TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Vol. 29, No. 12,543
Speaker alleges plot to impeach Gov Amaechi From Kelvin Ebiri, Ann Godwin (Port Harcourt), Adamu Abuh and Terhemba Daka (Abuja) ITH the Speaker of the W Rivers State House of Assembly, Otelemaba Amachree, warning yesterday of a plot by the Felix Obuah-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to impeach Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, the crisis in the state is set to take a turn for the worse. The alarm was raised in a statement signed by the speaker yesterday. Accord-
• Reps wade into Jonathan, gov feud • Say political witch-hunt dangerous to democracy • Probe grounding of aircraft • Why plane was registered in U.S., by Rivers ing to the speaker, a fake mace has been smuggled into the state to enable five members of the house who belong to Nyeson Wike’s faction hold an emergency session and impeach the governor. The statement reads in part:
“We have been reliably informed that a fake mace has been smuggled into the state to enable FIVE members of the house hold an emergency session even when the house adjourned sine die on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. “The Abuja plan on ground
is to falsely impeach the Rt. Hon. Speaker and the Executive Governor of Rivers State Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and create confusion through varied responses, which they hope will make the state ungovernable and provide them with some
kind of warped basis to introduce Emergency Rule in Rivers State.” The statement further stated that there were strong indications that some persons had been detailed exclusively to create systemic collapse of security in the state thereby putting lives and property in danger. “This is undemocratic , unacceptable and a complete violation of the mandate that the good people of Rivers State have vested on us. We call on the good people of Rivers State to remain calm, watchful and law-abid-
ing as the scenario unfolds.” And outraged at the alleged persistent rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and Amaechi, the House of Representatives yesterday began moves to broker truce between them. Amaechi is alleged to be interested in the Presidency in the 2015 polls. This has allegedly drawn the ire of Jonathan who is alleged to be interested in seeking re-election in 2015. This clash of interests has allegedly culminated in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
EU to help Nigeria defeat terrorism ROM the European FportUnion (EU) came supfor Nigeria’s anti-ter-
Director-General, State Security Service (SSS), Ita Ekpeyoung (left); Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar; Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba; Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh and Chief of Army Staff (CAS), Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, during the presentation of the report on Baga killing to President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House, Abuja… yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA
ror campaign yesterday. The Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the EU to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. David MacRae, expressed the support at a media luncheon hosted by the commission in Abuja. MacRae, however, said that terrorism should be tackled within the ambit of the rule of law. He commended the Federal Government for its recent initiatives in addressing the issue. “We welcome recent steps taken by government in recent weeks towards addressing insecurity in parts of the north, including the creation of two committees with the mandate to take a holistic look on radicalisation and factors that fuel it. .
On May Day, labour leaders seek better welfare S Nigerian workers join A their counterparts in other parts of the world to celebrate May Day today, they have been asked to demand improved welfare. Labour leaders preparing for the celebration told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that Nigerians would no longer tolerate any unpopular policy of the government. The National President, Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nige-
ria (RATTAWU), Mr. Yemisi Bamgbose, said that labour had curtailed the excesses of the ruling class. He said that Nigerians had every reason to celebrate, in spite of endless exploitation of national resources by politicians. “Nigerian workers have kept hope alive by their selfless service, despite poor remuneration.
“For remaining intact in spite of daunting realities and looking at what is happening to workers globally calls for celebration,” Bamgbose said. The National President, the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) Staff Union, Mr. Elias Kazzah said that many Nigerians were jobless. “Many qualified Nigerians
are without jobs, so, what are we celebrating, jobless youths or what? “Those, who have jobs have every reason to celebrate,” Kazzah said. The National President, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Mrs. Ladi Iliya said that no matter the challenge, workers must keep hope alive
“Today, we remember those that were there before us, we must strive to uphold what they fought for. This is the only celebration that unites us globally,’’ she said. The theme for this year’s May Day is, “100 years of Nationhood, Challenges of National Development’’. Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, is a celebration of the international labour
FIFA’s honorary president, Havelange, resigns over bribes - Page 72
and left-wing movements. It is commonly celebrated with a match past by workers and their labour unions in Nigeria and most parts of the world yearly on May 1. Meanwhile, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State says Nigerian workers are “veritable soldiers” in the quest for the socio-economic transformation of the country. The governor’s view was expressed yesterday in Ilorin in a statement issued by his CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
On May Day, labour leaders seek better welfare CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, ahead of today’s Labour Day celebration. While praising the workers, the governor noted that no society desirous of economic development could toy with the welfare of its force. labour
‘’Historically, the Nigerian worker has over the years of our national history experienced a lot of travails but patriotically and largely remained committed and vital to national economic development,’’ the statement quoted Ahmed as saying. Ahmed urged stakeholders in the labour sector to use
the occasion of the Labour Day to reflect critically on the travails of Nigerian workers in order to guarantee them a better future. The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to the promotion of workers’ welfare, noting that training and retraining of workers would be regular. He said his administration
had been implementing a small and medium scale entrepreneurship loan scheme in order to widen the net of employment generation opportunities in the state. Ahmed stated that this was in fulfillment of his administration’s cardinal principle of shared prosperity which places emphasis on capacity building of the people.
Chairman, Diamond Bank, Nnameka Alfred Achebe (left); Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Alex Otti and a director of the bank, Christopher Low, during the bank’s 22nd yearly general meeting in Lagos… yesterday.
Why plane was registered in U.S., by Rivers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Presidency attempting to oust Amaechi as chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, and the grounding of a Rivers State-owned aircraft by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) at the weekend. Besides, the Rivers State government yesterday insisted on its ownership of the controversial Bombardier BD 700 Global Express jet, stressing that it was registered as a United States (U.S.) aircraft “ to preserve value, provide ease of operation and the sourcing of available pilots.” Yesterday, a member of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ahmed Idris (PDP, Wase, Plateau), who raised the issue of the rift between Jonathan and Amaechi under matters of urgent national importance, claimed that there were political undertones in Amaechi’s plight. The lawmaker insinuated that the Presidency had made impunity, lawlessness and political vendetta the order of the day. Pleading for the intervention of the House presided over by Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, he stated thus: “ I am concerned that this incident raises serious issues as to the abuse of power by the Executive and the use of state machinery to witch-hunt perceived political opponents which is extremely dangerous and detrimental to any democracy and tends towards dictatorship and draconian tendencies typical of the military era.” Without any form of objection from the members, the Speaker mandated the House Committee on Justice and Aviation to, as a matter of urgency, extensively investigate the justification and circumstances surrounding the grounding of the aircraft and report back to the House within two weeks. The House’s intervention came against the backdrop of the decision by the newly-inaugurated state executive council of the state People’s Democratic Party
(PDP) led by Felix Obuah giving Amaechi a 48-hour ultimatum to explain the real ownership of the state’s aircraft that was grounded last week or face a disciplinary action. This ultimatum came despite explanations from the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, that all the documents of the aircraft were in place and that the state had applied formally to the minister of aviation for the import licence. The House of Representatives is also set to partner stakeholders in the environment to develop a common agenda for the sector’s sustainability. The parliament said the agenda was to help promote an effective and co-ordinated environmental policy that would tackle pollution and degradation as well as other issues related to the environment. The Chairman of the House Panel on Environment, Uche Ekwunife who made the disclosure in Abuja yesterday, said “in order to achieve this, the committee will convoke a national conference on environment between May 20 and 21, 2013.” She said the House was concerned about the level of devastation and trauma environmental problems cause the people of Nigeria and the economy, adding that the condition of the environment was often a reflection of the state of the well-being of a nation and its people. According to Ekwunife, decisions concerning the environment often focus on the role of government, legislation and law enforcement but “ protecting the environment, however, is the responsibility of all stakeholders, including industry, indigenous groups, environmental groups, the general population and the media.” The chairman noted that serious environmental pollution
and degradation in the Niger Delta had dislocated the way of life and livelihood of numerous communities. The House has also ordered an investigation into delays usually associated with accessing funds of dead persons by their named beneficiaries. Specifically, the joint committee on Judiciary and Justice of the Chamber was given the mandate to convene a stakeholders’ meeting with a view to finding a way out of the lingering problem and report back to the House within two weeks. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun who sponsored a motion on the need to stop the pains named beneficiaries of such funds usually go through in efforts at accessing them, said that it was time Nigerians were saved from the harrowing experiences. According to him, while the process of obtaining letters of administration by such bereaved families at probate divisions of state and federal high courts is very cumbersome and corruption-ridden, banks which are custodians of the funds often use “both official and unofficial hurdles to frustrate beneficiaries.” The lawmaker stated that unofficial statistics put the figures of such unaccessed funds at between N400 billion and N1 trillion with the banks, and according to him, obtaining a single letter of administration usually lasts over a year. Besides, the House mandated its Committee on Health to investigate the high maternal and child mortality rate in the country and make recommendations on how to improve maternal health and safety in the country. Adopting a motion brought by Daniel Effiong Akpan, the House lamented that despite the huge funds appropriated for the health sector in the yearly budget, the primary health care system in the country was still poor as the majority of women were un-
able to afford access to quality health services. The reaction of the Rivers State’s government came on the heels of the state chapter of the PDP’s threat to sanction Amaechi by today if no explanation is given about the ownership of the aircraft. Reacting to statements attributed to officials of different agencies in the aviation sector on the status of the aircraft, Semenitari said that the plane belonged to the state. “Aircraft N 566 RS arrived in Nigeria and has been operating since October 2012. It was bought by the Rivers State Government and registered as a U.S. aircraft in the first instance, to preserve value and provide ease of operation and sourcing of available pilots. To qualify for N-registration, an operator must be a U.S. citizen hence the Rivers State government entered into a trust with Bank of Utah Inc, a bank which specialises in aircraft trust,” Semenitari said. According to her, the relationship between the state government and Bank of Utah is that of a trustor and trustee and that an N-registered aircraft enjoys the privileges of a U.S. citizen and that trust agreement for the purpose of registration is common in the aviation industry. The commissioner stated that there were other aircraft owners in Nigeria with N-registered aircraft. This practice, according to her, was because of the ease of movement that N-registered aircraft are privileged to enjoy. She therefore, wondered why the Rivers State government had been singled out for criticism. She faulted the aviation authorities’ claim that the aircraft was given clearance to travel Accra-Port Harcourt-Accra whereas it was Port Harcourt-Accra-Port Harcourt. She also explained that the aircraft was being operated through a local operator, Caverton Helicopters, pending an approval of importation licence by the Minister of Aviation.
NEWS | 3
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
News Senate blames alleged misuse of N1.5tr on N’Assembly’s weakness •To probe disbursements of special funds accounts From Bridget Chiedu Onochie and Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja N a rare case of self-indictIblamed ment, the Senate yesterday the National Assembly over the alleged misuse of N1.51 trillion Special Funds Accounts by the Executive since they were established in 2002, saying the lawmakers failed in their oversight responsibility to monitor the accounts efficiently. And to ascertain the level of impropriety of the Executive in the issue, the Senate directed its Public Accounts Committee to further investigate disbursement of loans and payments from the accounts and report
back within four weeks. It also upheld the recommendation that a law be passed to regulate the operations of the Special Funds Accounts. The three Special Funds Accounts are the Stabilisation Account; Ecology Account and the Natural Resources Account. The Upper House took the decision while adopting the report of the Senator Ahmed Lawan-led Public Accounts Committee which brought out incidents of alleged misuse of the Special Funds Accounts. Debate on the revelations contained in the report generated serious outcry from lawmak-
ers, who blamed the situation not only on the inability of relevant committees to conduct efficient oversights on the accounts but also on lack of ability to scrutinise the country’s revenue base at the presentation of annual budgets. Even the Senate President, David Mark attested to the evidence of complacency on the part of National Assembly and pointed out that it was a wakeup call on the legislators. He said: “The problem of the fund is that aside lack of guidelines, we have also, through committees be held responsible for not taken pains to oversight how the funds are utilised. That is truly an indict-
ment on the National Assembly; it is a wake-up call on National Assembly to do its work properly. “If we have been following the funds since 2002, it would have been addressed earlier. It is right to look at these ones to see how the disbursements relate to areas they were disbursed. In all, we shared in the blame in these disbursements. “We urged the committees to go back and look at those ones that were not misapplied and find out who has paid back loans and those that have not paid back. Also, for all intense and purposes, those who have taken loans from it should be asked to pay back.
“This report has nothing to do with political parties and our contributions showed that all of us are displeased with what happened. It is in the national interest that this kind of thing is not allowed to continue. We need to go by the draft bill which was proposed to spell out how the funds should be disbursed”, Mark said. Speaking in the same vein, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said it was not about political party in power but a share case of bad governance. According to him, no state from the South East benefited from the loan. He suggested that the case be referred to
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as a way of curtailing impunity in misappropriation of public funds. Senate Leader, Victor NdomaEgba, blamed the situation on too much discretion by the President. He maintained that the National Assembly had failed the nation by not monitoring the accounts. “We have failed. How come we allowed such huge sums to be spent without guidelines? Perhaps, we need to invite our former colleagues who headed committees that were supposed to oversight the accounts.
‘Gains of Lagos anti-terrorism bill’ By Kamal Tayo Oropo HE Lagos State Government T yesterday said the AntiTerrorism Bill when passed
Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (middle); Deputy Governor, Alhaji Alli Olanusi (sixth right); the Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Samuel Adesina (fourth right) at the inauguration of the Ultra-Modern Mechanic Village and Spare Parts Market in Akure … yesterday.
UPN pays N1m to INEC for registration
OISED to play a leadership P role in the country, a political association, the Unity Party of
Nigeria (UPN), said yesterday that it had paid the N1 million non-refundable fee to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC ) to qualify for registration. The acting National Secretary of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Sokoto, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. Sokoto said that the amount was paid on Monday April 29 vide an Ecobank cheque No: 130905, dated 02-04-2013. ``I confirm to you that we (UPN) paid the N1 million nonrefundable registration fee to INEC yesterday (April 29). ``And INEC had acknowledged receipt of same the same day,’’ he explained. A letter conveying the payment to INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, dated April 29, was made available to NAN in Abuja. The letter was entitled ``Re: Instruction to Register A
Political Party: Request for Information/Modalities’’. It read in part thus: ``We write to acknowledge receipt of political party (hereinafter referred to as Unity Party of Nigeria) registration form from Mr. Ben
Nwaokenya Esq (acting National Legal Adviser) a fortnight ago. ``We have gone through the requirements for the party (hereinafter referred to as Unity Party of Nigeria) registration
that come along with the form and we wish to present our One Million Naira (N1,000,000.00) only registration fee for your commission. ``Other requirements will be met soonest.’’
Dr Fredrick Fasehun, the acting national chairman of the group, also told NAN on phone that they stood on the sociopolitical and economic legacies of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Court transfers suit against Russians to another judge FEDERAL High Court in A Lagos yesterday transferred the case involving 15 Russian
sailors charged with unlawful importation of arms to Nigeria to another judge. The defendants include: Zhelyazkov Andrey, Savchenko Sergel, Chichkanov Vasily, Varlygin Igor, Komilov Alexander, Lopatin Alexey and Baranovskly Nikolay. Others are: Mishin Pavel, Llia Shubov, Dimitry Bannyrh, Alexander Tsarikov, Kononov Sergel, Korotchenko Andrey, Vorobev Mikhail, and Stepan Oleksiuk. Justice Okechukwu Okeke
told parties in the suit that the case had been re-assigned to a brother judge, Justice James Tsoho, for trial. Okeke said that the transfer was due to the fact that he might not be able to conclude the case by May 18, 2013 when he was due to retire. ``This case has been transferred to my brother judge, James Tsoho for trial. ``My retirement is at hand and I may not be able to dispense with this case before I bow out of the bench. ``My last court sitting will be on May 17 and so, it is clear that the time frame is quite short,’’
Okeke said. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the case will begin ``de novo’’ afresh before the new judge. Earlier, the Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Olufumilayo Fatunde, told the court that not all the 15 Russians were apprehended on board the vessel. She told the court that those arrested in the vessel would be sorted out and differentiated from others before the next judge, because not all of them will be prosecuted. According to NAN, the defendants are charged together with their vessel, MV Myre
Seadiver, on four-counts bordering on unlawful importation of firearms as well as nondeclaration of the content of the vessel. They, however, all pleaded not guilty to the charges. Okeke had released the defendants on bail to the Russian Ambassador in Nigeria, while the vessel was admitted to bail in a bond of $500,000 to be obtained from First Bank Plc. At their arraignment, the prosecutor, Mr. Ernest Ezebilo told the court that the defendants were arrested by naval officers on October 18, 2012, in Lagos State.
into law would check the wave of kidnapping in the state. The Special Adviser on Political and Legislative Matters to the Governor, Muslim Folami sad this at a ministerial press briefing to herald the sixth anniversary of Governor Babatunde Fashola administration. He said the passage of the bill currently in its second reading in the House of Assembly, would recommend appropriate sanctions that would prevent people from engaging in the illegal act. Folami, however, blamed the rising cases of kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country on economic downturn and lack of jobs, calling on the Federal Government to address the problem. He said the trend of kidnapping was not peculiar to Lagos but was fast spreading across the country, expressing optimism that the bill when passed into law would address the scourge.
Abia Assembly passes two amendment bills HE Abia State House of T Assembly yesterday passed the bill to amend the State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission Law. The bill, to be cited as HAB Amended Law 44, went through the third reading and would provide legal backing to the commission to fund the Abia State Road Maintenance Agency. Similarly, the assembly passed the bill on the Abia State Integrated Passengers Manifest Scheme Amendment Law 1, 2013, marked HAB 45. It seeks to increase the state’s internally generated revenue. The sponsor of the two bills, Mr. Chidiebere Nwoke (PDPUmuahia East) explained that the passengers manifest scheme would empower the agency to generate revenue for accident victims.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
NAFDAC urges use of SMS to detect fake drugs
Obi, Umeh APGA groups trade words in court
From Joseph Wantu, Makurdi
From Chuks Collins, Awka
OVERNMENT’S war AUTION and maturity deG against fake and sub- Cserted the angry crowd of standard drugs would be factional supporters of the All
more fruitful if residents utilise the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) through the Short Message Service (SMS) to given codes at the point of purchase, the Director-General of the National Agency Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, has said. Orhii, who raised alarm over the flourishing fake drugs and products in Benue State, which have led to the death of four people in recent time, told a stakeholders’ sensitisation and enlightenment campaign organised by NAFDAC in Gboko that customers should always insist on verifying through SMS to such codes as 38353 or 20543, among others. “Apart from this, always keep inventory of regulated products to prevent infiltration with counterfeit or substandard products,” he said. “Report all unpleasant side effects of regulated products to the nearest NAFDAC office, and check for manufacture date, expiry date, batch number, name and full address of the manufacturer of regulated product before purchase.” Orhii enjoined traditional rulers to assist in monitoring their circulation, hinting that the rural areas were also prone to the menace. He disclosed that he has discussed with the chairmen of the 774 local councils in the country to establish NAFDAC office in their respective councils in order to nip the crisis in the
Group extols Balewa at leadership lecture From Ali Garba, Bauchi ITH a view to improving W the leadership capacities of present-day and future administrators in the country, a group, the Bauchi State Progressive Forum, is showcasing the qualities of Nigeria’s late Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Speaking yesterday in Bauchi at a public lecture organised by the forum, the Acting Secretary of Bauchi State Shariah Commission, Alhaji Bala Ahmad, said that Balewa’s simplicity and quality leadership, as well as his legacies and vision remained the foundation stone for the country’s unity and cohesion. According to Ahmad, the quest for credible leadership always reminds one of Balewa as a gentleman of distinction, whose courage and determination in the pursuit of his mission for better Nigeria have left a golden footprint in the sand of time. Chairman of the forum, Alhaji Kabir Saliu, said the lecture (first in its series) on the sterling qualities of the late Prime Minister as a leader, not a ruler, was for societal re-orientation and to change the behaviour of the youths for a better society. Such disposition would engender peace and harmony among the divers ethnic groups and religions in the country.
Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) yesterday, as they exchanged bitter and acrimonious words, nearly fighting, within the premises of the Federal High Court in Awka. It took the mercies of heaven, which let down a heavy downpour that dispersed the camps of Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and the party’s embattled national chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, immediately the court adjourned proceedings. They had gathered for the suit brought by a member of the party challenging its re-
• I am ready to take everybody back, says Umeh cent national convention in Awka and the Anambra State congress, which produced the Chief Maxi Okwu-led national executive and Chief Egwuoyibe Okoye-led Anambra State executive committee. But the surging supporters, who thronged the court, broke into two distinct factions, one for Governor Obi and the other for Umeh, the moment Justice M.T. Salihu adjourned proceedings. Incidentally, the controversy over who was the properly briefed legal counsel of APGA in the suit, which stalled the hearing last week, resurfaced at yesterday’s proceedings,
forcing the court to adjourn the matter again to May 15 in further attempt to see the issue sorted out internally. A team of lawyers, including Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), Ifeanyi Ezekwelu and Kingsley Awuka, had announced their appearances on behalf of APGA at the last sitting and refused to concede to the other as the proper counsel. The court had to adjourn hearing on the suit and advised the lawyers to resolve who among them was the party’s proper legal counsel in the matter. Though Ikpeazu was not in court yesterday, a lawyer
from his chambers, Sylvester Odili, and Awuka again clashed, each claiming to be the proper representative of APGA. And while the court was yet to resolve the issue, the legal counsel to Okwu and Okoye, Oba Maduabuchi, brought an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit. He urged the court to determine his application before taking any further step on the suit. While the application was pending, Umeh and Shinkafi, through their lawyer, Chief P.I. Ikwueto, brought another applica-
tion urging the court to join them in the suit, arguing that they were necessary parties. However, Justice Salihu, after legal fireworks that lasted over two hours between the lawyers, adjourned to May 15 to determine APGA’s actual legal counsel in the suit and to hear Umeh and Shinkafi’s application seeking to be joined as necessary parties. Meanwhile, Umeh told reporters at the court premises shortly after the adjournment that so long as the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Enugu, subsisted, he remained the party’s national chairman and was ready to welcome those who opposed him.
UNIC/MRA’s seminar on journalists’ safety holds on Friday HIS Friday, at the ConferT ence Hall of the United Nations (UN) Information
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Femi Olugbile (left); Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina; Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Aderemi Ibirogba, during the 2013 ministerial press briefing to commemorate the second year, second term of the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola at Alausa, Ikeja, … yesterday.
EFCC to prosecute persons in alleged N1.4b subsidy scam From Abosede Musari, Abuja HE three persons implicatT ed in the alleged N1.4 billion fuel subsidy scam, Helyn Aninye, Chizobam Ben-Okafor and Pon-Specialised Services Limited, can now be prosecuted as the court yesterday threw away their application for dismissal of prosecution. They had asked the court to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arraigning them for fraud, forgery and conspiracy to obtain the sum of N1.4 billion from the Federal Government of Nigeria by false pretence as subsidy under the Petroleum Support Fund.
However, Justice Olusumbo Goodluck of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Jabi, Abuja, struck out their application, thereby giving the EFCC the go-ahead to prosecute the suspects. According to a statement from the commission, Justice Goodluck ruled that “at this stage, there is no requirement to consider facts before the court, what is needed is to determine if a prima facie case against the accused persons is established.” She added: “I am of the view that the proof of evidence suggests elements of forgery and obtaining by false pretences and I therefore over-
rule the objection of the accused persons and hereby grant leave to prosecution to prefer charge against them.” The accused persons were said to have “on or about 3rd day of March 2011 at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain money under false pretence from the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Petroleum Support Fund.” The offence, according to the charge sheet, is contrary to Section 8 (a) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No.14 of 2006.
They were to be arraigned on November 26, 2012 but that was scuttled as their counsel, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), challenged the application of the prosecution seeking the leave of the court to prefer charges against the accused persons. He argued that the proof of evidence did not disclose any offence against the suspects and urged the court to refuse the application. But the prosecution counsel, Steve Odiase, told the court that the proof of evidence supports the 18-count information. The case was adjourned to May 30 for arraignment, and June 11 and 12 for trial.
Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and Media Rights Agenda (MRA) will host a joint seminar on the safety of journalists to mark the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD). According to a statement by the MRA Programme Manager, Ayode Longe, the theme of the seminar, “Securing the Safety of Journalists,” aligns with the global theme for this year’s WPFD, which is “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media.” The seminar focuses on the global issue of safety of journalists, combating impunity in crimes against freedom of expression, and securing a free and open Internet as precondition for safety online, the statement noted. It will also create awareness among relevant stakeholders about the UN action plan on the safety of journalists, as well as formulate a strategy to ensure the implementation of the plan in the Nigerian context. Key speakers will include the Force Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Frank Mba, who will speak on “The Role of the Nigeria Police in Ensuring the Safety of Journalists”, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr. Femi Adesina, who will speak on “Building Partnerships between the Media and Law Enforcement Agencies to Ensure the Safety of Journalists,” and renowned ICT and social media expert and Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, who will speak on “Strategies for Securing the Safety of Journalists Online.”
Kwara PDP tackles ACN, others over criticism of govt, gov’s aide denies report From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin HE People’s Democratic T Party (PDP) in Kwara State has charged opposition parties to offer credible alternatives to government programmes and shun petty politicking. In a statement issued in Ilorin by its Secretary, Prince Yemi Afolayan, the party said the opposition has elevated empty criticism of
government policies and officials to an art in a futile attempt to gain relevance in Kwara politics. The PDP, which accused the ACN and other rival parties in the state of trying to create disenchantment in the populace through falsehood, said only through credible opposition can the current democratic experience in the country be strengthened for the sake of
the people. Meanwhile, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Dr. Muideen Akorede, has reacted to a publication in The Guardian of April 29, 2013 titled ‘Kwara PDP, ACN torn apart by crises’ in which he was quoted to have denied knowledge of a “purported crisis” in the PDP and referred the reporter to party
officials. In a statement, he said: “Apart from the fact that there is no truth in reports of a crisis in Kwara PDP, I wish to state categorically that at no time did I speak to Mr. Abiodun Fagbemi or any other representative of Guardian Newspapers Limited about an alleged crisis in Kwara PDP. “As a member of a PDP administration, I could not
have reacted to unfounded claims of a crisis in the party with the levity wrongfully attributed to me. At any rate, Kwara PDP remains a strong and cohesive party devoid of any internal wrangling as portrayed in the story.” He added: “Under the leadership of our leader, Senator Bukola Saraki, PDP continues to soar as demonstrated by the recent decamping of more than 2,500 members of the ACN to PDP.”
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Death toll in Bama attacks hits 17
From: Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt, Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri and Terhemba Daka, Abuja
EATH toll in last D Thursday’s attacks on Bama Divisional Police Station and market in Borno State by Boko Haram gunmen has risen to 17 people, including 10 suspected terrorists and seven security personnel from the military Joint Task Force (JTF) and the Police, the Commander of 202 Armoured Brigade, Bama, Lt.Col. A.G Laka, has disclosed. Bama is 78 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, the state capital. Lt.-Col. Laka spoke on Monday in Bama Town while briefing Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State and the Shehu of Bama, Alhaji Kyari Umar Ibrahim ElKanemi. Laka said the Bama carnage started when six gunmen opened fire on the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) while he was buying a bottle of water in a shop on the MaiduguriBama road, before the armed hoodlums attacked the police station, which triggered the torching of shops, houses and market stalls for three hours. In another forum, however, the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, said it is preposterous for people to blame the Boko
• Residents hide terrorists, says JTF • Reps panel seeks reform of security, justice sectors • Don’t blame Boko Haram for North’s dislike of Jonathan, says Kukah Haram insurgency on the North’s dislike for President Goodluck Jonathan. Kukah argued that the Boko Haram insurgency should not be viewed from the narrow prism of religion but from the broader perspective that Nigerians have failed to appreciate and understand one another since the British conquest and amalgamation of the country. Laka continued: “The armed hoodlums started firing spo-
radically at innocent people, including the traders in their shops. They marched to the police station to attack it but officers on duty repelled them, after three policemen were killed along with four of our members slain. The total number of casualties in Thursday’s Boko Haram multiple attacks has risen to 17, including seven uniform men lost their lives. This figure also included 10 of the Boko Haram terrorists killed
in the crossfire that lasted for over four hours in the town.” He told the governor that some of the residents are, however, not helping matters because they allegedly hide the armed terrorists in their “houses and shops” to launch attacks and bombings on soldiers and policemen patrolling the town. Appalled by the level of destruction, Governor Shettima directed the release and distribution of 180 met-
ric tons of food items. Apparently worried by the alleged killing of 185 persons in Baga, Borno State, the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights yesterday called for an urgent reform of the security and justice sectors of the country. Speaking at the opening of a stakeholders’ retreat in Abuja yesterday, Chairman of the Committee, Beni Lar, decried the activities of security agencies, just as she expressed concern that in all the crisis-ridden areas of the country, nobody has been brought to book. She particularly made reference to the crisis-ridden Plateau State where nobody
Gombe CJ warns judges against corruption From Ali Garba, Bauchi HE Chief Judge of Gombe State, Justice Hakila Y. Heman, has cautioned the 10 newly sworn-in Area Court judges and four Magistrate’s Court judges to avoid the temptation of dipping hands into the finances of their various courts. The judges, along with two Area Court members, who were also sworn-in yesterday, were warned never to act as revenue officers while carrying out their judicial functions. Speaking after the swearingin ceremony at the Gombe State High Court, Justice Heman implored them to shun all corrupt practices that will tarnish their image as judicial officers in the temple of justice, who are charged with the very delicate duty of administering justice to people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.
ICPC arraigns two over alleged N57m oil scam
Managing Director FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc, Peter Eshikena (left); the Chairman, Jacobs Ajekigbe; Director, Evelyn Oputu and Chief Operating Officer, Freek Rijna, at the company’s yearly general meeting held in Lagos… yesterday PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU
has been found wanting and sentenced in accordance with the rule of law. “It is sad to note that in an attempt to contain the insurgency, the security forces have become violators of the ‘right to life’ of citizens,” she noted. But the lawmaker also called for a reversal of the development with the application of justice to perpetrators of unlawful killings in the country. “We can begin changing this trend by providing better training for the security forces so that they improve their collaboration with communities to pursue the targeted criminals,” she said. Kukah, who spoke on the theme: “Building a lasting legacy”, at the Converge Rewire Port Harcourt conference organised by the Converge Team headed by Apola Diepriye Opuda, Dabo Owen Etela in Port Harcourt yesterday, regretted that since Nigeria’s independence, it has continued to lack leaders who put the county before themselves and worst still, have failed to build a nation of cohesive people. He cautioned that if nothing was done urgently to create a national myth that will make people believe in the country, 20 years from now, Nigerians will discover that they have a country without citizens. He observed that the country is in a state of retrogression because of government’s inefficiency and failure to provide the basic necessities for the citizens. These factors, he stressed, are responsible for the massive corruption raving the country and its electoral violence since people now assume that political position is an avenue for sectional and personal aggrandisement.
Jail corrupt persons without fine option, says judge From Adamu Abuh, Abuja O rid the polity of the menace of corruption, anybody found wanting should be sent to jail without any option of fine, according to Justice Ibrahim Auta. Speaking at a one-day public hearing on “The Administration of Criminal Justice Bill 2013” organised by the House Committee on Justice, Auta noted that the measure was desirable if the quest for rule of law and the dispensation of justice in Nigeria is to be attained. Auta, who is the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja,
argued: “When penalties are stiffened, the incidence of commission naturally comes down but when they are relaxed, the opposite is the case. Corruption-related offences should not have any option of fine. “Most of us still remember the hue and cry that greeted the discretion a judge recently exercised in favour of imposing a fine of N750, 000.00 on a culprit who had allegedly stolen money running into billions. To most Nigerians, that sounded like a slap on the wrist; but if there was no option of fine, at least seeing the offender cooling off in
prison would be somewhat psychologically therapeutic.” Blaming corruption for the snail’s speed administration of criminal justice in the country, he warned that if the ugly trend was not checked, the image of the judiciary would be battered. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, reiterated the need to reform the criminal justice administration system in the country in the interest of the citizenry. Underlining the need for the reformation, he said there couldn’t be growth without a sound economy and a solid
foundation of good laws that can curb anti-social behaviour and other disruptive tendencies. He noted: “It is a great disservice to our country when our criminal justice system is perceived as inefficient and incapable of punishing wrongdoing. It is against this background that I welcome the proposal to enact a modern legislation as this for the reformation of our criminal procedure system. “It is gratifying that this Bill makes several provisions for addressing the bottlenecks that currently afflict our criminal justice system. These provi-
sions will be highlighted in the course of your deliberations today.” Expressing the readiness of the House to pass the Bill into law, he noted: “There is no gainsaying that our criminal procedure has remained largely old and unresponsive to the demands of the populace for equity, substantial justice and human rights. Indeed, the system of administration of justice in this country has become the Achilles’ heel of the democratic system and a disincentive to economic development, commerce and free-flow of investment.
NUPENG opposes planned pipeline protection agency
From Abosede Musari, Abuja WO suspected oil thieves were yesterday arraigned in a Port Harcourt court for alleged N57 million oil scam. The Independent Corrupt and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) took the duo of Aso Adasa Morrisson and Frank Biobarakuma before a Rivers State High Court over their complicity in alleged N57million fraud. A statement from the Commission read that the accused persons are facing a 17 count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy on alleged fraud against a South Korean businessman Mr. Jung Yongmin.
From Iyabo Lawal (Ibadan) and Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri) HE Nigeria Union of T Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) yesterday described the proposed Pipeline Protection Agency by the Federal Government as another waste of scarce resources and manpower. It instead urged the Federal Government to empower security outfits to curb activities of the vandals. The National Vice Chairman of Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of NUPENG, Salimonu Oladiti, while speaking with journalists shortly after he delivered a lecture commemo-
rating 2013 Workers’ Day organised by Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council in Ibadan, accused the Federal Government of insincerity in its handling of the issues surrounding pipeline vandalism. In his words: “What is the duty of existing security outfits who are being paid by the taxpayers? Why wait until the international community accuse Nigeria of negligence over the loss of 160,000 barrels of crude oil daily before thinking of a Pipeline Protection Agency? “Our union is not against it but it is of no use when existing agencies like the Police and Civil Defence Corps can be
empowered to do the job perfectly if well funded.” Oladiti, who is also the chairman of PDT Ibadan depot, reiterated the union’s commitment to zero-tolerance on vandalism and disclosed that the union has its own watchdog that monitors its members’ activities. Meanwhile, officials of the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Owerri Zonal office, yesterday sealed about eight fuel stations located in various areas of Owerri metropolis for their alleged involvement in sharp practices, ranging from under-dispensing, gross under-measuring and closing their premises
on citing the DPR officials who are on routine monitoring to other vices in the sale of PMS products. Zonal Operations Controller, Mr. Innocent Ndubuka Akpamgbo, leading the Head, Downstream, Mr. Edwin Ondoma, an engineer; Team Leader, Diegbegha Jackson Douzi, among others, said the stations will remain shut until they remedy the problems identified in them and are subsequently re-certified. The affected stations are located in Okigwe, Orji, Egbu and Onitsha Road in Owerri. Akpamgbo regretted that the filling stations were not able to fix their meters when the ceramic cans were used to
measure the meter age. He stated that since two weeks he assumed duties in the zone comprising Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia, he had been busy identifying areas to improve standards and regulations. He stressed that the vision/mission statements and core values launched by the boss of the directorate, Mr. Austin Olorunsola, on April 8, would be upheld to the letter. According to him, the PMS sold at N97, while kerosene should also be dispensed in the regulated price, adding that the marketers should apply all specified petroleum products according to their availability.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
6 | NEWS
EFCC insists on probe of Hembe, Azubogu over estacode scam From Abosede Musari, Abuja HE Economic and Financial T Crimes Commission (EFCC) has insisted that members of the House of Representatives, Herman Hembe and Chris Azubogu must answer for the $4,095 estacode scam in which they were said to have been implicated in 2012. The Commission told a Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja presided over by Justice Peter Kekemeke yesterday, to disregard the no-case submission by the lawmakers. The EFCC insisted that the federal lawmakers have a case to answer in the $4,095 estacode scam. EFCC counsel, Chile Okoroma at the resumed hearing yesterday observed that the arguments canvassed by the defence counsel in support of
their applications are immaterial at this point, stressing that the fundamental issue remains that a prima facie case has been established against the defendants to warrant explanation from them before the court. He said from available indications, the accused were deceptive which amounts to dishonesty and punishable under the relevant laws. He therefore urged the court to refuse the application. Earlier, counsel to the accused persons, J.S Okutepa (SAN) and Onyenchi Ikpeazu (SAN) while moving their separate motions for no-case submission contended that estacode is money meant for a public servant who travels overseas. They said once the money is approved and the officer embarks on the journey, the money becomes his.
Commission decries culture of silence on rape cases HE National Human Rights T Commission yesterday blamed the culture of silence among rape victims on the shoddy handling of rape cases by the police in the country. The commission’s Chairman, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said victims often found it difficult to report cases of rape because the criminal justice system does not treat such cases with the respect they deserve. ``The criminal justice system, police, the courts, the lawyers don’t know how to treat such people with dignity and respect, so that people can reconstitute their dignity. ``And nobody who has been through rape wants to go through being raped again in court through cross examina-
tion that is offensive, through people casting aspersion on your integrity, your morality, your backgrounds. ``And I think when you consider all of that, what it is that most people who have contact with the crime of rape don’t want is to be tried in the court systems. They would rather result to vigilante mechanisms or through negotiation, through the family system.” He said that the issue of violence particularly against women, is on the increase due to the culture of impunity, adding that criminals are not often punished accordingly. Odinkalu said women have been treated as second-class citizens over the years, while rapists have not been adequately punished despite punishments contained in the various criminal laws.
Nigeria, foreign envoys meet on security By Karls Tsokar, Abuja HE seemingly intractable security situation in the country requires expertise and technical competence by security agencies to live up to the challenge. The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, made the observation yesterday in Abuja at the Louis Edet House Police Force Headquarters, shortly before a close door session with ambassadors of 12 countries as well as police and security attaches of some embassies in the coun-
try. He said: “The essence of this meeting is primarily to look at security challenges with one embassy or the other and to exchange views on how we can get expertise and technical assistance from these countries.” Being the first of its kind, the meeting had the ambassadors of Germany, France, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Italy, Iraq, Switzerland, Palestine, South Sudan, Austria, Norway and Australia in attendance while security attaches of some embassies were also present.
Ekiti immortalises Olayinka
From Muyiwa Adeyemi, Ado Ekiti O immortalise the late Deputy Governor, Mrs Funmilayo Adunni Olayinka, who died on April 6 this year, the Ekiti State government yesterday named one of the administration’s legacy projects- the ultra-modern Civic Centre, currently under construction, after her. The Civic centre, which is being built on a large expanse of land near the Government House complex and billed for completion by the end of the year, would be known as Funmilayo Olayinka Civic Centre. Governor Kayode Fayemi also announced the naming of the newly constructed AtikankanBaptist Church Road in AdoEkiti as Funmilayo Olayinka
Drive. Also, a Cancer Diagnostic Centre- Funmi Olayinka Cancer Diagnostic Centre- would be built in the memory of the departed deputy governor at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH). The cancer diagnostic centre, which would be built by the state government in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation – Ekiti Development Foundation (EDF), will focus on early detection and treatment of the dreaded cancer. The centre will commence initial operation in the coming months with the commissioning of a mammogram aimed at detection and early diagnosis of breast cancer.
Executive Admin Officer, London Metropolitan University, Seun Adeniyi (left); Director, Nigeria Office, Lebari Edo-Ukpong and Director, International Office, Mark Bickerton at the press briefing to announce London Metropolitan University back to business, held in Lagos yesterday. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU
Poor electricity supply threatens Ilorin varsity ICT project • Katsina varsity seeks more funds By Abiodun Fagbemi (Ilorin) and Nkechi Onyedika (Katsina) HE Vice Chancellor of UniT versity of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, yesterday warned that the pervading epileptic supply of electricity in the country could hinder the quests by the university to make all its teaching and learning endeavours ICTcompliance. Ambali spoke as his counterpart in the Federal University, Dustin-Ma, Katsina State, Prof. James Ayatse, appealed for more funding from the Federal Government to enable him turn the university into a world class institution. The Ilorin varsity boss, through the Dean, Faculty of Communications and Information Sciences of the University, Prof. Lenrie Aina, spoke in Ilorin at a press brief-
ing heralding the fifth year anniversary of the faculty. The Faculty was formally established via the decision of the Senate at its 193rd (Special) meeting held on June 20, 2008. The grand finale of the anniversary fixed for three days (May 7 to May 9, this year) will be a public lecture to be delivered by Prof. Cleopas Anagye, Director- General of National Technology Information Development Agency (NITDA), Abuja. It is titled “Info and Communication Technology (ICT): The Hub to National Development in the 21st Century.” According to the Ambali, “we have tried to make both the lecturers and the students to comply with the ICT teaching and learning methodologies. However, the major constraint facing that system is the epileptic supply of electricity and if this should per-
sist, the system may collapse.” He expressed belief that the nation, as a developing one, could only get it right in the social, political and economic sector if its electricity system is revived and made stable. The vice chancellor said the faculty, since its establishment, received on yearly basis over 6,000 applications into it, adding that the faculty, due to space and equipment constraints, could only admit “at most 200 students.” He said the school and especially the faculty have commenced entrepreneurial training for its students to fill the gap of unemployment after graduation. The Head of Department of Mass Communications under the faculty, Mahmoud Abdulraheem, said the department could admit only 30 applicants with a view to making the graduates of the department compete favourably with their col-
leagues in the labour market. Speaking when the National Good Governance team inspected the temporary site of the institution, Ayatse noted that there are challenges of power, water supply and accommodation for staff and students, adding that without these basic facilities, relocating to the school’s permanent site will be difficult. He noted that the university is under staffed and emphasised the need for funding to send its young lecturers on training. Also speaking, Deputy Governor of the state, Abdullahi Garba Faskari, said the state has since given the school N1billion as take off grant out of which N7 million has been released. He said the state government would continue to support the university to attain the height it seeks.
Oshiomhole’s aide, group dismiss PDP allegation over council polls From Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City ENIOR Special Assistant to Sdia,Edo State Governor on MeJohn Mayaki and a group, Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Nigeria yesterday dismissed allegation by the National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Olisah Metuh and the state chapter of the PDP that the state government rigged last week’s local government elections. They were essentially referring to a statement credited to Metuh in Abuja on Sunday in which he threatened that the PDP would drag Governor Adams Oshiomhole to court for allegedly using his powers to interfere with the conduct of the council elections in favour of his party, the Action
Congress of Nigeria (ACN). In a statement yesterday, the Coalition’s Director of Mobilisation (South-South), Alhaji Dada Akpeji, said it was shocking that the PDP which is allegedly “notorious for election rigging, ballot snatching and stuffing” could accuse Governor Adams Oshiomhole of manipulating a process that was conducted by the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC). “These PDP mafias in Abuja and in Edo State are a terrible burden. They should not be allowed to carry on, especially in Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s march to reposition the state as against the background that of all the luck in the world, when Nigeria restarted its journey to democracy in 1999, Edo State never had the luck of being governed by a progressive
party until this ACN led government of Adams Oshiomhole.” In a chat with The Guardian yesterday, Mayaki said Metuh was wrong to have alleged that the governor was trying to truncate democratic process in the state when he said the people of Edo State were being subjected to the worst form of tyranny. “Is the PDP Publicity Secretary happy with the way Nigeria is being administered? Is he in tune with the reality in the country? Is he in touch with the people at the grassroots? Does he feel what the ordinary Nigerian feels? Does he know the pictorial representation of his party in the mind of the majority of the people? Does his party have the interest of this country at heart? These and many more questions worry me about this party called PDP.
“How the PDP-led Federal Government conducted the affairs of governance since 1999, and how they balkanised the country should worry right thinking Nigerians. The late President Musa Yar’ Adua confirmed that the election that brought him to power was fraught with irregularities just as Election Petitions Tribunal and Appeal Courts established that the PDP and its co-travellers actually rigged the 2007 polls. “These issues are still fresh in our memories. I have always canvassed for an agency that would prosecute electoral offenders so that those mentioned by the tribunal would immediately be provided to face the wrath of the law. I pray our democracy would grow to that level and with a President who can muzzle the political will.”
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Police arraign suspected killers of NNPC staff
Okorocha returns, gives co-accident victim N.2m From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri
By Joseph Onyekwere
ORE than one week after M he travelled to London for medical attention follow-
HE Police have arraigned 10 T persons before Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos over allegations of pipeline vandalism and murder. The accused are Jigo Jiperende 31; Timi Koro 29; Johnbosco Igbhofose 26, and Peter Opidi 28. Others are Joel Inerepamu 25; Reuben Oluwole 60; John Isaiah 28; Ineye Okposa 40; Timi Gunugunu, 22 and Olisa Saheed, 25. They are standing trial on a seven-count charge bordering on the alleged offence. They all pleaded not guilty to the charge. Earlier, six others had been arraigned on the same offence and their plea taken. At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, the prosecutor, Mr. Justin Enang, informed the court that he had filed an amended charge, including four new persons and reflecting their names in the charge sheet. Justice Idris, therefore, ordered that all the 10 accused be arraigned on the amended charge. They all pleaded not guilty. The judge ordered them to be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case to May 17 for trial. The prosecutor told the court that the accused committed the alleged offence on September 5, 2012, at Arepo, Ogun State.
Mrs. Funke Osibodu (left); her husband, Victor Osibodu and President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Doyin Owolabi, at the Dinner Award/Merit Award in the membership category to honour the recipients at the Harbour Point Victoria Island, Lagos. PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO
Ilorin doctors hold protest march over murder of colleague From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin OCTORS in Ilorin, Kwara D State capital, under the aegis of Nigerian Medical As-
Nigeria’s connected phone lines hit 159.9m By Adeyemi Adepetun Y February 2013, the total B connected telephone lines in the country stood at 159.9 million. The total connected lines comprised service offerings from the GSM, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and the Fixed Wired/Wireless operators. The latest industry statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the February report released yesterday, showed that the connected lines grew by 5.3 million from 154.5 million in January to 159.87 million in February. Indeed, out of the 159.9 million connected lines, about 116.6 million are active. The statistics revealed that the GSM operators, including MTN, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat, which had 114. 4 million active subscribers in January, added about 2.2 million to their respective networks and by February, the figure climbed to 116.6 million. The country’s teledensity, which is defined as the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area, grew from 81.7 per cent in January to 83.2 per cent in February.
sociation (NMA), yesterday shunned their job for about three hours to file out in their hundreds along strategic roads in the town in honour of their murdered colleague, Dr. Ariyo Adewumi. Adewumi died a few days ago when suspected assassins invaded his Basin GRA residence in Ilorin, shot him to death before his wife and three children and went away with his private vehicle. The state Police Command is yet to make any arrest over the murder. Tagged a: “Solemn March”, the doctors, from both public and private health institutions in the town, marched through such routes as the Government House, Deputy Governor’s Office, Police Headquarters and the state Ministry of Health, demanding a safety assurance from the government in the continuance of their duties to the society.
The well-organised march, in which the police played a prominent role in providing adequate security and orderliness, witnessed only the display of a banner with the inscription: “Armed Attack and General Insecurity: Health Workers More Vulnerable, Stop the Madness Now, Adieu Ariyo.” According to the NMA local boss, Prof. Olayinka Buhari, “this is not a protest in the first instance. We are trying to honour our colleague, but if it will instill the much-needed security we all clamour for, it is good, and it means he has not died in vain. “In the government-owned hospitals in Kwara today, how many of them have staff quarters for the doctors and other health workers to stay in if they are on calls? Again, how many of these hospitals have security posts? How many of them have ambulances to convey doctors to work in cases of emergency? We are not presenting any letter to any government official in this respect, the words on this banner are enough for them to
know what we need and what we are facing.” Buhari, who said about 10 of his members had since the beginning of the year lost their vehicles to armed robbers, added: “We are trying to do our own job even at the great risks. But the governments too should do their own job by providing
adequate security for lives and property.” Receiving the NMA members in their hundreds, the Commissioner for Health, Kayode Issa, said but for the urgent state functions, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed would have received the doctors personally.
Shema urges unity, wants rail line extended to Katsina From Nkechi Onyedika, Katsina ATSINA State Governor K Ibrahim Shehu Shema has urged Nigerians to work together to sustain the peace and unity of the country. Shema, who called for extension of the railway to Katsina, emphasised the need for all the ethnic nationalities in the country to see the nation’s diversity as its strength and not in any way a source of division. Speaking when the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, led the National Good Governance Team to his office
Our diversity should be our strength, let us stop emphasising things that tear us apart and dwell more on things that unite us. yesterday in Katsina, the governor called on politicians to stop the politics of ‘pull him down syndrome’ and adopt the policy of ‘help your brother and help the nation’ so that Nigeria can move forward. “Our diversity should be our strength, let us stop emphasising things that tear us apart and dwell more on things that unite us,” he said. Shema, who noted that
Govt moves to ensure safe mining in Zamfara From Lillian Chukwu, Abuja GAINST the background of illegal mining and inappropriate mineral ore processing methods that led to lead poisoning in Zamfara State, the Federal Government has commenced activities that will ensure sustainable Safer Mining Operations (SMO). In a statement yesterday in Abuja, the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations Unit, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Marshall Gundu, said that mining communities have been assured of sustainable and less harmful mining processes. The statement identified two
communities in Anka and Bukkuyum local council areas of Zamfara State as the current beneficiaries of the SMO funds made available by the MMSD, other government agencies and some international organisations in February 2013. Among the initiatives are the commencement of the construction of extension services’ outposts such as on-going digging of boreholes and settlements fitted with all equipment necessary for onthe-site training of the local miners. Gundu said: “The ministry has just concluded the formalisation of informal mining in Zamfara State. This process involves identification of the mining artisans and
ing his involvement in an auto-crash, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on Monday evening returned to Owerri to resume his official duties. Addressing journalists at the Government House, Owerri yesterday, Okorocha publicly made a donation of N200,000 to the man who rammed his Mercedez Benz car into his convoy, smashing the windscreen of the governor’s car, Patrick Osita Nnawuihe. The governor, penultimate Friday, was involved in the auto-crash in Awomama, Orlu area of Imo during a trip to inspect on-going projects in the state. Okorocha also said he has forgiven Nnawuihe, urging him to utilise the money in effecting repairs on his vehicle. He expressed regret that from investigations and findings, Nnawuihe’s vehicle was about 20 years old and lacking some papers. He thanked Imo people for their prayers for him all through the period he was in pains, using the opportunity to explain that he was certified fit in his brain medically, contrary to the rumour that he was not sane. According to him, he used the opportunity outside the country to visit Pope Francis 1 in Rome after attending consecrations of an Imo State man as Papal Noncio in Vatican. After addressing journalists, the governor quickly left on his inspection of job without entertaining questions from reporters.
forming them into mining cooperatives for the purposes of assisting them to meet all the requirements prescribed in the mining law and regulations.” “Formalisation is a crucial process, which enables the ministry to obtain vital information and data about the miners, their mine areas and modes of operation. It allows ease of administration, monitoring and evaluation, as well as supervision,” he added. According to him, these efforts will ensure reduction and subsequent elimination of illegal mining earlier adopted by local miners in Abare, Dareta, Unguwar Yargalma, Bagega and some
other villages in Zamfara that led to lead poisoning emergency in the state. The deputy director said the government has also embarked on a sensitisation campaign, especially in the rural areas, using both the electronic and print media in Hausa language to enlighten the public on the inherent dangers associated with inappropriate mineral processing and illegal mining. He said arrangements have been concluded for procurement of wet milling machines and Igoli processing plants to eliminate dust generation during gold ore processing, while the Igoli machines will enhance gold extraction without the application of mer-
democracy cannot thrive without rule of law and press freedom, called on journalists to be as objective as possible and contribute their quota in nation-building. According to him, “press freedom comes with a lot of responsibility. The media can help but can also destroy, the media should ensure objectivity and help to develop the country. We cannot pretend that Nigeria’s democracy, which is about 13 years-old, should match the democracy that is over 150 years”. Shema described the tour as a platform for holding leaders accountable and said his government, on assumption of office, took a decision to complete all the projects it inherited, and so all the projects initiated by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua have been completed. He stated that many new projects are on-going in critical sectors in the state, noting that his government has not borrowed any money, locally or internationally, and is not owing the workers or any contractor working in the state. He listed the major focus of his administration as education, agriculture and solid mineral development. Earlier, Maku observed that development under democracy is better than under the military rule, adding that Katsina has a civilisation history dating back several decades, and is known for scholarships and calmness.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
AfricanNews FBI’s laboratory confirms drugs toxic after foiled attempt on Boni Yayi
Outrage trails ANC’s televised visit to Mandela
HE scientific laboratory of OUTH Africans yesterday T the United States’ (U.S.) Federal Bureau of Svoiced anger over the release of television footage showing a
Investigation (FBI) revealed that the contents of the medical drugs and the chemical products meant to be administered on Benin’s President Boni Yayi were toxic, Xinhua cited an official source as saying yesterday. Republic of Benin’s Public Prosecutor, Justin Gbenameto, said in Cotonou that the toxic drugs were to be administered on Benin’s president by his personal doctor, with the assistance of the president’s niece. “The FBI’s biomedical laboratory revealed that the president’s usual drugs were changed,” the prosecutor said. “The content of Dafalgan 500 mg tablets which are usually consumed by President Yayi were changed and replaced by a deadly substance whose toxicity was proven. The contents of the other drugs were equally altered,” Gbenameto affirmed, citing results from the FBI biomedical laboratory. He explained that the examination by FBI revealed the presence of Q26 substance (sufentanyl), Q27 (atracurium/Cisatracurium) and Q28 (Ketamine), whose sale is formally prohibited due to their high toxicity levels. He also said the finger-prints of Ibrahima Mama Cisse, Yayi’s personal doctor, were discovered on the cartons containing the deadly drugs. On October 22, 2012, three people including the president’s niece, Zouberatou Kora Seke, his personal doctor Ibrahima Mama Cisse and Benin’s ex-commerce minister Moudjadou Soumanou were arrested for attempting to poison Yayi by use of medical drugs.
frail and distant Nelson Mandela being visited at home by African National Congress’ (ANC) leaders after his latest health scare. The ruling ANC was forced to defend itself from accusations it was exploiting the 94-yearold anti-apartheid icon, who is recuperating after being hospitalised for a recurrent lung infection . The images aired by state broadcaster SABC on Monday – the first public footage of the Nobel peace laureate in almost nine months – showed an unsmiling Mandela appearing dazed but seated upright on a couch, his legs covered in a blanket . He was surround by ANC party
It must take a politician to do stuff like that, because no normal human being would do anything like that to an old man. leaders including President Jacob Zuma, who said Mandela was doing well and “up and about” . South Africans took to social networks to accuse politicians of parading their national hero in front of the cameras for their own gain . “It must take a politician to do stuff like that, because no normal human being would do anything like that to an old man,” said political commentator Palesa Morudu. Mandela’s head was propped up by a pillow, he appeared to speak at one point and closed his eyes tight when someone
in the room took a photo with flash . Mandela’s eyesight is said to be highly sensitive to flashlight due to damage caused by the long time he spent working on a quarry during his imprisonment on Robben Island. During his active political life photographers were given strict instructions not to use flashlights when photographing him . “Very sad seeing the footage of Madiba. And who was the idiot who took a pic of him with a flash? Disgraceful. Leave him alone,” said popular radio DJ John Robbie, using Mandela’s
clan name . ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu defended the visit saying it was meant to share the revered leader with the world, following a series of hospitalisations since December last year. Mandela had returned home on April 6 after 10 days of hospital treatment for the lung infection. “We wanted to share Madiba in his frail state... to show the people of South Africa and the world that he is still with us,” said Mthembu. “He is no longer a younger man, he will soon turn 95years-old and he looks like any other person his age.” But there was an groundswell of anger about the allegedly political overtones of the visit. Local newspaper, the Star,
fected with food poisoning, with no deaths reported, spokesman for the Ministry of Health Yahia Moussa told Xinhua yesterday. “So far, 161 students of alAzhar University were hospitalised due to the food poisoning since Monday night,” said Moussa, adding that 95 people have recovered from the poisoning, while others were still undergoing treatment. The students of al-Azhar University reportedly felt sick after eating lunch at a dining hall on the campus, located in Nasr City in eastern Cairo, the report said. According to a report issued late Monday by the ministry of health, the meal contained rotting tuna. Earlier this month, more than 500 students at the same university were hospitalised due to food poisoning. Protests over the incident led to the sacking of the university’s President Osama al- Abd.
Again, Libyan gunmen surround justice ministry in Tripoli HE offices of the Libyan T Justice Ministry in Tripoli were surrounded yesterday by
161 Egyptian students suffer food poisoning BOUT 161 Egyptian stuA dents of Al- Azhar University have been in-
plastered page three with the headline “Outrage over Madiba footage,” while The Times ran the headline “SABC’s ‘Madiba moment’ slammed.” The ANC’s visit came as the party and its opponents rev-up their campaigns for next year’s presidential election. Both are keen to present themselves as torch-bearers for South Africa’s freedom struggle, that has gone off the rails in recent years. The Democratic Alliance – long seen as a party dominated by whites – recently launched a campaign highlighting its “struggle” credentials.
A picture released by South African broadcaster, SABC, shows South African peace icon, Nelson Mandela (right) sitting at his home in Johannesburg flanked by South African President Jacob Zuma....on Monday. PHOTO: AFP
Military push not sole way to end Congo’s conflict, says UN envoy MILITARY solution is not A the only way to end decades of conflict in eastern Congo, the newly appointed United Nations special envoy to the region said yesterday as the world body prepared to bolster its peacekeeping mission there. Former Irish President Mary Robinson was visiting the region for the first time after being appointed UN special envoy charged with helping bring an end to the violence, which has left millions dead and the mineral-rich nation in ruins. The latest year-long rebellion to sweep the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern borders has prompted the UN to add a 3,000-strong “intervention force” to its existing 17,000 mission. The so-called Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) is the first of its kind from the
There’s no doubt these armed groups have to be dealt with, but I think it’s important that this does not become a focus on a military solution, (and) that we’re implementing the political steps that have been committed to. traditional peacekeeping force and is charged with neutralising rebel militias, but Robinson said it must not detract from the search for a sustainable political solution. “There’s no doubt these armed groups have to be dealt with, but I think it’s important that this does not become a focus on a military solution, (and) that we’re implementing the political steps that have been committed to,” Reuters quoted her as saying during a visit to the city of Goma, the epicentre for the recent fighting. Robinson was appointed to support the implementation
of a peace framework signed by 11 heads of state in Addis Ababa earlier this year. Meanwhile, South Africa’s death toll in last month’s rebel coup in the Central African Republic has risen to 14 after the death of a wounded soldier, the army said yesterday. “One of the South African National Defence Force members who was injured in Central African Republic, during what has become to be known as the battle of Bangui, has since passed on,” said spokesman Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga. Thirteen South African
troops died and 27 were wounded when they came under fire from thousands of rebel fighters moving on the capital which fell on March 24. It was the country’s heaviest military loss since the end of apartheid in 1994. The soldier who died was discharged on April 19 from a Pretoria military hospital, where the injured troops were treated after being evacuated from Bangui. He was due for a check-up on Friday, but collapsed on Monday and was rushed to hospital where he died, said Mabanga. South Africa’s government has faced an outcry over why soldiers were sent to Central Africa, amid accusations of dodgy deals and ruling party business interests in the troubled nation. Any wrongdoing has been strongly denied.
armed men demanding the expulsion of officials who worked for the government during the Gaddafi era. Men in pick-up trucks equipped with anti-aircraft guns asked the employees and justice minister to leave, a member of staff told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The minister subsequently got into his car and left, the witness added. The foreign ministry building has been blocked off by gunmen since Sunday. The armed groups are calling for a political isolation law to be passed banning officials who served under the late Muammar Gaddafi from senior government posts. However, Libyan officials have been unable to agree the terms of the law. Armed groups have targeted state buildings in the past, storming the General National Congress (GNC) on several occasions. “They came in the morning with their cars and surrounded the building. There are about 15 cars. They asked all the employees and the minister to leave the building. The minister got into his car and left,” an employee told the BBC. “They were not aggressive. There was no shooting into the air or anything like that,” he added. Since Sunday, armed groups have blocked off the roads leading to the foreign ministry building in Tripoli, although are not reported to have entered the ministry itself. The image of an armed brigade blocking access to a public building had so far usually been reserved for Libya’s legislature. In March, protesters barricaded members of the GNC inside the building for hours, insisting they adopt the law keeping Gaddafi-era officials out of politics. Since Gaddafi’s death, Tripoli and other Libyan cities have been plagued by violence and infighting. The government has recently tried to dismantle militias that formed during and after the war that toppled the long-serving leader.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
WorldReport U.S., Israel commend Arab League’s new stance on land swaps Pope seeks ‘courageous decisions’ from Jewish State, Palestinians NITED States (U.S.) and U Israel have commended a shift in the Arab League’s posi-
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (left), his wife Queen Maxima and members of the royal family during his inauguration at the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Amsterdam … yesterday. PHOTO: AFP
Willem-Alexander is new King of The Netherlands From Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs tored yesterday. The former queen becomes Editor (with agency reports)
ORTY-six-year-old WillemAlexander was yesterday inaugurated as the new king of the Netherlands. He becomes the first Dutch male monarch in more than a century after his mother, Beatrix, abdicated to end a 33-year reign. The generational change in the House of Orange-Nassau gave The Netherlands a moment of celebration and pageantry as the trading nation of about 17 million people struggles through a lengthy recession brought on by the European economic crisis. Visibly emotional, the people-oriented Beatrix had ended her reign in a nationally televised signing ceremony as thousands of orange-clad Dutch citizens cheered outside while millions more were watching on television, according to CBC News moni-
Princess Beatrix while her son becomes the first Dutch king since Willem III died in 1890. Thus, the new king’s popular Argentine-born wife is now Queen Maxima and their eldest daughter, CatharinaAmalia, is first in line to the throne. Willem-Alexander became the first Dutch king in more than 120 years yesterday as his mother, Queen Beatrix abdicated the throne, ending 33 years as the country’s monarch. A Cable News Network (CNN) report yesterday also showed Willem-Alexander gripping his mother’s hand and looking briefly into her eyes after they both signed the abdication document in the Royal Palace in downtown Amsterdam’s Dam Square. The new king told the crowd he was “grateful for your confidence and support” as he started his reign and thanked
his mother for “33 touching and inspiring years.” Beatrix has since the short ceremony stepped down on the national holiday known as Queen’s Day, an opportunity for people across the Netherlands to dress up and party. The investiture during which the new king took the oath of office before a joint session of parliament was the high point of a year of celebrations marking the end of the Napoleonic occupation in 1813. Beatrix looked close to tears as she then appeared on a balcony overlooking some 20,000 of her subjects. “I am happy and grateful to introduce to you your new king, Willem-Alexander,” she told the cheering crowd. Moments later, in a striking symbol of the generational shift, she left the balcony and Willem-Alexander, his wife and three daughters – the children in matching yellow
dresses and headbands – waved to the crowd. Canadian Governor General David Johnston, who is in Amsterdam for the transfer of power, told CNN that Canada and the Netherlands share a special bond. The Dutch royal family, including Beatrix, lived in Canada during the Second World War and Canadian soldiers played a key role in the liberation of The Netherlands from the Nazis, he said. The 75-year-old monarch handed over power in a constitutionally ordained ceremony in the Mozes Hall of the royal palace in Amsterdam. The transfer became official as she signed the “instrument of abdication” that means she will now be known as Princess Beatrix. Church bells also reportedly rang out across the city as the family appeared on the balcony of the royal palace and people in the square waved flags and blew horns.
tion to accept for the first time the idea of land swaps between the Palestinians and Israelis in any peace deal, according to a report by Agence France Presse (AFP). The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Arab League had said it could accept Israel’s 1967 borders “with adjustments to reflect mutually agreed upon land swaps recognising some of the changes that have taken place. That is a very big step forward.” Also yesterday, Israel welcomed a shift in the terms of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative following top-level talks in Washington, with the proposal now endorsing the idea of mutually-agreed land swaps with the Palestinians. In another development, Pope Francis yesterday called on Israel and the Palestinians to “resume negotiations” and “take courageous decisions”, the Vatican said in a statement, after a meeting between the pontiff and Israeli President Shimon Peres. “A speedy resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians is hoped for,” it said. “With the courageous decisions and availability of both sides, as well as support from the international community, an agreement may be reached,” it added. Such an agreement should “respect the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples, thus decisively contributing to the peace and stability of the region.” The meeting, the first between a leader from the Middle East and Francis, who was elected in March, came at a time of important developments in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Meanwhile, under the original plan, Arab states would forge full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in
The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 lines, with the possibility of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land exchange for a withdrawal from land it occupied during the 1967 Six Day War. Details of the revamped proposal emerged late on Monday following talks between top Arab League members and Kerry. Israel’s chief peace negotiator Tzipi Livni hailed the move as “very good news” in an interview with military radio. “It’s definitely an important step – I welcome it,” she said, although there was no immediate response from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Under terms of the original proposal, the Arab states would offer full diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for “a total withdrawal by Israel to the June 4, 1967 lines” and the establishment of a Palestinian state. But Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim on Monday said that although a final deal should mean a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines, it could involve a “comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land” to reflect the realities of the burgeoning communities on the ground. “The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the twostate solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 lines, with the possibility of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land,” he said at joint media conference with Kerry.
Obama cautious on Syria’s chemical arms, govt alleges new incident Bomb explosion hits central Damascus NITED States (U.S.) U President Barack Obama yesterday warned against a rush to judgment on Syria’s use of chemical arms, but said proof of their use would trigger a “rethink” of his reluctance to use military force. As critics complain that he let Syria crossed a U.S. “red line,” Obama said Washington believed chemical weapons had been used in the country’s vicious civil war but did not know exactly who had fired them.
But as uproar intensified over the chemical weapon use, a report by Agence France Presse (AFP) indicated that Syria’s ambassador at the United Nations (UN) yesterday alleged that an opposition group had used “chemical material” during an attack near the city of Idlib. With international pressure mounting on President Bashar al-Assad over the two year-old conflict, Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters the incident
was an attempt to make it look as though government forces had used chemical arms. Jaafari said “terrorist groups” had got into the town of Salaqeb and “spread seemingly the contents of plastic bags containing a kind of powder which must be most probably a chemical material.” The ambassador said many people were affected by the “heinous and irresponsible act” that was an attempt to “implicate the Syrian government on a false basis.”
The news came as about 13 people were killed and many more injured by a powerful explosion in Syria’s capital, Damascus, state media and activists said. A bomb is believed to have been detonated in a square in the central district of Marjeh. Civilians and security personnel are among the dead. Sporadic gunfire was heard in the area after the blast. On Monday, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi survived a car bomb attack, which had targetted his convoy in the capital.
At a White House news conference, Obama also appeared to set the criteria for a U.S. military intervention as established proof that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime directly ordered the use of chemical weapons. As more Guantanamo Bay inmates join a hunger strike, Obama also pledged to have another go at closing what he described as the “not sustainable” war-on-terror prison and blamed Congress for the deteriorating situation. And he praised Russia for its help in investigating the
Boston marathon bombings on April 15, which has been blamed on two attackers of Chechen origin, but said “old habits die hard” between U.S. and Russian security services. Obama faced the press amid rising political pressure over reports by U.S. intelligence that Syrian forces used sarin gas against their foes, despite his previous warnings that deploying chemical weapons would be a “game changer.” “I’ve got to make sure I’ve got the facts. That’s what the American people would expect.”
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Politics Day of decision for Mimiko, Oke, Akeredolu From Niyi Bello, Akure ARRING any unforeseen circumstances, the B verdict of the Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Akure over complaints generated by last October 20 governorship poll in Ondo State will be delivered this week or early next week. That is, if cognizance is given to the 180day period of litigation stipulated by the Electoral Act. Having taken all the prayers and concluded hearings on the consolidated cases against the declaration of incumbent Governor Olusegun Mimiko, as the winner of the election, the three-member tribunal, led by Justice Andovar Kaka’an, reserved ruling on the matters at the adoption of the final addresses of the litigants last week. With five political parties contesting the outcome of the election at the start of litigation, the legal battle was eventually narrowed down on the one hand to between the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its candidate, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its flagbearer, Olusola Oke; and Mimiko, his Labour Party (LP) platform and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the other hand. In the process of consolidating the relevant prayers of the petitions, the cases of candidates of the Accord Party (AP), Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) were weeded out of the tortuous litigation that involved several interventions of the Akure Division of the Federal Court of Appeal to resolve some contentious issues. During this process, several paragraphs bordering on criminality and the use of violence during the polls, including references to specific political figures as perpetrators of electoral fraud of hijacking and stuffing of ballot boxes and intimidation of voters with illegal arms, were expunged from the petitions on the ground that those allegations would require more than a cursory mentioning to prove. Besides, the tribunal ruled that the petitioners did not provide enough information to establish these allegations and produce their linkages with the conduct of the election, to have rendered the exercise a nullity. At the adoption of the written addresses of the parties and the replies, the crux of the litigation was reduced to the twin allegations of non-accreditation of voters in some polling units and the injection of about 164,000 names into the used Voters’ Register through the back door. While the opposition parties, through the parade of 42 witnesses, including Akeredolu for the ACN and 45, including Oke for the PDP, made efforts to establish the allegation of nonaccreditation of voters, an act they said was central to the integrity of the polls, the LP called 14 witnesses to disprove the claim. Although the INEC, which had submitted lists of witnesses to be called, did not call any when it came to its turn to prove that the election was conducted in a free and fair atmosphere, it justified its action on the decision of the tribunal to expunge paragraphs containing those allegations from the petitions. However, the most contentious of the grouses against the election is the allegation of compromise of the Voters’ Register and expectedly, arguments for and against the claim dominated the about five hours spent while the written addresses were being adopted. Both the ACN and PDP claimed in their sub-
missions that the injection of names were carried out through an unholy alliance of the INEC and LP to give the incumbent an undeserved edge over their candidates. They maintained that having suspected that the register was going to be corrupted, several petitions were sent to the electoral body before the election, alerting it of the plan to compromise the document and that in the build-up to the poll, some LP chieftains were actually arrested engaging in the process of compiling names of ghost voters who were issued with unclaimed voter cards. According to them, since the register is the most important document in the conduct of an election, any taint on its integrity should render the exercise for which it was used for, null and void. Messrs Patrick Ikwueto and Akin Olujimi, both SANs and lead counsel to the PDP and ACN, respectively averred that the prayers of the petitioners should be granted because the election did not produce the true choice of the electorate, especially with “strange names” in the list of voters. While Ikwueto said all the PDP witnesses’ depositions and several documentary evidences, which the respondents could not disprove, strengthened the prayers; Olujimi said the inability of INEC to present witnesses showed that it had abandoned its evidence. But in the oral summary of his reply to the addresses on the issue, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), lead counsel to Mimiko, the first respondent in the matter, argued that the allegations of injection of names was not proved by the petitions. Olanipekun, who led five other silks, including Ifedayo Adedipe, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petitions of the opposition candidates on the ground that the allegations against the result of the election could not be substantiated. According to him, the election was adjudged free and fair, noting that going to the tribunal
with even the most flimsy of excuses against an election is not only detrimental to the country’s democracy, but it is also an abuse of judicial process. He said the evidence relied on by the opposition was computer-generated, not admissible in law and that the claim of the injection to the voters’ register relied on by the ACN for its case failed, as there was no evidence of manipulation either by the INEC or any of the parties. In a direct reference to Akeredolu, who registered as a voter in Ibadan where he is based but had to transfer his voting right to his Owo, Ondo State hometown after he emerged as the candidate of the ACN some weeks to the poll, Olanipekun said, “the crux of the matter is injected voters. If anybody has been injected, it is the ACN’s candidate whose name was added to the original list by INEC.” Olanipekun added that the issue of voters’ register could not be brought before the court because it is a pre-election matter, which the tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain like issues arising from party primaries and preelection squabbles among contestants. Lead counsel to the LP, Yusuf Alli (SAN), agreed with the submission of Olanipekun and asked the tribunal to reject exhibit 50 series of the ACN, as such evidence was not admissible in law and that if even admitted, it should be discountenanced. He argued that the petitioners had failed to prove that the injection of names contributed in any way to the victory of his client, the LP and that the identities of the injected names should be disclosed and ascertained whether they are Nigerians of voting age. Alli also said that since only about half of the about 1.5 million registered voters participated in actual voting, the election should be upheld because a case of injection could only have merits if the number of voters exceeded the figure in the register. Counsel to INEC, Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), agreed with the submissions of both the LP and Mimiko and asked the court to dismiss the petitions in their entirety since the claims were frivolous. On the claim by Olujimi that the refusal of INEC to call any witness amounted to abandonment of its defence, Ikpeazu cited several authorities to support his argument that an opposition witness could be relied on to prove one’s case.
proceedings, each of the trio of Akeredolu, Mimiko and Oke, who sat through the session whispering to the ears of their lawyers and sending notes, expressed delight at the conclusion of the matter. They exuded optimism that a favourable judgment would come their separate ways. Thus, they created the impression that, like the eight blind men of Hindustan in the Indian fable, who described the elephant different parts of the animal they touched; the politicians viewed the course of the litigation with different lens. Akeredolu, who left the court before the tribunal rose, said the ACN was sure of victory. “We are on a firm ground, very firm ground. We proved our case beyond any reasonable doubt. We satisfied all the provisions of the Evidence Act and I am sure of victory at the end of the day,” he stressed. Mimiko said he was satisfied with the way the cases were handled at the tribunal, emphasising that he was not worried, as he believed the court would be fair in the judgment. Oke exuded confidence about the way his legal team and that of the PDP presented and argued the petition, as well as the array of evidences and witnesses, adding that he was sure victory would come his way. Perhaps, because of the confidence of each of the candidates, their supporters, who thronged the Court 2 of the Akure High Court complex venue of the tribunal, went their different ways in jubilation and in expectation of victory. There reports of all-night parties in anticipation of victory and leaders in the opposition camps are said to have begun meetings to decide on how to form the new government. But members in the LP camp were busy, congratulating themselves for securing another four years in the Government House. Whichever way it goes, the verdict of the tribunal is expected to define a new course for the politics of the state, as it will either confirm the sheer strength of the persona of the Iroko, as Mimiko is called in political circles, for the massiveness of his politics, or create a new alliance in the camps of the opposition. The verdict could also be a confirmation of the victory of the incumbent, for which a trip to the appellate court is almost certain, or a favourable pronouncement for the opposition would mean a rerun of the election within a specific period of time. Nonetheless, unlike the 2009 verdict that produced Mimiko when the entire state was in deep suspense, the current tribunal expectations do not seem to have as much effect on the citizenry except the professional politicians who are busy dissecting the judgment even before it is written.
While unbiased observers of the proceedings were at a loss as to where the pendulum of justice would swing, politicians in their characteristic optimism are expecting favourable verdicts from the same tribunal. At separate interviews after the conclusion of proceedings, each of the trio of Akeredolu, Mimiko and Oke, who sat through the session whispering to the ears of their lawyers and sending notes, expressed delight at the conclusion of the matter. They exuded optimism that a favourable judgment would come their separate ways.
HILE unbiased observers of the proceedW ings were at a loss as to where the pendulum of justice would swing, politicians in their characteristic optimism are expecting favourable verdicts from the same tribunal. At separate interviews after the conclusion of
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
UNDP, INEC sensitise youths on democratic participation By Tunde Akinola HEAD of the 2015 polls, the frameA work for actualising the several calls for involvement of young people in Nigeria’s decision-making cadre seems to have been established. This came at a gathering of youths for BRIDGE’s (Building Resources in and Governance Democracy, Elections) module on Civic and Voter Education for leaders of youth organisations in the southern parts of the country. The first phase of the workshop was conducted in Abuja for the Northern parts of the country. At a five-day training organised in Port Harcourt by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Governance Democratic Development (DGD), Nigerian youths were urged to contribute their quota to the country’s democratic development. The training was in partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with support from the European Union (EU), United Kingdom Department for International Development Canadian the and (DFID), International Development Agency (CIDA). The BRIDGE workshop was aimed principally at building the capacity of youth-led civil society organisations within the country, to enhance their effective intervention in the area of civic and voter education. It was also organised to provide youths and other marginalised groups within the society the tools to improve their participation in democracy, governance and elections in Nigeria. The workshop spelt out strategies for the engagement of young people in promoting sustainable democracy and economic development and improvement in youth capacity to manage interventions in the electoral cycle. Although it was established that in every election, voter and civic education are necessary to ensure citizens understand their rights, sufficient information around electoral cycle is also made mandatory. The forum submitted that voter education should specifically target every Nigerian, particularly children, youths, women and people with disabilities, emphasising that it should make clear that suffrage is universal and should help create a culture in which young people and women are encouraged to participate in electoral processes. Addressing participants, a National Expert Gender with the UNDP, Mufuliat Fijabi, sensitised young people on the need to participate in the development of Nigeria’s democracy and electoral processes. Fijabi, who represented the Project
Director of the UNDP/DGD, Dr. Mourtada Deme, said the justification for the workshop was linked to three recent elections: the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections, which witnessed poor participation of youths in all strategic aspects of the electoral cycle. According to her: “Some of the indicators for these include absence of youths in party hierarchical structure, as contestants and as voters. Unfortunately also, they were associated with the violence after the announcement of elections results.” A BRIDGE consultant and human rights activist from Zimbabwe, Rindhai Chiptunde Vara, encouraged young people to make networks within other youth organisations to pull resources and implement programmes together. “That can enable them to reach the whole of Nigeria by covering the geographical space in a standardised way,” Vara said. “This can give them one voice concerning how they want their country governed.” One of the facilitators, Musa Shalangwa, who represented the INEC, said the training was valuable because it helped put into proper perspective the place of the youths in the electoral process. Worried by the attitude of the country’s youths in electoral processes, Shalangwa stressed that “young people seem to be carried away and the few that participate do so without knowing their obligations, rights and the role they should play. I think it is important to speak to the youths about civic and voter education.” He underlined the need for youths to understand the electoral process and how it works so they could know where to fit in like voting, engaging in campaigns and generally having the knowledge of how youths should take part in electoral processes. He encouraged participants to propagate the enlightenment they received from the training to other citizens who had no opportunity to be part of it, especially as the 2015 elections are near, lest the mistakes of the 2011 elections be repeated. To the Executive Director, Kids and Teens Resource Centre, Ondo State, Martin-Mary Falana, the training enhanced the skills and knowledge he needs to impact positively on other civil societies and to make sure voter education and information is well implemented in his state. “As an individual, I cannot do this alone; so, there is need to empower other civil societies and communitybased organisations whose capacity needs to be strengthened to contribute to this process,” he said. Falana stated that the government could only provide enabling environment for their activities, as he does not believe in sourcing funds from the government because
“those who give out the money may want to dictate the pace.” The Executive Director, International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre, Anambra State, Mr. Chris Azor, said the training had exposed him to what he erroneously thought he knew. Stating that the training had brought another dimension in addressing civic and voter education, he said his organisation would incorporate the work plan of the module in its existing programmes within the civil societies. He said the government needed to monitor and put in resources to the exercise, indicating its commitment at educating the people. According to a representative of Smiles Africa International, Edo State, Mr. Purpose Osamwonyi, the skills learnt at the workshop had empowered him on how to mobilise and encourage first-time voters to participate in the electoral process. He said the training had taught him what to do and how to manage the available resources to carry out the task ahead. “The training has increased my knowledge base on electoral issues and I will impart other Nigerians that come across my way on what I have learnt, to ensure the 2015 election produces a lot of youths at the decision-making position in the polity,” he said. Osamwonyi advocated that the government should support extending
FACTION of the Democratic A Peoples Party (DPP) yesterday conducted its national convention, and dissolved to merge with other opposition parties in the All Progressives Congress (APC). In its meeting in March, the DPP NEC voted to join the opposition merger, and nominated the party’s former national chairman, General Jeremiah Useni (Rtd) and its gubernatorial candidate in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, as members of its merger committee. However, the two leaders later withdrew their membership of the merger committee, rejected the move by the DPP to join the opposition group, leading to crisis in the party. But at the faction’s special convention yesterday in Abuja, attended by its only senator, Pius Ehwerido
and members at the House Representatives and Delta State House of Assembly, the National Auditor, Mohammed Yahaya Jinji, moved the motion for joining the merger. All the members at the convention chorused the motion, which supported by the Imo State chairman of the DPP, Romanus Egbuladike. The acting National Chairman of the party, Olisa Emeka Akaliku, noted that the decision of the party to join the APC had brought the DPP into the mainstream of Nigerian politics, stressing that the party had operated on a regional basis for a long period. “Basically, we want to belong to the mainstream of Nigerian politics. We have actually practiced regional politics for a very long time because DPP has been dominant and stronger in Delta State
He said he would make others benefit from what he had learnt from the programme designing a two-day step down activities that would involve the staffs of his organisation and other networks. He urged the government to invest more in inclusion of youths in politics because young people are the future of the country. “It is, therefore, important that government invests in the future of this country so that we can all have a better tomorrow,” Alabi said. Daniel Okey Mkpume, who works with Youth Action Initiative Africa (YAIA), Calabar Office, said the training had given him a clear picture of how to carry out effective civic and voter education. “I have been facilitating for the past two years on civic and voter education, using materials prepared by expert,” he said. “But with the BRIDGE module experience, I now understand the electoral cycle better.” He stressed that, “if we must get it right in 2015 elections, the BRIDGE module should be adopted by the government, by assisting more young Nigerians to receive result-oriented trainings on voter and civic education.” “These will go along away in reducing the number of invalid votes, corruption and election malpractices,” he said. “When you train the right people you get the right result.”
Vara, Fijabi and INEC representative, Esther Adidu during the workshop in Port Harcourt
DPP faction dissolves, joins APC From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja
the programme to school leaders and party agents because to him, the first duty of a political party is to educate citizens on political process. “If government should support programmes like this, it will go a long way in bringing about the Nigeria we have all dreamt of,” he said. Martha Agbani, who is the Executive Director of Lokiaka Community Development Centre, Rivers State, said the training had built her capacity on how she could work with youths, women and divergent groups in terms of civic and voter education. Agbani said the programme had given her the opportunity to foster the democratic principles even within her organisation, promising that she would invite the youths to express their fears and chart a way forward after gathering their opinions. She wants the government to empower the beneficiaries of the training “so that they, too, can empower others.” According to Tolu Alabi, who is the Programme Officer, Centre for Human Development (CHD), his capacity had been developed in the area of voter information design and programing, civic education programing and evaluation. “I now understand steps that must be followed and rules guiding voter information as it relates to gender issues and active youth participation,” he said.
than other states of the country,” he said. “We want to ensure that the DPP will be counted as being part of the history that will reshape the political structure of the country.” Akaliku said there was no national leader in the DPP; “so, we are not expelling any member, who disagrees with our merger agreement.” He recalled that the decision for the merger was taken at the NEC meeting of the party in March, “and all the members were physically present when the decision was unanimously taken that DPP should be part of the proposed opposition merger.” He said that, based on that decision, General Useni and Chief Ogboru were nominated as members of the DPP merger committee. “So, we cannot take a NEC decision and one individual will go back
In the merger matter, you take your decision on where you go,” he said. “For the others, we do not know where they belong and they are free to take their position, too. We have resolved to be part of the APC and we are not going back. This has to do with freedom of choice, which encompasses your actions and choice of candidates and we have taken our choice with the merger. and want us to believe that he is greater than the NEC,” he said. Reacting to the decision to join the opposition APC, Senator Ehwerido stated that the APC was the choice of a DPP faction, adding that, “the other faction have the right to make their choice.” “In the merger matter, you take your decision on where you go,” he said. “For the others, we do not know where they belong and they are free to take their position, too.
“We have resolved to be part of the APC and we are not going back. This has to do with freedom of choice, which encompasses your actions and choice of candidates and we have taken our choice with the merger.” Ehwerido said democracy is stronger when there is a virile opposition. “It is a strong opposition that keeps the party in power on its toes for people to have the dividends of democracy.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
TheMetroSection Workers take stock on May Day
President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Abdulwaheed Omar l(eft), Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim and President, Trade Union Congress, Peter Esele, at the preMay Day symposium in Abuja...yesterday PHOTO: NAN By Nike Sotade, Metro Editor ODAY is May Day and Nigerian workers would join their counterparts worldwide to mark the workers’ day. Every year workers troop out in their numbers to observe the day on parade grounds nationwide while others view it as a rest day. May Day celebrations are not meant for mere celebrations by way of public holidays and merriment, but are rather occasions for reminding workers of past bitter struggles carried out in the world and in Nigeria, for trade union rights including the right for a better society, free from exploitations and denials – political, economic, etc. Historically, May Day celebration started
from the persecution of leaders of workers in Chicago in 1886 as a result of their protest against long working hours- 18 hours per day- and other forms of injustice and deprivation. The persecution led to the hanging and imprisonment of the leaders of the Chicago workers but May Day was formally recognised as an annual event in 1891. The first Workers’ Day in Nigeria was celebrated in Kano State in 1980, as the then governor, the late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, declared the day a public holiday. In 1981, the Federal Government declared May 1 the Workers’ Day.
Since Nigeria started celebrating the May Day, the occasion is often used as an avenue for stock -taking by the organised labour and employers of labour. The theme of this year’s May Day is “100 Years of Nationhood, Challenges of National Development’’. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says that Nigerian workers have every cause to celebrate the 2013 May Day “with pomp and pageantry.’’ The Deputy NLC President, Mr. Promise Adeusi, said that the union had able to fight for the interests of Nigerian workers, citing the current national minimum wage as an instance. Adeusi said that the congress had also intervened by forcing telecommunication providers in the country to bring down their tariffs. “There have been some gains and pains. For
instance, the minimum wage issue, we have been able to force some states to pay their workers what they should earn, like their counterparts in other places”, he said at a media briefing on Sunday. “The awareness of the Nigerian workers is more than what it was in the past.” “Telecom providers have come down with their tariffs and it is all about the input of the labour.” “We are still working to keep the workers head up high and very soon all this struggle will bring about a shinning result,’’ the labour boss said. It is everybody’s wish and prayer that today’s celebrations would not suffer any hitches, giving the current security situation in the country.
to Pakistan, could not expel one wrap of cocaine. WO suspected drug trafWhile Akwaeze Anthony fickers, who tested positive successfully expelled all 67 for narcotic ingestion at the wraps of cocaine he ingested Murtala Muhammed Interna- without assistance, the case tional Airport (MMIA) have of Onedigbo Chibueze Embeen arrested by officials of manuel who inserted four the National Drug Law Enwraps of cocaine in his anal forcement Agency (NDLEA). area was different. He was unNarcotic officers at the able to expel one of the wraps NDLEA office said that one of until medical doctors came the suspects inserted four to his rescue. We were diswraps of cocaine weighing turbed because his life was in 210 grammes in his anus danger,” Hamza said. while another ingested 67 Officials were worried that wraps also of cocaine weigh- the suspects may die like othing 1.085kilogrammes ers who ingest narcotic drugs A total of 1.295kilogrammes due to the poisonous nature of cocaine was, however, of drugs. Preliminary investifound on both suspects. gation revealed that According to the NDLEA Air- Onedigbo Emmanuel is an port Commander Mr. Hamza unrepentant drug trafficker Umar, tension was high who was recently deported when one of the suspects from Thailand after serving a Onedigbo Chibueze Emthree-year jail term over drug manuel, 28 years, on his way related offences. He was ap-
The suspects : Obinna
HE Old Students’ AssociaT tion of St. Anthony’s Grammar School, Esure Ijebu – Imushin Ogun State is honouring 13 outstanding old students of the school with Merit Awards on Saturday, May 4, 2013, at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja. Among the awardees are Dr. Andrew Femi Bella, Mr. Adetutu Buraimo, Prof. Babatunde Otulana, Dr. Oluyemi Badero, Mr Peter Bamkole and Dr. Samuel Babatunde Adejare. The chairman of the occasion is Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere, also an old student of the school.
Service of Songs for Samuel Leleji
HE death has occurred of T Chief Samuel Okijirhie Leleji of Ekrerhanvwe in Agbarho Clan in Ughelli North Local Council of Delta State. He died on March 25, 2013. Meanwhile, a service of songs holds tomorrow in Lagos at No. 23, Mosalasi Street, at 5.00p.m. Another service of songs holds at Chief Leleji's compound, 29, Obada Street, Agbarho, Ughelli North Local Council of Delta State on Friday, May 10.
Bobokhai marks 10th anniversary as priest
Workers marking the May Day...last year
HE 10th anniversary of the T Priestly Ordination of Rev. Fr. Silas Bobokhai holds on
How doctors saved suspect who ingested cocaine By Odita Sunday
Briefs St. Anthony holds award ceremony Saturday
prehended during the screening of passengers on Qatar Airline flight. Onedigbo who hails from Okija, Anambra State said: “It is true that I was deported in February 2013 after serving three years jail term in Thailand. I went back into drug smuggling because there was nothing for me to sustain myself. My desire was to get some money from the drug deal and establish a business that can help me prepare for my future. I feel so sad that it turned out this way.” In his confessional statement, Akwaeze Anthony Obinna said that he was enticed by an offer of N1, 000,000. “I am a trader at Ahiaohuru Market Aba where I sell textiles. My business has suffered huge losses and I
wanted to use the one million naira they promised to pay me in strengthening my business. I never thought of arrest because my mind was focused on how to revive my business. It is hardship that led me into drug trafficking. I am from a poor family. Things are bad that I had to abandon my Guidance and Counselling studies at 200 level at Abia State University,” he stated. He is a 2001 graduate of Giant Steps International Secondary School, Ogbor Hill Aba, Abia State. The suspect hails from Umunya, Anambra State.
Chairman of the Agency, Mr. Ahmadu Giade described the suspects’ action as sad. His words: “It is very sad that a drug convict is involved in drug trafficking few months after his release and deportation. This shows that he is not remorseful. I urge members of the public to resist any temptation to smuggle drugs. You do not need to be involved in crime to be successful, it will tarnish your good name and lead to frustration.” The suspects will soon be charged to court.
Sunday, May 4, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Agenebode, Etsako East Local of Edo State at 10.00a.m. Reception follows immediately after the mass at the church premises.
LASACO gets new agent T. A. Oni’s post-humous 100th birthday holds May 17 HE second Theophilus Adeniran Oni (T. A. Oni) Grandchildren T Reunion 2013, with the theme: Celebrating 100 years of a Great Man”, holds on Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18. This will also commemorate his post-humous 100th birthday. The first edition was held on December 15, and December 16, 2006, with the theme: Knowing Ourselves and the Legacies and was attended by the children and grandchildren. The grandchildren of Chief .T. A. Oni, especially those born after his death on February 15, 1975, wanted to know more about this great man, they wanted to stories shared, they wanted to know why he was such a great man, they needed to know his legacies, and so on. This gave birth to the first edition of the reOni union.
ASACO Assurance Plc. has apL proved the appointment of ACE-Escort Int’l Ltd. as one of its certified marketing agents. In a statement by the United Kingdom-based Managing Director of ACE-Escort Int’l Ltd., Ola Dada Onasanya, the approval means that the company, like many others already on the chains of LASACO, is saddled with the responsibility of strategic marketing and facilitation of consumer loyalty for LASACO. “And this obligations are expected to be carried out within the armpit of the prescribed terms and conditions by the Commissioner for Insurance, Nigeria Supervisor Board, upon which the license of operation was issued. “Practically however, because we are affiliated to LASACO as a marketing agent, our fundamental obligation is to go out and source for clients, on it behave and facilitate the clients’ loyalty to LASACO’s products and services,” Onasanya explained.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Director of Programme and Project, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Ogun State, Mr. Folarin Olayinka (left); Guest Lecturer, Mrs. Omotayo Taiwo; Managing Director/President, Chrisgate Int’l, Mr. Christopher Alabi and Pastor, Andrew Eluwa, during Chrisgate Network Success Summit in Lagos... 0at the weekend PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU Senator Ayogu Eze (left), Works Minister, Mike Onolememen and Ogbueﬁ Ozombachi during the ﬂag-oﬀ of the construction of Ogruite-Umuida-Unadu-Odolu Road by the Federal Government in Enugu State…
Delta commissioner canvasses love for former lepers From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba ORRIED by the stigmatization of persons formerly afflicted with leprosy, the Delta State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mrs. Betty Efekodha has made a passionate appeal to people to always show them affection instead of ostracizing them. Mrs. Efekhoda who spoke yesterday during a visit to the Ex-Lepers’ Settlement at Eku, Ethiope East Local Council of the state, expressed dissatisfaction over the way and manner a section of the society was treating ex-lepers with disdain. She said that it was iniquitous in the sight of God to treat fellow humans as inferior, especially, when their illness had been cured and fully re-admitted into the society She, therefore, called on members of the public, especially, their relatives not to stigmatize them since they had been certified medically fit by experts in the treatment of such disease.
Parents of the groom, Mr. & Mrs. Bamiduro Olukoya Fatosa, during the wedding solemnization between Comfort Achenyo and Olumuyiwa Adedokun Ayokanmi in Abuja… on Saturday PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO.
Efekhoda tasked the mass media to assist in the enlightenment against all forms of stigmatization against them. The commissioner, while inspecting the facilities of the settlement, reiterated the ministry’s commitment towards the rehabilitation of the ex-lepers through the skills acquisition programme of the government in the areas of soap-making, tailoring and hair dressing. She disclosed that the major building housing the skill acquisition centre would be partitioned to accommodate selected trades for training in the settlement. She also announced that training in the centre would soon commence when enough equipment have been procure for the various sections. While assuring them of the state government’s assistance in the provision of starters packs to deserving trainees at the end of their programmes, the Commis-
sioner, who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Omoefe and other officials of the ministry, also promised that their stipends and other demands made such as the provision of a generating set and pumping machine, would be looked into at the appropriate time and asked them to exercise patience. The commissioner who also visited the Remand Home and Detention Centre, Sapele, urged the inmates to change their attitude towards life and be of good behavior The Welfare Office in charge of the centre, Mr. Ovuakporaye Lucky, while conducting the commissioner and members of her entourage round the premises, said that some of the inmates who came in recent time to the centre under-declared their ages, saying that any inmate above 18 years should be taken to the bigger prison.
Dufil Prima begins search for Heroes of Nigeria possesses an innate ability to being children would be picked, come great. There is no doubt UFIL Prima Foods Plc., makers recognized, rewarded and then that Nigeria is privileged to be celebrated for their acts of heroof Indomie Instant Noodles, blessed with several young peoism. has begun the search for outple who posses exceptional char“These children would have standing children for its sixth ediacter for service and milk of made notable sacrifices at great tion of Indomie Independence human kindness flowing in risks to themselves while striving Award for Heroes of Nigeria. them. The Managing Director/ Chief Ex- to survive despite the un“Hence, our belief that they need favourable conditions they find to be identified and celebrated ecutive Officer, Dufil Prima Food, themselves. Deepak Singhal revealed this at publicly in other to encourage Singhal said 15 children had so and inspire more selfless acts in the press briefing in Lagos at the far received the award, which weekend. these children, who would tobegan in 2008. According the him: “The event morrow hold various leadership So far, a total of 15 children have positions in the country as their marks the beginning of yet another significant landmark in the received the awards and have abilities have already indicated.” history of this laudable Corporate their names engraved in gold in Also, the Public Relations Manour hall of fame as heroes of Social Responsibility (CSR) initiaager, Tope Ashiwaju, said chilNigeria and we are about to start dren ho have excelled in the West tive, our company as well as our the process of discovering annation, Nigeria.’ African Examination Council He said the search has begun for other set of heroic children. (WAEC) would also be awarded His words: “This initiative is in and they given scholarship, another set of outstanding chilconsonance with the core values adding that the company was dren for the award. “We are gathered here once again and deep- rooted belief of our ready to invest in the children. “If company and the brand Into initiate the search for the 2013 you invest in the kids, you are indomie that every child indeed heroes in which three outstandvesting in the future, ” he said.
By Eno Bassey
Alternative Dispute Resolution Consultant to the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA), Mrs. Olusola Adegbonmire (left), Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA), Megha Joshi and Member, Board of Directors, Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA), Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), at the LCA Media Round Table held in Lagos... on Friday.
Olukoya gives N40m to 77 first -class graduates By Isaac Taiwo HE General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries (MFM), Dr. Daniel Olukoya has doled out the sum of N40 million to 77 first-class products from various universities across the country and other parts of the world as cash award for this year’s Dr. Daniel Olukoya’s Third Annual Reward for Academic Excellence. Beneficiaries made up of graduates of diverse disciplines with 12 from University of Lagos alone and nine from University of Ibadan were given N500,000.00 each in acknowledgement of their excellent performance and also to encourage them to pursue their Master’s Degree programme.
Mother of a new born baby (left), Mortein Brand Spokesperson, Omawumi Megbele; Marketing Manager, Mercy Muthon and Brand Manager (Mortein), Sheila Cheyne, both of Reckitt Benckiser,during Omawumi’s malaria eradication advocacy campaign in Kenya, Nairobi...
Other institutions that produced the lucky winners include Covenant University, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Central University College, Accra, Ghana, European University of Lefke, Cyprus and SRM University, Channai, India among others. At the event, which took place at MFM Prayer City, along Lagos Ibadan Expressway during Power Must Change Hand programme, Dr. Olukoya’s wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Shade Olukoya, who presented the award, commended the graduates for their dedication to academic work while at the same time serving God. According to her, the award was put in place to reward members of MFM who were dedicated to their academic work while also
creating time to serve the Almighty God. Her words: “This is a reward for hard work, dedication to duty and above all, service to God and mankind”. The Chief Medical Director, University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, Prof. Akin Osibogun, who was at the occasion, praised the leadership of the church for such a unique award, which according to him, would go a long way to encouraging not only the beneficiaries but also other student members of the church to be dedicated to their studies and also love God. Last year’s beneficiaries made up of 15 graduates went home with a car each.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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 Labour Day, reflection day
ODAY is Workers’ Day and like their counterparts all over the world, Nigerian labour unions, activists, rights groups and all who labour, in both public and private sectors, will spend the day on parade in its commemoration. As they observe this yearly ritual, workers must reflect on their plight, renew their fight for economic security, better life, defence of human dignity and peace in the nation. Workers’ Day, otherwise called May Day or Labour Day, is also an auspicious moment to reflect on the inhuman and dispiriting conditions in which many of the Nigerian workers strive. In practical terms, the Nigerian worker is a living testimony to the disconnect between the ruling elite and the masses. For many years, and especially since the advent of the current administration, Nigerian workers have been in the shackles of a rudderless political machinery, that sacrifices the welfare of the people on the altar of other interests. This administration has a Transformation Agenda that, every Nigerian agrees, is full of good intentions but backed by little action. Hence spurious claims of growth, unreliable statistics on looming prosperity, mendacious forecast of development, imprudent management of resources, unrealistic and non-feasible proposals and unimaginable corruption have made the transformation agenda of the Federal Government a mirage. The inability of the ruling elite to fashion out sustainable policies for human development has plunged the working masses into the abyss of poverty. With the grinding poverty and low premium placed on life as well as apathy towards youth employment, the nation has been bedevilled by pervasive insecurity. All this is exacerbated by a systemic corruption that has crippled the country. Nigerian workers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other workers’ coalition should therefore use today to reiterate their resolve to insist on genuine reformist ideas. For the good of the hardworking people of Nigeria, labour unions and activists may wish to stress the importance of today by engaging government on the plight of the people. They should use the sanctity of the event to familiarize Nigerians with the fact that obnoxious policies favourable only to entrenched interests have made a living hell out of Nigeria for workers. Beside the decrepit infrastructure, moribund institutions, harrowing bureaucratic obstacles and other maladies in the public sector, many organisations in the private sector have turned their workers into slaves with no choice. In disregard of Labour Laws, casualisation of workers still thrives in many organisations, while young ladies are sexually exploited and commoditised as a result of little or no opportunity for employment. As typical of a government caught between confusion and deception, the much advertised N18,000 minimum acceded to by the government is still a mirage. And in the absence of diligent implementation, there is a sustained slide into modern slavery. For the vulnerable senior citizens, who have toiled and are expectant of a rewarding life as pensioners or retirees, a problematic and weakly administered pension system has not only been a failure, a grand theft of the pensions by government officials charged with the funds safekeeping and management has been one of the most spectacular tragedies of the nation. The harrowing experiences of pensioners over the collection of their paltry gratuity, as well as alarming stories of fraud perpetrated on the pension accounts are testament to a nation fast losing its soul. This is also a period to think deeply about the unemployed and the incapacitated. In a country where about 42 million youths are allegedly unemployed, and some unrecorded millions are incapacitated, Nigeria totters on the brink of a precipice if this national crisis is not addressed. It is for this and other reasons that the Workers’ Day should neither be for a parade with no message of social relevance, nor one day in the year when government officials, oblivious of the plight of the masses, sardonically claim solidarity with the workers. To address workers’ plight, government must go back to the basics: Provide conducive environment for citizens to expend their energy, time and skills through work for their own self actualization and optimal development of the society. The need for government to provide power, security, infrastructure and other desserts necessary for integral development of society cannot be over-emphasised. Government should focus on tangible transformation through policies and concrete capital investment in the lives of the people.
PRIL 29 , 2008 is a date A that can never be forgotten in the annals of the histo-
Remembering Prof. Jadesola Akande th
ry of the Women, Law and Development Centre Nigeria (WLDCN) a non-governmental, not for profit making organisation she confounded in 1993 and remained the founding Ex-Director till she passed on. It was a day darkness seemed to have descended at noon for us at WLDCN, but, five years on, by the Grace of God, we kept the light shining in many ways. The Jadesola Akande Interactive Forum, which we started later that year to mark her posthumous birthday (November 15) and to ensure that her legacy and passion on human rights, especially women’s rights and the Nigerian constitution, women’s political participation, gender based violence, education for all, child rights are kept at the front burners. These efforts attracted the support of distinguished colleagues, friends and protégés who have since formed an advisory committee tagged JAIF – Jadesola Akande Interactive Forum – to ensure an annual event on topical issues in the context of Human Rights. The Committee being coordinated by Professor (Mrs.) Ayodele Atsenuwa includes Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Dr. (Ms) Sope Fagbohungbe, Dr. (Mrs.) Abiola Akiyode Afolabi, Comrades Baba
Omojola and Ayodele Adewale (Executive Chairman Amuwo Odofin LGA). The composition of membership of JAIF attests to her exemplary leadership and friendship, which cuts across all ages, men and women, the professions and ideologies. It has been very difficult to fit into the big shoes she left for us at WLDCN – much as we have tried in these past five years to keep the flag flying through our Rural Outreach programmes, our advocacy for More Women Participation in Politics especially in the 2011 elections. We participated actively in the recent Nigerian Constitution Review process – in collaboration with Gender and Constitution Review Network (GECORN). We mobilized our women, particularly in the South West to understand and take a stand on issues in the Constitution. On this issue, we sincerely missed Professor Jadesola Akande’s leadership. We recall her strong advocacy on this subject in which she was easily the most qualified (Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law). In the area of education – her gentle but powerful voice in the Forum for African Educationists Nigeria (FAWE) is greatly missed at national and international levels. The Association of African Women for Research and
Development (AAWORD) has not stopped referring to her productive tenure as the Continental President. Happy to note that AAWORD has decided to immortalize her name and four other members, including Ivy Cassaburi, the first African female Director of South Africa Broadcasting Service, Veronica Mullei of Kenya in a book about great Amazons of Women’s Movement in Africa. Professor Jadesola Akande was indeed a worthy ambassador, scholar activist on social issues and an exemplary leader. WLDCN continues to be totally committed to the ideals and vision to achieve a level playing field for women to participate actively and effectively in decision making at all levels in private and public domain. The great mission is Women Empowerment through Research, Training and Advocacy for women to be agents of change on their own behalf. The struggle continues. Our exemplary leader, Professor Jadesola Olayinka Akande (OFR) has fought a good fight, has run the straight race which still reverberates five years on. We pray her lovely and gentle soul continue to rest in peace. • Dr. Keziah Awosika Women, Law and Development Centre, Nigeria.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Business IndustryWatch P51
Tackling bottlenecks to exportation, AGOA implementation
Sustaining maritime’s growth through indigenous professionals
Infrastructure gap in Nigeria to take N54 trillion HERE are indications that T full implementation of the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Action Plan (IAP) would gulp about $350 billion (about N54 trillion) in 10 years. Presenting a report on closing the infrastructure gap and accelerating economic transformation by the AfDB, a consultant to the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Russell Cheetham, said that there was need for special analysis by government to identify areas of need across the country. He said: “Full implementation of the proposed IAP would
require 350 billion dollars of development expenditure during 2011 and 2020. “At 350 billion dollar, the development cost of the IAP is larger than any previously published estimate for overcoming the infrastructure gap in Nigeria. “About 15 billion dollars will be required for capacity building and technical studies that support the design and implementation of the programme,’’ he said. According to him, capital expenditure includes about 285 billion dollars for rehabilitation of existing infrastructure and construction of new
Capital expenditure includes about 285 billion dollars for rehabilitation of existing infrastructure and construction of new facilities to meet existing and future demand...additional 50 billion dollars would be required for investment in transport fleet of the country, including aircraft, tankers for transportation of LNG, locomotives and rolling stock for the railways facilities to meet existing and future demand. He said that additional 50 billion dollars would be required for investment in transport fleet of the country, including
aircraft, tankers for transportation of LNG, locomotives and rolling stock for the railways. The consultant said that there was the need for enlarged bus fleets required to
meet the projected 45 per cent increase in the urban population of the country between 2011 and 2020. He advised that government must ensure maintenance structure was kept in to the process to avoid waste of investment. “Suppose we do spend the 350 billion dollars to rebuild and expand the infrastructure base of the country, the problem is that it must be well maintained. “If it is not well maintained, the fear is that the asset will deteriorate just like it did in the last 30 years because of lack of maintenance.
“So you spend 350 dollars and you don’t maintain, then 10 years later you will not lose 350 dollars alone, but you go on to rebuild,’’ he said. Cheetham said that expenditure on rehabilitation would be in the ratio of four dollars to every dollar on maintenance. He said that funding of the infrastructure would come from government, private sector, Sovereign Wealth fund, state enterprises, donor organisation and households, among others.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 16
Local growers decry rice smuggling to Nigeria From : Mathias Okwe, (Abuja) growers of rice and Lty OCAL importers of the commodihave cried out for govern-
Director, MCS consulting, Afolabi Imoukhuede; Director, Redwood Consulting, Femi Olaiya; Marketing Director Nigerite Limited, Toyin Gbede; and Head, Dry Construction Business Unit, Nigerite Limited, Wale Ogungbe, during interactive forum on Building Construction in the 21st Century organised by Nigerite Limited in Lagos yesterday.
Lagos light rail development to cost N400 billion By Taiwo Hassan HE Lagos light rail project being developed by the Lagos state government under the supervisory of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) is set to cost about $2.5 billion (N400 billion). The Vice-Chairman, Infrastructure Bank Plc, Jonan Kruger, who made this known at a media briefing yesterday in Lagos, said the Lagos light rail project from Marina through Iddo to Agbado has now reached an advanced stage. According to Kruger, the project, which is tagged: Redline Light Rail Project
would be funded by this bank and managed by a consulting firm of Marina Express Consortium. He said that the Redline project would complement the ongoing Blueline rail project, adding that the Redline project was designed as a private sector initiative and is aimed to ease transportation problems in Lagos. The bank’s vice-chairman explained that the bank entered into negotiation with the Lagos State Government to ensure that the project was profitable for investors. “The Redline is one of the projects that Lagos state has designed to solve the traffic problems
in the state.” Managing Director of the bank, Adekunle Oyinloye, said that the Redline would take-off in Marina and join Iddo to meet the Nigerian Railway corridor up to Agbado. He said that residents along Ikeja, Agege, Agbada and Ifo could be transported up to Agbado to ease transportation problem in the state. According to him, the issues relating to the rights of way has been resolved, adding that the state government did well to have approached the private sector to help it to fund the project. The Lagos Light Rail is a light
rail system being developed in Lagos state. The system (the first modern rail-based public transport in SubSaharan Africa outside of South Africa), is being sponsored by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and is envisioned to consist eventually of seven lines. The railway equipment including electric power, signalling, rolling stock, and fare collection equipment will be provided by the private sector under a Concession Contract. LAMATA is responsible for policy direction, regulation, and infrastructure for the
network. In September 2011, LAMATA announced that it would acquire 255 H5 and H6 model subway trains from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The H5s and H6s are to be refurbished and converted to standard gauge in the United States before being shipped and put into service on the new Lagos Light Rail’s Blue and Red lines. In April 2008, the Lagos State Government had approved N70 billion for construction of the Okokomaiko-Iddo-Marina Line, with an estimated completion date of 2011.
ment help against smugglers who they allege have overrun the customs at the boarder entry points. The new group, “Patriotic Rice Association of Nigeria, PRAN” said in Abuja that “massive and incessant smuggling of rice into Nigeria has thrown the rice industry into a turmoil with severe consequences for government revenues, the economy and future plans for rice self-sufficiency.” The statement jointly signed by Alhaji Habibu Maishinkafa, Chairman and Mr. Martins Okereke, Secretary said given the free reign enjoyed by rice smugglers, “a bleak future lies ahead of local rice growers and traders legitimately involved in rice trade.” According to them, the higher tariff and consequent high market prices have enthused smugglers to push large volumes of rice into Nigeria with zero duty, thereby unsettling FG’s efforts to make Nigeria self sufficient in rice production by 2015. They decried the situation in which “large-scale investments in the farming and milling industries by private businesses are also in jeopardy, following Customs’ inability to protect the industry from the vagaries of smugglers. According to them, reports that suggest that more than 400,000 metric tonnes of rice from various origins are estimated to enter the country illegally, dealing a major financial blow to legitimate importers and rice millers.” Needless to add, these illegal imports result in substantial loss of revenue for the Government, estimated to be in the range of N
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Nigeria, EU sign N18 billion financing agreements HE European Union (EU), on T Tuesday, signed 89-million Euro (about N18 billion) financial agreements with the Federal Government to support the country’s health, water programmes and economic growth. The Minister of National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr Shamsuddeen Usman, signed the three financing agreements on behalf of the government, while Dr David MacRae, the Ambassador of the EU to Nigeria, signed on behalf of the union in Abuja. Usman, who was represented by the NPC Secretary, Mr Fidelis Ugbo, said the agreements would help to expedite action toward implementing the programmes. He said that the water supply and sanitation sector reforms was conceived to contribute to poverty reduction, sustainable development and the achieve-
ment of the water and sanitation related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Adamawa, Ekiti, and Plateau states. The minister added that the total budget for the programme was 52 million Euros and that the European Development Fund’s (EDF) contribution toward its implementation was 40 million Euros. He said that the maternal and newborn health programme was designed to significantly improve the health status of women and children through improved and sustainable primary health care delivery system in Adamawa and Kebbi states. According to him, the total budget for the programme is 33 million Euros and the EDF’s contribution to the programme is 30 million Euros. ``The Nigeria competitive-
ness support programme will support the country in trade and investment competition through development of process, procedures and stronger capacity of relevant institutions in Nigeria.’’ Usman said that the total budget for the programme was 230 million Euros and that the EDF’s contribution to the
programme was 19 million Euros. ``By authorising the three financing agreements today, the EU contribution stands at 89 million Euros. In this regard, Nigeria will be on the right track to making considerable progress in the achievement of the MDGs,’’ he said. The minister said the EU con-
tribution would also assist Nigeria to achieve its developmental goals as enshrined in the country’s Vision 20:20202 and the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. In his remarks, MacRae said the EU would contribute 89 million Euros from the EDF to assist in the development of
water supply, improved access to health and foster economic growth in Nigeria. NAN recalled that the Federal Government had in November 2009, signed the 10th EDF Country Strategy PaperNational Indicative Programme with EU for the implementation of 17 indicative programmes in the country.
Aviation workers seek NCAA intervention to save airlines By Chika Goodluck-Ogazi ORRIED by the rate at which indigenous airlines are collapsing in the country, the Congress of Aviation Unions and Professional Association (CAUPA) has called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to scrutinize prospective airline operators and monitor the operations to ensure their survival. In a statement signed by the Secretary, Austyn Njoku, recently in Lagos, the association lamented that the nation has lost over thirty airlines within a space of thirty years, due to poor management. It further stated that the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency, through the Federal Ministry Aviation, pursue the policy of re-establishing a National Carrier for the benefit of government and Nigerians in general. According to CAUPA, this would lead to the re-establishment of standard operating procedures and safety consciousness in the aviation industry. It added that, it would
increase job creation for the teeming youths and redundant professionals. Besides, the drainage the sector has become on the economy would eventually be fixed, and the pride of Nigerians all over the world would also be restored. He said: “CAUPA is in full support of this project but cautions that the idea of purchasing and distributing aircraft to failed and ailing airlines should be completely disregarded in the interest of safety, unity, integrity, good governance, prudence and transparency”, it said. The association also insisted that the coming of the National Carrier must be preceded by the settlement of all labour and pensions issues arising from the unconstitutional liquidation of the former National Carrier, Nigeria Airways. On the appointment of the next Director General of NCAA, it maintained that the National Assembly should conclude its oversight functions soonest, so that a legally and professionally qualified Director General may continue to oversee the job of the regulatory agency without further delay.
Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti (left); Chairman, Sahara Group, Mr. Tonye Cole; Rivers Commissioner for Commerce & Industry, Mr. Chuma Chinye; and Deputy Governor, Rivers State, Tele Ikuru, at the inaugural Business Roundtable with Rivers State Government in Port Harcourt.
Govt seeks partnership with Bayelsa on water provision From Joke Faluju (Abuja) HE Federal Government T has expressed its desire to partner with the Government of Bayelsa state to ensure adequate provision of safe water for the people of the area. The Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, while receiving the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson in her office in Abuja, said that Federal Government had realized that to meet the MDGs goals there is the need to increase collaboration with the states government. She pointed out that the Ministry recently held a meeting with all the Commissioners of Water Resources in the states to strengthen the bond of coop-
eration between them to achieve the objective of adequate provision of safe water. She disclosed that a further meeting with Nigeria Governors’ Forum is being planned to solicit for their support. The Minister told the Governor that work was progressing on the Otuoke Water project being handled by the ministry of Water Resources which extends to 13 communities within the Otuoke Area and other similar projects in the state. While lamenting the set back suffered by the Otuoke water project due to the effect of flood of last year, Ochekpe assured that the project would soon be completed and by July this year the people of Otuoke and other adjoining communi-
WAPCo regrets inability to meet gas supply resumption deadline By Roseline Okere ESUMPTION of gas supply to West African countries by the West Africa Pipeline Company (WAPCo), has been delayed as the company was not able to complete drying the pipeline to avoid corrosion. The General Manager, Corporate Affairs of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo), Mrs. Harriet Wereko-Brobby, told The Guardian yesterday, that the company was still engaged in the cleaning of the pipeline and was not sure exactly when it would resume gas flow from Nigeria. The company had set April 30 (yesterday) as deadline to resume flow of gas from Nigeria to West African countries after being shut for over six months due to damages
done to its pipeline around Lome in Togo. Wereko-Brobby had told the media in Lagos that the company was expected to resume flow of gas by April 30. “The damaged pipeline is receiving intensive repairs and it is being tested to make it leakage-proof. We have replaced the damaged segments, tested the joins and made sure that there are no leakages. Now the next thing that we have to do is to clean the pipeline to make sure that there is no water and debris. We are expecting that all things being equal, April 30 is the date when we will be ready to resume the transportation of gas. We will just announce to our shipper that the pipeline is ready so push the gas through”. But she told The Guardian
yesterday that the company could not meet the deadline. “We could not met the deadline. We are still drying the line and we are not setting a new deadline yet”. According to her, the replacement of damaged pipes and testing joints to ensure there are no leakages has been completed. What is left is the Pipeline Integrity Gauge (PIG) - equipment used to push water and debris out of the pipe - as well as using hot-air to dry the pipeline to transport gas. On August 28, 2012, part of the approximately 656-kilometre-long West African Gas Pipeline was damaged when a crash between Togolese Navy and a third-party vessel resulted in the vessel dragging its anchor into the pipeline and ripping it apart. The two ends of the pipeline
were dragged about 10 and 15 metres off the original position. The recipient countries have since been without gas, leading to power-rationing in Ghana as a result of the halt in the supply of gas to the 200megawatt Asogli Power Plant, which relies solely on gas for electricity production. Ghana receives about 123 million cubic feet of gas a day from WAPCo, making the country the largest recipient in the four-nation gas project. Benin and Togo receive five million cubic feet a day each of the gas that comes from Nigeria. The restoration of WAPCo’s natural-gas supply upon completion of the de-silting process is expected to bring back the 200megawatts of power lost through shutdown of the Asogli Power
ties would start to enjoy water. “We are sorry that in Bayelsa State you have so much water around you but you no fresh water because of the effect of pollution, Government is doing everything possible through our Niger Delta River Basin Authority to support you and ensure adequate provision of water for the people in the area”, the minister said.
On the interest shown by the Bayelsa state Government to take over the Rice Farm Project at Peremabiri, the Minister said: “We will collaborate with you but we will not hand over the project”. Earlier, Governor of Bayelsa state, Seriake Dickson said the state government alone cannot provide water in a state like Bayelsa without support from the Federal
Nigeria’s infrastructure gap to take N54 trillion CONTUNUED FROM PAGE 15 The consultant also expressed optimism that the report aligned with the vision of the government. He said that the report looked at the various sectors which include roads, ports, aviation, rail, gas pipe line transport and urban transportation. Others, he said, were electric power, rural energy, human resource management and irrigation, among others. The AfDB Resident Representative, Mr Ousmane Dore, said that the aim of the report was to take stock of the infrastructure gap in the coun-
try. “This report has clearly highlighted the fact that there is huge gap. “If you look at the support in Nigeria, it’s about infrastructure we have in water, road and power and all those have already positioned AfDB to be the main provider of infrastructure on the continent, particularly here in Nigeria,’’ he said. Dore said that the donor organisations’ contribution in closing the gap was two per cent, adding that effort must be made to use the little contribution to impact effectively.
LASACO okays ACE-Escort as new agent ASACO Assurance Plc has LInternational appointed ACE-Escort Limited as one of its certified marketing agents. According to a statement by the United Kingdombased Managing Director of ACE-Escort International Limited, Ola Dada Onasanya, the appointment means ACE-Escort, like many others already on the chains of LASACO, is saddled
with the responsibility of strategic marketing and facilitation of consumer loyalty for the company. “These obligations are expected to be carried out within the ambit of the prescribed terms and conditions by the Commissioner for Insurance, Nigeria Supervisor Board, upon which the license of operation was issued,” Onasanya said.
ThE GUARDiAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Unity Bank records 130 per cent profit rise By Chijioke Nelson
NiTy bank Plc grew U profit after tax by 130 per cent in the 2012 finan-
Alternative Dispute Resolution Consultant to the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA), Mrs. Olusola Adegbonmire (left); Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Megha Joshi and Member, Board of Directors, Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, at the LCA Media Round Table held in Lagos.
DPR seals eight fuel stations for alleged sharp practices From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri
hE Department of T Petroleum Resources (DPR), Owerri Zonal office yesterday sealed about eight fuel stations located in various areas in Owerri metropolis for alleged involvement in sharp practices, ranging from under dispensing, gross under measuring, closing their premises on citing the DPR officials who are on routine monitoring. According to the Zonal Operations Controller, Mr. innocent Ndubuka Apkamgbo, leading the head Down Stream, Mr. Edwin Ondoma, an Engineer; Team Leader, Diegbegha Jackson Douzi, among others, said the stations will remain shut down until they remedy the problems identified in them and subsequently re-certified. The affected stations are located in Okigwe, Orji, Egbu and Onitsha Roads in Owerri. Apkamgbo regretted that the filling stations were not able to fix their meters when the cerafin cans were used to measure the meterage. he warned that since he assumed duties in the zone comprising Enugu, Anambra, imo, Ebonyi and Abia, he had been busy identifying areas to improve standards and regulations, stressing that the vision/ mission statements and core values launched by the boss of the directorate, Mr. Austin Olorunsola on April 8, would be upheld to the letter. According to him, the PMS sold at N97, while kerosene should also be dispensed in the regulated price, adding that the marketers should apply all specified petroleum products according to their availability. he regretted that some fuel stations dealers use pumps that are out of use, stressing that he would ensure that surveillance of downstream retail outlet monitoring activities was carried out regularly to protect consumers.
cial year. According to the bank’s audited accounts presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), profit after tax rose to N6.18 billion as at December 31, 2012, up from N2.69 billion, it recorded in 2011. The bank’s gross earnings stood at N53.76 billion up from N46.27 billion in 2011, representing a growth of 16 per cent. interest and similar income grew by 30 per cent from N31.71 billion in 2011 to N41.24 billion in 2012. Total operating expenses declined by eight per cent from N32.23 billion the previous year to N29.67 billion in the year under review. Financial analysts believe
that this has impacted positively on cost to income ratio, which improved from 81 per cent in 2011 to 79 per cent in the year under review. This improvement was attributed to continued optimal resource allocation and cost efficiencies of the bank. The bank’s loans and advances rose significantly by 60 per cent from N117.88 billion to hit N189.04 billion in 2012. This growth is mostly in the real sector in line with national economic imperatives of making more credit available to that sector. According to the audited report, customers’ deposits grew by 1.19 per cent from N266.88 billion as at end of December 2011, to N270.06 billion in 2012. Total assets of the bank grew by six per cent from
N372.93 billion in December 2011 to N395.72 billion in December 2012. Loans and advances grew by 95 per cent from N139.27 billion as at March 31, 2012, to N201.70 billion in the first quarter of 2013, while customers’ deposit rose by 12 per cent to close at N299.32 billion from N267.38 billion in the corresponding period of 2012. Gross earnings grew by 16 per cent from N12.69 billion in first quarter of 2012 to N14.71 billion in 2013, while profit before tax stood at N2.50 billion, up by eight per cent from N2.31 billion in the same period of 2012.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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MoneyWatch Economic scorecard spotlights money market developments
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance minister
Recently, the apex bank released the nation’s economic scorecard for the month of February. How did the financial system fare? CHIJIOKE NELSON presents an extract from the report. HE state of health of any given economy cannot be separated from its financial system. For many economies that have experienced economic “shipwreck”, from America to Europe, it all started from the financial sector and sometimes, accentuated by the unbridled bogus lifestyle of leadership in the sector, as well as the political class. The financial system policy and activities of any nation directly affect the key ingredients of micro and macro economic factors, like the interest rates, quantity of money in circulation, employment and ultimately, inflation level. The real sector development, public and private sector contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and individuals’ spending power are also directly derived from the financial system and/or a derivation of the multiplier effect. In Nigeria, all these factors have been playing out in a dangerous pattern for sometime now, as they have all been linked to the cause of the existence of each other at various points, while the economy continues to record “one leg in, two legs out” trend. The nation’s economic report for the month of February was a mixed grill in the money market sector, which forms a major aspect of the financial system. Interest rates Available data indicated that most banks’ deposit and lending rates fell during the review month. With the exception of the interbank and average savings deposit rates, all other bank deposit rates of various maturities trended downward. The prime lending rate declined marginally, while the maximum lending rate increased during the review month. The spread between the weighted average term deposit and maximum lending rates widened by 0.84 percentage point to 17.72 per cent in February 2013. Similarly, the margin between the average savings deposit and maximum lending rates widened by 0.03 percentage point to 22.88 per cent at the end of the review month. The weighted average interbank call rate rose to 11.98 per cent from 11.67 per cent in the preceding month, reflecting the liquidity condition in the market. Money Market Developments Financial market indicators were relatively stable during the review period. The CBN inter-
vened periodically in the market to mop up excess liquidity at the Open Market Operation (OMO). In addition to other monetary policy tools deployed, FGN Bonds and NTBs were issued at the primary market on behalf of the Debt Management Office (DMO) for the fiscal operations of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN). Subscription to the FGN bonds remained impressive as a result of the sustained interest of foreign portfolio investors due to its attractive yield and the global acceptance of its international index and the elevated liquidity levels. Provisional data indicated that the value of money market assets outstanding at endFebruary 2013 was N5,943.37 billion, indicating a decrease of 4.9 per cent, in contrast to the increase of 0.5 per cent at the end of the preceding month. The development was attributed to the 9.4 and 11.3 per cent decline in FGN Bonds and commercial paper outstanding, respectively. Total federally-collected revenue in February 2013 was estimated at N856.52 billion. This was above the provisional monthly budget estimate and the receipt in the preceding month by 6.0 and 10.0 per cent, respectively. At N655.25 billion, gross oil receipts was above the provisional monthly budget estimate and the level in the preceding month. This was attributed largely, to the increase in the price of crude oil in the international market. Deposit Money Banks’ Activities Available data indicated that total assets and liabilities of the deposit money banks (DMBs) amounted to N22,057.4 billion, showing an increase of 1.4 per cent above the level at the end of the preceding month. Funds were sourced mainly from increased mobilisation of time, savings and foreign currency deposits. The funds were used, largely, in the extension of credit to the Federal Government, and increase in foreign and unclassified assets. At N13,643.8 billion, DMBs’ credit to the domestic economy rose by 1.2 per cent over the level in the preceding month. The breakdown showed that relative to the level at the end of the preceding month, credit to the Federal Government and private sector rose by 1.1 and 10.7 per cent, respectively. Total specified liquid assets of the DMBs stood at N6,780.0 billion, representing 45.0 per cent of their total current liabilities. At that level, the liquidity ratio rose by 0.2 percentage point above the level in the preceding month, and was 15.0 percentage points
above the stipulated minimum ratio of 30.0 per cent. The loans-to- deposit ratio, at 40.6 per cent, was 1.1 percentage point below the level at the end of the preceding month, and 39.4 percentage points below the prescribed maximum ratio of 80.0 per cent. Monetary and Credit Developments Growth in the major monetary aggregate was moderate at the end of first two months of the year. Available data indicated mixed developments in banks’ deposit and lending rates during the review month. The value of money market assets outstanding decreased, owing, largely, to the decline in FGN Bonds and Commercial Paper outstanding. Transactions on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) recorded mixed development during the review month. Provisional data indicated that growth in the major monetary aggregate was moderate at end-February 2013. Broad money supply (M2) at N15,561.72 billion, rose by 2.0 per cent, on month-on-month basis, above the level at the end of the preceding month and 18.0 per cent at the end of the corresponding month of 2012. The development reflected the 6.0 and 3.0 per cent increase in domestic credit (net) and foreign asset (net) of the banking system, respectively, which more than off-set the 9.0 per cent decline in other asset (net) of the banking system. Over the level at endDecember 2012, (M2) grew by 2.9 per cent. Narrow money supply (M1), at N6,928.5 billion, however, declined by 1.0 per cent, on month-on-month basis, below the level at the end of the preceding month but rose by 7.0 per cent above the level at the end of the corresponding period of 2012. The development was attributed to the 1.0 per cent decline in its demand deposit component. Over the level at end-December 2012, (M1) fell by 2.0 per cent. Quasi-money grew by 4.0 per cent, on
month-on- month basis, to N8,633.2 billion, compared with the growth of 2.0 per cent at the end of the preceding month. The development reflected the increase in time and savings deposits with the deposit money banks (DMBs). Relative to the level at end-December 2012, quasi-money grew by 2.1 per cent. At N15,377.1 billion, aggregate banking system credit (net) to the domestic economy, at endFebruary 2013, rose by 6.0 per cent, on monthon-month basis, compared with the growth of 3.9 per cent at the end of the preceding month. The development reflected, wholly, the 117.0 per cent increase in (net) claims on the Federal Government. Over the level at end-December 2012, aggregate banking system credit (net) to the domestic economy rose by 10.2 per cent due to significant increase of 108.2 per cent in (net) claims on Federal Government. Banking system’s credit (net) to the Federal Government, on month-on-month basis, rose by 117.0 per cent to N108.6 billion, compared with the growth of 52.0 and 21.2 per cent at the end of the preceding month and the corresponding month of 2012, respectively. The development was attributed, wholly, to the 12.2 per cent increase in the banking system’s holdings of the Nigerian Treasury Bills. Over the level at the endDecember 2012, banking system credit (net) to Federal Government rose by 108.2 per cent. Banking system’s credit to the private sector relative to the level at the end of the preceding month, grew by 0.9 per cent to N15,268.4 billion, in contrast to the decline of 1.0 per cent a month earlier. Similarly, banking system’s claims on the core private sector increased by 1.1 per cent to N14,618.8 billion in contrast to the 1.1 per cent decline at the end of the preceding month. The development reflected, largely, the 0.8 per cent rise in bank’s claims on the core pri-
CONTINUED ON PAGE 22
Lamido Sanusi, CBN governor
NUGGETS:Net Profit, Dividend Often referred to as the bottom line, net profit is calculated by subtracting a company's total expenses from total revenue, thus showing what the company has earned (or lost) in a given period of time (usually one year). It is also called net income or net earnings. Dividend is a taxable payment declared by a company's board of directors and given to its shareholders out of the company's current or retained earnings, usually quarterly. Dividends are usually given as cash (cash divi-
dend), but they can also take the form of stock (stock dividend) or other property. Dividends provide an incentive to own stock in stable companies, even if they are not experiencing much growth. Companies are not required to pay dividends. The companies that offer dividends are most often companies that have progressed beyond the growth phase and no longer benefit sufficiently by reinvesting their profits, so they usually choose to pay them out to their shareholders. It is also called payout.
26 MONEY WATCH
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Economic activities and money market developments CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 vate sector. Relative to the level at end-December 2012, banking system’s credit to the private sector fell by 0.1 per cent due to 1.5 per cent decline in DMBs claims on private sector. (Fig. 2, Table 1). At N9,630.1 billion, foreign assets (net) of the banking system rose by 3.5 per cent, on month-on-month basis, at end-February 2013, compared with the increase of 2.2 per cent at the end of the preceding month and a decline of 3.9 per cent at the end of the corresponding period of 2012. The development was attributed to the 2.7 and 7.1 per cent increase in foreign assets holdings of CBN and deposit money banks, respectively. Over the level at endDecember 2012, foreign assets (net) of the banking system rose by 5.8 per cent owing to the 7.9 per cent rise in foreign assets holdings of the DMBs. Other assets (net) of the banking system, on a month- on-month basis, fell by 9.4 per cent to negative N9,445.4 billion, compared with 8.9 per cent decline at the end of the preceding month. The decline reflected, largely, the fall in unclassified assets of both the CBN and the DMBs. Over the level at end-December 2012, other assets (net) of the banking system fell 19.1 per cent for the same reason above. Discount Houses’ Activities Available data indicated that total assets and liabilities of the discount houses stood at N340.0 billion at end- February 2013, showing a decrease of 6.3 per cent below the level at end-January 2013. The development was accounted for, largely, by the 9.0 per cent decrease in claims on Federal Government. Correspondingly, the decrease in total liabilities was attributed, largely, to the 12.7 per cent fall in moneyat- call. Discount houses’ investment in Federal Government securities of less than 91-day maturity decreased
to N154.8 billion and accounted for 54.6 per cent of their total deposit liabilities. Thus, investment in Federal Government Securities was 5.4 percentage points below the prescribed minimum level of 60.0 per cent. At that level, discount houses’ investment in NTBs fell by 6.0 per cent below the level at the end of the preceding month. Total borrowing by the discount houses was N75.7 billion, while their capital and reserves amounted to N16.9 billion. This
resulted in a gearing ratio of 4.5:1, compared with the stipulated maximum target of 50:1 for fiscal 2013. Non-Oil receipts Non-oil receipts, at N201.28 billion (23.5 per cent of the gross federally collected revenue), was 21.0 per cent lower than the provisional monthly budget estimate but 11.9 per cent higher than receipts in the preceding month. The decline relative to the provisional budget estimate reflected, largely, the drop in inde-
in February 2013 included tending of irrigation-fed vegetable and cereal crop; harvesting of tree crops; and clearing of land for 2013 wet season farming. In the livestock sector, farmers were involved in the raising of livestock to replace stock sold during the past festivities. Crude oil production was estimated at 2.06 million barrels per day (mbd) or 57.68 million barrels during the month. Crude oil export was estimated at 1.61 million barrels per day (mbd) or 45.08 million barrels during the month. The average price of Nigeria’s reference crude, the Bonny Light (370 API), was estimated at US$115.58 per barrel, indicating an increase of 2.7 per cent above the level in the preceding month. The end-period inflation rate for February 2013, on a year-on-year basis, was 9.5 per cent, 0.5 percentage point above the level in the preceding month. The inflation rate on a 12-month moving average basis was 11.7 per cent, compared with the preceding month’s level of 11.9 per cent. Foreign exchange inflow and outflow through the CBN in February 2013 were US$3.42 billion and US$1.88 billion, respectively, and resulted in a pendent revenue of the federal govnet inflow of US$1.54 billion. Foreign ernment and National Information exchange sales by the CBN to the Technology Development Fund (NITDF). Federal Government estimat- authorized dealers amounted to ed retained revenue in February 2013 US$1.46 billion, showing an increase of 42.9 per cent above the level in the was N249.74 billion, while total estipreceding month. mated expenditure was N444.17 billion. Thus, the fiscal operations of the Relative to the level in the previous month, the average Naira exchange Federal Government resulted in an rate vis-à-vis the US dollar remained estimated deficit of N194.43 billion, compared with the estimated month- on changed at N157.30/US$ at the WDAS segment of the market, it howly budget deficit of N94.68 billion. The dominant agricultural activities ever, appreciated at the interbank and depreciated at the bureaux-dechange segment of the foreign exchange market. Non-oil export receipts increased significantly by 22.3 per cent above the level in the preceding month, this was attributed, largely, to the 148.7 and 73.9 per cent rise in receipts from industrial and agricultural sectors, respectively.
The spread between the weighted average term deposit and maximum lending rates widened by 0.84 percentage point to 17.72 per cent in February 2013. Similarly, the margin between the average savings deposit and maximum lending rates widened by 0.03 percentage point to 22.88 per cent at the end of the review month.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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Marginal Fields Out Of Action, For Four Months Pipeline repairs, largely due to vandalism, render small players less profitable By Toyin Akinosho OUR Nigerian marginal fields, with total FDay(BOPD), output of 22,000Barrels of Oil Per resumed production last weekend, after more than two months of complete shut in, with nary a drop of oil out of the hole. Indeed, they have been out of production in four out of the last seven months. The fields were shut in between October and December 2012, reopened and shut-in again from mid-February to the last week of April 2013. Midwestern Oil and Gas/Suntrust’ s Umusadege Field, Pillar Oil’s Umuseti field,
Platform/Newcross’ Egbeoma Field and Energia/Oando’s Ebendo, are all located in the socalled “marginal field cluster” in Nigeria’s volatile Delta State. They deliver 71.6% of the 30,600BOPD, which amounts to the entire crude oil contribution of marginal fields to Nigeria’s daily output. Crudes from these fields are exported through the 10 inch Kwale-Akri oil delivery pipeline that is operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company(NAOC) Limited. The pipeline connects these fields to the Brass export terminal. There have been sporadic, if low intensity attacks on crude oil pipelines all over onshore Niger Delta since the militancy of the mid 200s became a fact of life in the basin. A month and half after the shut in of the Kwale pipeline, Agip shut down its activities in the Bayelsa state, claiming it was losing about 7,000 barrels of its crude production daily to oil thieves in the state. This, clearly did not involve any Nigerian company, but the several months of non- production in Delta State have significantly dented enthusiasm of local o p e r a t o r s . “I was under pressure”, says Osa Owiedolor, Chief Operating Officer Of Platform Petroleum,
operators of the Egbeoma field, which produces 2,200Barrels Of Oil Per Day. “It’s not something you can recover”. Marginal fields are exactly what they are called: “Marginal”. Most of them are producing almost flat out and when they are shut in, they can’t produce in excess of what they were doing before the event, to claw back the revenue lost. This is unlike big companies who produce according to quota determined by the Department Of Petroleum Resources(DPR). When such companies come back on stream after an attack or repairs, they can ramp up production in a number of ways, including opening the tap from other fields unaffected by the shut in and make up for lost output. “It’s painful not to get crude to market”, laments Seye Fadahunsi, technical director of Pillar Oil, which produces the Umuseti field at 2,700BOPD. “It’s a killer for a marginal field producer”, he elaborates, “Pipeline Vandalism is clearly not in favour of small players”. The statement is one of supreme irony. When indigenous Nigerian companies campaign for
take- over of acreage from Big Oil, their slogan is always something like: “We are local boys, we know how to deal with the communities”. Even if they know the local terrain, there are handicaps; the infrastructure of evacuation is, for now, is largely owned by the multinationals. The three remaining marginal field producers outside the “Cluster 4”, also export their crude through Shell and Chevron facilities. Niger Delta Petroleum Resources(NDPR)’s Ogbele Field in Rivers State exports its crude through Shell’s facility around the Sombreiro River , Chevron buys directly from Brittania U, which transports its Ajapa Field crude, located offshore Delta State, by shuttle barge to Chevron’s tank farm at Escravos. Waltersmith’s Ibigwe field in Imo State is evacuated via Shell’s Assa Manifold . These fields collectively produce 8,700BOPD and they are not entirely immune from the challenges. “We have not been shut in”, says Layiwola Fatona, Managing Director of Niger Delta Petroleum Resources, “but we know, we are part of the picture”. The 4,000BOPD Ibigwe field, located on the eastern flank of the Niger Delta Basin, has been shut in for 10 days this year. Last year, it was shut in for a total of 120 days(or roughly four months), also due to incessant attacks on the export pipeline to which it delivers its daily crude production. The luck of location has helped Ogbelle Field and Ajapa Field to escape the wrath of vandals; Ogbele field is nearer the coast than the CONTINUED ON PAGE 24
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
28 AFRICAN OIL&GAS REPORT
What Happens On Ground OST of the reports on oil and gas around M Africa are about Policy. Ministerial statements get far more mileage than oilfield activity. Drilling reports make it into headline news, but what they mean, in substantial terms, are buried in the mass of words about a country’s investment climate. The absence of details about field development and specific community issues affect our wholesale understanding about the functionality of the upstream end of the petroleum sector. We at Africa Oil+Gas Report are as guilty as all the others. What we can say, is that we will do much more. The challenges of the Nigerian indigenous operator will be better understood if the press is more keen to find out what they’re doing on the field. It is not to praise this species, it is to appraise things and do stories that put them in context of the evolving nature of the industry. The three main stories, on Pages 1 and 2 of this pull out are not entirely different from the tendency to cover oil and gas upstream from Lagos. We only hope we have provided clearer perspective on what’s actually happening on ground, by the answers we get to our questions. This is what we are; an explainer of activity in the industry. PLUS: The theme explored in the March/April 2013 issue of our monthly magazine is described in the short article, The African Independent, In View, published in one of the pages here. In the last three years, the magazine has dedicated an edition, titled Independents’ Day, to International independents (known as minors), including Tullow Oil, Anadarko and Apache Corp., who have focused on Africa, helping to unlock reserves in previously unexplored basins. Now that African entrepreneurs are owning acreages and operating them, we need to take stock of what they are about, hence this new edition ocused on homegrown players. The March/April issue also features a chart on daily production of Nigeria’s Top 20 Indigenous Producing Companies, an updated map of marginal field activity, activity map of Ghana and other detailed work of industry intelligence. We don’t provide that kind of information in this pull out. To access such, you have to subscribe to the monthly magazine: its 20,000Naira for a year of 12 monthly issues(print) and 45,000Naira for the e-copies per annum. The Africa Oil+Gas Report is the primer of the hydrocarbon industry on the continent. It is the market leader in local contextualizing of global developments and policy issues and is the go-to medium for decision makers, whether they be international corporations or local entrepreneurs, technical enterprises or financing institutions, for useful analyses of Africa’s oil and gas industry. Published by the Festac News Press Limited since November 2001, AOGR is a monthly, 40 page hardcopy publication delivered to subscribers around the world. Its website remains www.africaoilgasreport.com and the contact email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact telephone numbers in our West African regional headquarters in Lagos are 2348130733523, 2347062420127, 2348034449079, 234803652979, 2348023902519. Please enjoy what this edition of the Pullout has to offer. -Toyin Akinosho, Publisher
Marginal Fields Out Of Action, For Four Months CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23 cluster fields and Ibigwe. Ajapa field is right in the Atlantic. “The farther you are from the coast, the easier it is for your field to be shut in once the export pipeline is vandalized or needs repairs” , says an official of the Department of Petroleum Resources, the country’s regulatory agency. Whereas Shell has been the most outspoken about the value destruction and environmental degradation that pipeline vandalism wreaks, the phenomenon is impacting a lot more local companies, who export crude through its facilities. In April 2013, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company(NPDC) averaged 7,500BOPD in the Ogini field in the Oil Mining Lease( OML) 26, also in the troublesome Delta State. The figure reflects a 25% drop from the 10,000BOPD the field had averaged between February and March, 2013. NPDC was not the only casualty of the value destruction. There is the First Hydrocarbon Nigeria(FHN), which holds 45% equity on the field. Crisis Creates “New Infrastructure” Pan Ocean is not a marginal field producer. It is a relatively sizeable Nigerian company which has produced oil for 37 years. It currently evacuates her crude through the NPDC/SEPLAT pipeline from Amukpe to Forcados. “The frequent shutdown of the pipeline calls for an alternative means of crude evacuation”, the company says. A sixty seven kilometre long pipeline of twenty inch diameter (67km, 20”) is being constructed with the use of Horizontal Direction Drilling (HDD) technology. When completed, the facility will provide a more secure means of crude evacuation to the Chevron tank farm at Escravos . “The pipeline has the capacity to evacuate approximately 160, 000barrels of oil per day (BOPD). This creates a crude oil evacuation opportunity for other producers within the area of the pipeline and this will increase the export capacity in the region”. Hardboiled cynics miff that Pan Ocean doesn’t
even have 40,000BOPD, a quarter of the capacity, to put into the pipeline and, wondering what “other producers” are really there in the vicinity, they dismiss it as a waste of money to construct an oversized pipeline. But, why don’t we look at the bright side: “On completion, the pipeline will provide a reliable, efficient and low risk pipeline system through the adoption of the HDD”, Pan Ocean says. “It will ensure and more secure and un-interrupted hydrocarbon evacuation as the pipeline will be buried between 6-45m deep. The HDD technology of the pipeline provides additional protection of pipeline from other activities including dredging and ecological erosion”. Midwestern Oil and Gas, which has the largest production (13,000BOPD) of all the marginal field operators, is also constructing an alternative pipeline away from Agip’s 10 inch KwaleAkri oil delivery pipeline. It is not entirely due to vandalism; it’s more about the difficult relationship that Midwestern has with Agip. “We
We Are Not A Paper Tiger Nigerian independent Midwestern Oil and Gas was partnered with Suntrust, in a 70:30 ratio, to operate the Umusadege oil field in the Oil Mining Lease(OML56), in the country’s only marginal field awards. Out of the 31 companies awarded 24 marginal fields, with certificate of awards in February 2003, the Midwestern-Suntrust partnership is one of seven to have reached first oil and producing. Plus, at 13,000BOPD, the partnership has the largest production of the six oil producers. But it is the only one of those six oil producers with a technical partner, one that is so visible in the press. Midwestern Oil and Gas fights off the media claims that the technical partner, Calgary based Mart Resources, is the operator. The term “operatorship”, with all it connotes, is important to us in this magazine Africa Oil+Gas Report. An operator is the one who chooses where to drill, even if it uses the services of subsurface consultants; he is the who decides who to award contracts for surface facilities, in short, who oversees development from the choice of drainage points to crude oil delivery to the flowstation. Our belief is that a marginal field operator should grow its own technical and administrative capacity through heady involvement in all the facets of field development. Oil is a finite resource, but the human capacity developed in the process of extracting it can be used forever. The discussion with Mr. Adams Okoene, Managing Director of Midwestern Oil and Gas, was thus largely around whether a small Canadian firm is the one deploying all the technical knowledge in developing one of the country’s largest marginal fields.
KOENE is in familiar territory. O He was Engineering Manager at Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria for four years -a key responsibility in the largest oil producing company in the countryand he moved up to run the company’s recruitment, training and education as Corporate Manager. He was invited from retirement to run Midwestern. In his office on Victoria Island recently, he told us: “It is possible for a company to operate on paper. We are not operating on paper. We’re operating in reality. All the staff on the Umusadege field are Midwestern staff. “All the people in this office are Midwestern, with the exception of two finance people who work for Mart Resources”. We asked about the relationship with Mart Resources. Mr Okoene explained: “Because Mart provided the money for production; they have a share in production. They have no ownership of that field. They do not operate the field. Mart Resources has its own offices outside of here”. He was proud to take us on a memory lane. “When I took over this
have about 5- 6,000BOPD locked in, that we can’t evacuate, because of the restriction”, says Adams Okoene, Midwestern’s otherwise calm, personable CEO. After completion the crude will be transported westwards in a new 53km, 12 inch pipeline to Shell’s Eriemu manifold into the trunkline to Shell’s Forcados facility. It will be the primary pipeline for Midwestern and Energia and alternative pipeline for Pillar Oil and Platform Petroleum, the other members of the “Cluster 4”. But even with a relatively small project , things can quickly unravel for the small player in the Niger Delta basin. The pipeline was originally planned to come on line by June 2013, but community challenges have held it up. Each of the 33 communities along the 53 kilometres is demanding settlement. The obstruction has pushed the cost up from $35MM to $65MM, and the commissioning date is no longer certain.
goes to Midwestern, 30% goes to Suntrust. Half of the 70% due to Midwestern goes to Mart Resources. Mart is also a partner of Suntrust and they have an agreement. Half of the 30% due to Suntrust goes to Mart Resources. Suntrust is a non operator”. At what point does Mart exit? “No, they are not leaving”, Mr Okoene explained, “ that relationship (including the equity split) is for the life of the field. It was an agreement we entered under..” let’s just say at a time that the choices were hard. “We are looking at other assets, which they have nothing to do with. We are talking with Shell, we are talking with Chevron. We are looking at South America. He said that Midwestern built up its production facility gradually and now has a full fledged production system”. Mr. Okoene is comfortable with flaunting his Shell pedigree. “What I always say, Shell taught me a lot of things, There are two key ones: company, it was just a piece of Fitness For Purpose, Value For paper. We’ve built it up. Mart Resources had the money and they Money. For all my staff, whatever they do, I insist they keep that in brought the technical expertise. It mind. A small company like us was always clear that Midwestern can’t afford to be extravagant. I would take over the operation. “Initially, things were more or less was in Shell, which had systems, done out of Canada. We have a tech- procedures, but was also big. Things are different here, we are nical team here. The decision as to where to drill, I chair that. The deci- smaller” Okoene talked of a “lack of comfort sion as to where the rig is coming in the tariff structure” associated from, we determine. with using the Eni operated As far as the reserves certification pipeline to transport the compais concerned, you must give it to a ny’s crude to export market. “If you technically competent, globally take a hard look you’d say they recognised company. We get RPS don’t want we small payers. They to handle that. didn’t want us to get in the door”. There’s no company in this country that is a qualified International Then they gave us a ceiling (crude oil volume allowable into the Eni Certificator of Reserves. DPR insists we must have the capac- export system)which was not high enough. Getting that ceiling lifted ity to do the work. We didn’t have took a lot of effort. A lot of aggro”. that when we started, but now we Midwestern is working on a projhave our reservoir engineers, we have our petroleum geologists and ect to get its crude out via an alternative route; a 53km, 12” pipeline the like. We sent them to Canada, they worked with Mart Resources”. to take its crude to the Shell Forcados trunkline via the Eriemu Ownership is important. Afterall, manifold. local content was the basis on I asked him if Shell wouldn’t prove which Midwestern and Suntrust were granted the oil field. We asked as troublesome a client as Agip. “I have heard that”, he said, “but Mr. Okoene about equity.. we’d see”. “Of the entire production, 70%
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
CompuLife IXPN canvasses regional exchange points in Nigeria By Adeyemi Adepetun S Nigeria works towards becoming the hub of Information and Communications Technology in Africa, the need for inA terconnected Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in the six geopolitical zones of the country has been stressed. Besides helping to increase demand for local Internet content, it is the view of experts that it will also assist in the monitoring and controlling of Internet traffic across the federation. The primary purpose of an IXP is to allow networks to interconnect directly, via the exchange, rather than through one or more third-party networks. The advantages of the direct interconnection are numerous, but the primary reasons are cost, latency, and bandwidth. Nigeria currently has two IXPs in Lagos and one each in Abuja and Port Harcourt. Internet exchange points is a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers (ISPs) exchange Internet traffic between their networks (autonomous systems). Indeed, IXPs reduce the portion of an ISP’s traffic, which must be delivered via their upstream transit providers, thereby reducing the average per-bit delivery cost of their service. Furthermore, the increased number of paths learned through the IXP improves routing efficiency and fault-tolerance.
Speaking at the Local Internet Content Forum (LICF) held in Lagos at the weekend, Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Muhammed Rudman, who called for an urgent intervention fund by the government to ensure uniform pricing across the country that will in turn accelerate the demand for Internet and eventually drop the cost, noted that all IP-centric organisations must also be encouraged to connect to the network. Rudman, speaking on the topic, “Internet Content Ecosystem and the Way Forward for Nigeria” said regional IXPs would promote localisation of local e-content in each zone and more efficient way of exchanging traffic across the country. He observed that lack of efficiency in-country interconnection hinders local Internet hosting in the country. To bridge this gap, the IXPN boss called for an urgent intervention fund by the government to ensure uniform pricing across the country that will in turn accelerate the demand for Internet and eventually drop the cost. Explaining some of the reasons why the in-country fiber backhaul is so expensive, Rudman noted that the cost of obtaining right of way permit from the government is quite prohibitive in some locations. He added that local community issues such as the activities of miscreants otherwise known as Area boys and fibre cuts due to
sabotage are also contributing to the problem. “Some of the challenges around hosting content locally electricity, high cost of Internet bandwidth, lack of cooperation between operators to share infrastructure, lack of interconnectivity between operators and high cost of fibre for local interconnection”, Rudman stressed. Rudman was emphatic that there can never be sustainable broadband access in Nigeria without IXPs and local content. “Local e-content produced locally and hosted locally by far have more economic, social and cultural impact on the local community than local e-content of foreign origin and local e-content that originates locally but hosted internationally” he stated. Speaking on the need for local content, the IXPN boss noted that one of the strengths of new ICTs such as the Internet is the way they can help unlock distant expertise, knowledge and markets. To buttress his claim, Rudman quoted an author, Peter Ballantyne, who said “easier access to globalised knowledge is fast turning us into consumers of distant and potentially irrelevant information. More worrying perhaps developing countries are being invaded by foreign ideas and values that may undermine or overwhelm local cultural heritage and economic livelihoods.” “We need to move from content consumers to content creators through partnerships and collaboration”, Rudman added. According to him, local content hosted abroad has higher latency than if hosted locally which makes Internet service slower and more expensive due to the distance and money paid to foreign hosting companies constitute capital flight. He explained further that hosting content locally provides additional revenue opportunities to ISPs, which in turn creates more job and technical competencies.
‘Chat app messaging overtakes SMS texts’ two, SMS would continue to reNSTANT messaging on chat main a key player in the sector. apps, such as WhatsApp, has Iovertaken “There is a lot of life still in the traditional SMS
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Precise Financial Systems (PFS) and Guest Speaker at Digital Africa Conference in Abuja, Yele Okeremi (left); Group Managing Director, Bitcom, Biodun Omoniyi and Managing Director, Central Securities Clearing System Plc, Kyari Bukar at the conference in Abuja.
MasterCard extends online payment solution to indigenous SMEs EADING global payment solutions company, MasterCard, has Lwhich introduced another Internet payment solution in Nigeria, is specifically targeted at the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in reinforcement of the cash-less policy in the country. Tagged the MasterCard Internet Gateway Service (MiGS), it provides a comprehensive Internet payments solution, which banks can offer to their merchant customers who seek to accept payments on their websites from cardholders of all major card schemes wherever they are. The newest addition, “SME Online”, is a suite of value-added services that works seamlessly withMIGS and extends the benefits of online card acceptance to a broader merchant segment. The features include invoice payments, batch payments, reoccurring scheduled payments, virtual terminal and web shop. It’s a simple to implement, easy to use web-based payment solution that banks can offer to their SME merchants. A key benefit for merchants is that the system can be self-managed. It is designed to enable SME merchants to establish an In-
ternet presence for their businesses, including website design and processing of batch and individual card payments. SME Online allows merchants to build their own web shops, including shopping carts and online product catalogues .It also provides a custom branded e-commerce solution to manage and authorise online payment transactions in over 145 currencies. Once merchants create their own web shop, they can start accepting online shoppers on a simple platform that embeds lots of functionalities, and they can add new functionalities at any time. According to Country Manager, MasterCard West Africa, Omokehinde Ojomuyide, “With the likes of Jumia.com, Nigeria’s No.1 Online Retailer, and wakanow.com, Nigeria’s No.1 Online Travel Website, already signed on to MIGS payment gateway solution, shoppers in Nigeria are already enjoying the benefits of convenient and seamless 24x7 online shopping. SME Online will extend these benefits to thousands of smaller merchants and open the world of online shopping to millions of Nigerians.” The firm informed that Guaranty Trust Bank and Zenith Bank currently offer the MIGS services to their merchant customers
text message for the first time, according to research firm Informa. Informa said almost 19 billion messages were sent per day on chat apps in 2012, compared with 17.6 billion SMS texts. The shift is likely to have a big impact on mobile operators, for whom texts have been a key revenue source. Pamela Clark-Dickson of Informa said some operators were already “seeing a decline in their messaging revenues”. According to separate estimates by research firm Ovum, more than $23 billion (£15 billion) of SMS revenue was lost in 2012 due to popularity of chat apps. Informa said that it expected the messaging on chat apps to grow even further in the coming years. It has projected that nearly 50 billion messages will be sent per day using these apps by 2014, compared with just over 21 billion traditional SMSs. However, it said that despite the growing gap between the
SMS,” said Clark-Dickson of Informa. She explained that most of the chat apps were used by consumers who own smartphones. However, she said, there are a large number of consumers, especially in emerging and lesser developed economies, who use normal mobile phones and rely on SMS as the preferred messaging tool. “They don’t have mobile data plans, so there is an awfully big base of mobile p h o n e users who are going to still find that SMS is the best messaging experience for them for a while,” she added. At the same time, she said that businesses were starting to look at SMS more seriously, as it can be used on all mobile phones and they do not need smartphones to use it. “There are a few things that, I think, will keep the SMS alive for a few years yet.” Informa expects SMS revenue to grow to $127 billion by 2016, from $115 billion last year.
At a glance
• Ndukwe sees broadband infrastructure boom…P26 • Mobile Devices vulnerable to Cybercrimes…P26 • Google confirms growth of online advertising…P27 • Spectrum challenges holding Nigeria, others back…P28 • NCC, others pledge to spur girls into ICT…P30
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
CWG, Infosys, HBC partner on Finacle core banking solution ERITAGE Banking Company mistic that Finacle Technology H (HBC) Limited, a commer- platform will drive their bankcial bank in Nigeria and Infosys Limited the leading universal banking solutions provider recently commenced a partnership in which the bank would deploy Finacle as its banking solution; and Computer Warehouse Group, the local business partner of Infosys in Africa, is right in the middle of the coalition playing an integral role in the implementation and go-live support of Finacle solutions at Heritage Bank. Finacle core banking solution is a comprehensive, integrated, yet modular and agile business solution, addressing all the core needs of banks, in easy-to-configure modules. Finacle provides all the building blocks of business functionality, enabling users to configure products and processes flexibly in order to adapt to a dynamic environment. With a 360-degree single source view into customer accounts, banks can empower customers with relevant information and delight them with the right offerings, presented at the right time through the right channel. Heritage bank is being empowered to create a differentiated customer experience through personalized offerings, bundled products and an enriched segment-specific portfolio. The solution’s proven scalability and support for true 24X7 multi-channel transactions, added to its keen understanding of the banking context in Africa will power the bank’s determined growth plans. Chief Information officer, HBC, Mr. Ike Williams noted in his statement on this solution that the HBC team are opti-
ing innovation, and position them as the best in Electronic banking in the markets, whilst also creating added value and banking convenience for their customers across Nigeria. “We intend to make a difference... Deploying innovative solutions that make our business and operations unique, accessible, customer-friendly, reliable and secure, is a continuous process for us, and we will not relent in that drive.” He said. Software Division Head of CWG, Mr. Femi Ibine said; “We are delighted to be a part of this success story and are strongly committed to ensuring that Heritage Bank is among the other Finacle customers in Africa, who enjoy the superb after sales support services CWG local team provides from her 24x7 Support Hub located in Lagos, Nigeria”.
Ernest Ndukwe predicts broadband infrastructure boom in Nigeria By Adeyemi Adepetun O ensure that Nigeria is in a good stead to take her place in the global economy, government is to unveil plans soon for massive broadband deployment across the federation. Chairman, Presidential Committee on Broadband Infrastructure and former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, who revealed this at the Titans of Tech forum in Lagos, insisted that there is positive relationship between broadband expansion and economic growth. Broadband, he noted, is a key driver of economic growth and the competitiveness of nations. Ndukwe said the commit-
tee, which he co-chairs, has finished its work and would soon present its findings to the Presidency before the full result with its implications would be made public. He said that while Nigeria did not take advantage of copper when it was in vogue, the country now had an advantage as it can quickly deploy broadband wireless infrastructure, stressing that there is also an urgent need to build more- fibre optics highways to the rural areas so as to include all and exclude none, he added. According to Ndukwe, “broadband is not just about access to the Internet, but access with the right speed, right price, right content and right place.” Access, he argued is fundamental as without it, it would be virtu-
ally impossible to emerge as a significant player in the global village Co-Founder, Oxygen Broadband, Wande Adalemo remarked that Broadband is already having a major impact on the way in which people live and work. He revealed that his young company is in the forefront of establishing Internet hotspots in strategic locations in Lagos. Managing Consultant, Technology Africa, organiser of the forum, Don Pedro Aganbi, said that companies are using broadband to improve productivity through remote monitoring, logistics management and online procurement. They are also using broadband to provide services such as media content,
Ndukwe online shopping and electronic banking services, he added. He noted that with the enabling environment and policy, Nigerians would truly begin to enjoy broadband services soon.
‘Most mobile devices vulnerable to cybercime in Africa, M’East’ By Bankole Orimisan by Fthatindings conducted Norton have indicated many of the mobile devices in Africa and Middle East could be hacked into because they are unlocked and unprotected. The study gave an insight into Middle East and African consumers’ that mobile use and behaviours, revealing that adults rely on their mobile devices more than ever, yet few are taking some of the necessary precautions to keep their devices and content safe and secure. According to a report released last week by
Twinpine, mobile penetration in Nigeria is 69.01 percent. The report revealed that mobile subscribers grew by 18 percent between 2011 and 2012. Consumers in the Middle East and Africa are now living various aspects of their work, social and online lives through their mobile devices. From surfing online to downloading apps, shopping and making payments, Norton found that nearly nine out of ten online adults (87 percent) in the Middle East and Africa are mobile device users, of which a large majority (78 percent) are using them to access the
internet. Kara Rawden at Norton said: “People are relying more and more on their mobile phones and tablets to navigate, share, socialize and shop in today’s constantly-connected world. What many consumers may
not realise is exactly how much of their personal and private information is up for grabs should these devices be compromised, lost or stolen. “Considering the sensitive nature of data that is accessible from personal mobile devices, consumers need to take some basic, yet easy, precautions to protect it from falling into the wrong hands.” Rawden explained that consumers know how important it is to protect their computer from the wide range of threats they can encounter when online and off yet provisions also need to be taken to secure internet-connected mobile devices that are just
as vulnerable to cybercriminals looking to make some quick cash or to steal personal information. He said: “In the case of theft or loss, your data is in someone else’s hands. By installing mobile security software which protects against malicious online threats and enables you to lock, locate and wipe your device remotely, you can secure your personal life from potential intruders.” Nearly one in four mobile device users in the Middle East and Africa admit to not always downloading applications from trustworthy sources.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Spinlet foresees opportunities in local digital content development PINLET, a mobile music download platform has stressed the need for more local digital Scontent in Nigeria, given the ready markets. Spinlet said there are technologies in the country that encourage the purchase and discovery of new digital contents, offering seamless integration and storage of such contents on mobile devices. This development, the firm said, was currently prominent in the Nigerian music industry. The Chief Operating Officer, Spinlet, Mr. Francis Ebuehi, at a press briefing in Lagos, said the firm was making such contents available to Nigerians, leveraging the multiple payment system available in the country. “We encourage the social aspect of music by making it easy to create and share playlists to friends within the application. Spinlet’s massive music vault can be accessed by downloading the application for free. “Users can begin enjoying the service immediately with their existing on-device music library or by using complimentary Spinlet credits for new contents.” The Chief Marketing Officer (Africa), Spinlet, Mr. Mark Redguard, said to actualise the firm’s
dreams for its fast growing global markets, the firm received a significant funding boost from Verod Capital Management Limited, to assist in its global expansion. The company, founded in 2006 in Finland, now has additional offices in San Francisco, Cape Town (South Africa) and Lagos (Nigeria), he said. Redguard added, “We have developed a mobile digital distribution platform for African artistes to sell their music around the world. The Spintet app is now available in every country.” With the platform, he said that artists can promote their music to African audience, generate income, interact with fans, and real time sales info with regular payouts. He informed that Spinlet music app has been co-promoted at the Etisalat Cliqfest, University of Calabar, and University of Ilorin. According to him, because of market reach, Spinlet has continued to sign new and emerging artists and veteran artists from all music genres including gospel, Hip hop, R&B, Fuji, Highlife among others globally.
Chairman, Open Media Group, Dr. Ernest Ndukwu, (left) presenting award of E-Payment Solutions Provider of the Year 2013 Award for Unified Payment Services Limited to Director Finance & Corporate Assets, Festus Ikediasor; with him are Head of Department, Human Resources & Admin, Angela Idiaru; and Group Head, Corporate Services, Felix Edione; all of Unified Payments at the Beacon of ICT Awards organized by Nigeria Communications Week Media in Lagos .
MNP: Bringing value back to consumers beyond de-marketing By Uche Kingsley SERS of mobile telecomU munications services in Nigeria have industry regulator, the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC to thank for the bold initiative of introducing the mobile number portability, MNP in the Nigerian market. Stakeholders laud this policy as the best thing to have happened to telecommunications services since the deregulation of the sector by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration over a decade ago. Elated Nigerians recall that MTN and Airtel (then trading as Econet Wireless) had maintained that per second billing was impossibley until another bold move by NCC in licensing Globacom as the second national carrier broke that stance. Globacom, probably fired by national flavour or just the zeal to take the market by storm, came up with per second billing, forcing the rest of the operators to take a cue and offer subscribers value. The value of this move, both in terms of money saved and quality of service to the average subscriber runs into billions of Naira that telecommunication services providers would have continued to play politics with but for Globacom’s intervention made possible by NCC licensing a new player. This makes the excitement of subscribers on the MNP easily understandable. The average customer has reason to be excited because the MNP presents him or her with a chance to seek better value/services from service providers by porting, if desired. A telephone subscriber in the Ikoyi area of Lagos, Okoya Oluwatobi could not hide his joy at the MNP and the prospect of getting value from telecommunications network while retaining his number. Hear him: “I bought my mobile telephone line within the first three months of the roll out of GSM services in Nigeria. The number has become like my personal identity number because I have entered it in forms that I completed for personal and professional use, which leaves me with little choice, but retain it. But I tell you the truth my service provider has
tempted me to dump the line several times in the past because of poor service. It saddens me because I notice that their loyalty is to their home country instead of to the Nigerian subscribers. Now with MNP, I have a choice without risking loosing established contacts. I am truly excited.” A survey of the Lagos area shows that many subscribers share similar thoughts with Oluwatobi. An Electrical Engineer, Okonta Eke, a resident of the Surulere area of Lagos points out “the MNP will com-
pel telecom operators to sit up. Over a decade after the introduction of mobile telephony in Nigeria, the operators seem to have fallen sleep; operating in a cartel-like manner to rip-off subscribers with low quality services and questionable billings,” he said. Eke commends the NCC for being bold enough to resist the corruptive tendencies of telecoms operators and take sides with the customer insisting that “this move will definitely deliver value to consumers of telecom services and make the operators live
up to their responsibilities. They (telecommunication services providers) have no choice but to do real marketing with this development,” he said. It would appear that the time has come for real marketing in telecommunications services in Nigeria as subscribers can now take advantage of the MNP to demand value from their service providers, with each service provider being fully aware that customers now have a clear choice. The customer has become king! This has
seen some panicky measures to herald the porting policy with the level of de-marketing currently making the rounds. Al Ries and Jack Trout in their famous book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing compared marketing to war and pointed out that “successful generals study the battleground and look for that one bold stroke that is least expected by the enemy.” What can any operator say that another does not expect in the telecommunications sector? The four major operators know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. How will
these be exploited to the benefit of consumers? Ries and Trout counseled marketers to deliver quality services or be prepared to compete on price. Cheapness has its own flaws as it tends to appeal only to the downtrodden with shallow pockets with little impact on profitability. Ironically the early rush of telecommunications services providers in Nigeria appears to be a scramble for the low segment of the market given the communication materials deployed already. CONTIUNED ON PAGE 33
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
WITIN, Dabiri seek more roles for girls in Nigeria’s ICT development Union (ITU), is observed as a ‘Day for Girls in ICT’. According to WITIN’s ChairperARKING this year’s ICT for son, Mrs. Martha Alade, at the Girls Day in Nigeria, the Women In Technology In Nige- forum in Lagos, girls should consider taking up careers in the ICT ria (WITIN), with other stakefield. holders has stressed the importance of the female folks, With the theme: ‘’Women and especially girls, in ICT develop- Girls in Technology- Expanding Horizons’’, Alade said that the Inment in the country. ternational Telecommunication Specifically, the association Union (ITU) and other stakenoted that there is a growing holders believed that ICT afgap between ICT adoption by fected the life and work of girls and boys, stressing that this must be bridged in order to everyone on the planet today, create more empowerment in hence the need for girls to be involved in ICT. the country. According to her, with the fuIndeed and globally, every April 25, according to the Inter- ture constantly being reinnational Telecommunications vented through technology, ICT is the coolest area to get into by
By Adeyemi Adepetun
girls. ‘’We are here to raise the visibility of numerous women in ICT in Nigeria, to celebrate the feat of our young girls who have made tremendous impact in the field. “We are here to encourage more girls to step up to technology and not leave all the fun to boys in shaping our future,” she said. Alade, who said ‘International Girls in ICT Day’ was an initiative backed by the ITU Member States in 2010 and celebrated on the 4th Thursday in April every year, noted that the initiative intended to create a global environment that would empower
According to her, girls should develop contents/applications on the Internet, as it would make them more relevant in the ICT field. Speaking also, representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency, Abike Dabiri, affirmed that she would collaborate with WITIN in its quest of encouraging girls’ involvement in innovative skills through its various programmes such as the mobile apps competition where they are exposed to the development of applications that could solve societal problems. “The country stands disadvantaged if the disparity to basic ICT services continue, as girls with technological skills is critical to
and encourage girls and young women to consider careers in the field of ICTs. Among the speakers at the forum was the Senior Advisor for Women and Technology at the U.S. Department of State, Ann Chang, who revealed that that only about 25 per cent Nigerians were connected on the internet. Chang said that with such low percentage, there were still huge opportunities to connect more Nigerians, hence the need for girls to be involved in ICT. She said that when more people were connected on the Internet, it would boost the economy of such nation.
achieving a better society,” she said. Dabiri stated that she would work closely with the National Assembly in embarking on programmes that would strengthen girls’ involvement in ICT, and that one of the ways is through developing talents at incubation centres and technology parks within the country. She said a technology park, which is currently on the front burner of government programmes in developing a knowledge-based economy, would contribute immensely to technical skills for girls, and that it would also arouse their interest in science related subjects and courses in secondary and tertiary institutions.
Inlaks targets ICT service hub in West Africa date within the financial and telecommunication sectors, including CBN and NNPC. In addition, Inlaks has installed Data Centre Infrastructure in three major banks, according to Rajiv. Commenting on the Solutions and Services of Inlaks, Director, Sales & Strategy, Infrastructure Business Unit, Tope Dare stressed that the company’s brand of ATM comes with unique functions and features most suitable for the Nigerian Financial market. According to him, the special features and functionalities of these ATMs help to facilitate smooth transactions that would enhance the boundaries of the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nige-
cluding First Bank of Nigeria, “The Infrastruture Business Information and Unit of Inlaks is responsible for F(ICT)OREMOST Communications Technology NIBBS and Heritage Bank, the newest entrant into the banking the design/deployment of data and Infrastructure solutions provider in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region, Inlaks Computers Limited, has expressed its readiness to deepen its market share in the region through improved service delivery. Going by the various activities currently being undertaken by the company under its new management, Inlaks said it targets becoming a one-stop service hub in the next coming years. Speaking at the recent business review retreat organised by the company in Lagos, which had in attendance 18 Nigerian banks in-
sector, Executive Director, Inlaks Computers, Rajiv Bhatnagar, said the company, which has been operating in the country for over 30 years, would in the next three years leverage on efficient service delivery as a key growth strategy. Bhatnagar stated that the purpose of the event is to deliberate on business issues with the customers, to understand what has been achieved in view of clients’ expectations, and also discuss areas of improvement to properly position the company as a choice company for most of its customers.
centres, power projects, UPS and Power Back-up Solutions for Banks, Oil & Gas, Telecoms sectors and also the deployment of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Kiosks” according to Bhatnagar. He also explained that Inlaks has brought a whole range of value added services to the Banks to alleviate many of the current challenges of the industry. To date, Inlaks has installed well over 1,200 ATMs in less than three years of her entrance into this market segment. Inlaks also has designed and deployed a total of eight data centre’s to-
Bringing value back to customers through number porting CONTIUNED FROM PAGE 31 The marketing trophy in this case, like in all other battles of life seem destined to the cabinet of the player most well prepared and more resolute to weather the storms and endure all tantrums thrown by opponents. Given
Airtel bags industry recognition for services ELECOMMUNICATIONS firm, T Airtel Nigeria, has been decorated with the 2012 Leadership Telecoms Company of The Year, at the Leadership Award held in Abuja recently. Airtel was recognized for its customer service and innovative products and services. Select corporate organizations and some distinguished personalities were also honoured at the colourful event, which attracted State Governors including the Imo State Governor and chairman of the award ceremony, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, and Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu. According to a citation on Airtel read at the award ceremony, the panel of editors and readers of Leadership decided on Airtel Nigeria after a rigorous debate. The citation read: “Airtel Nigeria has remained focused on providing high quality customer care service, which has won it dozens of awards across the country. But the mobile giant is also making waves in another area: corporate social responsibility. For its robust customer service and its extraordinary effort to transform education, Airtel Nigeria is Leadership Telecom Company of the Year 2012.”
the strides achieved by the latest entrant to the telecommunications game in Nigeria, Etisalat appears to have studied earlier players before opening its doors. Given the way the youngest player excited the market with its 0809uchoose campaign and its consistency in innovation that helped it rake-in over 15 million sub-
scribers in four years of operations, the ongoing marketing war suggests that the market leader considers the youngest player the biggest threat. It is often said that fortune favours the bold. It is also a known fact that brains will triumph over brawn. So now NCC has rung the bell for another chapter of competition with
the customer in mind in telecommunications services in Nigeria, stakeholders await how things will play out. This becomes very intriguing because it is only the operators who can address customer needs in terms of call set-up, drop calls, clarity, and coverage which hitherto had been ignored that will be the pre-
ferred by subscribers. With these in mind, it is worthwhile to review the latest quality of service results from the NCC. According the NCC, the results of its December 2012 tests showed that of the four GSM operators, Etisalat was top in four of the five thresholds used in measuring quality of service. The KPIs measured by the Commission in-
cluded Call Set Up Success Rate (CSSR), Call Completion Rate (CCR), Stand Alone Dedicated Control Channel and Handover Success Rate (SDCCH), Call Data Rate (CDR) and Traffic Channel Congestion With or Without Handover (TCHcon). Kingsley wrote from Lagos
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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TRCN to explore benefits of IC3 for digital literacy certification programme providing proof to the world that an individual or organisation was equipped with the needed computer skills to excel in a digital world; capable of using a broad ECOGNISING the importance of digital literacy in global range of computer technology, from basic hardware and software, development, the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria to operating systems applications and the Internet among others. (TRCN) has expressed its readiness to explore the opportunities IC3, which is a baby of Certiport Inc, a United State of America in the curriculum of Internet and Computing Core Certification based firm, Oyekale informed that the IC3 exams were a globally (IC3). recognised credential in basic computing skills, which was the In a response letter signed by TRCN Registrar and Chief product of hundreds of subject matter experts from all over the Executive Officer, Dr. Jacinta Ezeahurukwe and addressed to IC3 globe, investing their time and knowledge into the objectives that Coordinator in Nigeria, Dr. Oyeniran Oyekale, the body stated: were used around the world to certify all manner of people in digi“After due consideration of the proposal and curriculum; and taking cognizance of the ideas exchanged between TRCN and Mr. tal literacy. Statistically, he disclosed that IC3 certification is fastest growing Jan Day of Certiport (USA), who visited TRCN along with your basic computing credential with 59 per cent growth in 2011. company in May 2012 and January 2013, the TRCN management Created in 2001 and launched in 2002, Oyekale said in 2009 the is pleased to accept your request for collaboration and also certification was updated to Windows 7 and Office 2010 and endorsed Certiport’s curriculum of Internet and Computing localised into several languages and had become a basis of secondCore Cetification.” Oyekale disclosed that the IC3 initiative is a global training and ary and higher education digital literacy/technology literacy pro-
By Adeyemi Adepetun
grammes. According to him, Certiport has delivered IC3 in 169 countries, with over 20 million exams delivered in 27 languages and 1.4 million certifications had been granted. “This globally recognised certification could ensure that nation’s workforce, job seekers and workforce have the foundation of knowledge needed to excel in areas that involve computers and the Internet. “This programme reflects global standards that further validate most relevant skills for school, study and life today,” stressed Oyekale. Basically, the IC3 certificate is awarded to individuals that take and are able to pass three separate examinations in Computing fundamentals (hardware, software, using and operating system), key applications (programme functions, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software functions), living online (networks and the Internet), electronic mail, using the Internet and the impact of computing and the Internet on society.
DEll sees technology potential in healthcare delivery By Kemi Ajani and Toyin Olasinde OISED to improve the current healthcare delivery system in the P country, global leader in computer systems, DEll Technology, has hosted health sector practitioners to a session where it showcased how information technology can be applied to healthcare delivery within the Nigerian context. With the theme, Transforming Healthcare with Technology: Current Perspectives, the session also witnessed the introduction of DEll latitude 10 tablet designed specifically for healthcare institution. The forum also provided a platform for health sector stakeholders including Medical Directors, Physicians, Caregivers and hospital management personnel to rub mind on the prospects of transforming healthcare with technology. Representatives of DEll also explained the benefits of transiting from a paper hospital management model to an information technology driven model. In his presentation at the event, Enterprise Solutions Manager, DEll Technology, Segun Aina, explained that, ”Dell helps healthcare organizations harness the power of information to simplify administration, coordinate and manage patient care and ease the transition from episodic care to prevention and wellness management, and ultimately to deliver personalized medicine. Dell transforms care by connecting people to the right technology and processes, creating information driven healthcare and accelerating innovation. Continuing he stated that, “The latitude 10 is a business ready tablet designed to address the costly and time-consuming management and security challenges faced by organizations especially in healthcare organizations. The latitude 10 tablet runs on the latest Windows 8 operating system and boasts of an Intel powered Atom® processor with 1.8GHz processing speed with a 2GBDDR2. The Dell latitude 10 tablet sports an extended graphics accelerator from Intel and also a storage capacity of up to 128GB. The launch of the Dell latitude 10 is in line with the core values of the company to improve the quality of life. The latitude 10 is a business ready tablet designed to address the costly and time-consuming management and security challenges faced by organizations especially in healthcare organizations. The latitude 10 tablet runs on the latest Windows 8 operating system and boasts of an IntelpoweredAtom®processorwith1.8GHzprocessingspeedwith a 2GBDDR2. The Dell latitude 10 tablet sports an extended graphics accelerator from Intel and also a storage capacity of up to 128GB. Also speaking at the event, Client Product Marketing Manager for Dell Annie Odo-Effiong noted that, “Dell is a leading provider of Healthcare IT Services in the world and supports healthcare organizations of all sizes with a growing portfolio of on-demand, cloud-based solutions and tools. Through our range of healthcare focused products, Dell helps healthcare organizations harness the power of information to simplify administration; coordinate and manage patient care and a transition from episodic care to prevention and wellness management and ultimately to deliver personalized medicine”
Executive Governor, Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada (right); Finance Director, NigComSat, Abimbola Alale; Commissioner for Science and Technology, Alhaji Abdulmumini
ASUS enters Nigeria with VivoBook series SUS, the world’s top 3-consumer notebook vendor has A announced the arrival of
happiness, stressing that it has been optimsed for Microsoft Windows 8, ASUS VivobookS200 in Nigeria. VivoBooks showcase has an ASUS VivoBook S200 forms the attractive, durable, and very beginning of a series of devices portable design. in screen sizes ranging from It integrates ASUS 11.6 to 15.6. SonicMaster audio and 2-secCountry Product Manager, ond instant on. All models ASUSTek Computer Inc, include 32GB of WebStorage Simplice D. Zaongo said the cloud space for three years. ASUS Vivobook range is develThe ASUS VivoBooks embodoped around natural touch as ies a new way of offering key to incredible user experienjoyable and intuitive noteences and greater customer book experiences to cus-
HP introduces new tablet device in market By Bankole Orimisan
with HP and excited to be here at the unveiling of this device. If you want to stay on the cutting edge of technology, this device is ECHNOlOGy Company, Hewlett-Packet (HP) has introduced its a must.” latest technology-mobility innovation, called the HP ElitePad Ergonomically shaped to fit comfortably in the hand, the HP 900, a tablet that balances a beautiful design with enterpriseElitePad offers a 25.7 cm (10.1”) display, weighs just 0.68and grade features, into the Nigerian market. measures 9.2 millimeters (mm) thin. Designed for business, government healthcare and retail, it feaThe 16-by-10 aspect ratio maximizes the display area for ideal tures HP ElitePad Smart Jackets, which add connectivity options viewing of traditional business applications, as well as video conand longer battery life along with specific add-ons that customize tent. Precision crafted, with an eye toward fit and finish, the HP the tablet for specialized uses. ElitePad uses stylish, premium materials such as CNC-machined The HP ElitePad is an ultrathin, lightweight Microsoft® aluminum and Corning® Gorilla® Glass 2. Windows 8 tablet that delivers features to keep IT managers hapPowered by next-generation Intel mobile processors, the HP py and touts a design that employees will crave. It offers full servElitePad delivers PC productivity for those on the go and Intel ice ability, enhanced security and manageability found in HP Elite x86 compatibility for existing business application support. PCs, packed with a battery that passed over 115,000 hours of tests. It is optimized for Windows 8 and supports touch-pen or voiceThe Category Manager, PC HP Nigeria limited, Ify Udoji said: “The based input. The HP ElitePad also provides power efficiency and Elitepad 900 is not a mere tablet, but a total enterprise solution smartphone-style convenience with compatibility for traditiontargeted for your business needs. The product comes in a thin, al Windows applications, as well as easy integration into existing sleek design and offers one up to 18 hours of non-stop Elitepad IT environments. magic from day-to-day with its expansion jacket.” The unique, productivity-enhancing ecosystem of HP Smart Commenting on the device, Mark Ihimoyan, Consumer Jackets and additional accessories designed specifically for the Channels group director, Microsoft, added: “One of the features of HP ElitePad expand the tablet’s potential, turning it into a total the HP Elitepad 900 is that it allows consume to create content. enterprise solution: Also, with the product, one can go from a touch screen to a nonHP ElitePad Productivity Jacket—includes an integrated keytouch screen function just at the click of a button, thus catering to board, connectivity ports, SD card reader and adjustable viewing the needs of varied consumers. We are proud of our partnership angles for a complete computing experience.
tomers. Providing the finest touch technology for more natural and rewarding interaction, VivoBook S200 reinforce the ASUS Customer Happiness 2.0 spirit, offering technology perfectly-tuned to create better, more enjoyable, and more rewarding lifestyles. All VivoBook Series products have been designed with stand-
out aesthetics, true-to-life sound, and instinctive touch. They are ideal for the increasingly cloud-based nature of computing, supporting seamless connectivity and usage on the go while specifically aimed at making people happier through the use of technology they can rely on wherever they may be.
Stock Exchange honours Omatek computer boss HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has honoured the Group Managing Director of Omatek Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence T Seriki, as the Growth Ambassador of the Alternative Securities Market (ASeM), a specialized board for listing of small and midsized companies with high growth potential. Formerly known as the Second Tier Securities Market (SSM), ASeM is being repositioned to play a vital role in deepening the Nigerian Capital Market and to emerge as a board, which is entrepreneurial, growth oriented, forward-looking, modern and innovative. This development was contained in a letter to Seriki signed by Executive Director, Business Development of the NSE, Haruna Jalo-Waziri,. The Exchange described a Growth Ambassadors as an accomplished individual who are committed to developing entrepreneurship in Nigeria. As a Growth Ambassador, she is expected to support, endorse and promote growth of emerging businesses in Nigeria on ASeM. This will involve attendance ASeM events and advocating for listing on ASeM at other events as appropriate. Jalo-Waziri said the Exchange is poised to continually develop ASeM, making it attractive and accessible to emerging companies, while providing the benefits of being a publicly quoted company in the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Seriki, in her response to the appointment, said she will leverage on the experience of about 30 years as an entrepreneur to ensure that the platform become a viable template for emerging business seeking to raise long term capital at relatively low cost from the capital market, while creating opportunities for growth and institutionalisation of companies listed on the board.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
MaritimeWatch By Moses Ebosele O successfully move Nigeria’s maritime secT tor out of the woods, members of Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) have stressed the need to encourage adequate local participation. AMES consists of seasoned marine engineers who had sailed international merchant ship as chief engineers and as naval engineers of the Nigerian Navy before joining the shore-based maritime professionals. According to AMES, the role of local professionals is crucial in the Federal Government’s effort to reposition the sector and attract genuine investors. “We believe that the vital link to move the nation’s maritime industry forward and attract genuine investors is the strength of professionals in various aspect of the industry”, said president of AMES, Charles Uwadia, an engineer. Uwadia who was accompanied by other members of the association’s executive explained at an interactive session recently that if adequately positioned, the maritime sector is capable of generating numerous jobs and by extension boost the larger economy. He said: “We recognise the call for investment in the industry particularly with reference to the highly successful Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) 2013. “As professional body, we wish to add value to that call. The Nigerian maritime industry is attractive for investment because of the large volume of local and international maritime trade. “Over 80 per cent of Nigerian crude oil exports are coastal and offshore Nigerian waters necessitating extensive shipping and maritime activities, including but not limited to various type of oil rigs, offshore services vessels of various sizes, specifications and configurations. “The significant amount of money involved and sustainable socio-economic development can only be achieved through comparative services with other nations of the world in similar trade. “Quality services are derived from policies and associated legal instrument. If we may ask: “How effective are the policies and the laws that are suppose to provide the road-map for the policies and the laws that are supposed to provide the road-map for sustainable development to achieve socio-economic growth?”. Uwadia was accompanied by chairman organising committee, Taiwo Ajayi; treasurer, John Oguntokun; vice president, Yinka Okunade; planning committee secretary, Israel Obadasn and General Secretary, Peter Onwordi. The group said while foreign maritime investors “smile to the bank, their Nigerian counterparts frown to the bank”, adding that to reverse the trend, Nigerian investors who intend to own a ship must engage professional marine engineers. AMES added: “Similarly, the flag state under which the ship is registered should make sure she sustains compliance with all applicable international regulations by using the services and expertise of marine engineers”, among others. While commending outcome of the recently held NIMAREX, the association said more still need to be done in the interest of Nigeria’s economy. Various speakers at the event were unanimous in their call on all stakeholders to contribute their quota to the development of the sector. In attendance were President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented by the Minister
Sustaining maritime’s growth through indigenous professionals of Transport, Idris Umar; former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former World Bank Vice President (African Region), Oby Ezekwesili; Director-General Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema. Also in attendance were former Chief of Naval Staff, Real Admiral Allison Madueke (rtd); Chairman, Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapomo; legal practitioner and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Mike Igbokwe among others. Jonathan used the opportunity to explain in details various reforms agenda being put together by the current administration. According to the President, the number of agencies at the ports have been streamlined from 14 to seven coupled with the introduction
of 24 hours ports operations. Jonathan said: “We have equally awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of 1.6km access road in the Apapa Port Complex which has reached over 70 per cent completion. In addition, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) has recently carried out some rehabilitation work in the Creek and Wharf roads to ease traffic to and from the ports”. Making reference to the theme “Nigerian Maritime: Invest Now”, Jonathan said it is apt and in conformity with the Federal Government’s transformation agenda. “As part of Government’s commitment to transforming the economy, numerous reforms were introduced. In the maritime sector, government has undertaken comprehensive port reforms that have made NPA a landlord and regulator and delineated the ports into terminals and concessioned them to private investors.
“This has led to steady improvement in operational efficiency. Government has also committed substantial resources in dredging and maintenance of channels in Lagos and Bonny and a channel management company has been formed following approval by the President for managing the Calabar channel while procurement processes for the capital dredging of the channel is in progress. In the same vein, government is poised to provide additional infrastructure in Apapa, Tin-can, Warri and Onne Ports,” said Jonathan Nigeria according to the President, generates about 70 per cent of the ship traffic, cargo throughput and volume of trade in the West and Central Africa sub-regions, adding that Nigeria’s volume of trade has steadily risen from 82 million tons of cargo in 2008 to 93.7 million tons in 2009 and 100 million tons in 2012.
Passenger ship liability, compensation may come into force in 2014 HE Athens Convention T relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 2002, which substantially raises the limits of liability for the death of, or personal injury to, a passenger on a ship, is set to enter into force on April 23, 2014, after the required 10 ratifications were reached on April 23, 2013, with the ratification of the 2002 Athens Protocol by Belgium. According to the International Maritime
Organisation (IMO), the 2002 Protocol to the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 1974, (PAL), revises and updates the 1974 Convention, which established a regime of liability for damage suffered by passengers carried on a seagoing vessel. As a precondition for joining, parties to the 2002 protocol are required to denounce the 1974 treaty and its earlier protocols. The Athens Convention
declares a carrier liable for damage suffered by a passenger resulting from death, personal injury or damage to luggage if the incident causing the damage occurred in the course of the carriage and was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier. Such fault or neglect is presumed, unless the contrary is proved, Carriers can limit their liability unless they acted with intent to cause such damage, or recklessly and with knowl-
edge that such damage would probably result in death. For the death of, or personal injury to, a passenger, this limit of liability was set at 46,666 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per carriage in the 1974 convention. The 2002 Protocol substantially raises those limits to 250,000 SDR per passenger on each distinct occasion unless the carrier proves that the incident resulted from an act of war, hostilities, civil war, insur-
rection or a natural phenomenon of an exceptional, inevitable and irresistible character; or was wholly caused by an act or omission done with the intent to cause the incident by a third party. If the loss exceeds this limit, the carrier is further liable - up to a limit of 400,000 SDR per passenger on each distinct occasion - unless the carrier proves that the incident, which caused the loss occurred without the fault or
neglect of the carrier. As far as loss of, or damage to, luggage is concerned, the carrier’s limit of liability varies, depending on whether the loss or damage occurred in respect of cabin luggage, of a vehicle and/or luggage carried in or on it, or in respect of other luggage: • the liability of the carrier for the loss of or damage to cabin luggage is limited to 2,250 SDR per passenger, per carriage; CONTINUED ON PAGE 39
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
App helps travellers hitch rides on private jets EALTHY travelers wantW ing to fly in style can book empty seats on private
planes with a new app for a jet-sharing service. Although there are dozens of apps for buying seats on commercial flights, BlackJet is a new iPhone app that connects travelers with private jets that have extra room on their planes. Flights are shared with from two to 14 other passengers, and the price is on par with a premium fare on a commercial airline, according to the San Franciscobased company. “We had the idea to use the existing aircraft out there and to leverage the excess capacity,” said BlackJet chief executive Dean Rotchin. Passengers who are members of the service and pay an annual fee of $2,500 can book a seat on any of 4,000 airplanes the company has access to through partnerships. They can also buy addon services such as meals and ground transportation. The service is geared primarily towards business travelers looking for convenience, time-savings and reliability, according to Rotchin. Travellers using the app can buy a seat in advance but they will not get a precise itinerary until the day before the flight. “On the day of travel the experience is completely different than at the major airports. You’re basically driving right up to the plane, getting on the airplane, and within 15 minutes the airplane is leaving,” he said. Flights booked with the app cost between $900 for a trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to $3,500 for a coast-tocoast flight. The company offers flights from San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles and South Florida, and plans to expand service to Chicago, Washington, Boston, Dallas and Seattle.
A telepresence room
Procentric IQ delivers IT solutions to 100,000 Ekiti students and export to other states when necessary. Also, Ekiti State is getting a fantastic deal because the over eight servers used for these operations as well as cost of maintenance is borne entirely by ical advancement on the continent, is delivering IT solutions to 100,000 students and 18,000 teachers in Procentric IQ. These equipments will help enhance Ekiti State. By this feat, Procentric IQ becomes the first the delivery and quality of content to students and company to pioneer socio-economic transformation expose teachers to a variety of best in class teaching methods that will enhance their productivity, he through e-learning in the state. stressed. This was disclosed by the Business Development Nsikak said their e-learning solutions suite provide manager, Mr. Nsikak John, on the sidelines of the an innovative way to meet total learning imperative awards night of the Titans of Tech Conference and Expo held in Lagos. The company won the “best edu- effectively and economically through custom made web enabled learning solutions for educational instication company in IT” for delivering e-learning solututions and corporate organisations. tions at the lowest cost in Ekiti State. He maintained that the support structure being set Furthermore, he maintained that their e-learning solution takes knowledge transfers and collaboraup for Ekiti State has world-class service levels and tions to a new level because learning becomes smart, employs a minimum of 10 indigenes. This is in addition to training 10 to 15 interns every quarter thus cre- self-paced, interactive and measurable. This leads to higher efficiency within the educational value chain. ating a pool of resources for the state to draw from ROCENTRIC IQ, leader in the development of comP merce and industry in Africa and fostering the business that drives economic growth and technolog-
The Business Development Manager noted that apart from, their offerings in the education sector, they also design business management solutions for industries, government agencies, finance, manufacturing sector, and others. “We equip our clients with the tool to build, sustain and expand proud African businesses that are prepared to compete in the global economy”. Nsikak maintained that for a company to succeed, it must achieve increased sales, accelerated time to market, raised productivity, excellent employee retention, customer loyalty, diversified revenue streams and reduced expenses and expenditure. “Elearning helps you achieve all these by providing the necessary training inputs. The advantage is that it delivers knowledge and skills across an organisation very rapidly as well as delivers measurable bottomline business results”.
New jobsite unveiled in Lagos NEW social jobsite, Insignify.com, has joined the growing list of people’s networks. With the arrival of Insidify.com, Lana said jobA jobsites with the uniqueness of redefining accessibility of rel- seekers will now heave a sigh of relief as each job opening get connected to the individual with the requisite qualifications evant information by the different categories of jobseekers.
the exact people across their networks who can help them get these jobs.’ Lana also revealed that aside the jobseekers, the site is freely open to employers as it would afford them the opportunity to In a statement, the Co-founder of the site, Deji Lana, said that it and requirement. The release also explained that one of the peculiarities of the drill down to the minutest details as contained in the thousands is a site set up to address the needs of jobseekers, with focus on site is in its ability to help jobseekers to convert their Facebook, of CVs available online. solving problems associated with similar sites in the past. “For instance on Insidify.com, an employer may search for a According to him, for many years, jobsites seem to be content- Linkedin and email contacts into professional networks that become potential links in fast tracking their careers. prospect who is 25 years, female, graduated with a 2:1 from UNIed with advertising jobs to a zealous audience of jobseekers, LAG in 2009 and has words like creativity or leadership on their even though only about 15 per cent of jobs are ever advertised. By “This means that job seeker gets to know what jobs fits them, so doing, the larger bulk of jobs get landed through the help of the moment the jobs are released anywhere on the internet and CV. Insidify CV search drills down that much.”
Nokia Asha 210 enters Nigeria The Nokia Asha 210 comes with a 2MPcamera
OKIA has unveiled the latest device in its that can be accessed through a dedicated hard N Asha family, designed to offer consumers key even when the keypad is locked. The smart more social experiences at an affordable price. The Nokia Asha 210, available in Single- or Easy Swap Dual-SIM variants, features a distinctly Nokia design and smart imaging that sets it apart from the crowd. It supports Wi-Fi to help people enjoy more of the Internet for less and is the world’s first phone to have a dedicated WhatsApp button. The Nokia Asha 210 has a QWERTY keyboard and a dedicated WhatsApp button for fast access to instant messaging. To celebrate the Nokia and WhatsApp partnership, WhatsApp is offering their service for free on all Nokia Asha 210 devices with the WhatsApp button for their lifespan. Combined with Facebook, Twitter and support for popular email accounts such as Gmail, the Nokia Asha 210 is designed to ensure that people are never more than a few clicks away from their friends and family.
camera also offers a choice of image capture, editing and sharing options, including, self-portrait – for perfectly centred self-portraits, even without a front-facing camera. The built-in voice guides the user to ensure they are in the frame, before taking the shot. Fast editing of images directly from the camera app and easy sharing of images to social networks. People can also share photos and other content quickly by using Nokia’s innovative Slam feature, which comes built-into the Nokia Asha 210. It works by enabling the transfer of content such as images or videos to another Bluetoothenabled phone without the need to pair devices. “The Nokia Asha 210 really stands out giving super-social consumers new ways to express their personalities through design, colour and innovations like the world’s first WhatsApp button,” explains Timo Toikkanen, executive vice
president, Mobile Phones, Nokia. “It has been designed to allow peoplet o easily update their social networks, stay in touch with friends and share user created content.”
“We are focused on delivering the best WhatsApp experience to as many people as possible,” said Brian Acton, Co-Founder of WhatsApp Inc.
ICANN to open Istanbul hub, eyes Africa tional in terms of our outlook, policies and the makeup of our staff. Now our global hub strategy will take our internationalism announced that the organisation will open to an improved operational level,” said Chehadé. “These hub offices will become its first hub office in Istanbul, Turkey. part of the core fabric of ICANN.” The announcement marks a significant The Istanbul hub office will be led by moment in the evolution of ICANN (http://www.icann.org) as it prepares to spread ICANN’s Vice President for Policy its operational functions across three global Development, David Olive. A number of current ICANN staff will relocate to Istanbul headquarters - Los Angeles (current locaover the coming months and local staff also tion), Istanbul and Singapore. will be hired. “ICANN is becoming increasingly internaNTERNET Corporation for Assigned Names IExecutive and Numbers (ICANN) President and Chief Officer Fadi Chehadé has
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Industrywatch Tackling bottlenecks to exportation, AGOA implementation For many years, the need to move away from a monolithic system of economy has been on the agenda of many discussions. The diversification being sought is one with less dependedence on the oil sector. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been part of the US international cooperation efforts for the continent since 2000. It entails a series of incentives provided to African countries by the US opening its market for exports originating from them. The unilateral preferential trade arrangement also sets a framework for partnerships in trade and investment. Despite the success and challneges of the scheme, stakeholders believe there are prospects, options and policy recommendations for African countries post-2015, when the current arrangement is expected to expire.FEMI ADEKOYA writes. HE need to diversify the nation’s economy T has been one of the key subjects of discourse in many fora, albeit the rather slow progress recorded in making the diversification a reality. The contribution of the non-oil sector to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is an evidence of Nigeria’s slow pace and low commitment to the diversification of the economy. To achieve its diversification objective, the Federal Government decided to key into the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) passed into law by the United States Senate in May 2000. Precisely, AGOA, with two years to the end of its timeline, has been the centerpiece of U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). By complementing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) market access, AGOA has opened the U.S. market to over 6,000 products from 38 AGOA-eligible countries. This has helped to increase both the volume and diversity of U.S.-SSA trade. In 2008, exports from AGOA countries rose from $23 billion in 2000 to $81 billion. The nonoil imports’ component of this trade is estimated to have risen 230 percent by 2008 despite AGOA’s exclusion of competitive African exports like sugar, peanuts, dairy and tobacco. This expansion in African exports occurred even though the U.S. continues to subsidize agricultural products such as cotton. Yet, AGOA’s achievements mask two important issues. First, many stakeholders believe that the benefits have been un- even in both product and country diversity. Second, uncertainty regarding AGOA’s future could make it difficult for the gains, though uneven, to be sustained through long-term investments and the creation of new regional value chains with the potential to deepen intra-African trade. To address some of the challenges relating to the bilateral trade between Nigeria and the United States, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee as well as stakeholders within the export sector decided to examine the challenges with a view to proffering sustainable solutions. For instance, some of the stakeholders believe that if AGOA is extended beyond 2015, several issues need to be addressed in order to improve participation from Nigerian exporters. The initiative would require reforms and accompanying measures to address the current concentration of benefits to a limited number of countries and products. According to the, an improved AGOA should help refocus FDI to more sectors as opposed to the current bias that targets primarily textiles, apparel and oil sectors. It should also be made more inclusive, accessible and beneficial to exporters. To some industry watchers, in case AGOA is not renewed beyond 2015, three possible scenarios
Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce (2002-2012) could shape U.S.-Africa relations. A first scenario might entail the U.S. deepening the implementation of the bilateral investment treaties (BITs), trade and investment framework agreements (TIFAs) and trade and investment development cooperation agreements (TIDCAs). The challenge with this scenario is that not all African countries have BITs, TIFAs or TIDCAs with the U.S. And if these countries decide to work on those agreements individually, they might be faced with challenges such compliance with environmental and labor standards as experienced by the central American countries when engaging in bilateral negotiations with the U.S. The second scenario might comprise of the U.S. seeking to consolidate gains through BITs, TI- FAs and TIDCAs at a sub-regional level. This would demand greater coordination among the African countries, ideally in the context of the regional economic communities (RECs). The experiences and lessons from the economic partnership agreements would be useful here for the African countries. The third scenario could envisage the U.S. seeking bilateral agreements either at country or subregional level that are not only reciprocal but also deeper in their scope and level of commitment than the economic partner- ship agreements. In the event of any of these scenarios, the African countries must care- fully evaluate the advantages and challenges that such agreements portend to their inter- national, regional and national development objectives. Acting Zonal Controller, NEPC, Lagos, Evelyn Obidike while speaking at the interactive forum explained that the Council decided to host the meeting in order to enable stakeholders in the industry to examine grey areas in the bilateral
trade between the two nations with a view to improving access of Nigerian products to the U.S. markets. According to her, there is a need to examine how Nigerian exporters can have better access to the U.S. markets, especially as the current AGOA scheme runs to an end. Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr. John Isemede decried the imbalance of trade between Nigeria and the United States, noting that it is very difficult for Nigerians to export value added products to the United States than it is for Nigeria to import same from the country. He explained that most of the bilateral trade policies are not working in Africa’s favour, especially Nigeria. “The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) is not working in our favour. For bilateral trade to be enhanced, the developed economies should start thinking of how to invest in Nigeria’s economy rather than taking raw materials from us, while dumping refined products back to the system. We need to protect the interest of coming generations. Nigeria deserves a win-win situation. “Many times, value-added products are rejected by the United States and some other European nations under the disguise that the products do not conform to some standards. Standards should not be imposed on Africans for products not produced in America; rather such standards should be developed based on an agreement between the countries involved.” The U.S. House’s Foreign Affairs Committee delegates, led by the Consulate’s Political/Economic Section Chief, Rolf Olson,
“Many times, value-added products are rejected by the United States and some other European nations under the disguise that the products do not conform to some standards. Standards should not be imposed on Africans for products not produced in America; rather such standards should be developed based on an agreement between the countries involved.”
stated that the purpose of the visit was to liaise with exporters with a view to examining how AGOA affects exporters’ businesses and how legislations may be reviewed to address grey areas. Olson noted that lack of basic information about doing business in the U.S. market is one of the key challenges exporters face in the course of executing transactions with the U.S. He however assured the exporters that the challenges being encountered by exporters would be examined, with adequate legislation proffered as solution. He said: “Nigeria has not yet found its niche with AGOA, because the two countries are still discovering the potentials in each other’s markets.” The U.S. had earlier noted that Nigeria can do well with AGOA by doing the following: •Bodies, states and firms from Nigeria should hold more trade and investment summits so as to create an awareness of the opportunities that exist. •Nigeria should develop national and state level AGOA strategies that are inclusive, meaning working with all stakeholders in Nigeria government, labour, private sector, civil society, to determine where its competitive and comparative advantages lie outside of oil and gas. •Nigeria should cultivate more land; it should do more agribusiness than it is doing now. •Nigeria would need to move away from traditional exports of primary commodities and diversify into value-added products. •Nigeria has a great responsibility in improving its current ranking in the Doing Business Report of the World Bank. Improving Nigeria’s standing in the rankings would send a positive signal to investors interested in sectors other than oil and gas. •Nigeria needs to take a special interest at its market by promoting good governance, investing in people and implementing difficult macroeconomic reforms. Specifically, African beneficiaries need to define possible actions and weigh out the advantages and challenges trade agreements may pose to their international trade, regional integration and national development objectives. Finally, in parallel to this exercise, Sub-Saharan African countries also need to review the policy options which are available to them as a group in order to improve AGOA, given that the framework has not been phased out yet.
52 | INDUSTRY WATCH
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Policy consistency as driver of sustainable steel sector growth By Femi Adekoya HERE is a truism that the development of the T iron and steel industry is a key ingredient for themodernizationofsocieties.Historyindicates
that the ability of societies in Western Europe and the Americas, and also in Japan to cope with their environment and provide for the welfare of people was to a large extent possible because of the progressive development, mastery and use of iron and steel products. Indeed, steel is at the root of industrial revolution. This industry is not only a critical input in agriculture, on which Africa depends for the survival of its peoples, but also underlies the military-industrial complex. Away from its industrial use, value-added productsfromsteelcanbeseenfromhouseholdproducts, especially flat steel, from refrigerators, air conditioners, computers, printers, standing and ceiling fans, enamelware to aerosol cans. In the last five decades, Nigeria has witnessed a cycle of gloom and boom in some of its key industries. The Mines and Steel sector is no exemption, with core investments in the steal sector taking a geographical shift to the East and more particularly to China and India. With the low vibrancy witnessed in the sector in about two decades, following the marginal activities in the Ajaokuta Steel Company, private and foreign investors have over the years driven increased activities in the sector. This has necessitated the need for government to develop keen interest in the growth and sustainability of the sector through consistency in policy formulation and implementation. For instance, the Federal Government recognised the centrality of steel in the nation’s development and tried to address such need. It set up the Ajeokuta Steel Mill as well as several Steel RollingMillsacrossthecountry.However,inconsistency in policy has ruined that effort. According to some industry watchers, some of the Steel Mills were wrongly sited purely for political reasons, most of the Rolling Mills were producing rods instead of flats, while the Mills, due to the fact that they were government companies, choice of management toed the line of political patronage and soon the companies were run aground For instance, when President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned Western Metal ProductsCompanyLimited(WEMPCO)’s5-stand Tandem Cold Rolled Steel Plant at the company’s plant in Magboro, Ogun State, recently, he emphasized the need to create and sustain a vibrant steel sector, in order to drive Nigeria’s industrialization goal. Specifically, Nigeria’s yearly demand for cold rolled steel flat sheets today is estimated at 1.2 million tonnes, with most of it still being imported. The Wempco production capacity, stands at 700,000 metric tonnes per annum with additional expansion capacity for 300,000 tonnes per annum. Stakeholders believe that with necessary encouragement, WEMPCO and other companies in the steel sector can reduce Nigeria’s imports and even make Nigeria a major exporter of various steel products in the long run.
Ajaokuta Steel plant
Steel is at the root of industrial revolution. This industry is not only a critical input in agriculture, of which Africa depends for the survival of its peoples, but also underlies the military-industrial complex...The Federal Government recognised the centrality of steel in the nation’s development and tried to address such need. It set up the Ajeokuta Steel Mill as well as several Steel Rolling Mills across the country. However, inconsistency in policy has ruined that effort. The growth of the steel sector is a long term growth. We need to create the right support and protection for the sector’s growth. It should not be a case whereby a sector drives itself to sustainability and a policy is then formulated to give undue advantage to some importers to exploit the industry to the detriment of key investors. President Jonathan had said: “Steel is at the heart of any national economic development endeavour. As we all know, it is one of the most important materialsusedwidelyforbothdomesticandindustrial purposes throughout the world. A vibrant steel sector contributes to GDP growth, facilitates exploitation of natural resources and generates economic activities in downstream industries. It also promotes job creation, the acquisition of technical skills, transfer of technology and the provision of machine parts and tools. In fact, no nation can industrialize without a vibrant iron and steel sector. “The steel sector offers immense economic opportunities for our country, which we have not fully exploited. This administration, however, aims to reposition this industry. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in conjunction with other MDAs, has developed an Industrial revolution Plan, which has identified the Iron and Steel Industry as a focal sector. This plan aims to develop the complete ecosystem of this sub-sector. “I would like to assure existing and prospective investors of government support as we collectively strive for self-sufficiency in local steel production. I strongly believe that self-sufficiency will open major downstream sector activities with the attendant massive job opportunities and economic empowerment for our engineers, technicians, artisans, fabricators alike.” On the need to support the steel sector, Jonathan added: “You all may recall that a few years ago, we had less than five functioning steel rolling mills and no cold rolled steel mill, but today there are more than 15 functioning steel rolling mills producing reinforced bars and three functioning cold rolled steel mills producing cold rolled flat sheet of which Wempco is one of them. “It is my hope that Wempco will continue to strive to expand its current production capacity to gradually meet the nation’s demand for flat steel sheets. I want to encourage Wempco to within the shortest possible time embark on full backward integration so as to produce Hot Rolled steel, which is the major raw material for producing Cold Rolled steel.” Former Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) President, Alhaji Basiru Borodo, stressed the need for government’s consistency in policy formulation and implementation of policies affect-
ing the sector. According to him, the lack of policy consistency in the steel sector has led to the near demise of key industries in the sector. He added that with increased private partnership in the sector, there is a need for government to protect genuine investors who have weathered the storm in Nigeria’s harsh operating environment. He said: “For instance, the owners of WEMPCO group have been in this country for almost 60 years. Though they may not be nationalized, in their hearts, they are Nigerians. They have demonstrated true commitment and faith in investing in the country. We should know that without government support, there wouldn’t be a meaningful industrialization. “The growth of the steel sector is a long term growth. We need to create the right support and protection for the sector’s growth. It should not be a case whereby a sector drives itself to sustainability and a policy is then formulated to give undue advantage to some importers to exploit the industry to the detriment of key investors. “As encouraging as the backward integration policy is, we need to be very careful and make sure that raw materials are sourced from Nigeria in order to avoid the dangers of subsidized products penetrating the market. Local manufacturers must be protected in the scheme in order to avoid another situation like what happened in the Cement industry”. Healsoemphasizedtheneedforprivateinvestors to manage competition in the sector in order to drive the growth of the sector. Hitherto, the Minister of Steel Development, Musa Sada, urged private investors to partner with the Federal Government in steel manufacturing for the development of the country. The minister in a chat with The Guardian said the Federal Government had provided an enabling environment for private investors to participate in the production of steel and other metallic alloys in the country. He said government would only regulate the activities of the sector and give support to c ompanies when necessary. “To the best of our understanding, the Federal Government has taken the right position. No country in Africa has the highest steel manufac-
turing companies than Nigeria. The steel industry is the backbone of industrialisation in any country and Nigeria is not an exception. “The steel industry also has the highest employment in countries of the world and Nigeria is ready to develop its steel industry to boost the economy,” he added. The Group Managing Director of the WEMPCO, Lewis Tung noted that the company was ready to backward integrate and develop key products for both industrial and domestic use, while urging government to be consistent in its policies in order to drive industrial growth. Tung said his company was “ready to receive materials from the upstream industry. This is a way to encourage investors to go into the upstream and back stream. The steel industry is the source of employment. Upstream is a source of huge employment opportunities. So also is back stream which accounts for spinoff industries that are not directly related to the steel industry.” Also, Chief Executive Officer of the Company of Sun and Sand Industries, Bhushan Chandna, urged government to enact a friendly policy that would cover exports of the product to sustain a competitive environment. “We are proud to say that M.S. wire rod is now being manufactured in Nigeria and our company is the only one that accomplished this feat. “The manufacturing of the product in Nigeria will generate employment for the youth. The product is friendly to the environment as it does not generate any pollutant,” he said. Similarly, Chief Executive Officer of African Foundries Limited, Sanjay Kumar, disclosed that Nigeria is on track to join the world’s largest producers of steel in the world from the year 2018, as the country’s potential for iron and steel production is progressively transformed into actual capacity. Kumar said the company, which began steel production in Nigeria, 2010, churning out varied dimensions of iron rods for construction and other purposes, has now developed the business to a point where it has began to seek more market for its products outside the country. “In the next 5 years Nigeria may be one of the largest producers of steel in the world. Nigeria is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of unexplored iron ore, so if steel is developed then it will lead to more mining and essentially more development for the nation’s steel sector and the entire economy,” he said. Explaining that the growth in the steel sector has been on the upward swing from year to year, the AFL boss noted that the industry was now heading towards the inflection point where demand for steel products will actually be outpaced by supply, stressing that this reality was the primary reason why the company began to explore the export market for other off takers for its products. “Currently, we have an order of 5,000 tonnes of steel products and this has been produced and prepared for shipping out we are trying to get around the ancillary challenges of logistics occasioned by the large volume of the present order. However, we expect to meet the time lines and we have met all the required international quality standards”, he added.
AFRICAN OIL&GAS REPORT 53
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
At his presentation to the Lagos Oil Club last February, Ladi Bada, CEO of Shoreline Natural Resources, said his company planned to ramp up the company’s gross production from the present 35,000BOPD to 100,000BOPD in 24 months. He told the gathering that 90 of the 200 wells, were producing. Shoreline Natural Resources is the latest Nigerian E&P Company to “own” producing properties in the Niger Delta Basin. The company, an incorporated Joint Venture comprising Heritage Oil of the UK and Shoreline Power of Nigeria, completed in November 2012, the acquisition of the 45% belonging to Shell(30%), TOTAL(10%) and ENI(5%) in the Oil Mining Lease(OML) 30. AYS later, in his office in Ilupeju, in D the north of Lagos, I asked him if the company was planning to reenter 110 fields within the 24-month timeframe to achieve this target. Bada’s immediate response was to clear the air on the issue of operatorship, but he gave much more. “NPDC, the exploratory and production subsidiary of NNPC is the operator of OML 30, not Shoreline Natural Resources”, he remarked. “They are going to be working with us technically and in all ways in our bid to execute this work programme. We largely would be supporting them the way a non-operator would do in a JointVenture. Yes, the plan is to ramp up production from 35,000BOPD to about 100,000BOPD. We plan to do this through two ways. We have a Short-term Production Plan which is to double our production from 35,000BOPD to about 65,000BOPD by the end of 2013. That’s our short-term plan moving to 65,000BOPD by 2013 year-end through a process of repairing surface facilities, mainly compressors. Based on the nature of the reservoir and age of the field, the reservoir pressure in most wells in OML 30 has been depleting for quite some time now and 90% of the field are producing using “Gas-Lifts”. Because of this, OML 30 has lots of compressors in several compressor stations and without this additional lift capacity; it will be very difficult for OML 30 to produce at optimum. Unfortunately many of these compressors are very old between the ages of 15 and 20 years. I believe Shell hadn’t done total compressor upgrade in many years while running the field. They were just repairing them and at times had no spares for replacement in place. We understand that, knowing that they have a lot of assets to operate with their limited resources. Our own job in OML 30 is to make sure we replace some of these old compressors, bring new compressors, with a significant amount of manpower to repair and replace any faulty parts. We believe strongly that just by making sure our compressors uptime is as high as 95%, we can get to this volume. By takeover, compressor uptime was at best 70%, 60% in more cases. Those compressors are down too often and it takes so long for them to come back up again, we want to move compressor uptime to 95%. Once we can do that we believe we’ll meet our target of 65,000BOPD by 2013 year-end. Some of the new gas-lift mechanisms require new valves. We are considering rig and rigless operation options to replace
There has been a lot of destruction to our 2” gas lines that feed gas from the compressors into the sub-surface wells and a lot of them get cut by vandals who think they are oil pipelines. Quite a lot of them have been damaged causing lack of integrity for gas re-injection into oil wells. So we plan on replacing many of these 2” pipelines and re-enter the wells we consider quick wins.
largest community within OML 30 itself. From due diligence with Shell and on-site inspection, during the many years within the OML 30 region when there was a lot of militancy, clashes and problems within the Niger-Delta at that time, but there was very limited damage to Shell facilities largely because back then Shell was not viewed as being party to the problem(s). Most of the problem was mainly between militants and government trying to work out their differences and so, there was minimal damage done to Shell facilities. The production facility at Evwreni was one of the few that actually sustained any level of damage. During those times, you had people fighting government forces and fighting amongst themselves (infighting), especially in Warri. Evwreni, which is not so far from Warri axis, had communities warring against each other, forcing Shell to quickly abandon the flow station in Evwreni as it was unsafe for its staff. It was during those periods that vandals came into the communities and just looted a good portion of the flow station, largely the compressor stations. Today there is no compressor active in Evwreni, there used to be two compressors working, one on duty and the other as stand-by, they were both looted by vandals. Evwreni produces between 2,000-3000BOPD only from what we call “naturally flowing wells” i.e. wells that are not gas-lifted at all. A lot of the wells in Evwreni should benefit so much work along with them, support them Our team is quite strong, we have ex- from gas-lifts, but the compressor statechnically and in any other way to tion is gone. Shell knew this when jointly develop the asset. So I think it is Shell people who had previously they came back, but they had limited worked on the asset, some people debatable, however we will be able to resources and other things not gauge the J-V better in a few months known to us must have hampered from some of the independents and time”. them. We have seen that just by we have technical people from Shoreline Power, which led the IJV to installing new compressor stations take over the assets, doesn’t have a Heritage Oil Plc. We have a good in Evwreni, we can ramp up produccomparable track record like other tion considerably. The specific figures blend of what we believe truly is a Nigerian Independents who benefitted I don’t have at this time, but I believe Nigerian Company from the divestment. How does Bada with additional gas-lifts, replacing &Co plan to build capacity using the damaged/vandalised compressor Nigerian people and resource, to though barely known locally, as an stations with new ones, the wells in become a truly Nigerian Company? organization has enough people Evwreni can deliver 10,000BOPDBada liked that question, he said. “The working within its ranks who can 15,000BOPD. That is without doing Joint Venture is Shoreline Natural show experiences that go way back. an additional drilling campaign. We Resources which comprises people What we’ve done is to have a mix. I are planning exploratory drillings in from Shoreline Power and Heritage Oil have good working experience here in large portions of OML 30, but that’s plc. For starters, though Heritage Oil Plc Nigeria, and one of my exciting times not our immediate plan, rather with has never operated in Nigeria before, was working to bring the Ebok Field the benefit of 100 wells at our behest, Heritage Oil Plc is a recognized operat- on-stream. We’ve brought in people we plan to re-enter within a 24ing company. It’s a listed E&P company with relevant working experience. month period in a bid to meet our on the London Stock Exchange and Our team is quite strong, we have ex100,000BOPD target. Beyond Toronto Stock Exchange, and has oper- Shell people who had previously 100,000BOPD target, we have ated assets worldwide, more imporworked on the asset, some people Planning Drilling which we are hoptantly extensively in Africa. Heritage Oil from some of the independents and ing to start in the second half of 2014. Plc as a company has discovered one of we have technical people from This will target new reservoirs or old the largest oil fields recently in Africa. Heritage Oil Plc. We have a good reservoirs in new areas. These addiThe Kingfisher Field in Uganda with blend of what we believe truly is a tional drillings are going to be largely reserves of 1 billion barrels, so they do Nigerian Company, about 97% staffed horizontal wells. 99% of the existing have operating experience on the by Nigerians. We have a technical wells drilled are vertical wells, they African terrain, compared to say some- director from Heritage Oil Plc, a perwere drilled back in the ‘70’s, some as one who has only worked in say the son with 30 years experience includearly as 1967. Based on new available North Sea. Secondly in relation to ing working in Shell. The head of technology, we have both 2-D and 3-D Shoreline Natural Resources being new Finance is also from Heritage Oil Plc. coverage over most of OML 30, we entrants so to speak, a company is only Beyond this, all other employed staff believe most of those wells are better as good as its working assets in relation are Nigerians that we have jointly targeted with horizontal and some to its staff and equipment. One can interviewed and brought into the vertical wells. Once we start drilling, start off a company well and in a short Technical, Accounting and we are hoping by 2nd quarter-3rd space of time everybody leaves, another Administrative team”. quarter 2014, we want to target new set comes in, the face of the company OML 30 in the mid-90’s was the site of horizons. Those new horizons should technically changes. In the same vein, frequent communal clashes between now move us beyond the you can start a new company and staff Ijaw and Itshekiri especially in 2003, I 120,000BOPD in the subsequent it up less than six months with a cumu- said. There have been a lot of damage years to 150,000BOPD and above. lative experience worth of 800 years of on facilities, I wondered. Beyond the two years working timetechnical experience, automatically “ Correction!”, Bada shot back. “The frame, we are looking at additional what you have done is to elevate your clashes were more between Isoko and company profile. Heritage Oil Plc, Urhobo people because they have the CONTINUED ON PAGE 42
Shoreline: NPDC Operator Is A “Good” Challenge By Foluso Ogunsan
valves, whichever options work best and optimize our valves through a process of finding the best “creaming curve” to see how best we can work the gas-lifts. Apart from gas-lifts, we are also looking at how best we can reenter the wells that have been capped because of lack of capacity to develop them back then. Re-enter wells that were previously producing, what we call “PUD”- Producing Undeveloped, un-cap them and bring them up to production. Another thing we also want to do in relation to that is that there has been a lot of destruction to our 2” gas lines that feed gas from the compressors into the sub-surface wells and a lot of them get cut by vandals who think they are oil pipelines. Quite a lot of them have been damaged causing lack of integrity for gas re-injection into oil wells. So we plan on replacing many of these 2” lines and re-enter the wells we consider quick wins. We are in the process of identifying and isolating the wells we consider quick win wells. We can quickly enter 40-50 of these wells and ramp up production within the best shortest possible time just with work-over. All these within a twoyear programme, yes! Ambitious and possible. One year largely for surface facilities and the next year for workover and a lot of sub-surface activities. It was quite an impressive gush of technical words from someone who trained originally as a medical doctor. Still I wanted his take on the NPDC operator-ships of Shell divested oil assets, which has been subject to a raucus national debate . Does he see NPDC operatorship of OML 30 a constraint or boon? -“I see it more like a challenge”, he said, “because there’s no company that’s going to come into an onshore asset like OML 30 or any of the other divested assets, no matter how experienced they are, that will not have challenges. Everybody including us if we were operating the asset will have challenges. Where we might differ will be how we can overcome the challenges from one company to another. We believe NPDC, based on their antecedents have been producing in Nigeria for a while. They have been producing on OML 119 and the Oredo Field on their own, so we know they have definite experience producing in Nigeria. Because we are not involved with those assets, we can’t speak on the quality of the production. We are confident in the fact that they have good operating experience onshore and offshore Nigeria. That gives us lots of confidence to start with. In terms of whether we believe they can be as best an operator as we’ll like them to be, I think it will be speculative for us at this stage. The relationship between Shoreline Natural Resources and NPDC has started and to be quite frank, we’ve been surprised with the level of engagement and co-operation that NPDC has been showing us to allow us Bada at work
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
54 AFRICAN OIL&GAS REPORT
The African Independent, In View HE African independent, or T “indigenous E&P company”, is a unique, homegrown entity, borne out of the experiences of the continent’s technical specialists and business entrepreneurs over the several decades that the IOCs have operated here. Nigeria has that species more than any country in Africa, but it’s a growing class. “Angolan independents are a fast-growing breed and have ambitious aims”, reports Duncan Clarke, in his book, Crude Continent “Prodoil was founded in 2001 and is run by ex-Sonangol managers but is headed by Godhino Damingos, a former Texaco engineer”. Angolan companies started grabbing pies for themselves in the early 200s as discussions about marginal field awards gained traction in Nigeria. But how many of them are in production, like their Nigerian counterparts? There was a South African independent named Energy Africa, which had a net production of over 20,000BOPD from four countries in Africa. It was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange(JSE). It was the British explorer, Tullow, who shot down this bright African star from the sky; acquiring the company in 2003 and delisting it from the JSE. Sasol, the giant synfuels company also listed on the JSE, has an upstream arm Sasol Petroleum International, which
Shoreline: NPDC Operator Is A “Good” Challenge CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41 150,000bopd-180,000bopd with additional horizontal drilling that we have planned. The 100,000bopd target is from surface facilities and re-entering the 100 or so existing wells. With new additional horizontal wells we should be able to move from 100,000bopd- 150/180,000bopd. It’s an ambitious 4-year plan. Our Year-1 plan is to achieve 65,000bopd, Year-2 plan-100,000BOPD, Year-4&5 Plan 150,000-200,000BOPD. Then again there are other opportunities which will become clearer as we progress further. The largest fields producers at the moment, the likes of Bonga and Agbami are producing in excess of 150,000BOPD, and we would like to replicate that onshore. That’s not an impossible task because OML 30 at
its peak produced in excess of 200,000BOPD, although reservoir pressure in OML 30 is not the same as before, the water cut has also changed, so there are challenges. By the time we took over the acreage; most of the wells were producing 60%-65% water. As I said, you can have younger fields producing 20%-30%, older fields producing as much as 75% water. Still we believe we can achieve the 200,000BOPD. Bada had his first degree in medicine, I starting off as a medical doctor. “Around 18-19 years ago”, he says,” I left the medical line to go back to having a diploma in Oil & Gas Economics and since then I’ve been in the oil and gas industry. The state of the nation brought about the occupational change. I transited from one to another and I was very much interested in oil and gas at the time. I’ve been involved in it for 18 years now”.
produces gas offshore Mozambique and exports same to South Africa. Other South African independents include SacOil, Energetic Petroleum, Shanduka Energy and New Age(New African Global Energy). Clarke’s book looks at African independents through the prism of the personalities involved and their relationships with the political centres in their respective countries of origin. But that emphasis, squarely on patronage, ought to change. It is the world of work beyond cronyism that Africa Oil+Gas Report explores in our issue of March/April 2013. These companies are raising own finance, deploying technical skills, making huge mistakes and so falling, but also getting up. In North Africa, Sea Dragon, founded by the Egyptian engineer
Said Arrata, is listed in Canada. It had been a non operator in several assets, which deliver excess of 1,000BOPD in Egyptian acreages. Sea Dragon’s preference to be “resident” abroad has parallels in some Nigerian companies. For example, Oando Energy Resources(OER), the E&P arm of Oando Plc, is listed in Canada. Resident at home are SEPLAT, Niger Delta Western, FHN, Waltersmith, Brittania U, all simply trying to do work; they are a different breed, apart from most of the companies that were granted licences before 2003. How they do it is our concern. Their experiences provide technical and business insight for our readers worldwide. -Fred Akanni, Editor
An African Giant Pumps Up The American Economy By Sully Manope, Southern Africa Correspondent S a rule, Foreign Direct Investments(FDIs), flow from the rich west to the A jungles of Africa. One case that proves the exception is Sasol’s proposed investment in America’s plastics and chemicals industry. The South African born synfuels manufacturer and the world’s largest producer of motor fuel from coal, says it will profit from the investment in two new plants, based in Louisiana, the United States Of America. “The proposed investment is estimated to be between $16 and $21 billion, making it the largest foreign investment in the State of Louisiana’s history”, Sasol says in a statement. It’s a supreme irony. The founding of the Suid-Afrikaanse Steenkool, Olie en Gaskorporasie (SASOL), was a project of the South African apartheid government, to produce liquid fuel from coal through a synthetic chemical process in the 1950s, in order to survive oil boycotts and secure the country’s fuel autonomy. Now, America, the sole global superpower currently struggling with a four year downturn in its economic fortunes, is having a lift from a company formed in the world’s poorest continent. But it has been a two way street. Would Sasol have been where it is if it hadn’t listed on the New York Stock Exchange? In April 2013, Sasol, whose major shareholders include South African Government Employees Pension Fund and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited (IDC), celebrated its 10 year anniversary of its listing on the world’s largest bourse. Sasol’s shares trade in the form of American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) and listed at $10,73 per share. One Sasol ADR is the equivalent to one Sasol ordinary share traded on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). The NYSE listing has made it possible for Sasol access the U.S. capital market, while growing its profile in this investment community as a compelling investment proposition. What Freedom Can Do: The dismantling of apartheid in 1994 opened up the world to large South African companies, all of them run by white South Africans who benefited from apartheid, including Sasol, Biliton and South African Breweries(SAB). Primarily listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange(JSE), these companies went ahead to carry out secondary listings in such global exchanges as New York, London and Australia. SAB merged with American Miller Breweries and became the world’s second largest brewing company measured by revenues. Biliton merged with Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP) and became BHPBiliton, one of the world’s largest resource firms. On April 5th 2013 SABMiller agreed to be bought by the American company The Altria Group. Sasol never merged and as it grew bigger in the world, it has contributed as much to infrastructure development in its continent of origin as it has deepened its own pockets abroad. Sasol commissioned the first trans-border gas pipeline in sub-Saharan Africa in 2002; the 865km MozambiqueSouth African gas pipeline transports Sasol has built a 140MW gas fired plant in South Africa, utilizing the Mozambican gas to power its own operations. The company is involved in constructing another gas fired plant capable of delivering another 140MW, to end users in both Mozambique and South Africa. Sasol’s global operations include gas to liquid projects in Qatar, in Uzbekistan and has acquired shale gas assets in Canada. In Louisiana, Sasol is currently in the front-end engineering and design phase, for an integrated gas-to-liquids project and a world-scale ethane cracker. The ethane cracker, scheduled for operation in 2017 will expand the Johannesburg-based oil and gas company’s production of ingredients for low-density and linear low-density polyethylene, as well as chemicals such as monoethylene glycol, used in antifreeze and polyester, according to Sasol’s CEO David Constable. Another plant will convert natural gas into diesel and chemicals beginning in 2018. The plan is to produce 1.55 million tons a year of ethylene in 2017 and two 48,000 barrel-a-day fuel units in service by 2019.
For participation in Oil & Gas section, contact: The Manager: Lagos: 01 7736351; Abuja: 07098513445
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Energy Knocks for PHCN over outrageous bills, incessant power outage By Roseline Okere and Sulaimon Salau HE country’s electricity generation capacity may have increased to 4,000 megawatts, according to T reports from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Presidential Task force on Power, but consumers are yet to enjoy the current improvement therefrom. Specifically, the consumers lamented over estimated billings, non-availability of prepaid meters, monthly fixed charges and inadequate electricity supply from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Despite several claims by PHCN on improved allocationofprepaidmeters,customerswhospokewith The Guardianon Monday claimed that they have not been able to get the meters. They alleged that the non-availability of pre-paid meters was responsible for outrageous billing from the utility company. For instance, some electricity consumers in Aguda areaofSurulere,Lagoshavecriedoutoverthealleged extortion from PHCN officials. The consumers under the aegis of Muyiwa Opaleye Landlord Residents Forum, in a petition made available to The Guardian that the utility company has been unduly extorting them through outrageous billings, while they continued to groan under black out. The President of the Group, Emmanuel Nzelu, who signedthepetition,allegedthattheconsumershave made frantic effort to rectify the situation through
several letters to the PHCN, but all efforts were unfruitful. They therefore urged the firm to immediately suspend billing the community, due to inadequate power supply, as other bills would be returned back to sender. However, the PHCN, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, said it has commenced work on the complains, and efforts are presently on going to install a relief transformer in the network. The Senior Manager, Public Affairs Unit of the firm, Godwin Idemudia, said: “We have replied them that members of the community should bring up individual complain to enable us treat each on its merit. As for the transformer, we have raised action to get a relief transformer for them. Very soon the issue will be resolved,” he promised. The community was said to be under rationingscheme, but alleged bias and total neglect, which has deeply affected commercial and domestic activities in the area. “We are forced to express our two decades of suffering as a result of using one transformer for Muyiwa Opaleye and other adjoining streets. The existing transformer, which is 500kva was installed in the mid-1980s and has been on load shedding since 1996 to date. “On several occasions, we have made frantic efforts and reports to the PHCN offices but all efforts yielded no positive result. The rationing
has not helped matters. Sadly, we hardly or never enjoy improved supply in our area with the Sanya injection substation.” It stated. The petition obtained by The Guardian berated the utility firm on its poor attitude towards customers’ satisfaction, and therefore requested for a relief transformer to buoy power supply to the area. Also, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, lamented during the chamber’s first quarter briefing, that the power situation has deteriorated in the country. He said: “The Power situation improved slightly towards the close of last year 2012. However, this situation has since deteriorated. This development impacted negatively on investment during the quarter with increased expenditure on diesel and petrol by enterprises. This also comes with the consequences of declining productivity and competitiveness. Unfortunately no official explanation has been given for the dwindling performance in power supply. He,however,addedthat,“Thepaymentofmonthlyfixedchargerangingfrom500tooverN100,000 is a cause for worry. There is no justification for this under the current tariff regime since the tariff is now cost- reflective. Imposition of fixed charge,irrespectiveofwhetherthereispowersupply or not, is exploitative and would encourage inefficiency and should, therefore, be reviewed.”
Managing Director, Notore Power Limited, Femi Solebo (left); signing the joint development agreement with the Managing Director, Contourglobal, Stephane Loosen, at the presidential power reform transactions signing ceremony in Abuja.
He added: “In any event, it will still be cheaper than individual firms or households providing electricity through generators powered by diesel, petrol generators or LPFO. We also expect that this process would lead to the ultimate exit of the public sector in the direct management of the sector and limit itself to a purely regulatory function. However, electricity consumers should not be made to pay for inefficiency or corruption costs.”
NCDMB tasks multinational firms on Nigerian content compliance By Sulaimon Salau ULTINATIONAL oil companies operating in M Nigeria have been tasked to fully comply with the provisions of Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (NOGICDA), aimed at boosting local capacity in the industry. The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Earnest Nwapa, made this challenge at the celebration of third anniversary of NOGICDA by Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited in Lagos recently. Nwapa, who spoke through a video conferencing, said the companies are closely monitored by several mechanism put in place by the Board, and would not hesitate to issue out sanctions to any erring firm. He however applauded Addax’s contribution to the realisation of the goals. He said: “We consider Addax to be very rich in Nigerian content. Although, we have had issues with the company in the past, which I believe gave Addax the opportunity to learn key requirements of the law in the area of local content. “As it is the practice of our capacity building initiative, Addax must continue to help Nigerian companies in other to enable them continue creating jobs,” he said. The Managing Director, Addax Petroleum, Cornelis Zegelaar, charged stakeholders to take personal responsibility towards the realization of the Nigerian Content goals of human capital development and national capacity building. He said: “The task of NCD and nation building does not lie with just the international oil companies, or NCDMB, we all have a role to play, and we need to work vigorously to achieve the great objectives. “Addax remains committed to the visions and objectives of the NOGICD Act. We look forward to more anniversary celebrations and the continued growth and development of the Oil and Gas Industry and the entire nation.” Zegelaar however highlighted some Addax’s achievements on local content to include; full compliance to all NCDMB tendering and contracting requirement; utilizing competent Nigerian contractorsevenonverycomplexprojects;youthdevelopment initiatives and community projects aimed at empowering youths in our areas of operations.
‘NPDC joint ventures will boost Nigeria’s oil production capacity’ By Roseline Okere IGERIA Petroleum N Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), expects its new joint ventures to increase the country’s crude oil production by 250,000 barrels per day in 2015. Specifically, the company said it has concluded plans to exceed the target of 250,000 bpd. It said that over the years, the company could not fully realize
the objective for which it was set up as a result of lack of cooperation from past administrations, some of which, it said, actually stripped the company of some of its very prolific acreages. The company said in a media statement on Monday, that it hasbeenabletoachieve130,000 bpd in 2013, which it noted represents 100 per cent growth in production. The Managing Director of the NPDC, Victor Briggs, reacting to the issues concerning the com-
pany being the sole operator of 42, 26 and 30, he stated: “A bulk of that growth in production was achieved from the Oil Mining Leases handed over to the NPDC upon the divestment of some of the Joint Venture partners of its parent company, NNPC. These include OMLs 26, 30,34 and 42. Currently plans are underway to meet and possibly exceed the 250,000 barrels per day target by 2015. He noted that efforts to replicate the feat of doubling the company’s production over the
next few years to meet the target is on course stressing that to sustain that tempo of production growth the company has since commenced an aggressive drilling program. “For instance, we have successfully drilled two new wells in its OML 119. The wells, Okono six and seven are currently producing 12,000 barrels per day. This is by no means a mean feat especially considering the fact that these wells are producing an average of 6,000 barrels per day in an area where most of the
wells around produce an average of between 2,000 and 3,000 barrels per day. He disclosed that the company plans to drill more wells as from this year and would deploy two more rigs in addition to the two it currently has on site, adding that the target is to drill 40 wells in the next five years as part of its growth projection. “The only way we can increase our production is really by going out there and do the work. It is either you are repair-
ing a well that has gone down because there are technical issues or you are drilling a well. In the case of Okono it is the latter because we know there are potentials and all we did was to go out there and drill. I consider Okono 6 and 7 a success because the two wells combined are delivering over 12,000 barrels per day and that by any standard is significant especially in an area where most of the wells around are producing an average of 2,000bpd to 3000bpd.”
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Spolight On The Pension Fund Administrators (Pfas) And Workers Welfare HEN the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) in May 2011 directed all licensed Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to increase their Capital base from N150million to N1 Billion with effect from June 30, 2012, many feared that some PFAs may not be able to comply. Recapitalization is planned to improve service delivery and encourage mergers to strengthen the pension industry in Nigeria. Following the directive, some financially strong PFAS raised fund and recapitalized while few others concluded their recapitalization through mergers. With improved financial capacity, the PFAs are now positioned to deliver excellent returns to their Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders. The new pension industry under the supervision of PENCOM is attracting confidence among stakeholders including the Retirees. Retirement benefits are promptly paid as the administrator of the money is different form the custodian of the fund. There is no avenue for an individual or group of people to embezzle money as witnessed in the old pension scheme. Prospects that activities in the nation’s pension fund industry would inch up further is very high. The world bank, economic experts, stakeholders and the operators are optimistic of a resounding business development and have alluded to the fact that the future is
President Goodluck Jonathan bright for the sector. Already, the indices recorded by the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) showed a mouthwatering improvement in the last cou-
Chinelo-Amazu-Anohu, DG, PENCOM ple of months. With over three trillion assets in the kitty and over five million registered employees, the world is at the beckon of the operators.
Additionally with the untapped informal sectors being restructured with the hope of its early incorporation into the scheme, the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) are bound to have a good outing. A cursory look at the activities of PFAs in the last couple of months showed a mixed performance with minor challenges in form of teething problems. Experts believe they would soon overcome them. Besides, operators have vowed to surpass the achievements of its parent country – Chile – where the scheme was adopted from. Returns on investment is on the upbeat with the investment window on the rise on the daily basis. The improvement in the Nigerian economy where it has retained a stable growth in the last two years is a pointer that the sector would record a lot of success. The recent recapitalisation of the sector where the capital base of operators was increased is adding fresh impetus into the sector coupled with the new development in the capital market where activities are on the upbeat of recent. PENCOM is ensuring that the PFAs perform optimally so that the ugly trend recorded in the former pension scheme which is currently mired in alleged fraud and scandal is promptly avoided. For instance, the PENCOM projects that the PFAs would incorporate 15 million workers CONTINUED ON 61
Apt Pension Fund Managers Ltd
Ensuring Retirement With Financial Confidence
Aims At Clear Leadership In The Pension Industry
ROM an authorized share Fincorporation capital of N500million at in December 2004, APT Pension Fund Managers Limited has successfully increased to N1.5 million and has since June 2007 been operating as a Pension Fund Administrator. With APT securities and Funds Limited, a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange as parent company, APT Pension Fund Manages Limited is run by a management team led by Dr. AlMujtaba A. Gumi as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer. Since inception APT Pension Fund Managers Limited with head office at Federal Mortgage Bank House Plot 266 Cadastral AO Central Business District Abuja has 21 branch offices and representative offices situated in strategic First Bank branches all over Nigeria. Till date APT Pension Fund Managers has continued, true to its mission, to provide pensioners with excellent returns on their retirement benefits that guarantee their future. This it achieves through hardwork, innovation and total devotion to Pensioners needs using modern technology backed with skilled and efficient professionals of high integrity, confidentiality and standard ethical practice. This it achieves through hardwork, innovation and total devotion to pensioners needs using modern technology. With skilled efficient professionals of high integrity, confidentiality and standard ethical practice. Such professionals deliver the company’s products which include APT PFML Retirement Savings Account APT PFML Self Target Account APT PFML Pension Advisory Services and APT PFML Legacy Funds Management. Despite the fact that APT Pension Fund Managers Ltd was licensed as one of the third generation PFAS, it currently provides PFA services to over 380 organizations and has the target to achieve a client-base of
Al-Mujtaba Abubakar about 200,000 members before December 2013. Such rapid growth and huge success are linked to the company’s service delivery approach that translates into pension claims being settled in line with the Pension Reform act of 2004. The company has installed
the Sonda AFP. Net application which gives notice of people due for pension settlement before the stipulated time. Computation of benefits are also done, utilizing the most efficient available technologies to ensure accuracy. Over the years, APT Pension Fund Managers has been paying retirement and terminal benefits of its public and private sector clients, in a seamless operational flow that makes payment of entitlements easy, stress free and yet secured. Perhaps more than any other PFA, APT pension Fund Managers operates a customer care system that allows for maximum communication with stakeholders. This is the main purpose for the call centre operated from the head office which enables clients obtain information 24 hours a day.
INTERVIEW WITH MD/CEO PREMIUM PENSION LTD – MR WILSON IDEVA Sir, it is May day. What is your message to the Nigerian Workers as an organization that is concerned about their retirement? AY day celebration all over the world is the day to appreciate the dedication of workers, because in any business whether public or private, human capital is the best capital and the most delicate capital. Workers day celebration for me, is a a day to say thank you to the workers. As an employer, whether public or private, I want to appreciate you. Without you there can not be a genuine business. You may have the best machinery or the best environment, without the human capital put in the right form to turn around your environment, you don’t have a business at hand. I want to salute the Nigerian workers who have remained resilient in the face of the various challenges that we all find ourselves in this country. I think
FUG PENSIONS Guaranteeing A Brighter Future At Retirement UTURE Unity Glanvills FPensions), Pensions Limited (FUG has since 2007, successfully carried out the business of pension funnd administration in accordance with the Pension Reform Act 2004. Backed by strong and prominent shareholders, UnityKapital Assurance Plc a general insurance company with shareholders fund in excess of N8billion and Glanvill Enthoven & Company Limited, an insurance broking company with over 30 years experience in pension fund management, FUG Pensions has an authorized and paid up share capital of N1.5billion. it operates from 6 regional offices located in Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Abuja, Maiduguri and Lagos as well as several branch and zonal offices across the Federation. Boasting of a very strong financial base, sound pedigree in investment and asset management, as well as an enviable track record of credibility. FUG Pensions offers financial freedom at retirement. This, it has done over the years with a dynamic
Usman Suleiman, MD FUG Pensions Board made up of individuals who have excelled in their chosen fields of endeavour led by Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu CON and a Management Team headed by Mr. Usman B. Suleiman, whose main focus is ensuring that contributor funds are optimallymanaged for their utmost benefit in retirement. With core values of trust, integrity, prudence and patnership has remained focused
on its mission of producing competitive invetment returns for its contributors and a sound and efficient benefit administration for its retirees. The huge success recorded by FUG Pensions and the very bright future ahead can be trace to the Company’s pension administration philosophy which it has endeavoured to actualize by employing world class management expertise and technology. Realizing that life after retirement is determined by the quality of pension fund administration service rendered, the company employs cutting edge technology and ensuring full automation of its processes and deployment of trained workforce giving the best investment advise to maximize growth of pension contributions. In addition, the company has acquired its own property in Lagos to serve as its head office to with aview to optimizing service delivery to its contributors. FUG Pensions is no doubt positioned to ensure a brighter future is guaranteed to its contributors.
Wilson Ideva, MD/CEO PREMIUM PENSION
the Nigerian worker remains one of the most resilient, the most dedicated and the most creative because most of them work under a platform where there are no tools to work with. I also want to appreciate our staff at Premium pension most of whom are pioneer staff they have kept faith with us in the last eight years of our existence. As MD/CEO it is my duty to ensure that, that faith is maintained. Sir, do you think that workers should celebrate the administration of pension in the country? Well, this question has always come up in every interview I have had at different fora, with different people and I always say to them that one of the best thing that the previous administration before Jonathan/ Yaradua did is this pension reform act. Hither to, what we have seen is that Nigerians wait endlessly on the queue day in day out and they are not sure whether this money will be paid. We always pass the buck that the people in charge of pension are fraudulent, they are corrupt and there is the other school of thought that the money is not there. Whether we like it or not, the pension reform act has come to address the welfare of workers when they are no more strong to be able to look for their daily bread. It was a bold step in the right direction. “The scheme is the best that has happened in this country, but, like any thing new, people are sceptical because of the previous experience we have had. Can you tell us how many client Premium Pension has paid since inception?
We have attended to sixteen thousand nine hundred and eighty (16,980) as at the end of February. We are yet to complete our march figures. Normal retirement – 9,675 Death – 3,409 Temporary loss of Job – 2,299 Insufficient RSA balance – 1,589 Payment on ill-health – 11 Pre-act benefits – 1. Total- 16,980 amounting to N42.151billion for all the categories. With over fourty million workers in Nigeria, what percentage do you target as your market share? We know that it is not possible to have a 100% but we want to have a huge share of the market, say 25% and above. Right now, we are one of the leading PFA and we aim at clear leadership position within the next one year. We have carved a niche for our self. We are currently working on the customer call centre to be operated 24/7. This will be commissioned at our next board meeting. We have also bought our own property for the Head office. We are the first to do that and we have a superior return on investment. With the new head office, we have also created additional employment for staff cleaners, security, canteen operators, thereby contributing to Government employment generation drive. How do you intend to capture the informal sector? We have a large population of workers in the informal sector. Those involved in partnership in legal practice, artisanship and all forms of works. There are a lot of challenges in capturing this category. Towards the end of last year, there was a draft regulation to govern this segment which we have contributed to. It will streamline the guidelines. You can only deal with these people through unions, co-operatives or through any other organized means. The issue of remittance is not like the formal sector where the employers remit directly. It is a bit challenging in the informal sector because members of these unions do not have the same size of income. We believe that, that is where we should go. Since we do not have any social scheme in this country, the only social security is the new pension scheme. Once this is perfected, we can take care of the informal sector.
CONTINUED ON 59
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Spolight On The Pension Fund Administrators (Pfas) And Workers Welfare AIICO PENSION Eyes Fresh Untapped Business • On May Day Anniversary The May Day is the workers day. It is a day set aside to recognise the efforts of the working population worldwide. In Nigeria, it has traditionally been a day when organised labour specially put its concerns and demands for workers welfare before government. • On 40 million workforce in Nigeria On the 40 million workers in the country, there are no statistics to justify this figure. It is an estimate. More than 75 per cent of this figure are in the informal sector. When you drill down you can the begin to determine which percentage of the figure is left to the formal sector that the pension industry has been able to sign up. We have registered over 50 per cent of the remaining 25 per cent in the formal sector or the structured economy.. Of the 10 million in the formal sector, the existing pension fund administrators have registered over five million of them. The remaining percentage of the work force are in states who have not decided to establish the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). The question is what percentage do we hope to register here. At Aiico Pension Managers Limited, we are looking to be appointed in every state that is not currently signed up to the CPS that chooses to be signed up to the CPS. That is ‘our target.’ Secondly, we are looking to grow our market share ‘actively.’ But if you ask of what market share we control; we aspire to have a minimum of five per cent of the market over the next three years. • On challenges in the sector There are many challenges militating against the industry. There are still threats from collective organisations wanting to pull out of the scheme like the Nigeria Police Force and other paramilitary agencies – who want to operate under closed pension fund administrator licenses. Another challenge in the industry is that it is young and the revenues generated by the individual PFA’s is comparatively low in general. To this extent, it is difficult to attract high quality talents to the industry, because we are shopping for the same talents in the market as the more lucrative arms of the Financial Services sector are, notably the Banks who can pay better. We are limited by what we can pay in terms of salary. On AIICO Pension since inception AIICO Pension is a subsidiary of
PREMIUM PENSION CONTINUED FROM 56 At old age, whether you were a driver, vulcanizer or a petty trader, you should have money to take care of yourself. Sir, what is your message to your RSA holders? We want to thank our RSA holders and want to tell them that we are taking every step to meet their expectations. We know that we are in the service industry and in this sector you must have good customer service that is why we are setting up the call centre to have people who can attend to enquiries 24/7. As for potential RSA holders, we humbly request them to look towards Premium Pension. At the time you are starting your employment is the best time to start preparing for retirement. Even when you are not our RSA holder, you can walk into any of our offices with your questions and we shall be willing to attend to your enquiries. You are supposed to have personal relationship with your PFA. We offer superior returns on investment and we have the most diversified board in the sector. Our directors cut across all the geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Once again, I want to salute the courage of the Nigerian workers, most of whom are working under way difficult circumstances
AIICO Insurance PLC. that had a strong pension administration practise before Pension Reform Act of 2004. AIICO was in the third generation of licencees and so did not have a quick start in the new pension industry. Most of the clients that had accounts with AIICO Insurance signed on to other PFAs before we were licenced. However, AIICO Pension has stepped up its presence in the industry. It has established customer service as its key area of focus.’ And the reason for this is that we recognize that if our track record regarding our relationship with our customers speaks well of us we will have naturl advocates from who we can get a steady flow of referrals. Customer service is the major differentiator in the industry, which involves efficiency or being courteous to customers; anticipating their needs, as well as delivering competitive investment returns for the funds entrusted to our management,
Eguarekhide Longe, MD/CEO, AIICO and being accessible to the customers at all times. AIICO Pension is working diligently to drive down the culture of customer care through its entire organisation. We have
embarked on the journey. We have held several acculturation events to drive down the culture of customer care through the entire organisation. This is important because the process of creating a brand that focuses on customer care starts with an internal clean up of an organisation’s culture and values. That is the Journey, we have embarked upon. We are gaining market share in the industry slowly but surely. On AIICO’s future plan We will continue to focus on our customers and position ourselves where the opportunity lies in the industry that is states yet to sign up to the CPS . We hope to target large organisation like the restructured Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and any other growth area that evolves in the market place. We want to be in the forefront of institutions that expand the scope of job creation by exploring the reviewed PENCOM investment guidelines concerning investments in the real sector. We have selected this option as a growth strategy because with a growing economy, we have a growing employment, which means
new jobs and increased opportunities for new pension registrations. On your impression on the Pension Scheme The pension industry as evolved by Pension Reform Act of 2004 has introduced an oasis of sanity in an otherwise chaotic system of administration and management of pension. I believe that the value that has been established by the new pension industry will gradually be felt in the wider economy as we are able to introduce structure and adherence to contract in the public and private sector. Pension operators will very gladly look to deepening the real sector of the economy if they had a ‘sustainable way’ of investing in key sectors that will create a multiplier effect in the economy. If government can facilitate or guarantee investments in such key areas, we could see increasing direct participation of pension fund administrators’ investments in such areas as infrastructure, housing etc. This will initiate growth in these sectors. The industry is still young and has vast scope for growth. On PFA’s Investment window Pencom has done a fantastic job
in the industry. I am not just saying this to impress them. They have itemised where to invest money. They monitor operators adequately. They regulate effectively. They relate very well with the federal government in terms of remittance. The guidelines regarding investments in the real sector has been streamlined. It is how to find investment outlets that is the matter. Pension money is not risk capital. It is to be invested in safe and secure manner. On the informal sector My view on this issue is very simple. The incomes we earn in this country are too poor. Pension is supposed to be a deferred benefit. The focus of the man who earns N18,000 income monthly is largely existential. There is very little space for planning for tomorrow. He cannot plan for the future. Until the social amenities are provided that brings down the cost of doing business and by extension, the cost of living in a meaningful way, there would be problems. Their future is today. If we do not deepen the economy, we would not harness much in pension from the informal sector.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Spolight On The Pension Fund Administrators (Pfas) And Workers Welfare NLPC PENSION FUND ADMINISTRATORS: Aiming To Be The Best In Nigeria LPC Pension Fund Administrators Limited (NLPC PFA) as a foremost company in the Pension industry does not only provide pensions but essentially peace of mind and happiness to their clients at retirement. Driven by core values of integrity, experience and expertise NLPC PFA recently concluded a recapitalization exercise that saw its stakeholders Fund at N1.28 billion. It also boasts of highly skilled and experienced management team led by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Wale Kolawole, an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London and Nigeria. He holds a MBA with specialization in Financial Management backed with 20 years experience in Pension Administration and Consultancy. The wealth of experience brought by the management team led by Mr. Kolawole has ensured that NLPC PFA delivers on its promises to its large number of Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders and also placed the company true to its vision “To Be The Best Pension Fund Administrator in Nigeria.” Quarterly statements of Accounts are promptly delivered to RSA holders who are satisfied with the returns on their invest-
COMPLIANCE: The level of compliance to the Pension Reform Act 2004 varies. While the Federal Government compliance level is the highest at close to
Wale Kolawola, MD, NLPC 100 per cent, few State Governments have fully adopted and implemented the law. The lowest level of compli-
ance is in the private sector, particularly the informal sector, like the mechanics, traders, retail shop outlets, some hospitality organisations and others that account for about 80-90 per cent of the nation’s workforce. There is also the challenge posed by companies in the formal sectors not fully compliant particularly where contributions are deducted but not remitted. ECONOMIC CLIMATE To sustain the Pension industry, the Federal and State Governments need to do a lot more to provide electricity and other infrastructure that would encourage the establishment of industries and productive enterprises that create jobs. The stability engendered by doing these would create a
CONTINUED FROM 56 into the new pension scheme. Likewise, the Association of Pension Fund Administrators is prospecting asset base of $100 billion or 2.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with 10 million subscribers in 2020. The World Bank cum SMEDAN research showed that about 49 million workers of the over 160 million Nigerians can be effectively harnessed into the scheme. A survey of the existing PFAS showed that majority of the retiring or disengaged workers have been receiving their
benefits as at when due. But the only impediments to them getting their entitlements remain ignorance and lack of enlightenment. Majority of these individuals do not know the particulars or documents to present to collect from their employers for onward delivery to their PFAs. There is still a lot of mix up on the issue, which is making people believe there is problem with the scheme. Top officials of PFAs believe that when disengaged workers work in line with the set standard by PENCOM and PFAs, they would find it easy
to collect their benefits. Some workers do not know the age at which they can draw from the scheme whether as an employee or as a disengaged worker. Another worrisome trend in the management of the new scheme is the non-cooperation of employers. Those who deduct contributions from their employers salaries have refused to either remit them on time or do not remit them at all. In some cases, employers have frown at their employees romancing the new scheme. Some states are reluctant to embrace the
ments. Through the NLPC PFA website, RSA holders are able to keep tab on their account balances, anytime and regularly too. For NLPC Pension Fund Administrator, sustaining the Nigeria Pension Industry depends partly on the “big picture” the macro economic and the “little picture” the micro economic factors. These fall broadly into three major considerations: Compliance, Economic Climate and Human Capital Development.
better investment climate boosted by consumers and investors confidence. Pension managers across the world are the largest institutional investors. But in Nigeria, with such limited industrial and manufacturing development as well as poor infrastructural development, it is a wonder that many businesses still thrive as going concerns. Government must develop and implement policies with a long-term view and a truly free market objective so that NLPC Pension Fund Administrators and other PFAS, together with Pencom can continue to ensure the needed stability in the pension industry. HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT: NLPC, PFA puts very high
premium on continuous training and enlightenment of its workforce and believes this is necessary to sustain the giant strides in the industry. There must be concerted efforts by the PFAs and Pension Fund Custodians (PFC) to recruit skilled and knowledgeable professionals to ensure that the quality service promised is delivered and promptly too. There is also need to be creating awareness among employees in the public and private sectors to promote a proper understanding of the Reform and position the pension industry for a longterm development and sustainability. NLPC, PFA views this as a sure avenue to peaceful and happy retirement to all.
scheme with over 20 of them having a working scheme. Indeed, their employees are enjoying benefits under the scheme. Guardian checks showed that PENCOM and the PFAs are poised to introduce resounding measures to ensure the success of the scheme to lift the sector while not neglecting to enlighten the subscribed workers on how they can get the best from the scheme. Mr. Wilson Ideva, the Managing Director of Premium Pension Limited said that whether we like it or
not the pension scheme is the best that will happen in this country stating that the pension reform has come to address the welfare of workers when they are no longer strong to be able to look for their daily needs. Mr. Eguarekhide Longe, the Managing Director of AIICO Pension Managers said that the Pension industry as evolved by the Pension Reform Act of 2004 has introduced an oasis of sanity in an otherwise chaotic system of administration and management of pension.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
NigeriaCapitalMarket NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at Tuesday PRICE LIST OF SYMBOLS TRADED FOR 30/04/2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
NSE Daily Summary (Equities) as at 30/04/2013
FBN Holdings declares N92.27b profit for 2012 OR the year ended FHoldings December 31, 2012, FBN Plc, yesterday, announced profit before tax of N92.27billion, an increase of 158.5 per cent when compared to the previous year. According to the result presented on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) yesterday, gross earning increased by 31.4 per cent to N359.8billion while total assets stood at N3.2 trillion, up by 11.4 per cent. Within the period, Customer deposit stood at N2.4 trillion, an increase of 23.0 per cent when compared to the previous year. Also, Profit after tax increased by 306 per cent to N75.7 billion from N18.6 billion. The performance, according to the foremost financial institution translated into annualised after tax return on aver-
age equity of 18.8 per cent with a dividend per share of N1, while the yearly general meeting is scheduled for May 31, 2012. Commenting on the results, Bello Maccido, Chief Executive officer of FBN Holdings said: “ I am pleased to present the maiden results of FBN Holdings following its restructuring as a non- operational holding company with oversight of four major business groups, namely; Commercial Banking, Investment Banking and Asset Management, Insurance and Other Financial Services. “During 2012, the Group delivered robust results with a year-on-year increase in gross earnings of 31 per cent, while profit after tax rose 306 per cent and the Group delivered broad based improvement across all key ratios.
“Having now restructured the business4, the focus is on consolidating the Group’s leadership position in Nigeria, providing financial solutions to our customers across the entire value chain and growing our different business lines. Strong natural synergies and cross-selling opportunities exist across the Group, and we are intensifying our efforts to facilitate the realisation of these synergies, crytallise cross selling opportunities and deepen the relationship with our customers. The solid retail platform in the commercial banking business gives us the ability to harness latent growth in our insurance and asset management businesses. We believe the approach of revenue maximisation, In 2012, the Group grew the distribution network by 73 locations (35 branches and 38
quick service points (QSPs)) to exploit gaps in client coverage. This brings distribution network across the Group to 7907 business locations, with 745 locations dedicated to the commercial banking activities within (714) and outside Nigeria (31). These new locations will, over time, improve revenue generation as they are optimised. The group explained that; “cost-to-income increased to 61.9 per cent during 2012 (Dec 2011: 53.1 per cent). Adjusting for the one-off charge relating to staff costs, cost-to-income would have been significantly lower at 57.9 per cent. “Underlying cost trends are encouraging and we hope to build on this in coming periods. The Group’s strategic target is to get the cost-to-income down to approximately 55 per cent over the next 2 to 3 years.
Total customer deposits also grew by 23.0 per cent to N2.4 trillion, with approximately 80% of total deposits in the low-cost segment. “Continued healthy growth in the face of heightened competition underscores the confidence reposed in the Group by the public, the strength of the brand, benefits of the large retail customer base and footprint, multiple service channels and the depth of relationships across various customer segments”, the group added in a statement. The statement added: “The total number of accounts as at year-end was 8.7 million, with 960,351 new accounts opened in the year, representing an increase 12.4 per cent y-o-y (Dec 2011: 7.7 million). In 2012, First Bank successfully launched the RIA money transfer product and grew its market share in Western
Union (among 19 banks) and Money Gram to 40 per cent and 30 per cent respectively. “First Bank is the clear leader in the number of ATMs (2,157), point-of-sale (POS) terminals deployed (>18,000) and number of branches, making it the financial institution with the widest retail footprint in the country and subsequently best placed to serve the retail end of the Nigerian market. First Bank “ATMs dispensed over N1.3 trillion in 2012 which represents an increase of 87 per cent y-o-y (Dec 2011: N714.2 billion), with over 82 per cent of the transactions conducted by our customers. This increase can be attributed to the 65.3 per cent growth in the total number of cards to 5.93 million (Dec 2011: 3.59 million). Over 88 per cent of the Bank’s issued cards are active, which is significantly above the average industry active card rate of 75 per cent.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Opinion Tax, transparency: Agenda for the G8 By Paul Collier N recent years international lawyers and accountants have built a web of corporate opacity, Iwhich has enabled tax avoidance and corruption on an alarming scale. Private financial wealth sitting in tax havens has grown to around $21 trillion, of which $9 trillion is from developing countries. Some miniscule jurisdictions, such as the Cayman Islands, have become the legal home to trillions of dollars of corporate assets through offering the unbeatable attractions of zero taxation plus secrecy. Some industries are now dominated by them: half the world’s shipping is registered there. Although corporate opacity is hugely profitable, it is manifestly not in the global interest. It has developed because it cannot be curbed by actions at the national level. It can be addressed only through high-level political cooperation between the major economies. The most practical forum is the G8 and this year the issue is on the agenda. Tax avoidance thrives on exploiting over 700 independent tax jurisdictions, each of which can be the location for ownership of a company. Competition between them has created tax havens. When combined with the web of reciprocal tax treaties originally intended to avoid double taxation, we arrive at what Pascal Saint-Amans, head of taxation at the OECD, aptly refers to as ‘double non-taxation’. The simplest form of tax avoidance is transfer pricing, by which a subsidiary in a high-tax jurisdiction sells its output to one in a lower-tax jurisdiction at a price below its true value. G8 countries limit this through scrutinizing the prices used for intra-corporate transactions, but it remains an acute problem in Africa where tax authorities lack capacity. For example, when I discussed with the Zambian tax authority why the copper companies were paying so little tax despite the high world
price of copper, its officials ruefully explained that there were few smart accountants in Zambia and they all worked for the companies. The G8 can do a lot to help Africa tackle this sort of corporate abuse. Mis-pricing can be contained by scrutiny. Africa suffers because its tiny jurisdictions cannot realistically each build the necessary capacity. The remedy is to provide guideline price information internationally. The OECD wants to create such a database, and the G8 could give it political impetus. International companies operating in Africa would be required either to use these guideline prices, or to report and justify deviations. The problem of tackling transfer pricing in G8 countries is tougher. The technique that is now used to avoid tax is not the mis-pricing of transactions but the mis-location of activities. Highvalue intellectual property is legally located in tax havens where it has not been produced. Subsidiaries in higher-tax jurisdictions purchase these rights, thereby transferring profits. Curbing mis-location is complicated: there is no ideal technical fix. One option would be for companies to be required to report the apportionment of their global profits. Transparency could discourage tax avoidance because it would sometimes impose damaging reputational costs. Britain’s Institute of Chartered Accountants already recommends that companies adopt the benchmark of being willing to defend the arrangement in the public domain. If transparency is not enough, reporting could be supplemented by internationally agreed rules under which tax authorities are empowered to set aside the labyrinth of corporate structures. Corporate opacity not only assists tax avoidance, it is the key vehicle for corruption. In Africa, and other poor regions, corruption is a huge impediment to decent governance. With reason, African leaders point out that it takes
two to tango: the bribing foreign company as well as the bribed official. Corruption is illegal everywhere, but honest African political leaders and officials face overwhelming difficulties in enforcing legislation because corruption is difficult to prove and its proceeds are easy to conceal. But Africans who say ‘it takes two to tango’, though right in spirit are wrong in detail. Corruption takes three players: the briber, the bribed, and the facilitator. Corrupt money is laundered through fake companies and untraceable bank accounts. The lawyers and bankers who facilitate these transactions are not based in Lagos and Bangui; they are in London and Berlin. African governments are impotent to address money laundering, but the G8 could close it down. Fake companies, known as ‘shell companies’, are the major vehicle for bribes. A study by the World Bank of 150 cases of grand corruption found that shell companies were important in 70 percent of them. A shell company conceals its true owners and it is astoundingly easy to establish one. A recent experimental study by Griffith University in Australia sent 7,000 emails to law firms around the world requesting one to be set up. Some emails included incriminating information indicative of corruption: a premium on normal fees was offered to maintain secrecy. The emails attracted a 40 per cent positive response, somewhat higher for those with this incriminating offer. G8 countries were high in the global league table of the legal lackeys of embezzlement. Untraceable beneficial ownership of companies has been a concern of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF is a technical group of the major countries with the power to blacklist those financial systems that do not meet adequate standards of transparency. Its primary concern has been to curb terrorist finance. While the FATF can set rules and make recommendations, it is up to each country how vigorously they are imple-
mented. Beyond the high-profile issue of terrorist finance, the FATF has lacked the coordinated high-level political support for its work to be sufficiently effective. Compliance with its anti-money laundering procedures has tended to degenerate into a culture of box-ticking. For the true ownership of companies to become a matter of public record a new approach is needed. It would combine tighter responsibility for reporting, increased investigative effort, tougher penalties, and automatic exchange of information. Corporate opacity is not inadvertent: it is the cumulative achievement of some of the most brilliant professional minds on the planet. These people should hang their heads in shame. In the advanced economies their actions are undermining the tax base. Yet worse, their actions bleed the world’s poorest societies of tax revenues, and facilitate the mass looting of the public purse. The resource booms of the current decade are Africa’s decisive opportunity: if the history of plunder were to be repeated it would be a tragedy of awesome proportions. Professional brilliance has enabled the lawyers and accountants who facilitate these evils by exploiting outdated systems to stay within the letter of the law. This is sufficient to unshackle greed from the constraints of conscience. That is why we need a top-level push from the G8. Even once launched, it may take civil servants years to bust corporate opacity. But only leadership can get started. • Collier is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University. He has been assisting the British Government with the G8 agenda. This article is written in a personal capacity. A fuller version in English appears in the April issue of Prospect Magazine.
Wanted: Ministry of amnesty and disarmament By Anyanate Ephraim N 2009, I wrote an article where I advocated for a Ministry to Itime, handle the amnesty and disarmament issue in Nigeria. At that it was the Niger Delta militants that were being considered for amnesty. That amnesty was planned to gulp about N50 billion at start. I guess by now since its inception we may have spent much more. Many have argued whatever is spent is being spent well. At least the oil output has greatly increased and we have made more money compared to when the boys in the creek crippled our oil economy, which the country solely depends on. Also we hear some of the boys are now trained in different aspects of work. Amnesty comes with forgiveness and training of those forgiven. So invariably it is a package. The recent call by the Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Jos, Major General Henry Ayoola that there should be a gradual disarmament of militants through a larger disarmament programme as a means to curtail the proliferation of small arms and ammunition would therefore seem to give credence to my earlier advocacy. When I saw the various headlines resonating ‘Amnesty for Boko Haram’ in many of Nigeria’s newspapers recently I told myself, we have come again. I cry for my beloved country. Like the Niger Delta issue, a committee is being set up to advice on the modalities and the feasibility. If I remember, the Niger Delta Technical Committee earlier set up headed by Mittee submitted its findings and recommendations that in some way might have influenced the overall amnesty deal. So I am hoping we will see a similar situation. In the Niger Delta, different states in the region also set aside different amounts for rehabilitating warring youths who were known to them and had meetings before the federal amnesty. So I wonder what the Northern states are doing now. Do they know these Boko Haram boys? Have they been meeting with them? In 2009 I asked what we were trying to achieve – then it was obvious we wanted to provide a peaceful environment for the Federal Government and the oil companies to help the exploration, extraction and exploitation of oil and gas as the Federal Government’s fortune was going down! Yes that was the reason. No more, no less. I hope we know what we want to achieve this time. It was obvious even in the face of all the kidnaps and blown up pipes, certain groups of Nigerians were benefiting from the organised chaos. So we knew Nigerians from North, South, East and West were aiding and abetting it and shouted. As Bodie Thoene rightly said in his Warsaw Requiem, it is true that what is right is often forgotten by what is convenient. Would amnesty therefore be more convenient for those of us Nigerians behind this sorry occurrence of killing, maiming and destabilisation? I am uncertain about how much will be proposed by the Presidential Committee on Amnesty for Boko Haram militants in the North to make peace in the Northern region. I guess this will be much more than that for a single geo political zone because here we are talking about three zones.
We seem to be running around like headless chickens. Why are we confused about what to do to bring peace? As I said earlier, amnesty is a package and so those who will be offered amnesty should undergo training so that they will become useful to the society. This means individuals will need to come forward to accept what is being offered. If I understand, the Boko Haram is against western education. I am therefore wondering what type of training they will be subjected to in order to be useful. Wait a minute, lest we forget! There was the Niger Delta Ministry created before the amnesty in the Delta. Will the Northern amnesty protagonists not also ask for a ministry for rehabilitation and development of the North? After all what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Some persons I have discussed with suggest that there will be no need to create a Ministry for rehabilitation of the North but have a presidential committee for the rapid development of the region and handling the burning issues, which should bring about peace believing underdevelopment is the reason for this chaos. The argument is that a rapid development by a presidential fiat would assuage the so-called militants. Because once they are involved they are not likely to carry arms as these protagonists do not believe Boko Haram is about religion. We will wait and see. There appears to be a common knowledge that there is a cartel behind the Boko Haram problem and they will do everything to ensure money is spent carrying out meaningless and unproductive ventures to their benefit. How long shall we continue to punish ourselves? I hope the President remembers that time is not his best friend. It is obvious that he has shown he listens as a President. I do not think this U-turn should be seen as a weakness. The ball is now in the court of the protagonists to ensure the faceless have faces and that this is not about religion but development. It is obvious our problem is within us. As Victor Hugo said “Have no fear of robbers or murderers. They are external dangers, petty dangers. We should fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices the real murderers. The great dangers are within us. Why worry about what threatens our heads or purses? Let us think instead of what threatens our souls”. We are our own enemies. The real enemy of the North, South and Nigeria is the cartel that is always looking for new ways to siphon Nigeria’s wealth for their personal benefit wanting to be in power by all means and perpetuating aristocracy. It is true that any security issue, especially this Boko Haram problem is a national issue though most manifest in the North. We do remember that the Niger Delta states spent funds to fight the militancy menace individually before the Federal Government amnesty. It is therefore pertinent to ask how much is being spent in Kano, Sokoto, Borno, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Bauchi, Niger, Yobe, Gombe, Jigawa, Taraba and Adamawa to rehabilitate these Boko Haram militants or what efforts are being made by the individual states. How are the various states working together for this single task of disarmament and rehabilitation? Insecurity in Nigeria has a national outlook. Come to think of it,
there are arms everywhere in the country from the North to the South. During the various riots that have taken place in the country at different times, arms have been used indiscriminately. It is true that those arms used did not cripple oil production leading to loss of income for the country but people used arms and they destroyed lives and properties and they still have them and more may still be coming in. I believe there is therefore enough justification to create a Ministry my fellow country men. Yes a Ministry of Disarmament, Amnesty and Rehabilitation. With the Ministry, disarming militant youths and giving amnesty could be extended to all parts of the country. What shall we do about the militants in the western states, or the eastern states? When are we going to give amnesty to them? This is why I think piecemeal zone specific presidential committees are not enough any longer. We need a Ministry! We need offices of the Ministry in each state. I remember that the Niger Delta presidential panel’s recommended concept is the return of arms for full rehabilitation and freedom from prosecution. I believe that will also be the bait for Boko Haram and all other groups. I remember that part of the past panel’s recommendation is that governors should compile the list of those that will embrace this golden opportunity. Can this be started in the northern and other states? I am mindful that like in the Niger Delta this is likely to concretize the opportunity for some of the politicians also to gather their boys in preparation for 2015? We all know that all militancy in Nigeria have political undertone. The amount of money to be budgeted can be a take-off grant for the Ministry of Disarmament, Amnesty and Rehabilitation. We can hire a secretariat for the Ministry from one of the houses owned by top politicians, which they have built with stolen funds. We can start the lobbying for who is going to be the minister. May be then the state with the largest cache of arms will own up as the minister will come from there. Even if the elders and leaders of the states refuse to own up, I am sure youth groups who know their armoury capacity will write petitions to the Presidency to justify why their person should be the minister, highlighting the number of AK47s, GPMGs and IEDs they have. There may even be groups like the militants that will give reasons why one of their leaders should be made the minister. Boko Haram leaders may even be appointed into committees or may head MDGs. After all they are the ones who know where the arms are and the quantity. This is our country Nigeria. This may therefore be the best approach to amnesty and disarmament. Blaise Pascal (1670) once said, “The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts”. Let us as a country have a way of doing things that will positively impact our lives now and in the next generation by stopping piecemeal regional approach to issues. We should stop doing things for convenience rather than them being right. The truth is that as it is usually said he who demands equity must come with clean hands. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria and may God grant our leaders both spiritual and temporal wisdom. • Dr. Anyanate wrote in via email@example.com
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Opinion African Trades Union Unity at 40 By Issa Aremu ODAY is May Day. It offers an opportunity to T assess the working and living conditions of the working people globally. But also importantly, on the occasion of May Day, we are encouraged to critically examine the performance of trade unions, organisations formed by workers with the main aim of ensuring dignity of labour at national and global level. Organisation of African Trades Union Unity (OATUU) is a pan-African organisation of African workers. The inaugural congress of OATUU held in Addis Ababa in April 1973 under the auspices of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and chaired by Nigerian diplomat, Peter Onu. Delegates were drawn from 31 countries in the continent, including Nigeria. OATUU’s formation was a product of legitimate ideological contestations as well as cooperation between African trade unionists dating back to 1940s. The premier continental labour movement marked its 40th anniversary recently. The formation of OATUU brought to the fore the significance of trade unions in Africa. In contemporary Africa, some anti-democratic governments take delight in keeping labour at arms length and even dare to undermine unions as a whole. For instance, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Executive was illegally dissolved by Nigerian military dictatorships in 1988 and 1994 for resisting arbitrary fuel price increases and for demanding democratisation. Just last year, in Swaziland, the only national trade union centre was outlawed by government for demanding for multiparty democracy. Africa history however reveals different dispositions of post-colonial African governments towards trade unions. Irrespective of their ideological persuasions, Africa’s founding fathers (and mothers too!) appreciated the role of labour in anti-colonial struggles. They saw unions as valued partners in post-colonial development agenda. Remarkably too, scores of nationalists and patriots who fought for independence were tested
trade unionists in their own rights. Notable historic figures included late Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea, a trade unionist turned political activist. He singularly mobilized the Guinean people for independence and terminated French colonialism in 1958 in a French Referendum. That was a heroic feat given that the likes of the late Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Ivory Coast voted for continued French rule. The late President Julius Nyerere and former President Kenneth Kaunda, were all unionists who fought against British colonialism in Tanzania and Zambia respectively. Late Tom Mboya led Kenyan Trade Union Movement but was also in the forefront of the struggle for Kenya’s independence. Late President Modibo Keita of Mali, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Hamani Diori, the founding President of Niger, late Nnamdi Azikwe, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Mallam Aminu Kano and of course, late Pa Micheal Imoudu were all union organisers who brought to bear their respective trade unions skills in contestation and negotiation to lower the British Union Jack. Even in later day liberated territories of Namibia and South Africa, trade unions were the touch bearers in the battle for freedom. In recognition of the historic positive roles of African Trade Unions in 1973, OAU encouraged and consummated the formation of the OATUU. The Government of Osagyfo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was even exceptionally appreciative by building a six-storey building, “Hall of Trade Unions” for the Ghana Trades Union Congress. It is not by accident that OATUU has it’s secretariat in Accra until recently headed by Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu, the founding President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The selling point of OATUU is the unity of Africa’s trade union centres. African workers had always desired a continental organisation as countervailing force to governments and employers who were equally organised at continental levels taking decisions that impact often negatively on jobs, wages and pensions among others. Trade unions were not immuned from the ideological divisions of the
cold war era. Indeed they were ideologically opposed into the defunct All-African Trade Union Federation (AATUF), the African Trade Union Confederation (ATUC), and Pan-African Workers’ Congress. OATUU is an offshoot of these centres. Sadly no discernable perspectives on OATUU at 40. Not long ago, African media uncritically downloaded the mantra according to President Barack Obama; Africa needs strong institutions not strong men. How can we build strong institutions in Africa, when we even lack knowledge of our institutions? OATUU with its secretariat in Accra (interestingly where the American President delivered his sermon in 2009) had been a strong and tested institution with committed selfless working men that included Denis Akumu of Central Organisation of Trade Unions COTU (K) in Kenya, Hassan Sunmonu of Nigeria Labour Congress among others. OATUU, despite challenges of governance (military dictatorships in many countries until the latest democratization) and unfavourable economic climate (SAP) had made positive impact on the lives of African working men and women. Proudly African, it has helped affiliates (South Sudan reportedly being the newest 55th member) to build capacity, especially in economic literacy. We must credit OATUU and other progressive organisations with the African debt cancellations and debts write offs at the turn of the century. As far back as late eighties, at a time it was fashionable for SAP imposed military regimes to outdo each other in slavish diligent repayments of dubious debts (even as they denied minimum wages and employment at home!) to it’s credit OATUU, called and pressured for the unconditional and total cancellation of Africa’s debt. It has also been counted on the labour market institution building in the continent. OATUU played a decisive role in the transformation of hitherto top-down OAU Conference of Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs into a more participatory present day Tripartite OAU/AU Labour
and Social Affairs Commission. Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of the 80s collapsed due to the great struggles of OATUU’s affiliates notably NLC of Nigeria and TUC of Ghana. In particular NLC since 1988 had been resisting incessant fuel prices increases and leading “SAP riots” even at the risk of the illegal dissolutions of it’s executive twice under IBB and Abacha dictators h i p s . With the support of the Chinese, OATUU has also built a Labour College in Ghana. Rightly many would question the independence of OATUU if African workers and governments cannot build it’s infrastructure. If OATUU’s affiliate unions independently built their offices, why not OATUU? There must certainly have been some disconnect! OATUU should avoid the pitfall of the dependency mentality of African leaders who preside over capital flight and corruption in the continent, yet still rely on the Chinese government to rebuild AU secretariat in Addis Ababa. Let’s us copy the OAU founding fathers, who, based on self reliance built the old secretariat from African resources. Let’s us copy not ape China. Cooperation and partnership, not servitude. In the next 40 years, OATUU must consolidate on unity of actions in defence of rights of African workers. We are again sadly back to proliferation of trade union centres this time without ideological claims of the old but comfort zones for labour aristocrats. OATUU must also deepen it’s internal democracy. It’s last congress in Algiers recently was more of hearsay and murmurs compared to the open democratic contestations and participation that characterised the election of Comrade Hassan Sunmonu in the late 80s. OATUU that was loud in the struggle for enthronement of democracy in the continent must reduce it’s own internal democracy deficits. Brinkmanship alien to trade union movement must give way to comradeship and continental solidarity. Long Live OATUU! • Comrade Aremu is Vice President and Chairman, International Committee of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Farewell Fr. Louis Joachim Munoz By Mark Nwagwu T was Tuesday, March 19, 2013, a day when Roman Catholics IJesus celebrated the Solemnity of St. Joseph, foster father of Our Lord Christ and faithful husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For the faithful of Opus Dei, it is an exceedingly joyous day when we renew our willingness to follow the footsteps of St. Joseph, the patron saint of Opus Dei, whose poor, humble, courageous and obedient life we are all called to emulate in our everyday life. My wife, Helen, and I had gone to Mass in the morning, sent messages of happy feast day in thanksgiving to God for St. Joseph, for the founder of Opus Dei, St Josemaria Escriva, and for all the faithful of Opus Dei. My first message was to Fr. Louis, but I was not expecting a reply as he was not too well. On this angelic day, Pope Francis in his homily would thank Almighty God that “I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the Solemnity of St. Joseph… Just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model. How did St. Joseph exercise his role as Protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity...The vocation of being a ‘protector’, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension, which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world…It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live.” I turned to Helen and said this sounds just like our dear friend, Fr. Louis. Later in the evening Helen received a call and I heard her shout in unspeakable delight, “Fr. Louis Has Gone To Heaven! The girls at Imoran (a Students’ Centre near the University of Ibadan, for girls, under the spiritual guidance of Opus Dei) are all dancing that St. Joseph had taken Fr. Louis to heaven. Fr. Louis is dead, on this day of all days.” Yes, on this day of all days, on the Solemnity of the Feast of St. Joseph, a day when the Holy Father was inaugurated as Pope Francis, when all the faithful of Opus Dei sang their alleluias in thanksgiving to God for their fidelity to Opus Dei, God deemed it fit to call Fr. Louis to his joyous embrace. I was speechless. Fr. Louis, a professor of political science and French studies, in the Department of Modern European Languages, University of Ibadan, was for over 20 years the Parish Priest of the Church of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom. He had been there with us all through
the wedding ceremonies of all our children at this church. He was there for the first holy communion of our grandchildren; he was there for my inaugural lecture, my university lecture, and my valedictory lecture. Above all this, he sought with every fibre of his rock-solid strength to bring us closer to God in Opus Dei. He never let me rest. He would visit us at 12 Kurunmi Road, University of Ibadan campus, usually in the evening around 7.30 p.m. or so. He would come in and immediately ask me to switch off the TV if it was on, which it often was and I would be furious with him wondering what audacity he had to command me in my own house. But I never ever showed him this side of my intemperate nature in my house; after all, he was my parish priest, and though I was not attending Mass and the Sacraments, still I was a Roman Catholic. He would invite me to the means of spiritual formation in Opus Dei and whenever I attended all I would do was sleep. Still he kept after me. In 1987 I went to the United States on a sabbatical leave and by the time I came back in 1989, my spiritual side had gained some strength and I now attended masses regularly and sought reconciliation with my God in the Sacrament of Penance. Fr. Louis had finally won me over! And when Irawo Students’ Centre for boys, attached to the University of Ibadan, finally moved to its permanent residence in Agbowo I was invited to a get-together with the residents, Fr. Louis cradling his pipe in joyous satisfaction. Things moved faster now and more and more I sought ways and means to get closer to my God. Father would tell me in worried grief: “God has such few friends.” I pondered this and soon it became the battle cry for seeking holiness, ‘what are you doing with yourself, don’t you know God has such few friends? Don’t you know he seeks you out as a friend?’ Father was ever by my side; he protected me with his solid steadfastness in prayer and never let me slip back into languid indifference. He was exceedingly dear to me; as good a friend as God would give me. Fr. (Prof.) Louis Joachim Munoz, MFR, the oldest priest of Opus Dei in Nigeria, and Nigerian by naturalization, was born in Spain on October 4, 1933 and stepped on Nigerian soil in 1966. Since then the story of his life has been the story of Opus Dei in Nigeria. And what is Opus Dei, and what is its message? I find this engaging, simple yet profound: you are a child of God by Baptism; you are called to be a saint where you are. You need not leave whatever it is you are doing to be any closer to God; for where you are exactly at this time and whatever you are doing right now, are all means of sanctification to bring you closer to God. You are called to seek God in everyday life and to bring the light of Christ to all whom you encounter. Especially
in this year of Faith, declared by Pope Benedict XVI, we are all called to live our faith in all human relations. Fr. Louis would have offered his pains, his sores, and his weakness, for truth, for goodness, for beauty; for Opus Dei, for his multitude of friends, still protecting them as weak as he was with his supplications and prayers. Fr. Louis worked assiduously and inexorably to manifest in his life what he was created to be – a child of God. Here we have creation truly manifested. Tirelessly, he sought to demonstrate through all he did that the truth about humans is based on the truth about God. ‘For the sake of tradition’ was the title of his inaugural lecture, a tradition immersed in the truth, goodness and beauty of God. In 1995 he published a book, ‘The Virtues: An Inquiry Into Moral Values Of Our Times’ of which Prof. J.F. Ade. Ajayi would say, “The crisis of 1993 left the nation groping for answers ... There was a general feeling that the crisis was... a reflection of the collapse of basic moral values at the level of both the individual and society, and that we would not really get out of the crisis until we had re-examined ourselves as individuals and as a people and re-established the basic moral values that should uphold our society.” Over a period of eight weeks Prof. Louis superbly drove home to our minds the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance; and the spiritual virtues: faith, hope, and charity. Helen and I saw him last year in July in what we did not know would be for the last time. I gave him a copy of my book, Cat Man Dew, a book of poems I had written in celebration of 50 years of my marriage with Helen. He was all smiles and we talked for quite a while. Last Christmas again we wanted to see him but he was at Iroto Conference Centre for his annual workshop. So we missed him. I believe Fr. Louis said the Mass for Helen’s seventieth birthday on 22 March 2013 joined by St. Joseph before his interment. I also believe he participated in all the Solemn Masses in the world, from East to West, from Manila to San Francisco, said for St. Joseph, who bore him in his strong arms, before he finally took him up to heavenly paradise by 6.30 p.m. Nigerian time. One could say Fr. Louis’ parting words were the very words of Blessed John Paul II when he visited Nigeria in 1982 and said Mass at the University of Ibadan for all Nigerian intellectuals: ‘The future style of your society is in your hands’. Fr. Louis had these words emblazoned on the wall of the Church of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom. We all need to live a life of truth, goodness and beauty. That is the ‘style’ Fr. Louis wishes for us all. Farewell my dear friend; remember us from where you are. • Professor Nwagwu is of the Department of Biological Sciences, Paul University, Awka.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Sports Nigeria Professional Football League Crisis
NFF, LMC, club managers fail to agree, adjourn meeting From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja HE meeting called by the T Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to resolve the dispute between the League Management Company (LMC) and the club managers ended yesterday at the NFF headquarters with the parties not reaching any agreement. The meeting, which lasted for over six hours, had in attendance NFF President, Aminu Maigari, board members, Chris Green, Emeka Inyama and Secretary General, Musa Amadu, while the LMC was represented by its Chairman, Nduka Irabor, Shehu Dikko, Mike Enahoro and Salisu Abubakar. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Club Managers’ Spokesman, Alloy Chukwuemeka, said the two parties could not reach an agreement on certain grey areas, adding that the meeting was adjourned to allow for wider consultations. “We will meet again on a later date because all the parties agree that we need peace to develop the league,” Chukwuemeka said. Also speaking on the outcome of the meeting, Irabor
said he would work to ensure that peace returned to the league, which has enormous potential for growth. The trouble in the league started when the 20 club managers declared said it had sacked started the LMC, which they accused of going beyond its mandate. That decision appeared to have fanned the embers of the discord with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), which threatened to sanction the league owners or their agents with severe consequences for undermining the authority and legitimacy of LMC. NFF, which is a shareholder in LMC, also warned the feuding club owners to follow due process by channelling their grievances to the football federation. It admonished the owners that any threat to LMC was an affront not only to NFF but Nigerian football in general as LMC is ‘’duly recognised’’ by it. The Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, also waded into the crisis, saying the club managers had no power to sack the LMC constituted by the NFF.
I am a gay, NBA player Collins declares S basketball player, Jason U Collins has come out as gay, the first active male athlete in a major American professional team sport to do so. He declared his sexuality in an article for Sports Illustrated, announcing, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” President Barack Obama, NBA star, Kobe Bryant and sportswear company, Nike, were among those expressing public support. Former NBA player John Amaechi came out in 2007, but had already retired. On Monday, Mr. Obama, who last year announced his support for gay marriage, called Collins to tell him he was impressed with his courage and offer his support, the White House said. Former President Bill Clinton called the move “an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community.” His daughter, Chelsea, who knew Collins when they were both students at California’s Stanford University, tweeted, “very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength
and courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA.” NBA Commissioner, David Stern said in a statement, “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.” Los Angeles Lakers guard, Kobe Bryant was among several of Collins’s fellow NBA players to offer his support publicly. “Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others,” Bryant tweeted, followed by the words “courage” and “support.” Sportswear company Nike, which has endorsed Collins, also supported his decision. “Jason is a Nike athlete,” its statement said, “we are a company committed to diversity and inclusion.” The reaction was not entirely welcoming. An analyst for sports broadcaster ESPN, Chris Broussard, he did not believe that “you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle” and be a Christian. Collins had written in the article that he took “the
Borussia Dortmund’s striker, Robert Lewandowski (left); outpaces Real Madrid’s midfielder, Michael Essien, during their UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP
Lawyer outlines programme for Yekini’s memorial activities OUNSEL to the late Super C Eagles’ striker, Rashidi Yekini, has revealed that the one-year anniversary of the death of the former World Cup star would draw dignitaries from across the world, including international footballers and coaches. The lawyer, Jibril Mohammed told journalists in Ibadan on Monday that activities marking the anniversary of the late star would include a seminar and a football game involving Yekini’s former colleagues on Friday at the Lekan Salami Stadium. Olanrewaju revealed that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has sent two sets of kits to be used by the players during the game, adding, however, that he was still expecting the Federation and the
National Sports Commission (NSC), as well as, the Kwara State government to redeem their pledges in support of the anniversary. He revealed that the occasion would feature the launch of a book on Yekini, which would answer some questions on the mystery surrounding the life and demise of the star. According to the lawyer, the Book launch would hold at Jogor Centre tomorrow with Senator Ayo Adeseun, FIFA/CAF advisor, Adegboye Onigbinde and Dr. Felix Owolabi, also expected to deliver papers on the late star. Among Yekini’s former colleagues expected for the occasion, he said, are Samson Siasia, Thompson Oliha, Friday Ekpo, Mutiu Adepoju, Dimeji Lawal, Duke Udi, Ike
Shorunmu, Garba Lawal, and Toyin Ayinla, as well as coaches Clemens Westerhof, Bonfere Jo and Amodu Shuaibu. Yekini’s former club, Victoria Setubal of Portugal, he added, has promised to mobilise their officials and former players, “especially the ones that played along with him during his times in the club to storm Ibadan and feature in the memorial match. Olanrewaju displayed an email he received from the Portuguese club, signed by Marcos Santos, to show the club’s readiness to be part of the event. The e-mail reads in part: “First of all, we would like to congratulate you for this remarkable initiative in honor of an outstanding athlete and an extraordinary man.”
FIFA’s honorary president, Havelange, resigns over bribes OAO Havelange, 96, has Jpresident resigned as FIFA’s honorary after a report ruled he had taken bribes. The Brazilian was described as “morally and ethically reproachable” for taking kickbacks from a World Cup rights marketing agency. The report by FIFA’s ethics Chairman, Hans-Joachim Eckert also claimed Nicolas Leoz had received bribes. Leoz, 84, resigned from the governing body’s executive committee last week, citing health and personal reasons. The Paraguayan was accused in the report of being “not fully candid” in his explanations over the affair.
However, while the report says that payments made in the 1990s to Havelange, who was FIFA president from 1974 to 1988, Leoz and former FIFA executive Ricardo Teixeira, Havelange’s son-in-law, qualified as bribes, they were not crimes at the time. FIFA granted International Sport and Leisure (ISL) exclusive rights to market World Cup tournaments to some of the world’s biggest brands. ISL also received millions more from negotiating television broadcast rights. The company collapsed with huge debts in 2001 and its arrangement with Fifa was subsequently investigated by
Swiss authorities. FIFA was eventually forced by the Swiss supreme court to release documents relating to the case after it repeatedly attempted to block the release of the confidential papers. It followed a report by the BBC’s Panorama programme in 2010 that alleged three senior FIFA officials took bribes from Swiss-based ISL in the 1990s. FIFA President, Sepp Blatter announced in July 2012 that FIFA’s new ethics committee would be looking at the bribery allegations. That investigation resulted in the release of yesterday’s report.
Organisers test run facilities for Russia 2013 IAAF World Championship HE IAAF World T Championships, Moscow 2013, came several steps closer with the staging of the Russian Marathon championships on the course, which will host the world title races in August. The IAAF World Championships, Moscow, Russia takes place from 10 to 18 August, with the women’s Marathon held on the first day, Saturday 10 August at 14:00hrs local time (GMT +4hrs) and the men’s Marathon run on the penultimate afternoon, Saturday 17 August at 15:30hrs local time (GMT +4hrs). The first 600m of the World Championships’ Marathon course is run on the track of the Luzhniki Stadium, then the runners complete four laps along the embankment of the Moskva river (from Luzhniki to the Kremlin and back) returning on the stadium’s track for the last 300m. An official test event was held last weekend with the Russian Championships races for both men and women run on the course, in sunny, still conditions of about +13C. There were 43 participants in the men’s race and 27 in the women’s race, with the men starting at 12pm and the women following 15 minutes later. Twenty-year-old Artyom Aplachkin won the men’s national title in 2:15:23, with Marina Kovalyova the women’s victor in 2:35:03.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, may 1, 2013
midweekArts Lagos Theatre Festival 2013: A run towards ‘poor theatre’ By Omiko Awa IVE theatre was recently given a boost in Lagos with Lagos Theatre Festival thrilling guests with plethora of performances, which held across a number of unconventional spaces such as the Presidential Suites, Petanque Area, Casa Chianti Restaurant and the Car Park, all at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos. Put together by the British Council, Nigeria, in conjunction with three theatre companies — Renegade Theatre, Black Soul Performance, House of Tales and, the awardwinning British-based Nigerian actor, Inua Ellams — the t fest aimed at bringing stage performance to a wider range of art consumers, aside from creating platform away from the conventional spaces. The British director, Ben Evans, who coordinated the show, was not only
Ajai-Lycett, Doyle, Akintola, others star in return of
impressed by the turnout of guests for the various plays and the immense talents abound in the country, but looked forward to more shows in the country. On what inspired him to coordinate the festival, he says, “I’m a Londoner, trained in theatre directing; I run a venue in the South London, the heart of the biggest Nigerian community, where we stage performances for the British-Nigerian audiences, and having watched Nigerian plays with their huge following, I was fascinated to finding out why their voices are so unique. It is finding out this that made me leave the venue I was running to set up a festival called the London Via Lagos. The festival celebrates Nigerian writers.” He continues, “there is a hunger in Nigeria for stage plays, there is also a hunger in the UK for Nigerian plays, so, I have been working in the UK and Nigeria to bridge the gap.” Invited to Nigeria three years ago by the British Council, Lagos, Evans discovered that Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of the country, had the most exciting generation of young theatre artistes. “We all know of the great writers of the late 80s. I have worked with a lot of Nigerian writers and companies in the UK and we know there is a new generation of writers, whose works are inspiring. However, these group of writers has a huge problem finding space to show their works,” he reveals. Commenting on the dearth of space for theatre, the director, notes, “though Terra Kulture is developing the art, doing regular performance; it cannot give more than one company an opportunity to perform in a month.” Revealing what is happening in the theatre in the UK, he says, “in the UK there is an exciting artistes movement, which is about theatre in an unusual space. For a lot of artistic reasons, you can go watch plays in an abattoir. Some themes come out stronger there than if you do them in a church, which is a more spiritual place. So, the UK audience is already making artistic decisions, but here in Nigeria, there is a little effort. For there are venues like the Eko Hotels and Suite around Lagos that are willing to host theatre performances, but there are not much established theatre companies.” Owing to this lack, BBC, in attempt to create them and rejuvenate stage performances, invited interested theatre companies to have a look at the available spaces within Eko Hotel and Suites and write proposals in response to them. Responding to the call and meeting the required conditions, four plays Shattered written by Bode Asiyanbi and performed at
will be amazed at what these eight incredible women will be bringing on stage.” Nigerianised version. She will be helm- Akindoju, who is acting and proing a stage production that boasts a stel- ducing, explained why she was taking on the project, “I am producing lar cast of female actors which include the V-Monologues this year because ageless screen goddess, Taiwo AjaiI am very passionate about women Lycett, Bimbo Akintola, Ireti Doyle, and as an actor, performer and Dakore Egbuson-Akande, Omonor, artiste I think we don’t use the platBiola Segun Williams and new comer, Rita Edward. The cast also includes Lala form that we have to speak on issues enough.” Akindoju who is wearing two hats, as The young producer further producer and actor. added, “You can never get tired of The play will go on stage at the Agip doing the V-Monologues. First of all, Recital Hall of the muson Centre on it’s a big deal artistically around the Friday, may 3 and 4, 2013 with a comworld. Thankfully, the Kudirat mand performance at 5pm on may 4. Initiative for Democracy has Speaking on what she is bringing to worked hard to make the Nigerian the play this time around, Fafunwa, who trained as an architect before mov- version. It hasn’t been on stage for two years because nobody was ing into directing and the stage, said she was glad to be directing such a spec- ready to sacrifice themselves and tacular cast and then noted, “Nigerians do the house girl work”. Female cast of V-Monologues
Fafunwa will be taking a second stab at the global phenomenon IbutFEOmA this time she will be directing the
There is a hunger in Nigeria for stage plays, there is also a hunger in the UK for Nigerian plays, so, I have been working in the UK and Nigeria to bridge the gap… In two years time, artistes from the UK will be coming to Nigeria to perform; so, we know there can still be a broader platform such as the market place, car parks, office space, school hall or even town halls, there are a lot of others. the Presidential Suite; The Waiting Room written, produced and directed by Wole Oguntokun held at the Underground Car Park; Grip Am, a humourous classic written by the late Nigerian playwright, Ola Rotimi, was staged at the Pentanque Area while 14th Tale written by the Nigerian playwright, poet and actor, Ellams was presented at the Casa Chianti Restaurant were featured in the maiden edition of the festival. “Eko Hotels knew of the programme, so, they were prepared for it. Grip Am was staged at the Pentanque, it is the garden area; it is like a village environment and the director has to use the trees, open space and the natural environment to tell his story,” Evans intones. With the success of the festival, the director says, “in two years time, artistes from the UK will be coming to Nigeria to perform; so, we know there can still be a broader platform such as the market place, car parks, office space, school hall or even town halls, there are a lot of others.” Discovering that some of the venues are very small, Evans reveals that the festival goes beyond the venue spaces, as it aims among others to serve as platform for identifying the various interests and secondly, to put the audience in suspense as to what to watch and where it would take place. He says, “the audience and the press do not know what they were coming to do and were thrilled because they did not know what they had come to want and, as a result asked personal questions such as why am I here? What am I coming to watch a play in a car park, or garden?” This attitude was the thrill because the festival was a different show, it was not the red carpet show; it was something that make the audience to be connected to different relations.”
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Play producer and poet, Odia Ofeimun; Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and his wife; celebrant and playwright, Prof. Kole Omotoso, his son and filmmaker, Akin and play director, Felix Okolo after the performance recently in Akure By Anote Ajeluorou
HEN notable poet Odia Ofeimun and his W Hornbill House of the Arts, organisers of 70th birthday celebrations for South Africabased Prof. Kole Omotoso settled for his postApartheid South African play, Yes and No to the Freedom Chatter, it was on account of the play’s resonance with modern reality that spreads across the entire African continent. Omotoso, who turned recently 70, was being celebrated in his hometown, Akure, with full compliment of the Ondo State Government at the Cultural Centre. Indeed, all resolutions of freedom either from colonial rule or Apartheid regime have remained the same – that all the freedom ‘charters’ have often turned mere ‘chatters’ that left a majority of the people further dispossessed and alienated from who they really are so much so that it resolved the fight into something other than desired and therefore vacuous! Omotoso’s Yes and No to the Freedom Chatter takes a critical look at post-Apartheid South Africa, a country he relocated from Nigeria in 1991 during the last gasp of that repressive regime of minority rule. He witnessed the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ referendum of 1992 that dealt a fatal blow to Apartheid and has since been witness to that country’s struggle to wean itself from some of the structures that supported Apartheid, largely the economic structures still rooted in the hands of the whites even as political power is in the hands of blacks. This then is the major thesis of the argument: What do you do with political freedom that does not give you economic freedom guaranteed by ownership of property? While
‘Yes And No To The Freedom Chatter’
space fared in managing the commonwealth for communal good? Isn’t the upsurge of militancy in various guises a direct result of how poorly the politico-economic space has been badly managed? But Omotoso’s Yes and No to the Freedom Chatter is heavy stuff; it’s a highly cerebral play that is somewhat preachy, in line with the revolutionary fervour of its author, Omotoso. Its near linear plot takes the viewer straight into the heart of the freedom fight and its complex contours that leaves the viewer breathless. But the play’s heaviness is mitigated by the energetic dances infused into it by the directo negotiate with former repressive masters, tor, Mr. Felix Okolo. with the baggage of International Monetary Indeed, Okolo brings along with him into Fund and World Bank, mostly usually with this production ingredients of Odia terms that hardly favour poor of black folks. Ofeimun’s dance dramas – Nigeria the Beautiful Here, the majority rise up against whatever and Itoya… A Dance for Africa and A Feast of treaty the African leaders are out to sign and Return. These drama are heavy historical nardisrupt the process… ratives rendered in poetic form that provides Yes and No to the Freedom Chatter presents the panoramic excursions for the play-goer. dilemma of a country and a continent as shown Omotoso’s Yes and No to the Freedom Chatter in the South Africa example. As the country provides no less theatrical thrill. begins to slip out of the hands of the white setAlso, Yes and No to the Freedom Chatter is a tlers, the dilemma of transition ensues and the close to call for the author in its thematic prequestion of what vision of a new country to occupation for the dispossessed of the earth, forge looms. As part of the resolution, even the who like himself, have had to migrate to playwright invites the continent’s ancestors to other lands to find refuge away from anomie bear witness to how their wards lost control of at home. For Omotoso, majority of Nigerians a continent to visitors from far away. The alien are still dispossessed and it explains his curvisitors, made up of administrators and the rent disposition not to stage a return to the clergy, often the dregs of their alien, barren country of his birth. As Omotoso put it, “you societies, swooped on Africa and dispossessed can’t have successful politicians without a its owners of their prized possessions. successful polity”; Nigeria’s political environWhile the play is strikes at the heart of current ment is fertile soil for all sorts of murk. economic issues plaguing South Africa, Yes and Ofeimun’s Hornbill House of the Arts is planNo to the Freedom Chatter resonates with realining to stage Yes and No to the Freedom Chatter ties in most African countries. Nigeria may have in Lagos as soon as it finds a willing sponsor been freed from military rule, but what true to bankroll the production. The intention is to political and economic freedom has 14 years of expose the play to much wider audience than democratic rule offered ordinary Nigerians? the one that saw the play in Akure, the Ondo How have those who manipulate the political State capital last week.
hits stage for Omotoso the struggle in South Africa and indeed other parts of the continent had been for self-rule, the freedom fighters gave little heed to economic freedom symbolized by land in a place like South Africa. While the protagonist successfully fights against his white master to regain freedom even after murdering his own wife and child as acts of self-negation, with the intent to also take his own life, his freedom becomes hollow when its realities star him in the face. He and his fellow road-travelers come to the shocking realization that there is more to attaining political freedom than they set out to achieve. The fertile lands of South Africa, as is the case in Zimbabwe, are firmly in the hands of the white settlers and those for whom freedom has been granted have no means of economic empowerment; they would have to depend on their erstwhile masters for livelihood. Or they wrest or negotiate economic power from them for their own survival. But this is unacceptable situation. The white masters are not ready to let go of stolen lands, which have profited them for so long. In a face-saving move and seeing that they could loose everything, the whites are ready to negotiate terms that would ensure they are part of the new country so as to retain what they stolen from the natives. This becomes the burden of leadership, having
World IP Day: Nigerians told to help UNESCO urges Nigeria to embrace book culture develop creative talents of youths A
S the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation He said Nigeria was proud of its creative talS the global community celebrated the role of intellectual property (IP) as a major driver ents whose contributions in the copyright sec- (UNESCO) chooses Port of innovation and development, Nigerians had tor have benefited the country immensely and Harcourt, Nigeria, as the World Book Capital 2004, the helped to redefine Nigeria in the eyes of the been admonished to take more interest in Director-General, Nigerian world. developing the creative talents of our youths The Director-General stressed that the spirit of Copyright Commission who are the creative genius of the next generacreativity and excellence should be inculcated (NCC), Mr. Afam Ezekude, has tion. in Nigerian children and they should be given urged Nigerians to actively Director-General, Nigerian Copyright all the required support to enable them realize embrace the reading culture. Commission (NCC), Mr. Afam Ezekude, made The Director-General who their God-given talents to be the best in their this declaration in his goodwill message to made the call in a goodwill mark this year’s World Intellectual Property Day areas of passion. He added: “Our school curriculum should be message marking the World today, April 26, 2013. Book and Copyright Day balanced in both academic learning and the According to him, this year’s theme, sharpening of creative skills. Greater attention which falls on April 23 of every “Creativity: the Next Generation” draws attenyear, noted that UNESCO’s should be paid to extra-curricular activities in tion to the immense potentials of the human our schools and institutional support given to choice of Port Harcourt as the mind and the endless possibilities offered by World Book Capital for the creativity and innovation, noting, “It also under- talent hunts at every level of education.” year 2014 “is a source of He pointed out that Nigerian children were scores the strategic importance of the younger national pride and inspirathe future of the nation while our creativity generation of inventors, scientists, authors, tion for better appreciation of musicians, artistes, etc to the future of mankind remained our best legacy to humanity. books and the invaluable benThe Director-General stated that it was in and the sustenance of national aspirations in appreciation of this that the Commission initi- efits of cultivating the reading our increasingly knowledge-driven world”. culture among Nigerians and The Director-General underscored the fact that ated a comprehensive copyright reform the citizens of the rest of the process aimed at repositioning the copyright intellectual property remained Nigeria’s most valuable resource, which must be nurtured and system to meet emerging challenges and guar- global community”. Bangkok was designated as antee that the Nigerian creative industries get harnessed in a responsible and sustainable “World Book Capital 2013” for value for their investments. manner.
promoting reading among its young and underprivileged people. Ezekude stated that as the regulatory and enforcement agency for copyright protection, the commission has been alive to its mandate of facilitating the emergence of a favourable environment for entrenchment of a development driven copyright community in the country. He canvassed the continued support of all stakeholders and development partners in the creative industries in the national drive towards revitalisng the country’s copyright industries. The Director-General pointed out that the purpose of the celebration “is rooted in efforts at promoting editorial diversity, equitable access to the wealth of books and the protection of copyright and allied intellectual property rights which fall under the
mandate of the commission. “This year’s celebration focuses on ways to better disseminate the culture of the written word and guarantee access to it by all men, women and children. We are being enjoined in the message of the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, to appreciate the fact that books are our allies in spreading education, science, culture and information worldwide”. He said the commission was delighted to join memberstates of the UNESCO, especially stakeholders in the copyright industry, literary authors and publishers, in celebrating the power of books as a veritable vehicle of transmission of knowledge and forging understanding among peoples of diverse cultures with prospects of actualisation of our lofty dreams for a better future.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
CricketWeekly Injury rules frustrated Pietersen out of ICC Champions Trophy EVIN Pietersen has been K ruled out of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 following a repeat MRI scan on his right knee. The scan has shown some improvement in the bruising to the bone that occurred in the build up to the Test Series against New Zealand in February. However, Pietersen will not have recovered sufficiently in time for the ODI Series against New Zealand beginning May 31 and the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, which follows. Pietersen will now start a graduated rehabilitation programme with a view to resuming full training by the middle of June. England, however, remain confident that Pietersen will be fit to take his place in this summer’s Ashes despite a setback to his return from injury. The England and Wales Cricket Board revealed that Pietersen, 32, would miss the two-match Investec Test series against New Zealand next month due to ‘significant bone bruising to his right knee.’ However, it is understood the delay is a precautionary move and any disappointment about an extended absence was offset by the promising sight of Yorkshire all-rounder, Tim Bresnan, back in action following elbow surgery. Pietersen will be determined not to be forced onto the sidelines for what will almost certainly be his last home Ashes, having missed the final three matches of the 2009 victory with a chronic Achilles problem. Indeed, he revealed mild concern on Twitter when he tweeted, “injuries are a sportsman’s worst nightmare! This one is hurting me the most...” But, in response to supportive messages, he added that he was “trying” to be fit for the fivematch campaign against the Australians and had his “fingers crossed.” Initial prognosis on March 20 was that Pietersen would require an eight-week recovery period and the supportive
brace he is currently sporting was scheduled to come off this week. However, following prolonged discomfort and further consultation with knee specialists in London, it will remain on until he returns from Dubai, where he has been on holiday following promotional commitments with his Indian Premier League franchise, Delhi Daredevils. An ECB statement confirmed, ‘England and Surrey batsman Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out of the upcoming Investec Test series against New Zealand as he continues his recovery from significant bone bruising to his right knee. Pietersen will have a repeat scan next week to determine when he is able to resume training.’ Pietersen incurred the damage before England’s warm-up match in Queenstown ahead of the away series in New Zealand, possibly when he slipped during a fielding drill, and although he played the Tests in Dunedin and Wellington it was evident that he was hampered. Returning him to full fitness ahead of the Ashes has been a team management priority, as has been nursing off-spinner Graeme Swann back to full health, and there will be no selection risks taken against the New Zealanders. Swann and Bresnan have both gone under renowned elbow surgeon Shawn Driscoll’s knife in recent weeks but the latter returned figures of 10-2-16-1 across two spells on the opening day of a Roses friendly against Lancashire at Headingley yesterday, his first bowl since claiming four for 45 in a seven-wicket victory in Dharamsala on January 27, to suggest the operation was a success. Entering the attack as firstchange, Bresnan sent down an initial spell of five overs for six runs from the rugby stand end, bowling with a decent rhythm, and then reverted to the Kirkstall Lane end post-lunch for a burst of 5-2-10-1 – his victim, Karl Brown, edging to first slip.
Bangladeshi players celebrating a good during their second Test against Zimbabwe…on Monday
NCF begins 2013 ICC U-19 World Cup preparation with 33 players By Christian Okpara HE Nigeria Cricket T Federation (NCF) on Monday opened its camp for the International Cricket Federation (ICC) under-19 World Cup qualifiers with 33 players at the University of Lagos oval. The trials, which will see 18 players selected for phase one of the national camp, will end tomorrow. At the on-going trials being supervised by Coach Seyi Sonde and Okon Ukpong, who is the team manager, the players are being drilled to ensure
that only the best in terms of skills and stamina are chosen to fly Nigerian flag at the ICC World Cup, which venue is yet to be communicated to the NCF. The players being screened include Adedeji Sesan, Adiamo Mojeed, Ajeku Daniel, Obisesan Afeez, Adebowale Segun, Adebiyi Usman, Ogunbayo Dayo and Adu Bimbo, all from Ogun State. From Lagos are Awosanmi Kunle, Duru Kelechi, Emmanuel Samson, Oyenuga Niyi, Alfred Tay, Yusuf Mustapha, Awosanmi Ope,
Ojewale Kehinde and Ayinde Babatunde. Also from Lagos are Adams Rasaq, Shina Awodele, Sadiku Shakiru and Dayo Lawal. Rivers State has two players, Okojaja Henry and Dormotimi Erelayefa, while Kaduna provided four players, including Gim Daniel, Okpe Isaac, Joel Joseph and Onoja Godwin. Akachuckwu Chima, Ekhide Christopher and Rilwan Lukman are the Oyo State entrants from the team, Edo’s Edeigbe Festus and Akwa Ibom’s Solomon Gabriel and Ndifreke Ekpe Okon completed the line up.
Officials of the NCF say the screening would culminate in the selection of the suitable players for the qualifiers, which will pitch Nigeria against the best young teams from across the continent. According to NCF Chief Operation Officer, George Wiltshire, “we are taking the screening serious because these players are the future of the game in Nigeria. That is why we have provided a conducive environment for them to play the game and try to convince the coaches that they deserve to be in the squad for the qualifiers.”
Pakistan excludes Afridi from Champions Trophy squad AKISTAN has excluded P experienced all rounder, Shahid Afridi, from its
squad for the ICC Champions Trophy that will be held in England, while selectors have warned Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik that they are running out of chances. The 32-year-old, who has played 354 one-day internationals, was the only senior player overlooked for the tournament with chief selector Iqbal Qasim saying Afridi’s bowling had
cost him his place in the squad. “Afridi’s bowling has not been up to the mark in recent matches,” he said in a news conference on Monday. “He has not taken wickets and his primary role in the team is that of a bowler.” Afridi failed to take a wicket in the recent one-day series against India and South Africa. Selectors recalled middle order batsman, Umar Amin, and included five pace bowlers for the tournament.
The young attack includes uncapped youngster Asad Ali, as well as Ehsan Adil, Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Irfan. Qasim said senior players Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik needed to impress. “Both need to contribute significantly to the team’s performance because in recent matches they have not lived up to our expectations,” he said. Pakistan will play a one-day series in Scotland and Ireland in May before going to England for the
Champions Trophy in which they are in a group with South Africa, India and West Indies. It will be their first visit to England since the 2010 spot fixing scandal. In the Pakistani squad are Nasir Jamshed, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), and Shoaib Malik. Others are Umar Amin, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Ehsan Adil and Wahab Riaz.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
UEFA Champions League
Barcelona’s Brazilian defender, Dani Alves (right); and Barcelona’s defender, Marc Bartra take part in a training session at the Sports Center FC Barcelona yesterday
Barcelona sweating on Busquets before Bayern clash ARCELONA will have to B wait to see if midfielder, Sergio Busquets is fit to play their Champions League semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich today, coach Tito Vilanova said. Busquets is a crucial part of the Barca side in the often unsung defensive midfield role and without him their chances of overturning a 4-0 deficit from last week’s first leg in Munich will be severely dented. The Spain international has been sidelined by a groin problem and missed Saturday’s 2-2 La Liga at Athletic Bilbao. His place was taken by Alex Song, who has struggled to make his mark since joining from Arsenal at the end of last season. “Sergio Busquets and some others are still suffering from minor injuries,” Vilanova told a news conference at Barca’s training ground outside the Catalan capital. “We
will see after the training session if Busquets is fit to play,” he added. Whether Busquets recovers in time or not, Barca’s chances of making next month’s final at London’s Wembley stadium appear remote after they were comprehensively outplayed by the German champions in the first leg. Only three clubs have overturned a four-goal first-leg deficit in UEFA competition and current Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes was on the losing side on one of those occasions. The 67-year-old was in charge of the Borussia Moenchengladbach side that beat Real Madrid 5-1 at home in the 1985-86 UEFA Cup third round only to lose the return game 4-0. Elimination for Barca today would leave La Liga as their only chance of silverware this season. They have an 11-point lead over current champions Real Madrid with five games
left and are close to a fourth title in five seasons. However, a domestic league crown would be seen as a poor return for a team, who have set a new standard for European clubs in recent seasons and won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011. “We are Barca and we cannot give up on a tie, there are still 90 minutes left,” Vilanova said. “I don’t think Bayern believe it is over either though they are better off than we are. “If we lose, at least we have to do it with our heads held high and playing on until the end of the match, not throwing in the towel and making our fans proud of us.” Centre back Gerard Pique added, “tomorrow (today) is a day when we should all become kids again to be as excited and hopeful as they are and lose our common sense a little bit. That might get us through, but it is very difficult.”
Barca will try every trick on Bayern, Beckenbauer warns be drawn into personal batARCELONA will try every told Bild Newspaper. “They will tles,” said the 67-year-old B trick in the book to over- deploy all methods, anything Beckenbauer who won three turn a 4-0 first-leg deficit that’s allowed and anything against Bayern Munich in their Champions League semi-final return leg today, honorary Bayern President, Franz has Beckenbauer warned. Bayern crushed the Spaniards last week in a surprisingly one-sided encounter but Beckenbauer, former player, coach and president of Germany’s most successful club, warned that Barcelona were not ready to surrender. “Barca will try everything to throw Bayern off balance,” he
that’s forbidden. They will defend themselves because their pride has been hurt.” Bayern, leading 1-0 at halftime, played a flawless second half against the former European champions - widely considered the best team in the past five years - last week in Munich to notch up another three goals and take a huge advantage into the second leg in Spain. “Barca will try to take Bayern’s eyes off their game plan with one-on-one duels. The Bayern players should not
consecutive European Cups with Bayern in the 1970s. “They will not surrender, they will provoke, they will try all the tricks in the book.” Bayern, who have already won the Bundesliga and are in the German Cup final, are bidding for an unprecedented treble of titles for a German club. The Bavarians are also aiming for their third Champions League final in four seasons after losing the 2010 and 2012 finals.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
76 | SPORTS
Southwest zone picks Oshodi, Makanjuola for federations’ polls By Christian Okpara AGOS State Sports LEnitan Commissioner, Wahid Oshodi and the state’s Athletics Association Chairman, Prof. Tunde Makanjuola were among the winners in Ibadan, where Southwest stakeholders gathered yesterday to pick its representatives into the boards of the national federations. Oshodi emerged the winner of the zonal polls into the board of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) by five votes to one to return to the board, which he was a copopted member in the last dispensation, just as Makanjuola defeated three other candidates to emerge the zonal rep-
resentative on the board of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria. Makanjuola polled three votes to beat Ondo’s Olumide George, who got two votes, Atlanta Olympics double medalist, Falilat OgunkoyaOmotayo, who got only one vote, and Nigeria’s only internationally recognised track and field statistician, Samuel Fatunla, who could not even get the support of his state at the polls. Signs that Prof. Makanjuola would win the polls emerged after the Lagos and Oyo State commissioners for sports went into a meeting to agree on a consensus candidate. Former Lagos State Commissioner for Ademola
Kenya’s Moses Masai is expected in Nigeria tomorrow for the Okpekpe International
Foreign athletes expected in Lagos tomorrow for Okpekpe Race IGP assures participants of adequate security RGANISERS of the 10 kiloO metres Okpekpe International Road Race yesterday confirmed that most of the invited foreign athletes for the competition are scheduled to start arriving Nigeria tomorrow. Director of Organisation of the race, Zack Amodu, confirmed last night that the five athletes from Ethiopia namely, Deriba Merga, Tilahum Regassa, Abere Chane Lema, Sofia Shemsu and Salam Abere Alebachew are booked to arrive Lagos en route Okpekpe in Etsakor East Local Government Area of Edo State. “We are also expecting Moses Masai, Yusuf Biwott, Fredrick Kipchumba, Betty Chepleting and Georgia Rono, all from Kenya, to arrive Lagos tomorrow en route Benin. Also on the flight to Lagos are Timothy Troitich from Uganda and several others,” Amodu disclosed. Merga, who holds a personal best time of 27 minutes 23 seconds in the event, was runner up at the second 2012 New York City Half Marathon. He won the first 2011 RAK Half Marathon in United Arab Emirates, as well as, the Jianazhen Half Marathon in China a year earlier. Regassa, on the other hand, is the champion of the 2013 Rotterdam Marathon in The Netherlands. Masai, who holds a personal best time of 27minutes.19 seconds in the 10km race, picked
a bronze medal in the 10,000km event of the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany. He narrowly missed the podium at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as he placed fourth. Kipchumba holds a personal best time of 28 minutes, 02 seconds in the 10km. He won the Rapperswill 9.1km race in Switzerland in 2012, as well as, placed second in the Paderborn 10km race in Germany early this year. Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed D. Abubakar has deployed former security officer of the Super Eagles, ACP Gideon Akinsola, to the Edo State capital, Benin City, where he is expected to work with the state police commissioner in ensuring that there is adequate security during the Okpekpe 10km International Road Race slated to hold this Saturday. Abubakar has also sent signals to the Edo Command, urging the state police commissioner to deploy anti-bomb squad to provide security network during the race to forestall what happen during the Boston Marathon Race in the United States of America. The IG, who has registered to take part in the race along with Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has also challenged the Police sports men and women to go out there and prove their worth by winning the race.
Adeniji-Adele, however, could not get into the board of the Boxing Federation of Nigeria. The ticket went to Rotimi Rasheed, a former chief medical director of Ondo State Specialist Hospital. Adeniji-Adele, who is in India on medical grounds, had appealed to be allowed to contest by proxy but the delegates rejected his plea, paving the way for Rasheed to pick the ticket. Reports from the North West, North East and North Central zones show that Ibrahim Gusau, Fidelis Gadzama, a former track and field international and Kwara State’s former Accountant General, Tunde Abdulrahman got into the AFN board unopposed.
Strong Tower Academy principal lists gains of school sports
Lagos Islanders’ Seun Akinwale (right) trying to dribble past Ajodoh Ugboaje of Police Baton during their DStv Basketball Premier League game at the Indoor Sport Hall, National Stadium, Lagos…at the weekend.
RINCIPAL of Strong Tower P Academy, Ikorodu, Lagos, Godson Aire, has stressed the
NBBF counsels teams on how to raise funds
need to use sports as a tool for mental, physical and moral development of the youths. Speaking during the school’s first Inter-House Sports Competition at the weekend, Aire emphasised the school’s commitment in building complete students that will be relevant in all spheres of life, adding, “developing the total child, is a combination of three right mix. “At Strong Tower Academy, we pay significant attention to the three learning domain via-a-vis the cognitive, affective and the psychomotor. A total child must be academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually balanced. On these lies our vision an mission.” Aire, who disclosed that the academy has the necessary sport structures, expressed the school’s willingness to partner with government and private individuals with the aim of developing sports at the grassroots level and to develop youths that can represent Nigeria in different competitions. Also speaking at the event, the Director of the academy, Lekan Owodunni said the school integrated sports into its curriculum to develop students health-wise and discover their talents with respects to sport.
By Adeyinka Adedipe HE Nigerian Basketball T Federation (NBBF) has called on clubs to look for ways of generating more funds instead of dictating to the federation on how the DStv sponsorship fee should be shared. The club owners argued that the 49 per cent given to the clubs was merger and demanded for more funds since they were the one hosting the game. However, an NBBF source told to The Guardian that the clubs should know that there are other payments that would made from the sponsorship money and not all the fund was meant to host games alone. “Apart from the fact that the prize money and funds for individual awards will come from the remaining 51 per cent, a percentage of the money is dedicated to the repair and upgrade of facilities at different venue. Already we have spent about N1 million for the National Stadium hall. “There is also the need to upgrade facilities in other centres especially the ones that the television will go for coverage. The officials are also getting double the amount they got last year for the regular season. We are also purchasing equipment like the moveable score board, short clock and game clock,” the source added.
The NBBF official also stated that members of the DStv League board would also meet in the course of the season and their accommodation and flight tickets would be taken care off from the sponsorship fee. “Also, we have to pay the conference coordinators, take care of other officials and print score sheets.” The source also said that the logistics for hosting the opening and the All Stars games would also come from the money. The Guardian also gathered that any amount remaining from the sponsorship fee would be used to help the division one league teams, while
the secretary general of the NBBF would accompany the teams that qualify for the continental championship to the venue. “I must advice that instead of fighting over what should come to them from the sponsorship fee, the clubs should look for ways of generating more funds and stop making spurious claims. We had a meeting on how the fee would be shared and I am surprised that the clubs are crying fowl,” the source noted. The official also assured that DStv was working to get sponsors that would endorse the jersies of the team, with the money going directly to the clubs.
Ceejay Sport donates kits, ball to Abesan Cup PORTS kits distributor, Sjerseys, Ceejay Sports has donated balls and boots to the organisers of the forthcoming 2013 Abesan Cup. At a brief ceremony, which took place at the company warehouse at National Stadium Surulere, Chairman of Ceejay Sport, Cajetan Ekejiuba said the items were part of his
Commodore Mufutau Adeoye, Chief Staff Officer Naval Training Command presenting the Football Trophy to AB Seaman Ilegogie Anthony of Nigeria Navy Ship BEECROFT at the end of the Intra Command Sports Championship of Western Naval Command in Lagos.
organisation contribution towards uplifting Nigeria football, adding that his company is happy to identify with the organisers of the Abesan Cup. Items donated include four sets of jerseys, 30 balls and five pair of boots. The young philanthropist said he has followed the success story of the Abesan Cup since it started in 1998. He urged other well-meaning Nigerians to support grassroots’ sports in the country. “We have to give more attention to grassroots sports because this is where most of the successful players started from. “They need encouragement and support to enable them produce more talents from the country. Nothing is too big to donate for grassroots sports to attain greatness, which I believe will impact positively on our national teams and clubs.” Co-ordinator of the Abesan Cup, Tayo Adeyemo said this year’s edition of the competition would hold in four centres-Sango Otta, Idimu, Egbeda and Agege beginning from May 19. He confirmed that 22 out of the 32 teams expected have confirmed their participation adding that N500,000 is up for grab in the competition.
SPORTS | 77
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Fergie reveals transfer plans S
IR Alex Ferguson has confirmed he has plans to improve his Manchester United squad in the summer. The Scot claimed his 13th league title with United this season but has already started his preparations to defend that crown next term. He is convinced he has the players at the club to provide a solid foundation for the next five years but is still keen to add quality where possible. And despite not having the spending power enjoyed by the likes of Manchester City or Chelsea, Ferguson is confi-
No Gunners approach for Adler AMBURG have insisted H that Arsenal have not made an approach for their highly-rated goalkeeper, Rene Adler. The Gunners are being strongly linked with a goalkeeping swoop this summer, with Adler amongst the names being tipped to move to The Emirates. This has now prompted Hamburg general manager Frank Arnesen to deny any talks with Arsenal. “It’s obviously a fact Arsenal FC is on the search for a goalkeeper. But thus far no-one from Arsenal FC has been in touch with our club,” he told Bild. Adler himself admits he is flattered to be linked with Arsenal. “I am under contract with Hamburger, but for every professional it will be a pleasure and honour to get linked with a club like this,” Adler, who has four years left on his current deal, stated. “This is flattering. It will absolutely hand me more motivation, I will not lose my focus.”
AVB keen on Rose return NDRE Villas-Boas wants A Danny Rose to snub a potential move to Sunderland and return to Tottenham next season. Rose is a contender for Sunderland’s player of the year after he put in a series of impressive displays during a season-long loan at the Stadium of Light. The 22-year-old has made 27 appearances for the Black Cats after slotting in to the first XI at left-back and opened his scoring account for the club in their 6-1 defeat at Aston Villa. Rose says he will make a decision on his future at the end of the season and he has hinted recently that he would like to stay at the Wearside club. But Spurs boss, Villas-Boas has told Rose he wants him back at White Hart Lane next term. Left-back has been a problem area for the Portuguese this term. VillasBoas has often played Kyle Naughton and Jan Vertonghen as makeshift leftbacks as Benoit Assou-Ekotto has struggled at times to regain the consistency he had shown in previous seasons. It remains to be seen whether Rose will want to come back to Spurs. This is the fourth time Rose has been out on loan and he has only made eight Premier League starts for the north London club since he signed from Leeds in 2007.
dent that United can be competitive in the summer transfer window. “You have to look at the structure of the club at present, in terms of the number of firstteam players we have at 23 or under,” Ferguson said in his column for Inside United. “David De Gea, Rafael, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Alex Buttner, Nick Powell, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa and Chicharito are 24. Jonny Evans is 25 and Wayne Rooney is hitting his peak at 27. “Older players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand may be coming towards the end of their careers, but these younger players are the foundation for the next five or six years, irrespective of the players breaking through, like Adnan Januzaj, the Belgian boy, who’s really looking very good.
Ferguson “Hopefully the players we bring into the club in the next year or so will be of the quality we need. We’re competitive in the market - we’re not Chelsea or Manchester City in terms of money but we’re competitive.
“We’ve been doing a bit of work on that over the last three or four months, targeting who the players are that we feel could enhance us, make us better or help us maintain the level we’re at.”
UNDERLAND have formerly Smissal lodged a claim for unfair dis- Sunderland appeal following Stephane Sessegnon’s red card at Aston Villa, the Football Association has confirmed. The 28-year-old Benin international will have his case heard by an independent regulatory commission this afternoon. Sessegnon was sent off by referee Lee Probert, during Monday night’s 6-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Villa Park for a foul on Yacoub Sylla with 21 minutes remaining. Should the red card stand, he will miss the Black Cats’ three remaining fixtures, against Stoke and Southampton at the Stadium of Light and the final day trip to Tottenham. That would come as a huge blow to Manager, Paolo Di Canio with the rout at Villa plunging Sunderland deep into relegation trouble once again. They currently sit in 15th place in the table and five points clear of the drop zone, above Paul Lambert’s resurgent side and derby rivals Newcastle on goal difference. However, 18th-placed Wigan
have a game in hand on all three, as well as, Norwich, who are a point better off, and each member of the quartet knows only too well how hard the Latics fight when it comes to the crunch. Both Sessegnon and Di Canio will hope disciplinary chiefs look kindly upon their appeal, with the Italian signalling the club’s attention to ask them to look again at Probert’s decision within minutes of the final whistle, clearly believing he had witnessed a miscarriage of justice. If the club are unsuccessful, the manager will face the task of negotiating a tense run-in without his first-choice strikeforce, with Steven Fletcher recovering from ankle surgery. January signing Danny Graham would be the only specialist senior striker in the squad, and he is yet to open his account in a red and white shirt.
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN, Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Conscience, Nurtured by Truth
For sure, there is no doubt, that the Senate may have been somewhat jittery over the ethnic-cleansing dimension of the growing activities of the Boko Haram sect, following the bombing of luxury buses filled with passengers from the southern origin—mainly the South East. However, if the media reports coming in the wake of its crucial meeting with the Security Chiefs are anything to go by, then one wonders why Senators went as far as attempting to seek from the latter their opinions on and/or disposition towards amnesty for members of the Boko Haram as was reported in the media.
By Onyiorah Chiduluemije Paschal HE recent closed-door meeting T reportedly held on March 26, 2013 between the Senate and senior security personnel of the country, otherwise known as Service Chiefs, bordering on the seemingly unabated insecurity of lives and property in the country, especially coming against the backdrop of the wanton bombings of luxury buses filled with passengers in Kano State, certainly signifies a lot. No doubt, not a handful of people are wont to think that by their invitation to Service Chiefs to the hallowed chamber, the distinguished members of the Senate have, consciously or unconsciously, shown themselves to be identifying with the suffering of the Nigerian masses that always fall victims of Boko Haram attacks. Quite understandably, this line of thought might not in part be unconnected with the truth, at least superficially viewed. Overall, this perception is hard to stand the test of all the truth associated with this action of the Senate. Interestingly, to reason that the Senate was equally, if not fundamentally, concerned with serving its interest by their invitation of the Security Chiefs to the hallowed chamber may not be too far a tenable conclusion. For sure, there is no doubt, that the Senate may have been somewhat jittery over the ethnic-cleansing dimension of the growing activities of the Boko Haram sect, following the bombing of luxury buses filled with passengers from the southern origin—mainly the South East. However, if the media reports coming in the wake of its crucial meeting with the Security Chiefs are anything to go by, then one wonders why Senators went as far as attempting to seek from the latter their opinions on and/or disposition towards amnesty for members of the Boko Haram as was reported in the media. One wonders if it is not clearly known that the same military, having lost scores of their colleagues to the useless activities of the bloody sect (in addition to thousands of civilians that have suffered the same fate), would naturally be totally averse to such belated and ignominious capitulation to these forces loyal to a fraction of Northern elite (their benefactors) whose only claim to relevance in their parochial politicking and politics of religion lies in their continuous propagation and inculcation of the false idea of being born to rule in the minds of the vast majority of their ignorant population. This, perhaps, accounts for why observers are tempted to think that the Senate’s invitation of Service Chiefs before the hallowed chamber was merely a self-serving attempt to probe and feel the psychology, mentality and pulse of the military concerning the Kano bombings and the possibility of granting amnesty to the members of this bombing gang and serial killers. Otherwise, how would human beings in their normal sense ever consider pacification and /or the compensation of common criminals and terrorists as a panacea for the so-called restoration of peace and order in the polity? Now, come to think of it, this crucial interaction was called and organised as a closed-door meeting, in which case it was held away from the prying eyes and burning desires of the press to cover it
As we know or should know, to preserve the secular composition of Nigeria is a task that must be done. Thus, the military and other security agencies must be allowed and encouraged to carry out their duties in this challenging time.
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The Senate and Service Chiefs
Chief of Army Staﬀ, Maj-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika
Senate President, David Mark
and give back to the public all that transpired. Incidentally, the reason for this seemingly secret session being that the issues involved were apparently deemed to be classified (?). Funny enough, it boggles one’s mind why these issues were taken to be secret and to be discussed as such, bearing in mind that the Senate itself allegedly harbours men suspected to not only have been sponsoring the Boko Haram, but also appear to be members of the sect. At least it is common knowledge that Senator Ali Ndume is still standing trial charged with role in the activities of the Boko Haram sect. This may just be one instance, among others, that underscores the crux of the matter. Expectedly, the Senate, rising from
this meeting, told us that they were satisfied with the performance of the security personnel in the fight against terrorism, as if they could afford to say otherwise. In any case, the thrust of the issue is that Nigerians do not need to hear it from the Senate before they can, on their own, accurately evaluate the performance of the security personnel. Surely, it is not the intent herein to ridicule the commendable efforts of the Senate in their bid to perform their constitutional responsibility. Nonetheless, it is time to stop this cycle of inviting the Security Chiefs before the hallowed chamber to probably study their psychology each time the Boko Haram sect unleashes a gruesome assault on the innocent and
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unsuspecting citizens, all in the guise of an attempt to discuss top security issues in a closed-door meeting. In fact, what is happening mainly in the North-East and North-West geo-political zones is nothing short of their own chosen brand of civil war. In essence, any measure to be adopted towards containing or resolving it must not fail to include high intelligence gathering and sheer use of naked force on the rebellious combatants. This viable approach does not, in any way, contemplate the Niger-Delta kind of amnesty for these terrorists nor should it embrace any form of pacification. The reason being that to insist on killing and maiming people and destroying properties on the false pretence to be struggling for the imposition of Islam on the country is clearly tantamount to declaring and war against the secular entity called Nigeria. Therefore, whatever that constitutes the “multi-faceted approach” in the estimation of the Senate as was widely reported in the media must not be allowed to undermine the work of the military and others operating in the axis of evil in the country. As we know or should know, to preserve the secular composition of Nigeria is a task that must be done. Thus, the military and other security agencies must be allowed and encouraged to carry out their duties in this challenging time. • Paschal, a Journalist, wrote from Abuja.