ughoton among other several communities. In the last 10 years, Ugbiyokho can be said to be one of the highflier communities and that has favourably competed with other fast developing communities like Ugbor, Iyekoba, Umagba and Isiohor communities fast becoming metropolitan towns. Unfortunately, however, residents, developers and visitors to Ugbiyokho since the middle of last year, have experienced hardship because of the failed portions of the road. The people have these past few months daily experienced physical, mental and psychological torture, with most of them having been forced to move houses as they could not cope with constant hike of transport fares, especially each time it rained. The failed portions of Ugbioyokho became a nightmare to so many business owners, landlords and landladies, developers and even tourists.

Although Governor Adams Oshiomhole, after each media telecast of the peoples’ plight, severally urged the people of the community to exercise restraint that government would immediately address the issue as soon as dry season sets in this year. Frustrated of their several waits, the people of the Ugbiyokho, early this year, staged a peaceful protest, to draw government’s urgent attention to the failed portions. Expectedly, Governor Oshiomhole, after an unscheduled visit to the site, assured the people that the failed portions would be rehabilitated within three months to give a breather to the people. After less than four weeks, Riucon construction mobilised to site, both social and economic activities seemed to have returned to the community with the residents commending the governor for living up to his promise. Miss Ero Uwaila is a teacher at the Redeemed Christian School located at Ugbiyoko along Upper Ekenwan road. Last year, the school where Uwaila worked recorded very low intake of pupils. Parents withdrew their kids from the school in droves. Uwaila and other teachers were already preparing to say good bye to their jobs when the rain started. Reason? The school is located at the heart of one of the many failed portions of the Upper Ekenwan road. As the failed portions widened, flood water extended to the school and parents fearing for the safety of their kids and wards looked for alternative schools. Besides the school, the failed road measuring became a nightmare to residents of Ugbiyoko and 65 other communities which the road linked. Economic activities along the road and environs were paralysed. It was only landlords at Ugbiyoko that could not abandon their buildings that stayed back as ‘Rooms/flats to rent’ were inscribed on many houses. Transportation fares from the Kings Square to Ugbiyoko skyrocketed from N50 to N200 and above. The alternative routes taken by motorists are worse. Any time it rains, the fare is increased to N500 which makes many to trek home. The flood gathered on the failed portions did not dry up during the harmattan and dry season. Governor Adams Oshiomhole, at a visit to the failed portions

after several protests by communities linked by the road, apologised to the people for the long suffering they have endured due to the bad state of the road. He said the state government planned to expand the road to a four-lane road and promised to mobilise a construction firm to fix the failed portions pending the commencement of full construction work on the road. The rehabilitation work has since commenced and economic activities are gradually returning to the community and environs. This has made Uwaila and other teachers to hope that they may not after all lose their jobs. Miss Joy Ebuka, a teacher in one of the private schools in Ugbiyokho, said “we will

remain internally grateful to our governor for keeping faith with us with the rehabilitation of these bad spots. “We lost a lot of pupils last year because their parents could not cope with the situation of the increased transport fares and the stress of the long walk from their homes to schools. “More painful was the fact that some of our colleagues lost their jobs due to the reduced percentage of pupils’ enrolment. “But we are beginning to see a brighter hope again with the on-going rehabilitation of the Ugbiyokho road,’’ Ebuka said. Several residents who shared Ebuka’s sentiment, appealed to the contractor to increase the pace of work before the rains set in.

Among those who expressed appreciation to the governor is Mr. Vincent Uwadia, Chairman, Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC), Elated Uwadia, who could not hide his joy, said “this Ugbiyokho failed portion has given the commission sleepless nights as all projects in Oduna wards, seemed to have been abandoned. “We have not been able to move heavy duty equipment to sites with the about 30 ongoing projects in the oil producing communities be delayed for completion and commissioning,’’ he said. Uwadia, however, notes that “with the level of progress of the work on the failed portions, Governor Adams

Oshomohole will be invited in April to inaugurate 30 projects, including ongoing 10-km road in Oduna ward. “EDSOGPADEC has more than 30 projects in various stages of completion, including the 10kilometre Oduna-EweduIboro-Ekenwan road in Ovia North East Local Council Area. “Most of these projects have reached 75 per cent completion stage; but the failed portions of Ugbiyokho road have for long retarded progress in the oil producing areas. “With the completion of the rehabilitation of Ugbiyokho road, the commission will in four weeks’ time, invite the governor to inaugurate 30 projects in Oduna ward”, he said.• Mayaiki writes from Akoko Edo


58

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

INTERVIEW

‘Corporate governance is gathering momentum in Nigeria’ (2) By Olusegun Osunkeye

Continued from yesterday Why is your society established? HE Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria was established to improve and develop corporate governance best practices in Nigeria and international standards. Every country has its own forum like in Britain, America, Nigeria and so on. The society is a voluntary organisation founded seven years ago as an effort to contribute to the development of Nigeria through sound corporate practices so that foreign investors and local investors alike can have confidence in companies and this help to improve these standards in companies. So, the society uses advocacy to government, publications, conferences to sensitize through the media and I must say the media have been supportive and cooperative to let the investing companies and other stakeholders know the efforts and the abilities of the society for corporate governance. So, we are Osunkeye preaching ethics, probity, transparency and accountability, to the extent that we are happy most people are now doing free and voluntary training, giving their time, skills and knowledge to propagate the development of corporate governance. So the society has come to fill the void and it is doing well and also recognised. Again, we have publications of high quality that come out twice a year; it is of very high quality which those that have read it like lecturers and people in companies have found to be of good quality -  the contents and the presentations not just in Nigeria but also of international standards of best practice. So, we do what we do through publications, conferences, advocacy with government to propagate sound practices and the need for them to imbibe good corporate governance; and we are succeeding. Last year, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange – the biggest in Africa – came to sign a memorandum with us, that is just a typical example. The desired result is for many companies to imbibe good corporate governance. I also should mention that apart from publications and conferences, we go to companies to train the board and if the board by our training can attract more investments because they practise good corporate governance, they would probably pass some of the credit to us that we have been able to sensitise them, we have been able to create awareness. And then if they are practising it, their partners would know they are conscious of good corporate governance and practising it, therefore, would make them to invest in this company. So, we are achieving results but it is a subtle thing not concrete that you see. To this extent, we train many companies for effective board performance, for effective company secretaries, and secretariat functions but the desired result is when investors are happy that they can come to Nigeria to partner with other organisations. What is the strength of your membership in Nigeria and what are you doing to increase the number? Affiliation is an on-going thing. I think we are trying to establish linkages. I have mentioned Johannesburg Stock Exchange. There are others we are looking at now but remember, we are only seven years old and Rome was not built in a day. I believe we are on the road and would get there as we come along. To have been so recognised by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange means we are on the right road. Our strength is growing though we are not yet there. The more people we get to be our members, the better. Last year, about 70 members were registered so

T

Last year, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange – the biggest in Africa – came to sign a memorandum with us, that is just a typical example. The desired result is for many companies to imbibe good corporate governance. I also should mention that apart from publications and conferences, we go to companies to train the board and if the board by our training can attract more investments because they practise good corporate governance, they would probably pass some of the credit to us that we have been able to sensitise them, we have been able to create awareness. And then if they are practising it, their partners would know they are conscious of good corporate governance and practising it, therefore, would make them to invest in this company. we are creating awareness through strategies, meetings, publications and advocacies. I now urge you to join us in growing our membership by the media publicising our activities. Most of the people promoting best practices in your society are in their 70s or 80s. Sir, what are you doing to bring on board younger people to achieve your message? Amen to 80s; all of us would get there. Let us start from the beginning. Even in schools now, we should be teaching our children civics and ethics. When we talk of corporate governance humanly, it includes civics and ethics. So, if they imbibe this from school -  how they relate with one another in character, behaviour, being sensitised to the good of society and looking after the resources of the society from that early age, it makes things easier. By the time they are in their upper 30s and 50s, it is activities like this that would help  and sensitise them and draw more membership. As long as they are still active in their employment, they must be in their 40s and 50s. So, it helps the practice of sound corporate governance if it starts from the very beginning where ethics, civics, notions of character are learnt from early school days to secondary school. In fact, in family life, children should be taught about what is good and bad that to help us as a country. So, when they are getting to their working age, it strikes a chord and it is familiar to them and it emphasises what they have learnt.

CONCLUDED


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 NEWSEXTRA 59

Thousands of youths participate in Deeper Life’s YES programme

PHOTO: ISAAC TAIWO

A cross-section of participants at the event By Isaac Taiwo HOUSANDS of secondary school students from various schools in Lagos participated in the one-day Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) with the theme: “Empowerment for Greatness” organized by Deeper Christian Life Ministry at the Deeper Life Conference Centre, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The memorable encounter the students had would remain indelible in their mind. The privileged youths had

T

the opportunity of listening to the astute Guest Speaker, former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, who from her wealth of knowledge, equipped the students with relevant information and materials they need to excel in their academic pursuit. Speaking on: “Skills for excellence and employability in the modern world”, Ezekwesili rebuked every spirit of discouragement that might have crept in due to the state of the nation and the unhealthy economy and guided the stu-

Lagos group complains over non-inclusion in national confab By Emeka Nwachukwu GROUP in Lagos, Epe Youths Arise, has expressed its grievances towards successive governments’ relegation of Epe in the scheme of things in the state, calling for correction of the list of nominees sent to represent Lagos State in the national conference. In a statement signed by the co-coordinator of the group, Prince Adeyemi W.Ogunjuwon, the group noted that “there is an error in the compilation of the list and we assume the error is a deliberate attempt by the government or its representatives to continue robbing us of good living and infrastructure, so we are calling for the correction of this list as a matter of urgency.” It added: ” Why is it that Epe Division as one of the five divisions will not have at least one, nominee out of the six delegates to the national conference? That is if the sharing formula is by division but if it has to do with our dialect, the Ijebus, Awori and Eguns are supposed to have equal sharing of two representatives each. The group also said: ”We know that you leaders have set bait for us now, zoning the governorship slot to Epe and at the same time causing discordant between the self-willed contestants in order to throw the slot to another division or senatorial district. Why not allow our Obas and some leaders to give you someone we can vouch for to do well in the position instead of trying to impose people on us. According to the group: ”If our leaders had been cowed by their political leaders and associates,, we the youths will rise up to the occasion and voice out our displeasure.

A

Worshippers Assembly holds special programme HE Worshippers Assembly International (Am Alive in Christ) yesterday began its one-week programme tagged: “Success is my Birthright 2014,” with the theme: “Time of Release, from 6.00pm-8.00pm daily. On Friday, March 27, there will be vigil from 10.00p.m.4.00a.m. It will be rounded off on Sunday, March 29 , with a thanksgiving service at 9.00a.m.. Dr. O.C Ezekiel will be the guest speaker, while Rev. Michael A. Onwuka is the host.

T

Nigeria Society for the Blind holds inter- house sport HE Nigeria society of the Blind (NSB) will tomorrow hold T its 19th inter- house sport competition at the Yaba College of Technology sport ground at 9.00a.m. NSB , which was established in 1955, is a school that brings hope to people who lose their sight later in life. They have in the past years gotten people who had normal lives but got caught up later in life. The chairman, Mrs. Bola Agbaje, said the inter- house sport is organized because “physical activities build mental alertness and self-confidence.” The inter- house sport that took place last year at the University of Lagos sport centre is now to be held at Yaba College of Technology, and she has to thank the Rector Mrs. Kudirat Ladipo who permitted the use of the school’s facilities for free.

dents into their future while equipping them with such values that are consistent with determined mind willing to succeed. She educated them on how the world came out various periods of recession of which Africa and Nigeria were included. She also referred them to a country such as China that for over 30 years, laboured hard to attain significant economic recovery and has remained consistent in the past 10 years. She opened their eyes on the

possibilities of nations growing their economies and still robbed their citizens of the inherent benefits, referring to such growth as narrowbased growth through a dominant sector. “An example of a country with a dominant sector is any nation that depends on oil alone, which invariably requires experts in the field to service the sector, thereby narrowing employment opportunities. Nations falling under this category are expected to diversity to other

sectors with a view to providing adequate employment opportunities. She underscored the importance of education in nation building, making reference to a country such as Zingapore that depends on education for her development. She admonished the students to place high premium on education and highlighted those skills that were inevitable to include ability to acquire the capacity for communication, which has to do with skills to locate, gather, understand and manage information with the proviso to sift information and discard with irrelevant ones. Mastery of English Language becomes very important since they would be competing with students from every part of the world including America, Great Britain among others. Others skills include ability to get data through proper method and calculation; skill to think and solve problems; personal management skill with excellent character that would help them to always demonstrate positive attitude and behavior; avoidance of procrastination; skill to be adaptable as well as the skill to learn continuously among others. Ezekwesili, who lamented the situation in the country with 40% jobless youths, called on the government to re-introduce innovative enterprise institution as well as vocational enterprise institu-

tions that her administration conceived for public sector to partner with private sector, capable of producing 300,000 skills a year, whereby graduates from such institutions would either be absorbed into industries or set up their own businesses. T he convener of the programme, the General Superintendent, Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor Williams Kumuyi admonished the children on three messages including: Growing to glow, the Price and prize of a significant life and Empowered for greatness. The programme featured seminars for JSS students on “Taking the right steps for a successful future and becoming a successful young entrepreneur; SS students on making appropriate choice for a happy future and repositioning today’s youths for entrepreneurship; ex-students on taking advantage of limited opportunities for an unlimited future and the priority of entrepreneurship in today’s economic reality and Vocational/Technical Trainees on Making progress in spite of difficulties and benefits of entrepreneurial skills for youths. Participants including Oba Sineye, 15, SS3 student of Elias International School, Precious Isaac, 13, Priscilla Aremu, 12, and Phebe Taiwo, 12, all from Jotland Model College, said they would never forget their encounter.

Group lauds IGP’s achievements in policing By Odita Sunday NON-GOVERNMENTAL A ORGANIZATION, the National Alliance for Peace and Security (NAPS) has commended the Inspector General of Police. Mohammed Abubakar for restoring the glory of the Nigeria Police Force and engendering “tangible” transformation of police institutions. The group also commended the reform agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, lauding him for giving the IGP a free hand. NAPS believe that freedom of operation given the IGP by the president has impacted positively on the operations of the Nigerian police.

According to a press statement issued at the end of its general meeting in Lagos, the group described the IGP as “an exceptional brilliant cop who is also an administrator per excellence who has put in place a model in governance since his assumption of office as the number one cop in the country.” The statement jointly signed by Mr. Bayo Fatusin, Mazi Chibuike Jonas and Alhaji Sule Ahmed, the National Coordinator, National Secretary and National Publicity Secretary respectively, listed the various landmark achievements of Abubakar, which have put him on the frontline. They simply described him

as ”one of the best IGP’s Nigeria has ever had.” “One of his greatest achievements was the abolition and dismantling of road blocks nationwide which has greatly reduced corruption among policemen,” the group noted. The IGP was also commended for the reinvigoration of the police medical services while also ensuring the devolution of powers to Zonal AIG’s, which has brought about smooth running of administration in the Nigeria police force. “IGP Abubakar also deserves commendation for the establishment of the Police Mortgage Bank Limited to ensure that serving and retired police officers own

houses of their own. The introduction of high tech equipment which has made apprehension of criminals easier is one among many achievements of this fine officer,” the group said. NAPS, which have offices spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country, also commended the IGP for renovation of barracks across the country and building of the Goodluck Jonathan Housing Estate for the police. They added: “IGP Abubakar has not only renovated police barracks, he has also built new ones while the training and retraining of police officers has improved police performance all over the country.”

Parents’ Forum celebrates Ajibola at 80 • Donates cafeteria to Crescent varsity By Tope Templer Olaiya ARENTS’ Forum of the Crescent University, Abeokuta, has donated an ultra-modern cafeteria to the management of the institution as part of activities marking the 80th birthday of its proprietor, Judge Bola Ajibola. The new cafeteria will complement the existing ones on campus to enhance students’ comfort and choice. Commending the forum, Ajibola expressed his delight that the dream eventually came alive, noting that the chairman of the forum, Otunba Fatai Olukoga, had earlier independently donated an x-ray building to the university clinic. Ajibola also lauded parents for donating 20 sets of computers to the university. Handing over the building to the management,

P

the Special Adviser to Lagos State governor on education, Otunba Fatai Olukoga, expressed his appreciation on behalf of Crescent Uni-

versity Parents’ Forum (CUPAF) for the opportunity given the executive members of the association to contribute their quota for further development in the university.

Proprietor, Crescent University, Abeokuta, Judge Bola Ajibola (left); Chair, Parents’ Forum, Otunba Fatai Olukoga and another member, Mr. Adewale Adeogun during the opening of the new cafeteria.

Olukoga added that 60 Lagos State indigenes of Crescent University had been approved for bursary awards while some were being considered for scholarship. In a related development, while commenting on the new borehole donated by members of staff of the university, Olukoga lauded efforts and knowledge of Engineer Gbadebo, an academic staff of the university, for his successful accomplishment of a borehole on the university campus after many failed attempts of previous contractors over the years owing to the topographic nature of Abeokuta, famous for its dearth of water. Gbadebo, a trained engineer in the desert of Israel, said: “if we could locate water in the desert of Israel where I had my training, we could do it successfully here too, and we did.”


60 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com


Wednesday, March 26, 2014 SPORTS | 61

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Sports Ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup

Keshi: Nobody can buy his way into my team • Eagles to allow wives, fiancées, no girlfriends • ‘My daughter pushed me to coaching’ By Christian Okpara TEPHEN Keshi has been Ssuccessful described as Nigeria’s most coach ever. The former New Nigeria Bank of Benin captain, who led Nigeria to its third African Nations Cup victory last year in South Africa, is credited for restoring the country among the elite football playing nations of the world just less than three years in his reign as Super Eagles’ coach. Regarded in some quarters as a stubborn customer, who does not suffer fools kindly, Keshi has been able in his own unique way to mould a team that Nigerians are beginning to vouch for. But even with all his achievements, the ‘Big Boss,’ as he is fondly refereed to, still has his critics. Some because of the concern they have for the success of the team, but there are others, who rightly or wrongly, believe that Keshi is not what the people make of him. To these people, Keshi should be checked before he ruins Nigeria’s chances at the Brazil 2014 World Cup. Keshi was in Lagos yesterday for the TomTom Editors Roundtable, a programme initiated by Cadbury, where the Super Eagles’ coach meets with sports editors before every big championship and one of the issues that cropped

up was his insistence that Villarreal striker, Ikechukwu Uche is not disciplined enough to make Nigeria’s squad to Brazil. At the forum one of the questions he had to answer was the rumour in some quarters that he is victimizing Uche because the boy did not allow him to be his manager. Taken aback by that insinuation, Keshi said: “Before any of these current players started playing football, I had already made money. “Mark it, none of them can satisfy my hunger because by the grace of God I am well off. “I have never asked for bribe and you can never give me anything to entice me. I want to tell you that so many people come to me with all sorts of things because they want to induce me to call up some players, but I repeat, nobody can bribe me. “If I want money, a small country like Equatorial Guinea wanted to pay me four times what I am getting now, but I rejected it because this is my country. “I have no personal grudge against Uche. He is a good player, but not all good players can play for the national team at the same time.” Keshi revealed that he has not made up his mind on Uche and Osaze

Super Eagles’ Coach, Stephen Keshi. Odemwingie, adding, “Their chances are just like that of every other Nigerian player. “I will select 30 players for camping and every one of them has to convince me that he merits to be in the team to Brazil.’’ Although he accepts that players’ skills would come to play when the final team is being selected, Keshi added, “to be in my team a player must be disciplined. Skills without commitment will not get anybody in my team. I am saying this because when you have fine foot-

Former Nigerian captain, Segun Odegbami; Managing Director, Cadbury West Africa, Emil Moskofian; Super Eagles’ Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi and Marketing Director, Cadbury West Africa, Amir Shamsi, at the Fifth TomTom Editors’ Roundtable in Lagos….yesterday.

ballers that lack in character your team cannot succeed.” The former Anderlecht of Belgium captain believes his team is beginning to shape up, adding that he is thrilled by the enthusiasm being displayed his core players. “The team can’t wait to get to Brazil. The enthusiasm is there and the players are ready. You will see all these when we play against Scotland in London in May, but I want to plead for unity because if all of us stick together nobody can break the chain of success.” One of the issues that have troubled Nigerian football followers since the 2013/2014 season kicked off in Europe is the country’s best players’ lack of playing time in their clubs. Early in his reign, Keshi said he would not pick any player that did not play regularly for his club, arguing then that the national team was for only active players no matter where they were based. But recently, two of the Super Eagles’ best stars, John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses, have not been finding it easy in Chelsea and Liverpool respectively. In fact, Moses hardly gets any minute in the high-riding Liverpool squad just three months to the World Cup. Keshi sees nothing wrong in the players’ current situation, saying that what matters is their physical condition when the Brazil World Cup team is being selected.

“It is unfortunate they are not playing for their clubs now, but they are good footballers. I don’t need to teach them how to play football. “The basic thing is that they are fit. When I saw Mikel the other day against Arsenal, he was sharp. “One thing is that I cannot do anything about their club situation because many things come to play. I was a victim of internal club politics in Belgium and it is not something one has control over. “The basic thing is that they are fit and I think their condition when we get together will count for them. But I want to say that it is only a crazy man that will leave these two players out of his World Cup team because they are not playing for their clubs.” Keshi disclosed that the friendly games lined up for

his team would help in getting the players to the level he desires, adding, “I will use these friendly games to fine tune my strategies for the World Cup. “Winning the friendly games is not important, what matters is that it helps the team to practice what we have been telling them and shows the coaches the areas we need to work on. “Our last friendly is against the US on June 6 before we leave for Brazil on June 7 and that is when Nigerians will see the type of squad we are taking to the World Cup.” Keshi revealed that the players and officials would be allowed to travel to Brazil with their wives and fiancées, adding, however, that there would be no room for girl friends. “We don’t need distractions at the World Cup and I believe that being there with their

I have never asked for bribe and you can never give me anything to entice me. I want to tell you that so many people come to me with all sorts of things because they want to induce me to call up some players, but I repeat, nobody can bribe me. If I wanted money, a small country like Equatorial Guinea wanted to pay me four times what I am getting now, but I rejected it because this is my country. I have no personal grudge against Uche. He is a good player, but not all good players can play for the national team at the same time.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

62 | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

‘My daughter pushed me to coaching’ wives will give the players the chance to concentrate fully on the game. But there is no room for girlfriends. “Having said that, I know that these boys are disciplined and they know what we are going to Brazil to do. There cannot be any issue of distractions because all the things they have in Brazil are also in Nigeria. “But I must warn that anybody that tries to bring shame to Nigeria I Brazil would be sent home.” On the need for an experienced psychologist to help in lifting the players, especially when confronted by the big teams at the World Cup, Keshi said the team did not lack qualified personnel in that department. “I am the number one psychologist in the team. I am like their teacher, their parent and I have a strong role to play in their game. Aside that, we have a qualified psychologist, Dr. Robinson Okosun, who has done a lot for the team since I came on board. “I have been monitoring our opponents’ preparation for the competition. That is the first thing I started doing after the draws. I will be in their last two friendly games. “Our video analyst will bring in the videos of these opponents soon and we will study them together.’’ One of the issues that have caused conflict between Keshi and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is

the issue of an assistant for the coach, who has been clamouring for the recall of Sylvanus Okpalla to the team. Keshi said he was still hoping that Okpalla would be recalled, adding, however, that “for now, there is no change. But I hope things will change very soon. “But my relationship with the NFF is very good. They have not set any target for me because you know that when we came in we were nowhere. “But I have my personal target, which is for me to succeed. I will play to win every game and see where that will take us.” Keshi revealed that he would continue to give players with Nigerian parentage the opportunity to play for the Super Eagles, saying that Leon Balogun has shown that there are many good players waiting to play for his team. “But it depends on the status of the player. Balogun never played for Germany or any other country and so it was easy to get him to play for Nigeria. But any player that has played for another country at the youth level requires that the NFF go to FIFA to get such player to change allegiance to Nigeria. “I am happy with Balogun’s improvement following his injury. I think he will rejoin us by the end of May and then we will see his condi-

lured him to the profession. “Westerhof is someone who even if I had a broken leg, he would insist I came to camp because he was a good motivator. “He may not be the best coach in the world but he knows how to get the best from his players. “He first started talking me into taking to coaching despite all my protests. But before the, I had a note where I recorded things I learnt from my coaches while I was still playing. “However, I became a coach in the real sense of it when my daughter, Jennifer, then

tion.” Although Keshi says every Nigerian player has equal opportunity of making the World Cup team, he suggests that he has taken care of the goalkeeping department. “It is every difficult to choose among the three goalkeepers we have now because they are all excellent players. But the good thing is that they operate as a family. They support themselves. “People tend to criticize Chigozie Agbim because of what happened at the CHAN but they fail to realize that he was the last man in a team of 11 players. “The unfortunate thing is that each time a goalkeeper makes a mistake it is noticed immediately, but to get to the goalkeeper, the opponents have to cross 10 other people,” he said. Keshi revealed that estranged striker, Osaze Odemwingie, has apologized to the team for his misdeamenour, adding, “ we talk often and he has pledged to redeem himself. I have no problem with him.” The coach revealed that he became a coach by chance as he never thought of toeing that line on retirement from active football. According to the coach, who acknowledged the role former Super Eagles’ coach, Clemens Westerhof, played in preparing him for the role, revealed that it was actually his 13-year-old daughter, Jennifer, who

When I saw Mikel the other day against Arsenal, he was sharp. One thing is that I cannot do anything about their club situation because many things come to play. I was a victim of internal club politics in Belgium and it is not something one has control over. The basic thing is that they are fit and I think their condition when we get together will count for them. But I want to say that it is only a crazy man that will leave these two players out of his World Cup team because they are not playing for their clubs. 13, begged me to come and become her school’s coach since I was a former footballer.

“Initially, I did not take it serious, but things just fell into place and I decided to continue with the job.”

Former Green Eagles Captain, Segun Odegbami; Managing Director, Cadbury West Africa, Emil Moskofian; Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi; Former Super Eagles’ Coach, Augustine Eguavoen and Marketing Director, Cadbury West Africa, Amir Shamsi, at the Fifth TomTom Editors’ Roundtable in Lagos…yesterday.

CAF Confederation Cup:

Warri Wolves plan shocker against Tunisia’s CA Bizerte

Joshua Obaje of Warri Wolves takes on a Union Douala defender in the first round of the CAF Confederation Cup. Warri Wolves face an uphill task against CA Bizerte of Tunisia…this weekend.

By Gowon Akpodonor

• Team jets out today

ESPITE being forced to a D 0-0 draw at home in the first leg of their CAF

Executive Officer, ex-international, Davidson Owumi is sure of getting a favourable result to move on. Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Owumi said the Tunisians are beatable saying: “If they can come here and get a draw, nothing stops us from getting a win in Tunisia.” Speaking further, Owumi said: “We have seen their style of play, which I think is an added advantage to our team. I am very sure we can

Confederation Cup competition, Nigeria’s representative, Warri Wolves FC, is sounding optimistic of securing the needed victory against Club Athletic Bizerte of Tunisia this weekend. They ended the first leg goalless at the Warri Township Stadium last weekend. Warri Wolves is expected to jet out to Tunisia today for the match, which is a second round, second leg tie and the club Chief

turn the table against them in front of their supporters. That is our aim.” Wolves qualified from the first round by securing an away victory against a Camerounian team and Owumi said the trip to Tunisia is a mission possible. “We have the materials and the players have been motivated, so I don’t see any reason we can’t win in Tunisia,” he added. Wolves played well in the

first leg, but were unable to convert the numerous scoring chances they creating. Warri Wolves’ coach, Paul Aigbogun, attributed the outcome of the match to luck, saying that his side played well but could not score any goal. “I do not have any fears. We will go to Tunisia to beat them there,” he said. Similarly, the captain of the team, Goodluck Onomado, said he and his teammates had review the first leg match, adding that they are ready for the big task in Tunisia this weekend.

Zenith Bank League will boost Women Basketball, Umar assures By Adeyinka Adedipe

P

RESIDENT of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijan Umar has assured that the Zenith Bank Basketball League will improve the women game in the country. Zenith Bank and NBBF agreed a N90 million-sponsorship deal for three years starting from this season and Umar express belief that the injection of more funds would help elevate the standard of the league. He admitted that the women game lacked the quality to take Nigeria to the zenith of African basketball, but assured that efforts

would be made to change the fortune of the female game. The NBBF boss noted that its technical department headed by the federation’s vice president, Muktar Khaleh, would devise plans to lift the women’s game. “The female game is in need of a lift and the technical department will help draw up a blueprint to improve the standard of the game. “The League would become more competitive and hopefully our teams would begin to do well at the continental level. I am sure that with the assistance of the team owners, we will take

women basketball to the top.” Meanwhile, the first phase of Zenith Bank League entered Day 5 yesterday with First Deepwater, First Bank, Dolphins and Sunshine Angels maintaining top spot. In some games players yesterday at the sports hall of the National Stadium in Abuja, IGP Queens defeated Taraba Hurricanes 82-50, Oluyole Babes lost to Sunshine Angels 43-58, Nigeria Customs beat Coal City Queens 79-31, Dolphins defeated Benue Princess 7030, while First Bank outclassed FCT Angels 79-31.

President, Dan Ngerem Sports Foundation and former Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) boss, Dan Ngerem, with AIPS interim secretary general, Evelyn Watta of Kenya, at the AIPS Africa Congress in Dakar…recently.


THe GuaRDian www.ngrguardiannews.com

SPoRT Wednesday, March 26, 2014

63

Team Nigeria’s Commonwealth Games’ medals hope under threat • As ‘broke’ AFN begs for sponsors to stage Golden League, others By Gowon Akpodonor T a time many nigerian companies are falling over one another in a desperate bid to sponsor soccer fans to Brazil 2014 FiFa World cup, activities in other sporting federations, including the athletics Federation of nigeria (aFn), seem neglected. Team nigeria will rely more on aFn for medals in this year’s commonwealth Games holding in Glasgow, Scotland and from all indications, things are not working out fine for the federation in its bid to execute programmes lined up to put the athletes in good shape for international meets. Last month, the annual Pastor D.K olukoya u-18 athletics championship was hurriedly moved from Lagos to ijebu-ode, following alleged failure by the sponsor to release fund. it is not clear if the General overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles

a

Ministries (MFM) has reimbursed aFn the money used in funding the competition, which is used in selecting nigerian young athletes for this year’s Youth olympics in china. now, the first aFn Golden League event, originally planned to be rotated round five states in the country, has been moved to abuja on the ground of ‘no sponsorship.’ For about three years, aFn President chief Solomon ogba had solely sponsored all five leg of the Golden League, which usually climaxed with million naira jackpots for the winners. it was learnt yesterday that the aFn Technical committee decided to cancel the original idea of rotating the Golden League round the country because ‘no sponsor’ has step forward to negotiate with the body in sponsoring the event this year. a statement yesterday by the chairman, aFn Technical

Parlour in Nigeria, hails Airtel’s youth, sports development effort RSenaL legend and ex- their skills, thereby discovera england international, Ray ing them at a very young age.” Parlour, has commended Parlour was in nigeria for last airtel nigeria for its significant contribution for youths and sport development in africa through the airtel Rising Star african championship. Speaking at the weekend in Lagos, Parlour said, “the u-17 airtel Rising Stars africa championship has made noteworthy impact on development of youths in africa and the discovery of football talents across the continent as well.” according to him, “airtel Rising Stars has developed football in africa and given opportunities to young boys and girls in africa to showcase

weekend’s unveiling of airtel Premier club. He noted that the company’s initiative of sponsoring the u17 africa championship would go a long way to positively impact football across africa, particularly in the countries that participate in the tournament. in nigeria as part of the partnership between arsenal Football club of england and the airtel africa Group, Parlour joined other dignitaries at the unveiling of airtel Premier club, a highly exclusive event, which took place at the eko Hotels & Suites on Sunday.

committee, navy commodore omatseye nesiama said: “We have decided to use the national Stadium abuja as the venue to kick off the 2014 Golden League. We in the technical committee have decided to make personal sacrifices to ensure the meet holds whether we get sponsors or not. “The aFn technical committee, in collaboration with the High Performance System has concluded plans for the staging of a regular ‘athletics Twilight Meet’ in abuja. The first of the series is scheduled to hold on Friday 4th april 2014,” he said. “We are in touch with the nSc to assist with making the stadium available with the required lighting. We trust that our amiable Minister as well as the Director General would come to our aid in this area. interested athletes would be required to register online at least five days before the Meet,” the statement said.  according to nesiama, “the first objective is to make available more competitions for the athletes for better performance. The second objective is to provide template for staging of competitions that could be cheaper to conduct and therefore attractive to an array of sponsors.  The third objective is to provide a good complement to the Golden League.

Flamingoes need technical discipline to win World Cup, says Chukwu By Alex Monye oRMeR  Super eagles coach, christian chukwu, has heap praises  on the national Women u-17  team (Flamingoes) for  beating Mexico  3-0  in their last group match in the on-going FiFa u-17 Women World cup holding in costa Rica. chukwu, a member of the nFF Technical committee, told The

F

Organisers explain decision to hold RCCG Regions 13 sports fiesta RGaniSeRS of the maiden o The Redeemed christian church of God (RccG) Region 13 Mini-Sports Fiesta scheduled to hold between april 26 and 30 in edo and Delta States respectively say the games would help the church in winning sportsmen for God. according to the Pastor in charge of Region 13, Pastor James Dagunduro, the new converts into God’s kingdom are expected to make heaven, which is the vision and mis-

sion statement of the church. Daddy Region, as Pastor Dagunduro is fondly called, said the event was the vision of the General overseer of the church, Pastor e. a. adeboye, who believes that through sports many people can be reached for christ, adding that recent events in nigeria have shown that sports, particularly football, is becoming an idol that everybody is interested in. “on Sunday morning you will see people

Nigeria’s speed star, Ogho-Oghene Egwero is one of the beneficiaries of the AFN Golden League jackpot. Non-availability of sponsors seems to be taking a toll on AFN activities this year.

playing football on the streets instead of going to churches. now the authority over us said that this thing must be organized so that through it we can reach out to so many of them. “it is even stated in the Bible that exercise will profit our body, so when we do sports it gives us some benefit as well. Through it we can also reach out to those people that are outside that has not known the Lord.”

Guardian yesterday that the Flamingos outstanding performance in the group stage of the World cup was a  justification that  women  football  is fast developing at the grass root level in nigeria. He advised the technical crew ahead the quarterfinal match against Spain, saying that the coaches should keep working hard on the girls to be focused. according to chukwu, the match against Spain will be more challenging for the nigerian girls than the ones played so far in the competition. He however, charged the girls to work on  taking good free kicks, penalty kicks and  be more attack minded, noting that  this  qualities  would give the Flamingos  advantage when contending with an organized team. The former Green eagles captain also acknowledged  that the high number of goals the girls had scored in the championship so far has shown that they have what it takes to play in the final of the champi-

onship. “The Flamingoes has put smile on the faces of nigerians for  winning all  their group matches and qualify for the quarter final of the World cup. The girls should be more technical discipline as they progress in the championship.  They should understand that at the knock out stage of the World cup, a team must be fortified with every strategy  to out shine other opponents.

“Flamingos should expect a more organized team in the quarterfinal stage. For the girls to escape being sent home early, they should approach every game like wounded lions. The outstanding performance of the Flamingoes in the group stage has made me believe they have all it takes to win the World cup. all they need is to be more focused and always aim for  victory,’’ chukwu added. 

Glo drums support against Spain eLecoMMunicaTionS out- Flamingoes on their victory T fit, Globacom, has urged over Mexico and the subsenigeria’s u-17 women national quent qualification for the team, Flamingoes, to go for outright victory in their quarterfinal match against Spain tomorrow in costa Rica. The national women’s cadet team opened its account in the competition with a 2-1 win over china before defeating colombia by the same margin in the second group match, while Mexico was thrashed 3-0. “We congratulate the

quarterfinals, which was expected, considering the preparation they made before going into the competition,” Globacom said in a statement in Lagos yesterday. “We also know that the team players and technical crew are fully aware of what is at stake and would approach the game against Spain with all the seriousness it deserves.

2014 World Cup: Firm signs contract to take 3,000 Nigerians to Brazil By Ibe Uwaleke nigerian company, Wakanow Limited, a travel and tour operator, has signed an agreement for ground logistics with a Brazilian firm; Match connections for seamless facilitation for over 3,000 nigerians expected to watch the 2014 World cup in twelve cities. The managing director of Wakanow Limited, Mr. obinna ekezie said the firm,

a

Dancing time…The Flamingoes celebrate after beating Mexico 3-0 in their last group game. They will meet Spain in the quarterfinal.

which is the official nigerian travel and tour operator for the FiFa 2014 World cup in Brazil has chartered aircrafts from europe, asia and america that would fly the over 3,000 nigerian fans from airports across the country. Towards successful outing for nigeria for the 2014  World cup in Brazil, the Wakanow boss said it has sent its ground personnel to 12 cities in Brazil, to inspect facilities even as it has paid for the hotels, where the over 3,000

nigerian fans would put up. He said the Brazilian firm, Match connections, which he signed the agreement with, visited Lagos at the weekend to finalise arrangements for ground logistics to ensure a seamless outing for the World cup. The team from Match connections included: the account manager, Mr. antonio Prado and Mr. Guilherme Sprenger, who is a


TheGuardian

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Thompson Taiwo T was Sorious Samura, the Sierra Leonean docIattention umentary film maker, who invited global to the egregious humanitarian crisis and human-made crimes, which stole the spotlight during the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone that left 50,000 dead. These grim and gory sights, which were underreported by the Western media, he recorded with his rounded lenses and creatively dubbed Cry Freetown. The ugly live feed won him laurels and shot him from obscurity to international reckoning. The documentary tells the sad tale of morbid ambition pursued wildly by the twin consequences of unbridled cravings for power and plenteous dollar notes from diamonds. As the trappings of war ravaged Freetown, another African country on the Central African tip, Rwanda, was reveling and quaking in the glee and brutality of genocide, displacing its motto of unity, work and patriotism. To the war mongers, it was an unprecedented ecstasy and pride. To the victims and unwilling fighters, it was the most harrowing episode in the history of the country; a time to appreciate the futility of existence, including the cheapness and costliness of human lives. To live, you must pick up the rifles. The Hutu and the Tutsi came out of the maelstrom of tensions with expressed penitence and a renewed sense of humanity. If war is food and bullets the water, ask the chopped skulls of Kigali. The slippery history of Africa chronicles infamous reports of ethnic joust, civil strife, political instability, bitter tribal rivalry and indelible poverty, which have blown the continent an ill wind of death and destruction. The clichés of continual crises in Congo, Somalia and Darfur plus a few other African countries seem to suggest that the Black communities only have the dexterity to create a stifling heat of chaos not technological and scientific inventions. The political personages that call the shots on the continent have become active slaves to the thrills and seductive push of power. Power enslaved Muammar and sweetened Ghadafi to death and desert. It costs this array of leaders nothing to adorn the scrawny shoulders of malnourished and largely suffering African children with an assortment of war devices and feed their mouths with war mantras. This is the only legacy they can give to governmentacclaimed leaders of cloudy tomorrow not education, not balanced plate of food, not potable water but wounds that prick the minds for misguided revenge and disguised objectives. Just when we thought there was a lull on the battlefield and peace gradually returning to the continent, equanimity was again ambushed in the Central African Republic (CAR). South Sudan, the newest addition to world map also embarked on short walk to crisis in which personal enmity spells collective tragedy for lovers and haters of war. The remote cause of the current madness in the fledgling nation of South Sudan started as the country was born and christened. The leaders of the main ethnic constituents, Dinka and Nuer that gallantly fought for the secession of the country built its foundation on self-seeking and covert interests. To them, it was a platform to share the perquisites of power and exchange long-standing political egos and these have further underscored the length and breadth of the porousity and vulnerability of minds of those we call leaders in this clime. They hold no dream and direction for their impoverished people. They are millipede leaders. The widespread violence in Juba and other volatile regions have turned the nascent country into a mortuary of sorts. Sadly, according to reports, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the country’s army, now obey tribal orders. Ethnic loyalty has eaten up loyalty to the country. The slew of claims from government’s camp averred that the fire of atrocious eruptions was first kindled by soldiers who are supposedly saddled with responsibility of external security. President Salva Kiir Mayardit, a Dinka, has

Please send reactions and feedback for YOUTH SPEAK to:

editorial@risenetworks.org and 07067976667- SMS ONLY

Africa and millipede leaders

repeatedly accused his former vice-president, Riek Machar, who was sacked in a major cabinet reshuffle last year of being the mastermind of an alleged coup attempt on his government by a faction of the SPLA, mostly of Nuer stock, loyal to Machar. Although Riek, a Nuer, has issued a strong denial, accusing Kiir of pandering to power politics, despite his denial, it’s crystal clear that he has a stake in the cauldron of violence as is the President. Or why would he sign a ceasefire deal if he didn’t accept the responsibility of spreading the inferno. With talks underway in Ethiopia, peace might just be on the horizon. But how invaluable is peace to abused children, defiled women, amputees of hostilities and peacekeepers hacked down by child soldiers. What future holds for children trained in the sartorial art of war? Militancy and its older sibling: terrorism. In streets, dead bodies are as visible as grains of sand with blood congealing into blobs. Human lives have been sloughed off their toga

of sacredness. Roughly speaking, the International Crisis Group on January 9 put the death toll at about 10,000. Estimates provided by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs have also stated that close to 413,000 people are internally displaced while 66,500 are seeking refuge at the United Nations bases around the country and more than 74,000 have fled to adjoining countries in search of new religion: peace. If the heart-wrenching news from Africa’s newest has again confined the continent on the flip side of history, the Central African Republic (CAR) crisis would probably seal its fate as a cesspit of warfare and despotic reign. The CAR has one of the worst histories of political unrest since it obtained independence from France in 1960. It has been sliding from one army coup d’état to another, no fewer than three coup attempts reportedly hit the rocks in 2012 alone. According to Amy Martin, country head of the UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian

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

RISE GROUP

@risenetworks

21676F3E

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

Editor: MARTINS

OLOJA

.

ABC (ISSN NO 0189-5125)

Affairs (OCHA), CAR was a failed state before. Now, it’s just getting worse. Many an analyst and watchers of the disastrous events that have swept through the country like gusts of wind have pinned the blame of the spate of endless killings and general feeling of insecurity on former President Michel Djotodia’s rash handling of the dastardly and outrageous acts of his Seleka rebels. This has led to religious war among the Seleka Muslims, Anti-Balaka: A group of Christian militias and the animists. Mr. Djotodia loved the rebels more than the civil populace because they installed him after ousting his predecessor, Bozize. Unfortunately, this is a potentially rich country where pervasive poverty spreads like harmattan fire. But now that Djotodia has been forced to resign, it remains to be seen whether his successor and first female president of the country, Madame Samba-Panda, would flourish where men of warring minds have failed. We wish her the best. While the drums of conflict reverberate across Africa and people dancing to their messages, the thought that comes to mind is whether the Nigerian ruling class has learnt some hard lessons from the crass misadventures of its troubled neighbours. What informed this thinking is the barrage of inflammatory pronouncements and warnings of war from officers and hangers-on of the main political platforms, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of the 2015 elections. Latest in the series is the recent perfunctory outburst of an ex-militant, Asari Dokubo, to ignite a festival of rage if President Goodluck Jonathan is not reelected in next year presidential election. While this may be dismissed as an atrophied ranting of a shallow mind, it is important for the security agencies to go beyond the ritual of summon and stem the tide of this mannerism by applying the law against him and his ilk before the die is cast. More worrisome is the pandering to religious sentiment by players of politics with a view to dividing the country along religious lines, perhaps for the ballot. With these unsavory developments in Nigeria, there is need for political parties, their paid agents and ordinary citizen alike to tread with caution and restraint in their utterances as word is an egg and has an inherent inciting power. The country is for all adherents of faiths and tribes. We must not also forget in a frenzy of fleeting ethnic power that what binds us together is not only the bond of religion and tribe but the priceless thread of humanity. It is not untypical of politicians in this part of the world to pit compatriots against themselves to achieve the ephemerality of power and comfort for their bloated political empires. Political campaigns and tactics in civilised climes are predicated on socio-political and economic policies not on sensitive theme of religion and tribe. Religion cannot give us standard arteries, functional hospitals, food security, stable electricity, shelters and relevant educational curricular, only visionary and public spirited leadership from any tribal set-up can. Therefore, it is very important for African political leaders and their army of hirelings to understand that planting violence and hateful ruthlessness in the minds and hearts of unsuspecting populace is not the first, middle as well as last resort to settle perceived injustice in this thinking generation. More importantly, we must imbibe the spirits of love and forgiveness by discontinuing the idea of setting Africa as a testing ground for western weapons of mass extermination. To the makers and promoters of war in Africa as well as international and regional organisations, such as the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS working genuinely assiduously to end the perennial snag of atrocities and human rights abuses across Africa, in the bowel of history lies the greatest reward of all times. • Taiwo wrote from Lagos.

Wed 26 March 2014  

The Guardian Nigeria

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you