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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth Friday, March 28, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,874

www.ngrguardiannews.com

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15 die in Benue chemical attack From Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna), Mohammed Abubakar (Abuja), Isa Abdulsalami (Jos), Joseph Wantu (Makurdi), Msugh Ityokura (Lafia) and Charles Akpeji (Jalingo) LOODY raids by Fulani B mercenaries on Benue communities took another dimension yesterday when

• NEC tackles Fulani/farmers’ crisis • Group threatens self-help the marauders invaded Shengev community in Gwer West Local Council leaving 15 people dead without gunshot wounds. The worry is that the victims

did not die of gunshot or machete wounds as in the past but were foaming in the mouth, leading to fears that they may have been attacked with chemical weapons.

Another dimension may also have emerged in the Boko Haram insurgency problem as the militant sect has threatened to attack some institutions in Plateau State with explosive devices. A circular to that effect, a copy of which The Guardian picked up, said the leader of

the sect, Sheikh Abubakar Mohammed Shekau, has instructed some members in the state to send the list of institutions that, if attacked, will cause serious injuries to the state. The list of institutions allegedly sent to the Boko Haram leader include the National Institute for Policy and

Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, University of Jos, Plateau State University Bokkos, Federal College of Education, Pankshin, College of Education, Gindiri, Major Seminary, Katako, Jos, Federal Government College, Jos and Science School, Kuru. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

‘Nigeria needs N3.6b to save 100,000 lives yearly from cancer’ - Page 4 NJC suspends, may sack Rivers’ Chief Judge, Agumagu - Page 4 Moro, Paradang disagree, minister takes responsibility recruitments tragedy - Page 6

Policeman kills self, wife, six others in Ogun - Page 6

UN wants Nigerian troops in Ukraine - Page 7

Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Valerie Ebe (left); Minister of Housing, Akom Eyakenyi and President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors, Emeka Eleh, during the 44th yearly general conference of estate surveyors and valuers at Ibom Plaza, Uyo.

Court voids tolls on Lekki-Ikoyi bridge By Kamal Tayo Oropo and Bertram Nwannekanma

• Lagos faults verdict, to appeal

FTER a prolonged legal A tussle, the Federal High Court yesterday said it was il-

bridge. The judgment delivered yesterday by Justice Saliu Saidu in Lagos followed a suit filed by lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun Adegboruwa, against the collection of tolls

legal for Lagos State Government or its agents or privies to collect tolls on the recently-constructed Lekki-Ikoyi

on the bridge. However, in a swift reaction, the state government said it would appeal against the judgment because of what it termed its ambiguous nature.

Saidu held that there was no law in Lagos State authorising the collection of toll on the bridge by the government. According to the court, the power to control the Lekki Lagoon and other Federal Navigable Waterways lies with the national government in Abu-

ja. He said although the Federal Government has given some authority to the state to construct the bridge, there was no law authorising or permitting the collection of toll on it. The judge noted that the bridge was not a Public-Pri-

vate Partnership (PPP) initiative for which the collection of toll can be allowed. Justice Saliu said: “The question is: Has the third respondent, Lagos State Government, made appropriate law to enable it collect CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


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Friday, March 28, 2014

Lagos to challenge judgment on Lekki-Ikoyi bridge CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 toll on the bridge? “The third respondent only cited Section 27, 28 and 29 of the Lagos State Public Private Partnership Law 2011 as making provision for collection of toll. “There’s nothing before me to show that the subject mat-

ter in this case was as a result of the Public Private Partnership Law. “The fact before this court is that the bridge was built with the third respondent’s money. I agree and uphold the construction of this bridge as of right. “The third respondent has power to generate revenue from the subject matter, but the existing law does not cover it. “The third respondent can only enact a law to that effect before it can collect toll on the bridge.” But Ipaye said the state

would immediately file an application for stay of execution of the judgment as a precautionary measure in order to prevent people from acting contrary in complete misunderstanding of the court’s verdict. The commissioner, who briefed journalists in Lagos after the judgment, said the clarification became necessary because of the importance of the project to the state as the court never made any declarative or consequential orders, only that the court said there is no law permitting the state to collect toll on the bridge. He contended that the judgment contained at least two or three fundamental errors, firstly that the court, without addressing the submission of parties, held that the payment made by Julius Berger on behalf of the Lagos State Government to the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in respect of the bridge construction, amounted to a concession the agency was the only authority to regulate river channels in the country. Ipaye explained that the payment of N10 million was made by the contractor when

NIWA was stalling the multibillion naira construction and that Lagosthen filed the proof of payment without prejudice to the comprehensive arguments on the right of the state to control its inland waterways. Another fundamental error in the judgment, the commissioner said, was the assumption of the court that the Private Partnerships Law of Lagos State which was cited in support of toll collection did not apply simply because the bridge construction was not by public-private partnership. Ipaye further stated that contrary to the court’s assumption, Section 29 Law clearly states that it applies to public infrastructure or public assets. “Tolls chargeable under the Law can clearly be on any public infrastructure or asset, not necessarily on those built with private sector partnership. The maintenance and tolling of the bridge is in fact by a private sector company to which a concession was granted by Lagos State Government.” “It is noteworthy that the claimant never sought from the court any declaration to the effect that there was no

law to cover the collection of tolls on the bridge and the pronouncement made in this regard was not one of the nine declarations sought by the applicant,” he noted. In the public interest suit, Adegboruwa had sought an injunction restraining the Lagos State Government from collecting toll from motorists on the bridge. Named as first and second respondents in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation and NIWA, while the Attorney-General of Lagos State and the Alausa, Ikeja Government are the third and fourth respondents. In challenging the collection of toll on the new Lekki-Ikoyi suspension bridge, Adegboruwa urged the court to apply the provisions of Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution to determine the supremacy of laws between the National Assembly and the House of Assembly. But during the pendency of the suit, Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on May 29, 2013 commissioned it and announced a toll regime of N350 for Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) and N250 for cars. Adegboruwa had also submitted that once the National

Assembly had made an Act in respect of any subject, such as the Lekki Lagoon on which the bridge is erected, a State House of Assembly is incompetent to make contrary laws. He, therefore, urged the court to hold that even if the Federal Government through NIWA had authorised Lagos State to construct the bridge, such authority did not extend to collection of toll which is a form of taxation. He prayed the court to declare the collection of toll on the bridge illegal and unconstitutional. But Ipaye had argued that so far as there was a concession from the Federal Government for the construction of the bridge, the case of the applicant was nothing but an academic exercise. He stated that though Section 4 of the Constitution grants the National Assembly powers to make laws, the efficacy of such legislation would depend on the areas reserved for it. According to him, there are laws in Lagos State, such as the one on public partnership, which authorize (s) the collection of tolls on roads and therefore urged the court to dismiss the applicant’s case.

NEC demands security meeting to tackle Fulani/farmers’ crisis CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Other institutions slated for attack any moment from now include Command Secondary School, Jos, St. John’s Vianey Barkin Ladi, St. John’s College, Jos, St. Murumba College, Jos, St. Louis College, Jos, GSS Laranto, Jos, two secondary schools in Bokkos Local Council and Church of Christ in Nation (COCIN), Dadin Kowa, Jos South Local Council. “Additionally, it was disclosed that the three members of the group who have been assigned to trail the state Governor, Dr. Jonah David Jang and the State House of Assembly member, Daniel Dem, have been given enough time to carry out that operation. Meanwhile, the President of the Student Union Government (SUG) of the University of Jos, Ajik Magaji Izang, told The Guardian that he had a hint that members of the Boko Haram sect are in Jos. He said they are educating the fresh students to be security conscious and report any strange object to the security personnel for immediate action. But the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the State Police Command, Superintendent Felicia Anslem, said she did not want to believe that there is Boko Haram in Jos, adding however that all should be conscious and vigilant. Spokesman of the Special Task Force (STF), Captain Salisu Ibrahim Mustapha, was said to be in a meeting yesterday when The Guardian took a photocopy of the circular to their headquarters in Jos. But the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters, Nde Alexander Molwus, said that he was not aware of the circular.

Meanwhile, alarmed at the escalating conflict between suspected pastoralists and farmers across the country, the National Economic Council (NEC) rose from its first meeting in the year with a call on President Goodluck Jonathan to, as a matter of national urgency, convene an expanded meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to address the issue before it gets to a more frightening dimension. The proposed meeting, according to the resolution read by Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio, should include the governors of the states affected by the crises, who would meet with the heads of the various security agencies with a view to making relevant input into how the matter could be resolved. According to the Council’s resolutions, “statistics released from the meeting, which was presided over by Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, at least 17 states spread across the country are considered as flash-points as a result of the increasing activities of the attackers. Besides, the Council also expressed fears about possible food shortage if the activities of the attackers are not contained within a short period. “Council also discussed the issues pertaining to the current conflicts between the farmers and the pastoralists across the entire country. We received presentations from the NSA on the incessant conflicts being experienced across Nigeria, especially the one of sacking so many villages by criminals in Benue State and other adjoining states in the North. “According to the NSA presentation, 17 states have been identified as flash-points. Of course, such states include

Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Bauchi, Niger, Nasarawa, Kwara, Kaduna and Oyo. We also reported issues bordering on the conflicts in her southern parts of the country such as Edo, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River, particularly in the Ogoja area. “The Council also resolved to fast-track the recommendations of the committee on grazing reserves headed by Governor Murtala Nyako and which now includes Governor Gabriel Suswam as cochair in order to ensure that at least during the next Council meeting, a report on it is presented to the Council. “Council further resolved that a technical committee be set up to come up with recommendations that can resolve the conflict between the farmers and the pastoralists. Such committee should within two weeks meet with all stakeholders.” One of the inhabitants of Shengev community told The Guardian that one of the victims, his elder brother, was found dead outside his house but after critically observing his body, no cut or wound was seen on him. The chairman of the local council, Mrs. Eunice Abajwa who confirmed the invasion of part of her domain, said yesterday that they had recovered 10 bodies without wounds and had taken them to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi for autopsy to ascertain how they died. Another worrisome development is that the alleged inability of the Federal Government to put a stop to the killings may force victimcommunities to resort to selfhelp. As the uncertainty surrounding the persistent attacks on some communities in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states by Fulani marauders contin-

ues, Tiv sons and daughters in America have restated their resolve to fund their communities to defend themselves if the Federal Government failed to intervene. The Vice President of Mutual Union of the Tiv in America (MUTA), Prof. Joseph Zume, yesterday in Abuja said the government at the centre has continued to look the other way while attacks targeted at Tiv communities are being perpetrated unabated. Zume said: “It seems there is a conspiracy to emasculate our people, make them not to perform their well-known vocation of farming very well, kill them, drastically reduce their number and possibly make them politically irrelevant. “But the Federal Government has remained silent about it. We are therefore constrained to begin to fashion out a way for our people to be able to defend themselves if they are attacked.” Meanwhile, in a release jointly signed by the President, Joseph Unongo and Secretary, David Agum, the group said the situation is deteriorating by the day as hundreds of their people are being murdered and others rendered homeless in their homeland and “strongly condemned the orchestrated attacks and killings of people in parts of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states by Fulani herdsmen and mercenaries. They, therefore, “warned that if the Federal Government of Nigeria cannot defend the Tiv people from the marauding herdsmen, we will be forced to mobilise the people to defend themselves.” The group said their deciCONTINUED ON PAGE 7


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‘Nigeria needs N3.6b to save 100,000 lives yearly from cancer’ By Chukwuma Muanya and Wole Oyebade IGERIA will need the sum of N3.6 billion in ‘The big war against cancer’ initiative. This is to save lives of over 100,000 Nigerians dying of cancer-related causes yearly. The amount is the estimated sum of acquiring 37 units of Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs), to go round the 36 states of the federation and

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the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The MCC, which cost N95m, is a customised cancer detection and treatment mobile facility. It is an effective substitute where comprehensive cancer care centres are not available. The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthrophy (CECP) Nigeria, leading the initiative, yesterday made this submission, as eminent

• CECP targets 37 mobile centres to tackle scourge Nigerians rallies corporate support behind the initiatives in Lagos. Among the eminent people that met at a roundtable meeting on Thursday are Former President of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), Sir Michael Omolayole; Former Nigerian Ambassador to United Kingdom, Christopher Kolade; The Guardian

Publisher, Maiden Alex-Ibru and NIM’s first female president, Adetutu Adeleke. Others are Chairman, Standard Chartered Bank, Remi Omotosho; Elder Felix Ihewere; Chairman COSON, Tony Okoroji, Executive Secretary CECP, Dr Abia Nzelu and Member of the Inspiration FM Group, Sony Irabor

Lead Advocate, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), Maiden Alex-Ibru (left); Chairman, Standard Chartered Bank, Remi Omotosho; Convener, CECP, Mrs. Adetutu Adeleke; Chairman of the event, Dr. Michael Omolayole; Anchor, National Cancer Week, Christopher Kolade and Distinguished Advocate, CECP, Felix Ohiwerie, during the interactive session between corporate leaders and media proprietors on the “Big War Against Cancer in Nigeria” in Lagos… yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

among others. Omolayole, who chaired the occasion, said the initiative, led by CECP, was a big philanthropic charge that the corporate world must support for the sake of poor Nigerians. He noted that besides cancer being the leading killer disease all around the world today, it is both a health and human right issue. He said: “It is a major drain of resources of the Nigerian corporate world. I am here today as someone that has lost someone very close due to cancer. It is not enough to advance local talents and loose them to diseases like cancer. They have to be here long enough and well. “The good news is that cancer is preventable and the means can be made available to all Nigerians through the MCC project. At N95m each, we require N3.6b for all 37 MCCs. I encourage all corporate bodies to give their support ,” he said. Omolayole urged the private sector to emulate the Tata Group in India, devoting twothird of its yearly profit to philanthropy; Bill and Melinda Gates and the likes of Warren Buffet. Amb. Christopher Kolade was optimistic that the sum could be reached with improved awareness and commitment of the private sector. According to Kolade, “It is going to be a huge exercise in giving but we can do it. If you look at how we spend money in this part of the world, you’d realise that we can do it.

All we need to do it to turn peoples’ mind to that venture that will save a lot of lives. It is sad that lives are lost because of those diseases we can do something about.” Kolade, who is the Anchor Person for the National Cancer Week, holding between June 1 and 8, 2014, added that media must play active role, to mobilise all Nigerians “to be part of the weeklong celebration.” In the cancer week programme, reeled out by Kolade, the celebration starts with special prayers in churches on June 1; School sensitisation programmes on June 2 and a Special World Conference on June 3. Other programmes lined up are Novelty football match on June 4; Corporate Dress-Down Day Against Cancer on June 5; Special Jumat Prayers on June 6 and Grand finale - Banquet of Stars on June 7. Mrs. Alex Ibru who is also the Chairman of Guardian Newspapers Ltd, tasked the media to drive the campaign against cancer and save lives of dying Nigerians. She said the media industry could be part of the initiative by raising awareness through appropriate information on the disease; support fund raising, by publicising donation codes like 44777, through which phone users can donate the sum of N100 by texting the code. Ibru added the need for regular screening, even among the media practitioners, citing some cancers could be asymptomatic in the early stages.

may challenge his suspension. A source at the state judiciary told The Guardian in Port Harcourt yesterday that Agumagu was served the NJC suspension letter on Wednesday. According to him, the NJC had demanded that Agumagu should explain in writing why he accepted to be sworn in as Chief Judge of the state whereas he was not the one recommended by the council. A member of the legal team set up to possibly challenge the suspension, Mr. Emenike Ebete, said the action would be challenged in court after

due consultation, adding that the NJC lacks the power to suspend Agumagu because it does not have the power to appoint him. Ebete insisted that though the appointment of state CJ is based on the recommendation of NJC, a state governor is, however, not under any obligation to accept such recommendation. He contended that if the NJC felt that the CJ has breached its rules, it should have written the governor, who is constitutionally empowered to appoint, instead of taking laws into its hands.

NJC suspends Rivers’ Chief Judge, Agumagu may challenge action From Lemmy Ughegbe (Abuja) and Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) ISAGREEMENT over the merit of the appointment of Justice Peter N.C Agumagu as Rivers State’s Chief Judge (CJ) continued on Wednesday with the National Judicial Council (NJC) suspending him for allegedly breaching his oath of office to uphold and protect the 1999 Constitution as amended. The NJC also directed Agumagu to, within four days, justify why he should not be permanently relieved of his appointment as a judicial officer for acting in a manner untoward of that office. In another development, a Rivers High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has struck out an attempted murder case filed by the Police against the House of Assembly Leader, Chidi Lloyd. Lloyd has been standing trial since August 2013 on a sixcount charge bothering on alleged conspiracy to murder a colleague, Okechukwu Chinda, whose head was slammed with a mace during a fight on the floor of the Assembly on July 9, 2013, between lawmakers opposed to and those backing Amaechi. Justice Letam Nyordee, who struck out the case yesterday, also discharged Lloyd following the decision of the state’s Attorney-General, Worgu Boms, to discontinue with the case due to the refusal of the police to hand over the lawmaker’s case file to him. Boms said he filed a nolle prosequir dated March 26, 2013, due to lack of material to prosecute

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• Court strikes out attempted murder case against Lloyd the matter against Lloyd. In his ruling, Justice Nyordee said there was nothing the court could do where the police was unwilling to prosecute the matter. He therefore struck out the case and consequently discharged the Lloyd. Meanwhile, in an electronic statement yesterday by its Acting Director of Information, Soji Oye (a barrister), while conceding the authority of appointment of a state CJ to the governor, the NJC said such appointment was subject to its recommendation

and the approval of the House of Assembly. Citing Section 271 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), it noted that it did not at anytime recommend Agumagu to the Rivers governor, therefore, the NJC “does not and will not recognise” him as Rivers’ CJ. It asked the general public and all concerned in the matter, particularly the Rivers’ governor, House of Assembly and Judiciary to be notified and informed that the NJC would not deal with Agu-

magu as Rivers’ CJ. And while suspending Agumagu as a judicial officer “with immediate effect,” it asked him to explain in writing, within four days, why he should not be removed from office for his failure to abide by his oath of office to uphold the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. However, Agumagu, who was swiftly sworn in by Amaechi 11 days ago immediately after a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt nullified the recommendation of Justice Daisy Okocha as CJ

Court admits fresh evidence in EFCC’s case against Fayose From Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head South West Bureau Ado Ekiti) CONOMIC and Financial E Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday in Ado Ekiti continued its case against the former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayo Fayose, for allegedly misappropriating N1.2 billion meant for poultry projects while in office by admitting two additional evidence against the former governor. Tendering the evidence before Justice Adamu Hobon of Federal High Court, sitting in Ado Ekiti, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, who backed the documents with various sections in the Evidence Act, said the documents were relevant to the case and therefore tenable. Efforts by Fayose’s counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN) to kick against admitting the evi-

dence was over ruled and after examining the documents, the judge accepted them as exhibits P1-P3. The judge then ruled that since those documents objected to by Raji had passed through the “evidence test” they are deemed tenable and therefore admitted them in evidence and marked as exhibits N1-N5. The two counsels also engaged in hot argument over what date to pick for the continuation of the case as the counsel to Fayose wanted the case to continue in first week of July after Ekiti governorship election holding on June 21, this year, but Jacobs objected to the long adjournment date. Fayose is standing trial over alleged misappropriation of state’s money meant for poultry project when he was in

office between 2003 and 2006. The argument arose when Justice Adamu Hobon asked both counsels to pick a date for adjournment after listening to the two witnesses called by the EFCC to testify in the case. It would be recalled that Fayose was picked last Saturday as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the party’s primaries held in Ado Ekiti for the governorship election on June 21. Raji said, “My client has taken a new status. And as we all know, campaign is not an easy thing and it is time consuming. There will be a lot of preelection activities including screening officially and unofficially by INEC. “My Lord, we shall be pleading that we come back on the first week in July so that the

accused person could give maximum attention to the call by the people of Ekiti State.” He warned that any attempt to muscle his client into “a very hasty case” when he is supposed to be campaigning will be very prejudicial, adding that, “all we are pleading for is to enable him have time for his campaign.” But Jacobs, who was not satisfied with Raji’s argument, urged the court to allow accelerated hearing to enable quick dispensation of the case so that the accused will go with clean hands to face the electorate at the next election. Jacobs added: “It is in the interest of the accused My Lord to know his fate before the election. It is in his interest that the matter be heard so that his character can be cleared before he faces the

electorate. “We want the court to take its jurisdiction on the case, immediately after the election and if elected, the court will not have jurisdiction again on the case. My Lord don’t allow my learned friend’s plea by adjourning till July.” It was at this stage that the judge cautioned the counsels not to take the matter too far and advised both parties to agree on an acceptable date since both have responsibilities to their clients. For several minutes, both counsels could not agree on a date. Intermittently, counsel to Fayose was seen consulting with him while in the dock on a possible date. A sigh of relief eventually came when both counsels agreed on May 6 as the next adjourned date for the continuation of the case.


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Friday, March 28, 2014 NEWS | 5

Controversy rages over FRSC’s new number plates By Bertram Nwannekanma ONTROVERSY is raging over C a Federal High Court, Lagos, ruling that declared as unconstitutional the imposition of new number plates on motorists in the country by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). Justice James Tsoho gave the verdict on Wednesday in a suit filed by a lawyer, Emmanuel Ofoegbu, against the FRSC. The plaintiff challenged the power of the FRSC to impound vehicles of motorists who failed to acquire the new numbers. Tsoho held that it was unlawful for the respondent to impose the new number plates on motorists, where there was no existing law permitting same. “The issue of redesigning new number plates by the respondent is not covered under the provisions of any law in Nigeria. “The respondent cannot force Nigerians to acquire new number plates by impounding cars, without the backing of any legislation to that effect. “I hold that the act of the respondent amounts to an arbitrary use of power and is, therefore, illegal and unconstitutional. “Judgment is, therefore, entered in favour of the plaintiff and all the reliefs sought hereby granted, I so hold,” the judge ruled. The plaintiff had filed the suit on September 30, 2013, through a Human Rights Activists, Mr. Ogedi Ogu, of The Source. But the FRSC said no court declared that it was unconstitutional for it to produce new

number plates. It said the court cautioned on enforcement of deadline, which the FRSC would appeal. The plaintiff had sought a declaration that the threat by the respondents to impound vehicles of motorists who failed to acquire the new number plates is invalid and unconstitutional. In his statement of facts, the plaintiff averred that the old number plates were issued under the provisions of the National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR) 2004. He averred that the NRTR 2004 is a subsidiary legislation made under the FRSC Act, Laws of the Federation as revised in 2004. According to the plaintiff, the NRTR 2012, in Regulations 230 (2), provides that “the revocation of the 2004 Regulations, shall not affect anything done,

or purported to be done pursuant to that Regulation.” Ofoegbu averred that there is no law made in accordance with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which prohibits the use of the old number plate, or declares its use as an offence. He also averred that the threat by the respondent to impound vehicles and arrest motorists who failed to comply with the October 1 deadline is a gross violation of the provisions of 36 (12) of the Constitution, which guarantees the rights of individuals. He had, therefore, urged the court to declare as unlawful the threat by the respondent to arrest motorists using the old number plates because there is no law validly made in accordance with the Constitution, prohibiting its use. The applicant had also sought

an order of injunction restraining the defendants from impounding vehicles or otherwise arresting or harassing motorists who failed to acquire the new number plates. But in a statement, FRSC said it has statutory powers on number plates.  The statement by Jonas Agwu said: “Contrary to media reports emanating from an earlier Federal High Court verdict sitting in Lagos, the Federal Road Safety Commission wishes to affirm that the court judgment did not vacate its statutory powers to design and produce the new number plates but stated that the Commission lacks statutory authority to fix deadline for the enforcement of the number plates. “Ruling on a suit instituted by one Emmanuel Ofoegbu that the FRSC has been threatening

in the media to arrest  the plaintiff or impound his vehicle from October 1, 2013, or any other date for using vehicle number plates that are in accordance with the National Road Traffic Regulations 2004, the presiding Judge, Justice Tsoho, ruled that the FRSC has powers to design and produce the number plates as a national policy but cautioned that the statutory powers of the FRSC do not cover setting deadlines for conversion to the newly designed plates. “However, in another verdict, Justice Tsoho had in a case instituted by Brent Williams Limited against the FRSC, ruled that the Commission has statutory powers to determine the categories of number plates to be used by vehicles and enforce same. The court also ruled that by discharging their duties, members of the

FRSC were not performing the duties of the Police but acting in line with the provisions of the FRSC Act 2007. The case was, therefore, dismissed in favor of the FRSC with a cost of N150,000.00 against the plaintiff. “However, when contacted, the Commission’s Legal Adviser, Assistant Corps Marshal George Olaniran, commended the Federal High Court Lagos for conceding that the FRSC has statutory powers to design and produce the number plates but that the Commission will appeal the court’s verdict on the FRSC powers to set deadline for a change over to the new number plates”. The statement added: “According to Olaniran, the FRSC does not set deadline for new number plates, rather it is under the purview of the states through the Joint Tax Board to fix deadline for enforcement of the vehicle number plates.”

FCMB Capital Markets finances Nigeria’s first Green Building CMB Capital Markets LimFingited, the investment banksubsidiary of FCMB Group Plc, has again demonstrated its real estate finance expertise by acting as the sole financial adviser and arranger of US$65 million structured debt finance for a world-class property called The Heritage Place. The Heritage Place, which is strategically located in Ikoyi, Lagos, is just minutes away from the heart of the business districts of Lagos and Victoria Islands and also the most vibrant social venue in the city is set to become Nigeria’s first truly green building and will

provide over 15,730 square metres of office accommodation, and over 13,000 square metres of parking space that will comfortably accommodate 350 cars. In a statement through FCMB Capital, it explained that its involvement in the construction of the 14-storey ultramodern building is born out of the need to bridge the gap of quality office space in Lagos. “We are particularly proud to be associated with this project as it aligns with our environmental sustainability principles and adopts cutting-edge technology to fulfill not just

today’s environmental expectations, but also that of the future”, the financial institution added. Executive Director, FCMB Capital Markets, Mr. Tolu Osinibi, said: “We are excited to be the Financial Adviser and Arranger for The Heritage Place, because the building will set the bench mark for office accommodation in Nigeria”. The Heritage Place is the first commercial building to achieve the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification in both design and construction in Nigeria. The iconic design,

prestigious address and barraising specification set a new standard for Nigeria’s architectural landscape. The landmark development is equipped with all state-ofthe-art finishes and facilities such as ample car parking facility, raised floors and suspended ceilings, high space efficiency, reception area, meeting rooms, café/coffee shop and a plaza. Some of the environment friendly approaches adopted in the construction of the complex include water recycling and re-use, automatic presence detectors and high efficiency lighting, building

orientation to maximise natural light and ventilation and high efficiency glazing and external thermal envelope. The building has a 30-40 per cent reduction in energy use compared to those of other buildings in Lagos. FCMB Capital Markets Limited is an adviser of choice to Nigeria’s leading companies and public institutions and has been involved in landmark transactions in Nigeria over the past three decades. They provide comprehensive advisory services, combining innovative advice and proven execution skills, to domestic and multinational clients.

TheGuardian on Saturday

POLITICS

COVER

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 2014

Epileptic Power Supply And The Fate Of Nigerians With the epileptic power supply and over- billing of consumers across the country, which has led to pockets of protests, The Guardian takes a look at the situation in the sector and why things have remained the same.

Worries, Disagreements And Discordant Tunes As Confab Is Adjourned Again

LOVE&LIFE

‘Life story from abroad: ‘Is it possible to wait too long to get married? These and more in The Guardian tomorrow. Grab your copy


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6 NEWS Thursday, March 28, 2014

Abducted Ebonyi ex-official found dead

We have returned Alamieyeseigha’s loot to Bayelsa, says EFCC

From Nnamdi Akpa, Abakaliki HE kidnapped former CoT ordinator of Okposi Development Centre, Ebonyi State, Hon. Ihebunandu Okorie, has been found dead in a forest located at the hilly part of Ekoli Edda in Afikpo South Local Council of the state. Okorie was killed by his abductors, a source close to the family, who pleaded anonymity said yesterday. According to the source, the former coordinator’s body was found in the forest in a pool of blood. It will be recalled that Okorie was abducted inside the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Obioha Okposi by gunmen after attending a church service. Reacting to the incident, Ebonyi State Police spokesman, ASP Chris Anyanwu, told journalists that the command would brief the press on the details of the incident today. The state police command had told newsmen that the command was tracking the kidnappers, adding that they have located the site where the vehicle used for the kidnap was abandoned.

MEND claims attacks on Shell, Agip From Willie Etim, Yenagoa HE Movement for the T Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) yesterday claimed responsibility for the armed attack on facilities belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Delta and Bayelsa states respectively. While claiming that yesterday’s attack on the Shell Forcados Sub-C pipeline was carried out by its scuba divers, it said that last week’s attack on the Agip crude oil and gas pipelines at Ikarama Oil Fields was carried out by their armed men. A group, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), had raised alarm over a major spill from two different pipelines within the Agip oil field in Ikarama community. According to the report by the Head of Field Operations in ERA/FoEN’s Bayelsa office, Mr. Alagoa Morris, the oil thieves excavated the earth to expose the pipelines, which they abandoned after their illicit act.

Civil servants award self pass mark at 60 From Anthony Otaru, Abuja HE Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) has traced the unity and oneness of the nation today to the efforts and sacrifices made all these years by civil servants. Chairman of the FCSC, Deaconess Joan Ayo gave the details yesterday at a press briefing to mark the 60th anniversary celebration of the commission in Abuja. She said, ‘’but for the public service, Nigeria would have long been broken into pieces. It is the public service that has stayed for the country both in times of troubles and in times of wars, during the various military regimes, coups and countercoups, the civil service held the country together.’’

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From Abosede Musari, Abuja HOSE calling for return of the repatriated Diepreye Alamieyesegha’s loot to Bayelsa State government should be told that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has already released the funds and assets to the state. Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said at a press conference yesterday in Abuja that the commission returned the assets valued at N3.1 billion to the Bayelsa State government in 2010 during the tenure of Timiprieye Sylva as governor. Also returned by the former chairman of the EFCC, Farida Waziri, on July 10, 2010 were $4441,000, 7,000 Euros and 2,000 Pounds. “The commission acted professionally in the management and return of these assets in line with the order of the Federal High Court, Lagos which convicted the now pardoned former governor. It is therefore regrettable for anyone to want to make a media issue out of a settled matter. However, it is gratifying that the Bayelsa State government acted responsibly by distancing itself from the action and withdrawing the case filed in court,” Uwujaren said. According to him, the commission will not succumb to blackmail from anyone. Also yesterday, Uwujaren said the commission would not tolerate attacks on its operatives in the discharge of their lawful duties. The warning was necessitated by an unpleasant occurrence whereby a suspect, Tajudeen Oluwanishola, allegedly ran over an EFCC operative, Jonathan Barde with his Honda Accord car in Gbagada area of Lagos while trying to evade arrest.

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Nigeria LNG Managing Director/CEO, Babs Omotowa (left); Mrs. Olupona and her husband, Prof. Jacob Olupona; Mrs Arese Carrington and her husband, Ambassador Walter Carrington during a speech title, ‘‘Nigeria in Need of Dreamers of a Certain kind,’’ at Harvard University, United States.

Policeman kills self, wife, six others in Ogun From Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta police corporal attached to the Ogun State Command, Mr. Sunkanmi Ogunbiyi, yesterday ran amok and killed seven persons, including his wife, also a police corporal, after which he shot himself dead. Before killing himself, Ogunbiyi kissed his two children, bade them goodbye and handed them over to a commercial motorcyclist to take care of them. Three persons who received gunshot wounds during the incident were rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta where they were admitted for treatment. Those he killed, apart from his wife, Oluwatosin Ogunbiyi, included a landlady who is simply referred to as Iya Basira, a two-year baby girl, three males and another female. The scene of the crime was Akinbola Ifelodun Estate, Eleweran in Abeokuta. The scene attracted hundreds of sympathisers even as a detachment of policemen was deployed to guard the scene. The incident, according to an eyewitness, Mr. Tunde Akinbade, who lives nearby, occurred at 5.30

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a.m. He told The Guardian that the corporal’s action was a bottled up anger which “over-burst” yesterday. He explained: “Ogunbiyi (killer cop) used to live in one of the houses near this place (scene of crime) and he and his wife were very close family friends of Iya Basira (deceased landlady). “While they were living here, anytime he (Ogunbiyi) quarreled with his wife, the wife would leave her matrimonial home with their two children to live with Iya Basira in her house.” He said Ogunbiyi had on several occasions warned Iya Basira not to harbour his family anymore, a warning Iya Basira failed to heed. “About two weeks ago, the deceased couple again quarreled and the wife packed to Iya Basira’s house. Ogunbiyi came and hid in a bush near Iya Basira’s house and surveyed the area, and having satisfied himself that a soldier who lives in the area was not around, he rushed to Iya Basira’s bedroom, shot her and her two-year old grandchild who were sleeping.” He also gunned down other tenants in the house who

heard the gun shots and rushed out from their rooms to find out what was happening. “After that”, Akinbade said, “the killer cop went to a nearby house and gunned down a commercial motorcyclist who is said to be close to his wife. Thereafter, he kissed his two children, bade goodbye and handed them over to the commercial motorcyclist who took him to the scene and asked him to take care of them after which he shot himself dead”. There were blood stains and bullet shells at different places within the uncompleted six-bedroom bungalow. About 12 policemen are

now guarding the area. The Ogun State Police Command’s Spokesman, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, described the incident as unfortunate and confirmed that the dead policeman carried out the dastardly act with his official riffle. Adejobi said: “He (Ogunbiyi) was on night duty and as soon as he closed, he rushed to carry out the shameful act”. Answering a reporter’s question, Adejobi stressed that Ogunbiyi did not exhibit any trait of insanity. “I even saw him yesterday (Wednesday) and he was looking too quiet. When I asked him why, he did not answer.”

Religious leaders caution ECOWAS against planned pact with EU From: Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs Editor S the summit of the Heads of State and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) begins today in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigerian church leaders are demanding for a stay of action on the proposed signing (by the regional leaders) of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Eu-

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ropean Union (EU). There has been earlier criticisms by experts against the planned agreement which they described as “economic slavery” of West Africa by Europe through the creation of a free trade area that many fear would encourage dumping and ultimately kill the dream of industrialisation of the area. The conclusion of the EPA, regional security and insur-

Moro, Paradang disagree on recruitment into Immigration From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja) HE controversy generated by the tragic Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise recorded a twist Thursday as Minister of interior, Comrade Abba Moro, openly took responsibility of the incident. He told the Senate that as the Minister of Interior under whose purview this unfortunate exercise took place, he cannot abdicate his responsibility and as such, he accepted that the buck stops at his table. “We are deeply grieved and saddened about the way events turned out. We express our sincere regrets once again. However, permit me to state that our patriotic desire was the pursuit of a more honest, transparent, cost effective,

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• Minister takes responsibility a more efficient and equitable platform. “We sincerely made appropriate and adequate preparations for a hitch -free exercise, but as most things in administrative and human conditions, the yield curve of expected outcome is mostly undefined. “My heart goes out to the families of those who have lost their dear loved ones. I sincerely sympathise with those injured. I share in their grief. I share in their pains. sThe loss of these young Nigerians, who are needed as a critical human resource factor for nation building is most regrettable,” he said. Moro however dismissed as untrue, allegation that he took unilateral decision in

awarding the contract to a consultancy firm, pointing out that most members of the NIS board were at the meeting where the decision to award the recruitment contract was taken. But the Comptroller General of the NIS, David Paradang, told the Senate Committee on Interior carrying out the open investigation that he was never aware of the decision to carry out the recruitment exercise, pointing out that no board meeting was held to take that decision. Insisting that due processes were adhered to in the recruitment exercise, Moro said: “In the 36th meeting of the Board held on May 23, 2013, the award of the e-Recruitment contract and its

terms were conveyed to the Board which noted and approved the non-involvement of the Ministry, the Board and the Nigerian Immigration Service in the collection of Technology/application processing fees”. Paradang told the Committee that as the Comptroller General of NIS, “I am not aware of any decision taken by the board to appoint any consultant for the purpose of recruitment but I obeyed the last order when I was told that the Minister had taken decision”. He said he made series of efforts to get the budget office approve some funds for the recruitment but failed because the budget office insisted that funds for such recruitment could only be accommodated in the 2014 budget.

gency as well as the newly berthed trans-coastal transport initiative are high on the agenda of the summit of heads of state. Insisting that: “We Have the Right to Say NO to the Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU” the Most Rev. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, President of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA) and Primate of the African Church Worldwide, noted yesterday in Abuja that instead of allowing the situation to get out of hand, “We demand for full transparency and accountability of the EPA negotiations.” Udofia who led a delegation of religious leaders to confer with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed and the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade Ahmed Hamid, said “We, the people of faith oppose the hasty push for conclusion of the EPA between ECOWAS Commission and the EU Commission during the forthcoming ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments summit”, The 12 member delegation comprising senior church leaders from Nigeria and the FECCIWA Secretariat added that “Hurried EPA conclusion will send wrong signals to ECOWAS Member States on the importance of people’s participation in economic and social development.


Friday, March 28, 2014

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Poly students protest against closure, seek Jonathan’s intervention From Saxone Akhaine, Northern Bureau Chief HE protracted closure of T polytechnic across the country following the disagreement between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has drawn the ire of the students, who yesterday in Kaduna, Kaduna State, demanded the inter-

vention of President Goodluck Jonathan. Trooping out in their numbers under the umbrella National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), the students expressed rage at the continuous shutdown of their schools since over 11 months ago. The students, who were escorted by the police within the Kaduna metropolis, car-

ried placards, chanting songs and demanded the immediate reopening of all polytechnics for academic activities. Addressing a rally at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna Secretariat, NAPS President, Comrade Salahudeen Lukman, urged President Jonathan to intervene, warning that the industrial action, which has kept students out of school, could

make them cheap tools in the hands of insurgents. “It is with the strong voice of the entire Nigerian polytechnic students that we demand the hand of President Jonathan to save our souls and career from the deadly Boko Haram, which the 11-month ASUP strike is costing us.” He said that unless Jonathan intervenes, the situation might grow worse than imag-

ined, stressing that any further delay in reopening the polys could “cause more damage to our already destabilised institutions.” He commended Jonathan for resolving the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike, noting that “the problem bedeviling technological advancement in Nigeria is poor funding and less attention to industrial and technical education.”

Obiano seeks partnership with FG on road development From Nkechi Onyedika (Abuja) HE new Governor of T Anambra State, Willie Obiano, has called for collaboration between the state and the Federal Ministry of Works on road infrastructure development. Speaking when he visited the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, yesterday in Abuja, the governor who

thanked the Federal Government for the various interventions in the areas of roads and bridges in the state, said his tenure would focus aggressively on road construction and rehabilitation to link communities in Anambra. He said: “I am here to appreciate the minister for the good work he is doing in Anambra State, and to seek

his support and extend the same kind of cooperation they gave to my predecessor to me. Roads are very important, both on land and water and bridges. So, we are going to get aggressive in road development in the rural areas, bridges to link our communities.” Obiano, who stressed that roads are very important to the people of Anambra, said

he would bring details of other roads that require government’s intervention to the attention of the ministry for necessary action. Responding, Onolememen expressed the ministry’s readiness to partner with Anambra State more than ever before and also ensure speedy completion of ongoing projects in the state. “ It is our hope that we will

even raise the stakes in your tenure because we have quite a number of ongoing projects in Anambra State, and there is no other better way to guarantee the completion of those projects than a very good collaboration between your state government and the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works.

they cannot fold their arms and remain mute as “communities at home are being ravaged and our people being killed, maimed, and rendered homeless by the Fulani and their cohorts.” Yesterday, fear of impending attack by suspected Fulani marauders heightened among communities on Lafia-Makurdi Expressway, leading to the residents fleeing for their lives. From communities and set-

tlements along the ever-busy Lafia/Makurdi Road after Mopol 28 Barracks in Lafia, the long stretch to Kadarko, a usually busy town renowned for pounded yam and bush meat delicacy, has been deserted. Motorists and others plying the road have expressed fear due to the absence of security operatives. One of the commuters who spoke with The Guardian regretted the attacks on inno-

cent people, which he said, has brought untold hardship to the people. “Travelling on this road is no longer safe. Can you imagine driving for over 15 kilometres without seeing any resident? Boko Haram has threatened to destabilise Plateau State through explosive attacks on some institutions in the state as part of their efforts to wreak havoc on the relative peace being enjoyed in the

15 die in Benue chemical attack CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 sion was hinged on the fact that the attacks are all unprovoked, motiveless and rather gratuitous, as “it is disturbing that what started as a local dispute along the Benue-Nasarawa axis a few years ago, has now manifested as a well-orchestrated agenda to over-run Tivland. “This is evident both from the expanded scope of the attacks and the sophistication

with which they are executed. The most recent well-coordinated attacks and devastation of Tiv communities in Makurdi, Guma, Gwer, Gwer-West, Kwande, Logo and Katsina-Ala local councils of Benue State are suggestive of a deeper plan than meets the eye, and we warn the perpetrators and their sponsors to think twice - it won’t be that easy.” Unongo said as Tiv sons and daughters in The Diaspora,

UN wants Nigerian troops in Ukraine From John Okeke, Abuja HE United Nations (UN) T has urged Nigeria, which has the highest number of men in the agency’s peacekeeping mission, to wade into the ongoing crisis involving Russia and Ukraine by sending its troops to restore peace before it escalates. UN Department Secretary General, Mr. Jan Eliasson, made the call yesterday in Abuja when he visited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali in his office. “We commend you for your contribution in peace keeping operations at the UN in Sudan and Central African Republic, when there was crisis there,” Eliasson said. “You are aware of the issues involved in Ukraine crisis. We are involved in some of the crisis in some of the African countries. Of course you are a leading nation in Africa. We came to seek your cooperation.” He stressed that there is no development without peace, adding: “We want you to continue to be our partner in peacekeeping because with Nigeria’s support, we will be very strong.” Responding, Wali said that Nigeria has been responding appropriately to issues of peacekeeping and would continue to do more in that regard. He also urged the UN to support the country in its development drives, stating that the country is in dire need of development.

TheGuardian on Sunday Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014

COVER

Corruption In Nigeria, Real Or Imag-

RESIDENT Jonathan thinks perception of Nigeria as a highly corrupt country in the international community is exaggerated and not in tune with the reality on ground. Year after year, Transparency International (TI) ranks Nigeria among the most corrupt countries of the world. If the outside world perceives Nigeria as being utterly corrupt, how do Nigerians perceive themselves and their country?

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POLITICS

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NEWSFEATURE EDICAL science thinks good things can come out of Marijuana (Indian Hemp). But the Law says it is harmful and dangerous. Some countries are working to bridge this gap, but elsewhere, as in Nigeria, users help themselves outside the Law.

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IGH cost H of orthodox medicare and the shift to herbal remedies.

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PHOTONEWS

Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke (left) receiving the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral O.C Medani during a visit to the governor in Calabar.

Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime (left); Theodore Orji of Abia; Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, after the meeting of South East governors in Enugu.

Elected local council chairmen in Nasarawa State taking their oath of office in Lafia. Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun (middle), with first set of beneficiaries of the Homeowners’ Charter programme initiated by the state government, after they were presented with the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) and title documents of the properties at the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta.

President, Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC), Sani Ndanusa (left) and Director-General, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Abdullahi Muku, during a courtesy visit to the NGA head office in Abuja.

Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Adebiyi Mabadeje (left); Consul General, Republic of Singapore, Dr. Shuki Gleitman; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Nike Animashaun and Special Economic Adviser to Committee on Research and Development Policy for Israel office of the Chief Scientist, Shlomi Parizat at the Exclusive Dialogue on engaging the private sector in Nigerian Innovation by the Ministry in Lagos. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Rahamatu Aliyu Abarshi (left); Nnoli Akpedeye; President, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Adebisi Osim and Christy Ejabena, all engineers, during the APWEN public lecture titled “Strategies for Flood Mitigation” in Kaduna.

Marketing Manager, Non-Alcoholic Drinks, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Sampson Oloche (left); Chief Executive Officer, Corporate World Entertainment, Ayodeji Makun (AY) and the Corporate Media and Brand Public Relations Manager, Edem Vindah during the Maltina Laugh Out Loud (LOL) briefing in Lagos.


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WorldReport China to strengthen internet security over United States’ spying report HINA will beef up its interC net security in response to recent reports that the United

President Goodluck Jonathan (Third Right); United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson (Third left); Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali and others during Eliason’s visit to the presidential villa, Abuja, yesterday.

States government spied on a major telecommunications firm, the Defence Ministry said. Reports that the U.S. National Security Agency infiltrated servers at the headquarters of Huawei Technologies Co. “lay bare the United States’s hypocrisy and despotic rule,” ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told a briefing. “For a while now, some Americans have jabbered on and on, condemning Chinese hacking attacks,” he said. “But the truth is that this is without any basis in fact, it’s simply a thief crying ‘Stop, thief!’” The ministry did not say what steps would be taken to strengthen Internet security. The White House has said that the U.S. does not spy to gain commercial advantage.

Cyber-espionage has cast a shadow over China-U.S. ties, with each side accusing the other of spying. On Saturday, The New York Times and German magazine Der Spiegel published articles on information about Huawei contained in classified documents given to journalists by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden. In the same briefing, Geng warned the United States not to sell arms to Taiwan, which China sees as a rogue province. U.S. sales of weapons to the democratic and self-ruled island have long incensed Beijing. Asked about a mass stabbing at a train station in a southwestern city in March that left 29 dead and about 140 wounded, Geng said that the military was well prepared to “strike back at all kinds of violent terrorist activities”.

Weather hinders hunt for missing Malaysian jet as new leads emerged IGH winds and icy H weather halted the air search yesterday for a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet presumed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, just as new satellite images emerged showing what could be a large debris field from the plane. The latest possible sighting of wreckage from Flight MH370, which went missing 19 days ago, was captured by a Thai satellite in roughly the same remote expanse of sea as ear-

lier images reported by France, Australia and China. “We detected floating objects, perhaps more than 300,” Anond Snidvongs, the head of Thailand’s space technology development agency, told Reuters. “We have never said that the pieces are part of MH370 but have so far identified them only as floating objects.” An international search team of 11 military and civilian aircraft and five ships had been

heading for an area where more than 100 objects that could be from the Boeing 777 had been identified by French satellite pictures earlier this week, but severe weather forced the planes to turn back. “The forecast in the area was calling for severe icing, severe turbulence and near-zero visibility,” said Lieutenant Commander Adam Schantz, the officer in charge of the United States Navy Poseidon P8 maritime surveillance aircraft de-

Philippines, Muslim rebels sign historic peace deal HE Philippines and its T largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), yesterday signed a final peace pact, ending about 45 years of conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people in the country’s south. The fight against Muslim separatists and Maoist guerrillas for almost five decades has stunted growth in resourcerich rural areas, besides scaring off potential investment in mines, plantations, energy and infrastructure. Under the pact, Muslim rebels agreed to disband

guerrilla forces, surrender weapons, and rebuild their communities while the government gives them self-rule with wider powers to control their economy and culture. But potential threats to lasting peace remain, ranging from a small breakaway MILF faction to criminal gangs, Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and feuding clans, all a reminder to potential investors that region is volatile. President Benigno Aquino and Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, who briefly put aside his own country’s problems over a missing Malaysia

Airlines jet to witness the event, smiled and clapped as peace panel leaders signed the autonomy deal. “Let us exchange our bullets for ripening fruit, our cynicism for hope, our histories of sorrow for a future of harmony, peace, and prosperity,” Aquino told a gathering of officials, diplomats, lawmakers and Muslim community members. “I will not let peace be snatched from my people again.” The event marked the final chapter in stop-start negotiations that lasted 17 years.

World’s ‘longest-serving’ death row inmate freed for Japan retrial man believed to be the A world’s longest-serving death row inmate walked free from jail yesterday after decades in solitary confinement, in a rare about-face for Japan’s rigid justice system. A slightly unsteady-looking Iwao Hakamada, 78, emerged from the Tokyo prison with his campaigning sister after Shizuoka District Court in central Japan ordered a fresh trial over the grisly 1966 murder of his boss and the man’s family. Presiding judge, Hiroaki Murayama said he was concerned that investigators could have planted evidence to win a conviction almost half a century ago as they sought to bring clo-

sure to a crime that had shocked the country. “There is a possibility that (key pieces of) evidence have been fabricated by investigative bodies,” Murayama said in his ruling. Shizuoka prosecutors, who have three days to appeal the decision, told Japanese media that the court’s decision was “unexpected”. Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialised democracy to carry out capital punishment, a practice that has led to repeated protests from European governments and human rights groups, who say the justice system is heavily

skewed in prosecutors’ favour. Hakamada is the sixth person since the end of World War II to receive a retrial after having a death sentence confirmed, and his case will bolster opponents of capital punishment. Of the past five former deathrow inmates who received retrials in Japan, four were subsequently cleared. Higher courts threw out a retrial motion for the fifth prisoner, although his lawyers have submitted a fresh request for a retrial with new evidence. After his arrest, Hakamada initially denied accusations that he robbed and killed his boss, the man’s wife and their two children before setting their house ablaze.

tachment. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the effort, confirmed flights had been called off but said ships continued to search despite battering waves. “It’s the nature of search and rescue. It’s a fickle beast,” Fly-

ing Officer, Peter Moore, the captain of an Australian AP-3C Orion, told Reuters aboard the plane after it turned around 600 miles from the search zone. “This is incredibly important to us. The reality is we have 239 people whose families want

some information and closure.” The Malaysian airliner, on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, is thought to have crashed with the loss of all 239 people aboard after flying thousands of miles off course.


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Politics THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

We expect emergence of new Nigeria, says Amucheazi Elo Amucheazi, Professor of Political Science and Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought, pioneer Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the Anambra State University, spoke to Southeast Bureau Chief, Kodilinye Obiagwu, on the possible success of the national conference. Right now, we are talking about Ndigbo, Ndi Yoruba, Ndi Arewa and their position. The basic point is for the ethnic nationalities, which were bundled into a nation, to come together and renegotiate their mode of existence. I believe the conference will turn out to be that. And if it does, what else do we want? I will be surprised if it doesn’t. The zonal representatives we are talking about will eventually end up as the ethnic nationalities. What I see is that the scope of delegates and the modalities recognizes the ethnic nationalities but has included other interests. Ultimately, they will come round and agree on a position. Even among us Ndigbo where it looks as if we have a division, in the end, everything will be harmonised. Every person wants this country to remain united.

OW much confidence do you have in H this national conference to resolve some of the problems that have necessitated its convocation? I have so much confidence in this national conference. I believe that President Goodluck Jonathan might end up being called the father of modern Nigeria if this national conference works out.  Has the argument about whether the product of the conference will lead to a new constitution or a further amendment of the 1999 Constitution been settled? There is no doubt that the deliberations at the conference will eventually lead to a new constitution. Okurounmu and his people are involved in double-speak on this aspect. In one breath, they will say that the report ought to go to National Assembly, and in another breath, they will say that the conference will decide whether to send it for a referendum. I am convinced that they know what they are saying. If it goes to the National Assembly, it is definitely mean that it will end up as part of the amendment of the 1999 Constitution. The National Assembly cannot promulgate a new constitution. If conference report goes to a referendum, then it means that we are talking of a new constitution. I believe everyone is working towards getting a new constitution through a referendum. Do you share the position of some critics that faulted the timing of the conference as too close to an election year, with all its distractions and therefore certain to fail? The tenure for the conference is only three months. What are we discussing that we can’t finish in three months? What are the areas of contention that will drag us beyond that? As far as I am concerned, the touchy area will be fiscal federalism — when we will discuss how resources will be shared. Should the federating units control the resources in their areas? Should a percentage be given to them? To get the formula for distributing the revenues in the central pool will be tasking.  If something goes wrong with this conference in a manner similar to when the Obasanjo conference became the vehicle for another agenda or delegates agree to go their separate ways, will it be a confirmation of the doomsday prophecy that Nigeria will disintegrate in 2015? I don’t see Nigeria breaking up; I don’t see any Nigerian wishing for the country to break up. I don’t also think this conference

Amucheazi will fail. Instead, if conclusions cannot be reached on a number of issues, the conference can be postponed. It is a continuous struggle; the development of a nation is a continuous process. There will be a few areas of disagreement but they can be ironed out. Do you find any significance in the fact that the conference is coming in the same year that Nigeria is celebrating its centenary? It is significant. After 100 years as a nation, it is necessary to take stock and see how far we have gone as a nation. As we move into the start of another 100 years, we have to rectify things in some areas and move on. What do Ndigbo actually mean when they say they are looking for true federalism?

What we have right now is almost a unitary system of government. In a true federation, the constituent units, which are the federating units, have a lot of powers. The Federal Government merely coordinates activities or gets involved in matters that affect the generality of the country and not what concerns individuals and individual states. We expect the Federal Government to be concerned with only about five items, namely, Defence, Immigration, Foreign Policy, Customs and Monetary and Fiscal Policies, and in the process set standards in those areas. The states will now worry over other areas like education and agriculture and health. The problems we are having, for example, with the universities won’t have arisen if we had true federalism. If we are running a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria with unitary principles, it will eventually break.

What we have right now is almost a unitary system of government. In a true federation, the constituent units, which are the federating units, have a lot of powers. The Federal Government merely coordinates activities or gets involved in matters that affect the generality of the country and not what concerns individuals and individual states. We expect the Federal Government to be concerned with only about five items, namely, Defence, Immigration, Foreign Policy, Customs and Monetary and Fiscal Policies, and in the process set standards in those areas. The states will now worry over other areas like education and agriculture and health. The problems we are having, for example, with the universities won’t have arisen if we had true federalism. If we are running a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria with unitary principles, it will eventually break. We have seen how countries like the Central African Republic, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union collapsed. Is there anything different from what Ndigbo are asking from what they asked for during the National Political Reform Conference of former President Olusegun Obasanjo? We have been consistent with our demand for true federalism. We are not talking about creation of states. If the Southeast is a federating unit, nothing stops it from creating as many states as it wants. If the six zones are seen as the federating units, then allocations are shared based on

that structure. Each zone then takes its share back to its units. It is anachronistic talking about the councils as federating units, but a state can create as many councils as it likes. These are some of the excesses of the old regimes.  Essentially, Ohanaeze and the Leaders of Thought have disagreed on some points. For example, there is no agreement on the national dialogue being an ethnic nationalities conference or a delegates’ conference... When issues are being raised, some people, who don’t understand the issues, just jump into them. The Professor Ben Nwabueze-led The Patriots were the people who persuaded the President on this conference and Nwabueze has been talking about ethnic nationalities. Right now, we are talking about Ndigbo, Ndi Yoruba, Ndi Arewa and their position. The basic point is for the ethnic nationalities, which were bundled into a nation, to come together and renegotiate their mode of existence. I believe the conference will turn out to be that. And if it does, what else do we want? I will be surprised if it doesn’t.  The zonal representatives we are talking about will eventually end up as the ethnic nationalities. What I see is that the scope of delegates and the modalities recognizes the ethnic nationalities but has included other interests. Ultimately, they will come round and agree on a position. Even among us Ndigbo where it looks as if we have a division, in the end, everything will be harmonised.  Every person wants this country to remain united; we fought a civil war because we want the country to be one. Every ethnic group is coming with a position. The Yoruba have said they want a confederation; Ndigbo, like the South-South, have said that they want true federalism. The North Central also talks about true federalism. So, already there is a meeting point. People don’t want a unitary system of government and I believe we will work it out.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Friday, March 28, 2014 NEWS 11

The man, Emefiele By Ade Ogidan, Business Editor HE emergence of the Managing Director T and Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Plc, Godwin Emefiele as the Governor-designate of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) took not a few analysts by surprise. Indeed, when earlier permutations on the successor to Lamido Sanusi went viral, Emefiele was never in the reckoning, as his conservative quiet disposition veered the gaze away from him, despite his robust credentials for the job. Therefore, when President Goodluck Jonathan announced his appointment, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, the publicity shy banker became the cynosure of all eyes, with analysts recovering from the initial shock to admit that “a round peg has finally been put in the round hole.” Expectedly, prior to his nomination for the plum job, not much was known by the general public about Emefiele. For instance, the 52-year old banker, who hails from Ika South local government area of Delta State, was all along known as “Lagos Boy”, having grown up and lived most of his adolescent and adult life in the former federal capital city. He actually started his formal education at Government Primary School, Victoria Island (formerly Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Igbosere, Lagos Island) in 1967 and in 1973, enrolled at Maryland Comprehensive Secondary School, Ikeja, where he passed out in June, 1978, with his West African School Certificate. He thereafter proceeded to University of Nigeria, Nsukka and bagged his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Banking (Second class Upper) in June 1984. Emefiele got his Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA), specialising in Finance in 1986, from the same university and even emerged the Best Graduating student for the course of that year. He served his National Youth Service Corps assignment also at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu campus during the 1984 to 198 service year as Assistant Lecturer and thereafter became Assistant lecturer in the institution till 1987, teaching Principles of Insurance. He joined the banking industry in 1987 as Credit Analyst (large corporates) at NigerianAmerican Merchant Bank and joined Industrial Bank Limited (Merchant Bankers) as Assistant Manager, Credit and Marketing Group in 1989. In 1990, he joined Zenith Bank as Manager, Corporate Banking and rose through the ranks to become Executive Director in 1999 and Deputy Managing Director in 2001. He succeeded Jim Ovia as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank in 2010 and has since then been steering the ship of the financial institution, making it the country’s most profitable and largest bank by shareholders’ funds of N470 billion) as at 2012. Emefiele has also grown the bank’s total assets from N1.9 trillion in 2010 to over N2.6 trillion in 2012, with its current market capitalisation rising to over N715 billion. Over the years, he has attended various development courses in institutions and training centres within and outside the country. For instance, he went to deepen his knowledge of macroeconomics at Oxford University, having obtained various qualifications and executive education studies in negotiation, strategy, leadership, critical thinking, delivering value/profit from Harvard University, Stanford University and University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Business School). The multiple award-winning banker has piloted Zenith Bank into emerging Bank of the Year 2013 by The Banker magazine; Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2013 by the World Finance; Best Bank- Retail and Corporate Banking 2013 by KPMG; Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria by CFI; and Bank of the Year 2013 by BusinessDay. Others are Best Bank in Corporate Governance 2012 by World Finance; Best Commercial Bank in Africa 2012 by CFI; Best Bank in Nigeria 2012 by Global Banking and Finance Review; and Biggest Bank in Nigeria and 322nd in the world by The Banker magazine. Besides, he was voted the CEO of the Year 2013 by African Development Magazine. Emefiele has been described variously as an

astute manager of people and resources and a corporate governance savvy professional banker, who has earned several personal and corporate endorsements and achievements. He is a man who is an expert in forecasting and takes steps, leveraging on his excellent acuity and calculated risk-taking skills to crystalise any benefits from existing and future opportunities. The several achievements of Zenith Bank since he took over stand him out as an accomplished banker and erudite manager of human and material resources. His capacity for leadership and eye for growth opportunities is evident in the bank’s performance and geometric progression on a number of parameters. A system’s-person and unassuming achiever, Emefiele knows and understands banking and the unique Nigerian economy like the palms of his hands. He had been part of the core people who built the Zenith culture, and understands the direction of the board and shareholders of the bank viza-viz the realities and focus of the larger economy. He knows and understands that the responsibility to deliver is non-negotiable. Currently, Zenith Bank is the largest bank in Nigeria and the seventh largest in Africa by tier-1 capital. Forbes & CNBC Africa ranks Zenith bank as the third biggest company in West Africa In January 2009, the bank was adjudged to be the ‘Most Customer-focused Bank in Nigeria”, according to a survey conducted by KPMG. The survey, which focused predominantly on corporate customers of banks, including companies in a variety of sectors found that customers were most satisfied with the services offered by Zenith Bank. Zenith Bank has greatly impacted banking in Nigeria, literally lifting the sector from the era of over-conservatism to one of healthy conflict and dynamism, characterised by a culture of excellence and global best practices. This has been achieved through a combination of the power of vision and a skilful union of banking expertise and cutting-edge technology to create products and services that meet and anticipate customers’ expectations. Under his leadership, Zenith Bank has grown its agriculture loan portfolio ranking amongst the highest contributors in growing the industry’s lending from one per cent in 2010 to over four per cent in 2012. The bank also took active part in financing some of the power projects that changed hands from government to the private sector investors. With this in mind, Zenith Bank’s contributions to Nigeria’s macroeconomic growth are seen to be very commendable. The bank is adjudged to be of incredibly high standard not just on a national level but an international one. Under Emefiele’s watch, Zenith Bank shares currently trade on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) following a listing of the $850 million worth of its shares at $6.80 each in a major step aimed at improving liquidity in the stock through Global Depository Receipts. Impressive performance parameters such as these are an eloquent indication of Emefiele’s rare penchant for banking and unflinching ability to mitigate existing inefficiencies that often exist in business. Speaking at a forum this year, he said, “Year 2014 is obviously a harbinger of change in several aspects of our endeavours and it is not unlikely that even business-to-business and business-to-customer interactions will be recalibrated. The reform in agriculture and power will begin to take roots and positively impact Nigeria and the citizenry and at Zenith, we are well poised to take advantage of opportunities there-from in a manner that would support the Nigerian government determination to ensue and sustain achievements in the social and economic realms of our livelihood.” He said: “We will leverage on new experience gathered, knowledge acquired and successes achieved but in large part, we shall

make conscious effort to contribute to the overall development of the economy the best we can. We shall focus on creating greater mileage from our engagements through a deliberate diversification of our approaches, expectations and focus. “ According to him, our challenges will include, though not limited to, further elevating our standing as a reputable financial institution by establishing a corporate structure that can stay imperturbable. Emefiele is confident that going-forward, with the rich experience garnered over the years will put him in good stead in accomplishing positive results as helmsman of the apex bank. Already, he has also promised to take measures to support the Naira that has remained under pressure for quite sometime now. During his screening exercise at the upper house, he told the senators that he was “aware that the core mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria is to achieve the monetary and price stability. Another core mandate of the CBN is to ensure that we have a strong naira and build strong foreign reserve. We are also expected to ensure that we have a strong financial system in Nigeria. “We would ensure if approved, that whatever monetary policy decision that would be taken would be those that would improve the level of employment in Nigeria, because we know that employment is very important. “We know today that we have an employment emergency in Nigeria. And we must ensure that whatever decisions we take at the CBN in the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) would be those that would lead to improvement in the level of employment in Nigeria. “We would ensure that we work with the manufacturing companies to ensure that we improve on their level of production and by extension, ensure that we improve and achieve economic growth in Nigeria. “Aside from these core mandates, we would ensure that the CBN and all stakeholders in the economy would play a central role towards ensuring that we grow the Nigerian economy. “Growing the economy of Nigeria is a very important assignment, other than just the core mandate of ensuring that we have a stable environment.”

Emefiele


TheGuardian

www.ngrguardiannews.com

12 | Friday, March 28, 2014

Conscience Nurtured by Truth

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

Editorial INEC and permanent voter cards HE Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC)’s plan to begin distribution of 60 million permanent voter cards in June and September this year ought to be cause to cheer, but doubts ramain that it will come to fruition, judging by the track record of the commission. In well-attended and much-publicised events in Abuja and Ilorin, INEC justified the use of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) as a fundamental factor in ensuring credible elections, and announced that distribution would commence in June. Prior to this disclosure, the Commission had revealed that it has learnt ‘bitter lesson’ from the 2011 elections and, having come to the realisation that credible voter cards are crucial in conducting free and fair elections, it is better oriented towards the conduct of credible election, using the forthcoming Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections as test-runs. What is the ‘bitter lesson’ learnt from the 2011 elections? It can only be assumed that it entailed the sudden awareness that the temporary voter cards were fragile and susceptible to abuse by unscrupulous persons, who used them to manipulate elections. Is INEC just suddenly coming to the realisation that temporary voter cards are fraud-prone? In 2012, INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega had told Nigerians that the commission would commence the issuance of the permanent voter cards in early 2013. At the beginning of 2013, the INEC chairman announced again that the PVCs would be ready by the end of 2013. Nearly two years after the initial announcement, INEC has fixed June and September this year for the distribution of the PVCs. Why this continuous shifting of dates? While it is understandable that INEC has many logistic challenges Nigerians cannot entertain more excuses for such administrative maladies. INEC is there to produce results, and not to be tolerated. What is the assurance that come June 2014 the commission will hand these cards successfully to Nigerians? In any case, what is a permanent voter card? What makes it permanent? Does it possess any form of security mark that is consistent with today’s smartcard technology? Or is it just one of those plastic cards with analogue facilities? It can only make a difference if it will employ advanced smartcard technology. In response to expressed worries on this issue last year, INEC had responded that the PVCs “are chip-based, with the chip on each card containing all the biometric data of a legitimate holder. “During the election, the PVC will be swiped with a card reader at the polling unit to ensure 100 per cent verification of the voter before he/she is allowed to vote.” By this system, an illegitimate holder of the card will be detected. When INEC officials explain the workings of the PVCs, they give the impression that they are explaining some high level astronomy. Is it not the same technology applied by some private firms. Why is INEC making it seem so complex? If it has taken the commission three years to announce (and not distribute) the so-called readily available Permanent Voter Cards of registered Nigerian voters who were issued temporary voter cards in 2011, how long will it take for those who will now be registered with a temporary voter card to get the permanent one? INEC should wean itself of its weeping boy status, motivate its personnel to understand the enormity of the job and stop giving excuses for failures. The distribution of the PVCs is long overdue. INEC should hand the cards out to voters, and get down to preparing for next year’s crucial elections.

T

LETTER

EFCC and its 117 convictions in 2013 In a country where SwayIR:corruption is seen as a of life, no meaningful development can be achieved. Corruption seems to have pervaded every sector of Nigeria visà-vis our moral and social life. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) despite all odds gives hope to Nigerians in its fight against the malaise especially with its recent record of 117 convictions in 2013. Despite the numerous challenges faced by the Commission in prosecuting cases, the rise in the number of convictions shows that any obstacle is surmountable. Of the 533 cases filed within the year, it is worthy of note that the Commission was able to secure 117 convictions. This to me is commendable effort. However, it is hoped that the Commission will not rest on its oars in 2014. It is also expected that they will bite harder by securing more convictions especially of public offi-

Sadly too, these so-called public officials who guzzle the nation’s fund take advantage of some constitutional loopholes to frustrate trials in court. They do not only frustrate trials, they also try all within their power to cripple the anti-graft agencies in an attempt to make them toothless bulldog and puppets in the hands of the elite class. cials who have looted the country’s commonwealth and holding our nation hostage through corruption. They still enjoy their loot. An instance is that of the son of a governor in a north central state, who was arrested at the Mallam Aminu Kano Airport who was prosecuted by the Commission and convicted for money laundering. Sadly too, these so-called public officials who guzzle the nation’s fund take advantage of some constitutional loopholes to frustrate trials in court. They do not only frustrate trials, they also try all within their power to cripple the anti-graft agencies in an attempt to make them

toothless bulldog and puppets in the hands of the elite class. The fight against corruption in this country must not be left in the hands of the anti-graft agencies alone. It should be a collective fight. Our laws need to be strengthened in a way that corrupt people will be made to face stiffer penalties. The EFCC Act needs to be amended to make the Commission independent. The judiciary needs to step up efforts towards ensuring quick dispensation of justice. Above all, against the backdrop of the public saying that EFCC is grossly underfunded fight corruption. •Ngozi Alexander, Maraba.


THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Friday, March 28, 2014

13

Opinion Of corpses, crowds and confab By Eriye Onagoruwa ID you read about the dungeon the police “D discovered recently in Soka, a satellite community in Ibadan? Human skulls, decomposed bodies and various body parts were removed from the place. I also read that the forest was a market place for trading in all kinds of body parts with different high profile clients coming at night to bid for corpses”. “I did read about it. But what does one say in response to a story like this? I understand there were also about 18 persons who were rescued from the site”. “Fortunately, the police have swung into action and say that they will investigate the incident in all its ramifications”. “What does that mean?” “What do you think it means? Simply put, they will investigate the crime in its totality and get to the root of the matter”. “I’m not sure even the police believe the veracity of their statement. How much ‘totality’ can an ill-equipped police force investigate? There are no forensic tools, empirical research or data analysis for that kind of comprehensive investigation. Basic tools such as computers and laptops are not available. Worse still, if it is true that there are big men involved, the investigation is as good as stalled or finished even before it starts”. “O well, if there are big men, after the investigation, we would have to set up a three-man committee to look into the outcome of the police report”. “Very sad. Especially when you consider that there so many similar forests and dungeons with all sorts of horrible sub-human practices in most parts of Nigeria.” “The Governor of Oyo-State observed a minute silence in honour of the victims. I suspect a lot of Governors would do the same thing in their states as more dungeons are discovered. He also revoked the C of O of the place and vowed to get to the bottom of the matter”. “Hmmm. My brother, too many things happen every day in this country that make one wonder if it is just not one long never-ending Nollywood

script or fable with scary characters”. “Look at what happened at the recent recruitment exercise for immigration: A senseless waste of lives and a stark reminder of the timeticking bomb that is known as unemployment. Even more depressing when you consider that this was the same thing that happened about four years ago. Nothing learned, same process, same mistakes and yet an expectation of a different set of results”. “The Minister of Interior said that the crowd was unruly and that preliminary information available to him showed that people who did not apply for the job, attempted to break into the stadium forcefully and in the process, people were trampled on and lost their lives”. “That is like telling us that the weather is very hot right now in Nigeria or that generators are an integral part of any business or home. I’m not sure if his remark is simply a banal response or a lack of appreciation of the critical issues that underpin this shameful exercise. Even if people did not attempt to gain entrance forcefully into the stadium, the crowd inside was clearly reflective of a fundamental flaw.” “A lot of people have likened the crowd to a world cup crowd. In the light of this, how do you carry out any meaningful assessment? In this technological age, why was there no computerized process for the assessment? Considering that a similar incident had happened before with attendant loss of lives as well, there should have been more innovative ways to manage the recruitment exercise”. “Do not be too harsh in your criticism. The minister has gone ahead to institute a panel of enquiry to look into the incident. The Government has cancelled the exercise and promised automatic employment to families of the deceased”. “We would soon have calls for a Federal Ministry of Committees and probes going by the rate at which we institute futile probes, panels and committees. I am sure a similar panel was set up four years ago”. “That the result has been cancelled or automatic employment promised is an attempt to detract from the substantial issues. There needs to be recognition that unemployment

is an endemic problem and those in government cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results. The unemployment malaise is one that has a rippling effect with far-reaching consequences for this country”. “Ah!, calm down for Jesus. Whorisit? Your grammar is becoming too much. The Minister will not read this if you continue in this fashion”. “Can you imagine that the sum of one thousand naira was also collected from each applicant? Talk about making money from a flawed process”. “My brother, this is Nigeria. We are innovative in sharp practices. That money would be put into an escrow account, the proceeds of which will be shared, while some will be kept to serve as the salaries for the successful applicants”. “It is interesting that nothing has been said about the money”. “Na waa for you o! What do you want them to say? Abi you want them to return the money to the applicants? That subject has entered voicemail”. “The government has also set up a committee to probe the incident. The NIS has also denied any involvement in the recruitment exercise”. “It is the same blame game that we are used to and the inability of our leaders to take full responsibility for their actions or inactions.” “Our leaders seem like they either come from another planet or reside in another planet. I read the interview Steve Wozniak granted a national newspaper when he came to Nigeria and I wondered if any government official bothered to read the interview”. “What are they reading it for? The man has too much beards to be taken seriously. Our leaders are used to clean shaven, erudite thieves who pontificate every of their conversations with “to God be the glory”, “it is well”, “Nigeria belongs to all of us”, “this country needs your prayers”, “deep calls unto the deep”. Those are the ones they listen to and eulogize”. “Abeg do not make me laugh. Which one is “deep calls unto deep”? “I’d soon be on my way. The light situation has become so unbearable. Generating sets are

like the third arm of government in Nigeria. I need to go and get another one for my house”. “My dear, let us not talk about power or the lack of it. It is what the Yoruba refer to as Oro di hun (case closed). We are now at the stage where we are just looking.” “By the way, why didn’t they have a slot for youths at this national conference, eh? It would have provided a good opportunity to discuss issues of national importance and concern. It is sad that we do not have any representation at all and yet, ironically, we are referred to as the future of the nation and the leaders of tomorrow”. ‘‘My greatest problem with you is the fact that you are too naïve. You tend to believe everything you hear. This crop of leaders has no plans for you or the future of Nigeria. They themselves do not believe that Nigeria can become a developed nation or have a sustainable future. I advise you to just try and buy diesel for your generator, spray your room to get rid of mosquitoes and have a good night sleep”. “I spoke with the conference delegate from my zone. I was clear in my request. I let him know that his emoluments were public knowledge so I don’t want to ask him for money and start hearing stories that touch the heart. He has no excuse now”. “Ha! It reminds me of the man who applied for a job in an organization. He told the Human Resources Manager that he had no excuse now because the person who occupied the position for which he had been applying for was finally dead. He attended the funeral to confirm he was dead. He also attached his resume and a copy of the death certificate to the application letter”. “Ha! How did he get the death certificate?” “A panel of enquiry would be set up to evaluate this development.” “The relevant authorities would soon swing into action and ensure that all the stones run out of the ground until the matter has been investigated in all its ramifications”. “Na you sabi. The man no fall our hand. This is Naija. We no dey carry last”. • Onagoruwa is a legal practitioner based in Lagos.

Earpiece menace and reading By Akodu Kehinde HE just-concluded economic summit in Nigeria dealt with T the fallen standard of education. Speaker after speaker woke the country to the reality and magnitude of the rot, and propositions for a lasting solution came in torrent. They fingered the tardiness of teaching and learning as contributive factors. Of course how learning takes place involves nature of the reading culture, a function of the changes in societal sophistication in technology. This article looks at students’ obsession with listening to music while reading through the use of earpiece, a phone accessory. I frequent libraries these days. I see mostly students and young adults use earpiece by hanging it down through both ears and connecting it to the phone placed somewhere on the reading table. On a particular visit to the University of Lagos (UNILAG) library, students hanged out in clusters just outside the library building drunk in language (English) spawned fast rhythm of it (sometimes the colloquial way) to whoever was part of the cacophony without any perceived order. I rolled into the library looking for a reading table to possess a section; I panicked for a moment and thought, “These students who nod as if responding to a stimulus, which stimulus are they responding to: the subject being read or the subject of the music?” The intrusion was so strong any careful and present-minded observer would feel it in both conscience and consciousness. The earpiece has an in-built speaker. The plastic casing, its outer covering, is designed to conserve the sound waves and conduct them efficiently into the ear canal, to the eardrum. The air path in the earpiece is generally a horn shape with a narrowing column of air, which increases the air displacement at the eardrum, increasing the loudness confined to the eardrum of the user, the outside environment thereby shut out. Whatever level of loudness, surely, will constrain and distress the human brain designed to select one activity at a time. If the reader, therefore, confronts the brain with two or more activities at a time the brain will ask the question: “Which of these activities do I select? How do I process and store them?” The human brain is not designed for multi-tasking. It can select and beneficially process one, only one activity at a time. To read

and listen to music at the same time becomes a composite for listening to music while lecture goes on. The human brain is not designed to juggle itself or switch forth from one activity and then back to the other ad infinitum. The resultant prolonged selection because of multi-tasking stalls beneficial reading. Neurobiologists insist that the human brain being the smallest = the size of a cauliflower – and the most complex human organ controls our daily functions including motor control, visual processing, auditory processing, sensation, learning, memory and emotions. Not just hearing and reading! The human brain gives us the power to speak, imagine and solve problems. It is an amazing organ. Reading, however, one important human activity is found to be associated with either fall or rise of education standard in Nigeria and other countries of the world. Poor reading culture especially among children and young people has resulted into poor education standard in Nigeria. Listening to music while reading, therefore, remains an onslaught technology brought upon beneficial reading and high standard of education. Scholars have argued we are in an age that no more considers reading as a relevant leisure activity – compared with interactive activity on the Internet, television, film, and music. Consideration of music as relevant leisure activity over and above reading surely tips concentration during reading in favour of music. What this means is students who listen to music while reading are likely to give their concentration to music than to reading. Children of our time have relegated reading to the background. Scholars corroborate this fact. They believe decline in reading among children and young people occurs because reading is considered a solitary pursuit as it no more forms part of children’s social interaction. Children now prefer to spend more time with their friends than to remain at home reading. Added to music, adults and children enjoy television and films as a way of enjoying their leisure instead of reading. It is plausible then to argue that students congregate in the libraries not really to read, but to identify with friends who also enjoy their unsolicited music in the library. Fruitful childhood and studenthood is over for children and young people who do not read – they will not claim fruitful and responsible adulthood either. No one can attain any meaningful existence without reading. The ability to read well is absolutely critical to success in life.

Reading is the foundation of much enjoyment in life and is pivotal for vocational efficiency. Scholars believe students and employees must read to keep abreast of happenings in their fields. Reading is about the only form of relaxation, self-improvement and entertainment that is also an essential life skill. It must, therefore, be nurtured from a child’s earliest years. No matter the sophistication level as children, they will always need support in order to attain full potential as readers. It is unfortunate that some teachers who should be guiding light to the students, gaffe when faced with reading challenges. Governor Adams Oshiomhole gave an indication of this in his intervention in one of the National Economic Summit Group (NESG) sessions. He told the gathering of a teacher in Edo State who couldn’t read a sworn affidavit she presented as one of her credentials. The Chairman of the State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Patrick Ikosimi, called the show of shame an embarrassment. In the same state was another teacher who couldn’t successfully name two local government areas. As British colony, literacy culture in Nigeria ought to be as standardised as that of Britain. Findings show that about 99 per cent of British citizens can read and write. Cuba, a country adjacent to America, has the highest rate of literacy in the world. Cuba has a vibrant economy despite decades of diplomatic conflicts with America. In essence, the percentage of a country’s citizens who are literate determines the way of life of the nation. Literacy makes the nation. Thank God the economic summit is over. The Vice-President has promised to table the outcome before President Goodluck Jonathan. He also promised the resolutions of the summit will not go the way resolutions before it: being cast into the dustbin of history. There is need to declare a state of emergency in the education sector because of the crisis of literacy, a menace ravaging our children and young people right now. The National Policy on Education places inculcation of permanent literacy and numeracy, and ability to communicate effectively as one of the objectives of school education. The library must provide resources to complement education. To the mind of this writer the most urgent resource needed now is abiding discipline. Discipline must be fully in charge of affairs of reading in our libraries. • Fr. Kehinde, media scholar and social commentator, writes from Lagos.


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Friday, March 28, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Opinion Entrepreneurship to the rescue By Ahmed Popoola N Saturday March 15, 2014, Nigerians woke O up to the bizarre – about 522,650 graduates were assembled in major stadia across the country to write an employment test and participate in physical fitness for recruitment into the elite cadre of the Nigerian Immigration Services. The candidates were all vying to fill about 4,556 vacancies in the Service, according to the newspaper sources quoting the Minister of Interior. If all the 4,556 slots were filled at the end of the exercise, less than one in a hundred applicants would have been employed. We do not know how many persons actually applied for the jobs. At the end of the day, 18 of the applicants died due to stampede while hundreds were injured in various locations especially in Abuja, Lagos, Port Hacourt, Makurdi, Gombe, Calabar, Osogbo, Ibadan and Yenagoa. A typical scene was that of the National Stadium, Abuja where about 70,000 applicants were engaged in a stadium with maximum capacity of 60,000. In the first place, the hapless candidates parted with N1000 each to undergo a recruitment exercise for appointment into the public service of Nigeria. The implication is that our country is ready and does not mind to swindle its own citizens in an attempt to generate revenue. Whatever the intent of charges, it exposes our government as an institution that is not ready to spend our taxes to provide services for us. In fact, it will be interesting to know whether the Ministry or its affected parastatal actually budgeted for the recruitment exercise in their 2014 budget. This is in the same country where some organisations actually reimburse applicants for their cost of transportation, and sometimes, are responsible for their accommodation. If a private enterprise was to come up with this type of arrangement, it would be described as a fraud and the organisers would be promptly arrested and, possibly prosecuted. Hence, this incident once more brings to the fore the quality of thinking and leadership at strategic levels in our country. It has exposed the quality of decision-making in government offices. That a proposal to conduct recruitment exercise in the way we have seen sailed through all approval

levels in a federal ministry speaks volume. It portrays Nigeria as backward and our managers as intellectually lazy, lacking in ideas and in the ability to execute simple project. More profound, this incident has brought out once again, the challenge of youth unemployment in our country and the need to grow the private sector as the preferred providers of job opportunities. By official statistics from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, unemployment rate is about 24 per cent. It is known that the actual situation is higher and may not be less than 50 per cent for youth unemployment. As an operator in the private sector, I know the pressure we go through from job seekers and their relations and the number of candidates we interview on the average, to fill a position. Thus, the proportion of shortlisted candidates to the available slots to be filled is not an abnormality; it is a reflection of the current situation in the country. It is already reaching a crisis point. My antidote is to invite stakeholders to embrace entrepreneurship. Available statistics, which is an outcome of a credible survey by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), classifies Nigeria as an entrepreneurial nation. Nigerians see opportunities, not challenges. The 2013 GEM Survey indicates that 82 per cent of adult Nigerians perceived entrepreneurial opportunities and see entrepreneurship as a good career choice. This is one of the highest in the world and underscores the entrepreneurial spirit in a typical Nigerian. Opportunity-driven entrepreneurs are encouraged into entrepreneurship by the opportunity they perceive and choose to pursue. They are different from necessity-entrepreneurs who are pushed into considering business venture because they have no other choices and no other source of income. As a factor-driven economy, the potential need to be turned into actionable activities for people who are desirous of making success of their lives. But Nigeria has not seized the opportunity to provide those interested in entrepreneurship with the necessary tools and support. Most problematic factors in doing business in Nigeria include inadequate supply of infrastructure, corruption, challenge of obtaining necessary permits and limited ac-

cess to finance. Nigeria is poor in the provision of major infrastructure that drive ease of doing business such as transportation, electricity, permits, etc. In the 2014 ‘Doing Business Report’ of the World Bank, Nigeria ranked 185 out of 189 economies surveyed on the ease and availability of electricity, surpassing only Tajikistan (186th), Madagascar (187th), Guinea-Bissau (188th) and Bangladesh (189th). Transportation does not fare better. Movement of goods and persons is done principally only by road in Nigeria. I believe the government needs to pay more attention to how citizens who are desirous of making a legitimate and honest living can be empowered. We need to bring down the level of unemployment and rate of poverty which have reached alarming and unacceptable proportions. In the race towards 2020, most nations of the world have made brilliant and impressive progress towards the goal of halving poverty. Poverty was halved worldwide in 20 years from 43 per cent in 1990 to 21 per cent in 2010. The World Bank aims at reducing world poverty to nine per cent by 2020. Poverty fell in China from 77 per cent in 1980 to 14 per cent in 2008. Conversely, poverty rose in Nigeria from 28 per cent in 1980 to 61 per cent in 2010. Nigeria is thus moving against the tide. What do we need to do? How has China achieved the impressive reduction in poverty? What are the other countries doing differently? We may not get answers to all these questions here. What is certain is that we have to take unusual steps to achieve unusual results. The starting point is to enable millions of our youths who are desirous of working to get work to do. Since government cannot create sufficient jobs in the public sector, because it does not have the resources and the pragmatism, it must then energize the environment and the private sector to be able to do so. The only strategic way to go is to arm those who see the opportunity to start and run their own businesses to be able to do so. It starts with giving targets. Nigeria currently occupies the 147th position out of 189 economies in the ease of doing business and 122nd in the ease of starting a busi-

ness. Can we move to under 100th position in these two areas in the next five years? We are better than only four economies in the world in the ease of getting electricity. Is the current power reform and the ensuing privatization capable of moving Nigeria to below 100th position in the next five years? The movement will also imply the migration towards a knowledge-driven economy from a factor-driven one. One is also amazed at the different kinds of programmes embarked upon by government at all levels and by some political office holders. Some governments distribute motorcycles and other articles of trade to party loyalists and youths, in the name of empowerment programmes and encouraging self-reliance. Some others distribute cash in the attempt or belief to energize the beneficiaries to start and run businesses. There are various other schemes and subsidies executed with public funds. (The discussion of this will be a subject of another day). It is sufficient to state that subsidization, more often than not, do not benefit or reach targeted or intended recipients. For subsidy to be effective, the three issues of additionality, deadweight and displacement must be addressed by any government that believes in using subsidy to promote entrepreneurship. By additionality, net positive outcomes as contemplated by the programme must be achieved; this implies that there must be measurable objectives at the outset of the subsidy programme. Deadweight must be avoided, indicating that the outcome of policy must be that it is achieved by the policy and not because the achievement would have been recorded even if the subsidy was not provided. Displacement occurs where some other enterprises are worse off or displaced or die as a result of the subsidy, thereby making some segment of the population worse off while attempting to better the lives of some others. The four most important things to focus on to make appreciable progress in these areas are to start building enduring institutions, enhance socio-economic infrastructure, promote conducive macro-economic environment while boosting health and primary education. As a nation, it is up to us and the ball is in our court. • Popoola is a member of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), Nigeria Team.

This barbarism cannot continue By Tola Adeniyi HE Stone Age activities of Fulani cattle men can no longer T be tolerated anywhere in this country. Every day or every other day, newspapers are awash with ugly stories of Fulani cattle men terrorising villagers and farmers whose only offence is that they refuse the cattle men the right to trample on their farms and means of livelihood. The Governor of Benue State in the geo-political central zone of Nigeria nearly lost his life in the hands of these Fulani marauders who have been on the rampage in the state these many months, if not years. It is the same story in Taraba and Plateau states. Several other states had had their share of the extreme lawlessness of the Fulani herdsmen. The question now is how long the rest of the country shall remain helpless in the face of ceaseless onslaught of these men who ‘follow cattle’ about. It is ironic that these fully armed men appear to be led by the cattle they follow everywhere they go. The Federal and state governments are to be blamed for the Stone Age operations of Nigeria’s cattle men from the HausaFulani speaking regions of the country. The problem and the attendant menace of the Fulani cattle men did not start yesterday. This problem has been with the country for as long as anybody in Nigeria can remember. The issue at the base of this escalating madness is very simple and basic. And because successive governments in Nigeria have failed to tackle the issue and give it a most simple solution has made it seemingly unsolvable. The cattle that are being raised as a significant part of animal husbandry need to be fed to survive. They need grazing. All that is required is to provide places for them to graze. Very simple. And when one considers the fact that Australia raises more cattle than Nigeria, and that Europe and the Americas also feed on beef which these continents produce locally, one is at sea to understand why able-bodied men are let loose all over the country ‘following’ cattle about.

The Fulani cattlemen originate from the desert and arid zones of the country. Their cattle must be fed. These cattle live on grass and other leaves. These grasses and leaves are found in areas outside of the Fulani political control. The cattle men are therefore literally compelled to look southwards for grazing. Because they know that farmers on whose plantations the cattle are likely to find food will not take kindly to their crops being destroyed, the cattle men are armed to the teeth to challenge and confront the farm owners. This has been the recurring problem in the relationship between cattle men and farmers whose lands are routinely vandalised. But why have successive governments not learnt a lesson or two from other countries which also feed their cattle without rampaging other people’s farms? Sometime in 1984, this writer visited the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Madrid, to follow up on the Fodder Technology which Spain was then marketing throughout the world. A courtesy visit was even paid to the Nigerian Ambassador to Spain at the time, Ambassador Dove Edwin. On my return, several of the state governors were called upon to buy into the technology so that no Fulani cattle man would ever need to go through the humiliating, unhealthy, highly challenging ordeal of having to ‘follow’ cattle about searching for pasture for their flock. I came to the conclusion after the frustrating experience that the then Northern leaders did not really care about the ordeal of their fellow citizens. The Fodder Technology still exists, and it has in fact been much further developed that 1000 heads of cattle can be robustly fed all-day, all week and all year round on a space of less than four acres. I still cannot fathom why the Federal Government whose Ministry of Agriculture is by far the best performing ministry in this wobbled and rudderless administration has not considered the Fodder Technology to take our Fulani brothers out of the punishment they go through trying to feed their cattle. By the way, the punishment the Fulani cattle men go through is simply about exposure to

inclement weather, bad drinking water, trekking several hundreds of kilometres and the generally unsettled life of the nomad. I believe it is high time the excesses of the Fulani marauders were checked. Government should not appear helpless in the face of the recklessness of these herdsmen who believe that they are above the laws of the land. This country cannot afford the kind of war and blood-letting a national confrontation with the cattle men will entail. Farmers in Ogun, Kwara, Osun, Oyo, Lagos, Edo, Plateau, Benue, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states to mention a few could be battle ready for vengeance should these unwanted intruders dare flaunt their fangs again. Nobody or any section of this country should behave as if they alone possessed weapons of destruction. History has shown that there is no coward amongst the nationalities that were yoked together by Lugard. The Ijaws had their Isaac Adaka Boro. The Yoruba war heroes are simply too many - from Fabunmi to Ogendengbe to Kurunmi to Ogunmola Olodogbo Keri-Keri! The Tiv are natural warriors! The Lantang, the Jukun, so many ethnic nationalities to mention have proven throughout ages that nobody can ride them roughshod. The Fulani cattle men should be told in no mistaken terms that they have exhausted whatever tolerance given to them. This country can no longer parade two separate laws: one for the Fulani cattle men and another for the rest law-abiding citizens. We have suffered enough pain in the hands of the looters in Abuja, their leaders and their mobile toilets [sorry, their bedwarmers] we can no longer allow Fulani herdsmen to continue to rub salt on our festering sore. Boko Haram will pale into insignificance if the Fulani marauders are allowed to engulf Nigeria in a raging, indiscriminate inferno. There is yet a saving grace: The Fodder Technology! • Chief Adeniyi, a media veteran, contributed this piece via chiefadetolaadeniyi@yahoo.ca


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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

BUSINESS Friday, March 28, 2014

Business Nigeria, Niger, others to seal pact on transit goods By Moses Ebosele HE Federal Government, T yesterday pledged to assist Niger Republic and other landlocked countries in establishing sustainable transit transport systems. Already, a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is being considered by the Nigerian Government on how to facilitate the clearance of such transit goods in the Nigerian seaports. Speaking in Lagos yesterday at 12th Intermodal Africa Exhibition and Conference, Minister of Transport, Idris Umar explained that through the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, efforts are being made to facilitate the

transit of Niger Republic bound cargo through Nigerian Seaports. According to the minister, feasibility studies are also ongoing for the construction of rail lines linking Katsina to Maradi in Niger Republic and from Maiduguri to GamboruNgala to link-up Njamena in Chad under the Port Sudan rail project. Umar re-affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to what he identified as “current global effort in enhancing security and disaster risk reduction strategies in our territorial waters”. The minister described Nigeria as a key player in the coordinated and comprehensive activities that integrate

all efforts aimed at promoting the objectives through information sharing and joint maritime surveillance operations with our neighboring countries. “In terms of regional support and cooperation, Nigeria appreciates the special development needs of the landlocked countries in establishing sustainable transit transport systems particularly in the construction, maintenance and improvement in their transport, storage and other transit related facilities”, said Umar. According to the minister, maritime sector remains a key sector of the economy, “whose enormous potential deserves continuous harness-

ing in order to meet the expectation of Government and the Citizenry. “Over the last two years, Nigeria has been carrying out a number of reform measures aimed at enhancing the operational efficiency in the various ports. “For instance 24 hours operation has been achieved in the Lagos Ports where more than 60 per cent of our port activities take place. For the long term, the Federal Government is making concerted efforts towards ensuring the development of Deep Sea Ports in the Country. “This is the ultimate solution to the current port congestion as the cargo handling are presently beyond their

designed capacities. “The Federal Government has recently approved the Development of the Lekki Deep Sea Port here in Lagos which is expected to handle bigger vessels, and also create employment. The Port is to be developed under Public Private Partnership (PPP) Initiative”. Other proposed Deep Sea Ports are Ibaka Deep Sea Port in Akwa Ibom State, Badagary Deep Sea Port in Lagos, Olokola Deep Sea Port in Ogun and Ondo states, Ogidigbe, near Escravos in Delta State, which is expected to be the Hub for Gas Revolution initiative of the Federal Government and Agge Deep Sea Port in Bayelsa State. Umar said: “I wish to use this opportunity to reiterate the Federal Government’s commitment to the resuscitation of the Calabar Access Channel. As you are aware, Government had earlier approved the establishment of Calabar Channel Management Company, a joint venture between the Nigerian Ports Authority

(NPA) and Niger Global Limited in order to guarantee the sustainability of the Calabar Channel. “This Joint Venture arrangement is similar to the ongoing Lagos and Bonny Channel Management Companies that are effectively maintaining and managing the channels”. Making reference to Inland Waterways development, the minister said contract for the dredging of River Benue is currently being processed for final consideration and approval by the Federal Government, adding “This will further guarantee the sustainability of the Lower River Niger channel and expand our Inland Waterways”. He said development of the River Ports at Baro, Oguta and Lokoja have respectively attained 90 per cent, 73 per cent and 50 per cent completion “while the procurement process for the Construction of a River Port at Makurdi is at the final stage. Upon completion, all the River Ports will be concessioned to private operators”.

JMG, Mitsubishi move to boost power sector reforms By Adeyemi Adepetun MOVE, targeted at giving A the Federal Government ’s power reform a leap has been

Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Arunma Oteh, Executive Commissioner, Operations, Mounir Gwarzo and Chief Executive Officer, Bestman Games, Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe, at centenary edition of the Capital Market Committee  meeting in Lagos on Wednesday

Minister indicts Customs over rice smuggling From Adamu Abuh, Abuja HE Minister of Agriculture, T Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina, yesterday slammed the Nigeria Customs Service for not doing enough in curtailing the smuggling of rice into the country. Speaking during a public hearing on rice policy organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Customs, he wondered how trailer loads of rice found their way into the country with the personnel of the Nigeria Customs on ground. Blaming unpatriotic Nigerians who collude with multinational rice business corporations for the smuggling activities, he noted: “Rice is not smuggled by ghosts, it is coming through trailers. Somebody is not doing his job. The customs needs to do its job on this issue.” Accusing the Customs and Excise of failing to reflect the true picture of the magnitude

of smuggling of rice into the country, he noted: “Nigeria Customs data indicate an average of 342,000 metric tons of milled rice (384,000MT of rice of all types) was imported into Nigeria from 2009 to 2011. COMTRADE date on Nigeria’s imports in this period shows an average of 517,0000 metric tons per year. However, COMTRADE data from exporting countries indicate total exports of rice to Nigeria averaged 1.916 million metric tons per year (2.100 million metric tons using USDA data). “This suggest that only about 25 per cent of Nigeria’s rice imports were recorded by Customs in the 2009 - 2011 period presumably evade tariffs.” Underlining how the neighbouring Benin Republic is reaping hugely to the detriment of Nigeria due to the gap in policing the country’s borders, the minister stated: “COMTRADE data show that Benin imports 600,000 to

one million tons per year in the period 2008 -2012. Benin’s reported exports to Nigeria are relatively small in most years (e.g. 170,000 tons in 2009), but reached 500,000 tons in 2010. These results reveal a lot of smuggling, as total consumption of rice in Benin Republic is a fraction of that imported into the country. “Local source claim that around 8,000 bags of rice are smuggled into the country everyday through waterways between Nigeria and Benin (Oryza 2012). At 50 kgs/bag, this would total to 400 tons/day x 365 days = 140,000 tons; but this is grossly underrepresented from data provided by the rice millers association.” The minister who reiterated the need to sustain the rice policy aimed at eliminating dependence on rice importation from less endowed countries like Thailand, disclosed that in the 2013 wet season and 2013/2014 dry season, the

number of farmer beneficiaries increased six times to 2,598,113 farmers while inputs redeemed doubled to 40,105 metric tons of improved seeds, 160,422 metric tons of NPK and 129,906 metric tons of urea. Stating that no fewer than 38,993 Nigerians were gainfully employed as a result of rice production activities in the 2012 wet season and 2012/2013 dry season, he noted that in the 2013 wet season and 203/2014 dry season, jobs created by local rice production doubled to N313,784,882,555 and N175,020,285,055 respectively. “The economic impact on the lives of farmers, unemployed youths, agro-dealers, of an inflow of N254 billion obtained from 2012 and 2013 wet and dry rice season farming has been transformational in terms of increased household income, employment, and improved livelihood.” “In addition to the economic

sealed through a partnership between JMG Limited and Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe (MTEE). According to a statement jointly issued by the two firms, JMG has been appointed by Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe B.V. as a new sales and service partner in Nigeria for the power generation industry. The statement said MTEE is rapidly expanding its global footprint in engine, generator and power plant provision in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Managing Director of JMG, Mazen Jubaili said “for many years JMG Limited has been operating throughout the Nigerian Federation. During this time we have invested heavily in equipment, training and personnel in order to be well and truly recognized as a favored supplier of power generation equipment and maintenance services. This acclaimed status has been achieved through continuously delivering quality products and professional efficient aftersales services to our respected clients.” According to JMG’s Head of Sales, Rabi Jammal noted that the power sector in Nigeria is undergoing positive reform, paving the way for significant economic growth in all industries, adding that advanced power solutions will be required to meet Nigeria’s growing demand. “The recent partnership with MTEE has extended JMG’s reach in providing high capacity power generation equipment. This enables us to

provide uncompromised and cost effective power suitable for all applications including Cogeneration and Tri-generation. Turnkey power plants for industrial applications or to supply the national grid are now available from JMG. Not forgetting emergency standby sets that will always remain an integral part of our services.” Sales and Marketing Manager of Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe B.V., Morten Brix said working closely together with new local power generation dealers has proved highly cost-effective and fits our needs like a glove. “To kick off and celebrate this new partnership, we have participated with success at the Nigeria Oil and Gas exhibition 2014 and we are very pleased of its outcome.” The statement further disclosed that JMG’s launch pad for the new venture was the Nigerian Oil and Gas Exhibition from March 18th to 20th in Abuja, with the minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Ositadinma Nebo and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu visited JMG’s stand. JMG said it has extensive knowledge on the challenges facing Nigeria’s power sector. “Our experience with internationally renowned brands in the power generation industry enables us to welcome Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe B.V. and participate in the dynamic changes of a rapidly developing Nigeria. JMG sees itself as a positive contributor to the power sector reforms in the country by providing the engineering, equipment, and support backed by our multinational partners “, it stated.


Excess crude account hits $3.5b THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

From Mohammed Abubakar Abuja

*NEC seeks separate accounts for fund, SURE-P

HE National Economic T Council (NEC) rose from its first meeting in the year with a

During the meeting, the Coordinating Minister of Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkokoIweala reported to the Council on the progress in the excess crude account (ECA) this year. “She informed Council that as at today the ECA has risen to about $3.5 billion after payment for fuel subsidy and SURE-P. The Council deliberat-

call for separate accounts for the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). Also, the Coordinating Minister of Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okoko-Iweala’s disclosed that the ECA has risen to about $3.5 billion. At a joint press briefing of state house correspondents after the meeting, Governors Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom; Gabriel Suswam of Benue; Jonah David Jang of Plateau and the Supervising Minister of National Planning, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, revealed that the council called for separate accounts for the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) and excess crude account (ECA). Akpabio, who read the text of the resolution said, “We just concluded the meeting of the National Economic Council today the first for year. 2014.

ed on it and resolved that there was need for expeditious action to be taken to sort out all the legalities surrounding the issues of the ECA and particularly, the idea of expediting action on the issues pending in court. It was also further suggested that at least two separate accounts be maintained for excess crude and the other one for SURE-P.

Friday, March 28, 2014

O cater for the growing T imbalance and inade- Manufacturers urged to quacy in electricity distribution in industrial areas, manufacturers in Nigeria have been urged to explore alternative power supply to such end. Indeed, some manufacturers were also indicted for high energy theft, thereby negatively impacting return on investment of electricity providers as well as shortchanging others consumers. Speaking at a consultative forum organized by

explore alternative power sources By Femi Adekoya the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ikeja branch in Lagos, yesterday, the Managing Director, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), Abiodun Ajifowobaje explained that the power

World Bank approves $200m facility for Lagos By Bukky Olajide HE World Bank has T approved a $200 million facility to Lagos State in support of reforms pertaining to fiscal sustainability, budget planning, budget execution, and the investment climate in the former Federal capital territory The first in a proposed series of two development policy operations, it builds upon the policy reforms initiated under a previous bank supported programme. Over the last decade, Lagos State has undertaken a wide

range of reforms that have improved governance, reduced crime, and helped to bring millions out of poverty. According to a statement made available, the goal of this programme is to assist Lagos State in sustaining the strong momentum it has achieved in improving public services, facilitating inclusive growth, and reducing poverty. This includes measures to monitor and manage financial risks more effectively, ensure adequate growth in revenues, get better value for money in public expenditures, and improve institutions and

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processes for land registration and development permits. “Lagos State has sustained rapid growth and achieved what many would not have believed possible, and has managed to reduce its poverty headcount from 57 percent in 2004 to 23 percent in 2010”  said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria. “However, it still faces significant challenges going forward in sustaining its economic growth and reducing poverty. This program will provide critical budgetary support to Lagos State to help the govern-

ment continue key reforms in budgetary planning, execution, and improving the business climate,” she said. The programme supports a number of specific measures that aim to increase the returns to budgetary resources in Lagos State, including the implementation of progressive new Procurement and Audit laws, a stronger link of planned budgetary allocations with development priorities, and the rollout of a computerized system that will allow more efficient and transparent financial management.

supply from the grid is inadequate in meeting the demand of the industrial estates within the zone, thereby necessitating the need for manufacturers to explore alternative power solutions. Ajifowobaje noted that though there are moves by the DISCO to ensure enhance power supply to industrial clusters in Ikeja through embedded generation, the profile of the companies were being examined to aid the necessary action to be taken. Ajifowobaje, who was represented by the IKEDC General Manager, Customer Services, Mrs Olubukola Ojurongbe, said “The privatization of the electricity industry has given a new face to the power sector in the country. However, the greatest challenge facing the sector today is inadequate power from the grid. In IKEDC, present maximum demand is about 900 MW. “Energy received from November 2013 till date is an average of 350 MW per month, thus leaving an average of 550MW shortage. Lagos, being the commercial nerve centre of the country can only consume about 40 per cent of the total electricity generated. This has resulted in loadshedding or complete loss of supply occasionally.” Ajifowobaje in his paper, “The power sector post-privatisation: challenges and implications on the manufacturing sector”, noted that though industrial customers are being given priority in its load-shedding formula, they may need to explore alternatives to fill the gap. He however urged the manufacturers who have removed their lines from the DISCO’s supply to return to the fold as issues were being addressed. On his part, Chairman, Infrastructure Committee of MAN, Reginald Odiah urged member companies to take advantage of identified industrial clusters in the Ikeja zone enhancing access to power supply. According to him, with the high cost of doing business in the country, occasioned by infrastructural deficiencies, especially in the power, manufacturers should take advantage of the cluster solution in order to reduce costs and aid return on investments. Lagos State C o m m i s s i o n e r , Commerce and Industry, Mrs Olusola Oworu assured the manufacturers of the state government’s efforts in addressing the high cost of doing business in the state, adding that taxes were being harmonized to address multiple taxation by its agencies, while power supply is also been enhanced through Independent Power Projects (IPPs) that could serve industries in the state.


Friday, March 28, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

17

TheMetroSection Briefs

Go and sin no more...!

NANTA honours Johnson-Kanu at 56

• Ogun rehabilitates rescued ‘baby factory’ victims. Two admitted in hospital for delivery, minor enrolled in school From Charles Coffie Gyamfi Abeokuta LL the eight pregnant young girls, A including a 16-year-old, rescued in a “baby factory” at the weekend in Akute in Ifo Local Council of Ogun State are to be rehabilitated by the state government to give them a new lease of life, the government disclosed on Wednesday. To this end, the pregnant girls, aged between 16 and 25, and a minor who served as an errand girl, have been relocated to the government- owned Stella Obasanjo Children’s Home, Ibara, Abeokuta, where they are undergoing the first phase of the rehabilitation process. The victims were rescued from their abode by men of the Ogun State Police Command last Friday, following a tip-off. The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Elizabeth Sonubi in Abeokuta o Wednesday, expressed deep shock about the development. Sonubi disclosed that following the instruction of the Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, officials of her Min-

sessions to address the trauma they might have gone through”, adding that on the other hand, the eight-yearold “errand girl”, Ruth Ebere had already been enrolled at a public government school, Our Lady of Apostle Primary School, Oke-ilewo, Abeokuta to continue her education. Her words: “Immediately, they were brought in, we began the process of rehabilitating them. As you can see, we have bought new clothes for them, they have been taken to the General Hospital in Ijaiye for proper medical checks and our officers have also started counseling them to make their minds stable. The young girl had also been enrolled at a public school to continue schooling”. On the government’s plans for the girls, the Commissioner indicated that they would be monitored throughout medical examinations, following The girls which two of them were discovered to delivery, after which they would be istry and their relevant be close to their expected date of deliv- linked up with their family members, counterparts in the Ministry of Health, who would also be counselled to take had already taken measures to take care ery, adding that the two had already care of them. been of the victims. She, however, added that those not admitted in the hospital for proper According to the Commissioner, the willing to go with their parents would pregnant girls had been referred to the monitoring. be empowered through skill acquisiShe added that Social Workers had State hospital in Ijaiye for thorough also commenced “Regular counselling tion for self-reliance.

Women urged to go back to traditional virtues By Isaac Taiwo ONCERN for restoration of those values that normally make marriagaes and homes to solidly stand but had been gradually eroded was the burden of facilitators at the Justice, Development and Peace Centre Celebration of 2014 International Women’s Day Conference with the theme: “Inspiring Change” at the JDPC Secretariat, Yaba, Lagos. In his welcome address, the JDPC Deputy Director, Mr. Joe Nkamuke hinged most of the problems in the society today on disorganized family system whereby the husband is chasing after his own and the wife also after

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her own and at the end of the day, the children are left without parental care. This, according to him, has led to the absence of expected family touch even when they are together. He disclosed that the Catholic Church has therefore declared this year as year of the family and described woman as the “conveyor belt” in the home. “The role of motherhood cannot be undermined and when this role is clearly defined, even the country moves forward. But when women are chasing what men are after in the name of feminism, adopting Western culture, wanting to be priests, bishops, those call-

A’Ibom community honours illustrious sons From Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh Uyo

Ubium Local Council. That actually exposed me to the reality of life of the people in the rural areas. Many people do not have enough money to meet their daily needs,” he lamented. The amiable retired Army officer told the audience that it was the pitiable situation he saw in the rural areas while serving as chairman, that gave him the urge to set up a company so that he could provide services that even the rural dweller could afford. Ekong thanked his parents for knowing the importance of education and training him accordingly

HE people of Nsit Ubium Local Council of Akwa Ibom have honoured one of their illustrious sons, Capt. Iniobong Ekong (rtd.) with the title of Iberedem (the Pillar) of Ubium by the clan council, led by His Royal Highness, Chief Okon Akpan Udoh , during the inauguration of Education Foundation in Ubium North Ward1. Meanwhile, stakeholders in Ubium North Ward 1, also bestowed him with an award of Excellence on Youth Empowerment. Ekong, who is at present the Senior Special Adviser to the Akwa Ibom State Governor on Security Matters, also superintends over a conglomerate known as Least Pay Group of companies. According to the organizers, “Ekong deserves to be honoured because he performed well while overseeing the affairs of Nsit Ubium Local Council from 2007 to 2008 as caretaker chairman. He has given scholarship to many indigent students in tertiary institutions. He has organized skills acquisition prgrsammes and gave many youths financial assistance to venture into trading business.” According to Ekong, his appointment as caretaker committee chairman for the council within that one year, had exposed him to the rural setting, hence, his avowed determination to affect their lives positively. “In 2007, I was appointed the Caretaker Committee Chairman The Senior Special Adviser (Security) of Nsit

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He charged youths from the areas not to involve themselves in those vices that that could cost them their future, rather they should see education as the bedrock and embrace same for their future emancipation. He promised to support the education foundation of Nsit Ubium North Ward 1 as such foundation would help indigent persons to attain greater height educationally. Other awardees included Senator Effiong Bob, member representing the area in the House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, the council chairman, Mr. Ekpedeme

to Governor Akpabio, Capt. Iniobong Ekong (rtd) being crowned ‘Iberedem’ Ubium at the event

ings that are not in tandem with their nature and the way they were created, things would definitely go haywire. It is a problem.” A facilitator who is a Legal Practitioner and Consultant, Phil-Chef Educational and Consultancy Services, Professor Philomena Ikulayo, who presented a paper on “Women, Earn Your Respect” traced the problem in homes today to the departure from the fact that “traditional women upbringing informed us that women are trained to be obedient, submissive, tolerant, accommodating and resilient in the event of maltreatments, subversion, cruelty, injustice and cope with all forms of discriminations.

Briefs UNIBEN alumni decry spate of insecurity

HE University of Benin (UNIBEN) Alumni Association is worT ried at the growing insecurity in the country and has urged government at all levels, especially the Federal Government, to step up effort at arresting the situation. In a communiqué issued at the end of the Council Meeting in the Uyo at the weekend, the Council also “commiserated with the families of the persons who lost their lives in the stampede that greeted the interview for employment by the Nigerian Immigration Service. Council calls on Government to take a more pragmatic approach in the way and manner of conducting interview for employment in the country. It commended the Federal Government on the take-off of the National Conference and expressed the hope that all delegates would exhibit a high sense of patriotism and commitment to the success of the conference. “Council observes with serious concern the disruption of academic activities in the polytechnics and the Colleges of Education for the past several months and calls on the government and the lecturers to resolve the impasse without further delay,” it added.

LASSA’s MD, Noah wins Lagos State Man of the Year of the Year Award HE Managing Director of the a vindication of the effort we T Lagos State Signage and Ad- put into our work at LASAA vertising Agency (LASAA), Mr. both individually and collecGeorge Noah, has won this year’s Lagos State Man of the Year Award (LASMAYA). According to the organizers, Mr. Noah won the award having polled the highest number of votes and was therefore, declared winner of the prestigious Lagos State Man of the Year 2014 (LASMAYA). In his response, Noah thanked the organizers for putting such an award together to recognize exemplary service. He dedicated the award to the team in LASAA for the unflinching support over the years. Noah noted that “the award is

tively as an Agency’’. He stressed that “the award means people are watching us and appreciative of what we are doing to making Lagos better” Noah said.

Noah

HE National Association T of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA), Abuja chapter will today honour Mrs. Onyeka Johnson-Kanu, who was born to the family of Elder Robertson Okorie Sunday and Elder Mrs. Comfort Okorie-Sunday of Arochukwu Local Council of Abia State, as she marks her 56th birthday at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja. Mrs. Johnson-Kanu is the Chairman/ Chief Executive of Citadel Education International Ltd, Rosefield Travel, Tours and Guide Ltd, Global Women Study Centre and Founder of Citadel International Noble Foundation. She is also the Director, African/Women Studies Centre of Helena Kaushik Women’s PG College; Matron, Drug Free Club; State Coordinator of the Counseling Association of Nigeria and the Founder of Health Education and Environment Projects .

Iyamapo Festival holds tomorrow in Ogun HE yearly Iyamapo FestiT val holds tomorrow in Ibogun Land, Ifo Local Council of Ogun State. According to a statement by Mr. Sodipo Abiodun, “The Festival usually brings sons and daughters of the community both at home and in Diasporas together.” Host is Chief Lawani Oshoyemi, Baale Alapako-Oke.

Comfort Akinadewo for burial tomorrow HE Secretary, Lagos State T chapter of the Organised African Instituted Churches (OAIC), Dr. Israel Akinadewo has lost his mother, Comfort Febisola Akinadewo. She died on Sunday March 23, 2014. According to a statement by Akinadewo, who is the Supervising Head, Motailatu Church Cherubim and Seraphin World wide, Subheadquarters Alakuko, Lagos, Comfort Akinadewo will be buried tomorrow at the church headquarters, Mokola area, New NEPA, Ademulegun Road, Ondo Town, Ondo State . Meanwhile, a Christian wake holds today at 4.00pm in Ondo State. She is survived by children and grandchildren among whom are Elder Israel Akinadewo, Joseph Akinadewo, Zachaeus Akinadewo, jehophat Akinadewo and Mrs Tabitha Akinyemi.

Akinadewo


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Give us bridge, Okeigbo people cry out to Ondo govt By Joseph Okoghenun F there is anything uppermost in the mind of the people of Okeigbo Community in Ondo State right now, it is the desire to see that the Ooni River Bridge is repaired. According to the people of the community, the poor condition of River Ooni has become a death trap to people of the community. The spokesperson of Okeigbo Economic Council, Mr. Ayodeji Olopade, told The Guardian that contractors that were mobilised by Ondo State Government to repair and build a water dam in the river, for unknown reasons, abandoned the project in 2011. Olopade, who hails from Okeigbo community, added that since the project was abandoned, the bridge has become a source of threat to lives and property in the community, adding that the river has claimed a number of lives. He appealed on behalf of his people to Ondo State Government to come to the aid of Okeigbo community by ensuring that the bridge as well as the dam were completed on time to avert further loss

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of lives and property. Olopade said: “ Sometime in 2010, when contractors employed by Ondo State Government moved in equipment and materials to River Ooni to build a water dam, the whole Okeigbo community danced and rejoiced.” “Our people thought that their suffering for lack of pipeborne water would soon end. Hitherto, such water to the people was a luxury because the taps were always dry. The work was going on well and steadily until the rains started in 2011. The contractors since then abandoned the project and moved away their equipment.” “During the building of the dam in the centre of the River, the big structure on which the bridge was built had its foundation dug. Shortly after, the contractors and their employees left the site; a petrol tanker slipped off the bridge and plunged into the river and one of the occupants got drowned. The driver was fortunate to have escape death.” Olopade continued: “Since the destruction of the bridge, all economic activities have been paralysed. The bridge acts as a major link of Okeigbo

STF official rapes four-year-old girl in Jos

The make-shift bridge with kith and kin in the South West. Many passengers and motorists had died there after their vehicles plunged into the river because the

bridge has been weakened due to the digging of the pillars on which the bridge rested. The makeshift woods arranged on the bridge only

serve motorcyclists and pedestrians to go to and fro from the town. This is a big risk to people’s lives.” “ We, therefore, appeal to the

appropriate authorities concerned to come to our aid by ordering the contractors to go back to the site before the rains commence,” he said.

Rotary Club of Falomo reaches out to 95 eye defect patients By Isaac Taiwo

From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos MEMBER of the Special Task Force (STF), Damudu Bzigu, deployed to restore law and order in the crisis-ridden city of Jos has allegedly raped a four-year-old girl in Kassa village of Barkin Ladi Local Council of Plateau State. He was said to be in the habit of raping minors wherever he was posted to as citizens of the locality stressed that “this is his third time of committing this act.” It was gathered that the minor was lured by the rapist into his makeshift tent in Kassa village, where he performed the evil deed on her. Confirming the incident yesterday, the chairman of the council, Dr. Emmauel Loman, who spoke to journalists in his office said “a security man (not a soldier), attached to the STF in Barkin Ladi raped a girl at Kassa village.” “The girl has been bleeding profusely and she is currently hospitalized and is receiving treatment at the Barkin Ladi General Hospital. This is not the first time this kind of thing is happening. We are calling on parents to monitor their children.” According to him: “It is sad that some soldiers posted to restore law and order have abandoned their duties for something else, otherwise what has restoring order got to do with defiling a minor?” He called on the Commander of the Special Task Force, MajorGeneral David Enetie, to ensure that the culprit faces the wrath of the law. He further said that the local council would also follow the case to its logical conclusion. The medical officer of Barkin Ladi General Hospital, Bapigang Willams Audu, who spoke to journalists at the hospital, confirmed that a minor of about four years was yesterday rushed to the hospital and from results conducted so far, “there was forceful penetration as her hymen was broken.”

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Firm holds 10-day pre-launch event IG Motors will hold a 10-day pre-launch of the Trumpchi GS5 C Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos from tomorrow to Thursday, April 10 from 9.00a.m. - 5.00pm daily.

HE Rotary Club of Falomo, T District 9110 in collaboration with Nigeria Optometric Association, Lagos branch have put smiles on the faces of residents of Okobaba, Ebute-Metta, by reaching out to 95 people with eye problems in an event that took place at Salvation Army Primary School, Okobaba, Ebute-Metta, Lagos. Speaking at the event, the President, (2013-2014), Rotary Club of Falomo, Mrs. Tolu Enaibe described the occasion as the usual practice of Rotary International, acclimatized to assisting the less- privileged and putting smiles on their faces. “According to our practice, we spoke with the community leaders in this area and were told of many people having eye issues. “We tested their eyes and for those who needed eye glasses, we gave them and those having cataract that needed surgery, we have also taken their detail with a view to forwarding same to ophthalmologists and see how we can partner with other Rotary Clubs to carry out the needed surgeries,” she said. Enaibe disclosed that giving

Enaibe giving a pair of glasses to one of the beneficiaries free eye glasses to the beneficiaries was usually done yearly. She stated further that the club had participated in sanitation exercises. “We focused on schools and taught them about hygiene and environmental sanitation. We also did de-worming, organized health talk and career counselling for those youths who were about to choose their careers.

“Our capital project is sinking a bore-hole for this school and also carry out some renovations,” she said. Enaibe advised Nigerians to check their eyes regularly and ensure they know their body. “You might think nothing is wrong with you because some of these problems do not show in time until things are really bad.

PHOTO: ISAAC TAIWO

The representative of Nigeria Optometric Association, Lagos branch, an optometrist, Dr. Chara Adekunle, said the association was pleased to partner with the Rotary Club to give out glasses and carry out surgeries. She advised Nigerians to ensure proper care of their eyes and guard against anything that could cause damage to their eyes.

Resurgent holds music flash Sunday ESURGENT Entertainment and Publishing will on Sunday, R March 30, present Resurgent Musical Flash with the theme Making Your World More Popular at Ken Dallas Hotel and Suites, 7/11 Oladun Street, off LASU- Isheri Road, Council Bus Stop, Idimu, Lagos, at noon. It will feature Oritisha Femi, Sabi, Skally Mental, Okobo (Famous), EJ60, Mr. Possible, Mosco (Acuba Master) Kenny Blaze among others.

Ahmadiyya marks 125th year of existence HE Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Lagos State branch T is celebrating its 125 years of the existence of the Ahmadiyya Muslim jamaat across the world in the efforts to rejuvenate and reform religion in Islam, on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at the Main Auditorium, University of Lagos, and Akoka Yaba Lagos at 11.00a.m.

GKS holds public lectures HE God’s Kingdom Society (GKS), the Church of the Living T God is organizing series of public lectures on Bible-based doctrines and subjects. The lectures, being organized by the Okola branch, will hold today and tomorrow at the open space beside Mr. Biggs, Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos at 4.00 p.m. daily. The lectures will be rounded off on March 30, 2014 at the open field at GKS premises, Agbabiaka Street, off Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos at 4 p.m. Ministers of the church will address topical Bible subjects and contemporary challenges in the world, according to a statement by Felix Osifo and Offisong, Chairman and Secretary of GKS Okota branch.

Dickson commends leadership style of Awujale of Ijebuland By David Ogah AYELSA State governor, Seriake Dickson, has commended the paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, for his style of leadership, saying he has brought dignity and integrity into traditional functions in the country “ You have strived to protect the Nigerian integrity. The way you have conducted yourself so far, you have held yourself high for the people to know that you are a man of integrity and you have brought this integrity and dignity into your traditional functions” The governors gave the traditional rulers the commendation at the weekend when he took sometime off the State House to trace his maternal lineage in the ancient town of

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Ogun State and his kin in Fidipote Ruling house where he expressed his readiness to strengthening the bond of relationship between the two states. Accompanied by members of immediate family and top government functionaries, the governor who commenced the search for his maternal lineage in the town with a visit to Awujale of Ijebuland assured the people that, his administration would work with them to promote unity, peace and harmony, not only in the Niger Delta area, but also in the country as a whole. The governor said the people of Ijebuland and Bayelsa State have many things in common, especially in the areas of commerce and hospitality, adding that these two areas would be

explored to strengthen this bond of relationship. According to the governor, he was told by his late father that his mother hailed from the ancient town, adding that the search was to please his late parents. “Today is very historic and unique for me and my family members. Several years ago a princess of this land left here and travelled several miles away from here to marry in my community and we are descendants of that princess. We have been longing to be here. I also know that your daughter, that is my mother, will be fulfilled today, so also is my father by this our action. Your children have traced their lineage. We will like to visit Fidipote Ruling House. For sometime now, I have been looking for people to connect

me, people who could link me up. I wanted to make this visit during the last Ojude- Oba, but I was held up by political assignment outside the country,” he said, The governor told the paramount ruler that it was his desire to connect properly to his kinsmen in Ijebuland in order to contribute his own quota to the development of the city. He was full of praises for the Oba whom he commended for bringing dignity and integrity to his tradition functions in the state. Oba Adetana, who received the governor in his palace, gave him a brief education of Obaship in the town when he said “Fidipote Ruling House is one of the four ruling houses in ijebu that is qualified to produce a candidate for the posi-


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Tankers, trailers escalate road carnage

Weekend

Arts & Culture P. 29

Autowheels P.44

Business Travels P.46

A feast of reel documentaries in Lagos

Ecosport: Hallmark of luxury in budget car

Airlines’ demand for fuel-efficient planes to rise in 2014


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Road accidents: Citizens blame Fatal road accidents caused by unstrapped containers placed on trailers, have increased significantly, especially in Lagos state in recent time. Besides, tankers have also been known to cause gridlocks, due to their indiscriminate use of major highways. SEYE OLUMIDE reports on why something urgent needs to be done to arrest the problem.

Tankers blocking a portion of Oshodi-Apapa expressway

nance of vehicles and failure to observe or understand road signs, are also common. But in the past decade, the surge in road accidents caused by articulated vehicles (trailers/tankers) and other heavy duties lorries has not only become worrisome, but also posing unprecedented threats to lives and property in the country. Since the breakdown of the refineries and the railway transportation system in Nigeria, the pressure on the roads, particularly with the frequent movements of heavy-duty lorries, which are now competing with other vehicles on the narrow, bad roads, has increased sharply. In every10 accidents recorded on the highways, at least four or five involve either a fuel tanker, a trailer moving containers or other heavy duties lorries. For instance, articulated vehicles are notorious for being the cause of accidents along the Lagos/Ibadan, Lagos/Ore/Benin, Ikorodu-Shagamu Mosinmi, Osodi/Apapa, and Lagos-Abuja expressways. The president of the International Road Safety Organisation (pRI) Joop Goos, once drew attention to the prediction by the World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO), that by 2015, road traffic injuries would be the primary health burden for children over the age of 5years. Goos noted that Nigeria loses about three per cent of its Gross Domestic product (GDp) earnings to road traffic crashes and about 17 per cent of its current national reserves. The current situation, in which highways maintain a status of being the dominant mode of transportation, and where about 3,000 tankers ply the roads each day with ‘wet cargo,’ while 1,500 others engage in transfer of ‘dry cargo’ across the country, further creates more challenges

on the state of the roads in the country. More worrisome is the report that revealed that there were 4,076 deaths and 12,994 injured persons in 4,017 reported road accidents involving only articulated vehicles and trucks, between 2007 and June 2010. Instances of road accidents Three weeks ago, it would take a man with a heart of steel not to breakdown in tears at the scene of an accident involving a 30-foot trailer transporting a fully loaded container with planks and a vehicle at Ojia, after Okada, along Lagos-Ore-Benin Expressway. The trailer, with registration number AGL 799 XH had suffered a brake failure and its container had fallen directly on a Volkswagen car with registration number LG 13 TTK and its occupants. It was a gory scene. The bodies of the occupants of the car were mangled, and their broken arms, legs, and intestines littered the road.

Their blood flowed freely into the drainage nearby A man in a red T-Shirt, presumed to be the driver of the ill-fated car, was trapped from the waist, as he tried to jump out of the car. The other victims that were trapped under the heavy container, continued to cry profusely for help, which never came for over five hours, till their voices became frail, and they started giving up, one after the other . The trailer was heading towards Benin and its brake failed as it approached a sloppy portion of the road, near Ojia River. The driver tried effortlessly to maneuver the vehicle before it veered off the road, collided with another tanker, smashed into an Imo State Transport company Toyota passenger bus heading to Lagos, before its container finally fell on the Volkswagen. The driver of the trailer died instantly, and his left hand was completely de-

The Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC) in its 2013 half year report on road carnages, declared that no fewer than 2,422 persons died while 11, 961 were injured in 3,708 road accidents between January and June 2013. Comparatively, this is the highest figure in the past three years. In the 2011 half-year report, 2,218 people lost their lives, while in the same period in 2012, 1,926 deaths were recorded; a 21.6 per cent reduction that has now jumped to the latest frightening figure

pART from the problem of bad roads, other A major factors causing accidents on Nigeria’s highways such as human errors, poor mainte-

tached. The legs of the driver of the Imo Transport Bus and two passengers seated at the front seat got broken, but the five occupants, including a baby boy in the Volkswagen were not so lucky as the container fell on the car and trapped them. And for over five hours, both sides of the road were blocked, and nobody could do anything to help the victims. In another instance, along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in Lagos, an articulated vehicle, which also suffered a brake failure, veered off the road and crushed several people to death at Oshodi Bus Stop.Within the last two months, two similar incidents involving a trailer and another heavy duty vehicle, killed several people, while property worth millions of naira were damaged. The trailer, which heading towards the Apapa Sea port, had run into unsuspecting traders and commercial vehicles. Seven commuters waiting to board a bus were instantly crushed to death, while several others sustained various degrees of injuries. Barely a week later, at the same spot, a truck belonging to the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Church, lost control, killed and injured many people. The Oshodi Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Samuel Ogundayo, said 19 people were involved in the accident, out of which eight died, among them, an unidentified pregnant woman. Apparently, Lagos State is the most affected in terms of accidents involving articulated vehicles. Since the construction of tank firms took over major portions of the Apapa axis, the Apapa-Oshodi expressway has literally been playing host to hundreds of tankers and trucks, that are either patronising the seaports or the tank firms. This has literally led to the shutdown of the road and an upsurge in fatal accidents


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tankers, unstrapped containers

Chidoka

means of these articulated vehicles. This is the major reason those kind of vehicles remain predominant on the roads and are everywhere in states likes Lagos, Port Harcourt, Ogun, Oyo and the rest. “Lagos’ situation is peculiar because that is where we have the largest markets and the most functional sea and air ports. Port Harcourt is another busy state where trailers ply every hour.” The former commissioner further observed that the non functional situation of the rail system and the refineries have created room for the use of trailers with containers to be used as the only means of transportation and delivery of goods within the country. He continued: “For instance, tankers travel all the way from the far northern parts of country to Lagos to lift fuel at Apapa. Containers are also transported by the use of articulated vehicles or heavy-duty vehicles. Take also, the instances of the Mile 12 market, one of the biggest foodstuff markets in Africa. Vehicles move food items from other parts of the country into Lagos. Ordinarily, if the rail system were functioning, a single train could move a million tones of fuel, which would take about 15 to 20 trailers. The same is applicable to other imported goods. ” “If you have a container going to Benin in Edo State or Owo in Ondo, there is no rail connectivity to those areas. Therefore, those goods must be transported through the articulated vehicles. The same situation affects the tankers because our refineries are no longer working. To worsen matters, there are cases of oil theft, with the perpetrators also transporting stolen petroleum products on the same road. It is therefore imperative for us to revamp the refineries and railways before the crisis of articulated could be addressed or reduced on our roads. Otherwise we would have to shut down our economy.”

Badejo also explained that oil theft constitutes the major reason many tankers ply the roads. He said: “Because of the porous system, those who engage in oil bunkering found it convenient to move the oil on the road because there is nobody or system to check or stop them.” On the state of mind of the articulated vehicles operators, the professor said: “Imagine what it takes a tanker driver to drive to and from the north and Lagos with the bad state of our roads. ” The former commissioner observed that driving heavy vehicles to and from such long distances every time has adverse effects. He said: “That is the reason they (tankers) break down; or have brake failure regularly and cause accidents on the road. We also need to realise that the roads these vehicle ply daily are not good and even where they are good, they cave in quickly due to the weight of the heavy duty vehicles. ” To address the situation of accidents involving trailers, Badejo suggested the need to revamp the country’s refineries and the rail system. “This will reduce the pressure of articulated vehicles on the roads.” He further suggested that government should take critical look into the old and weak pipelines across the country. He added: “To reduce road accidents is not only by building good roads. There is the need to reduce the number of articulated vehicles on our road, particularly the ones that have to go long distances. The last network of pipelines was completed in 1976 and the capacity of what the pipelines are taking today was not put into consideration over 40 years ago when the pipelines were laid. The pipelines are outdated.” On drivers’ recklessness, Badejo said: “This is synonymous to all road users, particularly in Nigeria, where there are no effective traffic reg-

To reduce road accidents is not only by building good roads. There is the need to reduce the number of articulated vehicles on our road, particularly the ones that have to go long distances. The last network of pipelines was completed in 1976 and the capacity of what the pipelines are taking today was not put into consideration over 40 years ago when the pipelines were laid. The pipelines are outdated

Lagos is, thus, finding it tough to address the issue of tankers moving into the state from all parts of the country, to take delivery of petroleum products at Apapa The state’s Commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa has, like his predecessors, lamented the situation, asking federal agencies to do the needful to help the traffic situation along that axis. Opeifa averred that several attempts to call stakeholders’ meetings on how to keep Apapa moving have not yielded much results. His major worry is the presence and menace of articulated vehicles on Lagos roads. The Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC) in its 2013 half year report on road carnages, declared that no fewer than 2,422 persons died while 11, 961 were injured in 3,708 road accidents between January and June 2013. Comparatively, this is the highest figure in the past three years. In the 2011 half-year report, 2,218 people lost their lives, while in the same period in 2012, 1,926 deaths were recorded; a 21.6 per cent reduction that has now jumped to the latest frightening figure. To drive an articulated vehicle or truck, the FRSC requirements stipulate that lorries require special skills and knowledge of traffic laws and regulations in force in the country.” In Nigeria today, many drivers of articulated lorries (tankers/trailers) are not qualified to operate such vehicles. They are not properly licensed and also lack the basic requirements to operate such vehicles. Which is why, among others, road accidents involving trailers and articulate vehicles are on the high side.  The Federal Government mandated the FRSC to establish Minimum Safety Requirements for heavy good vehicles. Operators of such vehicles must conform to the Road Transport Safety standardization scheme, which ensures the registration of operators with at least five vehicles in their fleet and compliance with set standards. Operators with vehicles less than five are also to comply with the minimum safety standards as clearly spelt out in traffic laws and regulations. But the worry is, “who is enforcing the regulations.” Former Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos State, Prof. Bamidele Badejo, observed that most of the vehicles in question are no longer roadworthy. He noted that accidents involving articulated vehicles are rampant because of their old age and lack of regular servicing. He added that many of them were imported and would have been manufactured, at least, 15 years ago or more. The professor also noted that the crisis of articulated vehicles (tankers and trailers) would continue to be rampant because of the nature of our economy. He said: “Nigeria’s economy is predominantly export and import based. The goods we import or export, move in and out through our ports and there are no other means to distribute those goods, except through the roads and by

Badejo

Toriola

ulations and where they even exist, road users flout the laws with impunity. There is the need to find out how many of the trailer drivers obtain their drivers’ license. Of course, it is either they don’t have at all, or they got it through illegal means. Majority of the trailer drivers are not exposed to professional training. They went through the normal apprenticeship under their bosses, as motor boys and later graduate to become drivers without any formal training. Some of them cannot even read or understand road signs.” Badejo also noted that many of the drivers get exhausted on the wheels because of the long distance they cover. His words: “There are no provisions for them to rest or refresh before the take-off, with the fact that they consume alcohol, get drunk and they also get involved in other means of stress before embarking on the journey. “Where there is even provision for them to refresh, the crisis posed by armed robbers on the highways can also ultimately lead to accidents.” The Lagos State Chief Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO), Mr. Gbolahan Toriola said the state, through his organization has been doing a lot to address the menace of articulated vehicles on the road. According to him, “it is a mistake for people to think that we don’t stop or apprehend articulated vehicles that are not roadworthy. Instead of stopping them on motion, like we do to smaller vehicles, we take their registration numbers and trace such vehicles to their bases, where we do the enforcement. The reason is that, in the past, when we try to stop the vehicles, the drivers were very funny and always want to maneuver and in the process, caused accidents. “For instance, if you visit our yard at Apapa and Gbagada, there are several heavy duty and articulated vehicles we apprehended there and we are not going to release the vehicles until the faults are rectified.” He however noted that the major factor accident involving articulated vehicles were rampant was that the drivers were always tired due to long hours of driving. “Many of them drive overnight and get tired. Some even sleep off on the wheel and thereby caused accidents. The major problem is attitude of the drivers. Some of them don’t care at all or possess the necessary driving skills. But Lagos is doing everything possible to address this.” Explaining the working relationship with the tanker drivers’ association Toriola said: “I must confess to you, which is subject to investigation, that organisation like Dangote Group of Companies, Nigerian Breweries among others, give us the freedom to visit their yards and carry out necessary inspections on their vehicles from time to time. Where we are having problems is those articulated vehicles that come into the state at night and those that do not have any base at all.”


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Friday, March 28, 2014

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BusinessRound-Up

In association with

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REMOVAL OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE LAWS BOASTS ZAMBIA PROPERTY SECTOR By Wilhelmina Maboja

tomed to credit, we’ve seen that there’s an opportunity there for residential HE removal of foreign exchange laws [property development].” in Zambia’s property market has seen The recent scrapping of the SI33 and improvement in the sector stimulating SI55 foreign exchange laws has given renewed investor interest. the Southern African country’s property “The investment climate right now is sector an additional boost, and upward positive. We have a lot of opportunity for growth is expected over the next few residential property development with years. the introduction of mortgages. This is a “It’s definitely a positive for Zambia. I new thing for Zambia. We haven’t had a think what we experienced with the instrong mortgage market,” Inutu Bagus, troduction of SI33 and SI55, which hapmanaging director of Pam Golding prop- pened about 18 months ago, was a loss erties Zambia, told CNBC Africa. in investor confidence in the country. “Because of the young and upcoming What made Zambia different from other professionals who are becoming accus- African countries, and what was very at-

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A housing development.

PHOTO: Getty Images

tractive was the fact that we could transact in US dollars and you could index your agreements in US dollars,” Bagus explained. “With SI33 and SI55 being introduced, with foreign exchange monitoring, we saw a decline in investment. Since [its] scrapping, we can see positive things are happening. We’ve already seen an appreciation in the kwacha, and on the property market people are already talking. We’ve been receiving a lot of calls to say, ‘now, let’s get back into Zambia, and let’s see what we can do Bagus added that Zambia’s property market has since been poised for investment, though the sector hasn’t had substantial investment. Nevertheless, over the past five years, Zambia’s national pension fund has invested heavily in commercial, residential and retail real estate. Retail property development is also on the move, with four shopping malls having being built in the last five years in Lusaka, the capital city. Zambia previously didn’t have any shopping malls. Migration from the central business district to new property nodes is also indicative of widespread investment and development opportunity in various spaces within the sector. “There is opportunity not just only in the capital city, but also in the copper belt, which is our mining area, and more recently now with the new mining area, which is the north western part of the country,” said Bagus.

KENYA’S BIGGEST WIND POWER PROJECT RECEIVES 75 BILLION SHILLING LOAN By Wilhelmina Maboja ENYA’S Lake Turkana will receive a 75 K billion shilling loan to finance sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest wind power project. “The European Investment Bank is providing a senior loan of 200 million into this project. Two thirds of the financing is provided by European contributors both on the equity [and debt side]. FMO from the Netherlands are also financiers,” Monique Koning, Africa head

A wind turbine.

of project finance for the European Investment Bank, told CNBC Africa. “We have a part guarantee from the export credit agency from Denmark since the supplier is Danish, so we have also the EKF, the Danish export credit agency, [which] also plays a very big role.”  There are a total of 11 financiers, including South Africa’s Standard Bank, the African Development Bank and France’s Proparco. The 300 megawatt power plant is said to be sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest wind

PHOTO: Getty Images

power project, and is expected to generate about 20 per cent of Kenya’s total power. Koning added that renewable energy is of extreme importance to the European Union, and the reduction of greenhouse gases is therefore a top priority both within and outside of Europe. “Before we disperse the money, some conditions will have to be met, but we will contribute alongside the construction of the plant. We expect that the equity will be provided first, and then, as milestones into the construction need the money, we will disperse [it] into the project,” Koning explained. The construction time period has been estimated at 33 months, and the project is also expected to be in operation by 2016. Affordability and reliable energy has however been a major challenge for Kenya, especially for industrial users who heavily rely on electricity. “What you can expect is that the project will contribute about 20 per cent of Kenya’s supply at very affordable [and] competitive pricing. It’s 7.5 euro cents per kilowatt hour, which is much cheaper than the fossil fuel sources. It depends a bit on the oil price and all of that, but it’s very competitively priced compared to fossil fuel energy,” said Koning.  

Ghana's GDP expected to grow at about 8 per cent this year.

PHOTO: Getty images

DUET GROUP INVESTS IN GHANA By Dara Rhodes UET Group and its partners have announced plans to inD vest 50 million dollars into two high-growth consumer companies in Ghana. The global alternative asset management firm in partnership with Finatrade Group, one of the largest food manufacturing and distribution companies in West Africa, are investing in Shop N Save and GNFoods. “We are long term investors here, this is not about a trade, it’s not buying a stock, we have a strategy to put a significant amount of money into the FMCG [Fast Moving Consumer Goods] sector in sub-Saharan Africa,” Henry Gabay, CEO, Duet Group told CNBC Africa. With a population of over 25 million people and a fast growing middle-class in Ghana, Duet believes that the country is particularly positioned to become a food manufacturing hub for the region. “We are really focusing on supermarkets, food production, retail banking, anything with cash to the consumer, that’s where we would really like to see our investments going,” he said. As less than 5 per cent of the food consumed in the region is sold through organised  retail channels, the food retail sector across West Africa remains one of the most under-penetrated in the world. “There is no doubt about the growth of the continent. Short term you might have some ups and downs like currently in Ghana with the currency, but in the long run, we believe that this is an absolutely incredible investment,” he explained. Despite the country’s economy still facing numerous headwinds such as the removal of the fuel subsidy late last year and the hike in utility bills has put pressure on consumer spending, Gabay is still confident of the country’s potential. “To build a supermarket chain, you are not doing that overnight. We are building a supermarket chain for the next ten years in the country. In addition to that, we believe that if you specifically talk about the currency control and things like that, it’s going to be short term,” he added. The Ghanaian economy’s GDP is expected to grow by an estimated 8 per cent this year, keeping the medium term outlook healthy and thus attracting international investors, Gabay believes that the country holds huge potentials. “On the short term, there are some headwinds but keep in mind that you are coming from 11 to 12 per cent GDP growth between 2009 and 2010. Over the next five years, we expect a 7 per cent GDP growth in the country, so those short term hiccups are just part of the process,” he explained. 


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INTERVIEW

CAPE VERDE IS NOT ONLY A TOURIST DESTINATION, IT’S AN INVESTMENT DESTINATION Duarte

At the African Finance Corporation summit which was held on Tuesday in Lagos, CNBC Africa’s DIDI AKINYELURE caught up with Cape Verde’s Minister of Finance, Cristina Duarte to discuss the latest developments in the West African country. IDI: The Cabeolica project is the first comD mercial scale PPP wind farm in SSA providing 20 per cent of Cape Verde’s needs. How significant was the financing from AFC in achieving this project? Duarte: AFC was the major financing partner for this project. I would say that AFC make the project a viable financing project. As you know, the Cabeolica in Cape Verde is one of

our priority projects because we have quite a strong wind regime in Cape Verde and we want to leverage this commodity to decrease our dependence on of food imports. Didi: This project sets the benchmark to be replicated by other African countries, so what lessons can we learn from it? Duarte: First, you need to have a vision in order for you to decide that renewal energy is one of the solutions that you are supposed to apply in your own country. That is the first thing. We did the studies, we analysed our macro- economic and social reality and we decided to make renewable energy one of our priorities. Secondly, we decided to do it, not only in terms of public investments, but since it’s a profitable sector, we decided to make the opportunities available to the PPP experience. We mobilised our traditional partners, ADB

and World Bank. We mobilised our traditional partners to help us build our own site, the first world stretcher PPP in Cape Verde Didi: we also hear that the African development bank has opened a line of credit for infrastructure in Cape Verde, tell us more about that. Duarte: Yes, ADB has been one of our main partners in this infrastructure problem. ADB has already participated in the airport, in the roads, in the telecommunications, etc., so ADB is one of our strong partners relating to infrastructure. The next envelope for ADB, they’ve reaffirmed again to continue to support Cape Verde in concluding the infrastructure program. This is because in the ADB pipelines, you have two more maritime ports. Didi: Now you have other infrastructure programs in the works such as the com-

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pletion of the country’s port network, we also hear there is an airport due for completion in 2016, tell us some of the steps that you are taking to achieve this? For example, are you raising additional funding? Duarte: Actually, thanks to our good governance, our good governance has transformed Cape Verde to a quite credible country internationally meaning that thanks to our credibility, it has not been difficult to mobile constructional financing. I believe in the next two to five years, we will be able to continue mobilising constructional financing to complete or infrastructure projects. Didi: We also hear that the government is embarking on a second wave of privatisation including the national airline. Tell us more. Duarte: Cape Verde has reached a quite reasonable level of infrastructure, physical and institutional meaning that we are ready to structure in a better way in the second wave of privatisations. Our pipeline runs from our airline company, our shipment company, our power plant company, our telecoms company, the concession of an airport, etc. this is why I said at the meeting that Cape Verde would like to mobilise African investments. We need foreign direct investments, but we would like that this foreign direct investments be African direct investments. We want to transform the FDI to the ADI. Didi: so what are some of the opportunities that exist for interested firms and investors in Cape Verde? Duarte: First the privatisation opportunities. The privatisation of our light company, of our maritime ports, etc. second, as I mentioned, Cape Verde is already a mature tourist destination. One of our airports in Boa Vista Island has been functioning since 2008, it is already small. We already receive 43 charters per week so the tourist sector is also a great opportunity for African private investments. In Cape Verde we already have international tour operators. Real tour, Somalia, Hilton is about to start the construction of its hotel, ETC, so I believe that this provides and supplies some comfort to Nigerian investors that by chance select the tourist sector as an investment destination. Cape Verde is already a tourist destination they can come. Didi: Now you mentioned tourism but a lot of your tourists seem to come from Europe, not many from West Africa, I believe. What do you think we need to do to change that? Duarte: First, we need to market Cape Verde better in these markets. We have not done so, I believe, then we need to market cape Verde not only as a tourist destination but I’ll say as an investment destination. Once we market very well, in Africa, Cape Verde as an investment destination, I believe that the tourist inflow will follow.

O’NIELL: NIGERIA COULD GROW BY AT LEAST 10 PER CENT IF POWER REFORMS ARE IMPLEMENTED Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure is currently valued at between 35 and 40 per cent of GDP. The government has announced a 30 year Nigerian Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan aimed at raising the country’s stock of infrastructure to the International benchmark of 70 per cent of GDP by 2043. At the Africa Finance Corporation summit, CNBC Africa’s DIDI AKINYELURE caught up with Jim O’Neill, Economist and Former Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and the discussed Nigeria’s prospects for infrastructure investment. IDI: According to McKinsey & Co, D globally $57 trillion is needed in infrastructure investment in the next 16 years. How do we ensure that funds needed for infrastructure investment in Nigeria are not diverted to other emerging markets? In other words, how do we compete? Jim: In terms of Nigeria attracting the capital to do whatever it needs to do, it has to make sure that it’s credible. You can announce whatever fancy projects you are doing but if there’s no credible evidence about the governance and the implementation of it, you are not going to get the finance. Didi: what would you say makes Nigeria attractive in terms of infrastructure investments in comparison to other emerging markets? O’neil: I think ingenuity of the people is something which I find is at a level higher than most other places. Secondly, some of the policy makers have spent a lot of time overseas and

are aware of the best practices and are trying to put in place a structure and leadership which will deliver all Nigeria’s incredible promises. Didi: Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure remains below the international benchmark of 70 per cent of GDP. We are at 35-40 per cent of GDP. When we compare this to the BRICS- we have Brazil at 47 per cent of GDP, India at 58 per cent, China at 76 per cent, South Africa at 87 per cent. Even Indonesia, a MINT country is at 70 per cent of GDP. What would it take for Nigeria to get to the level of say South Africa? Jim: It is leadership and governance that’s going to do it. When people tell me there’s going to be a train service between Lagos and Abuja, it’s kind of mad. I know people are talking about the government’s plan to do it, well, let them do it, it’s not that difficult. As

people get wealthier, I would imagine low cost airlines to fly around the country inviting in foreign countries, I would think has a spectacular and exciting potential but you have to have good governance, the right structure of regulations to ensure best practices but to also support businesses wanting to get involved. It’s not difficult in some ways it just boils down to the focus and determination of the government. Didi: There was something you mentioned in the past that 170 million people in Nigeria share about the same amount of power used by about 1.5 million people in the UK. When the power issue is sorted out, how much growth do you predict for Nigeria? Jim: The thing I’ve been trying to say is that specific part of infrastructure is just on a scale of importance way beyond others. One of the reasons why I’m sure so many of the normal less advantaged Nigerians don’t really feel that the past decade drawn growth has helped them, is because there are power shortages all the time and a lot of people have no answers, so by doing something significant about boosting the capacity of power, it’s going to have a huge impact and I keep employing the finance minister and others to publish some credible research to show what it might do for change

Nigeria’s growth, because to me, Nigeria could possibly grow by at least 10 per cent if not more, if these power reforms are implemented. Didi: What lessons can we learn from other MINT countries like Indonesia for example? Jim: I’d say two or three things in general. Nigeria like other African countries, shouldn’t feel inferior or intimidated, do what’s right for yourselves, I heard somebody praising Brazil, but I joked in response, Brazil can’t even build a world cup stadium, South Africa did a better job than Brazil on that so don’t look to all those other places as being necessarily superior, just do what is right for Nigeria. Didi: You highlighted something that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said, he said, “our future depends on us and not china,” what do you think about his suspension? Jim: well, I have

O’Neill

met him a few times, he is a very impressive policy maker and I think he has a lot of wisdom which is not normally there. A lot of central bank governors are very narrow and geeky economists but he struck me as wise man that can see the bigger picture. As you can see in the markets, the reaction hasn’t been very favourable so, it’s a shame. I’m assuming and I hope I’m right, that the incoming governor from Zenith Bank, is going to restore that credibility really quickly because I think it’s very important. On its own, it’s definitely a disappointing development for Nigeria.


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Friday, March 28, 2014

POOR RETAIL SALES AMID SLACK ECONOMIC GROWTH IN S.AFRICA

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INFRASTRUCTURE IS STILL AFRICA’S BIGGEST PROBLEM

By Wilhelmina Maboja ROWTH in retail sales volumes are on a slowdown deG spite a significant increase in the 2013 fourth quarter, Ernst and Young reports.

Nigeria set aside 1 billion dollars to fight oil theft and pipeline vandalism. PHOTO: Getty images

NIGERIA’S JONATHAN BATTLES OIL THEFT AND PIPELINE VANDALISM By Dara Rhodes HE Nigerian government has committed one billion dollars to the fight against oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the country. The announcement came on the back of the 2014 Nigeria Oil and Gas Week. According to President Goodluck Jonathan, a technical committee has been set up to look into all the facets of implementing the programme to curb the rampant nuisances in the country’s oil and gas sectors. “The fact that he [Jonathan] has set aside one billion dollars to fight the pipeline vandalism and oil theft is a great thing. It’s a step in the right direction. The issue is not committing the funds. The issue here is about effectiveness and efficiency on how these funds are to be used,” Chris Moghalu, CEO, BTK securities told CNBC Africa. The committee will also resolve community related issues, boost youth empowerment in oil producing areas and oversee enhanced security of the pipelines and other oil industry infrastructure amongst other corporate social responsibilities. “I think it’s a big step, a lot of people have talked about the political aspects of this but whatever we can do in terms of security to solve this problem is good. Remember we started this fight pretty late, so I’m just happy that he is trying to do something about it,” he explained. President Jonathan, who is currently in the Netherlands for the 2014 global Nuclear Security Summit, consulted with the country’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte who assured him of the country’s commitment to fight against crude oil theft and global terrorism. The Nigerian president has also consulted with European allies however, Moghalu believes the local community are equally as important. “For me, being an ex US military intelligence specialist, I’m looking at this from an intelligence angle. The local community need to be very much involved. There should be a long term and a short term goal when you are using these funds,” he said. Moghalu strongly believes that once the president has consulted with all the oil experts, some of the funds need to be put into intelligence as it is one of the huge under explored areas in the fight against crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism. “We all need to come together to fight this fight. I said it earlier, we started this fight pretty slow and we are playing catch up. The president and all the IOC’s (International oil companies) need to put heads together to come up with a serious effective and efficient plan to solve the problem,” he

T

According to an Ernst and Young and Bureau of Economic Research retail survey, South Africa’s retail sales volumes have been on a downward trend since the first quarter of 2014. “I think one of the more interesting observations is that it’s been a while since we’ve seen this broad-based decline in volume growth affecting all parts of the retail sector. In previous years we’ve had certain parts of the retail economy fire on different cylinders,” Derek Engelbrecht, retail and consumer product sector leader from Ernst and Young, told CNBC Africa. “It’s the first time in a while that we’ve seen a general gloomy mood on all of those sectors, or reported at the same time by their respondents.” Engelbrecht added that there were a number of factors impacting the retail industry, but the basis points interest rate hike in January in particular has made the economy a lot more sensitive, and even gloomier than it was previously. “If one thinks about disposable income growth, [the growth is] just not there. Some of the unsecured credit extension, the tap’s been turned off in the last two or three quarters,” he explained. “Just generally, consumer confidence levels being at historic lows tend to place a dampening mood on all of those sectors all at once.” Employment and employment opportunity figures are equally dim, and growth is slower than required. “If I look at the people that we interact with in the market, by and large, I have not seen a significant increase in levels of employment. I think where businesses are losing people through attrition, they end up thinking very hard [about] replacing like for like,” said Engelbrecht. “They are thinking very hard how they could lift the level of productivity of the remaining workforce to cover for that natural attrition in the short term. There is no doubt that everybody wants to employ more people in a growth story.”

N Tuesday, Nigeria held its first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting after the suspension of central bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. The acting governor of the central bank, Sarah Alade, kept the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 12 per cent. Meanwhile the cash reserve ratio on private sector deposits was increased from 12 per cent by 300 basis points to 15 per cent. The Monetary Policy Committee met against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment particularly in emerging markets coupled with the un-

O

CRR increased by 300 basis points to 15 per cent.

PHOTO: Getty images

By Dara Rhodes NFRASTRUCTURE development in Africa is both a daunting Ivestors. task and an investment opportunity for local and global in“We all know that one of the biggest problems for Africa’s growth development, both socially and economically, is infrastructure deficits,” Solomon Asamoah, Deputy CEO and Chief Investment Officer of the Africa Finance Corporation told CNBC Africa. The Africa Finance Corporation summit which was held in Lagos, Nigeria attracted over 500 leading thinkers from different sectors of the economy. The gathering focused on the opportunities and challenges of the African infrastructure landscape. Experts believe that infrastructure has the potential to add an estimated average of 2 per cent to Africa’s economic growth rate over the next decade. According to the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostics, the continent’s infrastructure spending needs to stand at about 93 billion dollars per year and about 40 per cent of the total spending needs are associated with power. “We focus on three main areas; the power sector, transportation infrastructure sector and also natural resources. All the areas where Africa has deficits but also has great potential to leap forward and be very strong,” he said. The corporation is the lead investor in Cenpower Generation Company Limited which is implementing the Kpone Independent Power project, a 340 megawatt combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Tema, Ghana. “We touched on the issues that need to happen to unlock infrastructure financing from the private sector. The role that governments need to play, the role the private sectors need to play and the circumstances which private sector needs to see before they invest in infrastructure in Africa,” he added. The Nigerian government has started making active strides to build the infrastructure gap through its 30-year integrated infrastructure plan aimed at raising the country’s stock of infrastructure from the current 35 per cent of GDP to 70 per cent by 2043.

GHANA APPROVES CAMAC OIL AGREEMENT By Farhaanah Mahomed Bullish and bearish market prospects.

PHOTO: Getty Images

NIGERIA LEAVES INTEREST RATE AT 12% By Dara Rhodes

Infrastructure is Africa's biggest problem.

from 3 per cent in 2013 to 3.7 per cent in 2014 and then to 3.9 per cent in 2015 which include tight financial conditions since mid-2013 as well as political uncertainty, growth in most of the emerging economies is expected to increase from 4.7 per cent in 2013 to 5.1 per cent in 2014. “Reflecting the expansion in economic activities, an upward pressure is expected in global price levels in 2014. Global inflation is projected at 2.71 per cent in 2014 representing an increase of about 40 basis points in relation to estimates from 2013.” The acting governor also added that as inflation forecasts indicate that food inflation may not grow beyond the current levels, especially with bumper harvests expected in 2014, the core inflation could rise. According to Alade, frontier markets were positioning themselves to attract higher capital inflows by reining their policy rates to contain inflation and also stay competitive. Meanwhile, oil prices remain relatively high whilst production was improving and there were signs of accretion to external reserves. Alade also considered the success of monetary policy in attaining price and exchange rate stability, the potential headwinds in 2014, the ultimate goal of transitioning to a truly low inflation environment and the need to retain portfolio PHOTO: Getty images flows.

folding risks of stability in the domestic economy. “In attendance were 10 members, the committee reviewed key economic developments in both the global and domestic economies up to March 2014 and the remaining outlook for the rest of the year,” said Alade.  According to her, the recovery of the global economy could accelerate further in 2014 relative to 2013 as a result of an increased domestic demand in the advanced economies and a rebound of exports in emerging markets. Despite the International Monetary Fund projecting a global growth increase

HANA’S government has approved Camac Energy’s PetroG leum Agreement which covers the Expanded Shallow Water Tano Block. Camac Energy, an independent oil and gas exploration and production company, holds a 60 per cent interest in the deal, while Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC Explorco) holds 25 percent and energy engineering consulting firm, Base Energy, holds 15 percent. “The ratification of the Expanded Shallow Water Tano agreement is a major step towards the realization of the growth aspirations of CAMAC Energy,” said Kase Lawal chairman and chief executive officer. “We believe that it will also result in value creation for all stakeholders, and subject to economic evaluation, a fast track development plan of the discovered resources will be pursued.” The Expanded Shallow Water Tano Block consists of three discovered fields which expands across 1,508 square kilometres, and is located on Ghana’s coastline. Existing discoveries in the Shallow Water Tano Block include the North Tano oil and gas field, the CTS-1X gas discovery, the NWT-1X oil discovery, and the South Tano fields. “CAMAC Energy and its partners will evaluate 3 dimensional seismic data, and geological and well data from the discovered fields to determine, within nine months, the commerciality of the discoveries,” continued the statement.

Oil Rig, Takoradi Port, Ghana.

PHOTO: Getty Images


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ARTS Friday, March 28, 2014 27

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VisualArts How Cross River Valley connects peoples in art, culture Stories by Tajudeen Sowole OLONIAL and post-independence administrators may have C created geographical boundaries within Nigeria’s nation state and beyond, but the natural factor that links peoples remains, so explains a new exhibition, Cross River Valley: Eden of Art and Culture. Mounted inside the gallery of the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos, the exhibits showcase sculptural works of both religious and cultural values as well as household items of the peoples who dwell along the Cross River, and perhaps Benue River axis of Nigeria. On focus, specifically, are the inhabitants in the present geographical states of Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Benue as well as a part of the Cameroon Republic. Historians and geographers may, in the days ahead, debate the reason(s) for grouping the different ethnic nationalities featured in the exhibition as peoples of the Cross River Valley. However, the cultural value of each distinct people is not lost under the Cross River Valley umbrella chosen for the exhibition, so it seems. Shortly after the Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Mallam Yusuf Abdallah Usman, and the curator, Mrs Edith Ekunke briefed visitors about the essence of the exhibition - described as “showing for the first time,” it was formally opened to the public. While the diversity of ethnic identity existed among the inhabitants, relationship, particularly in trading appears borderless. For example, apart from the Portuguese currency known as manila, there were native forms of trade transactions and exchanges among the people. The first set of display at the immediate entrance of the gallery shows evidences of trade relation among the people and perhaps with other neighbours. Two of such objects include. Y Shaped metal piece labeled as currency among the Ogoja people. The metal, which “is worth a penny,” would take about “40 pieces” for a man to pay a woman’s bride price. For the Calabar people, one of the oldest forms of trading involved exchanges otherwise known as barter. An example shows a set of gin bottles dated to1905 and said to “exchanged for 40 copper rods.” In the same stand with the gin bottles is a mould of salt labeled as. Iyala, also used as currency, particularly for bride price. Although the Cross River Valley exhibition does not, specifically, establish inter trade and socio-cultural exchanges between the peoples featured, it was most likely that the waters and their tributaries connected such relationships.  And if trading and cultural relationship existed across the ethnic divides, modern geographical boundaries seem to have done little to complement the healthy inter-ethnic relationship that supposedly existed then. Dominated by pieces of Calabar and Efik origins of Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, the exhibition also featured objects, which include figural and households from Ebonyi and Benue States. Among such works is a traditional religious figure Ingay, of wood, from Benue State. It is described as “the male pair” of a couple’s figures. Interestingly, terracotta sculptures, particularly in households such as pots and bedding cut across tribes of the Cross River Val-

The D-G, NCMM Mallam Yusuf Abdallah Usman (speaking), President, Art Galleries Association of Nigeria (AGAN), Chief Frank Okonta; and American diplomat, Rhonda watson: during the opening of Cross River Valley: Eden of Art and Culture…recently. ley peoples. Some of these works expose the peoples’ art. For examples, Mmaoibu, a terracotta pot from Ebonyi and Head Rest, also of the same material from Calabar come with attractive aesthetics. For the royal houses of Cross River Valley peoples, the exhibition also displays what the NCMM tagged Royal Insignia and Costumes. Usman explained that the contents of the show are from the collection of the Onikan museum. He likened the collections to well-known works of Igbo Ukwu, Nok, Owo, Ife and Benin, disclosing that some of the exhibits were found along the Cross River basin. He argued that the creative skills of the peoples are of great value in the focus of the show. “It is also to demonstrate the creativity, ingenuity, skills, aesthetic qualities and technological know- how of the people of this area dating back to several decades.” While the D-G noted that Nigeria’s tangible and intangible cultural heritages are attractive for their “uniqueness, creativity, historical value and the inspiration behind their production,” the new exhibition, he assured, is no less important

in the league of the country’s cultural values. In a country that is struggling to regain its lost glory of museum-visiting culture, it was a delight to see that the Onikan museum has been extending the campaign to the young ones. As the opening of the exhibition was ongoing, pupils from different schools also, coincidentally, chose the same day to visit the museum. And with more exhibitions coming as the curator assured, the Onikan museum is perhaps on the verge of returning to the glorious days of the past. “The critical thinking and reasoning that has given birth to today’s exhibition will also give birth to future exhibitions that will feature fascinating objects from other geopolitical zones,” Ekunke stated. She stressed how the exhibition will also educate the people on the cultural value imbed in art as against misconception that art is fetish “This is to prove that museums are not where fetish objects are kept as people erroneously believe. Let me use the opportunity to encourage Nigerians to take time out to visit the museums across the country because there is much to learn about our history.”

For 35 years gallery, Anatsui, Hazoume make Transvangarde world HREE and half decades of showing artists T from around the world goes on celebration in the U.K, with an exhibition titled Transvangarde, opening from April 9 and ending May 3, 2014 at October Gallery, London. The gallery, which prides itself as artists’ haven is organsing the exhibition as part of a 35th anniversary “as the first gallery in the United Kingdom to exhibit artists from around the world.” The exhibition, according to a statement from Alana Pryce, October Gallery’s Press and Media manager, the show features works of El Anatsui, Kenji Yoshida, William S. Burroughs, Laila Shawa, Romuald Hazoumè, Gerald Wilde and Aubrey Williams. Pryce said “October Gallery nurtures an enviable reputation throughout the world,” with artists “from over 80 countries.” Truly, African artists such as Anatsui and Hazoumè had their early lift into Europe through the shows organized by October Gallery. On Anatsui, for example, October Gallery noted that one of the artist’s works, a 2007 bottle-top wall-hangings, Fresh and Fading Memories “caused a quiet sensation” at the Venice Biennale 2007. The gallery also promoted Anatsui’s work at

Dubai Art Fair, 2010, where another large-scale masterpiece - In the World, but Don’t know the World (2009), reportedly attracted “great acclaim.” From then till date, the artists’ works “have continued to expand in size.” For the native of Republic of Benin, Hazoumè, whose work was first spotted by critics and connoisseurs when his masks series featured in the Saatchi Gallery’s Out of Africa show, in 1992, October Gallery featured him at the Art Dubai Fair of 2013. The gallery had, severally, shown him in London. The theme of the exhibition, October Gallery explained was coined based on the belief that artists exhibited so far were in search of fresh ideas. “Coining the word Transvangarde, the founders aimed to exhibit the work of artists from around the world who were looking for new sensibilities,” Chili Hawes, Director and Co-founder of October Gallery comments: The gallery recalled that in “1979, London was chosen as the place to locate this new venture due to its history as an Imperial world power and its location - It was a vibrant crossroads of cultures and ideas. Over the decades, the gallery has recognised the positive impact of cultural convergence, observing the attraction of a world city to those interconnected by citi-

zenship, migration and economy.” Led by Director, Chili Hawes and Artistic Director, Elisabeth Lalouschek, the gallery has since played a pioneering role in the promotion and exhibition of some of the most innovative and exciting artists of contempoFrom the rary time, Mask se ries of R including omuald H Aubrey azoumè Williams, Gerald Wilde, Kenji Yoshida, Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, “The gallery became a stage in the centre of London where an experimental piece of new drama separated by continents, was enacted and constantly developing, where share a common sensibility. artists and audiences alike participated in what

Brion Gysin called, ‘third mind’.“ The exhibition, 35 Years of Transvangarde contemporary art from around the planet, will celebrate the most exceptional artists in the gallery’s history - artists who although


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Enter, Serendipity artists, target global lift for African art By Tajudeen Sowole NDIVIDUALLY, Gerald Chukwuma, Jefferson Jonah, DoIEdozie, minique Zinkpe, Tolu Aliki, Nyemike Onwuka and George has encrypted an identity on the Nigerian art landscape. But as a collective, the artists have prospectus strength, which they hope to implore in lifting African art into the global art space. For the maiden edition of the group’s art exhibition titled Serendipity, which opens from Saturday, March 29, 2014 at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island. Lagos, the new platform could be one of the initiatives to watch out for in the visual arts calendar of the year. And quite a mix of artists in the new group:  Chukwuma, a relief sculptor works mostly in woods; painters Edozie and Aliki are well known for stylised figural portraitures; the only nonNigerian in the group, Zinkpe has a skill for painstaking designs in wood sculpture;  pastel specialist, Jefferson works mostly in black and white;  and Onwuka, continues aging the canvas with ladies-dominated themes. As the activities of the group unfolds in the months ahead, details of their itinerary, Edozie assured, will emerge. He disclosed that the main focus of the group is to strengthen African art on the international scene. “We hope to do more shows abroad than at home to promoted African, particularly Nigerian art in the west.” In the past few years, the presence of Nigerian artists on the international art scene has been on the increase.. From African art auctions, to art fair and individual as well as group art exhibitions, it appears that more artists have been expanding their horizon, beyond the Lagos art market. For the Serendipity group, launching from Nigeria is crucial to get a representative gallery abroad. “We already have one or two galleries tentatively to represent us in Europe,” Chukwuma said, but short of disclosing the names. New groups emerging, particularly on the Lagos art scene, are gradually reaching the point of proliferation. But for the Serendipity, “it’s about coming together for a common goal,” Jefferson added. “We are not in this to add to the

growing list.” Despite the obvious fact that art appreciation has been on the ascendancy in Nigeria, specifically in Lagos, the market appears not to be keeping pace with the creative aggression at which artists are moving. This makes the need for wider market space, perhaps pushing artists overseas, urgent. However, the home factor, which project artists’ work and prepares them for international’ recognition cannot be discounted. Aliki, who is among  few young Nigerian artists, who have recently had exhibitions in Europe, argued that each member of Serendipity needs overseas exposure more. “As individuals, we have been around for a while and exhibited well in Nigeria, but we need to up our game.” He noted that the Lagos art scene is “becoming saturated.” The Nigerian art scene, he stressed, “is too concentrated in Lagos, but overseas, the African art market is wider.” He argued on how volume of “Nigerians in the Diaspora can boost collection.” Edozie warned that no matter how widely collected an artist is at home, it is still not safe to exclude the international market. “We want to concentrate more on showing abroad as we cannot continue playing local champions.” He also faulted Nigerian galleries for what he noted as lack of their focus on the international scene. Clearly, a Nigerian gallery is ruled out in the search for a representative abroad. “Galleries in Nigeria are not strong abroad,” Edozie insisted. Jointly cu-

. Rolu Aliki’s When There is Not. rated by George Edozie and Patty Chidiac Serendipity is sponsored by Veuve Clicquot, The homestores, Chocolate Royal , Arra Vineyards, Avenue suits, Cool FM, Wajobiar FM, Nigera Info, Internets solution Nigeria Ltd, Lostinlagos, Litho - Chrome Ltd, Tolaram Group (Indomie). Aliki is a self-thought artist , but well-collected by “galleries and notable art collectors in Nigeria, while a number of international galleries have shown interest in his paintings.” Edozie studied Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Benin (UNIBEN) and has four solo and over 70 group exhibitions within and outside Nigeria. His bio says among his international shows was Africa Now organized by the World Bank for emerging African artist at the World Bank main complex Washington DC USA in 2008 and African Way of Art, La Galerie Vendome Paris France in 2011. Jonahan had his training at Auchi polytechnic in Edo State. With two solo exhibitions in 2002 and 2011, he has stressed his identity of a major pastelist. “Anything beautiful is beautiful and cannot be redefined. Make it a habit of creating good works,” his Artist Statement says. Nyemike’s works have featured at the auctions of Bonhams since the inception in 2010 till date. Stwo of his many local and international exhibitions such as Elegant Urban Decay, at Arc Gallery, London and Moods at Alexis Gallery, Lagos. Zinkpe was born in 1969 in Cotonou in the Republic of Benin. He has participated in numerous exhibitions, workshops and residences in Africa, Europe and South America. Zinkpe gained early recognition through the prix jeune Talent African awarded to him at the Grapholie in Abidjan in 1993. In 2002 he won the Prix Umeoa at the 2002 Dakar Biennale.  Chukwuma studied Fine Art and Applied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka where he where he majored in painting. He has four solo exhibitions and several group exhibitions in Nigeria and Abroad. He was part of the exhibition Heden Daagse Afrikaanse Kunst’ Galerie 23 Amsterdam; Music Lesson, an exhibition of wood panels at Alexis Galleries Lagos.

A painting by George Edozie titled Eko sikwalu ike

World Photo Multimedia Contest picks winners By Tajudeen Sowole

of photojournalist Emin Özmen who witnessed the protests against the urban develThe international jury of the 2014 World opment plan for Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. Press has awarded prizes in three categories of Short Feature, Long Feature and Interactive Subsequently, the protests sparked supporting strikes across Turkey turning into a reDocumentary. Each category holds first, secsistance movement of great importance for ond and third prizes. the country. ‘Witnessing Gezi’ shows the A statement from the organizers listed the winner of the First prize Short Feature as Staff human aspect of this civil resistance, a cruRiding, shot by Marco Casino is local slang for cial event of the last 30 years in Turkey. Also on the list of winners is First prize Intrain surfing, and it is a widespread phenomteractive Documentary: ‘A Short History of enon in South Africa. The vast majority of the Highrise’National Film Board of Canada / surfers are under 25, and due to the highly The New York Times dangerous nature of the activity, amputaThe jury chair Jassim Ahmad, global head of tions of limbs and even deaths are not uncommon. In a context where violence, alcohol multimedia innovation Reuters, reflected: “It is remarkable that the number of entries and drug abuse, rampant poverty, and AIDS to the contest has increased by one third reign supreme, train surfing symbolizes the since last year. The overall quality of submissearch for social redemption that will never sions indicates that many more have a grasp come for the characters of this story. of visual media - a promising indicator of Another winner is First prize Long Feature: things to come. The winners reflect many asWitnessing Gezi, created with the recordings pects of the human condition, such as fam-

ily, culture, sport, conflict and politics.” He added: “There is clearly no one model for success in the practice. You can work in teams large and small; with the support of a major organisation or local community. The smallest stories can speak to wider truths. The possibilities of multimedia are immense.” Jury member Marianne Lévy-Leblond commented: “The notion of multimedia is changing all the time. We constantly find new trends in the field and we try to approach them differently every time. This is an evolving field and we should approach it as such. What fascinates me the most is the level of engagement. The entries had high levels of interaction, from the user experience to distribution, and the use of social media.” Jury chair Jassim Ahmad summed up the categories:

“Across the feature prize winners, the common thread is revealing stories with strong characters at their heart. They are well told and vivid. When content is created for the web, it must grab your attention and hold it. We put ourselves in the shoes of the reader. Interactive teams are employing a variety of visual tools and techniques. We looked for examples that are designed for the medium to explain more and bring you closer. All the winners in this category are evidence of exceptional teamwork. Interactive entries also included some highly original concepts. We agreed innovation could not be at the expense of clarity. Communication is the essence of journalism.” The judging was conducted at the World Press Photo office in Amsterdam, where the jury viewed all the entries and discussed their merits over a period of six days. A total of 373 multimedia productions were entered in the contest: Short Feature 254, Long Fea-


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Revue A feast of reel documentaries in Lagos Stories by Shaibu Husseini HERE were some interesting developments T that came out of the just held I-REP International Documentary Film Festival, which closed last Sunday in Lagos. There was first the cheery news that the organizers of the annual festival are in the final stages of talks with a leading television stations — Channels TV to air ‘local documentaries’ side by side discussions on documentary filmmaking and developments in the documentary scene. There is also the other good news that filmmakers interested in making documentary films can now head to the University of Port Harcourt and get trained. It was a co-founder of i-REP and the Programme Chair for the Committee of Relevant Arts (CORA) Jahman Anikulapo who broke the first good news. Anikulapo, formerly editor of The Guardian on Sunday announced after the panel on ‘Diversity of African Identity and Documentary Films’, that i-REP was working assiduously at establishing a television channel that will be dedicated to airing documentary films particularly those produced by Nigerian and African filmmakers. When established, Anikulapo hinted that the channel will be called i-REP TV and “it will just be dedicated to showcasing documentary films,” Anikulapo said. But to begin with, the culture journalist, artiste and activist disclosed that i-REP was at the concluding stages of discussions with Channels Television for the airing of what Anikulapo described as “home made documentaries and discussions around and about documentary film production.” However, the deal with Channels TV as Anikulapo assured would not stop the desire of the i-REP team of Femi Odugbemi, Makin Soyinka, Jahman Anikulapo and Theo Lawson to float a dedicated channel documentary films. It was also at this panel that foremost film scholar, Professor Femi Shaka hinted of a special programme on documentary filmmaking that has been introduced at the University of Port Harcourt. Aimed at training prospective filmmakers interested in making documentaries, Shaka said that the University of Port Harcourt has collaborated with an Indian based university to offer courses and award certificates to prospective students,’’ he said. Both developments were greeted with applause by the filmmakers drawn from within and outside Africa who attended the four-day long festival, which held at the Freedom Park, on Broad Street, Lagos. The filmmakers all agreed, that these developments would no doubt reinvigorate documentary filmmaking in Nigeria. Held annually since 2010, the documentary film festival, which closed on Sunday with a Jazz concert formally opened on Thursday, March 20, 2014. The Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Mr. Emeka Mba delivered the festival’s keynote address. The DG of NBC spoke on Rhythms of AmalgamationFashioning a Nigerian Identity. The festival also featured a rich collection of award-winning documentary films from across the world. This year, the organizers introduced a special room, which was entirely dedicated to films screenings all day throughout the period of the festival. There was also the Producers Roundtable, an international co-production and co-operation forum for documentary filmmakers, which explored innovative options and opportunities in international co-productions and distributions. The forum brought together international organizations such as Goethe, AGDOK, DOKFEST, AWDFF, Africa Magic and other relevant support Institutions for African cinema. One very important event that was held and that has become a major part of the festival is the filmmaker’s workshop targeted at upcoming filmmakers who need an immersion into how to take advantage of digital filmmaking possibilities. The training workshop was also designed to introduce aspiring filmmakers to techniques of digital film production. It held on Friday and Saturday and was facilitated by Lanre Olupona and Barbel Mauch who came in from Germany.

Mauch has been a regular face at the festival but this year she handled the training segment and for her it was an opportunity to share ideas with “young people who are eager to tell stories using the documentary format.’’ There were also paper presentations and panel discussions by top culture workers, intellectuals and scholars. Awards were also presented to personalities who in the words of Makin Soyinka “are creating opportunities and platforms for documentary films to thrive and blazing a trail for greater future opportunities.’’ There were three awardees this year — Biola Alabi, outgoing Managing Director of MNET; Managing Director of FANS Connect, creators of Afrinolly short film competition, Chike Maduegbuna and Remi Vaughan Richards, a veteran Nigerian documentary filmmaker. On the whole, festivalgoers say it was for them, four days of networking, brainstorming and showcasing of documentaries that give a more rounded definition of the African experience. “I saw well-made documentaries. Great films that have renewed my optimism and pride about the future for Africa,’’ said Hope Obioma Opara, President of Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF). For the Executive Director of the festival, Mr. Femi Odugbemi, it has been a great festival this year. “It has been four days of laying bare the issues that concerns us as a continent. I think we have started the journey towards self-discovery and we have started it well. Like I always say, we at iREP Documentary Film Festival believe that documentary filmmaking provides us the platform to shape our discourses. For me, it has been a growth platform for documentary filmmakers in Nigeria and with this exciting fourth edition, it will continue to elevate, recognize and promote documentary filmmaking as an important tool for development, governance and culture in Africa. We are already working on the fifth edition. Expect only the best as usual,’’ Odugbemi asserted. HE AMVCA winning docu, ‘Deadwood’ is a T proudly Nigerian documentary outside the acting awards, the only other major award that practitioners of the Nollywood industry grabbed at the last Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) was in the documentary category. ‘Deadwood’, a documentary on the plight of pensioners was voted best documentary of AMVCA 2014. Nominated also in the best short film category, the film, based on a newspaper article written by Dr Gilbert Chigbo, was produced by The Scarlet Trail and Derwin Productions and helmed at the Mighty Tot Studios in Lagos. Chief Executive Officer of Scarlet Trail production, Enuma Chigbo described the AMVCA winning for the documentary as ‘mind blowing’. She said that it was first amazing to see the work they started with “almost no budget” come to fruition. “It is just amazing to see it come to fruition, considering how we started. We had to scrape and scratch to get things done. The film is based on a newspaper article my father wrote which was published in The Vanguard Newspapers in July 2010. So to see the different phases: from a newspaper article to an award winning documentary on one of the biggest platforms in Africa is simply divine and means a lot to me. Indeed the film is proudly Nigerian,’’ Enuma said adding that the next stage for the Scenes from the event crew behind the documentary would be to exploit the international market. “The film still has a journey on the international sphere, but within Nigeria it needs to be fully exploited. It won an award at the Cross River State Merit they embarked on the production of the docuAward and it was also nominated on the mentary because of the touchy issue that Dr. AfriNolly platform. We hope to show it on both Gilbert Chigbo published article addressed. “I terrestrial and cable networks for people to see was inspired by the story and the script by Enuma Chigbo, Grace Oboba Edwin-Okon, We it. It is also online’’ Enuma said. Speaking on the making of the documentary shot in Calabar and Daddy (Dr. Chigbo) who film recently, Chief Executive Officer of Mighty handled the narration got the hang of his role Tot Studio Stanlee Ohikhuare explained that overnight, and shooting was just a walk in the

park,’’ Ohikhuare said. The star of the documentary, Dr. Gilbert Chigbo said he still has not gotten over the excitement of the AMVCA winning.   “It was totally unexpected. I never thought it would go this far – nominated in two categories and winning one. I am very pleased about it. I am happy about it,’’ said the 79 years old pensioner who maintained that the story that was captured in

CONTINUED ON PAGE 30


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30 ARTS Friday, March 28, 2014

Arthouse mourns two members

has dimmed on two LtheIGHT very significant members of art house—veteran musician, producer, promoter and artiste manager Teslim Allan Salami aka Tessy Sal Allan and writer, culture activist and one time Senior Special Assistant on Culture to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Catherine Acholonu. Tessy Allan died on March 7 and was interred last Friday at Atan Cemetery, Yaba, Lagos while Professor Acholonu whose death has been roundly described as a huge loss to the African Intellectual community reportedly died of kidney failure on Monday. Aged 70 and popular as ‘Champion’, Tessy Allan Salami founded the Nigerian Songs Festival (NISOFES) as a platform for the promotion of ‘authentic Nigerian songs’. The festival held for a few years but it went underground when Tessy Allan couldn’t raise funds to sustain the festival. He also lamented his inability to secure sponsorship for a festival that he hoped will help project Nigerian songs and that way put it on the world music map. A show promoter, producer and artiste manager per excellence, Tessy Allan at a time managed the musical career of the late Lady of Songs Christie Essien Igbokwe. He is also reputed for grooming the late Ogene highlife music exponent Chief Sunday Akanite aka Oliver De Coque to stardom. Popular gospel

Acholonu artiste Telemi Orokoya described Allan’s death as ‘a great loss’. He also said ‘’what a miss. He produced our first album “GBANJO” when I was leading the choir of Methodist Church, Sogunle in 1984. Now I am going to be marking my 30 years on stage without Uncle Tessy’. Aged 63 having been born in 1951, Professor Acholonu is well published and regarded in literary circles. Acholonu is author of the seminal, albeit controversial critical study “Motherism: The Afrocentric Alternative to Feminism’’. The book was first published in 1995. Poet and scholar Professor Nduka Otiono who first announced her untimely

Allan

Nigeria Police partners Tricia Esiegbe Kerry on The Psychologist Stories by Shaibu Husseini HE campaign against child T sexual abuse and molestation got a major boost last week when the Nigeria Police agreed to partner notable Nollywood producer and show host Tricia Eseigbe on her latest advocacy project titled The Psychologist. The project, a 30minutes television talk show programme is designed to expose sexual predators within Nigeria and also to create a support platform for victims of child molestation. Speaking during the partnership announcement meeting between the Nigeria Police and Esiegbe’s The Boldfaces International team held at the Louis Edet House, headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja, the InspectorGeneral of Police, MD Abubakar applauded the team for coming up with such a

project. The IGP said the police was particularly drawn to the project because of its mission to fight against child sexual offenders. The IGP thereafter instructed all the 36 state commissioners of police and the 12 DIG’s to work closely and give all the necessary support to The Psychologist team nationwide. Earlier the President of Boldfaces International told the IGP that Boldfaces International foundation was set up to among other things encourage victims of child sexual abuse to come out and tell their stories. According to the actress who reigned uproariously during the early years of the Nollywood industry ‘’we intend to use the project to mobilize people to take action towards protecting children before they are harmed’’. Esiegbe Kerry disclosed that with the partnership with the Nigeria Police, the team is set

to launch its planned celebrity road show campaign. ‘’We will begin from Abuja and we will visit schools nationwide, and hold town hall meetings in every state across Nigeria, all to educate our people about ways to protect our young and vulnerable children from sexual abuse’’ she said. However, before the team left Louis Edet House, the IGP was presented with the Boldfaces special award of excellence, an award Esiegbe Kerry said was presented to the IGP in recognition of the IGP’s ‘’immaculate work since assumption of office’’. She also said that the IGP has worked tirelessly to reposition the Nigeria Police and to restore public confidence in the Force. It will be recalled that a similar award was presented to Ex-Nigerian international Austin Okocha in 2008 when he retired from playing football.

demise on face book described her as ‘the most mystical, and under-celebrated radical Black feminist thinkers’’. Human Right Activist and former writer with The Guardian Emmanuel Onwubiko described Professor Acholonu as a woman who was very passionate about elevating the African cultural milieu to global heights. According to Onwubiko, ‘’Acholonu worked tirelessly to document volumes of intellectual works on African archeological deposits and the rich African culture and traditions. She was indeed an epitome of intellectual beauty and was frank to a fault. May God receive her beautiful soul’’.

Unveiling of BlackREAL volution Movement today in Lagos HE suspense and anticipaT tion surrounding the BlackREALvolutionwill be laid to rest today as the movement will be formally launched in Lagos.. Popular musicians, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, Nigeria’s king of afro-beat and 2Face Idibia, afro hip-hop exponent, have showed their support for the movement. There has been an upsurge in support of the #BlackREALvolution from other celebrities. Music acts such as Sound Sultan and Chuddy K, comedians Bovi and Gordons and superstar disc jockey, DJ Xclusive, have also thrown their weight behind the movement. Popular Nigerian musician, Sound Sultan, described the birth of the movement as timely. He said: “I support peace and unity; I support any cause that fights for injustice and oppression. I advocate creativity, hon-

• Sound Sultan, Bovi, DJ Xclusive, others rally support esty and hard-work among the Nigerian youth. I support making Nigeria a better place. I will be at the launch of this movement.” Rotimi Alakija, popularly known as DJ Xclusive, has thrown his weight behind the #BlackRealvolution movement. The Superstar DJ said his decision to support the movement was borne out of his love for Nigeria and the need for change in the society.  He remarked that the: “BlackRealvolution is a movement of hard-working Nigerians who are open to change. We are innovative and fun-loving. We are a talented and creative bunch.” Renowned comedian, Gordons, has also pitched tent with the movement. The veteran comedian stated that his decision to join the movement was

borne out of the spirit of patriotism and his love for change in the society. Gordons said: “As a comedian, my primary duty is to put laughter on the faces of Nigerians; and I have done so successfully over the years. I get stopped on the road, several times and people thank me for a job well done. My alliance with the #BlackRealvolution movement is one of my ways of giving back to society. This selfless cause will be revealed in due course. While the #Blackrealvolution is a fun movement, I can say that it is not a funny affair.” Another comedian, Bovi, said his support for the Blackrealvolution stems from his spirit of patriotism. “I support positivity, I support moving Nigeria forward. I support the #Blackrealvolution.”

‘The Deadwood’s victory at AMVCA is amazing’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29 the documentary was motivated by a real life occurrence.  He said: “my father worked and retired with the Railways, I think in 1946. But for two years, this poor old man who had nine children did not get a penny of his gratuity or pension. You may wonder how the title came about. It was as a result of a very disturbing statement an ex- Governor made. He called pensioners ‘Deadwood.’ This is a governor who was sup-

posed to ensure that pensioners got their dues. Rather, he called them Deadwood saying that he did not have money for them and if they did not have children to look after them they should go home and die. There must be a system that should check all that instead of subjecting your senior citizens to such inhuman treatment after giving their best to Nigeria.’’ For the co-writer and Producer at Derwin Productions, Grace Oboba Edwin-Okon, the need to give pensioners a voice was

the motivation for the production of The Deadwood. The Derwin Production boss explained that funding and the challenges of moving equipment from Lagos to Calabar almost stood in the way of the project. “We also had the challenge of making some of the elderly people understand what we were trying to do. Because this is not something they have done before, we had to take time to explain and get them used to their lines.’’

Producerof the Psychologist, Tricia Asiegbu-Kerry and the IGP Mohammed Abubakar

Ambassador for Peace medal for man of culture latest UN-Polac missioner for Justice and HE rich culture of the the Attorney General, Barrister T Donga people of Taraba Ambassador for Peace. State was on display recently. M. Igbokwe who represented Musa Tende. In his speech, the Acting governor reiterated the importance of peace in any community and said the recognition was a symbolic gesture reflecting the Gara Donga as an embodiment of peace. He further called on the people to continue to emulate his ideals for even development as only at peace time that development is assured. He also urged the people of Donga to learn from the history of wars and always ensure peace in their domain as a tool for development. In his acceptance speech, the Gara Donga expressed appreciation to the Trustees of UN-Polac for finding him worthy of the appointment. He described it as an added impetus to several awards on peace in the past while pledging to justify the confidence reposed on him. His words: “I am honoured to be so recognized. For this honour I promise to continue to make peace as a way of life.” As a mark of respect and unity among the people of Donga, several cultural troupes reflecting its diversity, came out in their large numbers to enterHis Highness Dr Danjuma Banyonga MFR displays his certificate pre- tain the eminent guests.

The occasion was when His Highness, Dr. Danjuma Banyonga MFR. Garbosa 111, Gara Donga, was appointed as Ambassador for Peace of United Nation’s-Polac. It was a unique gathering as UN-Polac Mayor for Peace Mr. Lucky Igbokwe  (Don Lulu) presented the Gara Donga with the medal of honor and plaque as

the International President Obong Dr. Halo B. Eton, JP, said the first class chief of Donga,  was chosen based on his track record as a peace maker of note.  Expectedly, the event  was witnessed by eminent personalities within and outside the state. The acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar was represented by the com-

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Friday, March 28, 2014 LITERATURE 35

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Literature Arrow of God absent at its 50th year celebration in Ibadan

POETRY Confusion in explosion! Catechists in cataclysm Tearing catechism into confusion Ha! who will provide the catharsis? Judges in morbid war Against equity and justice Ha! who’ll uphold righteousness? Hell on the loose Heaven on the run Ha! who will brake the brake? Crazy surgeons operating On a gangrene tumor Ha! any hope for the patient? Lecherous drunken preacher on holy altar Rain of unholy words in torrent Ha! who will dry the flood of blasphemy? Native pig away to the sea for bath Tons of detergent on assistance Ha! who’ll remove leopard’s dark spots? Surgeon’s knife on cavernous haemangioma Blood in flood flowing in fury Ha! who’ll tame a whirlwind in fury? Sermon to the deaf and blind From the highest mountain pours Ha! wisdom in waste fair? Euthanasia administered on the dead Anesthesia to a cold cadaver Ha! offering a mirror to the blind? Two irredeemable parallel lines In hot quest for a perpendicular Ha! impossibility in the mathematics world? Mammon made the church treasurer Brethren insisting on accountability Ha! race of impossibility? Void of rehearsal Thespians staging a play in amphi-theatre Ha! a recipe for fiasco?

Registrar, University of Ibadan, Olujimi Olukoya (left); Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), University of Ibadan Prof. Olayinka Idowu; Chairman, Planning Committee “Arrow of God”, Dr. Wale Okediran, Guest Speaker, Prof Darren Kew and Chinua Achebe Family Representative, Chief Iloegunm Ifenyi at the Symposium Marking 50th Anniversary of “Arrow of God” Written by Chinua Achebe at University of Ibadan last Friday PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Desert spreads on permafrost Shepherd leading cattle for grazing Ha! invitation to catastrophe?

By Anote Ajeluorou

A chronic stammerer is choir-master A day old baby in menopause Ha! confusion in explosion?

PERHAPS, like its central character, Ezeulu, who was absent from the communal shrine of Ulu and so failed to eat three sacred yams, having been imprisoned by the white District Officer, Captain Winterbotttom, for refusing to accept being a Warrant Chief for Umuaro people, and thus ruined the yam harvest. So, too, was Chinua Achebe’s second novel, Arrow of God loudly absent at the celebration of 50 years since it was published in 1964. The event was held at University of Ibadan last Friday. Absence of the book was by no means for lack of efforts to get copies on the part of National Organising Committee (NOC) of Arrow of God@50 Celebration, which is also a global event. Committee chairman, Dr. Wale Okediran, informed that efforts to get Pearson Educational Ltd in Lagos to supply 50 copies of the novel to students in each of the eight venues of celebration for the quiz contest among secondary school students failed to yield results, as the publisher did not respond to request made to it. The result is that at Ibadan, there was no single copy of Arrow of God even for those who wanted to own a copy anew. While many at the Ibadan event were angry with Ibadan-based HEBN Publishers Ltd – (part sponsors of Arrow of God@50 and former local publisher of Arrow of God) for failing to make copies of the novel available. When confronted, its Chairman/CEO, Mr. Ayo Ojeniyi, said the situation was beyond his company’s control, as Pearson Educational Ltd is now sole custodian of rights to Arrow of God and revived African Writers Series in Nigeria, and so absolved his company of blame. Other copies of Achebe’s books like Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, which were in HEBN’s stand at the venue were sourced from the open market, Ojeniyi informed, but they could not get Arrow of God.

The committee also sourced copies given to students from the open market. But in a telephone conversation with an official of Pearson, Mr. Frank Osagbe, the company does not stock books, but its distributors. Besides, Osagbe said the NOC approached them to supply the books for free and as part of its support for the celebration, something he said couldn’t be arranged because of difficulties of stock. He also said he could not ask any of Pearson’s distributors to take Arrow of God to the remaining seven venues for the celebration, as he could not guarantee them projected sales figures. Last year also in Ibadan when HEBN Publishers, first publishers of Achebe and AWS, held a ceremony to mark the passing of the literary icon, the absence of his novels also evoked anger among those present. In an era when publishers talk glibly of pirates doing business at the expense of publishers, it’s shocking that Pearson Educational Ltd lost the opportunity of playing a role in being part of a global event celebrating Achebe and one his best literary works. For all it’s worth, it’s not too late for Pearson Education Ltd to redeem itself. While it’s clear the company would not be drawn into committing to corporate social responsibility issues, it is not too hard asking it to do pure business by making the book available at the remaining seven venues left in its celebration for those willing to buy copies. The next stop this week is Otuoke, Bayelsa State at Federal University, where teacher and prominent female writer, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo, will deliver the keynote address. Thereafter, the train will move to Abuja, Lagos, Awka, Ogidi, Port Harcourt and Sokoto. It should not be surprising if some

smart pirate stepped in to fill this vacuum that Pearson and its local distributor have unwittingly created. Quiz contested based on Arrow of God admitted on students, a symposium, with keynote by American Dr. Darren Kew and Mr. Azeez Sesan, a cocktail and a play adaptation, When the Arrow Rebounds completed events at the Ibadan leg of the celebration.

Living God! Living God! Living God! The author of authors Ha! who will re-script the dark script? Kayode Steve Adaramoye © Copyright 2014

World Book Capital 2014: Countdown begins ITH 26 days to Port W Harcourt’s tenure as UNESCO World Book Capital 2014, Pilot Programmes have rounded off and all hands are on deck to deliver the programmes in the bid that was submitted to UNESCO. The pilot phase of this programme included the testrun of Book Clubs And Reading Tree as well as the Walking Book in Rivers State. A book donation drive and participation in CARNIVRIV (the annual Rivers State Carnival) were part of the effort to sensitize resident of the city to the World Book Capital project. The Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014 year-long programme would kick off with a week-long of activities lasting from April 22 to 26. The main Opening Ceremony would take place on Wednesday April 23,

which is UN World Book and Copyright Day. On this occasion, when Bangkok hands over to Port Harcourt, Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka would deliver the keynote address. The Opening Ceremonies would include celebrities reading to children, interactive sessions with some of Nigeria’s most important authors, a dance-drama directed by Award winning playwright Bikiya GrahamDouglas. Bikiya, a Port Harcourt girl, is currently in the city scouting local talent to participate in this drama titled Along Came the Book that traces the role of information sharing from our oral tradition to the written word, culminating in the PH World Book Capital. There would also be the public presentation of The Walking Book, a communal story on the

Sights and Sounds of Rivers State written by children from across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state. Finally, visitors to Port Harcourt would be treated to the warm Rivers hospitality, which includes the display of a boat regatta and excursion to Songhai Farms. A key component of the Opening Ceremonies, this exhibition would hold from April 22 to 24. Embassies and foreign missions in Nigeria, local and international book festivals, literary award bodies, as well as key partners and stakeholders in the book chain industry have been invited to participate in this 3- day exhibition which will showcase literature and literary efforts from around the world. Visitors would enrich their global perspective by a visit to this exhibition tagged ‘It’s a Small World After all’.


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36 | ARTS Friday, March 28, 2014 By Tunde Fatunde HE 16th National Conference of University T French Teachers Association of Nigeria (UFTAN) was recently held at Obafemi Awolowo University (0AU), Ile –Ife, Osun State of Nigeria. There were more than one hundred and twenty-five (135) members who attended the conference. “This conference would go down in the history of our association as one of the well attended conferences in recent times”, declared Prof. R. Adebisi, UFTAN’s immediate past president. Also, the opening ceremony could be regarded as one of the most colorful outings of UFTAN ever witnessed by members. The opening ceremony anchored by Dr. M. Tijani and N. Nwosu took place at OAU Conference Centre with Professor L.O. Adewole, Dean, Faculty of Arts, OAU as chairman. He also represented the university’s Vice Chancellor, Professor B. Omole. Professor O. Oladitan, the conference convener kept on assuring the audience that the Vice Chancellor, who had his doctorate degree at University of Bordeaux in France, would attend the opening ceremony as soon as he is done with an important official assignment. The French embassy was represented by Monsieur D. Rignault. The latter promised continued support for French studies in Nigeria’s educational institutions. A suggestion was made at the opening ceremony that the association should, henceforth, invite to the conference, diplomatic representatives in Nigeria, of African and non-African countries whose official language of communication is French. “Within ECOWAS, French is the official language of some members’ states. Canada, Switzerland and Belgium also have French as their national language of communication. They should be invited to our conference. France is no longer the sole custodian of French language. This language has been appropriated by many countries all over the globe,” a member remarked. The observation struck a cord as one remembered similar remark made at the international conference of International Federation of French Teachers (FIPF) in Durban, South Africa last year. Some members of UFTAN including this writer attended the conference at which the French Minister of International Cooperation formally informed the gathering that by 2050, Francophone countries of Africa, not France, would guarantee the survival of French language and by extension, French culture. The statement was so impressive and tallied, in a way, with what the participant at Ile-Ife Conference was suggesting that other francophone embassies in Nigeria should be invited to attend UFTAN Conferences. Colour was added to the ceremony by songs rendered by students of OAU, Department of Modern Languages. The band made up of students in the department rendered the Nigerian, French and the university anthems to the admiration of the audience. The most interesting highlight of the opening ritual was the introduction of French professors present at the opening ceremony and also the presentation of a collection of essays published in honour of some retired university professors of French studies. The academic significance of the two events was not lost to the audience especially the younger lecturers. Professor R. Adebisi introduced professors who are still in active service. They are: O. Oladitan, C. Mokweyen, V. Okeke, M. Iwuchukwu, J. Mokobia, D. Obieje, F. Angrey, T. Adejir, D. Chima, V. Obinna, R. Adebisi and this writer. They all received loud ovations. Another category of more experienced tribe of professors are the retired ones; but are still rendering their services and supervising post graduate students. They were equally recognized. They were:U. Edebiri, I.Omojola, V. Aire, R. Elaho, F.Emordi and N. Koffie. The presence of professors — retired and those in active service — at the Ile-Ife conference captures and encapsulates the history of the growth and development of French studies in Nigeria’s educational institutions since independence. In other words, these professors are in the bracket of first, second, third and fourth generations of Nigeria’s French intellectuals since the country obtained her independence 54 years ago. The investment of France to French studies in Nigeria is important but investment is peripheral, and supportive role to the core investment of Nigerian state in French Studies in Nigeria. Still on the opening ceremony, four of the

UFTAN 2014… When OAU hosted French language instructors

Participants at the workshop retired professors were honored as UFTAN pacesetters. They are: V. Aire, R. Elaho, F.Emordi and N. Koffie. Each of them was honored by reading out their citations. Their curriculum vitae was simply monumental and mind bugling. Incredible! They stand out as part of the intellectual cream on Nigeria and Nigerians at home and abroad. In their honour, a special publication titled, French Language in Nigeria, edited by Professors N. Obianaju, E. Omonzejie, Dr. G. Simire and M. Tijani was presented at the conference. An important feature of the publication is the interviews of these retired professors and articles by some lecturers who were former students of the retired professors. The umbilical cord between the active old and dynamic young teachers is present in this collection of essays. But certainly, there are also serving and retired professors who are UFTAN pace-setters but are unavoidably absent at this conference. The list of UFTAN professors is inexhaustible! And what actually enriched the intellectual content of the conference was the keynote address delivered by Professor E.N. Kwofie, one of the pioneers of French linguistics in Nigerian universities. A Ghanaian who eventually opted wholeheartedly for Nigerian citizenship, spoke on French in the Wider World. Going through the memory lane, he demonstrated with facts and figures how the French language has become one of the major diplomatic and cultural tools in the comity of nations. He also confirmed that French would remain a language of communication in Africa. This lecture reminds one of a profound and prophetic statement made by Francois Holland, the French President at 2013 Summit of Francophone Heads’ of States in Kinshasa, capital of Democratic Republic of Congo. “French language is now an African Language”, Holland said. Perhaps, because of this correlation, standing ovation and wide applause trailed Kwofie’s lecture. In line with academic tradition, the 4-day conference was mainly devoted to presentation of academic papers by UFTAN members. There were two separate round table sessions specifically for distinguished scholars. The first round table had Professor V. Aire as the first speaker. He spoke on Les Etudes Franco-Africaine au Canada: Un témoignage personalisée (African Studies in French: A personalized testimony).

He has two qualities: he writes well with a passion for details and he speaks perfect French like a native. In his paper, he went through the memory lane how Nigerians made immense contribution in African studies developed in the French speaking universities of Quebec in Canada. He cited the participation of Nigerians in the creation of academic journals and contributed articles to the following academic journals and books: they are Dictionnaires Des Oeuvres Afro-Africaines de langue Francaise; Ecriture Francaise,Presence Francophone; Revue Canadienne des Etudes Africaines, Etudes Littéraires etc He also paid special homage to Nigerians who specialized in African literatures, culture and civilization in Francophone universities in Canadian. The list is long. It included Professors Peter Okeh, Martin Bestman, Femi Ojoade, Ibiyemi Omojola. Another interesting feature of Aire’s presentation is the academic contributions of Nigerian scholars who did not study in Canada but published articles in these French journals. Professor U. Edebiri, who studied at Sorbonne University in France gave a summary of his academic experience when he visited Canada to present seminar papers. In his paper, Aire’s dwelt on one touching story of Gloria Onyeoziri, one of his students at the University of Jos. She became blind in Jos. Despite this disability she obtained a first class in French at UNIJOS. She later had her Ph.D in a Canadian university under the supervising of Professor Femi Ojo Ade. In the concluding part of his paper, he revealed that there are currently about five thousand Nigerian students in both Anglophone and Francophone universities in Canada! Some of these Nigerians who studied in Canada came home and are currently in charge of postgraduate programmes in French studies; just like other Nigerian professors who studied in France and elsewhere. At the end of his presentation, those who had their doctorate degrees in Canada’s Francophone universities gave their personal testimonies. They were: Professors M. Iwuchukwu, T. Adejir , I. Omojola and Dr. J. Abaa. Dr. R. Sanusi, a polemical literary critic and creative writer also gave his own testimony of his sojourn in Canada. It was after his presentation that an announcement was made he had just been appointed Associate Professor!

The second round table was very technical. In his paper, Littérature et Droit (Literature and Law) Professor 0. Oladitan, a literary critique and a lawyer underscored the umbilical link between some literary writings and law. He posited that the content of some novels can be subjected to legal analysis. He demonstrated his thesis by showing how legal terms can be used to analyze Sembene Ousman’s novel “Les Bouts de Bois de Dieu”, a classic in the repertory of Francophone novels in Africa. He delivered his paper in impeccable French lacing it with legal terms and most of the audience squinting their faces because they are, for the first time, witnessing the correlation between novels and law. His presentation reminds one of the era of encyclopaedists, an intellectual movement in 18th Century France. These iconoclasts were demonstrated that there is a constant correlation and interdependence between all parts of body of knowledge. Also, there is a constant and permanent and constant introduction of concepts from medicine, social sciences and linguistics as analytical tools to understand and appreciate all literary works! There were parallel sessions to accommodate and satisfy various academic interests. These parallel sessions range from comparative literatures, French linguistics, translation, interpretation, culture and civilizations. Cross pollination of ideas was a dominant feature in these sessions. In all these sessions, there was a remarkable passion demonstrated by our colleagues working on their doctorate thesis. They presented their papers. And accepted in good faith comments and observations made by senior colleagues. Here one must congratulate them for their determination to excel. Expectedly, these papers had theoretical pitfalls and the format, at times, did not conform with the normal standard . Where there are problems, there must be solutions. It was generally agreed that the association should organize zonal seminars and workshops to assist these younger colleagues. And these seminars will be supervised by professors both in active service and those who have retired. The country will be divided into five zones. The conference ended with the election of a new executive body to steer the ship for the next two years. The 17th edition would be hosted at the Nigeria French Language Village, Badagry, Lagos State in November, this year with the theme: Nigeria and ECOWAS. •Fatunde, professor of French Studies, Lagos State University, is newly elected President of UFTAN.


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ArtHouse DATING CODE 1.0 to hold conference on dating vEryBODy dreams about having a successful marriage but E successful marriages are few, and most people do not even know what it takes to have one.

Dating Code 1.0 is organizing an amazing conference about dating and romance, a time to learn more about how to have successful dating experiences. The event will focus on how responsible dating can prepare your heart for marriage by helping you to get to the place where you can choose a person who is right for you, as well as help you in becoming a person who is right for another. It will hold at a very conducive conference hall, 14, Adedotun Dina Crescent, Mende, Maryland tomorrow by 9am. Speaking alongside the convener are two well-seasoned and experienced speakers of high repute, namely Abiola Champ Salami and Grace Festus Alao.

Learning with Celebrities Conference (LWCC)

rDINAry people will have an opportunity of meeting with O some Nigerian Celebrities on Thursday, April 3, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. With the knowledge that education is the tool

for personal freedom and socio-economic transformation, the meeting is aimed to encourage students  to stay back in school and embrace with excellence, the notion of education as a primary focus in the chase and pursuit of their careers. Students will be exposed to the intricacies and socio-economic potentials of their environment and also taught the rudiments of lasting positive legacies and the importance of doing well in their academics, being taught directly by their mentors and favored celebrities. results expected from the event are, to bridge the gap between celebrities and protégés, connect classroom to the marketplace, reduce the number of dropouts, encourage scholars, student cognitive, workability and employability capacity development, uphold the tenets of global excellence and nation building.

All Africa literary festival kicks off in May

N educative and exciting literary  event-taking place at the British Council Auditorium, Accra, Ghana, is gaining wider acceptance as more and more notable literary icons and societies confirmed their participation. Programme Coordinator  of All Africa Media Network  the organizer of the festival, Mr.C.Iwuoha said that the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) would be part of the literary festival scheduled to hold from May 29 to 31. The literary festival will feature the launch of the Prestigious Ghana Literary Festival and presentation of All Africa Media Network Awards to outstanding individuals in the continent. Nominees for the Award in Nigeria includes Mo Abudu, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and late Professor Catherine Acholonu who just died a few days ago.

A

Compiled by: Florence Utor

Worship for Change showers blessing on less-privilege they had with the OrSHIP for are looking for. W However, the selected homes. Change, an initiative of     Fountain Centre for Destitute Her words: “We of Praise, has given out the sum of three million naira (N3 million) to Centre for Destitute Empowerment, Idimu-Lagos and God’s Will Orphanage, Ayingba, Kogi state. Artistes that graced the show included Bob Fitts, Muyiwa Olarewaju, Flo, Freke Umoh, PITA and Psalmos. Also, Fountain of Praise has been involved in the production of worship music, organizing worship conferences and the marketing. According to the Covener, Wale Adenuga, their focus is on children living in orphanage homes. He added that they allow people to nominate on their website and make sure that all the homes nominated posses what they

Empowerment, Idimu with over 82 children received a cheque of N1.55 million. According to the president and founder, Pastor Samson Okoliko, the home greatly appreciated the effort made by Worship for Change. “The amount is not the important thing but the effect it make on the lives of the children. We are assuring you that the money will be invested well and we would continue to update you,” he said. The other half of the money, N 1.55 million, went to God’s Will Orphanage founded by Mrs. Elizabeth Opanachi. They currently take care of 45 children. Opanachi regretted she could not make it for the interview sessions

lack words to appreciate the organisers of Worship for Change but we just have to say thank you. If all the children could make it here, you will see the excitement on their faces. We shall give you feedback.” Since 2006, the Worship for Change yearly concerts has helped to raise over N20 million to provide support for thousands of children. Among some centers that have benefited from this gesture were; Hearts of God Hospice, Surulere; Arrows of God Orphanage, Ajah; Patrick Speech and Language centre, Ikeja; Hephzibah Orhanage, Badagry; Temirayo Awosika Help Foundation, ilupeju; and others.

Founder, Trans4m Centre for Integral Development, Prof. Ronnie Lessem (left); Author, Dr. Basheer Oshodi; Co-Founder, Trans4m Centre for Integral Development and Book Reviewer, Prof. Alexander Schieffer; and Chief Financial Officer, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman at the launch of ‘An Integral Approach to Development Economics’, in Lagos.

Book on poverty, unemployment hits market Stories by Florence Utor CONOMIES of the world are defying human reasoning, E with the capital markets crashing, sometimes, at an incredible rate. Some continents that borrowed and lived on other continents’ economies like Africa are not functioning well, leaving so much poverty and unemployment everywhere. Basheer Oshodi, a man well qualified in the area of economics, and with a passion to free his continent from abject poverty and bridge the gap of income inequalities, presented a book to the public last week titled, An Integral Approach to Development Economics. The transformation and innovation series, according to Oshodi, is about economic development, poverty reduction, closing the gap in the income inequalities in the society and making sure there is

employment. As a result, the master’s degree holder in Business and Management research from the London Metropolis Business School is looking at several economic models including capitalism, socialism the welfare economies and other models to be able to find the missing link. According to him, “we are also looking at the indigenous economy, because before all these models came up, we also had our own financial structure, so ,we are looking at all of these to see what we can take out or add to or refine and see how we can develop a new model that will work for Africa. What I mean by that is to see Africa get out of poverty because that is all that really matters right now.” He continued that the World Bank keeps saying there is development in Africa, but he based his short presentation on the argument that if there is development, there should be

growth, adding, “even some employed people can hardly meet their needs.” Asked if people would be ready to embrace new findings, considering that the former models have not really solved the African problems, Basheer said, “we are going to make things happen so that they will see. As long as people are able to walk out of poverty, they won’t ask you, which model you are using, we are going to share this knowledge with different institutions such as the politicians so that they can learn more about the new model that works. When we talk of governance, it’s about having the right structure to support the new economic model, so, apart from us doing the ground work, we also need government officials to key into this to help us implement them,” he concluded. Professor ronnie Lessem, CoFounder of TrANS4M, with Alexander Schieffer (Geneva),

which offers in partnership with local universities, innovative educational programmes (especially Doctoral Programmes) on Social and Economic Transformation and Social Innovation, was the book reviewer. Lessem, who got interested in Oshodi’s earlier published work on the Internet, encouraged him to do something for not just his country Nigeria, but also his continent Africa and the world at large, which resulted in this new work. Schieffer, among other things, stressed that research should be directed at the burning issues in society, he said it should be focused on addressing inbalances, leveraging on integral development and transforming findings into realities. The occasion was graced by the general public, financial institutions, and government officials among others.

ployed persons. It has been well documented globally that, within a supportive economic, social and cultural context, expanding access to high-quality comprehensive sexuality education and non-judgmental, ageappropriate youth-friendly services for youths in various settings will contribute significantly to improving their well-being and overall educational attainments. AHI’s experience of working

in Iwaya, with initial efforts at livelihoods training through apprenticeships, offering sexuality education combined with the evening basic literacy programme, and supporting younger girls to return to school has clearly demonstrated both the scale of demand for such services and the need for an integrated response. It has highlighted the necessity of engaging and engendering action within the public sector in these communities, at LGA, and at state level. Only the public sector offers the breadth and reach needed to provide accessible basic education for girls at risk and second chance education for girls already out of school; livelihoods skills training and market access and or linkages to formal sector businesses to provide girls economic independence and opportunities to broaden both their world view and life choices, said the organisation.

Short movies on girls from AHI CTION Health A Incorporated (AHI) recently released and premiered three short films titled, Girls Are Us, Slipping Through the Crack and Make Every Girl Count at Ozone Cinema last week, the projects are the true life stories of out-of-school adolescent girls. The films are part of ‘Keeping The Promise Series’ designed to provide stakeholders a better understanding of the plight of out-ofschool girls in Nigeria’s poor communities. The films are based on findings of a study commissioned by the organisationto explore and document the realities, needs and concerns of out-ofschool adolescent girls in Lagos, as a foundation for intervention planning. The study location was Iwaya community and the survey covered 480 out-of-school girls aged 10-19 years. It entailed quantitative and qualitative assessments of their demo-

graphic, educational, sexual and reproductive health, livelihood status as well as assets mapping/ profiling. The housing situation in Iwaya is chaotic including several houses sitting on stilts inside the lagoon, and the entire community lacks decent sanitation facilities and potable water supply. The dominant occupations of residents are fishing and trading and there are many unemployed and underem-

Some students during an exam


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ExecutiveBrief

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EDITION 300

In association with TRIPPLEA ASSOCIATES LIMIED

Kayode Thomas: Developing True Local Content in the Oil and Gas Industry Bell Oil & Gas is an independent oil services company which was formed and wholly-owned by Nigerians. The organization has experienced unprecedented growth in the Nigerian oil industry and their vast experience cuts across several facets of the industry, together with affiliations with a number of reputable foreign companies. With a solid background in corporate strategy, business development, project management, business analysis and supply chain management, gained from key positions with various blue chip organisations, Kayode Thomas, the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, has many years international experience of providing business analysis, project management and consultancy to major multinational corporations, and assisting businesses achieve their strategic goals. A finalist at the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Kayode is an entrepreneur with a successful track record of leadership in crossfunctional teams. In this exclusive interview with NNAMDI NWOKOLO, KAYODE, a strong advocate of continuous learning spoke on the Focus of a CEO. ELL us a little about Bell Oil and Gas? T The journey of Bell Oil and Gas basically started at the commencement of civil rule in the country. Before I returned to the country after living abroad for so many years, they were so many negatives about Nigeria, but if you dwell on that, it masks the positives. If you want to do anything in the country, try and put the negatives aside so that it doesn’t affect your plans. When we started, we knew it was not going to be a 100 meteres race but a marathon. We see ourselves as helping to develop the local content in the oil and gas industry. We’ve acquired reasonable skills that will help us to add value to the country; the only limiting factor is the environment itself. We are professional in applying this instinctive knowledge and experience to addressing your ongoing requirements efficiently and cost-effectively. Bell Oil & Gas has the reach and means to deliver high quality products and services. We understand first hand, the complexities and issues facing our industry, together with a strong grounding of the Nigerian culture and ways of conducting business. We are able to respond swiftly to our clients’ requirements in a unique way. What were the initial challenges you encountered since you don’t have an oil background? The initial challenge was acceptance and recognition that you can do what you say you’d do. We were not accepted immediately. We overcame the barrier of acceptance by delivering on our promises. We came over this by being purely professional, clear cut action, integrity and with immense hard work. People were wondering how we were able to partner with big companies, but the truth is that they are already big, so they were looking for companies that will be true ambassadors of what they represent and they found that in us. When the Nigerian Content act was signed into law, everybody was clamouring for credible local companies and by them, we’ve made our mark in the industry. The last challenge was the issue of funding. Organic growth and investors who believed in the value we are offering really helped us to overcome the issue of funding. Has the Nigerian content act really helped indigenous organisations in the industry? We are privileged to be around several years before the Nigerian Content Act was passed. We can give you an overview of pre act and post act. The act is seen in the industry as long overdue. It’s still at infancy but it has implemented things that were hitherto never considered important in the industry and top on the list is capacity building. We are not victims of circumstance in the industry rather we consider ourselves as agents of change. That was part of what we saw before we

On your policy drive on Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental Management: We recognise that everyone’s interest is best served when health and safety become an integral part of our operations, not necessarily because it is required but because we want to. It is therefore no surprise that we have excellent safety records throughout our entire operation. “Be in Quality while you put safety first”. To live this slogan Bell Oil & Gas operate and work within the guidelines of standards that demand of it a responsible relationship with our clients, employees and community in which we operate. Our success is therefore assessed through both tangible and intangible measures. Our QHSE Policy encompasses Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental Management because our key objectives are to bring our processes into compliance with the ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard, for which we have been certified since. Our Total Quality Management system is a permanent feature of life at Bell Oil & Gas, with employees at all levels ensuring that activities are in line with our Quality policy. Our environmental policy and procedures have been developed to conform to the requirements of ISO 14001.

Kayode Thomas decided to come in and be part of building capacity for the industry. Our company is a typical example of the benefits of the Nigerian Content Act in the oil and gas industry. They are doing a lot more that has not been done in this industry. In a couple of years things will be a lot better for Nigerian companies who are either participating or who want to participate. Do we have the capacity to drive this act? Yes, I’ll say we have enough capacity, given time. The issue here is planning and timing. The International Oil Companies needs to be more committed to it; in fact every player needs to be committed to capacity building. We are in a school called Nigeria Content Act. It will take us time but we have the resources, the intellect and the capacity to drive the act. At Bell Oil & Gas, we have the capacity to offer an extensive range of premium professional services designed to meet the growing and changing needs of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. The operators we work with appreciate our reliability, competence and professionalism, whilst our clients benefit from our extensive use of technology in lowering their supply chain costs. Thanks to our geographical reach and technical infrastructure, we are able to respond quickly and efficiently to our clients’ needs. Combined with our product selection, we deliver seamless services across many sectors of the Nigerian and West African oil and gas industry. What are the unique factors that stand your organisation out? The factors that stand us out are professionalism, integrity, and our commitment. Not taking away infrastructure and capacity. We don’t promise you heaven on earth, but what we promise, we deliver. As a Nigerian company, if you look at our vision, “to be the reference point for true local content development in the oil and gas industry” that means, anytime you look at the industry, and say how should a local company perform, then Bell Oil & Gas must come to mind, that’s the idea. If you look at the whole gamut of our organisation, you’ll find that professionalism, that integrity and that commitment that sets us apart. We say what we mean and we mean what we say. We continuously invest in capacity building & increasing our talent pool. Several years ago, some services that used to be the exclusive of expatriates, we do them 100% will local staff. To the point that we do not send our team abroad anymore even to train because we have certified trainers in-house.

On Corporate Social Responsibility: At Bell Oil & Gas we believe that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is integral to the long term sustainability of our organization. Much of our CSR activities are centered on education, healthcare, public infrastructure development and community involvement in our projects. We encourage hard work and academic excellence in our higher institutions through attractive offers of cash awards to brilliant indigent students. The awards range across various departments in selected Nigerian Higher Institutions. We provide portable water to selected communities in order to reduce the incidence of water borne diseases. Through our health projects we provide top quality medical treatments for life threatening conditions from within and outside the country. We support government efforts at making quality healthcare accessible to all Nigerians We are widely involved with the youths in the communities where our projects are located. Bell Oil and Gas is dedicated to making a significant difference to the lives of the people where our projects are being executed. What are your Focus/Projections in the next couple of years? Our strategies are in 5 year plan. We have 0-5 years, 5-10years, and 10-15years. We are in the 3rd year of the 10-15years phase. We have five strategies in this phase. The first is to become dominant in the industry. What this means is that we need to develop all the departments in the organisation to be able to be dominant. Secondly is to build a local company with world class standards. We don’t want to be run of the mill in the industry. We’ve started the process like the ISO Certifications. We’ve streamlined the processes of quality management system. We decided a couple of years ago to be audited by the best audit firm, we are audited by KPMG. If you look at Bell Oil and Gas, you’ll see world class systems, processes, audit etc. The next is that we want to have a robust balance sheet, which means our financials will be very strong. The next is we want to be unique in our approach in delivering our business. Every single business unit must find a way to be unique in the way they deliver service to their customers both internal and external. Lastly, which is the most important of all is to have a highly motivated and skilled work force. The HR Manager has a mandate to deliver on this because it is fundamental to our operations. This is the summary of our five year plan. You support young aspiring entrepreneurs in translating ideas into business reality, with your experience, what are the critical factors for business success in Nigeria? Sometimes it seems one is repeating himself, because I speak on the topic at different forum, or one is going by clichés, no they are not clichés. Commitment is very important for business success. Vision is of paramount importance because it is the direction of where you are going. The vision of Bell Oil & Gas has been intact from the time we had only 3 staff to the period we have over 200 staff. It is important that people have a clear vision, a strong commitment and work hard. Our organization is not for everybody and that brings us to the fundamental which is the “TEAM”, putting the right people at the right places. This is because without the right people, Bell Oil and Gas will only exist as a paper at Corporate Affairs Commission. We spend a lot of time in our selection process, training and development, so that when people join, they’ll be as passionate as we are. One of our shared values is “run it as if you own the place”. Once you get these things right and above all be patient, success must definitely come.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

AutoWheels Ecosport: Hallmark of luxury in budget car

Ford Ecosport By Tolulope Okunlola Nigerians who long for a blend of luxury, FgingOR elegance, sporty, fuel efficient car, without diga hole in the pocket, Ecosport appears to be the answer. Built by American automaker, Ford- and marketed in Nigeria by Briscoeford, the appearance of the Crossover Utility Vehicle, is set to up the ante in the automart business. For those, who would want to know some of the unique selling points of this compact Ford SUV, Briscoeford confirms that the 1.0 litre engine and the 1.5 litre engine, both petrol engines, come with automatic transmission and a minimum of two airbags. Ford says its target for the EcoSport is to become the segment leader in fuel-efficiency with its various engine options. It looks deceptively smaller, more maneuverable and more fuel-efficient than conventional sport utility vehicles. On the driving seat, it commands respect and the raised ride-height means occupants will at all times enjoy a commanding driving position, with additional benefit of great view outside. It also gives 150mm of ground clearance for crossing speed bumps and potholes- and the 550mm wading depth may come in handy when confronted by wetter obstacles. Remote control locking, cruise control and power windows add to the overall feeling of comfort and convenience. One of its unique features is the award-winning SYNC driver connect system with voice control. Briscoeford says the SYNC, which sets the trend for a hands-free, voice-activated future, “helps drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road as they choose their favourite music and make calls on a mobile phone.” It also gives 150mm of ground clearance for crossing speed bumps and potholes- and the 550mm wading depth may come in handy when confronted by wetter obstacles. Remote control locking, cruise control and power windows add to the overall feeling of comfort and convenience. It unlocks automatically as you pull on the door handle and start the engine at the touch of a button. With this technology, all you need is the correct key fob in your possession to get in and start

the car. If you are longing to have a feel of this new Ford, then make an effort to see what EcoSport has to offer. The Ford EcoSport is designed to give you more of what you need, and less of what you don’t. So unbeatable fuel economy and responsive power are in. Acceleration & pick-up As the Ford EcoSport looks sporty and raring to go from outside it is made to practically prove the same when it comes to acceleration and pick-up part. The different choices of engines coupled with fine transmissions in the form of 5-speed and 6-speed manual/automatic gearboxes let’s you feel high with quick acceleration and gripping top speed. The 1.0L 3-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine with dual VVT is capable of reaching a top speed of 190 kmph, while it can get to the 0-100 kmph in just over 10 seconds. Exteriors The fascinating exteriors of Ford EcoSport are made to mesmerize the senses any living being.

The imposing outside of this impressive SUV creates a hustle wherever it goes, as the new global design philosophy of the company comes into play with this compact SUV. The design engineers from Ford have come up with an impeccable job with the overall dimensions and have left no stone unturned to carve it into a sensation. This 5-seater SUV has got a tall stance overall that makes it more influencing. The front of Ford EcoSport has a wide radiator grille with thick chrome-strip borders that makes it look big upfront, while the bold appearing grille has got company emblem resting in the middle. Interior It’s not at all a hidden fact that one will find anything boring in the Ford EcoSport SUV, and the flattering plushness inside is a solid proof of the same. As soon as you enter the cabin it’s hard to believe that such compact vehicle, as seen from outside, carries this huge space within; courtesy smart interior design engineers from Ford. The interiors especially the first row

has many similarities with the existing Ford Fiesta sedan. The seating position for every individual is pretty comfortable as the posh seats come covered with decent upholstery. Engine Besides the elite and exemplary design insideout the company has left no stone unturned in providing the under hood with some rare technological advancements in the form of refined and reliable engine choices. There are in all 3 engines present, with one being diesel other two are powered by petrol as fuel. The 1.0L, 999cc EcoBoost, 3-cylinder petrol powertrain generates a big 125 PS of maximum power at 6000 rpm together with a peak torque of 170 Nm at 14004500 rpm. Safety and security With this American carmaker safety and protection of the occupants has always been the prime priority; hence the same with Ford EcoSport SUV cannot be different. The vehicle is equipped with some latest safety instruments for the driver and passengers.

GM, Koncept sign MOU on Izuzu dealership By Dele Fanimo HE bug to catch up with the T recently enacted Automotive Act has caught up with General Motors, as it signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Koncept Autocenter Limited, for the marketing of Izuzu brands in Nigeria. Beside, the two firms are not foreclosing the establishing of an assembly plant aimed at manufacturing the vehicle in line with the automotive policy. The President and Managing Director of General Motors, Africa, Mr. Mario Spangenberg said the American automobile-manufac-

turing firm was happy with its new agreement with Koncept. Spangenberg also spoke on the possibility of setting up an assembly plant in Nigeria in line with the objectives of the recently announced auto policy by the Federal Government. He said they were currently studying the new policy and confirmed a meeting he held last Thursday with the DirectorGeneral, NAC, Mr. Aminu Jalal, on the matter. The GM boss said although he had a ‘fruitful discussion’ with the NAC director-general, he stressed that no commitment had been made to the government.

He said, “we need a clear understanding about the policy before making any investment; we’ve not made any commitment; we’re investigating what the legislative position will be and we shall evaluate it.” The Deputy Managing Director, Kewalram Chanrai Group, which has Koncept as subsidiary Mr. Victor Eburajolo said the brand was returning with a bang. He recalled that Izuzu used to be a major auto brand in the country, occupying a reputable position because of its strength, durability and performance. “We want to bring it back and

push it to its enviable place among other vehicle brands,” Eburajolo said, during a press briefing in Lagos. He said the Izuzu brand would have exclusive showrooms and after-sale service outlets different from other brand being handled by the company. “We will not use the Mitsubishi facilities; we are building the showrooms and after-sale outfits for the Izuzu,” he stated. The General Manager of Koncept Autocentre, Mr. Gaurav Kaul said the firm was carved out of the Kewalram Group to specifically handle the Isuzu business with GM.


Friday, March 28, 2014 AUTOWHEELS 45

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Chinese automaker debuts with Trumpchi- GS5 By Seye Olumide PPARENTLY catching up A with the new automotive policy, another Chinese automaker has introduced its brand into the market, with a plan to establish assembly plant in the country. Guangzhon Automobile Company recently introduced its luxury car brand Trumpchi GS5, a sport utility vehicle into the Nigerian market with the target of getting a slice of the market share. The GS5, according to its manufacturer, will be marketed in Nigeria by a subsidiary of the company, the CIG Motors. The Chairman of the company, Mrs. Diana Chen said in Lagos that the vehicle had been tropicalised and would be found suitable for the nation’s road. She said the company spent one year conducting a research on the local market demand, road conditions and consumer preferences in Nigeria before introducing the car into the market. She listed some of the features of the vehicle as the PEPS intelligent keyless entry, TPMS intelligent tyre pressure monitoring system, EPB electronic parking braking system, a DVD 1800 dualscreen wide-angle imaging system and a 3D intelligent voice navigation system.

Chen said, “we formed an alliance with Toyota and Honda and after 20 years of this joint venture, we started producing our Trumpchi brand independently.” According to her, that the car, which was designed in Italy but built in China, would be competitive in the market. She said, “in 2011, our car was used as a delegation car. Among the Chinese cars, our car dominates the top brands and this car is built for the elite. “We have interest in the Nigerian market because it is a potential market for Japan and Korea cars; hence, we want to develop this market together with our competitors.” Speaking on the company’s long-term plan, she said, “if this market develops well, we intend to set up an assembling factory here. This is our long term project but for the short term, we want to set up a market share first.” Chen said that the company’s 4s-shop would provide sales services, after-sale service and spare parts for their products with well-trained technicians and engineers. The first three buyers of the products would join the China group for a tour to the factory in China to know the standards of operation. The 2010 model car has a

five-star award security design from domestic and overseas outstanding technology. According to the manufacturer, it has collision protective devices for the driver and other passengers of the vehicle. The firm also says,

Inspired by “snow leopard,” the Trumpchi GS5 adopts the design concept of light and shadow sculpture and creates leading trend temperament for city fashion. “Double wishbone and multi-link suspension combination distinctly highlight

the characteristics of accurate diversion, clear direction and steady control/operation, which satisfy with the spirit of conquering and challenging for the elite of the cities, presenting the wild nature of the SUV,” it notes. According to an online ency-

clopedia, Wikipedia, the first Trumpchi model to go into production was the Trumpchi Sedan, a four-door mid-size saloon car model based on the platform of the Alfa Romeo 166. It went into mass production in September 2010.

Trumpchi - GS5

Coscharis partners Ford to tackle spare-parts counterfeiting

Nissan SUV tows 170-tonne By Adeniyi Idowu Adunola UOYED by the frenzy that cargo plane, gets listing in B heralded the new automotive policy, which has brought in various brands of Guinness records vehicle, Coscharis Motors in ISSAN recently accom- ‘Innovation that Excites’ in collaboration with Ford Motor Company recently Nplished a fresh mile- everything we do.” launched a world-class stone as the Y62 Nissan Patrol towed a 170-tonne Iiyushin cargo plane down 55 metres at Sharjah International Airport, UAE. Concerned authorities say this record is unprecedented yet and has thus earned the Nissan Patrol SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. The record, according to the authority eclipses previous attainment in 2006, when a slightly modified Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDi towed a 155-tonne Boeing 747 through a distance of 150 meters. The 170-tonne Iiyushin II76 plane including fuel and cargo weighs over 170tonnes – approximately 62 times the kerb weight of a standard Y62 Nissan Patrol. The Iiyushin II-76 plane is known as one of the world’s toughest cargo planes and it is designed to deliver cargo, take-off and land in some of the world’s most extreme environments. Nissan claimed a standard production Y62 Patrol was used for the attempt, adding that the only modification done was on a towing hitch compatible with the aircraft to connect the car with the aircraft’s pushback ring. Mr. Samir Cherfan, managing director, Nissan Middle East, remarked, “Nissan celebrates another landmark day with its second Guinness World Record. The overwhelming response has been the inspiration for the historic events and the achievement will motivate us to ensure we deliver

Fondly called the ‘Hero of all Terrain,’ the Y62 Nissan patrol is mated to an advanced seven-speed automatic transmission and a sophisticated, electronically controlled, all-mode 4X4 system with 298kw and 560Nm from a 5.6litre naturally aspirated V8 engine. The Y62 Nissan Patrol is one of the Nissan models scheduled to roll out of the VON Automobile plant in Lagos Nigeria by next month. Nissan is sold and serviced in Nigeria by Stallion NMN, the official Nissan sales company with extensively retrained service technicians in multiple auto repair disciplines and experience in Nissan’s cutting edge and ever changing technology.

garage that takes care of maintenance and genuine spare-parts access to motorist. The initiative tagged Certified Pars Wholesale Dealer (CPWD), is expected to midwife Quick Service Centers and Quick Lane Facilities to be manned by certified technicians, which would be replicated in strategic locations across the country. Speaking at the launch in Lagos, the Chairman, Coscharis Motors, Cosmos Maduka said the idea to set up this dealer network came as a result of effort to assist the firm’s valuable customers and other stake-holder, through feedback mechanism.

He said, “some of our customers live in or operate their businesses in remote areas of the country and as such do not have easy access to our facilities whenever they have issues bothering on spare-parts, lubricants and other after-sales products and services.” According to him some of these customers end-up patronising unscrupulous spare-parts dealers who specialise in selling counterfeit and sub-standard spare-parts to the public “The use of these counterfeit spare-parts has exposed some motorists to untold and avoidable hazards include, breakdowns, part failures accidents, which has lead to loss of property and lives,” Maduka said. While giving insight into the motive behind the project, Maduka said, “we cannot provide all the after-sales needs all by our self, the idea of collaborating with well intended spare-parts dealers in our local market to make

Ford Motorcraft Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) spare-parts available and accessible in every nook and cranny of this country. He disclosed that the company has appointed over 100 certified spare-part dealer who, with the support of the oversea partner-Ford Motor Company, will be empowered to stock and sell genuine Ford Motorcraft sparepart to customers. The Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Chidi Nkwonta said that human factor constitutes about 90 per cent of Road Traffic Crashes (RTC). He said Road Safety required not only driver fitness but also vehicle fitness. “A well maintained vehicle speaks volume.” Speaking on the importance of effective maintenance of vehicles, Nkwota said “effective and proper maintenance provides many benefit to the vehicle which includes, saving fuel and

money, reducing long-term maintenance cost. The Dealer Operations Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa Ford, David Lawrence, said Ford was committed to providing customers throughout Sub-Sahara Africa with exceptional customer service. The facility has begun operation in the country and the services are now available in Yaba, Lagos. The Commissioner of Transport, Lagos State, Kayode Opeifa, who spoke through Director, Control and Regulation of License, Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA), Mr. Bunmi Odukoya said this development was a welcome relief to all its Ford customers and applauded Ford Motor Company for such strategic intent and programme. He urged Coscharis to extend the gesture to other brands that they deal with towards ensuring service excellence and also to the mechanics.

PAN supports school’s charity project By Dele Fanimo N the spirit of Catch-themyoung, PAN Nigeria Limited, recently engaged the students of St. Saviour’s School, Ikoyi, Lagos in a fun day. At the programme tagged: “Fun Day 2014,” Managing Director of PAN, Ibrahim Boyi said the partnership was aimed at building a vibrant human resource capable to being absorbed in the auto industry. The managing director, who was represented by the Head of Corporate Communication of the company, Musa Bashir Usman, stated that the company was

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open to supporting institutions that add value to the society. Adding that St. Saviour’s School, Ikoyi was one of such institutions and PAN Nigeria Limited will always be available to assist institutions, whether government or private, in achieving their aims for the progress of the society. Speaking at the event, the PTA Chairman, Mr. Tolu Osinibi stated that the Fun Day is “about the celebration of our children and their total development as it should hopefully, help them in building social skills that will stand them in good stead as they grow into adults we can be

proud of.” He stated further that the theme for this year’s Fun day is, “The Total Child,” which reflects the School’s focus for the year, 2014, of which the overall education of the children extends far beyond their academics but also includes the broadest academic education of Nigerian children, who are the future leaders of the country. Osinibi also stated that although, the Fun Day is a day of laughter and relaxation, the underlining objectives of the Fun Day was to “raise money that will enable us to support charitable cause for the educational development

of less privileged children in Lagos. He noted that “it can be recalled that our proceeds of 2013 Fun Day was used in supporting Canal School, a nursery and primary school in Orile Iganmu, Lagos, which the School (St. Saviour’s School) adopted in 2012.” The PTA Chairman further said that from the proceeds, “the School is funding the creation of a library and educational equipment for Canal School.” According to the Chairman, the proceeds of Fun Day 2014 “will be used to support Massey Street Children’s Hospital (MSCH), the fore-

most state owned and run peadiatric center in Lagos.” The peadiatric center is the only source of specialist pediatric medical services for the vast majority of children in Lagos, and attends to an average of 250-300 children daily. Osinibi, thanked PAN Nigeria Limited for supporting the Fun Day with a star prize of Peugeot 301, saying this unique gesture will go a long way in impacting on our students and the charity cause we are pursuing. The highpoint of the event was a raffle draw, which produced a winner of the new Peugeot 301 by name Adora Salleran.


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BUSINESSTRAVEL Friday, March 28, 2014

Quote of the week

AviationBusiness

Flying is so many parts skill, so many parts planning, so many parts maintenance, and so many parts luck. The trick is to reduce the luck by increasing the others. — David L. Baker ibeuwaleke2012@yahoo.com 08033151041 (SMS only)

Airlines’ demand for fuel-efficient planes to rise in 2014

Boeing 787 By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi LOBALLY, airlines in the aviation industry G are struggling to sustain profit in an era of unstable fuel prices; which may increase their demand on fuel-efficient aircraft delivery. According to industry forecasters, airplane makers are expected to supply more than 7,000 new aircraft in Europe over the next 20 years. However, the industry has been aimed to improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5 per cent per year in order to halve emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels. Aside that, Boeing, U.S. airplane maker has forecast that passenger traffic would grow five per cent annually and that airlines around the world would buy some 35,000 new planes through 2032 to meet demand but also to cut jet fuel consumption. The plane maker also predicted that the AsiaPacific region would be the hottest market for new aircrafts over 20 years, with 12,820 new

orders expected. It added that the growth would be attributed to rising demand, with passenger traffic projected to grow at a 6.3 per cent annual clip. Airbus, Boeing’s global rival for transcontinental and mid-range jets, has projected more modest global demand of 28,200 new aircraft capable of carrying more than 100 passengers. But both manufactures see robust demand for more fuel-efficient, mid-range airplanes. Boeing and Airbus are competing to promote their newest models as the most efficient ever, promising that aircrafts now in the pipeline consume 15 per cent to 25 per cent less jet fuel than their predecessors. Meanwhile, airlines have taken other steps to cut fuel consumption by switching to lighter seats and galley equipment, placing more weight restrictions on baggage and shuffling airline schedules so aircraft fly with fewer empty seats. Boeing has also called for improvements in airport infrastructure and air traffic manage-

ment to cope with rising passenger demand. The company expected the market for financing new aircraft to remain strong as airline customers continue to demand for new, fuelefficient airplanes. The Vice President/General Manager for Aircraft Financial Services at Boeing Capital Corp., the aircraft builder’s financing and leasing unit, Tim Myers said: “Globally the liquidity balance looks good as the industry rebalances itself to move away from export credit support, with its more expensive pricing, and more toward reliance on the commercial markets.” Boeing said that airplane financing globally had been experiencing a rare balance among primary delivery financing sources, leasing companies, commercial banks, the capital markets, export credit agency (ECA) support and private equity and hedge funds among them, as global 2014 deliveries head toward an expected roughly total of $112 billion. “The new global agreement governing export

Gambia Bird Airline launches Lagos route By Ibe Uwaleke AMBIA Bird Airline has announced that it is now ready to include Lagos as one of its viable commercial routes. To this end, it said that the aircraft A319 would begin lifting passengers from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos to Banjul, Gambia on March 30, 2014. The airline announced this intention recently in Lagos at a launch well attended by industry operators, stakeholders, aviation regulators, travel and tour agents and journalists. Among those who were present at the launch included the

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Director of air transport regulation of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), Justus Wariya, the managing director and chief executive officer of Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited, (SAHCOL), Olu Owolabi, the Managing Director of Wakanow Tours and Travels, Obinna Okezie and the Managing Director of Bytol Travels and Tours, Mrs Biyi Tunji Olugbodi. The commercial manager of the airline, Mrs. Sodieri Osei-Bonsu who did the presentation said the company has lined up a lot of incentives for would-be customers of the airline particularly those going to the Gambia for

tourism. On why passengers should choose the airline to fly and the guarantee of its reliability she said: “We know your time is valuable. Whether you are travelling on business or for pleasure, you can be sure that we will always do everything possible to get you to your destination on time.” She continued: “You can be sure that you’re in safe hands when you fly with us. Gambia Bird strikes the perfect balance between the renowned friendliness of West Africans and German efficiency, stability and technical expertise.” Established in 2012 in Banjul, The Gambia the airline commenced

operations in October 2012 with two Germans as Thomas Wazinski as CEO and Karsten Balke as CCO. Osei-Bonsu also stated that key management team was an experienced mix of experts from across West Africa and Germany adding that the Bird is a proud West African carrier that maintains EOSA operational standards. “We are committed to being an aviation market leader in West Africa, providing safe, reliable, and above all exceptional services that create customer loyalty, shareholder value and highly motivated employees,” she added.

financing is working. We’re seeing balance between ECA and commercial market support. We have a strong presence by new players in the marketplace coming from the capital markets, growth in private placement transactions and new leasing firms coming into the space,” Myers said. Boeing noted that the overall healthy new-aircraft financing market encompasses well known financing sources and smaller regional commercial institutions, many entering aircraft financing for the first time. “We’re seeing growth in Japan, Russia, China and Latin America. In the Middle East, for example, 65 per cent of Boeing’s deliveries are now being financed by local Middle East banks. “It reflects a remarkable global diversification that would not be possible if the markets didn’t have a fundamental belief in the strength of the air-travel market and the product value of new, fuel-efficient airplanes as fuel prices remain high,” he added. Speaking to the aircraft trading audience, Boeing shared its latest analysis on why usedaircraft financing has seen higher pricing than for new deliveries. “There seems to be good reason behind the softness. The key drivers are fuel prices, interest rates, environmental factors and market trends. The market has put a premium on newairplane financing costs versus the secondary market. Intuitively the market is readjusting by valuing newness more and starting to rationalize pricing to help create a balanced reality as we move ahead,” noted Myers “Fuel has become the overall driver on how and when airlines operate their aircrafts,” said Randy Tinseth, Vice President of Marketing at Boeing. He added that the tripling of fuel costs over 10 years “created a difficult and challenging environment for our customers.” According Boeing, better-performing aircrafts also would help address airlines’ need to comply with EU emissions laws and their international commitments to reduce noise and greenhouse gas output.


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International body tasks govt on unruly travellers By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi nternational Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments of its member countries to close legal loopholes that allow unruly passengers to escape law enforcement for serious offences committed on board aircraft. As a result, governments would gather for a diplomatic conference at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal to discuss revisions to the Tokyo Convention. The revisions, IATA stated would

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enhance the ability of law enforcement and other authorities to prosecute the small minority of passengers who are violent, disruptive, abusive, or acting in a manner, which might endanger safety. The Tokyo Convention, which was negotiated in 1963 and gives jurisdiction over offenses committed onboard aircraft to the state of registration of the aircraft. With modern leasing arrangements, the state of aircraft registry is often neither the state in which the aircraft lands nor the state of the operator, said the body.

According to IATA, this limits the practicality of enforcement and consequently the options available to mitigate disruptive behaviors. For this reason, the airline industry supports proposals for jurisdiction to be extended to both the state in which the aircraft lands and the state in which the operator is located. The Director General, IATA, Tony Tyler said: “Airlines are doing all they can to prevent and manage unruly passenger incidents, but this needs to be backed up with effective law enforcement. Reports of unruly

behavior are on the rise. The Tokyo Convention was not originally designed to address unruly behavior and there is a great deal of uncertainty amongst carriers as to what actions crew can take to manage incidents in the air. And if the aircraft lands in a state other than where the aircraft was registered, local authorities are not always able to prosecute”. “Passengers expect to enjoy their journey incident-free. And aircrews have the right to perform their duties without harassment. In addition, the inconvenience to other travelers of a forced

diversion is significant. “At the moment there are too many examples of people getting away with serious breaches of social norms that jeopardize the safety of flights because local law enforcement authorities do not have the power to take action. IATA applauds the work of ICAO and supports the proposed revisions to the Tokyo Convention. Closing these legal loopholes will better deter such behavior and make passengers think twice before acting in ways that may put the safety of many at risk,” Tyler added.

Firm opens Lagos office By Ibe Uwaleke FULL Nigerian logistics company, HontGlobal Services Nigeria Limited, involved in air, land and sea freight of goods and services has shifted its operational base to Nigeria. The company, managed by a Nigerian couple, Humphrey Okonkwo and his wife, Chinwe, originally operated in Houston, United States of America. The main objective of this organisation, according to the Managing Director, Okonkwo, is to move goods from point A to point B. Its Houston’s office, he said, was opened in 2006, while the Nigerian office was registered in 2008. At a news briefing last weekend, the MD said that it had improved its human and infrastructural capabilities over the years to position the company on a better pedestal to serve its

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teaming clients better. Apart from air and sea freight, the company is also involved in customs clearing and forwarding and warehousing. In describing what the company stands for and its operations Okonkwo painted a clear picture this way, “our main focus in this company is to render services in the sense that we move things from point A to point B, this company started in 2006 in the U.S., Houston, we registered here in 2008 as HontGlobal Nigeria Limited and over the years, we have improved a lot, we have put things in place to be able to improve on our services both in human and structure, everything that you can think of training and all that but the main focus here is to tell Nigerians that HontGlobal Services is here to lead and take over logistics business in Nigeria, that is why we are here.

Branch Manager, Edgar Dominguez Stafford (right), Managing Director, Humphrey Okonkwo, Director, Chinwe Okonkwo , General Manager, Strategy, Wale Tomowo and Executive Assistant, Houston office, Laura Hernandet …at the occasion

United Airlines to begin operations at Heathrow Terminal 2 Airport By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi NITED Airlines customers using U London Heathrow Airport will enjoy improved services and amenities with the move of the carrier’s operations to the airport’s new Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal, on June 4th, 2014. The airlines’ flights at Heathrow, currently split between Terminals 1 and 4 would be “under one roof” for the first time since the UnitedContinental merger in 2010.

At Terminal 2, the customers will benefit from easier, faster routes through check-in and security on departure and through border control on arrival. They will have a choice of check-in methods like quick and easy selfservice kiosks, fast bag-drop desks and full-service check-in desks. Customers will also be able to enjoy a wide variety of shopping, dining and seating options in a light, airy, spacious building. The United Managing Director,

Sales, U.K& Ireland, Bob Schumacher said, “we’re delighted that from June 4 all our Heathrow operations will be under one roof at the airport’s most advanced facility. “Terminal 2 will allow us to provide our departing, arriving and connecting customers with a state-of-the-art, user-friendly airport experience.” Two spectacular new lounges will be available for the use of United’s premium customers at Terminal 2: United Club and United Global First Lounge.

Arik Air operates first Nigeria registered aircraft to US RIK Air, West and Central Africa’s largest commercial airline, has achieved yet another milestone in Nigeria’s aviation, by operating the first Nigerian registered commercial aircraft to the United States of America in two decades. On Monday night the airline operated its scheduled Lagos-New York flight using an A330-200 aircraft with registration 5N-JID. The feat by Arik Air is made more outstanding given that the operation of the flight was staffed by Nigerian crew. The airline’s latest milestone was

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the result of almost three years preparation, during which time the airline received the Part 129 approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and was also awarded the Extended Range Twin Operations (ETOPS) approval. Arik Air commenced direct flight operations from Lagos to New York in November 2009 using its foreign registered A340-500 aircraft operated by Hi-fly of Portugal and it was the first direct flight between Nigeria and the United States to be operated by a Nigerian airline in the last

decade. With the ETOPS approval, Arik Air has the flexibility of interchanging between its two variants of wide body aircraft for the Lagos-New York services. The airline has two A340500 and two A330-200 aircrafts in its fleet of 26 aircraft. Speaking on the development, Arik Air Senior Vice President Operations and Deputy Managing Director, Captain Ado Sanusi said the feat is a major achievement not only for Arik Air but for Nigeria’s aviation in general.

New NAMA MD, Abdulsalam, takes over, promises safer airspace By Ibe Uwaleke HE newly appointed Managing Director/ Chief Executive of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam, an engineer, has formally taken over the helm of affairs of the agency from the outgoing  Managing Director, Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, an engineer, in a brief ceremony that took place at NAMA’s headquarters, Lagos, yester-

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day. In his remarks at the event, Udoh charged management and staff of NAMA to extend the same hand of fellowship and co-operation, which saw to the numerous accomplishments of his tenure to his successor. He recalled that in two years, he achieved several safety critical feats including migration to area radar control, which could not have been possible without the support and cooperation of the entire staff.

“I personally implore the staff to support the new managing director, who is one of us and professionally sound to handle the affairs of the agency and take it to a greater height in the provision of quality air navigation services,” Udoh counseled the workers. He, therefore, tasked all members of staff to take the survival of the agency as very critical by rallying round the new managing director to ensure the success of his tenure.

Totalling around 22,000 square feet (2,043 square meters) in area, the facilities will feature floor-toceiling windows with views of the airfield and will offer complimentary food, beverages and Wi-Fi in addition to business facilities, shower suites and other amenities and services, the airline said.

It added that later in 2014, the operations of United’s 22 Star Alliance partners serving Heathrow will progressively move to Terminal 2, enabling faster, more convenient connections for United customers to and from flights operated by other Star Alliance airlines, as well as, Aer Lingus.

Delta launches international Wi-Fi access for customers By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi ELTA Airlines has launched international Wi-Fi service on flights 283 and 295 equipped with Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi on Boeing 747-400 aircraft departing Los Angeles International Airport and HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport to Narita International Airport in Tokyo. The airline noted that customers on flight 283 from Los Angeles to Tokyo and flight 295 from Atlanta to Tokyo are the first to enjoy global connectivity According to Delta Airlines, for more than five years, it has provided Wi-Fi to customers traveling on its mainline aircraft flying within the United States. It has three of 16 747-400 aircraft complete, which also operate between Detroit and Seoul-Incheon; Detroit and Nagoya, Japan; Detroit and TokyoNarita; New York-JFK and Tel Aviv as well as New York-JFK and Tokyo-Narita. It said customers can access Wi-Fi service with introductory pricing options that begin with one hour passes for laptop users as low as $14.00 and $8.00 for mobile users or a flight pass option, which will keep customers connected throughout their flight, starting at $24.95 for laptop users and

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$14.95 for mobile users. “Our customers want to remain productive in-flight and that does not stop as they fly over U.S. borders. “Expanding Delta’s Wi-Fi services internationally is another benefit of the investments we are making to improve the travel experience, and give our customers exactly what they want,” said, Delta’s Senior Vice President, Marketing, Tim Mapes. Delta will complete the installation of Wi-Fi service on its entire international fleet by the end of 2015 including its Boeing 777, 767, 747, Airbus A330 and transoceanic Boeing 757 aircraft operating on international, long-haul routes. Delta and Gogo are in the final testing phase for Wi-Fi on the Airbus A330 fleet. The addition of in-flight Internet for more than 150 aircraft will expand the number of worldwide aircraft equipped with Wi-Fi to approximately 1,000 jets including all two-class regional, domestic and international aircraft. The new international service uses satellites for global connectivity to offer coverage internationally and will compliment Delta’s existing airto-ground service already provided by Gogo for aircraft flying within the domestic U.S.


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FridayWorship By Afis A. Oladosu

In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful “… and they say, “Indeed, he is mad. But it (the Quran) is nothing except a reminder to the worlds.” (Quran 68:51-52) URIOUSLY enough there indeed appears to be pleasures in madness at least going by the ‘itinerary’ of Involuntarily Madmen and women (IM) in our cities. An ordinarily sick man is a busybody. He strives, on a daily basis, to create an “empire” for himself, for his world - an empire of garbage, of debris and detritus. Pause a moment in front of the “palace” of the mentally challenged man in your neighbourhood and he would remind you of your humanity. He is surrounded by his world: a world of “pleasure” and of material acquisitions: of disused television sets, of brooms and pans, of mats and mattresses, of pots and utensils, of homes that are actually homeless. In other words, dear brethren, this type of person is human and cannot stop being one. Except that he hardly cries, except that he hardly experiences emotions of loss and pain, the mentally challenged man and woman are metaphors for other deranged men and women in our society – those suffering from acquired madness (AM). Brethren, this second set of people are essentially humans, like those mentioned above. But unlike IM, they experience fits of madness because of their incontinence and their excessive acquisition of the material. Like the

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“Surely, the religion with Allah is ISLAM,complete submission”... Qur’an 3:19

Thoughts on abnormalities in our clime (2) IM man, the voluntarily mad man feels a sense of completeness only when he is surrounded by the material- the useful and the useless. Like those suffering from IM, the voluntarily sick man equally gathers every rubbish and scrap he can lay his hands on even when they are of no use to him! In fact he carries and conducts his affairs as if he is mentally deranged. He lives amidst the community as if he lives all alone. He prefers to be alone, to eat alone, to sleep alone and, yes, to die alone. Like the mentally deranged, he lives in the inside as if he is on the outside. Brethren, the VM man could be the billionaire on the street. He builds houses for those who would fight over and inherit it. Al-Rasul once asked his companions: “Who among you loves the money of his inheritor more than he does his own?” All the companions chorused: “we all love our money, not that of those who will inherit us”. But al-Rasul said the similitude of he who loves someone else’s money is he who keeps his money away and refuses to spend it in charity. But the VM man would be happy counting his wealth as they accumulate. He would not take heed of all admonitions: “O mankind, thus goes the admonition. You have been distracted by the rivalry of piling up worldly gains against one another.

You will never be satisfied until you get into the grave... Because on the Day of Judgment when you shall see the hell, and see it with the certainty of your own eyes - you shall believe it, but that belief is going to do you no good because – on that Day, you shall be questioned about the blessings as to how you used them? (Q 102:1-8). In a more direct revelation, the Almighty says: “And those who hoard gold and silver and spend them not in the way of the Almighty, announce unto them a painful torment”- (Q 9: 34) Heedless of this Divine advice, the VM man in the village continues to live life as if the curtains would not fall. He buys estates all around the world. He derives pleasure in the ephemeral, in the transient. He builds his hopes on sand. His “madness” would manifest once you attempt to take away one of the needless materials from him. Like the one suffering from IM, he would charge violently at you once you tell him that what he gathers from the world is like collecting water from the ocean with the bare palm. But aside from the wealthy guy in the neighbourhood, there are other ones all around our city. Every one of them wants to “run”. Yes, they all want to “run.” They are all running. This one is running for the “first” time; that one is ‘running’ for the second term; the

other guy is running for the third time. Brethren, what exactly could it be other than an indulgence in madness for one to insist on governing one’s village either by hook or crook? What else other than an indulgence in madness can explain this orgish pursuit of wealth and the heinous despoliation of national wealth by those whose task it is to protect it? To this group of individuals, the pursuit of the comfort of ordinary Nigerians can wait and indeed suffer until their political fancies and that of their principals are satisfied. I contemplated the posture of that village-head who stood in front of the camera the other day and threatened that nobody else other than his kinsman would occupy Aso Rock come 2015 and I remembered the following verse of the Quran: “Indeed, man transgresses all bounds by thinking that he is selfsufficient; although surely towards your Lord is his return,”- (Q96: 6-8) Thus dear brethren, if you were to ask one of the “powerful” men of today: why these excessive pursuit of power? He would probably tell you it is all based on the desire to gain the best of this world, to enjoy life. But the above verse of the Quran speaks to the reality of this life: that

human life is short and trifle. All human enjoyments be it food, drinks, sleeping and sexual intercourse for which these men are threatening to burn this village are ephemeral. In fact, the pleasure we derive in these activities inheres in their ephemerality, in the necessity to return to them again and again. Brethren, can you imagine the possibility of a sexual intercourse that would last for eternity? I once contemplated the balloons that were used in beautifying a hall for a particular public function. From a distance, the beauty conferred on the hall by the balloons was simply infectious. But after a while, the balloons began to explode one by one. It felt as if they were programmed to implode, to self-destruct. The beauty and ambience they wrought in the hall consequently disappeared. Then I began to wonder: could this not be the similitude for the enjoyments and the earthly pursuits for which these mad men desire to kill and maim? Are these balloons not ideal metaphors for the world, for dunya? The Almighty has revealed the secret of the world to humanity in many verses of the Qur’an. On the day of resurrection, a man would be asked: How many years did you spend in life? He would respond: “We tarried there only for a day or part of a day. Ask those able to count!” Face to face with the reality that only very few among men can make sense of these facts, the words of the mentally challenged man in the psychiatric hospital came to my mind once again: I wonder how many sane men remain out there? (08151293000 text messages only)


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Friday, March 28, 2014

MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY

AS AT 27-03-2014

PRIMERA AFRICA www.primera-africa.com


Friday, March 28, 2014 MARKET REPORT

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MARKET INDICATORS

AS AT 27-03-2014

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NSE’s market capitalisation rises further by N89 billion • Mutual Fund to hit N1trillion by 2018 By Helen Oji quITy transactions on the E Nigerian Stock Exchange closed in an upbeat yesterday, following price gains recorded by major bluechip companies, as market capitalisation appreciated by N89 billion. Also, investors exchanged 375.399 million shares worth N5.935 billion in 4004 deals. This is against 227.654 million shares valued at N9.092 billion in exchanged by investors the previous day in 4234 deals.                                          Specifically, at the closed of transactions yesterday, market capitalisation of the listed equities improved further  by N89 billion or 0.73 per cent to N12.237 trillion from N12.148 trillion recorded on Wednesday while the All Share Index grew by 277.32 basis points to 38097. 54 points from 37820.22 traded the previous day.  An analysis of the transactions for the day showed that Dangote Cement led the gainers table, appreciating by N5.00 to close at N235.00, Guinness Nigeria Plc followed with a gain of N4.00 to close at N185.00 while Cadbury Nigeria Plc and uPDC Reit and uAC Property gained N2.00, N1.02 kobo and N1.00 respectively to close at N80.00, N11.02 kobo and N21.00.          Flour Mills Nigeria Plc on the other hand topped the losers chart, shedding  N2.25 kobo to close at N65.00per share, Larfarge Wapco trailed with a loss of N1.10 kobo to close at N109.50 per share. Oando Plc loss N0.65 kobo to close at

N16.91 per share. Others stocks that depreciated in price were Berger Paint and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated ETI which loss N0.48 kobo and N0.31 kobo respectively to close at N9.12 kobo and N13.00.  Hallmark Insurance was the most active stock for the day, trading by 65.000 million shares valued at N32.500 million, ETI followed by 53.026 million worth N689.706 million while Sterling Bank traded 42.737 million shares cost N108.604 million. Access Bank sold 36.826 million shares worth N276.399 million and Zenith International Bank traded 33.960 million worth N669.903 million. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that the total amount in the Mutual Fund Investment is expected to hit N1 trillion by 2018. Investors Protection Fund is a scheme funded by the World Bank to ensure confidence in the stock market and it’s made to give succor to investors who in one way or the other had been genuinely dupe or lost his/her investment in the market. As part of determined effort to sustain confidence in the domestic economy, SEC had recently given its approval to the rules governing the mutual fund in the stock market. The move by the Commission, according to Oteh, would bring about the needed leverage for the market to deepen in value as well as step-up both local and foreign participation in the equities market.

NIPCO posts N137.7b turnover, N2.1b profit IPCO Plc, has posted a N turnover of N137.7 billion in the 2013 financial year operations, as against N127.6 billion in 2012, while profit after tax also increased from N1.7 billion in 2012 to N2.1 billion during the year under review. Presenting the company’s performance at the 10th yearly general meeting of the downstream firm in Abuja, its chairman, Chief Bestman P. Anekwe explained that profit before tax rose from N2.59 billion in 2012 to N2.82 billion in 2013 while earnings per share went up from N9.04 to N11.13 in the corresponding period. He stated that in view of the improved performance, the board of directors has proposed a total dividend payout of N656 .8 million, translating into 350 kobo per share from the profit after tax as against N610 million declared in 2012 , an increase of eight per cent. Anekwe assured shareholders of the company of a bright future ahead as the organization will continue to forge ahead in a bid to build a formidable petroleum company that would fit better in the ongoing energy reforms of government. According to him, the company’s retail division is growing beyond leaps and bounds as the ongoing remodelling of the stations has started yielding results in sales figure and general patronage. He stated that the essence of

the exercise is to better position the outlets for optimum service delivery to consumers of petroleum products as well as provide some value addition services to motorist. In the business of Compressed Natural gas [CNG], NIPCO is partnering with Nigerian Gas Company [NGC],a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] with a JV Company – Green Gas Ltd ,which Anekwe described as faring very well with more outlets at different stages of completion across the country . According to him, the feat to provide motorists with viable alternative auto fuel will not stop until every car in Nigeria runs on natural gas. He said the company had improved its distribution network in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas [LPG] market tremendously even as more cylinders and accessories have been provided to deepen gas utilization as domestic cooking fuel. Anekwe recalled that the company had recently introduced Shell lubricants, which are one of the premium brands in the international market as part of its diversification drive. According to him, gradually as the market improves, NIPCO plans to go into blending of quality lubricants in the country which will be of very high standards. The company, he said, hopes


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Boost for local lubricants as NATA partners Ammasco ITH the signing of a W Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by a local firm, Ammasco  International Limited  and Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), manufacturers of lubricants in the country have achieved one of their objectives. For the Lubricant Producers’ Association of Nigeria (LUPAN), it was a major achievement as Ammasco is one of their own and under the MoU, they aim to mutually collaborate in the advancement of their respective trades. The MoU, which was signed by both parties recently in Abuja, gives Ammasco the sole right to produce customised lubricating oil for use by members of NATA nationwide. It was signed at the recent National Executive Meeting (NEC) of NATA. Apart from the right to produce customised engineering service products for NATA, the two organisations also agreed to collectively work to upgrade the standard of lubricating oil produced and used by automobile engineers and technicians in the country. Considering the development in the industry in the last few years, which has on several occasions forced LUPAN to confront Federal Government on the need to check fake products and recognise local lubricants, the new development

can be described as a major breakthrough. The National President of NATA, Michael Ajayi, stated that the association adopted Ammasco to produce the products that its members use in the their work schedule following the company’s track record in the production of quality lubricants that have continued to dominate the Nigerian lubricant market. Ajayi explained that a critical market survey conducted by NATA and others also confirmed Ammasco’s market position. He added that responses from various customers, many of which are members of the association, further informed its decision to sign the MoU with Ammasco. “I want to use this opportunity to thank the chairman of Ammasco International Limited for his support to this association, we are indeed very grateful,” Ajayi said. “There is no gainsaying the fact that what has happened today is a step forward for the two organisations. The benefits are mutual and I believe that this is just a start to the many projects we can carry out together. “I know some people may wonder why Ammasco was chosen for the production of this NATA customised product; Ammasco was not chosen by accident but after a painstaking survey and consideration,

we came to the conclusion that Ammasco has all it takes to give us what we need. We pray and hope that this MoU will bear more fruits than even expected.” Ammasco’s Chairman, Alhaji Mustapha Muhammad, who was represented by the Manager Administration of the company, Abdulrasaq Sabo, described the partnership with NATA as a special one for his company. Muhammad pledged that the company would professionally engage NATA in the new partnership with the intention to ensure that its members derive adequate satisfaction from the customised product it has being signed on to produce for them. He said: “Our business is to do for NATA what we know how to do best. We have no excuse for lack of professionalism. In Ammasco, we always aspire to get it right and we always work to churn out the best from our stable. “I want to say today that what has been done here; that is, the signing of this MoU, is a

step towards the right direction. We will not renege on our part, as we are ever-ready to make the best out of this deal. May I also use this opportunity to appreciate the leadership of NATA for believing in us, in the first place and in return, we will not fail on our own part.” Speaking on why Ammasco was endorsed by NATA, the association’s president said it was born out of the track record of the company in the production of quality lubricants that have continued to dominate the Nigerian market. According to him, a critical market survey also put Ammasco on the leading position, adding that responses from various customers, many of which are members of the association, attest to the fact that Ammasco products remain the best in the oil lubricant market. Also speaking during the event, Chairman of Ammasco International Limited,  Alhaji Mustapha Muhammad,  promised to do everything professionally pos-

sible to ensure that NATA would derive adequate satisfaction from the customised product. Before now, LUPAN has been in the forefront of the call on Federal Government to address the issue of substandard and adulterated products. Another issue that has generated debate is the need to control importation to give the locally-produced products a competitive advantage. On assumption of duty as the Director-General of the Standard Organisations of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Joseph Odumodu, he promised that his regime would pay serious attention to the influx of fake products, which seemed to have reached its climax.  But despite the assurance, the problem has continued to be a major challenge facing local manufacturers and consumers of lubricants, especially artisans and companies that rely on it for lubrication. Local manufacturers of lubricants can, however, be said to have suffered more than other stakeholders as a result of

this abnormality, considering the millions of naira they lose on investment every second. Often times, they came out to announce their readiness to join hands with government to arrest the situation because of its negative impact on the economy. Worried by the rising cases of fake and adulterated lubricant products in Nigeria, the association, last year alerted the public and the regulatory agencies on this menace and the danger it posed to the economy and their existence. Pursuant to this, LUPAN had in the past alerted the public through different means on the dangers of patronising these fakers. The association also cried out to the regulatory agencies, especially the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), SON and Nigerian Customs Service, through courtesy calls on their chief executives in order to alert them on taking urgent steps through appropriate regulations to check the influx of adulterated lubricants into the market.

Mimiko signs pensions, Land Use charge bills NDO State Governor O Olusegun Mimiko has affirmed that no amount of blackmail from any quarter would stop  him from working for the progress of the people. He stated this in his office in Akure while signing into law  the state’s contributory Pensions and Land Use charge bills. The governor explained that all his administration’s programmes are aimed at securing better future for the state, stressing that the government was determined not to put burden on the people that have continued to support it. Mimiko, who noted that his administration is poised towards  sustaining  all its laudable social responsibilities, which he said were money consuming, appealed to the people  to pay their taxes and levies in order for them to enjoy services from  the government. He particularly explained that the land charge law was never an additional taxation on the people but a measure to streamline all payments pertaining to lands so as to erase multiple taxation and make land administration easier. He disclosed that his administration would soon launch the systematic title land registration in Akure with the intention of providing empowerment tools  for all title holders in the state. He appealed to civil servants in the state to key into the scheme, noting that the scheme is for their future benefit and assured of adequate sensitisation of the workers to enable them get acquainted with its benefits. He said: “We all know what

our pensioners go through in this country and in the state. We know that the resources accruable to government can no longer cope with the old pensions scheme but the contributory pensions scheme will definitely be the ultimate solution to regular predictable pensions scheme and payment of pensions after retirement. “I want to let our people know that the Land Use Charge is not additional taxation on them but it is to bring together all payments pertaining to lands; this will also prevent multiple taxation on matter relating to lands and bring everything together under the same umbrella.” Earlier in his welcome remarks, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, assured that the challenges  concerning payment of pensions and gratuities would now become of a thing of the past with the new policy, advising all public servants to key into it.

Administrative Manager, Ammasco Oil International Limited, Abdurrazaq Sambo (left); Deputy National General Secretary, Nigeria Automobile Technicians’ Association (NATA), Musa Yahaya and National President (NATA), Michael Ajayi Omonayin, at the formal signing of an MoU between NATA and Ammasco Oil International Limited, in Abuja…on Wednesday

Transporter’s wife, daughter kidnapped HE wife and daughter of T the Managing Director of Iyare Motors Limited, Mr. Abel Omoruyi (JP), have been kidnapped in Benin City, Edo State capital. According to family sources, Mrs. Esohe Abel (wife) and Miss Osarumwense (daughter) were kidnapped about

5.00 pm on Monday at Ugbor Village close to Ugbor Primary School. It was further gathered that the hoodlums abandoned the victims’ car and took them away in their own (kidnappers). According to the prominent transporter, the matter has

been reported at the Ugbor Police Station and the victims’ car was recovered at the scene of the crime. Over 12 hours after Mrs. and Miss Abel were abducted, the kidnappers failed to make contact with the family. It is one of the tactics employed by kidnappers to make the

family of their victims apprehensive and eager to hurriedly pay ransom. They keep their victims for at least 24 hours without communicating with their families. This leads to so much unease so that when they finally call, the family will easily succumb to their demands.

controversies surrounding the activities of the party in the state.” He added: “The next agenda of the party is to begin massive grassroots mobilisation so as to win the 2015 general elections convincingly. “Everybody here was satisfied with the conduct of the exercise and the peaceful success of the congress was a signal to the relevance of the party in the state and a stepping stone towards taking over power at the forthcoming 2015 general elections in the state”.

LP National Executive Committee member, Comrade Joseph Akinlaja, said the exercise was successful, “especially with the overwhelming enthusiasm shown by party members in their collective resolve to oust the ruling party in the forthcoming elections”. With the congress, the party has now become the second formidable opposition party to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the other opposition party in the state.

Ogun LP holds state congress • Vows to checkmate APC towards good governance From Charles Coffie-Gyamfi, Abeokuta GUN State chapter of O Labour Party (LP) has held its congress in Abeokuta, the capital, with a call on its supporters to rededicate and position themselves towards the 2015 general elections. Though a faction of the party had challenged the legality of the congress, the turnout was massive and it

was held in a peaceful atmosphere on Monday. Former state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Niyi Osoba, was elected as the party chairman. In his inaugural speech, Osoba assured his party faithful that LP, under his leadership, would ensure that “wastage by the present government in the state was put to an end.” His words: “We have noticed

with uttermost dismay the waste of tax-payers’ money in the area of health, education, infrastructure and others. With the new leadership in LP under my chairmanship, we shall work with the people to restore this lost glory and wastage”. Also speaking, a chieftain of the party and House of Representatives aspirant, Mr. Soji Akin-Bankole, said he was glad that the congress had finally put to rest “all the


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Sports NFF queries Keshi for missing presidential reception, technical meeting HE frosty relationship T between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Coach Stephen Keshi came to fore again yesterday when the NFF queried the gaffer for a series of infractions, some bordering on disrespect to constituted authority. The federation has accused Keshi of acting without recourse to the normal procedure, the most recent misdemeanor being his absence from Tuesday’s technical committee in Abuja. According to a BBC report, Keshi has also been asked to explain why he travelled out of the country without permission and so missed a reception hosted by president Jonathan Goodluck in February. “It is important we draw your attention to previous actions whereby you travel out of Nigeria without NFF’s express permission,” read the NFF letter to Keshi. “Specifically, you travelled out of Nigeria before February 13, 2014, the day president Jonathan received the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) team, causing us huge embarrassment. “Your request for leave approved by the NFF was from February 15 to March 10, 2014 but you left before February 13 and returned on March 26. “The Technical Committee meeting on March 25 was called off because you said you had flight hitches from USA. “As a responsible organisation, we have no other option than to issue you a query to explain how all these events unfolded.”

Despite missing the Technical Committee meeting, Keshi took part in a round table discussion with Nigerian journalists in Lagos on Tuesday. The letter, signed by NFF’s Emmanuel Ikpeme, gave the former Nigeria captain 24 hours to respond to the questions raised. However, the NFF has not made public what actions it could take if it is unhappy with Keshi’s explanations. The two sides had been enjoying a more cordial relationship in recent weeks after rows over unpaid salary and speculation about the appointment of a foreign assistant for Keshi. Keshi has had a stormy relationship with his employers since leading an inexperienced side to victory at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. He decided against resigning from his post just hours after leading the Super Eagles to their first Nations Cup title since 1994, following disputes with the NFF. Four months later, the NFF president, Aminu Maigari, publicly revealed that Keshi would no longer be solely responsible for selecting the squad. Maigari queried Keshi’s selection for the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, which Nigeria exited at the group stage, and said he was dissatisfied with the current set-up. And in December, the NFF paid Keshi part of the seven months’ salary he was owed, only weeks after he described the situation as “disrespectful and unacceptable.”

Amodu, other dignitaries for Iuleha football festival Super Eagles coach, FtheOrMEr Shaibu Amodu, is among top dignitaries that will

Keshi

FIFA plans big hike in 2018 World Cup prize money OrLD football’s governThis would be more than million) preparation fee paid W ing body, FIFA, has $100 million (£60 million/€72 to all 32 finalists. paved the way for a big increase in prize money at the 2018 World Cup, to be staged in russia. Budget plans for 2015 to 2018, included in the body’s new 2013 financial report, include a total of $582 million (£352 million/€422 million) for “finalist payments” at the flagship tournament, which is responsible for the vast majority of FIFA’s revenue.

CAF Confederation Cup

‘Bayelsa sure of total victory in Sapele’ dissatisfied by the StheTILL manner of their defeat in first leg in Harare, Bayelsa United say they will go for total victory when they host How Mine FC of Zimbabwe in a CAF Confederation Cup second leg match in Sapele tomorrow. Bayelsa lost the first leg at hosts How Mine FC 2-1 after they scored the opening goal. The Nigerian club’s first choice goalkeeper, Gideon Gambo, told MTNFootball.com he and the defenders will do their best to stop any goal from going in, while he believes the strikers will go all out and net the needed goals to advance to the next stage. “We are going for a total victory where we won’t concede any goal,” he promised. “We in the defence line will do our best not to concede

goals, while our attackers will do the damage with goals. “We expect tough opposition, but we will win and progress to the next stage.” Bayelsa skipper, Salomon Junior, said they would have at least recorded a draw in Zimbabwe but for a dubious penalty awarded the home team in the dying moments of the game.  The Yenagoa outfit will be without star striker, peter Ebimobowei, who has suffered a hamstring injury, and defender Fortune Chukwudi, who is still out with an ankle injury. Ebimobowei scored in the first round against Kondzo of Congo and was the team’s top scorer in the league last season with nine goals. The overall winners of this clash will qualify for the play-

off round to determine the eight   clubs to feature in the mini-league stage of the annual competition Bayelsa reached the semifinal of the same competition five years ago.

million)  up on the $476 million (£288 million/€345 million)  to be paid to national teams and the clubs who employ the players competing at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. The planned 22 per cent increase appears to leave open the possibility of 2018 producing the first $50 million (£30 million/€36 million)  World Cup winner. The winner of this year’s tournament is to receive $35 million (£21 million/€25 million), with $25 million (£15 million/€18 million)  going to the runners-up. Beaten quarter-finalists will get $14 million (£8.5 million/€10 million), and even the 16 teams eliminated at the group stage will collect $9.5 million (£6 million/€7 million), consisting of $8 million (£5 million/€6 million) prize money and the $1.5 million (£907,000/€1.1

Clubs, whose players take part in the tournament, will share $70 million (£42 million/€51 million), based on a “per player per day” amount of $2,800 (£1,692/€2,030). The 2015-2018 budget also indicates that FIFA expects to extend its Club protection programme (Cpp), an insurance scheme designed to compensate clubs when their players are injured on international duty, beyond its current end-2014 cut-off point. The budget includes $120 million (£73 million/€87 million)  for Cpp, up from its expected $100 million (£60.5 million/€72.5 million) cost for 2012-2014. FIFA confirmed that it was “foreseen” that the Cpp would be continued. However, this had not yet been approved by the Executive Committee. • Culled from insidethegames.biz

Balogun drops crutches, knows return date today Eagles’ latest defender, SthatUpEr Leon Balogun, has revealed he has dropped the crutches he was using to aide movement since he got injured in the international friendly between Nigeria and Mexico earlier this month in Atlanta, United States. Speaking from his base in Germany, Balogun declared that the rate of his recovery since the injury has been

quicker than expected, expressing delight that he will be part of the Super Eagles preWorld Cup party in the United States in May if he is invited. “It has been quite exciting for me and I have been in touch with the federation and Coach Stephen Keshi, they have been very nice too. I can’t wait to rejoin the squad when we reconvene for the World Cup. “The doctors confirmed that I

had a broken toe but it was not fully broken and that is why it has been healing quicker than we even expected,” he enthused. He also revealed that he would soon know the date that he can start kicking the ball by today when his club doctors plus another doctor from Cologne, who have been monitoring his recovery, will give their verdict.

grace the final of the third Iuleha Football Festival in Uzebba, Edo State tomorrow. The eight-team event, sponsored by the Edo State FA Vice Chairman, Frank Ilaboya, began on March 24. Other top dignitaries expected at the event are the Secretary to Edo State Government, prof. Julius Ihonvbere, who will be the Special Guest of Honour and the Okumagbe of Iuleha, His royal Highness, Ayo Omo Bare, who is the royal Father of the day. Looking forward to an entertaining end to the competition, the sponsor, Ilaboya said: “The competition, which is in its third year, is my contribution to youth empowerment in the community. It is my wish that this championship will produce players for Nigeria in the nearest future.” He added that special recognition awards would be given to Ihonvbere, Amodu and the Okumagbe of Iuleha for their contributions to youth empowerment in Edo State. Edo State Sports Commissioner, Christopher Okaeben; Chairman House Committee on Sports, Edo House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto; and Majority Leader, Edo House of Assembly, philip Shaibu, are also expected at the event, described as one of the best organised grassroots football competitions in Edo State in recent times.

Nigeria trains boxers for World Youth Championships IGErIA Boxing Federation N Chief Coach, peter Konyegwachie, yesterday revealed that comprehensive training were in top gear to achieve a successful outing at the forthcoming World Youth Championships. Konyegwachie told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the championships would hold in Sofia, Bulgaria from April 10 to April 17. He said training schedules had been increased to hold two times daily to enable the technical crew impact the required tactics to boxers approved by the  Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA). “We are working hard to ensure that the boxers that will represent the country at the tournament are abreast with the requirements to win laurels. “We deemed it necessary to extend our training to evening sessions so that there will be adequate time for practical sessions, as well as to impart morals to the boxers. “Although we are still observing open camp at the National Stadium, we are hopeful to  invite boxers for closed camping as soon as possible,” he said.


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SPORTS Friday, March 28, 2014

Heroes Of Igbobi College’s Barbwire, who

Ebitimi By Adeyinka Adedipe TATIONERY Stores’ fans will forever remember Collins ‘Barbwire’ StheEbitimi among the club’s heroes, who made the Adebajo Babes darling team of Lagos. Where as the team was already one of the best known sides in the local scene from the late 1960s to the 1980s, Ebitimi was one of the ‘gang of marauders’ that ensured that no team left the Onikan Stadium without bruises in the 1990s. The Flaming Flamingoes were just at the height of their fame when the hard tackling Barbwire entered the scene. When Ebitimi was signed by the club as a free agent in 1989, Stationery Stores was going through a sort of renaissance with the then Coach Ofoukwu looking towards the youths for the rejuvenation of the side. That era ushered in such youthful stars as Joe Ashinze, Golden Ajeboh, Eddy Okoyomo and Ike Shorunmu, among other stars, who came in to take over the mantle left by such departing stalwarts as Annas Ahmed, Wakilu Oyenuga, Olumide Banjo and Godwin Obiyan, among others. Ebitimi’s inclusion into the fiery Stationery Stores’ defence was the final piece in the jigsaw that defied every opposition. Many fans wondered how he performed so well with his small stature. He employed acrobatics and sliding tackles in playing style, which endeared him to the management and fans of the

team. Although the former defender made his name as an outfield player, not many know that he actually started his football career as a goalkeeper. According to Ebitimi, once he tasted action as an outfield player while playing for a Lagos’ grassroots side, Formidable Babes, he left the goalpost for good and concentrated on being a good player. The native of Bayelsa, who was born in Surulere, could play anywhere in the defence and this versatility was an advantage for any team he played for. Shouts of ‘Barbu’ the short form of his nickname, Barbwire, rent the air whenever he put on the gold and red jersey of Stores. He was highly adored, but his career started at the Demonstration Primary School, Onitolo where he came into contact with organised football in the 1970s. Ebitimi however said that it was on the streets of Surulere that he picked up his skills even before going to school. He said: “It was on the streets that I actually learnt to play football with other kids of my age. Even before I got to school, I had started playing Jeun Jeun (playing for token) at different playgrounds around Surulere.” At Demonstration School, his small frame belied his ability and it took him time to find his way into the school team. But all along, he never lost hope, as he got inspiration from the likes of Lateef

Owolabi and some senior boys who saw the potential in him. He excelled in the inter class competitions and got the opportunity to train with the big boys, while forcing his way into the school team with beautiful displays when he was in primary four. By the time he got to Primary Six, he had become one of the top players in the school. “When I got into primary six, I became of the senior players alongside Segun Fatupe, Babatunde Joseph, Nduka Ugbade, Atta Rigogo, who later became the goalkeeper of Federal Housing Authority FC in Lagos. Ebitimi’s love for football cost him his food several times, as he was forced to drink garri whenever he got home late because before then his family members would have finished the food. However, unlike other kids, whose parents did not like sports, his mother didn’t bother if he played football as long as he did his household chores whenever he came back home. But his brothers and sisters were against his playing football, nevertheless it never prevented him from being a regular feature in his school team. “Though my brothers and sister saw nothing good in playing football, it didn’t stop me from playing for my school where I played against the likes of St Thomas, Elizabeth Fowler School, St John Primary’s School, but of all these schools, Salvation Army were our fiercest rivals because they equally had talented players.” In 1981, tragedy befell Ebitimi, when his mother died and he had to go and stay with his elder brother, Abiki (who was a Police officer) in Abeokuta. He enrolled in St John’s Secondary School in Kuto, but he didn’t enjoy success with the school team, as they failed to qualify for big championships due to lack of quality players. “I played football in Abeokuta, but my school, St John Secondary School didn’t do well at inter school competitions,” he added. He experienced a change of fortune when he left Abeokuta for Lagos and joined the Ansar Ud Deen College in Isolo in class three. In one of the games for Ansar Ud Deen, Ebitimi played against Igbobi College and he became a target of many schools. “Playing against Igbobi College brought me recognition and I became one of the most sought after schoolboy footballers.” According to Ebitimi, he had wanted to play for Igbobi and when the opportunity presented itself, he grabbed it with both hands. “I joined Igbobi College when I was in class four and that opened a new chapter in my academic and sports career. “Igbobi College had this special way of treating their school team players. We had a camp, which we retired to before and after training and the principal would always ensure that we were in class for lectures. I joined the likes of Fatai Atere, Taju Ajide, Temo Jatowe, Robert Oligbo, Vincent Onyema, Lawson Alastore, who later played internationally.” The crowning moment in the Lagos Principals Cup came when he won the tournament in 1985. For Ebitimi, it was an unforgettable experience, which still lingers in his memory.   “It was a very exciting moment because that was the first time Igbobi College lifted the trophy. It was big celebration in the school and we were all happy that we had finally won the trophy. We all got automatic promotion and our names were inscribed on the wall to inspire those coming behind us.” After that successful outing in 1985, he was back to the competition in 1986, but lost to St Finbarrs in the final. Ebitimi described the loss as a painful one, but noted that football is all about winning and losing. In the squad, he was the oldest and played alongside Atlanta 1996 gold winning goalkeeper, Dosu Joseph, Sule Aweda and so many others. “I was not happy we lost the trophy. That was my final year at Igbobi College and I had hoped to win the trophy for the second time as a parting gift. But it did not work out,” he said. On leaving the school, Ebitimi came back as the assistant coach of the team to lift the trophy in 1987 with Dosu as the team’s goalkeeper.” Explaining how he got the nickname Barbwire, he said: “We went to play a friendly game with an Army team while at Igbobi College and I played the left full back. Our opponents had a tough defender who played at right full back. He was the one that was called Barbwire, but during the game I tackled him hard and he fell down. The students reasoned that if I could bring down the Army team’s hard man, I deserved his name, and that was how the students started calling me barbwire.”   While doing well in football, he did not lose sight of his academics. Ebitimi said that he trained hard when it was time for training and didn’t miss class when it was time for academics, adding, “apart from being a good footballer, I was also a good student.”   His club career started while he was at Ansar Ud Deen College, when he played for UAC FC (Broad Street Millionaires). After UAC, he went to Concord Press in 1986 and left for Hoescht of Otta.


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School Sports found home at Stationery Stores The crowning moment in for me in the Lagos Principals Cup came when Igbobi College won the tournament in 1985. For me, it was an unforgettable experience, which still lingers in my memory.  It was a very exciting moment because that was the first time Igbobi College lifted the trophy. It was big celebration in the school and we were all happy that we had finally won the trophy. We (the players) got automatic promotion and our names were inscribed on the wall to inspire those coming behind us. When Hoescht was disbanded in 1987, he came back to Lagos and was at the training ground in Cappa, where he never got a chance as P&T FC preferred to use players in their employment. As a young kid, he had seen Stores play at the Onikan Stadium and nursed the ambition of playing for the team in future. While unwinding with his friend at Lagos Island, he got wind of the screening exercise organised by Stores, but he didn’t make anything of it until Ifeanyi Aghenu convinced him to come for the screening. Coach Austin Ofokwu was in the saddle at Stores and conducted the screening exercise. While Ofokwu sent other layers in to try their luck, he overlooked Ebitimi because he was slim. But when it became clear that Ofokwu was yet to see a quality defender, another Stores great, Yomi Peters, convinced the coach to give Ebitimi a chance. More so, he had done well against Stores when they played against Hoescht in Otta in a friendly game. Ebitimi took the chance with both hands and after awhile on the field, it was clear that he would be selected to be part of the team. “My playing for Stores was fortuitous because I only heard of the screening from Aghenu and even then, I was reluctant to go. “But when I got there I proved myself and I was given N10, 000 as my sign on fee.  With the sign on fees, I brought my youngers ones to stay with me, so that we could live together as one.” After spending three seasons at Stores, he left for Rangers of Enugu in 1993 for a new challenge. It was an injury-plagued season for Ebitimi at Rangers and he made a stop at Concord in 1993 before rejoining the Adebajo Babes in 1994. “I had a very bad experience at Rangers, as I couldn’t play because I was nursing an injury, while I was also not free to express myself like I did at Stores. “So, I decided to go back to Stores where I played for three more seasons before quitting in 1997. Playing for Stores was really special. You had to be passionate and the fans were not easy to please. They praise you when you do well and cast aspersions at you when you fail to deliver. “Many of the fans were my personal friends. I ate, drank as well as sleep in their houses… such was the love that existed between the players and the fans. But the day you didn’t play well, they would turn their backs on you and call you names,” he added. “At Stores, the players were like family. I played alongside Ajibade Babalade, Ike Shorunmu, Peter Obilor, Ikechukwu Ugbede (Kalala), Francis Maduka, Presley Bito, Bobolayefa Edon, Dele Bob Manuel, Demola Johnson, Seyi Ogunsanya, late Nicholas Johnson and many others.” He described his best game for Stores as the Challenge Cup final in 1990 in which they defeated Enugu Rangers to lift the trophy. “It was my best game, no doubt. The coach told us that we had to give it our best shot because we might never get the opportunity again. And with that at the back of our minds, we went into the pitch and defeated Rangers to win the trophy,” he reminisced. In I989, Ebitimi was invited to the Flying Eagles team, but he failed to make the team. According to Ebitimi, he struggled in camp and it was not a

Ebitimi (with the ball) in the colours of Stationery Stores

Ebitimi (right) against Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola in an exhibition game in 2011 surprise that he failed to make the team. He tried his hand on business when he left football and also coached the Lagos CBN workers team where he won the trophy. He is currently an assistant coach at the revived Stationery Stores team playing in the second tier of the Nigerian league. “I didn’t expect to get the job of an assistant coach at Stores, but when I was invited to take the job, I did not hesitate. It would be nice to serve the team as a successful coach after my days for the team as a player.”  Ebitimi, who has helped develop the career of some young players, wants the youths to put their career first before money, adding, “I have worked with players who were considering making so much money before their career even started and I have always told them that they must commit themselves to the game before thinking of making money from it. “In my days, we played to establish ourselves before talking about making money because we knew that through hard work we would be recognised and then we would begin to make a living from playing the round leather game. “Most of the players now complain too much even on match days and I have warned them to desist from such acts because it would kill their morale. The ideal thing to do is to solve any problem with the management before match days, so that you will come into games with a free and committed mind,” Ebitimi counseled. 

Ebitimi (middle) with two former colleagues


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60 Friday, March 28, 2014

SchoolSports NNPC/Shell All Nigeria Secondary Schools Football Championship

Brightville College, Ibadan, Etinan School, Dangogo, Bungudu make quarterfinal rIGHTVILLE B Ibadan, Community

College, Etinan Secondary School and Dangogo Secondary School, Bungudu have qualified for the quarterfinals of this year’s All Nigeria Secondary Schools Football Championship, also known as NNPC/Shell Cup. The teams are among the sides that scaled through to the stage from the zonal preliminaries held in nine cities across the country on Wednesday. Brightville College emerged the winner of Osogbo zone at

the expense of other schools from Ogun, Ondo and Lagos states, while St. Thomas Basic Secondary School, Benin booked the quarterfinal ticket at the Ado Ekiti centre, where 2012 champions, Kwara Football Academy Secondary School, Ilorin also participated. Randolph Comprehensive College, Port Harcourt also qualified for the quarterfinals after engaging their counterparts from Ekiti, Delta and Bayelsa states. The zonal preliminaries in Enugu produced Anglican

Secondary School, Makurdi as the quarterfinalist after defeating their counterparts from Anambra, Imo and Cross River states. Etinan Community Secondary School from Akwa Ibom State, won the preliminaries in Yenagoa at the expense of Government College, Umuahia and Government Secondary School, Nsukka, just as Plateau State champions, Government Secondary School, Kopyal Bokos also secured a quarterfinals ticket from Lokoja centre. In Jalingo, the zonal preliminary matches produced Government Day Secondary School, Gwandu, Gombe State as the quarterfinalist, while at the Keffi Centre, Government Model School, Kontagora, Niger State won the zone, just as Government Day Secondary School, Dange, Sokoto State joined Dangogo Secondary School, Bungudu representing Zamfara State in the quarterfinal.

Shoot to thrill…Dare Olayiwola of Brightville College, Ibadan, tries a shot despite the challenge from Samuel Abayomi of Ikare City Academy, Ondo State, during their NNPC/Shell Cup zonal preliminaries game in Oshogbo.

From Loyola Jesuit College, Genevieve wants to run for Nigeria From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE is fresh faced, so innocent and soft-spoke, but Olere Genevieve Ebomhe has more fire in her than her frame shows. The JSS 2 student was the best girl at the just concluded Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, annual inter-house sports completion, but her dreams exceed the confines of that hallowed school. The teenager, who says

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Red House are maiden Abayomi Schools’ champions By Samuel Ifetoye HE maiden edition of the Abayomi Group of Schools Inter House Sports took place at the Lagos State University Stadium, Ojo, Lagos State where Red House (Rubby) emerged first, Green House (Emerald) came second, and Blue House (Sapphire) third. In the match parade, Blue House came tops, Red House was second and Yellow settled for third position. In her opening remarks, the school proprietress, Alhaja Silifat A. Adekunle, said the occasion “marked another milestone in the annual of this great school as this is our first inter house sports competition.” According to her, “sports is not meant for body exercise alone, but has other benefits such as economic, political and social gain. Sport is now a good business in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

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Pupils of Troika School, Lekki, celebrating with their trophies at the school’s inter-house sports competition in Lagos… recently.

LA Nursery, Primary School wins Indomie football tourney earned the Fab-5 scholarship A Nursery and Primary award that will cover their L School, Coker, Lagos, last entire secondary school eduweekend at the Campos Mini Stadium, defeated BAdore Primary School by 4-3 on penalties to win the second Indomie Youth Football Championship. The one-day five-a-side competition featured 12 teams, comprising the best two sides from each of the six educational districts in Lagos State. Following the inability of either of the teams to decide the game during the regualtion time, the organisers took both team to the penalty spot, where LA Nursery and Primary School proved they are the better strikers. LA’s victory was made possible by Onwula Meshack, who lost Badore Primary School’s second kick. At the end of the game, Ramon Habeeb of LA Nursery and Primary School was selected as the tournament’s most valuable player (MVP), while Lukman Badmus of Badore Pmary School and Alabi Adams of LA Nursery and Primary School were named first and second runners up. For their efforts, all three

cation, as well as guidance counseling and mentorship programmes. Speaking after the presentation of the trophy, Managing Director, Sportvision, Deji Tinubu, who was the Project Director, revealed that the competition was on course to achieving its set objectives. “The second edition of Fab-5 no doubt is a success but the key thing is that people would begin to understand what we are trying to do. It is not only about fishing out talent, but it is about preparing them for their career (in football) if they are going to have one, and whatever they intend to do in the event that they do not eventually make the grade. “We are also preparing them for life after their career, letting them understand that there will come a time when they won’t be playing competitively anymore, the time when they will be able to fall back on the education and training which we have promised the three MVPs,” he concluded.

So, let us join hands together to encourage this coming generation”. The event witnessed by dignitaries among who is the chairman of occasion, and Chairman/Managing Director, Odu’a Investment Company Limited, Alhaji Jimoh Adebayo. He said for every step that one takes, one has to start from somewhere. According to Adebayo, sport is a very big business but that more importantly “we always want to have a sound mind with a sound body” as the children participating in various events will eventually become great sports men and women in the nearest future. The parents were not left out of the occasion, as they participated actively. However, Adebayo Abdul Qudus of the Red House was adjudged the over all best male athlete, while the female title went to Taofeekat Adebayo of the Red House.

Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, is her role model, is dreaming of one mounting the podium in an international competition in the service of Nigeria. “I want to represent Nigerian at the Olympics and other competitions,” she enthuses. According to Ebomhe, who was the cynosure of all eyes as she darted from one event to another, she is so determined to succeed in athletics that nothing can distract from achieving fame in sport. Ebomhe led Xavier House to victory in the competition with 26 gold, 28 silver and 19 bronze medals (totaling 73), while Regis House and Loyola House with a total of 55 and 73

medals respectively took second and third place positions. Speaking at the end of the competition, a member of the Presidential Task Force on Power, Chike Madueke, who was the chairman of the occasion, joined the principal of the school, Reverend Fr. Emmanuel Ugwueje to urge the FCT Sports Council and the National Sports Commission to focus on the development of grassroots sports if they must improve the standard of sports in the country. Madueke praised the management of the school for reinventing school sports, stressing that if attention is paid to the schools, Nigeria would return to its glory days.

At Awesome College, sports, academics play prominent roles By Adeniyi Idowu Adunola ports combined with education play prominent role in the upbringing of children and ‘that is what we encourage at Awesome College,’ the chairman of the school’s Sports Committee, Igbokwe Emmanuel, has said. Speaking at the end of Awesome College’s fourth annual inter-house sports competition at the University of Lagos Sports Centre, Igbokwe, who was delighted by the performance of the students, said “Nigeria would be a better country if students

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Senior girls running for medals during the Awesome College’s inter-house sports held at the UNILAG Sports Centre… at the weekend.

are encouraged to combine sports with their academics. “We have never celebrated it like this before. This year is more like the Olympic Games. We had nothing less than 60 sports during this year’s event. “Students should not lay emphasis on their classroom education alone, sports is also very important.” He added: “Awesome College encourages pupils to fulfill their potential by giving them the opportunity to excel in all areas of life. “At Awesome College, there is no sport we can talk about that we do not train our pupils in. Among them is football, basketball, volleyball, athletic, tennis badminton and the likes.” Emmanuel urged parents to help their children discover their skills and nurture them by providing the necessary moral support, adding, “if not for any other reason, children should be exposed to sports activities for health reasons because promotes longevity.” The fourth edition of the biennial competition came to a thrilling end with Oikos Grace House (Blue) winning the over all best team trophy with 16 gold, 15 sliver and 13 bronze medals.


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Chelsea must fall on Sunday, says Pulis

‘Moyes is not the man for Man United’ ANCHESTER United supporters have been loyal and stoic this season, but the derby disaster was the final straw for some fans and understandably so. Some abused Sir Alex Ferguson in the directors’ box for his choice of Moyes as his successor, others were restrained by stewards as they verbally insulted Moyes himself. Judging by these scenes, a full-scale revolt is just around the corner should results continue to nosedive. At the end of the game, which Manchester City won 3-0, the

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ONY Pulis was charmed by T Jose Mourinho when the Portuguese led his Chelsea

sorry picture was completed by a line of stewards protecting ‘The Chosen One’ banner depicting Moyes at the Stretford End in case United supporters chose to tear it down. At any other Premier League club Moyes would have been sacked months ago for delivering a string of performances that have fallen, unacceptably, below expectations, “Five more years, five more years” came the chant from the gloating 3,000 Manchester City supporters in the away end here. Culled from Yahoo.com

Liverpool has work to do, says Rodgers IVERPOOL manager LhisBrendan Rodgers insists side are still behind Chelsea and Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League title race but accepts they have proved their doubters wrong. A 2-1 home win over Sunderland made it seven successive league victories and lifted the Reds back into second place, one point behind Chelsea and two ahead of City, who have two matches in hand, Steven Gerrard’s free-kick and Daniel Sturridge’s 20th goal of the season either side of half-time put the hosts into a seemingly comfortable lead only for substitute Ki Sung-Yeung’s header to

make for a tense finish in which John O’Shea could have snatched a late equaliser. “I think people looked at us and thought we would tail off,” said Rodgers, who believes his team have the character to keep fighting. “For us there is not the expectancy this year when you look at City, the squad they have and the money they’ve spent and Chelsea as well as they have been dominant over a number of years. “The pressure will be there but the pressure is for ourselves. We are Liverpool, one of the biggest clubs in the world. “We want to represent the club and be winners and we are on that path.

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Real Madrid will fight till the end, says Marcelo EAL Madrid defender R Marcelo apologised to his side’s fans after the capital club saw their Primera Division title hopes severely dented by back-to-back defeats to Barcelona and Sevilla - but promised they would not give in. Looking to bounce back from their 4-3 home loss to Barca at the weekend - Real’s first defeat in any competition since October - Carlo Ancelotti’s men took the lead at Sevilla on Wednesday night through Cristiano Ronaldo’s deflected 14th-minute freekick.

However, Sevilla were level within five minutes through a Carlos Bacca strike, and the Colombia international then stunned their star-studded visitors by netting what would prove to be the winning goal 18 minutes from time. The 2-1 defeat left Real three points adrift of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table and two behind Barcelona, with both their title rivals winning on Wednesday. To make matters worse for Real, they are essentially another point further back on Atletico and Barca because

they have the inferior head-tohead record against both teams this season. Real now have eight games left to try and claw back the top two and Marcelo assured fans the players will do all they can to achieve that. The Brazil international said on his club’s website: “We created chances but we were unable to make the most of them, that’s football. But we would like to apologise to the Real Madrid fans, who always support us. “We knew the end of the season is very difficult, with very important matches and we will keep on fighting.”

side to victory over Crystal Palace in December - but the Eagles boss is aiming to send him home miserable this weekend. Palace welcome Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea to Selhurst Park on Saturday, with their own topflight status still in the balance. Pulis, who was appointed as Ian Holloway’s replacement in November, is looking to become the first man to keep a Palace side in the Premier League beyond a single season. And, after his side went down to a closely-fought 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge, Pulis is hoping to get his own back on Blues manager Mourinho, who he holds in high regard having only come up against him for the first time last year. “For me Jose is one of the elite managers in the world,” Pulis said. “If you look at his record he has managed the great teams and the great teams need to win and he does that for them. He doesn’t just do it on home soil, but does that away as well. “I met him after the game at Stamford Bridge and he’s interesting. “Whether you like him or dislike him for what he is, there is no doubting he is a top manager. The time I had with him was charming, but they had just beaten us. It would be nice to see on Saturday if he’s charming.”


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NEWS Friday, March 28, 2014

DStv Basketball League

Pillars hope to consolidate, as Dodan Warriors, Islanders clash By Adeyinka Adedipe EFENDING champions, Kano Pillars Basketball Club, will take on Niger Potters BC in one of the Atlantic Conference games in the DStv Basketball League today. The champions, who are playing at home, should pick the two points at stake against a less formidable Potters’ team, whose form has dipped this season. Pillars have won all the three games and a win would cement their place at the top of the Savannah Conference table. Mark Mentors of Abuja, who have also won all their games, will host Kada Stars. It would be a tough game, but Mark Mentors have experience players to win the game. Mentors coach, Peter Ahmedu, expressed satisfaction over his team’s performance and assured that the team would get better before the season gets half way. In Jos, Plateau Peaks and Gombe Bulls will slug it out, as the battle for the final eights continues. While both team might not emerge champions of the Savannah Conference, they will continue their quest for a top four place that would guarantee them a place at the Final Eight in Lagos. However, the Bulls have shown promises since coming into the elite division

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Azubuike Egwuekwe to hit Tunisia today for operation rescue Warri Wolves.

CAF Confederations Cup

Egwuekwe reschedules honeymoon, joins Warri Wolves in battle of Tunisia By Gowon Akpodonor EWLY wedded captain of Warri Wolves, Super Eagles defender, Azubuike Egwuekwe, may have cut short his honeymoon, as he is expected to team up with his colleagues who are already on ground in Tunisia for this weekend’s second leg of the CAF Confederations Cup match against Athletique Bizertin FC of Tunisia. Egwuekwe was not part of the first leg in Warri last weekend, which ended goalless. He could not also travel with the team on Wednesday. But the Chief Executive Officer of the team, Davidson Owumi, said yesterday that Egwuekwe would join the camp today alongside Josiah Maduabuchi, who was left behind in Lagos

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due to paper problem. According to Owumi, both players will join the team this morning with the sole aim of qualifying Warri Wolves for the next round. Players and officials of Warri Wolves arrived Bizerte on Wednesday evening to a very harsh weather. Their hotel, Corniche Palace, is situated by the seaside, which has compounded the weather problem facing the players. Media Officer of Warri Wolves, Moses Etu, told The Guardian yesterday that apart from the harsh weather, the team could not train yesterday morning due to heavy down pour. However, coach Paul Aigbogu and his assistants reschedule their training for 2 p.m. yesterday with Owumi busy tackling what he called ‘psychological

war’ encouraging the players that they can beat the Tunisians in front of their supporters. Owumi told the players early yesterday morning that they have to deliver by qualifying the club to the next level of the CAF Confederations Cup campaign. “I want to thank all of you for your understanding and I want to let you know that this is another psychological war, which we must win. You can see that the Tunisians deliberately kept us by the seaside to make the weather worse for us. “You can also see the type of food they are giving to us. It is nothing to write home about,

but we must win this match for Nigerians. We will do our best to encourage you and you have no choice than to deliver,” Owumi said. Meanwhile, the match will come up on Sunday by 1.30 pm (Nigeria time) with match officials picked from Sudan, while the Match Commissioner is from nearby Morocco. It would be recalled that the referees for the first leg in Warri came from Morocco, a neighbouring country to Tunisia, which made it difficult for the Warri Wolves players to understand the conversation between players of Athletique Bizertin FC and the centre referee each time there was a complaint.

NNL warns Wikki over behaviour, as 3SC, Gateway clash E of good behaviour or face ers will be romancing the releB severe sanctions, is the warn- gation zone. ing coming from the Nigeria In other games slated for this National League (NNL) to players and officials of Wikki Tourists Football Club of Bauchi. The team allegedly made uncomplimentary remarks to match officials during their Week 6 tie against Spotlight FC and in a strongly worded letter, signed by Lawrence Katken, the NNLK warned Wikki Tourists to desist from any act that would bring disrepute to the game. Meanwhile, Shooting Stars of Ibadan will this weekend rekindle its hope for promotion when it hosts neighbours, Gateway of Abeokuta, at the revered Adamasingba Stadium, just as Kwara United will try to stop Niger Tornadoes in Ilorin.  Both matches will throw up interesting results, as winners will consolidate their positions at the top of the table, while los-

weekend, in Division A, Sokoto United  will meet Jigawa Stars, Kogi United  entertains FRSC, while DSS FC has a date with Prisons FC. Spotlight  will host Plateau United, TEAP of Abuja will be at home to Adamawa United, Ranchers meets Wikki, just as Supreme FC will host Jets FC The Division B ties will see Gabros of Nnewi hosting Insurance of Benin, ABS of Ilorin will be at home to Go-Round and Akwa entertains Stores FC. Calabar is the venue for the battle between Unicem Rovers and COD United, MFM will entertain Abia Comets at the Agege Stadium, and Ekiti United hosts Prime, while First Bank and Remo Stars will clash at the Onikan Stadium.

this season and might pick the two points if the homers fail to raise their game. Bauchi Nets will also take on Nigeria Immigration in Bauchi in a match that could go either way. In the Atlantic Conference, Oluyole Warriors who stunned Dodan Warriors last week, will host Kwara Falcons in Ibadan. The Falcons dazed Union Bank in a rescheduled match on Tuesday in Lagos, but would have their hands full against Oluyole Warriors, who have made the sports hall of Adamasingba Stadium, a fortress. Still smarting from last weekend loss in Ibadan, Dodan Warriors will take on Islanders in a local derby and the Warriors would be yearning for a win to better their stand on the table. The game between Royal Hoopers and Union Bank BC will see two struggling teams taking on each other. Union Bank played in the finals last season, but the Stallion Boys (Union Bank) have been erratic this season, losing to new entrant, Falcon in a rescheduled game on Tuesday. Police Batons are yet to come to terms with the demand of the League and must play for maximum points when they take on Nigera Customs today at the sports hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.

DStv BBL: FBN wins game of wit, beat Dolphins By Adeyinka Adedipe Bank of Nigeria (FBN) FingIRST Plc took a bold start in movback to the top after beating Dolphin 47-41 in a keenly contested game in the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League at the Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Abuja. The victory moves First Bank to the top of the Group B, as the first phase of the league gradually comes to an end. It was fierce battle and it took courage on the part of First Bank to win the game. First Bank coach, Adewunmi Aderemi, who has watched in agony the slump of his team in the last four seasons, would be buoyed by the victory. He would also hope that his team

becomes more consistent after the nightmarish performance against the Nigeria Customs. Defending champions, First Deepwater Basketball Club, defeated Oluyole Warriors 8530 and maintains top spot on the Group A table. The oil and gas girls (First Deepwater) have been in impeccable form this season and Coach Lateef Erinfolami will hope his girls continue churning out good performances. Sunshine Angels of Akure also defeated IGP Queens 6361 in a closely fought contest, Delta Force beat Nigeria Immigration 60-48, Customs beat FCT Queens 47-45, while Benue Queens beat AHIP 3029.

Chess heights tourney returns April 5 HESS Heights Monthly C tournament is set to hold on April 5 at the University of

Bundeslinga Training Tour….Chief Operation Officer of the Bundeslinga, Andrea Rettig (left), and Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission and Football Association, Amaju Pinnick

Lagos, the organisers have announced. The monthly event, which began in January 2010, is widely regarded as the most consistent chess tournament in Africa. According to the organisers, “this April 5 edition has three categories: Open, Ladies and Under-14. Open category is open to any member of the public, while Ladies category is only for female players who register specifically for that category.

“The Under-14 category is for children who register for it and they are expected to come with their birth certificate which must prove them not born earlier than January 1, 2000.” The event, which is supported by Lagos Island Local Council Chairman, Sanni Wasiu Eshinlokun, will feature such top players in the Open category as FM Olamide Ajibowo, Abimbola Osunfuyi, Tosin Akinwamide, CM Charles Campbell and IM Bunmi Olape, who was a former national champion.


Friday, March 28, 2014

THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

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GolfWeekly Rivers will be happy to host you, Amaechi tells golfers would take quite a while Ity,Tbefore the latest golf facilia golf estate is completed

Oyibo Emuobor watches his drive on the fairway during a past tourney at Ibom Golf Club, Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Akwa Ibom State…recently

in the Greater Port Harcourt area of Rivers State, but the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi has told Nigerian golfers that they would be warmly received to play the gentleman game in the state. Amaechi, factional chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum spoke in Lagos recently while participating in the grand finale of the Ikeja Golf Club’s Captain Day celebrations. Addressing the golfers, Amaechi said, “I must say that I am extremely delighted to be in your presence and to share with you some of my immediate thoughts...” Referring to the multi-billion Naira golf estate under construction in his domain projected to cost its promoters and the state government about N12.1b he said, “I can tell you that what we are doing that will encourage you to join us is that we are building an 18-hole golf estate in Port Harcourt and I am told by the investor that it will be ready around February. Amaechi continued, “It has an 18-hole golf course and a nine-hole practice golf course. So, we hope you will come to play golf there and we would be delighted to host you.” Governor Amaechi said. The outgoing captain of the club and celebrant, Mr. Wole Sowole said he was impressed by the club’s accomplishments under his watch some of which include the new clubhouse; beautification of the caddy area of the golf course; course irrigation; the construction of Hole Six lake footbridge; starter point washing area; course priorities sign; course drainage; drain cover; locker room

I must say that I am extremely delighted to be in your presence and to share with you some of my immediate thoughts... I can tell you that what we are doing that will encourage you to join us is that we are building an 18-hole golf estate in Port Harcourt and I am told by the investor that it will be ready around February. extension and provision of 22KVA generator among others. He expressed appreciation to all who contributed towards the success of his tenure even as he lauded the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola for fulfilling his pledge of building a clubhouse for the club. Dr. Wale Ahmed represented Fashola at the occasion. “This past one year had been made remarkable by the crop of members that made up the management committee, who went the extra mile to make a success of our tenure. I thank all of them unreservedly and pray God bless them in all their other undertakings,” Sowole stated. It would be recalled that captain of the Port Harcourt Club (golf section), Mr. Adokiye Ikpoki, had told The Guardian exclusively that the development of an ultramodern golf club in the state capital notwithstanding, the existence of Port Harcourt Club 1928 would not in anyway be challenged. In fact, the state capital, according Ikpoki, was in dire need of more of such facilities in order to cater for the golfing needs of the city dwellers as well as allow the game percolate further.

Makelemi re-elected PGAN director, pledges increased tournament turnover Stories by Eno-Abasi Sunday EMBERS of the Professional Golfers’ Association of Nigeria (PGAN) overwhelmingly voted in favour of Festus Makelemi continuing in office as the Director of the association. Makalemi was returned unopposed for another twoyear term at the 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the body, which was held on the sidelines of the 2014 ULO Pro-

M

Am in Otukpo, Benue State. According to the association’s secretary, Jide Bolaji, “the entire exercise was like a family affair and there was no rancour whatsoever. That is why every one voted for Makalemi’s return. No one voted against his return and no one abstained.” Speaking shortly after his emergence, the Shell Golf Club, Ogunnu, resident professional expressed delight at his acceptability by profes-

sional colleagues promising to deliver on his expectations. “It is my pleasure to be unanimously re-elected, it shows the level of confidence that the members have in me and all that is left is to lead this new team to justify such trust.” He revealed that his mission and that of his team this time around was to strengthen the calendar of professional golf through high-quality tournament sourcing.

Said he, “We will be working to re-position the PGA to attract more tournaments. The quality of our game has been on the rise and a lot of good players are rising. Now, the only way to keep the momentum is to ensure that the quality of players remains on the rise.” Makelemi, who added that consistent tournaments would also better the living standards of the PGA mem-

bers, also stated that he would be working to raise the bar in the area of discipline. “If the association intends to get more events, stronger membership and attract more corporate support, we will need to a instil greater measure of discipline within our fold. And that is one area I will be seeking the cooperation of the players while we are in office.” Other elected members of the new executive are

Dominic Andrew as operations director and Donatus Isuku as finance director. Martins Odoh is tournament director while Michael Ubi and Friday Adache are ex-officio members. Meanwhile, Gift Willy of Air Assault Golf Club, Port Harcourt, won the professionals’ event of the ULO Pro-Am at Otukpo Golf and Country Club, Akpegede. Emos Korblah of host club finished second in the event he was favoured to win.


TheGuardian www.ngrguardiannews.com

Friday, March 28, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Emeka A. Otoba Y the time they find their killers, we will probably all be dead! It might not happen in this generation, or even the next. It might never happen! That the murderers of the numerous prominent Nigerians, good, bad and ordinary, who were all murdered for one political reason or the other would be brought to justice. They were probably just ordinary men, who lived ordinary lives but an unfortunate turn of events has carved their names permanently in history. When we remember these men (names below), do they strike us as heroes or just unfortunate victims of untamed lust for power? As a country, can we really say we have a judicial system that works? In the present Nigeria, that is perhaps, too much of a dream. I am almost three decades old and so far, I have come to terms with the fact that the slogan “The Police is your friend” is a meaningless phrase tattooed on the wall of every police station. I long for the day when Nigerians can repeat this sentence with the kind of conviction and passion with which the Americans say “God bless America!” Over time I have come to realise that some mysteries will never be resolved, some crimes never solved. Some people will never be subject to the law and others will always be controlled by the law. Sadly, this is a country where investigations run for years and eventually amount to nothing. They fade with time and we have learnt to live with these painful memories as though they were normal occurrences. I went back in time and couldn’t miss these names: James Ajibola Ige: A man who, at the end of his life fought the death sentence by stoning passed on a so-called adulteress by a Sharia court in Zamfara, declaring that the Federal Government would not standby to see that happen. Whether or not his struggle for relevance and advancement of the democracy of this great country registered him on our heroes’ list, the big question still remains: “Who killed Bola Ige?” Funsho Williams: A man under whose stewardship in 1974, according to Wikipedia, 70 per cent of the roads and bridges were built and who was determined to move from implementing policies to formulating them. He joined the race for Lagos State Governorship election but on July 26, 2006 his body was reportedly found in his home, tied up and stabbed. His killers were never found! Barnabas and Amaka Igwe: The then president of the Nigerian Bar Association in Onitsha and his wife, Amaka, an expectant mother at that, were brutally murdered on September 1, 2002. Dr. Ayo Daramola: A popular Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Ekiti State, who was murdered in cold blood on the August 14, 2006, three weeks after Funsho Williams was also murdered in Lagos. There were arrests and releases but no one has really been made to pay for this crime. There is also the ‘popular’ list on the internet with other names like Hajia Sa’adatu Rimi, January 2006; Jesse Aruku, June 30, 2006; Anthony Ozioko, July 27, 2005; Lateef Olaniyan, July 16, 2005; Patrick Origbu, June 3, 2005; Alhaji Alabi Olajokun, May 15, 2005; Sunny Atte, February 5, 2005; Philip Olorunnipa, March 7, 2004; Andrew Agom, March 3, 2004; Ajibola Olanipekun, June 20, 2003; Toni Dimegwu, April 29, 2003; Emma Onyewuchi, April 19, 2003; Ikenna Ibor, March 27, 2003; Anthony Nwudo, March 21, 2003; Rasak Ibrahim, March 20, 2003; Theodore Egwuatu, February, 2003 and Isiaka Mohammed, September 24, 2002. As of the time of writing this article, several members of the dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram have been caught alive at one time or the other, some of them high ranking leaders in the group. How is it that financial sponsors of the sect have not been identified and prosecuted by now? Could it possibly be that the strategies of the sect evade the intelligence of our security forces? Can they actually be better than the Nigerian Army and all the other security forces put together? Do we just enjoy seeing daily the bodies of our innocent children pile up, heaps

Sadly, this is a country where investigations run for years and eventually amount to nothing. They fade with time and we have learnt to live with these painful memories as though they were normal occurrences

B

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Silence of the damned!

Mohammed Abubakar, Inspector General of Police upon heaps? But this piece is not just about the dead. When dissecting Nigeria’s bad habit of sweeping important cases under the carpet one cannot make a meaningful analysis without mentioning the many cases of corruption involving public officers, most of which go unpunished. Usually, in the heat

of the moment, there is always the merry-goround of enforcement agencies and most times a number of arrests. In rare situations, the cases go to court, but the judgments which follow might as well pass for a get-outof-jail-free card. A man steals N27 billion and gets a fine of N750, 000.00 on pleading guilty to the crime. I imagine he pays a million naira

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instantly before leaving the court and asks the cashier to keep the remainder. Other times, the stories just die down as the heat of the press subsides and we never hear of them again. It has become a norm in Nigeria that whenever committees or organisations are set up or put in place to resolve certain issues, say for instance, management of fuel subsidy funds, you can almost always expect a scandal. It is as sure as oxygen that someone somewhere will misappropriate funds and will end up running from the Senate or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Another panel will most likely be set up to investigate the event, maybe a few arrests made but no closing to the case. Will this ever end? Can it ever end? More specifically, a whooping N500 billion was unaccounted for by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its officials refused to appear before the Senate. And if nothing is done about this – as might eventually become the case, this set of people will suddenly become above the law and the matter will be forgotten over time. A Swiss bank claims to have returned all of one of our late President’s loot – the late General Sanni Abacha. To peg a number to it, $700 million they claim has been returned to the government of Nigeria. While I admit ignorance and possible knowledge gap on the subject, I, like many other Nigerians, would like to know how all that money recovered was utilised. The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi recently cried foul over a missing $20 billion which NNPC failed to report from crude sales and the President’s almost immediate reaction was to suspend him. Given the fact that investigations (we hope) are still underway and the matter, as of the time of writing this article hasn’t been concluded, I do not take sides yet but I foresee this matter taking a distracting turn and eventually being swept under the carpet with no culprits persecuted. When the revolution started in Egypt not too long ago, I watched with keen interest and followed the news daily to see if this was going to be the solution to their problems. I soon lost hope as I noticed it was heading towards a civil war. But I have often wondered, what really is expected of a people oppressed by their corrupt leaders from time immemorial? What is expected of the less privileged in a rich but corrupt society who constantly endure injustice and death from the hands of those meant to lead them to light? In Nigeria, we have come to accept these corrupt practices as the norm and I am afraid that by the time this generation gives way for the next, there may be no such thing as ‘innocence’ any more. We may have been condemned to silence for life. To take these ill treatments with a tough skin and shake them off as normal occurrences, to learn to live without basic amenities and accept insecurity. To watch the news with keen interest for the drama which unfolds daily from the government houses only for the amusement of our bored minds and availability of tales to pass on to our children. It beats my imagination though, when we stay silent, do we do this for the presence of fear or from the absence of hope? It really beats me! • Otoba lives at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos. emekaotoba@yahoo.com 0806 705 4465


Fri 28 March 2014