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TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vol. 30, No. 12,908

N150

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Senate meets Jonathan over abducted school girls From Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) ARELY 24 hours after the Senate called for total war against insurgents, President of the Upper House, David

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Mark, yesterday led 20 other senators to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan on the fate of the abducted girls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. Meanwhile, the Senate also

• Congratulates workers on May Day yesterday congratulated Nigerian workers on the occasion of the May Day celebration today. In a related development,

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has said that by God’s grace and the collective efforts of all stakeholders, the abducted girls would be re-

leased in good health. The meeting, which was scheduled for 10.00 p.m. in the President’s residence, was to review the activities of security agents towards rescuing the girls that were adopted 17 days ago.

The Senate had on resumption from its Easter break on Tuesday taken up issues of Boko Haram and their activities in recent times, which culminated in the abduction CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

• Reps wade into ASUP, COEASU, FG face-off • Anyaoku urges

northeast govs to help identify terrorists • Northern

Christians berate NGF over Taraba crisis Former Education Minister and World Bank Official, Oby Ezekwesili (fourth left), mothers of the kidnapped girls of Chibok and others, during a protest in Abuja … yesterday.

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PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

NERC moves against collection of N750 fixed charge by discos From Lemmy Ughegbe and Emeka Anuforo, Abuja ITH effect from today, W distribution companies will stop collecting the N750 monthly fixed charges from consumers who do not enjoy power supply for 15

• Out-of-court settlement fails in planned power stations sale • NDPHC files appeal days at a stretch, or 15 days cumulatively. In the same vein, efforts at resolving the conflict be-

tween Ethiope Energy Limited and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) over the bid process for three Nation-

al Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs) power stations may have crumbled. Meanwhile, the 2nd Defen-

dant, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), has filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja seeking to set aside the interim order issued on March 17, which stopped BPE from going ahead with the privatisation of the three power sta-

tions in dispute. The directive is courtesy of a new order issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) yesterday. The order takes effect today (May 1). Electricity CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Out-of-court settlement fails in planned power stations sale CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

consumers in most parts of the country pay N750 as fixed charge every month no matter what they consume. NERC said in Abuja yesterday that it has been inundated with complaints from consumers over the issue and had to take the decision in the interest of consumers whom it vowed to protect always. The fixed charge, according to NERC, is an element of an electricity customer's electricity bill and is charged on a monthly basis. But because of the challenges of poor electricity supply, NERC has asked consumers who suffer 15 days of blackout in a month not to pay the fixed charge for that month. Also, consumers who, by their calculation, got up to 15 days of cumulative blackout in a month are empowered to refuse to pay the fixed charge. The commission said it would enforce the order to the letter and encouraged consumers who run into any hitch over the order to get across to it quickly for necessary redress. NERC chairman, Sam Amadi, told reporters at a press briefing to announce the new order in Abuja that fixed charge is a universal best practice and is not peculiar to Nigeria. Amadi also assured that if the commission had not increased electricity tariff, no distribution company has the powers to increase tariff. "We have not changed the tariff. The discos cannot change the tariff. The tariff for each year is published. Each year has its own tariff," the NERC noted. He said: "It is borne out of electricity customers at all times, once they are connected to supply. It is not tied to consumption. Fixed or permanent investments need to be made and need to be paid for and maintained. Electricity customers need to have the required infra-

structure that will enable them enjoy electricity either on demand, and when it is available.” He added: " The electricity industry is clearly capital intensive, and is understandably difficult to enter or exit from. Generating companies bear the brunt of this huge investment and for this reason, they should be given some kind of comfort and guarantee that they will be allowed to recover their reasonable costs. This cost recovery includes circumstances where they are unable to generate and send out power due to reasons beyond their control. Such reasons are typically the unstable nature of the transmission network that sometimes forces generation stations to shut down because the network is unable to carry the electricity they generate. "When power improves and demand is being met, there may be instances where generating stations are asked to shut down to low demand in given periods. In such circumstances, where the generating companies are perfectly able to supply electricity, but have been asked to shut down, they will still need to be paid at least the price of constructing the power plant. This is the fixed charge. "The fixed charge is, therefore, necessary to ensure the sustainability of what the electricity customers currently pay today, which is only a third of what it should be in order not to overburden customers. However, with sustained improvements in service delivery, payment of fixed charge will be better accommodated by customers." He stressed that the fixed charge was designed to encourage investments in the sector and help the utilities manage the facilities and provide electricity. When the matter came up yesterday for report of settle-

ment, counsel to Ethiope Energy Limited, Messrs Bello Abu, told Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, that the parties were unable to reach an amicable settlement of issues in dispute. Consequently, Abu prayed the court for a date to set the suit down for hearing and dispose all pending applications. Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) who represented BPE and the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), confirmed that talks between the parties have hit a serious hitch. Osipitan, therefore, asked for a short date to enable him argue his application seeking to set aside the service of process on his clients and to discharge the interim order issued by the court against his clients. He said that the court's processes were served on a

Corps member and not on the Director-General. Counsel to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, Mr. Mathew Echo, also confirmed that talks had collapsed. He told the court that he had filed a preliminary objection and application for stay of execution of the interim order. He also asked for a date to enable him come and argue the objection and the application. The court had on March 17, at the instance of the company (Ethiope Energy), stopped the BPE from going ahead with the bid process for three NIPPs currently undergoing privatisation. The affected power stations are Alaoji, Omoku and Gbarain. After the order was granted, the parties informed the court of their desire to settle

the matter out-of-court. Until yesterday, there were hopes that the parties would agree. In a notice of appeal filed by Dr. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), the company said Justice Kafarati erred in law when he granted the interim order. NDPHC also said the trial judge over-reacted himself when he granted the relief sought in the main suit at an interim stage, especially when he had yet to hear from the respondents. The company also accused the judge of denying it fairhearing when he failed to consider the oral submissions made by its counsel before granting the interim order. NDPHC also asked the Appeal Court to set aside the interim order because the order amounted to an effort in futility because the event, which they sought to stop,

had been completed. On March 17, Justice Kafarati in a short ruling for an order of injunction said: “It is apparent that the defendants have been served with the motion on notice and they failed to brief their counsel. “An order of interim injunction is hereby granted against the 1st defendant from further going on with the bid process for the power stations.” The BPE had commenced the bid process for Alaoji, Omoku and Gbarain power stations on March 7, 2014. However, Ethiope Energy, which claimed it also submitted bids for the power stations, said it was excluded from the process. Not satisfied with its exclusion, Ethiope approached the court for an order to stop the BPE from going ahead with the bid process.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Yemi Adeola (left) ;Director, Yemi Idowu; Chairman, Alhaji Sulaiman Adebola Adegunwa and Company Secretary, Justca Lewa at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the company in Lagos… yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Senate meets President over abducted girls CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 of

the school girls. The lawmakers also expressed worries over the adamant position of security operatives on the whereabouts of the girls. “The military is not getting it right on information management. The nation ought to

be briefed daily on the actions that the government is taking to rescue these girls”, Mark said. Members of the Senate delegation included Barnabas Gemade, Ali Ndume, Ahmad Zanna, Maina L. Maji, Ahmad Lawan, Babafemi Ojudu, Alkali Jajare, Bello Tukor and Mohammed Magoro. Others were Ehigie Uzamere, Bindowo Jibril, Shola Adeyeye, Chris Anyanwu, Helen Esuene, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Emmanuel Bwacha and Nenadi Usman. In his remarks, Mark commended workers for their resilience and patriotism and urged them to continue in their sacrifices towards nationbuilding. He also assured them that their sacrifices would not go unrewarded as the legislators were committed to creating conducive environment for workers. Mark said: “The sacrifices they make will not be in vain. But as legislators at the federal level, we have a major responsibility to ensure that we create a conducive environ-

ment for them to work through the laws that we make. “What I will like to assure the workers on behalf of all of us federal legislators and the Senate in particular, is that their welfare and their wellbeing are of utmost importance to us and we take it as a priority. “They should continue to relate with us and if we don’t have a channel at the moment, we should open a channel of communication between us and the workers. We wish them a happy May Day”. The motion to appreciate Nigerian workers was moved by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Dahiru Awaisu Kuta. Senator Kuta recommended, among others, that workers should be commended for their wonderful contributions to nation-building as they celebrate the May Day. He noted that all artisans and workers in both the public and private sectors have been making serious sacrifices

with patriotic zeal even in the face of glaring challenges and difficulties. Also commending the workers was Senator Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom North East), as he urged them to recognise others who are out of official engagement and include them in the struggle for benefits. “They should accept that it is not only those who are officially employed that are workers. So, when agitating for welfare, we should include this group of people who are still seeking employment”, Enang said. Shettima gave the assurance yesterday in Maiduguri while swearing in the Grand Khadi of Sharia Court of Appeal, Khadi Umar Ramat Mukaila, and two permanent secretaries, Adamu Idrisa Timta and Abba Kaka Abba Jato at the Government House. He added: “So much effort is being put in place by security forces; we are doing everything to support them by way of complementing the efforts of the Federal Government. There are commitments by all stakeholders and God’s will-

ing, the abducted daughters of ours will be got back and in good health and handed over to their parents.” He said God is just; and will not allow evil to triumph over good, as justice will be done to the abducted schools girls and their parents, including the entire people of Borno State who are highly traumatised. The governor, however, noted that even though justice can sometimes be delayed, but it comes at the end either here on earth or thereafter. Shettima said: “We are at a trying time in our dear state because as I speak to all of you here for this swearing in, over 200 daughters, with promising future, are being detained somewhere by Boko Haram insurgents that claimed to be devoted Muslims.” He said God that created people has mandated them to protect women and support them, and to also serve them with special attention and to even spare the women during Islamic holy wars that the Boko Haram claims to be fighting.


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Thursday, May 1, 2014

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NEWS Thursday, May 1, 2014

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Anambra donates patrol vehicles to police, others

Okonjo-Iweala, Dangote, others get Time Magazine award INISTER of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy of Nigeria, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and a host of others, have been honoured by Time Magazine at a gala in New York. Okonjo-Iweala and others were last week named to the Time Magazine yearly list of 100 most influential people in the world. The minister was named in the “Leaders” category, which features Presidents and Prime Ministers such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe of Japan, Xi Jinping of China, President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Nerandra Modi of India and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani. Described as the “Guardian of Nigeria’s Public Funds”, the minister whose profile was written by world acclaimed musician Bono was hailed for taking up “one of the toughest jobs on the planet.” In her response, OkonjoIweala stated: “I am delighted and honoured to be included in this August list. I could not be happier that someone of Bono’s distinction, a lover of Africa, wrote about me. “I am grateful to God that two Nigerians were recognised this year. It is wonderful for Nigeria. I see that other Africans were also recognised. So, I think it is a measure of where our continent is heading despite all our challenges.” As TIME has described the list in the past, “they’re scientists, they’re thinkers, they’re philosophers, they’re leaders, they’re icons, they’re artists, they’re visionaries.

From Chuks Collins, Awka N an apparent effort to keep Iations up the pace for security operin Anambra State, Gov-

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Halima Dangote (left); Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her husband, Dr. Ikemba Iweala, during the Time 100 Gala in New York where Okonjo-Iweala and Dangote were honoured after being named to the list of the 100 Most Influential People in the world

Reps wade into ASUP, COEASU, FG face-off From Adamu Abuh (Abuja) and Wole Oyebade (Lagos) HE House of Representatives yesterday waded into the strike embarked upon by members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), with a view to finding a lasting solution to the crises. The intervention by the law-

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• Lagos Assembly flays aggression against poly teachers makers came barely 24 hours after the academics were barred from expressing their grievances by riot policemen at the precinct of the National Assembly. Meanwhile, the Lagos State House of Assembly has condemned the action of men of the Nigerian Police who allegedly used force to disperse

Seun Kuti leads group to protest against corruption, others By Chuks Nwanne O show its dissatisfaction T about corruption, injustice, insecurity, and the general socio-political realities in Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation, Change Movement Nigeria, (CMN) will today organise a peaceful protest in Lagos tagged Stolen Dreams Walk. Billed to hold at the CMS, Lagos Island, starting from by 9 a.m., the mass protest, according to a statement issued by the group, is aimed at saving the nation from total collapse. “We want people whose dreams of a great nation has

been shattered to come all out and join us in protest on that day. Those who are outside the country can also join us in solidarity, as we shall open up channels of communication on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and our website www.changemovementng.or g where people can post comments, solidarity messages, and selfies so that we can, in the spirit of unified mission for the emancipation of Nigeria, ask for the restoration of our stolen dreams,” the statement reads. Afrobeat musician Seun Kuti has announced his readiness to be part of the peaceful

protest, which will attract youths from different parts of the country. “We the young people of Nigeria have had enough; we had enough when the first person was murdered by Boko Haram; we had enough when d first Kobo was stolen by our ‘parasitic leaders’ aided by their foreign cohorts. We had enough when the first multinational pilfered our oil and destroyed our land. But the time has come to stop talking about change; the time has come for us to make it. That’s why we will be taking to the streets of Nigeria on International Workers Day for the Stolen Dreams Protest,” said

protesting polytechnics’ teachers in Abuja on Tuesday. The resolve by the House of Representatives members to intervene followed the adoption of a motion on matters of urgent national importance moved by Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe (PDP-Imo). Leading debate on the matter, Igbokwe argued that the continuous stay at home of the affected students of polytechnics and colleges of education poses a great danger to the polity. Stressing that the strike was already taking its toll on the educational development of the students as well as the well-being of the nation, he elicited the intervention of the leadership of the House to interface with the Federal Government as well as the striking unions in order to resolve the impasse. “It is worrisome that the polytechnics and colleges of education have been shut down for ten months, moreso that ASUP and COEASU began their agitation even before the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on their

strike. I remember that a platform was created by this House for its resolution, but surprisingly, nothing has been done about their agitations. The continuous closure of these institutions is inimical to the wellbeing of our society,” he argued. The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, who presided over the plenary admitted that he sighted the protesting lecturers of the affected institutions at the entrance of the National Assembly on Tuesday. Ihedioha, who assured members of the House of the leadership’s willingness to intervene with a view to resolving the differences between the parties, directed the Deputy Chairperson, House Committee on Education, Rose Okoh (PDP-Cross River) to make contact and report back to the leadership of the House on the way forward. Okoh who lamented the impasse said issues surrounding the agitation of the striking lecturers had been poorly handled.

Anyaoku urges North-East governors to help identify terrorists By Tunde Akinola S Nigeria struggles to contain the mindless killings and now, kidnaps, by the Boko Haram terrorists, former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has tasked the governors of the northeastern states to do more by helping to identify the insurgents in order to engage them in discussions. Anyaoku was optimistic that the search for the missing schoolgirls would be fruitful because the United Kingdom (UK) has the satellite technology to help the Nigerian Armed Forces locate them wherever they are being kept. Speaking in Lagos on Tuesday at a party to mark the 88th birthday of the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, organised by the British Deputy High Com-

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• Eminent Nigerians honour Elizabeth II at 88 mission, Anyaoku said the Federal Government’s carrot and stick approach would be effective. “I believe the government is pursuing the carrot and stick policy, which I think is right in the circumstances,” he explained. “Terrorists should be shown the force of government power, but at the same time, any opportunity for engaging them in some talks and negotiations should be used. “The carrot and stick should be effective because with the use of the carrot, they will be made to see that their demand is impossible. There is no way Nigeria can ever become an Islamic state and there is no reason Nigeria

should cease to be a multi-religious country. “At that, they would be made to understand that the use of stick is to show them that they cannot get away with killing people and destroying structures like they have been doing.” To him, Nigerians celebrate the queen’s birthday not only because she is the head of the United Kingdom, but also because she is the symbolic head of the 54 Commonwealth countries, which Nigeria is one. Meanwhile, the British envoy, Peter Carter, noted that the essence of the Queen’s birthday celebration was to thank stakeholders in the

country for their cooperation over time and their works in helping to build and sustain developed relations between Nigeria and the UK. It was also to ensure that citizens of both countries benefit from the relationship. “This evening is about celebrating, it is about saying thank you and looking forward to a more successful year to come, in which I know our relations will grow from strength to strength, both institutionally and at individual levels,” Carter said. “I look forward to next year’s Queen’s birthday when there will be even more of you to say thank you to.” Meanwhile, Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, described Elizabeth II as everybody’s queen, noting that the old rela-

tionship between Nigeria and the UK means that when the British celebrate, Nigerians celebrate with them. According to him, the fact that some Western nations have expressed readiness to find the missing girls means a lot to the country, “it also tells the rest of the world that our relationship with these countries remain intact. Those who perpetuate this evil in our country should know that the larger world is ready to take on them, and they need to be careful.” Notable persons at the event included Nigeria’s former Interim President, Chief Ernest Shonekan, the Dean, Church of Nigeria and Bishop of Lagos, Most Revd. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, and the Managing Director, Guardian Newspapers, Emeka Eluem Izeze.

ernor Willie Obiano has presented brand new fullyequipped operational vehicles to the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the state. Presenting keys of the vehicles to the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Usman Gwary who received the vehicles on behalf of the Police, the Army, the Navy and the State Security Service (SSS) and other members of JTF at his Aguleri country-home in Anambra East Local Council, the governor reiterated his administration’s determination to crush and flush out all criminal elements in the state. He said: “We are presenting these vehicles today to launch Operation Kpochapu! You know what Kpochapu (wipe out) means. We are warning criminals of all types; armed robbers, kidnappers, drug dealers and so on to move out of Anambra State. If they don’t, we are coming to sweep them out. We shall spare no effort until they are all wiped out.” He disclosed that the vehicles were the first set of the planned 400 security vehicles his administration would provide to the security agencies to empower them properly in order to sustain the tempo of fight against criminals in the state. Obiano explained that fifteen of the vehicles were for the Police, three for the Army, two for the SSS and one each for the Navy and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Northern Christian group carpets NGF over Taraba crisis • Senator wants military barracks in Wukari By Dele Fanimo (Lagos), Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja) and Charles Akpeji, Jalingo OLLOWING a statement by Frumthe Nigerian Governors’ Fo(NGF), which dismissed allegation that the ongoing crisis in Taraba State was religiously motivated, a North-based Christian organisation has defended the claim that Christians in the state are indeed being targeted. Meanwhile, the Senator representing Taraba-South, Emmanuel Bwacha, has called for the establishment of military barracks in Wukari to forestall future attacks on the community. Commending Nigerian military operatives and members of the Police for the efficient manner they handled crisis in the area, which led to the arrest of some members of Boko Haramsect, Bwacha appalled to President Goodluck Jonathan to facilitate establishment of military barracks at some flash points, especially Wukari. Also, instead of calling for a state of emergency in Taraba State due to the escalating violence and killings in parts of it, the state’s chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) has urged such advocates to work with Acting Governor Garba Umar to restore peace. Briefing newsmen on Tuesday at the state secretariat in Jalingo, the ALGON chapter Chairman, Ahamdu Kalamu, flanked by all others who attended the meeting, said all the chairmen were disappointed at the demand by some Tarabans for emergency rule.


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PHOTONEWS

Deputy Governor, Delta State, Prof. Amos Utuama (left); Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Ms Nonny Ugboma, and Commissioner for Health, Delta State, Dr. Joseph Otumara, at the MTN Foundation Y’ello Doctor official flag off ceremony in Asaba, Delta State.

Former Nigeria Ambassador to Belgium, Prof. Cornelius Ogunsanwo, (left); Former Executive Secretary, National University Commission, Prof. Peter Okebukola, Vice Chancellor, Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof. Olufemi Onabajo, Registar, Lead City University, Dr. Oyebola Ayeni, at the International Conference of Global Education Network in Ibadan. PHOTO:NAJEEM RAHEEM 

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Mr.Taiye Haruna (left); Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki, Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Dan Egbeogu, and Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, NigerState, Halidu Ibrahim, during the inauguration of Presidential Committee on the Review of Local Government Scheme of Service in Abuja…recently. PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

Chairman, Lagos Housing Fair, Moses Ogunleye (right); Estate Surveyors and Registration for Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON), William Odudu and Representative of Senator; Gbanga Ashafa, Mr. Taiwo Johnson, during the 14th Lagos Housing Fair and Exhibition of Product and Service in Building/ Construction Industry Theme: Safety in Housing Delivery in Lagos. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

Delegates from Kwara State to the constitutional conference and the state Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed (second left); after a visit by the members to the governor in Abuja

Chief Executive Officer, Mansard Investments Ltd., Mr. Deji Tunde-Anjous (left); Mr. Victor Osibodu, chairman, Mansard and Mr. Tope Adeniyi, CEO, Mansard Health Ltd, at the 22nd yeaqrly general meeting of Mansard Insurance Plc in Lagos.

Managing Director,  Shongai Packaging Industry, Mr. Arjan Mirchandani (left); Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbola Ashiru with the Acting Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, during the commissioning of the Shongai factory.

General Manager, Consumer Products Division, L’Oreal Central West Africa, Sekou Coulibaly; Chief Executive Officer, House of Tara, Tara Fela Durotoye, Managing Director, L’Oreal Central West Africa, Idorenyen Enang, Brand Manager, Maybelline Clear Smooth Powder, Bukola Balogun and the Brand Manager, House of Tara, Teni Akingbade, at the media launch of Maybelline Clear Smooth All in One Powder in Lagos.


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WorldReport Ukraine losing grip of eastern region RO-MOSCOW separatists P seized government offices in more Ukrainian towns yesterday, in a further sign that authorities in Kiev are losing control of the country’s eastern industrial heartland bordering Russia. Gunmen who turned up at dawn took control of official buildings in Horlivka, a town of almost 300,000 people, reported Reuters. They refused to be photographed. The heavily armed men wore the same military uniforms without insignia as other unidentified “green men” who have joined proRussian protesters with clubs and chains in seizing control of towns across Ukraine’s Donbass coal and steel belt. Some 30 pro-Russian separatists also seized a city council building in Alchevsk, further east in Luhansk region, Interfax-Ukraine news agency said. They took down the Ukrainian flag and flew a city banner before allowing workers to leave. Attempts to contain the insurgency by the government in Kiev have proved largely unsuccessful, with security forces repeatedly outmaneuvered by the separatists. The West and the new Ukrainian government accuse Russia of being behind the unrest, a charge Moscow denies. Daniel Baer, the United States ambassador to the OSCE, a European security

watchdog which has monitors in the region, told reporters in Vienna: “I think it’s very clear that what is happening would not be happening without Russian involvement.” A police official in Donetsk, the provincial capital where separatists have declared a “People’s Republic of Donetsk”, said separatists were also in control of the Horlivka police station, having seized the regional police headquarters earlier in April. The murder of a town councilor from Horlivka who opposed the separatists was cited by Kiev last week among reasons for launching new efforts to regain control of the region. Yesterday’s takeovers followed the fall of the main government buildings on Tuesday further east in Luhansk, capital of Ukraine’s easternmost province, driving home just how far control over the densely populated region has slipped from the central government in Kiev. “They’ve taken them. The government administration and police,” the police official said of Horlivka. The town sits just north of Donetsk, unofficial capital of the whole Donbass area, where mainly Russian-speaking separatists have called a referendum on secession for May 11. Many hope to follow Crimea’s break from Ukraine in March and subsequent annexation

Maidan self-defence activists fight with police special team guarding the Ukrainian Cabinet of the Ministers in Kiev…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

Malaysia to release plane investigation report

Rebels leader declares ceasefire in Senegal

ORE than seven weeks M after the plane vanished with 239 people on board,

HE main leader of Senegal’s T southern, separatist rebellion has declared a ceasefire, boosting hopes for peace talks that could end one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts. Salif Sadio, traditionally the most powerful and hard-line of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), announced the ceasefire in a phone call to a local radio station in southern Senegal. The government reacted positively: “Any move aimed at enabling dialogue between the two parties is welcomed,”

spokesman Abdoul Latif Coulibaly said. He added, however, that the army would not drop its guard in protecting civilians or controlling Senegal’s borders. Casamance is a region separated from most of Senegal by Gambia and shares a border with Guinea-Bissau. Senegal has accused both countries of supporting the rebels at various stages of the conflict. The MFDC has waged a lowlevel struggle for independence in Casamance since 1982 and the government says fighters are these days mostly

involved in banditry and smuggling. A number of previous peace efforts have failed. The Community of Sant’Egidio, a Rome-based Catholic organization that has been mediating between the two sides since 2012, said the ceasefire was a sign that the rebels were eager to build confidence and allow peace talks to take place. Casamance was once a breadbasket for Senegal and home to long, white sandy beaches that were a tourist draw. But three decades of conflict have left the region isolated

Malaysia has said that it will release a preliminary report of its investigation into Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 today. Defense Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein said the report will be similar to the one the government sent to the International Civil Aviation Organization. The Boeing 777 jet disappeared March 8 while traveling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. Officials are still searching for the plane, which is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. Radar and satellite data show

Islamist leader faults death sentence in Egypt HE leader of Egypt’s T Muslim Brotherhood has criticised a death sentence handed to him and 682 others, defiantly insisting the “coup” that toppled Islamist President, Mohamed Morsi will be defeated. Mohamed Badie made the comments about Monday’s sentencing from the caged dock at another trial in which he, Morsi and others are accused of plotting attacks and prison breaks. Since Morsi’s overthrow by the military in July, the armyinstalled government has conducted an extensive crackdown that has left at

least 1,400 people dead and thousands in prison. The mass death sentences, the second in as many months, sparked global outrage, with the United States urging the government to reverse the judgement. “I did not attend this trial, and I along with 1,000 others have been condemned to death,” said Badie of this week’s sentencing, which took place in his absence. “The coup will end,” he said. The court later sentenced another defendant, firebrand preacher, Safwat Hegazy, to one year in prison for contempt after he called out to

the judge using his first name. Courts have sentenced several Islamist defendants in other trials on similar grounds in the past few months. Morsi, who often tries to interrupt court proceedings with speeches, added: “This farce will end.” Morsi faces three trials, all of which can lead to the death sentence. Much of the leadership of his Brotherhood movement has been arrested and put on trial. In Monday’s sentencing, the 683 defendants were convicted of the murder and attempted murder of policemen during riots in the south-

ern province of Minya. The same judge had sentenced 529 people to death on similar charges in March, but later commuted the sentences of most to life in prison. Justice Minister, Nayer AbdelMoneim Othman defended the judiciary at a news conference yesterday, saying it was “independent”. But he stressed that Monday’s sentencing was preliminary and could be appealed. “Why is there an appeal process? Because the judge is a human. He can make a mistake,” he said.

the jet veered far off course for unknown reasons. An analysis indicates it would have run out of fuel in the ocean off western Australia where a massive multinational hunt has been focused, but not one piece of confirmed debris has been found. The air search for the plane was called off this week. Hishammuddin, who is also acting transport minister, said he will go to Australia next week to discuss the next phase of the search, a greatly expanded underwater hunt, and the cost involved. The head of the Australian agency leading the search has predicted that the search could drag on for as long as a year.

by Russia, following the overthrow of Ukraine’s Moscowbacked President, Viktor Yanukovich in late February in a tug-of-war between the West and Russia over the strategic direction of the former Soviet republic. The Donbass region is home to giant steel smelters and heavy plants that produce up to a third of Ukraine’s industrial output. An armed uprising began there in early April, with Kiev almost powerless to respond for fear of provoking an invasion by tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the border. Many Russian-speaking business “oligarchs” from the Donbass backed Yanukovich and exercise great influence over the region. The most powerful of these, Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov issued a formal statement saying he remained committed to his investments in the Donbass and to keeping the region as part of Ukraine.

DR Congo rebels kill six soldiers REBEL group in the eastA ern Democratic Republic of Congo killed six government soldiers yesterday during an attack on the army and the United Nations mission MONUSCO. The attack was carried out by the Alliance for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS) in the Nyabondo area, around 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of the regional hub Goma in the restive province of North Kivu. MONUSCO’s military spokesman Felix-Prosper Basse told reporters in Kinshasa that one member of the UN force and three other soldiers were also wounded. Basse accused the APCLS of opening fire on civilians during the raid, which he said forced hundreds of families to flee their homes and seek MONUSCO protection. The spokesman also said the UN and Congolese regular forces, who have for months been attempting to clear North Kivu of its myriad rebel groups, had swiftly regained the upper hand.


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How closed textile firms hurt Lagos on Lagos state, the director-general, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, Mr. Jayeola Olanrewaju, said: “The adverse effects of the exit of the firms from operations are very obvious. When they were in existence they employed thousands of workers and the workers were buying things when they got their salaries/wages. The multiplier effects of the workers’ income on the environment were very remarkable. So, when the firms folded up the adverse effects of such ugly development on the immediate environment is better imagined than stated. Their exit affected a lot of people namely the workers, their dependants, their landlords, private hospitals that were providing medical services to them, the caterers, tailors who were sewing clothes for the gainfully employed people, in fact the list is endless. “Also affected are the local government councils that were collecting levies from the companies and also the state government that was making a lot of money from the workers through income tax (Pay as you earn (PAYE) and from the corporate tax that the companies were paying. “Again, their exit affected the security situation of the areas where the companies were. In those days, when Aswani and Arcee were operating in those areas, armed robbery along Osolo way was not there. Workers on shift would resume 6 o’clock, close 10 o’clock and the movement of people in the areas scared thieves away. When the place was deserted, frequent robbery became the order of the day there. Car snatching and other forms of robberies become almost a daily occurrence. “The closure might also have affected the pressure on facilities in those areas. People moving out of the place means that pressure on social facilities will not be as it used to be.” On whether the golden era of the textile industry shall still come back, Olerewaju declared: “I always tell people that the industry had seen its golden days. Yes! We may witness such golden era in future but I doubt if it will be as expansive as it was in mid 70s to mid 80s that can be taken or regarded as the golden era of the textile industry. My record here showed that we had about 275 companies (small and big) who were members of this association. Today, we have less than 30 firms. No matter how it comes back it cannot go to even 170 Churchgate, formerly a textile firm at Five Star bus-stop on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway now The God Bless Nigeria Church because of competition now with freedom of movement of both was, until recently, hired by a Church called “God Bless Nigeria goods and human beings across international borders; and with By Godfrey Okpugie Church.” The company’s name, even though has gone under, was our economy being opened to everybody. In those days when we Deputy Lagos City Editor not included in the list of the dead companies. had a boom there was a sort of a ban but now that it is opened, The companies that were affected in Iganmu, Lagos were: Presieverything can come into the country with their competitiveness. dent Industries, Nigeria Weaving/Spinning & Printing Company I don’t see us getting back to that large number of companies. HE devastating holocaust that ravaged the textile industry in and Nitol Textile Manufacturing company. That will be impossible because a lot of factors now have come in Nigeria did more havoc in Lagos than any other part of the In Egbe, another Lagos suburb, were Pacific Weaving Company, to obstruct the realization of that and we are not competitive. We country. Moon Diamond Spinning Mills, Delux Industries, Euro Sports Wear may get back to a situation where we will get larger companies Available records revealed that of the more than 83 textile com- and Diamond Spinners. than what we had before or mega ones or industries. They might panies that went under since 1995 to date, only 28 were located Papa Ajao had Vickay Industries, Nibeltex Industries, K.K. Textile & even employ as much as what we had before but the number of outside Lagos state while the remaining 55 or more were based Allied Products, Wab Terry Limited and Emar Textiles Mills. companies will not be as much as before. in Lagos. In Ikeja Industrial Estate were West African Coast Weaving Works, In terms of labour, technology is changing. Though the industry Of these, twelve were located in Ilupeju in Mushin. Lai (Mega) Alam Textiles, Kay Industries, Nigeria Textile Mills Plc, Specomill is labour intensive but a lot of machines are also being introduced Tailoring factory in Ilupeju, which has also closed shop was not Textiles, Ikeja, now acquired by Lorna Nigeria Limited (Amigo included in the figure. So was Atlantic Textile Mills (ATM) situated Hairs) which currently uses the place to produce artificial hairs for which have reduced the number of employees or workers to manage such machines. There is a lot of automation now in the indusalong the Oworosonki Expressway, Near LASTMA office, Oshodi, ladies), and Reliance Textiles Industries. which recently took a bow after struggling for years to stay afloat, Other companies in an unspecified location in Lagos included, Ba try. “When we say there might be a change in future, we hinged such was also not in the list. Chivita, a fruit juice producer, it was reliKholon Limited, Lagos, United Emene Textile, Lagos, Kailash Weav- optimism on significant improvement on infrastructure, which ably gathered, is presently negotiating to acquire the ATM’s facto- ing & Garment Manufacturing, Lagos, affects our cost of production. If cost of production goes down and ry. In Amuwo area were, Top Star Limited, Texlon, United Spinners we can compete effectively with incoming goods then we might The two textile firms in Apapa that were affected included, and Globe Spinning mills plc. be better than what we are now but I am not sure we can be as Nigerian Fishing Net Industry Limited and West African Thread In Ikorodu were, Century Polyester Limited, First Spinners Plc and large as what we were before. The major determinant of what will Company Limited. Abel Abu Industries. happen in future is the state of electricity supply in the country.” Isolo, a Lagos suburb, hosted nine firms among which were the Others included Mayfair Spinning, Gbagada, Hong Kong Syn. popular Five Star Industries Limited, which is now in a sorrowful Fibre Companies, Ota and others. desolate state, Aswani Industries, which has been balkanized into Speaking on the negative impact of the death of the companies different warehouses for imported chemical products of different kinds, Afprint Plc, now converted to a warehouse and auto mart/showroom, Arcee Plc, GDM Textile Manufacturing Co. Limited and Royal Spinners Plc. Others included Elite Industries, Ilasa, Dalama Textile Limited and Aflon Nigeria Plc, Isolo. S Island Club goes to the polls Lawrence, in a statement, said ChurchGate, also Isolo-based and a victim of the fold up gale, to elect officers for its manage- unlike in other clubs, members ment committee on May 9, chair- enjoy cordial relationships durman of the club, Chief Ademola ing electioneering campaigns. He Though alien to Nigeria, it Dada, has thrown his hat in the praised Dada for sustaining the By Kamal Tayo Oropo is applicable in places like ring to present himself for elec- momentum of physical developEARLY a year after the India while some families tion, which will be the last of the ment of the club while not Lagos State government in parts of Europe and three years allowed for a manage- departing from the spirit of its passed a legislation to legal- America have adopted it. ment committee member by the founders to bring members ize cremation in the state, But Folami said, “it is not together. “This is a club founded club’s constitution. no resident of the state has our practice in Nigeria to by leaders of Nigeria 70 years ago The first inter-racial club in officially applied in accorcremate loved ones. The to cut across racial barriers,” he Nigeria celebrated its 70th dance with the law for the age-long practice had been anniversary last year with pomp said. cremation of their dead rela- and is still to give last Island Club has in the past proand pageantry. The club has taktives. respect to our dead by comduced the first president of Nigeen great strides in the last two Special Adviser to Govermitting them to motheryears in modernizing its facilities ria, the first indigenous Chief Jusnor Babatunde Fashola on earth. Not to burn the tice, the first Nigerian Inspector with Dada as chairman. Political and Legislative corpse. So if people are not His administration refurbished General of Police, the first indigePowers Bureau, Teslim Fola- applying to the law to crethe club’s cool room and provid- nous heads of the Navy and Airmi revealed this at the ongo- mate, it is not surprising,” a force, the first premier of Eastern ed an ultra-modern lift for easy ing ministerial briefing in resident said on Tuesday. access to the main hall. It also re- Nigeria, the first and only preAlausa, Ikeja to herald the The legislative bill was designed the inside lawn aesthet- mier of the Midwest and the secseventh year anniversary of signed by Governor ically and re-modeled the squash ond premier of the West. The first the Fashola administration. Babatunde Fashola on June hall. He is seeking another shot Nigerian leader of the stock The Lagos Cremation Law 10, 2013 to enable families exchange and the first indigeas the chairman to complete approves the practice of wishing to cremate their ongoing projects, which include nous stockbroker were also burning the dead before col- dead ones rather than the members of the club. It also proa multi-level car park and Chilecting the ashes for dispos- conventional committal, do duced the first Nigerian judge at nese Restaurant in the club. al in any manner desired by so legally, without drawing the World Court. An elder of the club, Mr. Ben the family of the deceased. animosity. Olanrewaju

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Residents shun cremation law N

Election holds in Island Club A


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Politics THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE DEBATE

‘National question can be resolved by experienced minds’ (1) Prof. George Obiozor, former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States and Israel is the coordinator of the Southeast delegates at the national conference. He spoke to Emma Eke on a number of issues bordering on the conference, including critics’ views, as well as the expectations of both the polity and the international community from the confab. Therefore, to achieve a perfect union, which should cater for the interest of all without prejudice to I have long supported and canvassed region, or ethnicity or other primorfor the necessity for a national confer- dial considerations, the conference ence, call it dialogue or what have you. becomes imperative. The dream of That it has come to be makes me one one Nigeria is a possibility and it is what the conference is working on of the happiest Nigerian today. Coincidentally, I was part of the and a lot of well-meaning Nigerians Presidential Advisory Committee on are wishing the delegates well. the preparations to the conference, The Sultan of Sokoko had expressed and that it has kicked-off, despite all misgivings on the conference, alleging lopsidedness of the members odds, is worth the sacrifice.  I also know that majority of Nigerians based on religion. Is religion going are equally sharing the same senti- to make or mar the conference? There is nothing wrong in any ment with me, which is an indication that solutions to the country’s mirage aggrieved section of the country raising any issue, be it religion, ethof problems will soon be found. To me, and many others, this is the nic and others. Like you rightly last chance for us to put right those pointed out, the Sultan had led a delthings that have tended to tear us egation to Mr. President and had apart and forge ahead as a nation, raised some issues that border on alleged lopsidedness in favour of endowed by nature. Still, the take-off was fraught with con- one religious divide. But others are equally raising their troversies; what does this tell?  There might have been some hitches own issues. Of course, the President in its taking-off; still, I’m happy with would have listened to all of that, the progress made so far. I’m speaking and could have his personal feeling as a Nigerian and as the coordinator of on that as his response to them. delegates from the Southeast zone to However, there is no better place to iron out such issues than in the the conference. What has been going on in the confer- national conference hall. Such view ence is expected. Mind you, people is not capable of jeopardising the didn’t come here to agree on every- outcome of the conference. thing or disagree on all things. They The reality of whatever complaints are here to air their views on a series of so far made are debatable; still, the long bottled-up views and to see how public is free to carry out a research to resolve such, so as to see Nigeria in order to find out whether the move forward on the basis of equity, ratio of the delegates tilt towards any group or section, as is being panjustice and fair play. dered.   But isn’t this is a tall order? Yes, it may be a tall order, but it must But the beauty of it all is that everybe done. The question of peace and body in the conference is going to justice are two sides of the same coin. meet other members of all groups If there is injustice, there will be no with their variant opinions on how things should be done, and above all peace. Throughout history, people denied work towards proffering solutions justice always remain cheated, mean- and not only identifying the probing that there will be no need for lems. So, no one issue can jeopardise peace in absence of justice. So, differ- the conference. ent sections of Nigeria seem, to me, to HAT, in a nutshell, is the sumhave now been concerned in what mary of the Southeast agenda type of federating unit we should at the conference? have. In their speeches and body languages It is not a one-off thing, but suffice it that they have made so far, all are in to say that their agenda is not far agreement that Nigeria must be from what the general feeling is restructured in the interest of peace, within the polity. It will be difficult justice and equity. And that is a good citing one issue as an agenda. For sign that every group, or section, has instance, you know that what you accepted the necessity for the dis- may regard as very important issue cussing of our differences, all aimed at may not bother your next-door restructuring our political and eco- neighbour. Take, for example, the issue of equinomic system. The opportunity is there for lovers of ty in state creation; on what basis this country to grab by coming can you have one geopolitical zone together in order to turn things round having lesser state structure than to the good of the born and the yet any other? And when you raise such unborn. HAT makes the ongoing national W conference a must for the country?

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There is nothing wrong in any aggrieved section of the country raising any issue, be it religion, ethnic and others. Like you rightly pointed out, the Sultan had led a delegation to Mr. President and had raised some issues that border on alleged lopsidedness in favour of one religious divide. But others are equally raising their own issues. Of course, the President would have listened to all of that, and could have his personal feeling on that as his response to them. However, there is no better place to iron out such issues than in the national conference hall. Such view is not capable of jeopardising the outcome of the conference. The reality of whatever complaints so far made are debatable; still, the public is free to carry out a research in order to find out whether the ratio of the delegates tilt towards any group or section, as is being pandered.  

Obiozor

Throughout history, people denied justice always remain cheated, meaning that there will be no need for peace in absence of justice. So, different sections of Nigeria seem, to me, to have now been concerned in what type of federating unit we should have. In their speeches and body languages that they have made so far, all are in agreement that Nigeria must be restructured in the interest of peace, justice and equity. And that is a good sign that every group, or section, has accepted the necessity for the discussing of our differences, all aimed at restructuring our political and economic system. The opportunity is there for lovers of this country to grab by coming together in order to turn things round to the good of the born and the yet unborn. an issue, someone will wave it off as not being a pressing one. And to ensure that the issue is made more cumbersome, some will start demanding additional states to what they have already. Issues like that and other known ones will feature at the conference and we will expect other sections and groups to come up with theirs, but all must be open-minded for people out there watching our actions and words. The Southeast delegates are here to reassure the rest of the country that there is unity in strength, more so if justice, equity and peace are the guiding principles of such. Mind you, it is the Igbo man that is most accommodating in the structure called Nigeria. There is no part of this country you won’t find him contributing sincerely to the development of the area, intermarrying and adding some economic values through his trade or businesses. Yet, he is the victim of almost all instability, whether such has anything to do with him or not, but because he resides in the place. The only tribe that can, somehow, compete with the Igbo is the Fulani, who equally live outside their ethnic location. Therefore, it pays the Igbo to see to the existence of this country, but not as their only burden, as it is today. Some critics have identified lack of legal framework as a factor…

(Cuts in) From my studies of national conferences or national debates, all conferences are primarily political in nature. It is politics that gives rise to a national dialogue whose outcome forms the constitution. Depending on how things work out, the constitution may follow immediately. Therefore, issues canvassed at such conferences or dialogues are the mother and father of the constitution. So, those putting constitution in front before the politics (conference) are preempting the result, and that is a wrong approach to it. If the constitution were perfectly in order, why are we still having political, social, religious and economic crises? Why are we having sectarian issues all over the country? Why the agitation from one corner of the country to the other for one thing or the other? Why do we have preponderance of disintegrating factors raging everywhere? For instance, some people want more states, some want fiscal federalism; others are even demanding for secession if their demands are not met. What I can say is that those who refer to constitution as the automatic answer for all the issues being raised are missing the mark. The constitution that will be accepted by all will emerge after this conference. Delegates are not here to discuss the constitution but to discuss factors

that will improve Nigeria to be united, peaceful and a happy country. Some people have accused President Jonathan of merely panel-beating the conference for some political gains… There is a question here: Is the president a politician or a plumber? If he is a politician, he can do many things to his advantage and not what will be of political advantage to his opponents. Secondly, if the opposition is in power, won’t they do that which will be of benefit to them? Again, that is another diversion from the real issue, which is that Nigeria, as a nation, is having some difficulties functioning and attaining political stability. It can’t easily boast of economic projects, no national development and no prospect. The country’s innumerable socio-cultural differences can be resolved and the resolution institutionalised through the national conference or by constitutional amendment. But it important to say that whatever this conference decides will go a long way in integrating all segments of the country together, thereby achieving political stability and progress. You can’t imagine the enormity of the problems of this country! But those of us who are old enough know that the country has never been as insecure as it is today. Even some people, who were at home during the Civil War, told me that it was not as insecure as it is today.

TO BE CONTINUED


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Conscience Nurtured by Truth

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

Editorial Yet another Workers’ Day IGERIA workers will today join their counterparts the world over to commemorate the yearly International Workers’ Day or the Labour Day, the significance of which is never lost on the toiling masses, their families, labour unions, rights movements and activists. Expectedly, it would be a day of reflections on the plight of workers as they struggle for economic security and wellbeing. The Day should provide an opportunity for unions to revisit the dispiriting conditions in which a greater percentage of workers toil and contemplate what the future portends for a country and its army of unemployed youths. The enormous challenges notwithstanding, the Nigerian worker, whether in the public or private sector, still deserves to be celebrated for holding aloft the banner of selfless contributions to the development of the country despite little recognition he is accorded by his employer, or even by the opportunists in government parading as leaders. Times have changed though. In the past decade or so, the average Nigerian worker’s interest in open air parades across the country on such a significant occasion seems to have waned considerably – and understandably so. Leaders have cared less about workers’ collective welfare. To thousands of them, it’s another off day from excruciating, less-rewarding hours at work. The Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and other labour coalitions certainly have a task to regain the trust of workers and to convince the younger workers about the importance of trade unions. They need to find more creative ways of making this day relevant, once more. However, all this is in no way suggestive of May Day losing its appeal. Commemorating the Day tends to reflect on the state of workers and trade unionism in the country. It makes more meaning for the Nigerian workers to be reminded that they are part of the global community and to take stock of their gains and losses in the corresponding year. Today, the Nigerian worker remains a testimony to the disconnect between the ruling elite and the masses. He is still in shackles of political machinery that sacrifices the wellbeing of the people on the altar of selfish interests. Poverty stalks the land, making the average Nigerian worker a shadow of his hardworking self. The ruling elite is still unable to fashion sustainable policies for human development, enough to pull the worker out of the abyss of poverty. Systemic corruption in high places coupled with apathy towards youth employment and other oppressive regimes have, in a way, exacerbated the pervasive insecurity that daily threatens the soul of the country. Today, poor conditions prevail in most working environments and the workers face incessant threats of disengagement because of little opportunities for employment. The public sector has absorbed more than needed personnel over time. In disregard of Labour laws, casualisation of workers is the order of the day while desperate young girls are sexually exploited. Incredulously, government agencies are charging fees to conduct recruitment into these departments while getting fixed up is known to be for the highest bidders (where positions are not reserved for children and wards of the influential persons in the society). The much advertised N18, 000 minimum wage for workers remains a deceit in most public services especially in the states. Teachers at every level of education are perpetually on strike over government’s insincerity on the agreements it signed with workers. The hospitals do not fare better either as doctors and nurses are ever on the warpath, on welfare packages. Many senior citizens who have retired after decades of meritorious service are still suffering in the hands of pension-stealing crooks in government service who take advantage of a corrupt system to deny the elderly ones their due. Everywhere, it is one sad tale or the other for the worker: he rarely enjoys his working life while his retirement days are a continuation of his suffering. The unemployment time bomb is ticking. Today, therefore, should be a day of deep reflection for all stakeholders. It is not enough to dress workers in uniforms and parade the grounds across the country with speeches that sound like broken chords. Labour unions must wake up to engage the government in constructive discussions on improved labour conditions, but not necessarily by embarking on strike to force demands. Government on its part has to sincerely work on providing the enabling climate for citizens to expend their energy, skills and time for their selfactualisation and for the good of the society. Only in that can Nigerian workers, in particular, and all citizens as a whole find a meaningful transformation.

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LETTER

Govt support for private universities ir: There is no gainsaying SGovernment the fact that Federal through its National Universities Commission (NUC) is doing its best by way of checks and balances, effective supervision and quality control of all universities in Nigeria particularly the private ones. However, there is need for the government to ensure adequate support for education in private universities. It must be mentioned here that several of the private universities in Nigeria are not established for profit making but to give students sound moral education, which will bring about the fear of God and a

A typical example is that of Crescent University, Abeokuta, with the vision and mission of sound education, good moral upbringing and service to God. We are also to ensure that the university has a national outlook. Hence, there is no state in the country that is not represented in the university in terms of students.

good society. A typical example is that of Crescent University, Abeokuta, with the vision and mission of sound education, good moral upbringing and service to God. We are also to ensure that the university has a national outlook. Hence, there is no state in the country that is not represented in the university in terms of students. There are those with scholarship awards from northern and southern Nigeria. The university believes that if these students are given the opportunity to study together, relating on the same campus for three or four years, they will not grow up to hate one another in politics in future. So, admission of students into Crescent University is done without discrimination against any student by way of ethnicity, religion or sex. Female emancipation towards a better, mature life is now emanating from several states of the north, particularly Kano, Sokoto and Zamfara from where students are sent on scholarship to the university. To this end, federal government must ensure that private universities in Nigeria enjoy benefits of Tertiary Education Trust Funds (TET-

FUNDS) since this will further help in development of education sector. Tremendous development of education is indeed sine qua non to development of any nation. Recently, Nigeria with a population of 150 million and substantial resources in both oil and mineral wealth is still considered, in terms of good governance, to be in the 13th position out of 16 nations in West Africa. Also in education, University of Ilorin that was considered the best in Nigeria occupied 33rd position in webometric ranking in Africa and 555th position in the world. Jurisprudentially, it is axiomatic that to every right, there must be a corresponding duty. The NUC, while effectively supervising the private universities, must also critically look for means of governing moral and financial support to them. The fillip may be in provision of facilities, projects and endowments. That would boost the development of Nigeria as a nation and put her in the right position among other nations. There is no doubt that education will give us an enviable position globally. But it must be treated holistically and now. • Prince Bola Ajibola, Abeokuta, Ogun State.


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Opinion Saint of our time and milieu By Raphael Okunmuyide OPE John Paul II’s (“Totus tuus”!) canonisaP tion has re-enlivened the church globally because he presented her as the true face of God in the world on which man must focus in all he does to achieve his supernatural goal and showed that “holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary christian life” in several ways. One of his earliest sources of global reach was “the Sign of Contradiction”, a publication of his 1976 lenten retreat for Pope Paul VI and the curia that provided deep insight into his awesome soul as a saintly philosophercum-theologian. He visited Nigeria in February 1982 and March 1998. Indeed, there is a Nigerian who is known to have enjoyed yetperplexing mystical experiences through his intercession three times: in a grave health situation about ten weeks before the Pope died and in two identically faith-wounding situations of spiritual abuse, but which could not be reported to the Postulator for the cause of his beatification/canonisation for lack of physical evidence. For the person concerned, these experiences confirmed God’s omnipresence and holiness as well as the “communion of saints” even while on earth, as God does not need to wait till a holy christian has died before He starts to distribute the spiritual fruits from his/her virtuous life to the needy’s faithinspired requests. There are many accounts of the church’s achievements during his papacy: the most widely-travelled Pope with extensive and intensive encounter between the church and civil authorities in 129 countries across all the continents, beatification of 1, 340 and canonisation of 483 people as well as issuance of 524 Apostolic constitutions, 36 Apostolic letters, 32 “Motu proprio”s, 16 Apostolic letters and 14 encyclicals etc. While these can properly constitute an encyclopedia on his pontificate, the “Laborem Exercens” (“On Human work”) encyclical of September 1981to mark the ninetieth anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s “Rerum Novarum”(“Rights and Duties of Capital and Labour”) encyclical can be considered to have

the greatest catechetical impact on the worker, society and the global economy in our time and milieu. In the encyclical, he affirmed that work means any licit activity by man, manual or intellectual that can be recognised as work among all the many activities of which man is capable. Work is one of the characteristics that distinguish man from the rest of creatures since only man works in the proper sense and derives his dignity from work. Paradoxically, work also contains the unceasing measure of human toil, suffering, the harm and injustice which penetrate deeply into social life in the midst of many tensions, conflicts and crises which disturb the lives of individuals and societies. Thus he believed that work, as a human issue, is at the very centre of the “social (and political) question” by both the direct and indirect employers of labour, which must be dealt with holistically, with special emphasis on its ethical and social character in order achieve peace in the world. Hence, he emphasised the primacy of man over things because work is “for man” and not man “for work”! This was why he alerted the world to the danger of treating work as a special kind of “merchandise” for capricious trading. Furthermore, he insisted that the proper subject of work must continue to be man as the purpose of work, regardless of capital and the use of technology. Hence he recommended the need for symbiosis rather than conflict between capital and labour by treating labour as the primary efficient cause, while capital, (the whole collection of means of production) as the instrumental cause, emphasising that capital is the result of the historical heritage of human labour. Thus, for him, capital should not be separated from labour and in no way should labour be opposed to capital or capital to labour! This was why he suggested that the antinomy between labour and capital can be prevented through appropriate schemes for joint ownership of the means of work through the workers’ sharing in the management and/or profits of businesses and/or shareholding etc. because the person who works

desires not only due remuneration for his work but also wishes that provision be made for him to know/feel that in his work, even on something that is jointly owned, he is working for himself.Thus, while work, in all its many senses, is an obligation by the worker, it is also a source of rights for him/her. Hence he challenged both the direct and indirect employers of labour to accept that these rights must be in the broad context of human rights as a whole, noting that the human rights that flow from work are part of the broader context of those fundamental rights of the person. Moreover, he linked the duty and rights of the worker with the spirituality of work through the fact that man, by his work, shares in the activity of the Creator, which he continues to develop and perfect as he advances further in the discovery of the resources and values in the world especially through the virtue of industriousness. “For, while providing the substance of life for themselves and their families, men and women are performing their activities in a way which appropriately benefits society. They can justly consider that by their labour they are unfolding the Creator’s work, consulting the advantages of their brothers and sisters and contributing by their personal industry to the realization in history of the divine plan.In the modern age, the spirituality of work should show the maturity called for by the tensions and restlessness of mind and heart. The knowledge that by means of work man shares in the work of creation, constitutes the most profound motive for undertaking it in various sectors and more effectively achieve its purpose in justice, charity and peace…” But how many workers believe that they can earn a good living from doing their work honestly and with integrity, without compromising contractors/ stealing from their employers and/or how many workers, entrepreneurs, large-scale investors, managers, professionals, technocrats, contractors and politicians know/believe that they can kill two birds with the same stone: achieve their supernatural goal and the material evidences of success/prosperity fom their

businesses/work rather than achieve the latter at the expense of the former? Certainly an effective use of this encyclical can be the panacea for the structural paradoxes between Nigeria’s potentials and her actuals: Nigeria as the world’s 26th largest/Africa’s largest economy and a Nigerian as the world’s 23rd richest/richest African versus Nigeria’s World Bank’s recent rating among the five countries that comprise two-thirds of the world’s extremely poor, the Global Competitivenness Report which classified Nigeria as a factor-driven (Stage 1) economy vis-a-vis other efficiency-driven African economies and, why: business partnerships fall like cookies, small and medium-scale enterprises hardly grow bigger despite government’s resources and support, there are very few Nigeria-originated “multi-national” enterprises, many Nigerian businessmen/women, technocrats and politicians suffer from severe patriotism deficit, the economy is chronically import-dependent, unemployment rate is ballooning along with acutely tense employee-employer distrust, unions and employers are continually engaged in brinkmanship, corruption is endemic in the private and public sectors as well as the weakening of the state as an effective negotiator between employers and workers has inflicted damaging consequences on the economy/infrastructure and its capacity for facilitating job creation unlike the emerging/developed economies where monthly statistics of employment generation are critical socio-economic measures of governments’ performance or failure. Therefore, while John Paul II’s sainthood is being celebrated globally, Nigerians from all walks of life can also celebrate him locally in practical terms by using the Laborem exercens encyclical to manage the struggling employees, entrepreneurs, large-scale empolyers as well as the unions-workers and unions-governments relationships better towards facilitating stability and progress in the economy through an enduring work environment of justice, harmony and peace. • Okunmuyide wrote from Lagos.

The scheme against Jonathan By Chuks Iloegbunam HE longsuffering Nigerian moaned in grief: “Although I have T borne this burden for many years, I am prepared to forgive and forget. My terror stems from the very absence of a clue regarding how much longer I am expected to groan under this deadweight.” The deadweight crushing Nigeria today is engineered political instability. Two categories of Nigerians are directly responsible for this invidious state of play. They are the fomenters of the instability, and their cheerleaders – those deliberately or unwittingly celebrating while the national homestead is being consumed by a conflagration. In the eyes of the fomenters of instability, President Jonathan can do no good. He cannot do any good because, in their thinking, he is not supposed to preside over Nigerian affairs, to begin with. That is why they claim he cannot seek re-election for a second term of office. If any of Atiku, Buhari, el-Rufai, or Ribadu were in power, today’s sworn enemies of the second-term would be singing a totally different tune. A Port Harcourt-bound flight takes off from Katsina. Unfortunately, the captain suffers a heart attack and dies in midflight. Meanwhile, the co-pilot careers the aircraft to a perfect touchdown at its destination. In countries where reason takes precedence over skulduggery, it was a single flight that went from Katsina to Port Harcourt. But in Nigeria, Jonathan already lost the right to seek re-election because fomenters of instability count among his tenures in Aso Rock the period he served as vice president of Nigeria. Now, Al Gore was vice president under President Bill Clinton for two terms, and later contested the United States presidency against George W. Bush, without anyone suggesting, even in their wildest dream, that Gore had already enjoyed two terms. Those hectoring against Jonathan seeking re-election knew they woefully lost the battle even before it started. Therefore, they had to devise other means of stopping a man they fear would trounce them for the repeated time at the polls. Terrorism came in handily, despite its sanguinary imprint. Those un-

aware or unclear of how this insidious poison seeped into Nigeria’s essence are advised to read the telling interview granted by Ambassador Bola Dada, a retired career diplomat, to The Punch of April 12, 2014. Just one excerpt: “As far as I am concerned, Boko Haram is an offshoot of Sharia. Meanwhile, in 2001, I learnt from a Southern Sudanese while I was there that at Khartoum sometime in 1994, some Sudanese officials were lamenting that the then presidents of Nigeria were not radical Muslims; they were lamenting that the golden days of Islam had gone. They were not happy that General Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari did not follow in the footsteps of Ahmadu Bello. So they planned on strategising again. They went to Kano to do that. Whatever the strategy they made that time, there is a link to what is happening now. Meanwhile, Babangida compensated them by dragging Nigeria to the Organisation of Islamic Countries, still they were not satisfied. Also, there was a kind of covenant between Sudan and Libya to destabilise Nigeria to promote Islamisation. So, what is happening to President Goodluck Jonathan now may have something to do with that pact. They call it Afikaya, a doctrine that Muslims must govern all African states only. Gaddafi fought for it rigorously before he died – that all African presidents must be Muslims and in any African country where by error a Christian is there, they should make life difficult for that person until he is deposed. I got wind of it in one document. I read it with my eyes that all African countries must be governed by Muslims and any country that is mistakenly being ruled by a Christian, they should make life difficult for him.” Those who interpret and propagate every Boko Haram atrocities as a minus for President Jonathan aid the fomenters of national instability. No, terrorism in Nigeria is a recurring minus for the opposition to the political status quo who see indiscriminate murder of innocent people and the attendant devastation of property/infrastructure as a shortcut to national political leadership. Media experts abound today interpreting only their folly and their blinkers, forgetting that once an abomination is allowed to hold sway it automatically becomes

a tradition. They fail to reckon that if Jonathan is bombed out of office, explosives will replace the ballot box as the instrument for attaining political office. These expert journalists/commentators forget that every Boko Haram attack is a stab at the heart of Nigerian democracy. These experts will recoil from examining, for instance, India and Pakistan, neighbours in the Indian subcontinent who both won political independence in 1948. India chose the democratic path. Pakistan opted for coups, bombs and bullets. India is in accent; Pakistan is mired in gore and blood. Why should Pakistan’s dismal scenario be replicated in Nigeria? The journalist deserves his pay, of course. But all the gold in the world cannot justify writing from an inkpot full of the blood of innocent bomb blast victims. Plainly, terrorists are criminals and murderers. The journalism that valorizes the kidnappers of school children and perpetrators of infanticide is warped. President Jonathan imposed in three troubled states a state of emergency. But the governors of those states remain in power, each collecting no less than N400 million every month in the name of security vote. The journalism that doesn’t ask these governors to account for how they blow these vast sums in the guise of fighting terrorism is obscene. Certain politicians and traditional rulers have been making incendiary remarks, trying to pit sections of the country against each other, trying to disunite the military. Any journalism not in condemnation of these traitorous acts is counterproductive. Any journalism that does not doff its hat for our military and security agencies that have patriotically been making unquantifiable sacrifices in order that we may all live in peace deserves to be censured. The journalism that conspires with fomenters of political instability schemes, not against Jonathan as an individual. It schemes not against Jonathan as President of Nigeria. This ruinous journalism is a blunderbuss wielded by a drugged felon and trained at the heart of our collective tomorrow. • Iloegbunam sent this piece from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.


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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Opinion Feeling this pain of Boko Haram By Olatunbosun Amao was watching Channels Television news at Iport 10 yesterday with my family. The news rewas on the unfortunate and condemnable abduction of innocent kids in their schools in Borno State barely less than 24 hours when scores of people were killed by bomb blast at the popular Nyanya Motor Park in Abuja. My six years old daughter was curious about how the kids were abducted from school without any help. One of the questions she asked innocently was if their teachers were not there. Of course it was hard for my wife to explain to her that the abductors came with more than what the teachers could resist. I was watching my wife as she struggled to explain and I was a bit scared myself to come in and explain that we are at a dispensation where your teachers in school or your parents could find it hard resisting some armed demons whom the government we set up are incapacitated to deal with. Such is the innocence of children; they sleep calmly knowing (with the understanding) that they are secured as long as trusted adults are around them. I also recall growing up and having the confidence that my parents, teacher’s guardians or even brothers would always resist any threat against me. However between the Nigeria of then and now is that back then, they (the older ones) knew that they could resist arms to the younger ones because we had a government that was ready to support them. I remember that when cases of robbery were so rampant, my dad with other men in our community would form a local vigilante and just needed a single message to the near-

est police station if the robbers got too sophisticated for them. Could we try the local vigilante options now when the police, state security service and even military seem to be struggling with the threat of today? Of course I know that the threat we face now is more than the armless robbery cases we used to have which also shows the level at which a government needs to rise up to the challenges of today. The crude way of ruling 20 years ago will not work for today. Please note that I am not in anyway talking about 60’s or 70’s. I am talking about 80’s and 90’s. How are the mighty fallen and how easy for some of the supporters of this current regime to celebrate mediocrity? I remember the song of one of the reggae stars we used to listen to, though I don’t remember the songs for the exact words but it is something like this; “Dem belle food, we are hungry, we live in getto, dem live in paradise, hear the voice of the suffer man.” The current state in Nigeria is not only that we are hungry and they are full (as it is easy to eat with one billion Naira while some family live on less than 100,000 naira annually), but that we live in constant threat of death while they guard themselves with bullet proofed, high walled and military barricaded houses. Do they really care when they seem to have covered themselves from the rampaging attack? I hear names like Ibrahim, Balarabe, Chukuwamaka, Adesoji, Ikoli, and Bola etc among the dead people after every attack and yet some of us will excuse the failure of this government because of ethnic or religious sentiments. It is obviously hard to explain how a right thinking leader in between two tragedies would have time to go on a rally and danced.

It is obviously hard to explain how a right thinking leader in between two tragedies would have time to go on a rally and danced. I am amazed at the kind of leaders we have in Nigeria, they are in no way different from Boko Haram that is causing havoc in Nigeria. Boko Haram have access because there is no one, no government agency to checkmate them. I am amazed at the kind of leaders we have in Nigeria, they are in no way different from Boko Haram that is causing havoc in Nigeria. Boko Haram have access because there is no one, no government agency to checkmate them. The question in the mind of my daughter and the fear within me of my capacity to protect her is real. We lost over 100 souls in an attack on a particular day and over 100 kids were abducted barely 24 hours later yet this president found it normal to go on a rally in Kano state. I laugh at the excuse that Boko Haram cannot stop the critical operations of federal government as the reason for going for the rally. Protection of over 100 people that died in Nyanya bomb blast is definitely not as critical as the reception given to Shekarau in Kano State. Any government that failed in providing security for life and property has completely failed. This current regime in Nigeria has no excuse no matter what. They could blame the insurgence on different people and groups but the truth is that it is Goodluck Ebele Jonathan we elected to protect the citizens and not those people and groups. He (the president) should therefore take responsibility and stop blaming the entire world for his failures. What is the need of a government if we are at the mercy of Boko Haram? I care less about whom or what party is in power, any government that cannot stop this menace

that has taken us for a ride this long is in no way fit to rule us. “The president wants these families to know that their loved ones have not died in vain. Rather they have paid the supreme price for our unity; and in their death, they have watered the tree of our freedom”. “To those behind these vicious acts, the president wants you to know that you will be found, and you will pay dearly for this heinous crime,” This is the statement released from the office of the president after the 2010 independence day bomb blast. Four years on, this is the same pre recorded statement we still hear. Should we allow this error beyond 2015? I can’t stop thinking of the young kid pleading with the mother not to let him die. “Mummy, mummy, don’t let me die” was the cry of the 15 years old boy. It was reported that his legs were shattered by the bomb blast that occurred on Monday morning. How long will children suffer and render homeless? How many people are we going to send to early grave? How many women are being made widows and how many men are being made widowers? We feel this pain, Nigerians are feeling this pain. It is time we speak out and we make our word count with actions. We deserve more than the leaders we have and there must be a change! • Amao wrote from Ibadan.

May Day and Owambe unionism By Bobson Gbinije “Those that can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin

HE fundamental accoutrements and appurtenances of T the Lord of the Manor are the sordidly sadistic pauperization of the franchise and the hoi polloi in any collectivity. Hence, a principled ‘Social Contract’, ergonomics and economic engineering processes are established and injected into the structural praxis to ensure the welfare of the labouring masses (workers), and to checkmate bourgeoisie plutocratism and employer’s tyrannism through organized Unionists and trade Unionism. Unionism is the coalition and combination of workers and co-Labourers for the mutual protection of their common interest. Hence, trade unionism is an organised association of workers formed for the protection and promotion of their common interest, especially with regards to wages, working hours and working condition etc. In the pre-independence struggles to free Nigeria from the gyves and manacles of our Colonial Masters, Unionists constituted the integral arrowhead of the struggle to entrench freedom and liberty into Nigeria’s political architectonics and administrative organogram. The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) organized by Herbert Macauley, the Nigerian Students’ Union (NSU) now National Association of Nigeria students (NANS), Nigerian Railway Workers’ Union (NRWU) spearheaded by the inimitable Pa Imoudu etc. Then, later, Unionists like Hassan Sumonu, Otegbeye, Kokori, Pascal, Oshiomole, etc came to the lime light, Nigeria’s politico-socio-economic history is laudably befuddled and replete with the positive escapades of our unionists to entrench workers welfare into the cerebral crackpot of Nigeria’s leaders. This must be commended, because it laid the foundational equipoise on which Nigeria’s minimal development is based today. But, unionism in the latter part of post-independent Nigeria is or has been fraught with maniacal corruption, prevarication, pusillanimous tergiversation, double speak and unionists have become Government’s Area Boys (GAB), apologies to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. The top echelons of most

union’s administrative hierarchy is government sponsored candidates and representatives, applying the man ‘who pays the piper dictates the tone’ syndrome. The NUPENG and PENGASSAN took millions of Nigerians out on a massive strike action against “Oil subsidy”. They unilaterally called off the strike action without consulting and compensating Nigerian citizens who lost loved ones during the strike action. It later turned out to be a splendiferous histrionics as the subsidy dividends were hijacked by the hierarchy and faceless politicians and their surrogates, after politicians of the so-called unionists have been ‘settled’ with bounteous largesse and filthy-lucre. What a shame! And because of their Laodicean albatross the Federal Government is now working out plans to sell or privatize our Refineries (Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Warri, and Eleme). They have resorted to verbal ventriloquisms, double speak, Abracadabra and prestidigitations through the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke on the state of the refineries and our so-called Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have remained nauseatingly silent. Is this unionism or unionistic Owambeism? The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other so-called union bodies like the NUT, NMA, NBA, JOHESU and NANS etc have become mercantile stooges and mercenary hirelings cocooned in the throes of governments’ circuitry and subterfuge. There are no state of the art hospitals in Nigeria, no justice; corruption has become our tradition and culture, no roads, no water, no houses, no drugs in our hospitals and no security. Yet, our unionists claim to be fighting for the masses and the flotsams and jetsam in Nigeria. What an Unprecedented Lie! Unionists’ major weapons are dialogue and strike actions. Apart from ASUU, virtually all Trade Unions and their executives are in the payroll and ‘employment chart’ of the Federal and State Governments. Their Secretariats are in most cases built by government agents and with government funds. How can unionists be junketing and hobnobbing with our corrupt leaders and still be expected to defend the rights of the workers and citizenry at large. In his historical speech, essayist Samuel Compere posited that, “show me the country that has no strikes and I’ll show you the country in which there is no liberty”. Our unionists and their unions are now into the configurational method-

ology and stratagems of threatening to call a strike to seek governments’ face. But, as soon as they are ‘settled’ and ‘arranged’ (Warri Boy’s Jargon and Neologism- meaning bribed) they call-off the proposed strike through a volte face. What a shame! William Pitt in his House of Commons speech in 1783 said: “necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves” and corroborated by John Philpot Curran in his 1790 speech: “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to men is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequences of his crime, and the punishment of his guilt.” Unionism is not about gallivanting. It is a patriotic sacrifice for the uplifting of the welfare, liberty and freedom of the workers and the people. Corrupt Unionists have made and relegated unionism in Nigeria to an object of mere antiquarian curiosity, de-radicalized and appropriated as an instrument of brummagem placebo. The sweeping changes in European and global politics and the gigantic development of the system of Modern Industrial Capitalism have made Nigerian unionism a Mephistophelean espousal and pedagogical trivialization of fundamental and ethical unionism. Ethical unionism has become dissipated, deracinated and exorcised through the instrumentality of psychotic corruption amongst Nigerian unionists. We have Egunje Unionists, mercenaries and Owambe Unionism in Nigeria. (The Dubai Jamboree and Revelry by the executives and some Members of Nigeria Labour Congress is a glaringly shameful case in point). What a shame? Finally, let our Nigerian unionist paint and enter a new phase of unionism that shuns corruption and prebendalistic graft. Some of our unionists are very corrupt that is why Nigeria is still underdeveloped and suffers from leadership impunity. They must heed the admonition of Henrik Ibsen: “you should never put on your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom of truth” and substantiated by – Statesman Thomas Jefferson, “the trees of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots. It is its’ natural Manure.” Enough of hogwash unionism. Let us now agree with Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels “the workers have nothing to lose, but their chains. They have the world to gain, workers of the world unite” (Communist Manifesto). • Gbinije is of Mandate Against Poverty (MAP), Warri.


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TheMetroSection Sobering mood as workers mark day • Seun Kuti, JAF spearhead protest rally in Lagos

Workers celebrating May Day...last year By Tope Templer Olaiya and Eno Bassey

IGERIANS today join the rest of N the world to mark May Day, popularly known as Workers’ Day, which usually occurs on May 1 in many countries. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), umbrella body for Nigerian workers, in commemoration of the day, has lamented the lingering insecurity in the country, as well as the rising level of poverty. The celebration for this year’s event is also expected to hold under tight security as the NLC has warned those attending not to carry any bags, while vehicles should be parked at least 200 metres away from the venue. The union noted that this year’s event is coming at a time the country is under attack from insurgents. It also urged the government to take measures to end the siege.

Speaking in Abuja recently, NLC Vice President, Comrade Lucy Offiong, who is the chairperson of the 2014 May Day committee, said the theme for this year’s event is “Building Enduring Peace and Unity: Panacea for Sustainable National Development.” President Goodluck Jonathan with members of his cabinet as well as the legislators and members of the diplomatic community are expected to grace this year’s occasion. She said: “We intend to use this occasion to re-commit the Labour movement in Nigeria to our collective desire for peace and unity without which our search for sustainable development will remain elusive. “Also we hope to use the May Day to reiterate our position

that there is an intrinsic link between prevailing insecurity and poverty which has been engendered by corruption, mismanagement of the economy by rapacious greed of the ruling class, who have continued to churn out policies to the detriments of the interest of the working people and other poor Nigerians. There is need to recognize the significance of shared prosperity as a basis for enduring peace and sustainable national development,” she noted. The NLC also called on security agencies to do all it can to ensure that girls abducted by insurgents in Chibok, Borno state are rescued and returned to their parents. As Nigeria’s social-political challenges mount, a group by the name Change Movement Nigeria has announced a mass participation protest, named “Stolen Dreams Walk,” to take place today in Lagos.

“Every onlooker is either a coward or a willing collaborator,” the group said in a statement on Monday. “We have spoken enough at seminars, workshops and conferences. The time to act is now. Let us join hands to salvage our country.” It said the ‘Stolen Dreams’ action will take place at 9am at CMS, Lagos Island, while all Nigerians, whose dream of a great nation has been shattered, are invited to the mass protest. Son of late Afrobeat legend, Seun Anikulapo-Kuti, will headline the rally. Nigerians outside the country are invited to join the action in solidarity, through channels of communication that will be thrown open on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and its own website at www.changemovementng.org. In a related development, the Joint Action Front (JAF) is also mobilizing students in Lagos to protest against the exorbitant hike in the fees paid by Lagos State University (LASU) students. This decision was disclosed in statement signed by JAF general secretary, Comrade Abiodun Aremu, and chairman, Dr Oladipo Fashina. The statement read: “In furtherance to save public education campaign that was started on August 13, 2013, with a mass rally in Lagos and subsequent mass protests in Calabar, Abeokuta, JAF hereby declares May 1, 2014 as a protest day in Lagos”. The union urged all workers in the affiliates of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), the informal sector workers, artisans, traders, women, professionals, students in primary, secondary and tertiary institution levels, parents, to march en masse to the Onikan Stadium, Lagos tomorrow, May 1, with their placards, banners, protest songs and souvenirs, to demand reversal in the hike of the school fees. JAF also declared its support for the ongoing strike by ASUP, SSANIP, and COEASU.

Family petitions IGP over unjust treatment of retired police officer By Odita Sunday N ASSISTANT Superintendent of Police, (ASP) Sunday Williams, who was dismissed by Nigeria Police authorities over alleged corrupt practices, has called on the Federal Government and the Police high command to come to his aid and pay his retirement benefits. William’s career was allegedly brought to a premature end by the then Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, for being in possession of N18,000.00 as against N5,000.00 minimum approved sum of money to be in the pockets of an officer of his rank. His counsel, Mr. Silas Udoh urged the Police hierarchy to consider his plight and pay him all his benefits. “We act as Solicitors to family of ASP Sunday Williams (rtd.) with Police Force Number 19504 in respect of his retirement entitlements, which have been pending since 1995. They are hereinafter referred to as ‘‘Our Client.’’ “We are informed that the said ASP Sunday Williams was unjustly dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force even though the panel that investigated the alleged crime of having N18,000 in his possession as opposed to the then N5,000 minimum approved sum of money for officer of his rank.” “The panel that investigated the matter discharged and acquitted him upon finding out that he (ASP Sunday Williams) had declared the money upon his arrival for duty that day to his Superior Officer ACP Udofia, as money meant for the purchase of spare-parts for his Honda car. In spite of the report of the panel that the alleged offence was

A

Sunday Williams

scandalous and vexatious, the Police authority headed by Alhaji Coomassie as the Inspector General of Police by then, nevertheless went ahead to dismiss ASP Sunday Williams just because he dared to query one Miss Stella Simire W/PC 06919 who was the girlfriend of Mr. Katsina, the brotherin-law to Alhaji Coomassie, the then Inspector General of Police,” Udoh said. Udoh said the matter was brought to the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, who promptly intervened in the issue and converted the dismissal to retirement in 1995. “Ever since then, ASP Sunday Williams (rtd.) has not been paid his retirement benefits despite several efforts including Letters of Appeal to the Police.

“Further to the above stated facts, we hereby request you and your office Sir, to urgently address the injustice particularly now that the said ASP Sunday Williams is critically ill, and has been on admission in the hospital for the past five months by reason of stroke and has no money to pay his medical bills. He is now a disgrace to the police image as their former senior officer.” “We shall be grateful for your human approach to the issue, but in event that you ignore the passionate call to address the matter, this letter serves as notice to you and your office that we shall without any further recourse to you file a case in the High Court of justice to seek redress for his entitlements and damages in the sum of N500 million against the Police Force.”

Briefs Agbelusi for burial UNERAL rites for Chief FAgbelusi (Mrs.) Beatrice Modupe begin on Wednesday, May 7, with a Service of Songs at 4.00p.m. at St. John’s Anglican Church, Ugbesi, Araromi Ekiti, Ekiti State. Thursday, May 8, 2014, is lying-in-state at noon followed by a Christian wake at 5.00pm at her residence No. D32, Ilale Street, Isan Ekiti. She will be buried on Friday, May 9, after a Funeral Service at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Isan Ekiti at 10.00a.m.

Agbelusi

May Clinic opens in Lekki AY Clinic, a Lagos-based M private hospital is set to dedicate its Lekki new branch on Sunday May 4, 2014, at Block 121,Plot 1, T.F Kuboye Street Lekki, Lagos. This brings to three, the hospital’s branches in Lagos State. The other two are llasamaja, which is Head Officel and the Ilupeju centre at Peniel House, Ilupeju. A statement by the hospital’s Head of Marketing & Media Relations, Yemi Bakare, stated that the dedication would be graced by eminent Nigerians among whom are Chairman of the hospital’s Board of Director Mrs E.O. Aworinde, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and Prince Charles Uwensuyi- Edomsonwan (SAN) former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Edo State and currently a Delegate at the National Conference

Ihensekhien, 76, for burial HE death has occurred of T Chief (Mrs.) Ebun Ihensekhien (nee Oviawe) of Idumowu, Ebelle in Igueben Local Council of Edo State at the age of 76. She was a community leader and businesswoman and held the chieftaincy title of the Enibokun of Ebelle. Chief (Mrs.) Ihensekhien will be buried on Friday, May 2, 2014 at the Family Vault, Okumagbe Court, Idumowu, Ebelle after lying- in-state. A thanksgiving service holds on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at the living faith Church (Winners Chapel) Headquarters, Kilometre 6, Sapele Road, Benin City, Edo State. She is survived by relations, children and grand children including Mrs. Eduwa Ezomoh, Chief Clifford Ihensehhien, Ben Ihensekien, Chief Ighodaro Ihensekhien, all lawyers and Mrs. Irene Ideva.

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Business Lawmakers to fast-track By Roseline Okere he house of T Representatives Committee on Commercialis ation  and Privatization  has  unveiled plans to engage other members of the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). This, the committee said, would solve the current challenges in gas supply to power companies ensure steady power supply in the country. Chairman of the Committee, Khadija Bukar Abba-Ibrahim noted in Lagos on Monday, that government had in the past invested heavily to ensure efficient and adequate power supply in the country  and that the committee would not relent until the objective was achieved. Abba-Ibrahim acknowledged the teething problems the new owners were facing  but  expressed the hope that these would be overcome with time as it was typical of new businesses. The chairman who led other member on an oversight visit to egbin power plant, commended  Nigerian engineers at the plant for their ingenuity to keep the plant functional despite challenges in the operations of the plant. Abba-Ibrahim noted that despite the obsolete equipment and poor funding, the Nigerian engineers were able to operate the plants to  give maximum services to Nigerians before and  after privatization. earlier, the Managing Director of egbin electricity Power Plc., Mike Uzoigwe informed the lawmakers that  the new investors had invested over N7.3 billion between November 1, 2013 and now to turn around the company. he said to further revamp the company, the investors had earmarked  another $4million for a total overhaul of the plant. Uzoigwe explained that since the takeover in November 2013, the company had embarked on major improvements which included: repair of unit 4, Numbers 5 and 6 hP heaters, replacement of water cooling inlet line fittings, repair of 3 boiler water wall tube rupture, replacement of lighting bulbs inside the power plant and a scheduled major overhaul of all units from 2014 to 2016, among others.  he gave a breakdown of the overhaul schedule as follows:  Unit 1: March, 2015, Unit 2: October, 2015, Unit 3: July, 2015, Unit 4: October, 2014, Unit 5: January, 2016; and Unit 6: April 2016. Despite the efforts to give the company a facelift, he decried the low remittance  to the company from the  Market Operator and urged the lawmakers to urgently intervene to  make the electricity market attractive for investment.

experts list opportunities in a rebased Nigerian economy From Mathias Okwe, ( Assistant Business Editor, Abuja) he Securities and T exchange Commission (SeC) has a lot of opportunities to tap from the outcome of the recently rebased Nigerian economy, to boost the market and deepene inclusive growth in the country, to checkmate the rise in

insecurity brought about by wealth inequality . This was the submission on Tuesday by two renowned economists- Bismark Rewane, managing director of Financial Derivatives Lagos and the Statistician General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale at the SeC Nigeria’s Learning Series which focused on the

implication of the capital Market of the recently ‘Rebased GDP’ . According to Rewane, the SeC, as the regulator of the Nigerian capital market must be innovative ever than before to attract the several thousands of companies within the formal and informal sectors to be listed on the

Nigerian Stock exchange as a way of achieving financial inclusion and also boosting the Nigerian Market’s ratio to GDP which at the moment, is about the least among Nigeria’s peers. The move, he said, was very important because foreign investors can only be motivated in investing in a market

which has a buoyed local investors’ confidence, pointing out that it is if this is done that Nigeria can get the much needed funds to fix her infrastructure gap that is widening every year. In the same vein, the Statistician-General, who took out time to explain the meanCONTINUED ON PAGE 18

Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); Arunma Oteh, Statistician General, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Yemi Kale, CEO Financial Derivatives Company Ltd, Bismark Rewane at the second quarter SEC Learning Series in Abuja.

African leaders back Nigeria’s position on ePA FRICAN Ministers of Trade A and experts in Trade and Regional Integration have aligned with Nigeria’s position on the trade liberalisation deal with the european Union under the economic Partnership Agreement (ePA), saying it will have a long-term negative impact on the continent’s efforts towards industrialisation and job creation. The ministers spoke during the extra-Ordinary Session of the Conference of African Union Ministers of Trade in Addis Ababa, ethiopia, on Tuesday. The meeting was convened to discuss Africa’s common position ahead of the October 1 deadline for signing of the ePA with eU; the establishment of the Common Free Trade Area (CFTA) by 2015; extension of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by the American Government for 15 more years; and Africa’s strategic response to World Trade Organisation negotiations, among others.

While reiterating the country’s position on ePA, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said “Nigeria’s position on ePA is very clear. Africa is on the rise. It is a very big and strategic market for any trading partner. That is what the eU wants from us but Africa must jealously protect what it has. “We should leverage our abundant natural resources and large market to develop our industries; create jobs for our people; increase intraAfrican trade and achieve regional integration. We must not be in a hurry to give away what we have. We must not sign an agreement without first of all carrying out a robust economic analysis of the overall impact the agreement will have on the region, our children and future generations.” Zambian Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Robert Sichinga, said he agreed with Nigeria’s

position, noting that rather than jeopardising their industrialisation and job creation drive by hastily signing the ePA, African countries should work towards enhancing regional integration and intra-African Trade through value addition of their abundant raw materials, “especially in the areas where they have competitive and comparative advantage.” he said: “Just like Nigeria has pointed out, before we sign the ePA, we should consider the impact on our children and the future of the continent in terms of industrialisation, job creation and regional integration. I want to state that as long as we have not appended our signatures to the agreement, then there is no agreement. Also, I believe that it is better not to sign an agreement at all than to sign a bad one.” The African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Fatima haram, also agreed that signing the ePA

would have a negative impact on Africa’s industrialisation, job creation and regional integration of African countries. haram argued that “just as Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has pointed out, industrialisation is an issue that is very critical to the economic and political survival of African countries. If we sign the ePA as it is today, it is going to be difficult for us to integrate because of different Custom Areas. “Let us be realistic and look at our statistics. The population of Africa is growing very rapidly. Statistics shows that more than 50 per cent of our population are between 18 and 30 years. If we sign the ePA, how do we create the jobs that we require for our growing population; how do we stop the illegal migration of our youths to developed countries?” Similarly, the Minister of Trade and Private Sector

Promotion, Republic of Niger, Alma Oumarou, said there was the need for African countries to realistically evaluate the impact of ePA before signing. “We support the position of Nigeria on ePA and should also take a cue from what they have done in terms of carrying out a study on the impact assessment of the implications of signing the ePA,” he said. Aganga, however, stressed that it was also very important not to do anything that would undermine Africa’s regional integration. “Whilst it is important to look into the October 1, 2014, deadline for the signing of ePA, we should also fully examine the impact of the withdrawal of market access by eU after this deadline. If it is necessary, Africa should look at ways of compensating member countries that will suffer losses as a result of this withdrawal. We must not be in a hurry to sign an ePA if it will not be in the overall best interest of the continent,” he said.


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Disco earmarks N42b for power system upgrade By Sulaimon Salau HE Eko Electricity T Distribution Company (EKEDC) has earmarked about N42 billion investments on network rehabilitation and improvement over the next five years. Meanwhile, the Eko and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Companies (both in Lagos) have withdrawn the identity cards of about 5,075 employees, signaling their disengagement from service. Some of the staff members, who spoke to The Guardian

yesterday said the they are yet to know their fate, although every staffer was allowed to enter the premises and discharged their respective duties accordingly. The Chief Executive Officer of EKEDC, Oladele Amoda, who disclosed the financial commitment during the oversight function of the House Committee on Privitisation and Commercialisation in Lagos on Tuesday, said the company has also secured about $150 million (about N24 billion) as capital expenditure

to upgrade electricity infrastructure in its network. Amoda said the investment was aimed at improving on service delivery to its numerous customers, adding that the company has invested about N1 billion in the network since it took over in November 2013. He said: “We are going to invest in metering, cleaning up the system, cablings, transformers and making sure that everything is in line with what we have specified. He further disclosed that the company has set a target

of installing 360,000 electricity meters to connect all customers in the network on yearly basis. He gave the breakdown as 136,000 meters for year one, followed by 127,000 meters, 74,000, 116,000 and 90,000 meters in five years. Amoda said that the DISCO needed about 700 mega watts to fully supply consumers within its network, but only get an average of 250 to 300 mega watts. For effective electricity distribution chain to consumers within the zone, he said Eko Disco is planning

to embark on embedded power generation of about 400MW in the system. He therefore urged the house committee to assist the Discos in promulgating a law that will impose stringent sanctions on equipment vandalism in the country. ``We lost some much to equipment vandalism which needed to be curb to bring more effective supply in network,’’ he added. Chairman, House Committee on Privitisation and Commercialisation, Mrs Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim, said that the essence of the visit was to find out the status of the public assets handed over to them, and partner the investors to eliminate any hindrances to their operations. She concurred that gas had been major challenges to the electricity firms, promising that the committees would ensure appropriate legislation of the policy that will support effective delivery of gas. ``We are going to ensure that the passage of

Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) fast tracked to ensure that gas is distributed to the power utilities to supply effective electricity to Nigerians. Sources in the Discos told The Guardian that the Identity cards of the workers have been withdrawn and their fate now hangs in the balance, as to what might be the next decision of the new owners. The electricity workers were placed on six-month contract spanning November 1, 2013 to April 30 after the privatization process was finalised in November. The six-month contract offer was part of the processes introduced by the new power investors to address the labour crisis that heralded the take-over of the facilities and other liabilities. Top executive source in one of the companies stated that some of the workers would be disengaged starting from today, while those considered competent for the job work be permanently employed.

Nigeria, Sierra Leone to establish new joint trade commission ierra Leone and Nigeria will Ssionsign a new joint commisin 2014 to improve trade

Group Chief Executive Officer, UBA Capital Plc, Mrs Oluwatoyin Sanni (right); Chairman, Chika Mordi; and Company Secretary, Leo Okafor, at the first yearly general meeting of the company in Lagos, on Tuesday PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

‘Opportunities in a rebased Nigerian economy’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 ing and the methodology of the exercise which has been applauded internationally, said that SEC now has the benefit of highlighting the many companies in the informal sector, in the small and medium enterprises that it can now attract to list by granting them incentives and concession and in the process enlarge the market in Nigeria, such that businesses would no longer require to depend on banks for their expansions but depend on the market to raise cheap funds. Rewane shed some highlights on the rebased Nigerian GDP and the oppor-

tunities it presents to the capital market. According to him, “The current figure is not a true reflection of conditions on ground; there will be no dramatic market size change in the short run. Growth figures must be wrong, seven per cent of $305 billion = $21.35 billion ; $21.35 billion = 4.19 per cent of $510bn, Informal economy now mainly incorporated in other components; services have been growing faster than real sector; Rebased GDP exposed stark picture of Growing inequality; Divergence between growth and development indicators and Low social mobility due

to lack of opportunity and youth unemployment now at 54 per cent. He regretted that the Nigerian economy was still heavily dependent on the extractive industries because oil and gas accounts for about 80 per cent of revenues whereas players in the Nigerian market are hardly in need of capital just as Foreign capital dominates Nigeria’s revenue. Again , he declared that the Rebased GDP reveals that the services sector contributes about 50.2 per cent to GDP but at this level of development leads to increased inequality.

Earlier, Kale had explained that the rebased “GDP growth isn’t synonymous with development, ...but is required for Development,; Rising output Increase in tax revenue development infrastructure (public goods) higher output Tax revenue as percentage of GDP is relatively low Tax as Growth drivers are not necessarily job creating sectors... Hence the need to identify and target key growth/job creating sectors..” He also noted that :“Most firms captured in the GDP compilation framework are not listed on the stock exchange... ...but probably prefer bank loans despite high rates.

NACCIMA pledges support for inclusive growth HE Nigerian Association of T Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) on Tuesday pledged to support government’s quest for inclusive growth by ensuring job creation for sustainable national development. NACCIMA National Vice President, Malam Sanusi Ajiya, made the pledge in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi. Ajiya assured the support of the private sector in translating Nigeria’s economic growth to improved standard of living for Nigerians, especially, rural dwellers. According to him, the recent

re-basing of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) to 509.97 billion dollars (about N80.3 trillion) has no impact on the living standard of Nigerians. ``There is the need therefore, to assist the governments in its drive to translate this economic growth to improve Nigerians’ standard of living. ``The private sector has a lot to contribute, especially in the areas of job creation that will ensure economic empowerment and equity in income distribution’.’’ Ajiya, however, said that there was a need for synergy through proper coordination of economic activities

among governments at all levels and the private sector, as well as donor agencies. He added that government had a huge task of building an environment conducive for the private sector to operate. ``We are ready to give our support, but we need an enabling environment to thrive. ``We are advocating for the creation of an enabling business environment with efficient transportation system, telecommunications, power supply and so on.’’ He noted that Nigeria, currently the leading economy in Africa, must adopt effective strategic plans that would ensure equity in income dis-

tribution, to improve the standard of living. He expressed optimism that the outcome of the recent Joint Planning Board (JPB) and the National Council on Development Planning (NCDP) meeting held in Bauchi, if implemented, would yield the desired result. ``But public and the private sectors must agree on major issues involved that would lead to enhanced implementation of the outcome. ``For without private sector support, especially through the adoption of Public Private Partnership initiative, there would be no economic development.

between both countries, High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to Nigeria, Henry Macauley, has said. Macauley disclosed this in an interview with NAN on the sideline of an event to mark the country’s 53rd anniversary on Tuesday in Abuja. The envoy said that trade between both countries needed to be improved, adding that the trade surplus was in favour of Sierra Leone. ``The joint commission is being worked upon and we hope that later on in the course of this year, we would sign a new joint commission; we have one but it’s been almost a decade old. ``Sierra Leone has proven to be a very lucrative investment destination. “Sierra Leone is barely three and a half per cent of the population of Nigeria; so you would expect that the balance will be leaning in favour of Sierra Leone. “But very soon with all the investment protocols in place, we hope to improve on our own exports to Nigeria so that there will be some kind of equilibrium. ``Nigeria, of course, is very famous for its oil reserves and in Sierra Leone, we recently discovered some hydro carbon deposits. ``We’ll be looking to learn a lot from Nigeria in terms of guidance, technical cooperation, learning from what has been working for Nigeria and implementing those actions as well.`` The high commissioner also said that the Sierra Leonean government was making concerted effort to fine tune the air services agreement it had with Nigeria. He emphasised the need to improve sea transportation of goods, saying that developing the transport sector was crucial to attracting investment. ``In terms of the air transportation, we have the open skies agreement; Arik con-

nects the two countries and on the side of Sierra Leone, we have Leone Air as a national carrier. ``That is yet to start but it’s in the works and as time goes on we’ll see more development in terms of more of this opportunities and facilities. ``What is of more concern, which needs a lot of work is the sea transportation because it will take a month or so to move a container from Nigeria to Sierra Leone and this is because the vessel would have to go first to Spain before coming to Freetown, and this cannot continue. ``ECOWAS, I believe, is doing some work in that regard and it is something of prime importance because if you want to move mass good in cargo, you are looking at the rails and looking at the sea. ``Sierra Leone has opened its borders, has designed and established trade policies that will give the right kind of environment; we are improving ports, we are improving the airports. ``All of this is in preparation to accepting more and more opportunities in that sector and of course, when infrastructure is improved, the costs will go down which will encourage more investors in the sector.`` The envoy also expressed concern over the security situation in Nigeria, but said that the situation would not affect trade relations between both countries. NAN reports that as part of activities to mark the country’s 53rd anniversary, the high commission organised a Juma’at prayer and a church service on Friday and Sunday respectively. Other highlights of the event include donation of relief materials to some of the victims of the Nyanya bomb blast, a get-together for Sierra Leoneans living in Nigeria, and a buffet to host friends and members of the diplomatic corps.


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Flour Mills boosts UI’s research centre with N30m grant HEtake-off of the Flour Mills T Food Research Centre at the University of Ibadan (UI) received a major boost with the presentation of an additional N30 million by Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN) to UI recently by FMN’s Group Managing Director, Paul Gbededo. The donation was made during the visit of a delegation of UI officials to FMN’s new corporate head office at Apapa, Lagos. With the new donation, FMN has now committed a total sum of N60 million to the establishment of the Flour Mills Food Research Centre, having made an initial grant of N30 million to UI last year. The UI delegation was led by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Idowu Olayinka included Professor Charles Aworh, a Professor of Food Technology and Dr. Rahman Akinoso, the Acting

Head of the Department of Food Technology. The UI-FMN partnership is part of on-going efforts at transforming the Department of Food Technology, UI, into a world-class centre of excellence in food research. Under the partnership, the FMN grant will be used for the procurement of equipment and running of the Food Research Centre during the first three years; UI will provide a building which will house the laboratories for pilot plant studies and research in food product development, lecture theatres, classrooms, seminar rooms and other facilities for teaching and research. During the visit, Professor Olayinka said that Flour Mills Food Research Centre would engage in the training of students in food science and technology, food research and consultancy. The centre will also provide a modern food

These backward integration programmes and initiatives which align with Federal Government’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda, would help to strengthen and protect the supply chain of FMN Group’s core food business. pilot plant for scaling up research in food product development and providing hands-on pilot plant experiences for food science and technology students. This he said was a critical requirement for a fit-for-purpose training for the food industry with the students receiving better training and acquiring the necessary skills for self employment or a successful career in the food

industry. Professor Aworh said that research works at the centre would extend to,among other things, promoting food security and enhancing small farmers’ income through value added processing of lesser-known and under-utilized indigenous Nigerian crops; upgrading traditional food processing technologies and promoting culturally acceptable and affordable tra-

ditional foods. He added that it would also include development using extrusion cooking, solar drying and other techniques of novel, low-cost, nutritious and safe foods, including noodles and other pasta products, complementary foods and snacks, for alleviating malnutrition in children; improving baking qualities of composite flour from wheat and other cereals, roots and tubers and other starchy food crops grown in Nigeria will also be added. Gbededo, who received the delegation in the company of Alhaji Olalekan Saliu, the Company Secretary/Director of Flour Mills, said that FMN was delighted to partner with UI in the food research initiative which would help to seek meaningful solutions to postharvest losses in major crops grown in Nigeria and assist

sustainability in food production. He also made a presentation on the FMN’s agro-allied business strategy, potentials, linkage with its core food business and group synergies. He disclosed that FMN Group had invested over N220 billion in its agro-allied businesses which extend to large scale cultivation of sugar cane, cassava, corn, soybeans and oil palm in addition to expansion of animal feed production in different parts of the country. The GMD explained that these backward integration programmes and initiatives which align with Federal Government’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda, would help to strengthen and protect the supply chain of FMN Group’s core food business. He said that as FMN seeks economic opportunities in agriculture and creates value for its stakeholders, it continues to give attention to education, research, social and environmental responsibilities. In addition, FMN’s investments and efforts would create new jobs, increase agricultural output and contribute to food sufficiency and security in Nigeria against the background of growing population, urbanization and industrialization.

FRC advocates prudence at local govt level HE Acting chairman of T Fiscal Responsibility Commission[FRC], Victor Muruako has urged local governments in Nigeria to pay high premium on prudence and accountability in their fiscal operations. He made this remark in his goodwill message at a training organised by the EFCC for Association of Local Governments (ALGON) principal officers of North West states with the theme “AntiCorruption, Fiscal Responsibility and Effective Leadership”. He noted that with over 50 percent of Nigeria’s revenue allocation going to states and local governments, the custodians of grassroot governance should set a good example by curbing financial recklessness and corruption. Muruako challenged the local governments to encourage their states governments to enact fiscal responsibility law in order to join other nine states that have enacted the law in order to stem the tide of waste in public finance in Nigeria. He opined that for Nigerians to enjoy the dividends of democracy, the local government is key to achieving this objective because of its nearness to the people which confer a lot of responsibility in terms of fiscal discipline and transparent governance adding that the local government can promote fiscal discipline movement by passing bye laws in this respect. The FRC boss advised the local government officials to use their positions to impact positively on the lives of the people through prudent and accountable governance.


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Appointments Global work-related deaths peak at 1.2 million yearly, says ILO From Kanayo Umeh, Abuja HE International Labour T Organisation (ILO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have estimated that about 1.2 million work related deaths, 250 million accidents and 160million work-related diseases occur worldwide yearly. These deaths and injuries take a particularly heavy toll in developing countries, Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said. He who made this known at a press briefing recently in Abuja during the 2014 World Day for Safety Health at work added that occupational diseases have long latency period from exposure to manifestation. According to him, early access to occupational health services may help detect the condition before it gets too late as they are mostly incurable beyond this stage. The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Linus Awute, said that chemical posed a broad range of potential adverse effects from health hazards such as carcinogenicity, and physical hazards like flammability, to environmental hazards such as widespread contamination and toxicity to the environment.

In view of this and many other factors he said every April 28 was set aside yearly as World day for Safety and Health at work as an integral part of the global strategy on Occupational Safety and Health by ILO and other stakeholders to promote and protect the health of workers as well as put in place effective preventive measures to combat workplace hazards. According to WHO strategy for occupational Health and Safety (WHA) 49.2 and the ILO convention on OHS C161, 1985 every worker has the right of access to occupational services irrespective of the sector of the economy, size of the work place, type of assignment and occupation. He, however, stated that this year’s theme: “Safety and Health in the use of Chemical at work” could not have come at a better time than now when on daily basis we interface with various kind of chemicals, which has become key to our modern life and will continue to be produced and used in workplaces. He said occupational hazards including 11 physical hazards which are caused by physical agent such as noise, extremes of temperature, radiation, vibration, light and pressure; biological Hazards are caused by living organisms which include viruses, fungi, bacteria and helmets; Mechanical hazards

Ajimobi tasks civil servants on punctuality From Iyabo Lawal, Ibadan OVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State yesterday paid a surprise visit to some ministries, departments and parastatals, insisting that henceforth, such visits would be carried out weekly to ensure punctuality and efficiency in the day-to-day activities of civil servants. The governor said that the monitoring exercise, which caught many workers unawares, would take place between 7.30 and 8 am. every week to ensure that civil servants were more committed to their job. ‘‘Some of the civil servants came late and some came early, and I have decided now that on weekly basis, I will be paying surprise visit to ministries when I will just go there by 7.30 to 8 am. When they see us coming regularly, they will adjust. ‘‘The beauty of the civil servants in Oyo State is that they are very adaptable; the moment they see what we are doing and how we are doing it, they adapt,’’ he said. The governor, while express-

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ing satisfaction with the improvement in the state civil service, assured that his administration would not relent in its efforts at providing conducive environment for workers to perform, adding that priority would be accorded the renovation of offices within the secretariat. ‘‘In terms of what we do for workers, that is, training and retraining, we have been seeing a lot of value addition in what they are doing. Though the environment generally is not conducive, I assure you that government will change the situation,’’ Governor Ajimobi said. The inspection, which started from the Civil Service Commission, took the governor to Ministries of Health, Trade and Investment, Establishment and Training, Industry, Applied Science and Technology and Agriculture. Governor Ajimobi also visited the Transport Pool where he directed the immediate disposal of all rickety and abandoned vehicles within the premises, while also calling on the auto-mechanics on duty to embrace modern system of repairing vehicles.

are attributed to work organisation for example, then type of work performed such as repetitive, monotonous work, overwork from long hours and shift work; Ergonomic hazards arises from adopting a wrong posture while at work and wrong method for manual lifting of heavy load to musculoskeletal disorders such as low back pain. And

Chemical hazards arising from chemical substances used in industries. They can be organic or inorganic substances and can be in liquid, dusts, fumes, vapours, mists, or gaseous form.’’ According to him, over the years, chemical safety had been one of the areas in which more work had been carried out in the field of occupational safety and

health noting that progress has been made in recent years concerning the regulation and management of chemicals. Permanent Secretary, Mr Linus Awute who was represented at the event by Dr. Bridget Okoeuale, noted that occupational health service (OHS) was available to only 10 per cent to15 per cent of workers worldwide, adding that,

‘‘This service is not available in most companies, clinics, retainer hospital and health facilities that provide health services to the workers. Workers in Nigeria form 49 per cent of the total population and only five -10 per cent of these workers, who are the greatest assets of the nation, have access to Occupational Health Service in spite of an evident need at all workplaces.

Group Managing Director, Dangote Sugar plc, Engr, Abdullahi Sule (left) National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Engr, Adisa Bello; Engineering Service Consultants, Pasch Nigeria ltd, Ogochukwu Nzurumike; Group Managing Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery plc, Graham Clark; and Former National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Engr, Ayo Fanimokun, at the conferment of Fellowship and Award Ceremony of the Institute, in Lagos, on Tuesday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

NASU sues NLC over exclusion from elections From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE Non-Academic Staff T Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has dragged the Nigeria Labour Congress to the National Industrial Court (NIC) Jos Division over its exclusion into local government councils executive in Plateau state. The immediate past President of NASU, Ivor Takor said in Abuja recently that as an affiliate of the NNC, it was wrong for the Congress to bar its members from contesting elections into any of the tiers of Congress councils.  He explained that in disallowing NASU members from participating in the elections, the NLC State Council Chairman pointed at the direction issued by the NLC headquarters in Abuja, that NASU is still not allowed to participate in its affairs even as it routinely collects monthly dues from the association. Taker explained that NASU, after the NLC delegates’ conference in 2011, NASU National Executive Council (NEC) decided to suspend participation in the NLC activ-

ities but did not withdraw its membership. However, at a NEC meeting of NASU on September 24 and 25 reviewed the resolution of and decided that the union should resume active participation in NLC’s activities and meetings. Indeed, the relevant sections of NLC Constitution and Articles recognize the right of unions to express their grievances in circumstances that are deemed inimical to the progress of trade movement in Nigeria. Of relevance here is Article 36(2) (a) (iii), which provides: “Any affiliated organization shall have the right to challenge any action of the Congress which it considers detrimental to the interests of the Trade Union Movement.” Ditto, Article 36(2) (b)(i) of the Constitution which deals with Obligations of Affiliated Members provides: “Where the activities of any affiliated trade union/organization are detrimental to the interest of the Trade Union Movement or contrary to the declared principles and policy of the Congress, the Congress

through its National Executive Council, shall have the right to probe the activities of such member by summoning such organization to appear before it or its appropriate committee”. Further, Article 36(2) (b)(ii) provides: “If the National Executive Council discovers that the activities of any affiliate organization are detrimental to the interest of the Trade Union Movement or contrary to declared principles and policies of the Congress, the Council shall have the right to direct the affiliated union/organization to discontinue such activities forthwith. The affected organization shall undertake to disengage itself from such undesirable activities in the future. The undertaking shall be binding on the union concerned”. Article 36(2) (b)(iii) makes provision for the process for suspension and discipline of erring unions. It states: “Article 36(2) (b)(iii) provides “If the affiliated organization disobeys or disregards any directive of the Council or fails to give the required undertaking, the

Council is hereby empowered in its discretion to suspend the membership of the affiliated organisation from the Congress, subject to the ratification of the next Congress-in-Session, to whom the National Executive Council shall submit a detailed report”. Taker highlighted that during the period NASU suspended taking part in the activities of the NLC, Congress has not failed to collect NASU dues and has not also failed to report make reports to relevant organs of Congress. But the Acting General Secretary of NLC, Chris Uyot, said the national secretariat is not aware NASU members were barred from the elections into local councils in Plateau state. He also denied knowledge of any law suit against the NLC on the issue. ` His words: “We are not aware of any law suit from our Plateau state council. But as you probably know, the issue of NASU resuming its activities in the NLC is pending with the NEC of Congress. The issue has not been resolved yet.”


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APPOINTMENTS Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pensioners picket PHCN offices in Ogun • Protest non-payment of N100b severance allowances From Charles Coffie Gyamfi Abeokuta UNDREDS of pensioners H and disengaged staffers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN) in the SouthWest yesterday embarked on a peaceful protest in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital over an alleged refusal of the Federal government to pay their pension and gratuity arrears running into about N100 billion. The protesters, under aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees,(NUEE) carried placards with various inscriptions such as ‘Pay our Senior Citizens’, ‘Haba! Retirement entitlement last paid in 2009’;’Don’t put excuses of non-performances on electricity workers’, and ‘Service/fixed charge on billing is corporate stealing’. Security men prevented the angry demonstrators most of them elderly men and women from hitting the major streets as they restricted them (protesters) to the company’s premises located along Moshood Abiola Way in the

town. The protesters insisted that they would continue their protest until they get a listening ear from the Federal government. The Chairman of the Union, Mr. Adegbenro Adesanya who spoke to newsmen accused the Federal government of illegally disengaging some of the staff without complying with the agreement the union reached with it (government) six months probation between them and the new investors. According to him his members were sent packing before the take off of the six months agreement, lamenting that majority of those affected were the most “valuable hands”. To him, “It is one of the major factors that the new management is yet to get it right since theirtakeover”. The Zonal Officer, Mr. Babatunde Giwa in his own remark while addressing his protesting colleagues lamented that inspite of the fact that the new investors are just shareholders in the company, with Federal Government still controlling 49percent, the management still engages in casual labour which he said was against the labour law.

President, Women In Technology In Nigeria, Martha Alade (left); President of Radio Televisione Italiana (RAI), Anna Maria Tarantola and an attendee on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Italian radio and 60th Anniversary of TV by RAI in Italy.

Govt, Huawei offer 500 girls ICT training to boost job creation By Adeyemi Adepetun BOUT 500 girls have been A trained in the Ministry of Communications Technology and Huawei ‘ICT trainings for 1000 girls’ programme initiated last October. The training, which was held in Lagos, at the weekend,

according to both organisers was targeted at positioning the female folks strategically for economic empowerment and development. Huawei said Information and Communications Technology (ICT) holds huge opportunities for the economy and impact positively on job creations.

Nigerian firms can provide biometrics solutions globally, says Kindle HE Managing Director of T Courteville Business Solutions Plc, Mr. Adebola Kindle, has said his company has the capacity and expertise to provide biometric solutions for the economic and business needs of the country and the continent. Kindle said also that it was important for policy makers, government institutions and private sector players to pay attention to the business solutions that indigenous firms like Coulterville have to offer the economy, saying it was by such opportunities that the nation can experience sustainable growth and development. Kindle said on Tuesday, that

his company has already applied online solution and technology towards eradicating the bottlenecks that once surrounded motor vehicle administration in Nigeria, pointing out the company has also successfully exported such technology to other parts of the continent and in the Caribbean. According to him, the Egole online marketing platform which is a web based portal that the company has created will allow various merchants of different categories, service providers and consumers to transact business online and  real-time, noting the Egole online platform is a  well thought

through platform that guarantees both the merchants and consumers convenience in usage and security. He explained Coulterville Business Solution as a company is doing very well, even as he reiterated that the firm is aiming to diversify its portfolios with less attention on government projects and more attention and focus in the private sector. According to him, Coulterville Business Solutions Plc has also developed a marketing platform for all insurance houses to sell genuine insurance policies with the Auto Insure policy, which pays more claim than other third party poli-

cies, with most of the insurance companies in the country already partnering with the company on this product. He explained though that that the Auto Insure is not an insurance policy; but a marketing platform created for insurance companies to market their insurance policies and programmes, pointing out what the company came up with is a system that will also automate the process of issuing motor vehicle insurance like the process of issuing motor vehicle licence. The pursuit of the company’s dynamic growth strategy by the company, according to him, is fully on course, as Nigeria through Coulterville Business Solution will soon become a major exporter of technology and business solution around the world.

Going forward, the Chinese technology firm recommended that there should be increase in ICT trainings in Nigeria, which could be supported by law. Addressing newsmen at the training for new batch of the girls, a Learning Facilitator and Trainer from Huawei, Umar Biliyaminu said the training is basically targeted at the female folks in the society to bring them at par with their male counterpart. Biliyaminu confirmed that the project is already impacting seriously on both graduate and undergraduate female participants, stressing that 95 per cent of those involved in ICT today are men. According to him, the project will enable the female folks to catch-up with the male, stressing that after the trainings, they will be awarded certificates with those who performed well will be called for interviews and offer employment opportunities. Biliyaminu noted that those who are likely not able to cross the interview stages would be encouraged to use their trainings to create jobs. He explained that the trainings were actually concentrated on telecommunications—the GSM platform and

its workings, adding that most of the trainees are computer literate, which was a major requirement for their participants, stressing further training would also come with. The Huawei trainer, who informed that the trainings stated last October, said the training is currently ran on three-day basis, they are training the 10th batch since commencement with about 500 girls trained so far. “Those who succeeded in this batch would be issued with the Huawei standard certification, which people paid hugely to get. Those under training now applied through the ministry. It is the ministry that actually brought them after certifying that they met all the requirements”, he stated. According to him, the trainings is conducted in Lagos, stressing that the choice of Huawei for the trainings was because of its competence in delivery quality service, saying Huawei virtually is the largest telecommunications vendor to all the operators. He stressed that any trainee who has the knowledge of Huawei’s equipment has greater advantage of being employed in any of the telecommunications firms.

‘Power sector requires 17,000 workers by 2020’ From Kanayo Umeh, Abuja HE National Power T Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) has said

Vice president, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, Anthony Arabome,(left); President of Council (CIPM) Victor Famuyibo; and Managing Director Leadership Beyond Limits Ohio, USA/Guest Speaker of the occasion, Thomas Rausch, at the 6th Special Human Resource Forum, held in Lagos.

the nation requires 17,441 young engineers and craftsmen to match the expected 20,000megawatts (mw) power generation projection by government year 2020. NAPTIN Director General, Reuben Okeke disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja during the induction of the 220 Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) into the NAPTIN Graduate Skill Development Programme (NGSDP). Okeke said, “Ever since 1998, there have been an embargo on structured recruitment and the gap has continued to widen. Therefore we need 17,441 young engineers, craftsmen, both artisans,

linesmen etc that will match the 20,000mw in 2020, and this is not available anywhere now.” While commending SURE-P and the Ministry of Labour for the full sponsorship of students within the expected one year training Okeke said, “This is the very first time our trainees are receiving scholarship from the federal government.” He stated that more needed to be done in terms of sponsorship and training of skill engineers in the power sector adding that the 244 graduates produced in the first batch, the ongoing 338 students and these inducted 220 students were 1,000, far from the needed capacity. Okeke maintained that available statistics in the institute’s enrolment database has shown that many

people were willing to enrol but few have the fund to do so, as he urged stakeholders and SURE-P to dedicate more resources to youth empowerment in the now enlarged power sector. One of the inductees, Mohammed Sani, a graduate of Mechanical Engineering who spoke with journalists said he had been jobless since 2009. Adding “I have taken to self employment before I fortunately heard about it and applied last year,” he said. The Convener of SURE-P, Peter Esele who represented the Chairman, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, said it was a full scholarship on payment of over N700, 000 study fee for each trainee alongside a monthly stipend of N18, 000 for their upkeep during the one year period.


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RTEAN tasks govt on motor parks for drivers From Collins Olayinka, Abuja HE Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has urged the three tiers of government to establish modern motor parks for professional drivers in the country. The National President of the union, Musa Isabelle, who stated this in Abuja, explained that the building of the proposed modernized motor parks should be executed through the Private Partnership Agreement (PPA).  He argued that installation of monitoring equipment in motor parks with the view of forestalling attacks by evil-minded people can only be achieved when the parks are in themselves conducive for such high-tech equipment. He added that registration of vehicles incoming and outgoing registered vehicles would easily be monitored. He said: “Let government support trade unions under Private Partnership Agreement (PPA) to build modernized motor parks. Just as it’s being operated in South Africa, it will have a police post, hospital, hotels and digital monitoring equipment that can detect any bomb. Apart from strengthening security, it will also create more jobs for Nigerians.” Isabelle  also condemned the killings of innocent people in the motor park in Nyanja, outskirt of Abuja. While appreciating the need to increase security vigilance, Isawele condemned the long queues on the route due to the ongoing stop-and-search by the military. He said the situation might worsen the already tensed security as anyone could take the chaotic atmosphere to launch attack. He suggested that the roadblock should be spread  to various routes leading to NyanyanKeffi road. He called on the security agencies to remain  alert  about the increasing insecurity in all the states of the federation. The RTEAN boss also called for more recruit-

T

ment into the country’s security organizations. Isabelle said  the union had called for emergency meeting on security with all members to discuss the need for  security consciousness at the parks. He said this was no time to be caught unawares like the Nyanja park incident. Isabelle called for the relocation of the park to a safer and secured place and not under the bridge. He also urged the Federal Government  to enforce total  emergency rule in

some parts of the northern states to curb  insecurity. He said that unless a drastic measure was taken in the emergency states, Nigeria would continue to lose more lives to the Boko Haram insurgents. “The Federal Government should look into the insecurity in those states and give 100 per cent attention. The emergency rule must be 100 per cent and total because the people know some of the members of this Boko Haram. They are not ghosts so I will say that

government should remove the governors, the state assemblies and impose military rule. It’s obvious that the governments of these states are not ready to fight for their people. I am sure if those people are no longer there, the killings and violence will stop.” Isabelle said the time had come for government to adopt pragmatic measures to restore peace and security to the affected section of the country.

Wogu

General Manager, ETCO Nigeria limited; Shahar Oren (left), Tombri Kimbai, Director ETCO Nigeria Ltd; Benson Tugbobo and Somefun Ishola during the Long service Award and presentation of certificate to the beneficiaries in                            PhOTO AyODELE ADENIrAN

NIMN partners IMM South Africa to develop Pan African syllabus By helen Oji S part of its strategy to exploit the existing, as A well as anticipated opportunities and development

in Africa, the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) has entered into partnership with Institute of Marketing Management South Africa

(IMM) to establish Pan African programme. The President of the institute, Ganiyu Koledoye explained that the institute has been brainstorm-

DHL bags ‘Employer of choice’endorsement By Godfrey Okpugie HL Express Nigeria has D received an international endorsement as ‘Employer of Choice,’ through a recent assessment, which accorded it recognition as a Certified International Specialist (CIS) centre of excellence. With this, DHL Nigeria joins South Africa and Mauritius as the only three countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with the award. DHL’s CIS programme, through which all 100,000 employees of the firm worldwide received world class comprehensive training on the fundamentals

of international shipping and company strategy, has aided in no small measure to enhance workers’ skills in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing comprehensive training and education for DHL employees in the subregion. DHL’s CIS programme is one of the most comprehensive learning and development programs aimed at facilitating cultural change. It also enables staff empowerment through enhancement of specialized knowledge that individual employees of the company needs to do their job competently and confidently.

Over 500 staff in Nigeria have completed courses covering company induction, international express business knowledge and customer Service. It also includes management exposure to prepare staff for managerial assignment and challenges of the 21st century. Commenting on the programme, Managing Director, DHL Nigeria, Randy Buday said: “CIS has played a fundamental role in the business performance of DHL and we’ve seen how a change management program can really contribute towards moving the company forward.

Our company in subSaharan region recorded remarkable growth last year and it has continued to contribute immensely to economic growth and expansion in the continent, and I believe that CIS is significantly responsible for this our success.” Apart from stimulating foreign direct investment, DHL earlier in the year, was named by popular online job portal, jobberman.com, as one of the best 100 places to work in Nigeria. DHL Nigeria Senior Management Team with their CIS COE award

ing and putting modalities that would facilitate the take off of the programmes in the last six months. “The institute has been anticipating the imminent development in our continent, especially the role of Nigeria and we have been interacting with IMM, the oldest marketing Institute in South Africa and we are doing our best to meet the requirements of our members . “We found out that we are serious about Pan Africa development because we would be the hub of commerce and marketing in Nigeria. So we want to develop the country by dignifying our syllabus so that it would be in line with international standard so that our student will have one exam and qualification across Africa. We are looking at possibilities to improve standard to meet the requirements.” He explained that the pro-

gramme would commence in the next three months, addin g that the qualification would be the same as what is obtainable in South Africa. “Most of the courses would be Nigerian centered and looking at Africa development case studies to enable people develop their decision making standard. We would tidy up the relationship before they return to South Africa. The certificate will be structured to distant learning but will we will make available the opportunity to learn what is fairly advanced in marketing and logistics. “NIMN is looking forward to creating professionals who would create job and become independent. We have 26 areas of marketing activities where one can create job and add value to what is already existing.” He added.


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APPOINTMENTS Thursday, May 1, 2014

Speaker tasks unions on anti-graft crusade From Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) of Enugu State SOdo,PEAKER House of Assembly, Eugene on Monday, tasked trade unions in the country to lead in the campaign for probity in public office. Odo stated that corruption and stealing have assumed an “endemic height”in Nigeria following the failure of trade unions to live up to their responsibilities, stressing that it was their duty to ensure public demonstration of culture of respect for dignity, integrity and transparency so that a public officer could resign over public outcry against provable misdemeanor in office. Expressing dismay that corruption and stealing vices have pervaded all levels of public and private sectors, he said that trade unions must lead the crusade for transparency and accountability in governance. Speaking in Enugu during the 2014 Pre-May Day Lecture/Award Ceremony Organized by the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Enugu State Council, he faulted incessant call for strike as weapon to press home their demand. He said: “ One major role which trade unions need to play which it has been actively shirking in its responsibility is mobilizing Nigeria to fight corruption. Today in Nigeria, corruption and stealing have assumed an endemic height and have pervaded all levels of public and private sectors reaching up to

an unprecedented level in incidence and magnitude. He added: “Trade unions must also seize the initiative to let politicians or political office holders know when to step aside from public office over proved allegation of corrupt practices. Trade unions as a social partner in national development, playing their historic roles properly must lead the crusade to show the way for transparent and accountable governance in Nigeria. calling for strikes over disagreement at negotiating tables or as a tool to press home some demands for welfare packages for workers is not enough”. In a paper he presented entitled: 100 years of nationhood; the role of Trade Unions in sustaining democracy in Nigeria”, he urged the Trade Union Congress to join the Nigeria Labour Congress and form Strategic Alliance for mutual benefit. He said that sustaining democracy required the collaboration of the students, Human Rights groups among others to serve as springboard for monitoring of activities in the country. Odo further stated that Trade Unions world-wide have always played very important roles and expressed dismay that the overall development and contributions of Trade Unions to National Development have most of the time been misunderstood in developing economies including Nigeria.

Convener, Sure-P, Technical Vocational Education and Training Project (TVET), Peter Esele, (left) Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu;Director General, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Rueben Okeke; and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, during the Induction Ceremony of SURE-P sponsored Graduate Trainees to the One Year NAPTIN Graduate Skill Development Programme (NGSDP) in Abuja

EFCC trains LG officials on fight against corruption From Abosede Musari, Abuja HE Economic and Financial T Crimes Commission (EFCC) has expressed gladness at the on-going partnership with Association of Local

Government of Nigeria (ALGON), to train its officials to avoid corruption prone activities as they discharge their duties. Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde gave the expression

on Monday while flagging the training at the commission’s academy in Karu, near Abuja. According to him, though the partnership was suspended for sometime, reviving it spells positivity for the fight against corruption as the training will enhance the knowlege of the officials and help them avoid acting against the law.  Lamorde listed unwholesome activities such as inflation of prices, over estimation of project cost; award and subsequent abandonment of contracts as some of the ways local government officials engage in corruption.  Other ways in

which corruption manifests are through ghost workers syndrome, outright payment of huge amounts to godfathers and embezzlement and misappropriation of funds. “While local governments are said to be the best institutions that can facilitate effective service delivery at the grassroots level, the fact remains that local governments in Nigeria are riddled with institutional and systemic problems of corruption and lack of fiscal transparency accounting for inefficient and retarded growth”.

Amaechi seeks equal opportunity for Nigerians to curb terrorism From Kelvin Ebiri IvERS State Governor, R Chibuike Amaechi has suggested that the prevail-

The Managing Director, Noah’s Ark Communications Limited, Mr. Lanre Adisa receiving the Outstanding Young Agency of the Decade Award from Mr. Jimi Awosika, Managing Director Insight Communications Limited during the Marketing Edge Magazine 10th anniversary and award ceremony held… recently.

ETCO rewards 55 workers, celebrates 50 years By Emeka Nwachukwu TCO Nigeria Limited has rewarded over fifty-five of its staff members who had served the firm meritoriously for over 10 to 40 years. Speaking at the long service award ceremony held at the company’s Corporate headquarters, in Lagos, the Executive Director of the firm Mr. Benson Tugbobo said, the long service award which marks the company’s 50 years of service was aimed at motivating, encouraging and appreciating ETCO workers who had

E

dedicated themselves tirelessly to the progress of the firm. He said that ETCO Group was more than a firm but a family, which was the reason for the much height it has attained with its workers adding that “Everyone here is happy because the company rewards hardwork, diligence and commitment.” Commending the effort of its workers, Tugbobo said “I am pleased to note that our staff do not shy away from challenges and are able to

seize the opportunities to seek new and better ways of doing things ensuring that the project is completed on time through self sacrifice, providing good service, using good ideas to ensure smooth operations, going extra mile, using initiative, taking responsibility. All these prove that you have what it takes to deliver services of the highest standard. Through the example you set and the role you play, you motivate those around you to give of their best as well” and that’s exactly what ETCO

Nigeria Plc stands for”, he added. Also speaking, the Group General manager, Mr. Shahar Oren, said the award was actually given to those who exhibited exceptional attitude, charisma and devotion to the work and progress of the firm. He said, “We are proud as a firm because we have the best trained staffers. At ETCO we are the best company in providing turnkey technical services in the areas of plumbing, air conditioning, firefighting, electrical and lift systems in Nigeria.

ing climate of terror in the country can only be resolved if equal opportunities is created for all eligible Nigerians. He argued that except people are able to go about their legitimate businesses and to provide income for themselves, the conflicts that breed acts of terror will persist in the country. The governor stated this when the United States Assistant Secretary of State of Bureau for Conflict Stabilization and Operations Washington D.C., Rick Barton and the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwinstle led a delegation of diplomats on a visit to him at in Port Harcourt at the weekend. Amaechi told the Americans that the lack of opportunities for the Nigerian youths is partly responsible for the increasing conflicts in the country. Hence, he has urged the

Federal Government to add more value to its security operation and conflict reduction strategy in order to achieve the needed peace in the country. “The Nigerian Government need to do more to reduce conflict. For me, the way to reduce conflict is not just equity but the ability to provide opportunity for those who don’t have, because lack of opportunities increases conflicts. But, if everybody is given nearly equal opportunities to go about their businesses and provide income for themselves, then the Nigerian environment would likely see peace. If we don’t provide such opportunities for them, there would be conflicts because poverty is everywhere. That is what you are seeing in Nigeria”, he said. The governor also admonished the ruling class and the elites to as a matter of necessity make useful contributions that will assist the federal government tackle the terrorism in the NorthEastern part of the country and ensure peaceful co-existence prevail in the land.


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ScienceGuardian Doubts over stem-cell therapy

How carbondioxide makes growing seasons longer

• Study queries early-phase trials of heart-disease treatment

• Elevated greenhouse gas levels, not just rising temperatures, are extending annual plants’ life cycles ESEARCHERS warmed R grassland plots and enriched them with carbon

Early-phase clinical trials have reported that adult stem cells are effective in treating heart attack and heart failure, and many companies are moving quickly to tap into this potentially lucrative market. But a comprehensive study that looked at discrepancies in trials investigating treatments that use patients’ own stem cells, published this week in the journal BMJ, finds that only trials containing flaws, such as design or reporting errors, showed positive outcomes. Error-free trials showed no benefit at all. N analysis of clinical studA ies that use adult stem cells to treat heart disease has raised questions about the value of a therapy that many consider inappropriately hyped. Early-phase clinical trials have reported that adult stem cells are effective in treating heart attack and heart failure, and many companies are moving quickly to tap into this potentially lucrative market. But a comprehensive study that looked at discrepancies in trials investigating treatments that use patients’ own stem cells, published this week in the journal BMJ, finds that only trials containing flaws, such as design or reporting errors, showed positive outcomes. Error-free trials showed no benefit at all. The publication comes as two major clinical trials designed to conclusively test the treatment’s efficacy are recruiting thousands of patients. The BMJ paper “is concerning because the therapeutic approach is already being commercialized”, argues stem-cell researcher Paolo Bianco at the Sapienza University of Rome.

“Premature trials can create unrealistic hopes for patients, and divert resources from the necessary basic studies we need to design more appropriate treatments.” Therapies that use adult stem cells typically involve collecting mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow taken from the patient’s hip bone. The cells are then injected back into the patient, to help repair damaged tissue. Original claims that they differentiated into replacement cells have been rejected, and many clinicians now believe that the cells act by releasing molecules that cause inflammation, with an attendant growth of oxygen-delivering small blood vessels, in the damaged tissue. The approach has spawned international commercialization of various forms of the therapy, with companies offering treatments for disorders ranging from Parkinson’s disease to heart failure. But the effectiveness of such therapies remains unproven. “I have a lot of hope for regenerative medicine, but our results make me fearful.” The BMJ study, led by cardiologist Darrel Francis at

Imperial College London, examined 133 reports of 49 randomized clinical trials published up to April last year, involving the treatment of patients who had had a heart attack or heart failure. It included all accessible randomized studies, and looked for discrepancies in design, methodology and reporting of results. Francis’s team identified more than 600 discrepancies, including contradictory claims for how patients were randomized, conflicting data in figures and tables, and statistically impossible results. They also found papers listing the same patients as male and female, and patients reported as having died, yet apparently going on to attend tests and report symptoms. The study did not suggest that any error found necessarily affected a trial’s conclusions. A note-in-proof in the paper points out that four of the papers analysed related to influential trials conducted between 2005 and 2010 by cardiologist Bodo-Eckehard Strauer, who is now retired. His work is currently under investigation by public prosecutors after his former employer, the University of Düsseldorf in Germany,

found evidence of scientific misconduct. The note also refers to a trial called SCIPIO involving a different source of stem cellspurported to be specialized cardiac stem cells developed from the patient’s aorta- that was recently called into question. Published in The Lancet in 2011 and led by Piero Anversa of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, SCIPIO showed encouraging results in the use of these cells in patients with heart failure3. But Harvard University is now investigating the integrity of some of the data, and The Lancet published an unspecified ‘Expression of concern’ about the paper on 12 April. The BMJ study comes as two major international phase III clinical trials, which are designed to conclusively test efficacy, have begun recruiting patients. Cardio3 BioSciences, based in MontSaint-Guibert, Belgium, is recruiting 480 patients with heart failure in parallel trials of its ‘C-CURE’ stem-cell therapy- a preparation of specially treated stem cells that are allegedly capable of developing into heart cells. And the

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dioxide to capture climatechange effects. Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may be lengthening the growing season of grasses and other plants, according to a study published last week in Nature. Previous studies have documented a lengthening of the growing season in many parts of the world. In the United States, the time between the last spring frost and the first autumn freeze has gone up by nearly two weeks since 19002; in Europe, a study of more than 540 plant species found that, on average, spring events such as flowering had shifted about a week earlier from 1971 to 2000, and the onset of autumn had been pushed back by about four days. Such shifts have long been attributed to warming temperatures. But carbondioxide (CO2) also plays a part, says study co-author Heidi Steltzer, an ecosystem ecologist at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Steltzer and colleagues examined grasslands in Wyoming over five years. They heated some experimental plots, each measuring about 8.5 square metres, to 1.5 °C above normal tempera-

tures during the day and to 3 °C above normal at night. The researchers exposed some other plots to CO2 levels 1.5 times higher than normal, and subjected some to both elevated CO2 and warmer temperatures — conditions similar to those expected by 2100 under some climate scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The researchers tracked when the leaves and flowers of six common species of grass and shrub first appeared, when the seeds matured and when the leaves turned brown. The results varied drastically from species to species and year-to-year. But on average, the growing season was 6.2 days longer in plots they had warmed, and 14.2 days longer in the plots they had both warmed and exposed to elevated CO2. Scientists have previously observed that adding extra CO2 can increase plant growth- at least temporarily, until the lack of other nutrients such as nitrogen start to limit growth. But this is the first study to estimate the effect of increased CO2 on growing season length. “Nobody had quantified it before, in part because it’s hard to quantify,” says Steltzer.

Loss of Y chromosome can explain shorter life expectancy, higher cancer risk for men EW research shows a corN relation between a loss of the Y chromosome in blood cells and both a shorter life span and higher mortality from cancer in other organs. It is generally well known that men have an overall shorter life expectancy compared to women. A recent study, led by Uppsala University researchers, shows a correlation between a loss of the Y chromosome in blood cells and both a shorter life span and higher mortality from cancer in other organs. Men have a shorter average life span than women and both the incidence and mortality in cancer is higher in men than in women. However, the mechanisms and possible risk factors behind this sex-disparity are largely unknown. Alterations in DNA of normal cells accumulate throughout our lives and have been linked to diseases such as cancer and diabetes. In a study recently published in the journal Nature Genetics an international team of researchers has analyzed the DNA in blood samples from a group of more than 1,600 elderly men. They found that the most common genetic alteration was a loss

of the Y chromosome in a proportion of the white blood cells. The group of men was studied for many years and the researchers could detect a correlation between the loss of the Y chromosome and shorter survival. “Men who had lost the Y chromosome in a large proportion of their blood cells had a lower survival, irrespective of cause of death. We could also detect a correlation between loss of the Y chromosome and risk of cancer mortality,” says Lars Forsberg, researcher at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, who has led the study. The Y chromosome is only present in men and the genes contained on the Y chromosome have so far mostly been associated with sex determination and sperm production. “You have probably heard before that the Y chromosome is small, insignificant and contains very little genetic information. This is not true. Our results indicate that the Y chromosome has a role in tumour suppression and they might explain why men get cancer more often than women.


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SCIENCE HEALTH Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hospital commissions SICOT educational centre By Joseph Okoghenun to advance the sciIandNenceorder and art of orthopaedics traumatology in Nigeria, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi (NOHI), Lagos, has commissioned SICOT (Société Internationale de Chirurgie Orthopédique et de Traumatologie, or International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology) Educational Centre as well as an official car park. SICOT Education Centre is a global focal point driven by SICOT to stimulate and improve education in orthopaedic surgery and traumatology so as to assist in the education of orthopaedic trainees and continuing medical education of orthopaedic surgeons. The NOHI-SICOT Education Centre is first in Nigeria and fourth in the world. Other places where the programme exists include Lahore, Pakistan; Assiut, Egypt and

M.F. Vladimirskiy Moscow Regional Clinical and Research Institute (MONIKI) in Moscow. NOHI Medical Director, Dr. Olurotimi Odunubi, said the centre would not help to advance the practice of orthopaedic medicine in Nigeria but would go a long way in assisting in the training of resident doctors on modern orthopaedic and traumatology practices. Odunubi added that the hospital had to commission official car park for official vehicles of the hospital to end the era when staff cars were vandalised by hoodlums. SICOT is an international nonprofit association incorporated under Belgian law with the aim to promote the advancement of science and art of orthopaedics and traumatology at international level in particular to improve patient care, and to foster and develop teaching, research and orthopaedic medical education aid.

Expert advises men on monthly testicular check against cancer ALES between 15 and 34 years have been advised to perform a monthly testicular self-examination to help detect testicular cancer in its early stage. A gynaecologist at Fertility and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) Centre, Karashi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr Prosper Igboeli gave the advice in an interview with  the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja. “The best time to perform the self-examination is during or after a bath or shower when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. “To perform the examination, men should examine each testicle separately by rolling it gently between the thumb and fingers, then look and feel for hard lumps or masses or changes in size, shape, or consistency of the testes,” he said. Igboeli described testicles as an important male reproductive organ, which produces sperm located in the scrotum under the penis.

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He described testicular cancer as one of the most common cancers in young men, adding that it was usually discovered by men themselves or by their spouses as a lump or enlarged swollen testicle. He also advised that male babies should have their genitals checked by their attendants or parents for congenital abnormalities. “The genital of male babies could be examined by specialists for ‘undescended’ testicle, adding that testicles may not be out but remain in the abdomen, leaving  the scrotum empty. He advised males to endeavour to have regular testicular examination in hospital to help detect any abnormality in the reproductive organ. He said: “Just as women are encouraged to perform monthly self-examination examination of their breasts, men are also encouraged to perform monthly examination of their testes to detect testicular cancer early and increase their chances of survival,” he said.

Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Perry John Calderwood, during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Health, Prof.Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Tuesday

Antibiotic resistance now major threat to public health, says WHO *80% Staph infections in Africa are ‘untreatable’ *Heart Foundation launches Report on physical activity for children, youth * Canada pledges to help Nigeria strengthen health sector By Chukwuma Muanya ATA from 114 countries D including Nigeria has revealed that antibiotic resistance is now a major threat to public health because major infectious diseases such as gonorrhea, tuberculosis, syphilis, Staphylococcus aureus, bloodstream infections (sepsis), diarrhoea, pneumonia and urinary tract infections are becoming untreatable. The data contained in a new report, published yesterday, by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is the first to look at antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally. The data revealed that this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect any-

African study shows mother’s diet affects ‘silencing’ of child’s genes unique ‘experiment of A nature’ that took place in The Gambia has now revealed that a mother’s diet before she conceives has a permanent effect on her offspring’s genetics. This is the first time the effect has been seen in humans, and is regarded as a major contribution to the field of ‘epigenetics.’ A mother’s diet before conception can permanently affect how her child’s genes function, according to a study published in Nature Communications. The first such evidence of the effect in humans opens up the possibility that a mother’s diet before pregnancy could permanently affect many aspects of her children’s lifelong health. Researchers from the MRC International Nutrition Group, based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical

Medicine and MRC Unit, The Gambia, utilized a unique ‘experiment of nature’ in rural Gambia, where the population’s dependence on own grown foods and a markedly seasonal climate impose a large difference in people’s dietary patterns between rainy and dry seasons. Through a selection process involving over 2,000 women, the researchers enrolled pregnant women who conceived at the peak of the rainy season (84 women) and the peak of the dry season (83 women). By measuring the concentrations of nutrients in their blood, and later analysing blood and hair follicle samples from their 2-8 month old infants, they found that a mother’s diet before conception had a significant effect on the properties of her child’s DNA. While a child’s genes are inherited directly from their

parents, how these genes are expressed is controlled through ‘epigenetic’ modifications to the DNA. One such modification involves tagging gene regions with chemical compounds called methyl groups and results in silencing the genes. The addition of these compounds requires key nutrients including folate, vitamins B2, B6 and B12, choline and methionine. Experiments in animals have already shown that environmental influences before conception can lead to epigenetic changes that affect the offspring. A 2003 study found that a female mouse’s diet can change her offspring’s coat colour by permanently modifying DNA methylation.1 But until this latest research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the MRC, it was unknown whether such effects also occur in humans.

one, of any age, in any country. The report, is titled “Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance.” It noted that resistance is occurring across many different infectious agents but the report focuses on antibiotic resistance in seven different bacteria responsible for common, serious diseases such as bloodstream infections (sepsis), diarrhoea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea. The results are cause for high concern, documenting resistance to antibiotics, especially “last resort” antibiotics, in all regions of the world. According to the WHO report, in some parts of Africa, as many as 80 per cent of Staphylococcus aureus infections are reported to be resistant to methicillin (MRSA), meaning treatment with standard antibiotics does not work. Also, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Perry John Calderwood, yesterday, pledged his country’s support to help Nigeria strengthen her health sector. The High Commissioner gave the assurance in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit to Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu. He said that Nigeria remains Canada reliable ally and very important partner adding that over the years, Canada has rendered tremendous assistance to Nigeria in diverse ways. He said that the purpose of his visit was to discuss health issues and expand bilateral relations between the two countries, adding that his country will help to address challenges in Nigeria’s health sector. He said that the area of focus will be to address maternal and child health, polio and malaria, among other issues.

Minister of Health, Prof.Onyebuchi Chukwu said that Nigeria has been working with Canada in the area of primary healthcare particularly the Saving One Million Lives Initiative. While assuring of Nigeria’s continued cooperation, he thanked the Canadian Government for funding some of Nigeria’s projects not only in health sector but also in other areas through its various development agencies. Also, the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) yesterday launched the maiden edition of “Nigerian Report on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.” Executive Director, NHF, Dr. Kingsley K. Akinroye, said the report card focused on physical activity as a major determinant of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in view of the scientific evidence that regular physical activity from childhood and youth have strong positive effects on health throughout life. Akinroye said the report card initiative provided an opportunity for the committee to make use of the latest scientific evidence on physical activity to lay a foundation for placing physical activity in the forefront of public health policies and programmes like other recognized risk factors for NCDs. Akinroye charged faithful partners in the challenge of fighting heart disease in Nigeria, the Media, to promote the report card to government, schools, institutions, universities and research agencies; towards the improvement and emphasis of the role of physical activity in health. “The report card will provide an opportunity for future research, advocacy and interventions on the promotion of physical activity in Nigeria; and offer

recommendations to governments, Non G o v e r n m e n t a l Organisations (NGOs), international agencies, and development partners in the public and private sectors,” he said. Akinroye said the Nigerian report card is modelled after the Canadian report card that has been in use for years as an advocacy tool to promote awareness, policy, research, and communication. The NHF boss further explained: “In Nigeria, globalization and urbanization brought about rapid changes in lifestyle, which have had a heavy impact on the health of the population. The negative consequences of these changes are decreased physical activity, unhealthy dietary patterns and increased tobacco use, associated with a rise in lifestyle-related diseases that is, NCDs. NCDs such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, cancer and chronic lung disease are becoming increasingly significant causes of disability and premature death in developing countries like Nigeria.” WHO’s Assistant DirectorGeneral for Health Security, Dr Keiji Fukuda, said: “Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill. “Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.”


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NaturalHealth ‘Green tea, raw fish secret to healthy, long life’ new study has indicated the benefits of a diet rich A in raw fish, vegetables and green tea, with Japanese females having the highest life expectancy of women in selected countries, living for an average of 86.4 years. The data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that Japanese women outstrip their English counterparts, who can expect to live to 82.8 years. Women in Northern Ireland and Wales have a life expectancy of 82.1 years, while in Scotland the same figure is 80.7 years. But the ONS said there is nothing stopping British women achieving a similar longevity if they adopt a Japanese lifestyle, with the figures indicating the “potential for further increases” in life expectancy for women in the United Kingdom (UK), The Times reported. The traditional Japanese diet incorporates lower-calorie foods served in controlled portions. According to Naomi Moriyama, co-author of Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen, the average Japanese person eats around 25 per cent fewer calories than the average western person. Crag Wilcox, a leading gerontologist, told The Times that the Japanese diet is full of disease-fighting foods. He said: “They eat threes servings of fish a week, on average. Plenty of whole grains, vegetables and soy products too, more tofu and more konbu seaweed than anyone else in the world, as well as squid and octopus, which are rich in taurine – that could lower cholesterol and blood pressure.” But Japanese men do not reinforce the trend. They can expect to live to 79.9 years on average, which is little more than the average male life expectancy of 79 in England. Men in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland can expect to live to 78.1, 77.7 and 76.5 years respectively. Men in Iceland have the longest life expectancy at 80.8 years, followed by Swiss men who can expect to live to 80.5. The findings were published as part of an international compendium of data published by the ONS. It compared figures on population, employment and the economy. Green tea is made from the leaves from Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originated in China, but it has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. Green tea has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea has been the traditionally consumed tea. Green tea has become the raw material for extracts used in various beverages, health foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetic items.

Mineral water from Artesian well may provide cure for peptic ulcer, others Can regular intake of antioxidant-rich alkaline mineral water from Artesian well provide cure for stomach ulcer and chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure? CHUKWUMA MUANYA examines the possibilities after a visit to the source of the first Artesian water in Nigeria. ECENT studies have shown R that drinking antioxidantrich alkaline mineral water from Artesian well improves health, supercharges immune system, and fight the aging process. Managing Director of Oak Group Limited, makers of Lasena Artesian Water, Mr. Yusuf Musa Elakama, told The Guardian that it might be as easy as drinking Lasena Artesian Water. Oak Group Limited is the parent company to Oak Plastics; OGC Foods and Beverages, the producers of Lasena Artesian Water; Oak International College; Oak Designs, Oak Computers; among others. Yusuf said Lasena Artesian Water has been validated by National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to be rich in antioxidants, has a high potential Hydrogen (pH) value of 7.8, zero microbes and flows out continuously under pressure at temperature of 70 degree Celsius. Yusuf said researchers at the Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, University of Ibadan (UI) have also confirmed that regular intake of Lasena Water is very good for the treatment of peptic ulcer. He explained: “We invited NAFDAC. NAFDAC came, did their tests and other relevant things, and took water samples. The first thing we realized was that the water had zero percent microbes, which was very strange. The water comes out at 70 degree Celsius, which was alien to us. So this now informed the management of OGC Foods to take water samples to University of Ibadan, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology. “We went to the Head of Department, Dr. Adeleke. We gave them both raw water samples and filtered samples. They did their tests and analysis came out about a month later and we were all dumb funded by the results we got. “It was confirmed by University of Ibadan that Lasena water has a high level treatment on peptic ulcer. Helictobacter pylori are the microorganism that causes peptic ulcer and Lasena water has moderate reaction on it, which used over a long period eliminates peptic ulcer. As I speak with you we have cancer patients, we have diabetic patients, we have peptic ulcer patients, we have arthritic patients that are one Lasena Artesian natural mineral water and whenever they go back to the Hospital for their

The Oak Group Artesian well, source of Lasena Artesian mineral water, in Ogun State test they get very positive response from their doctors.” Artesian well is basically a cell pressurized well that brings out water to the surface without any mechanical pump. Artesian is a word derived from Artois in France. It is a place in France where the first Artesian aquifer was discovered in 1126. There are several Artesian wells worldwide. Presently, there are three Artesian wells in Africa. One was discovered last year in Kenya, one was discovered in 1995 in Namibia and one was discovered in Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC), Ogun State, in 2009, from where Lasena Water is sourced. Meanwhile, the main idea

put forth by marketers of alkaline products is that many people have an imbalance of acid in their body because of what they claim are acid-producing foods such as meat and processed goods. It is believed that raising the body’s alkaline levels to neutralize the acidity will foster better health. Some alkaline products feature a number of health claims, including greater weight loss, slowing down aging and preventing such diseases as cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. According to nutritionists, measured on the pH scale, a substance is considered alkaline if it has a pH above 7, acidic if it has a pH below that, and neutral when it is exactly at 7. For example, distilled

water has a pH of 7, lemon juice is measured at about 2, and baking soda is about 9. Some researchers speculate that compared with early humans, modern day diets are more acid-producing as well as richer in saturated fat, simple sugars, sodium and chloride, and lower in magnesium and potassium. According to researchers at the Voice Institute of New York, alkaline water may just be a heartburn sufferer’s new best friend. Apparently, the alkalinity in artesian well water with natural bicarbonate (pH 8.8) can permanently inactivate pepsin in vitro. Pepsin is activated by contact with acid and is the main culprit behind reflux diseases and esophageal damage. This

research suggests a potentially natural aid in the prevention or reduction of acid reflux. Heartburn is a common and uncomfortable symptom of this potentially painful condition. Acid reflux symptoms are caused by stomach acid or other stomach contents flowing up into the esophagus. Many different foods, drinks, and activities can trigger its symptoms. Pregnant women often experience heartburn symptoms caused by temporary changes in their bodies. Anyone can experience acid reflux; however, it can be a temporary, situational condition or a permanent disease

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Alkaline water from Artesian well and chronic diseases CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29 that can cause significant tissue damage. What makes Lasena Artesian Water unique? Yusuf, a graduate of computer science from the University of Lagos (UniLag) with a second degree, Masters in Business Administration (MBA), from Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, United Kingdom, said: “One, it is a mineral water which is very high in pH. The pH basically expresses the level of acidity and alkaline in a liquid, body or whatever. The natural healthy pH of a human system is 7.8. At 7.8 the human body cannot accommodate any acid related diseases ranging from arthritis diabetes, insomnia and so on. “We are all aware that our body is constituted by 70 per cent of water and in Nigeria all the water we have before the inception of Lasena had natural pH of less than 7 so they need to add a lot of bicarbonate, caustic soda to boost the pH to about 7 or a little bit above 7. Lasena water is different, it is not like that, and it comes out at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius, zero percent microbes. All we need to do at OGC Foods and Beverages is to allow the water to cool down for minimum four days- from 70 degree Celsius to room temperature before we can filter and bottle.” So what is the selling point of Lasena Water? Yusuf said: “Everybody will say water is water, once I am thirsty, I get ‘pure’ water and I am home and dry. Yes it is true. The primary objective of water is to quench thirst but there are other objectives of water. Over 70 per cent of fluid in your body is water. So if over the 70 per cent of the fluid in your body is ‘pure’ water, what it means invariably is that you are pure, you are healthy, that is the implication of that and this Lasena sells. Lasena sells health. Lasena sells wellbeing. Lasena sells good health basically that is our core competence. We have various mineral composition in our water but I will just take an over view of some that major compared to other ‘waters’ in the world. I will just give you a brief explanation of what these minerals do to the human body. “Basically we have various minerals in our water, that is Lasena water ranging from bicarbonate, silica, calcium. Lasena water is the only water in the world that has copper. We have chloride, magnesium, sulphate, zinc, fluoride and like I said earlier a natural pH of 7.8 and temperature at source of 70 degrees Celsius. “Some of these minerals do a lot to the human body. Lets take silica for instance. Silica is a very essential mineral for building the bones. In the medical word, research has confirmed that silica is even more important than calcium to the bones. Silica is like glass so basically what it does to the bones is to make it very turgid which invariably makes your skeletal structure hard. It also helps tissue repairs then strengthens hairs and nails. “We also have calcium of about 39.7 m/l, which helps to stabilize the bone structure, teeth and cell membranes. It also helps to prevent blood clot. We have chloride in our water, which is needed for metabolism, the process of turning food into energy. It also helps the body to balance its acid base. One very important one is bicarbonate. The bicarbonate in Lasena water is 263 m/l. Bicarbonate helps to maintain body pH, it assists in neutralizing lactic acid which is generated during physical activity and it helps to delay onset of fatigue which is very common in this part of the world.” However, another school of thought disagrees. A registered dietitian, epidemiologist and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, Tanis Fenton, said: “The modern diet does produce slightly acidic urine. But even with a high acid load research shows that the body does not become acidic. Rather, the urine becomes acidic, showing that kidneys are effective at excreting the acid.” A registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Joy Dubost, said: “The human body has a range of pH values that span a full spectrum of levels, roughly from 2 to 8. The idea that you need to neutralize acid in your body by regulating your pH level- and that you should drink alkaline water to do so- is not based on credible science. “The body can maintain the proper pH independent of diet. And drinking alkaline water will do no more than wet your whistle, since water’s pH has no effect on the blood or the body’s cells.” For her doctoral work, Fenton was on a team that reviewed 238 studies for evidence linking an alkaline diet to bone health. Its findings, published in 2011 in the Nutrition Journal, concluded that there was no evidence that an alkaline diet improves bone health. Another study by Fenton and a colleague- a systematic review, not yet published, of the effects of an alkaline diet on cancerfound no benefits in the prevention or treatment of that disease. What informed the concept of the Artesian water at Oak Group? Yusuf explained: “Let me start by telling you how we discovered the water. My Chairman, Barrister Lance Musa Elakama, was on the verge for trying to get water, for his water company. He wanted to go into water production, moved into OPIC Ogun state, which is a rainforest region, invited the first borehole engineer; they commenced the drilling of the borehole. The first borehole got to the depth of over 120 metres. After 120 metres they did not get water, they terminated the borehole. Due to the kind of person the Chairman is, he is a goal getter, anything he wants to do, he wants to get to the end of it, invited another engineer. This time the engineer got to a depth of 230 metres, same story, we didn’t get water.” You did not get water in this very wet environment? Yusuf said: “Yes! We all know what 230 metres are. My Chairman went for an Indian engineer. This time they got to a depth of above 300 metres. He got to an aquifer but the third day when they were casing the well, the water stopped coming out. So the Chairman got frustrated and we eventually gave birth to a company called OAK Plastic limited. Because he said we would need the container that is the cover and plastic bottle why don’t we start producing that and when we get water we will now commence with our water production. OAK Plastic was given birth to in 2008. Towards the end of the first year 2008, my Chairman said lets get water. “Luckily for my Chairman, the security man that was in charge

Yusuf

“It was confirmed by University of Ibadan that Lasena water has a high level treatment on peptic ulcer. Helictobacter pylori are the microorganism that causes peptic ulcer and Lasena water has moderate reaction on it, which used over a long period eliminates peptic ulcer. As I speak with you we have cancer patients, we have diabetic patients, we have peptic ulcer patients, we have arthritic patients that are one Lasena Artesian natural mineral water and whenever they go back to the Hospital for their test they get very positive response from their doctors.” of the land now introduced him to some Turkish engineers. Those engineers came down all the way from Apapa, they came down to the site, they did their geological survey, and they told the Chairman that they were going to get water but they need to get to minimum 500 metres. They gave the Chairman their bill and they commenced. This took about nine months to drill. September 2009, that was when we accidentally, it was a stroke of luck, it was just serendipitous, we struck an Artesian aquifer that has huge volume of underground water trapped millions and millions of years before now. Even as at when we got this water we didn’t know what we had because OAK Plastic was already in inception. The water was there 2009, the well was just there, and the company was still running OAK Plastic. “Early 2012 my Chairman said now we have water, now we have the plastic, lets go into water bottling. … The water we took to Ibadan was Lasena table water because out of ignorance before we got the well we had already got a complete water treatment plant ranging from reverse osmosis to the sand filters and others. So when we now got this Lasena aquifer we discovered that there is no need for this water to go through this water purification process because the water comes out already ‘pure’, but we didn’t know that, we had already created Lasena table water with a different NAFDAC number. “November 2013 my humble Chairman again went to NAFDAC and told them that this NAFDAC number they gave to him, yes he appreciates it, however, the kind of water he has is mineral water but NAFDAC labeling states table water. He urged NAFDAC to give him another NAFDAC number for the mineral water. At first NAFDAC frowned at it because it was obviously alien to them, it was not even part of the curriculum for their registration. So the Chairman now went to the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, in Abuja. He spent over two weeks so that he could see him. He now expressed his plight to him. Luckily Paul Orhii, himself, made mention that while he was studying in Russia there was a particular mineral water that is similar to what my Chairman was saying. “The DG now instructed the NAFDAC team again, they came down to the site again, they took water samples, and they went back to their lab and carried out tests. They now discovered that all our claims are correct. First it comes out at zero per cent microbes, the water has all these mineral composition I mentioned earlier and it is very healthy and good for the body. So now NAFDAC gave us a fresh number which is C10589 FOR the first and only Artesian mineral water in Nigeria.” What is the lifespan of this water source? How is it pumped out? Are there an underground pumping machine and a dedicated electricity-generating set? Yusuf said: “The uninterrupted, continuous flow of the water, without any mechanical assistance that is the uniqueness of Artesian well. That is why it is called a

flowing Artesian well. There are two major Artesian wells but most times the other type is not usually called Artesian well. The difference between Artesian well and spring is that one is deliberately dug and one just natural. It comes one its own, it sips but Artesian comes out with pressure.” What is the lifespan? Yusuf explained: “This is inexhaustible. This particular one is inexhaustible because it is in a rainforest region. Artesian wells in rainforest regions are inexhaustible. We have very few in the rainforest region. The Artesian wells in the rainforest region are the Fiji Artesian water, in the Fiji Island, is the closest to Lasena. That is the water they drink in the White House. In America they call it ‘Big Man’ water. The exhaustible ones are the ones in Lakes like the one in Kenya, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said it has a lifespan of 75 years. That one is drinkable, it was discovered last year. The one discovered in 1995 in Namibia has saline (salt solution) because the last layer before the water is salty so you cannot really drink much. So they use it mainly for irrigation.” What is the difference between spring water and artesian water? Yusuf explained: “It is important to stress the difference between Artesian Aquifer and spring water. Spring water usually flows out of the rock at lower attitude without any drilling or pipe casing and the water temperature. Because spring water flows through the soil and rock formations, it collects contaminants along the way and the hydrostatic pressure is low. “On the other hand, Artesian Aquifer well is drilled with pipe casing, hence it does not collect any contaminates along the way. More so, the hydrostatic pressure is usually high, while the temperature is equally very high and the natural PH is also very high. More importantly, Lasena Artesian Aquifer contains high alkaline and other curative natural minerals that give it its natural healing power.” Writing on Alkaline Ionized Water, Pastor (Dr.) Nana wrote “Not only are human beings staying away from water, they now drink beverages – soft drinks, tea, coffee, alcohol etc, as substitutes. These, no doubt have come with their own untoward effects in form of diseases. Going back to good old water is the best decision that any man that desires to live a healthy life can make. A healthy body is one where the water is alkaline and an unhealthy one has an acidic pH, which encourages the development of diseases. A healthy body can, therefore, be said to be one that is not aged no matter how old the individual is. It is also a body that has an ideal weight full of energy, vitality and devoid of diseases.” Nana further stated that: “The commonest cause of aging is acid. Acid from dehydration, or from food that we eat; and beverages that we drink. The acid causes tissue breakdown in the body and it manifests by wrinkling and sagging of skin as some have said, as grey hair. The free radicals cause damage to the cells and the organelles inside the cells by oxidative stress. The combined breakdown of tissues by acids and free radicals lead to aging and age-related diseases. Diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, arthritis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer and so on. “To prevent aging, we should drink alkaline water. The antioxidants in the alkaline water neutralize the acid and the free radicals, which would otherwise damage the tissues, thereby slowing the aging process. The micro-clustered water being absorbed faster increases the circulation and eliminates the acid wastes faster. “Finally drinking sufficient ionized alkaline water daily causes the stomach and pancreas to produce copious amounts of bicarbonate solution which when absorbed into the circulation neutralizes the acidity further. Some of the substances that women apply to their skin, in a bid to look younger contribute to their looking aged. Alkaline water will make the skin supple with a shine and luster that no cream or pomade can give.” Nana also analysed the technical nature of alkaline ionized water when he said “Alkaline water increases the pH of the body water and when this happens the following occur: there is a reduction in fats and cholesterol, which normally protect the body from the damaging effects of acids. Apart from dehydration, which causes acids to accumulate and our diet, other sources of acid are stress, air pollution and our usual drinking of water, which in almost all cases are acidic. Acids, like we know are destructive to the body tissues. “To protect these tissues from acid destruction the body produces and releases fats, which are known to bind and store the organic acids. Some of the acids are released through sweating, voiding of urine and passing of stools. Those that are not released are stored in the fat cells. The more the acidity of the body, the more the fat cells produced for the storage of the acid. If the acid continues to accumulate in the body, obesity will eventually set in as more fats are produced to bind the acid. The reason why weight loss programs have failed in the past now becomes clearer. The root cause of the problem, which is acid, was never dealt with. Unknown to so many, even exercise without drinking sufficient water (alkaline water) only leads to very minimal weight loss. The reason is that during exercise, there is excessive loss of water through sweating which leads to dehydration and acid accumulation.” Nana said, “Aging and obesity, which are both unhealthy states of the human body, are caused by a four letter word – ACID. As if these two conditions were not bad enough, certain life-threatening, age-related diseases that make them worse follow them. The reason why I have held on to drinking alkaline water is because there is hardly any alkaline bottled water in the shops. “Pure water” produced and marketed by Nigerians in all the states of Nigeria are only more diluted than the hydrochloric acid that the students use in the laboratories in


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Ogun launches free, pro-poor healthcare scheme for children, elderly By Wole Oyebade EPRIEVE may have come R the way of under-five children, pregnant women and senior citizens in Ogun State, as the state government launched statewide pro-poor Community Health Insurance Scheme (CBHIS), tagged “Araya”. While the listed vulnerable group is now eligible for free health care services in government hospitals, other citizens of the state are also entitled to health insurance services at N4000 premium per year. Launching the scheme in Abeokuta, the state capital on Tuesday, Governor Ibikunle Amosun said the pro-poor health scheme was a fulfillment of one of his pre-election campaign promises, made some 35 months ago. Amosun, who described the gesture as landmark, said it was a holistic approach to ensure that affordable and sustainable health care delivery system is provided in the State. The governor noted that the CBHIS complements the existing Conditional Cash Transfer programme (Gbomoro) for pregnant and nursing mothers currently in its second phase, adding that they are all directed towards ensuring that the people of Ogun State enjoy affordable, sustainable and efficient health care delivery. According to him, “The

Amosun wide spread participation in CBHIS across Ogun State will provide free-healthcare for the vulnerable group pregnant mothers, children under-five years and the aged (70 years and above) while the cost of health care for the general populace will also be subsidised by Government. “It is our belief that this will serve as reference point for others across the country,” Amosun said. While ‘Gbomoro’ is giving stipends, phones and other prizes to pregnant women that attend antenatal care, delivery and post natal care

Olaokun Soyinka

At each of her antenatal visits, a beneficiary will be entitled to stipends for her transport allowance. At delivery time, she will get ‘Mama Kits’ and stipends for the baby’s upkeep while her post natal visits will be rewarded whenever she brings the baby for her first four immunisations in government hospitals (for increased uptake), CBHIS is reducing out-of-pocket payment and poverty among the populace. The Governor said: “Also, at each of her antenatal visits, a beneficiary will be entitled

to stipends for her transport allowance. At delivery time, she will get ‘Mama Kits’ and stipends for the baby’s upkeep while her post natal visits will be rewarded whenever she brings the baby for her first four immu-

nisations. “Through this initiative and our investment in health sector in the last 35 months, our administration has continued to yield positive results. This is shown in the improved health indices such as high antenatal attendance and significantly reduced maternal and infant mortality rate and high immunisation rate. “Our vision is for every citizen of the State wherever he or she lives within the boundaries of our dear State to have easy, fast and unfettered access to efficient

NAMFI embarks on voluntary medical services By Wole Oyebade group of Nigerian medical specialists in United A States are embarking on voluntary medical services to address gaps in tertiary care services in the country. Efforts by the group, under the aegis of Nigeria American Medical Foundation International (NAMFI), will address overseas medical trips and reverse brain drain “through the immense human capital and brainpower of Nigerian superspecialists in the American Diaspora.” Secretary to NAMFI Board of Trustees in Lagos, Dr. Adeyinka Shoroye said that the initiative was born out of the discovery that the biggest challenge to tertiary care in Nigeria was more of the dearth of medical experts than infrastructure. Meanwhile, there are currently about 4,000 Nigerian specialists in the United States, about a third of whom are sub-specialty trained in about 80 subspecialties from American Medical Association (AMA) database. “But with deficiencies in key sub specialties in Nigeria, sick Nigerians now

travel daily to the Apollo and Care hospitals in India seeking second-opinions, highly specialized care,” Shoroye said. He said that it is worrisome that an Indian private diagnostic facility in Lagos alone weekly refers 20 patients to India for Oncology diagnosis and treatment. And on daily flights from Lagos, about 40 patients are said to be India-bound patients for cardiac and renal conditions. While the rich and top government officials travel on medical tourism to Europe, North America, Dubai and South Africa, the middle class Nigerians travel to India, the poor and government-sponsored go to Egypt. “Data from the Central Bank reveals that $2.5 billion is spent by rich Nigerians on medical treatment abroad annually. It is also estimated that about the same figure is remitted home yearly from Nigerians in Diaspora for the cost of treatment of relatives! “Is this 21st Century trade by barter? This is a big capital flight our human capital abroad can reverse. This cannot continue. Import our ‘finished products’,” he

said. To bridge the gap, NAMFI recently set up an office suite in Ikoyi, with the mission “to fill the present huge gap in tertiary care in Nigeria with the immense human capital and brainpower of Nigerian superspecialists in the American Diaspora.” Shoroye, who is an attending physician at Oasis American Hospital, Abu Dhabi, said Nigeria’s luxury of expertise and experienced medical hands in America would be rotating voluntarily, yearround (by appointments only) to give tertiary care services in Nigeria. “We should remember that this is the generation that first put Nigeria on the global stage of excellence in medicine. We have a huge opportunity of human capital in history now to make a difference. They are bringing the flavor of experience with huge talent of those rotating from the U.S.” NAMFI is incorporated as a non-profit organisation in California and later in Nigeria, with Lagos office located at Mulliner Towers39 Kingsway Road, Suite 113, Ikoyi. Their web address is http://www.namfi.org/ and has 01-215-0000 as phone

number. Shoroye said further that the group had already partnered with about two wellequipped hospitals within 15 minutes distance to the office suites for admitting privileges/procedures. “We have office practices akin to faculty practice offices across America in tertiary care centers. We also have in our Ikoyi office suite telemedicine’s latest technology with Nigeria’s new satellite-NIGCOMSAT and also broadband. “Telemedicine facilities will be available for teleconsultation, tele-education and distance learning, as we develop a ‘central clearing house’ for Nigeria tertiary care consultative service for diagnostic challenges with Cleveland eclinic for Nigerian patients. “We have made some strides in transferring large bandwidth of digital radiologic and pathologic images between Lagos/Abuja and North America overseas experts. This is our modest beginning. We have few highly experienced physicians living in Nigeria who will serve as ‘in-house’ experts and add value,” he said. The effort has been made possible with support of some donors in United

States and also in Nigeria (all for non-profit status), coupled with transparency policy of trustees’ board management.

health care delivery,” Amosun said. Commissioner for Health, Olaokun Soyinka explained that several months of research and planning has designed healthcare scheme with flat rate of N7000 premium for each enrollee per year. While the government and its supporting partners pay the sum of N3000 for each enrollee, beneficiaries would pay the remaining N4000 payable by installment. He noted that the scheme was all about the community, adding that the N4000 was what the community agreed to pay for their healthcare. Soyinka added that the scheme, though in its pilot phase, would be made statewide within a year. He appreciated the efforts of their development partners such as World Health Organisation (WHO); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); International Finance Corporation (IFC); African Health Market for Equity (AHME); PharmAccess Foundation; Marie Stopes Nigeria; Society for Family Health; National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), among others that were present at the launch.


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Thursday, May 1, 2014

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Renewable energy: Biofuels heat up new generation of indusA trial plants can make liquid fuels from almost any organic scraps- from corn stalks and wood chips to urban rubbish, according to a report published in Nature. By the end of 2015, all British Airways flights out of London City Airport will be fuelled by rubbish- the paper, food scraps, garden clippings and other organic detritus discarded by the city’s residents. But before it goes into planes, the rubbish will be processed at GreenSky London: a biofuels plant under construction on the eastern side of the city. Each year, the facility will take in some 500,000 tonnes of the city’s waste and will transform the organic component into 60,000 tonnes of jet fuel, a similar quantity of diesel fuel combined with petrollike naphtha, and 40 megawatts of power. This level of output would hardly be noticed at conventional petroleum refineries, which typically generate a similar volume of product within a week. But “gathering enough biomass to run a petroleum-scale refinery is almost unthinkable”, says Nathanael Greene, director of renewable-energy policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York City. GreenSky London is typical of a trend for second-generation biofuel reactors that are not only omnivorousthey can be fed with corn stalks, wood chips and other forms of agricultural waste, as well as urban rubbish- but also small. The hope is that they will slash transportation costs by bringing the reactors to the biomass instead of vice versa. Proponents argue that novel catalytic techniques and compact designs will make second-generation biofuel plants not just environmentally friendly, but also profitable enough to compete with petroleum-based fuels without subsidies. Questions remain about how realistic this hope is. But at least some customers are giving the plants a try; commercial units have begun to spring up from Finland to Mississippi to Alaska. If these second-generation plants do succeed, says Greene, they will offer at least one crucial advantage over their predecessors: a low-carbon way to create fuel that suits existing vehicles. Limited compatibility in this regard is a key problem dogging the first generation of biofuels plants, which rely on technology developed over millennia to make beer, wine and spirits. These facilities grind up edible products such as corn or sugarcane, add water and yeast, and allow fermentation to take its natural course. The result is a copious supply of ethyl alcohol, which makes an excellent fuel and can be mixed with petrol. But there are serious drawbacks to making fuel from food in a world with a growing population and limited arable land. So, for more than a decade, the biofuels industry has been working on economical ways to use corn-

Biofuels stalks, wood chips and other by-products that currently go to waste. This has posed a challenge for the fermentation approach, because these materials contain tough, long-chain molecules such as cellulose and lignin that yeast cannot easily digest. Over the past five or ten years, advances involving pretreatment with acids and enzymes have partially overcome that barrier, and commercial plants designed to produce cellulosic ethanol are now under construction in Iowa and Kansas. Hitting the wall But even these facilities will not be able to overcome the biggest restriction on the fermentation approach: the ‘blend wall’. This is the maximum amount of ethanol that can be mixed into petrol without causing corrosion in fuel lines and car engines. For current models, the blend wall is about 10–15 per centand first-generation fermentation plants already produce more than enough ethanol to meet this demand. Indeed, several US ethanol refineries built in the past decade already stand idle, victims of drought-induced price hikes and market saturation. That reality, paired with nine years of historically high oil prices — the price per barrel currently stands at around US$100 — has spurred vigorous research into thermochemical reactors, which convert biomass directly into fuels other than ethanol using heat and catalysts. The most common thermochemical approach is gasification, in which carbonrich material such as coal, wood chips or municipal waste is heated to produce synthesis gas or ‘syngas’ - a mixture of mainly hydrogen and carbon monoxide, with traces of carbon dioxide and other gases. At the GreenSky London facility, one or more proprietary gasifier units built by Solena Fuels, a renewable energy firm in Washington DC, will accomplish this step by vaporizing the waste with jets of ionized plasma that heat the material to some 3,500 °C. Such torches are more energy intensive than

other methods of gasification, in which the biomass is heated from below on beds of sand or other material. GreenSky London elected to use them because the contents of municipal waste can vary markedly, and by adjusting the temperature of the torches, the composition of the syngas can be kept consistent. Consistency is important for optimizing the second step of the process, in which the syngas is sent into a chemical reactor — made, in the case of GreenSky, by Velocys of Plain City, Ohio. There, it undergoes the Fischer–Tropsch reaction, which fuses hydrogen and carbon monoxide into longchain hydrocarbons. Velocys has made its system unusually compact by reducing the size of the cobalt-containing catalyst particles to the nanometre scale and arranging them along a series of microchannels, which direct the flow of the syngas and produce reaction surfaces with an effective area of a

much larger device. The Fischer–Tropsch units have also been made as modular as possible, so that chunks can be assembled at a factory and then be plugged together on site. “You need to achieve economy not through size, but in the way you build them,” says Neville Hargreaves, business-development manager at Velocys. Another compact system is the BioMax gasifier developed by the Community Power Corporation in Englewood, Colorado. The company says that this device is modular and small enough that four can fit into a standard shipping container, and can run on almost any kind of shredded biomass, from food scraps to cardboard to wood chips. The resulting syngas can then be used in place of natural gas for heating, cooling or electricity generation. A typical unit generates about 150 kilowatts, enough to power between 25 and 50 homes, run three supermarkets or keep vital hospital equipment working. And in the near future, BioMax

units should be able to plug in a Fischer–Tropsch reactor and produce biodiesel as well. In 2011, Community Power was bought by the Afognak Native Corporation, which is owned by the indigenous people of Alaska’s Afognak Island. They hope to sell the units throughout Alaska and northern Canada, where electricity and transportation fuel are expensive. Clean combustion Among the strongest selling points of the two-step gasification approach to biofuels is the fact that almost all the syngas gets turned into hydrocarbons with no double bonds or ring structures, producing fuels that burn cleanly and completely. But that advantage has not kept researchers from exploring a single-step alternative. In the pyrolysis approach, the biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen to some 500 °C and converted into organic liquids directly. These liquids can then be refined into fuels using standard technology. Pyrolysis is relatively immature compared with

gasification, says Mark Nimlos, a principal scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. But that can be seen as a virtue, he adds. “There is lots of potential to improve.” Several companies are already testing the commercial viability of the technology. For example, UOP of Des Plaines, Illinois — a subsidiary of the New Jersey-based conglomerate Honeywell International — is partnering with Ensyn Technologies of Ottawa to market Ensyn’s Rapid Thermal Processing (RTP) units. The companies foresee these units being installed next to lumber mills, where each one would be capable of turning waste wood into some 76 million litres of pyrolysis oil a year. That would be enough to warm 31,000 homes if it were burned directly as heating oil; alternatively, if refined into petrol, it could fuel about 35,000 typical US automobiles. Green Fuel Nordic, a biorefining company based in Kuopio, Finland, is planning to install at least one RTP unit in the Finnish town of Iisalmi, where it will process waste from the country’s extensive forestry industry. The company is also working with the European Commission to develop a set of quality standards for pyrolysis fuels. One component of concern is tar: a gummy residue of long-chain molecules that are hard to refine. Another is oxygen, which is abundant in biomass and reacts with pyrolysis oil to form organic acids that can seriously corrode refinery equipment. Finding better ways to deal with both of these contaminants is a major goal of pyrolysis-oil research. At present, the easiest way to remove the oxygen is to add molecular hydrogen derived from natural gas, but that would both undermine the climate-friendly appeal of pyrolysis oil and drive up the cost.

Study queries early-phase trials of heart-disease treatment CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 European Commission is sponsoring a Europe-wide €5.9-million (US$8.2-million) trial, called BAMI, which tests patient-derived stem cells prepared according to a standardized protocol. It is recruiting 3,000 patients who have recently had a heart attack. The principal investigators of both studies say that the treatment has been shown to be safe and may be effective. However, questions have been raised over an earlier trial of C-CURE. Last June, three months after Francis’s study closed, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) published an earlyphase trial of C-CURE, which found “signs of benefit in chronic heart failure”. Francis’s team analysed it separately and identified dozens of discrepancies similar to those found in the BMJ study. He sent details to JACC, but claims that the paper’s authors did not answer some

of his more important concerns: for example, about an apparent change in the study’s ‘primary endpoint’, a trial’s main target, and an apparent inconsistency between patient data and the summary of the results. Co-author Andre Terzic, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, denies that Francis’s concerns were not addressed and stresses that his group’s findings were peer-reviewed. He adds that the decision to drop the initial endpoint- to measure heart-beat strength by monitoring the movement of radioactive tracers through the heart- was made on the advice of the study’s steering committee, which said that such efficacy need be assessed only in a phase III trial. The planned phase III trial has now been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, Terzic says. Another co-author of the

JACC paper, William Wijns of the Cardiovascular Centre Aalst in Belgium, who is a member of the Cardio3 BioSciences board, told Nature that he is “confident in the science supporting the technology and in the C-CURE clinical trial data”. A few weeks after the JACC publication, Cardio3 BioSciences announced that it had raised €23 million for a phase III trial in a share offering. BAMI principal investigator Anthony Mathur, of Queen Mary University of London, says that he wants to clarify definitively if there is hope for the treatment. He adds that the trial was built on “a clear signal of efficacy” in some early-phase trials using a standardized protocol that is publicly available. Christine Mummery, a cardiac-stem-cell researcher at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, says that injecting bone-marrow cells causes inflammation and the development of small

blood vessels that might limit immediate damage during a subsequent heart attack. “But it is not clear this helps longterm recovery of the heart, and it does not provide a mechanism for improvement in heart failure,” she adds. Even without solid published evidence of efficacy, many companies are offering various commercial mesenchymal-stem-cell therapies to patients with heart disease. For example, the Okyanos Heart Institute in Freeport, the Bahamas, uses mesenchymal stem cells derived from a patient’s fat tissue. Howard Walpole, its chief medical officer, was unavailable for comment, but writes on the company’s website: “We strongly believe in the science and results we have seen with adult stem cell therapy for coronary artery disease.” He adds that many heart patients “do not have the luxury of waiting many years for exhaustive research to be completed”.


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‘Nigerian youths at higher risk of HIV infections’ By Wole Oyebade OTWITHSTANDING efforts N at tackling Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) infections in the country, findings yesterday revealed that young Nigerians, between ages of 1024 years, are more at risk of new infections. Most revealing in the findings conducted by Population Council (Nigeria) researchers, is that an average youth would have had the first sexual intercourse by the age of 17, but majority are non-consensual sex, including rape. Only 22 per cent of these young men and only 11 per cent of young women used a condom at their first sexual intercourse. Meanwhile, only 36 per cent of young women and 49 per cent of young men used a condom during their last higher risk sexual activity. Presenting the report in Lagos at a Media-Researcher Advocacy Exchange Platform, Dr Otibho Obianwu of Population Council said the findings were disturbing and should be a source of concern to the population at large. Obianwu noted that the affected youths (age 10-24 years), constituting 31.6 per cent of the population, are the direct link between society’s future and the past, coupled with the fact that they are in a heterogeneous group that includes in and out of school youth, rural youth, married

adolescent, adolescent young people living with HIV, young sex workers, young people who use drugs, young people with disabilities, young people with same sex attractions/ practices/ relations, young domestic workers and so on. Broad indicators of youth vulnerabilities and responses to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria revealed that HIV prevalence is 2.9 per cent in people of 1519 years; 2.5-3.7 per cent among 20-24 years; 3.3-3.5 per cent in people of 15-49 age range. About 3.1 million people are living with HIV in the country, over half of which are youths. Obianwu observed that the major factor implicated in youth’s vulnerability to HIV infection is low comprehensive HIV knowledge (22.9-32.1 per cent) among the young ones. Continuing, she said: “There is low HIV risk perception among youth, coupled with early and high levels of exposure to unsafe sex. We found high social tolerance for the frequent resort to non-consensual sex, including rape

with girls by older men in communities, educational institutions, work setting and so on. “There is also frequent resort to and a generalised expectation of extra-marital sex by married men including exchange of money or material goods for such sex, all of which made it difficult to negotiate for safe sex. “Social construction of sexual virility, sexual dominance and broad experience as part and parcel of masculinity right from adolescent in contrast to passivity and acquiescence as defining features of femininity. “Another factor is culture of silence around youth sexuality, with heavy reliance by youth for sexuality information and counsel from often unreliable sources like peers and the mass media,” she said. Prof. Friday Okonofua said there are no amount of societal pretense and ‘abstinence or perish’ messages that would stop youths from having sex, which he described as a normal biological function. “Besides, there is a sex gate (first intercourse) and once you cross it, there is no going

There is low HIV risk perception among youth, coupled with early and high levels of exposure to unsafe sex. We found high social tolerance for the frequent resort to non-consensual sex, including rape with girls by older men in communities, educational institutions, work setting and so on.

back. These are realities that we must identify with. What we should be preaching is responsible sexuality, backed with right information,” he said. Okonofua added that “a dysfunctional society like Nigeria without a socio-economic plan for its youth “ is bound to have such challenges. He said further that onus lies on the executive arm of government to formulate youthfriendly and youth-centred policies; the legislative arm to make laws that forbid sexual and adolescent violence, while the judiciary actually ensures that violators of child rights are punished. The media, in his submission, must be responsive to plights of Nigerian youths, while the Faith-based organisations drive appropriate information among the public. Co-researcher and lecture at the University of Lagos, Dr Michael Kunnuji stressed that Child Right Act, operating in the country, had pegged age of consent at 18, which implies that any one that engage under-18 in sexual intercourse has committed a rape offense. He  added: “Sleeping with under-18 is like sleeping with a baby. The society should know this. But the problem is that our society is too judgmental of the youth. There is this outward show of piety, yet people are getting pregnant, even around religious organisations. Who are those impregnating them?

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Pfizer, NTA, ophthalmologists partner to tackle glaucoma ETERMINED to prevent ease especially at the early D visual damage and stage, a visit to the eye care blindness due to glauco- practitioner is the only way ma, Pfizer, the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN) and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) have formed a partnership to address the growing challenge of glaucoma on World Glaucoma Week. Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes progressive damage of the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye to carry visual information to the brain. If left untreated, most types of glaucoma progress towards gradually worsening visual damage and may lead to blindness without obvious symptoms on the patient. The week started with screening of legislators in Asaba, Delta state, followed by a live TV programme on the management of glaucoma on NTA, Lagos network. Other events were Glaucoma screenings for some officials of First Bank Plc, Lagos state and a public lecture targeted at commercial drivers and their passengers in Asaba, on the effects of Glaucoma. Consultant Ophthalmologist Guinness Eye Centre, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Adeola Onakoya,, in a statement said: “Early detection and treatment can prevent blindness from the disease. Being a symptomless dis-

to detect and treat at early stage, to prevent glaucoma blindness, which is irreversible. Regular eye examination is therefore advised especially in everyone over the age of 35 years every two years and yearly for those with family members suffering from glaucoma.” Medical Director, Pfizer, Dr. Kodjo Soroh, said Pfizer has been engaging stakeholders on the importance of regular eye checks to prevent blindness. He said as part of its commitment to intensify the fight against blindness and increase access to screenings for patients, Pfizer has donated Tonometers to three health institutions in Nigeria, National Hospital, Abuja, Federal Medical Centre, Asaba and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ife. Soroh said: “It is very important to go for regular checkups for early detection of Glaucoma as most types of the condition progress towards visual damage, and may lead to irreversible blindness. “Pfizer is committed to contributing positively to patient care in all the communities they operate in whilst exploring more opportunities with relevant stakeholders to reduce the burden of glaucoma.”

Brookfield Institute pioneers organized LifeStyle medicine practice HE Brookfield Centre the individual’s health T for Lifestyle Medicine, through changes in Abuja recently launched a

Head of Communications, Sanofi, Chidilim Menakaya; Medical & Regulatory Affairs Director, Sanofi, Dr Fifen Inoussa and Representative of the Lagos State Health Commissioner for Health and Senior Medical Officer 1/Malaria Program Officer, Dr Victoria Omoera during commemoration of the World Malaria Day held at Sanofi Office in Lagos PHOTO: WOLE OYEBADE

Tyonex celebrates validation of ARVs by U.S. FDA HE United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) T has validated the Tyonex brand of Anti-Retroviral (ARVs) drugs as safe and devoid of any substance capable of causing injury or death to HIV patients. The FDA Case/Sample Report, issued from its Forensic Chemistry Centre, in Cincinnati, Ohio and dated March 3, 2014, was signed by

Adam Lanzarotta and concurred by four others. World Health Organisation (WHO) has also been sent a copy of the result of the analysis, which was at the instance of the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS ) advocacy group, Treatment Action Movement (TAM). Tyonex Managing Director,

Emmanuel Tyohemba Agba was delighted that no less a body than the FDA waded into the matter, “and the results are there for everyone to see.” He said: “This Report validates what National Agency for Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC) did, it authenticates what Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Lab did, and it also confirms

what the Independent Public Analysis Laboratory in Lagos did.” Tyonex had come under fire from TAM and NEPWHAN, which vehemently objected to the presentation, packaging and literature of its brand of ARVs. They had expressed their displeasure with the literature, which they claimed lacked clarity.

scheme for lifestyle medicine aimed at offering consultation services to Nigerians and legal residents on measures to prevent life threatening diseases that result from people’s style of living. These include various types of cardiovascular ailments and Mendelian diseases, among others. Senior Consultant Family Physician at the National Hospital Abuja who pioneers the initiative, Dr. Ifeoma SylvesterMonye, , at the launch the programme, told attendees that lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, stroke, heart diseases, obesity and those associated with substance abuse are now the leading causes of illness and death globally. She noted that these diseases are associated with the way a person lives, but that the good news is that they are preventable by changes in diet, environment and lifestyle behavior. Sylvester-Monye said that the main objective of the programme is to get as few people as possible to be hospitalized for these diseases, as such the centre aims at improving

lifestyle to prevent the need for medication and treatment where indicates and indeed reduce the incidents of sudden cardiac events and deaths. To demonstrate the scheme, guests at the launch were registered in the programme with their basic health statistics that are associated with the diseases taken. These included Fasting Blood Tests, Body Mass Index (BMI) including height and weight, Blood Pressure and Electrocardiogram (ECG) test. Lifestyle medicine is an evidence-based medical practice whereby individuals and families are assisted by experts to adopt and sustain lifestyle behaviors that can improve their health and quality of life. These include eliminating or controlling strictly the use of substances prone to abuse such as tobacco and alcohol, drugs, improving diet, practicing stress relief techniques increasing physical activity. The Brookfield Centre for Lifestyle Medicine is the first of its kind in Nigeria.


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SCIENCE HEALTH Thursday, May 1, 2014

‘How to revamp primary health care in rural communities’ By Wole Oyebade IGERIA, today, prides self N as the pioneer of the Primary Health Care (PHC) concept now practiced all around the world. But 32 years on, the pioneering country lags behind among countries with dividends of successful primary health care system. In the thoughts of Dr Muhammed Hadeija, the high rate of newborn, infant and maternal deaths still facing the country would cause even the father of primary health care, Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti to shudder in his grave. Hadeija, a renowned advocate of primary health care, said lack of skilled personnel and effective implementation plan were reasons the concept has not really worked, especially in rural communities of the country. Hadeija, who was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony of 334 students of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, said LUTH and her products would have a significant role to play if PHC must really work in the country. The guest speaker recalled that Nigeria started primary health care services before the Alma-Ata declaration of September 1978. During the 1975-80 national development plan in Nigeria, he observed, Basic Health Services Scheme (BHSS) was conceived and developed to extend the health services to the rural areas and the implementation commenced in the year 1976. A unit comprising of one comprehensive health centre, four Primary Health Centres, 20 health clinics and five mobile clinics, was made as a functional unit for the scheme. “Each unit was designed to serve a population of 120,000-150,000 people and the Federal Government took full responsibility of the scheme,” he said. During the Alma-Ata conference, it was resolved that the health status of the world population was unacceptable especially in the developing and underdeveloped world. A committee of experts was made to study the situation and recommend way forward. “Our own, father of PHC, Prof. Ransome-Kuti was one of the committee members, and he presented the Nigerian concepts of BHSS for deliberations. After careful study and minor changes, that concept was adopted as the Global System of delivering a comprehensive health care services and tagged as PHC. “Therefore, one can safely claim that the PHC originated from Nigeria, from LUTH and most specifically from the Institute of Child Health. This institute, under the leadership of Prof. Kuti trained so many health and medical workers on PHC concepts both within and outside the country. It was

Osibogun also in this institute that the course curriculum of training all the cadres of Community Health Workers was developed.” Besides the exploits of Ransome-Kuti, Hadeija also acknowledge the efforts of Prof Akin Osibogun, current Chief Medical Director of the institution, as a member of the team that eradicated guinea worm from Nigeria. Hadeija added that the responsibility, however, falls on the shoulders of Osibogun and the likes, to form a team that would “strengthen PHC, and specifically bring down the maternal mortality ratio, infant mortality ratio and neonatal mortality rates in the country. “So many countries that are much poorer than us have done it, and I believe we can do it. We must not allow the efforts of the grandfather, and fathers of PHC go in vein,” he said. Stressing that manpower is a major challenge in the PHC today, the speaker said a look at various health schools in LUTH and their products reveal requisite expertise that are lacking in the PHC system today.

For instance, one of the basic components of PHC is the treatment of ailments and “there may not be effective treatment without proper diagnosis.” “There are primary level diagnostic procedures, which if adequately carried out, may prevent simple conditions getting worse. These groups of workers have very important role towards reducing the rate of maternal death. “Many studies shown that anaemia and haemmorhage, both ante and post partum are responsible for high percentage of maternal death. With this group of workers at the primary level, picking up and identifying anaemic cases early, a lot may be done to save the life of the women, baby or both. “At the moment, maternal, infant and neonatal deaths have been the real sore in the eyes of all healthcare managers. Studies show that the main reason for this is the lack of trained manpower to attend to the mothers, both expecting and lactating. “Most of the trained people especially midwives are retained in the urban, or to

At the moment, maternal, infant and neonatal deaths have been the real sore in the eyes of all healthcare managers. Studies show that the main reason for this is the lack of trained manpower to attend to the mothers, both expecting and lactating. Most of the trained people especially midwives are retained in the urban, or to the best, semi-urban areas, all these areas constitute no more than 30 per cent of the population. The mal-distribution of the trained female workers is as a result of selfish attitude of power that be. To my belief, most of the midwives should be in the rural areas, with just few in the cities to handle referred cases

the best, semi-urban areas, all these areas constitute no more than 30 per cent of the population. “The mal-distribution of the trained female workers is as a result of selfish attitude of power that be. To my belief, most of the midwives should be in the rural areas, with just few in the cities to handle referred cases,” he said. A breakdown of the graduands shows School of Nursing produced 42 candidates; School of Midwifery 41; School of Dental Nursing 21 and School of Post Basic Nursing 100. Others are School of Community Health Officers Training Programme 31; School of Health Information Management 69; School of Medical Laboratory Sciences 20 and School of Medical/Psychiatry Social Work 10. LUTH CMD, who was represented by the Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Council, Dr Ronke Desalu expressed no doubt that the sound tutelage the graduands had received in the course of their training, put them in pole position to face life with confidence for high professional attainment. His words: “You have been equipped with skills and professional knowledge that will enable you deliver quality professional services to the teeming population of Nigerians in various parts of the country. “By doing this, you will be complementing the effort of this management, the dedication and devotion to duty of the principals, co-coordinators, lecturers and tutors in your various Schools,” he said. Osibogun further charged them to be worthy ambassadors of the institution, and to uphold the competence, empathy, expertise and ethical standards of their profession.

Norvatis, LUTH partner on blood donation awareness campaign By Tony Nwanne FFORTS to increase blood E donation awareness in the country got a boost last week when one of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical company, Norvatis Pharma Services joined forces with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, to drive a campaign in educating the public on the need to voluntarily donate blood, as that is the easiest way to save life. The kick off campaign, which held on Friday, April 25, in LUTH, is part of the firm’s community partnership day to associate with the local communities by making their own contribution to corporate citizen. The campaign which coincides with the world malaria day, Norvatis Pharma services English Speaking West Africa embarked on a blood donation drive where it staffs across the country in Nigeria and Ghana will partner with key hospitals to donate blood voluntarily. The guests speaker of the event, Dr Sulaimon Akanmu, the Head of Haematology Department, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), commended the efforts of the firm for partnering with hospitals in the country, while stressing the fact that donating blood voluntarily has been linked to longer life in those who do it regularly. According to Akanmu, the marrow is kept under challenge for a long period of their life, so their marrow does not age. The level of their blood is just as if they are young. These individuals have enough oxygen carrying capacity at all the time. They deliver oxygen to their tissue not at a reduced period but all the time. “The bone marrow of a regular donor is under constant challenge because as he grows, his bone marrow tends to age. It ages from red marrow (capable of forming blood), to yellow marrow (incapable of forming blood) and to yellow marrow (that can never form blood). For people who are regular volunteer blood donors, their marrow age from red to yellow.” Akanmu also dismissed the general belief that when people donate blood, they give out part of their body that is not replaceable and that they run short of blood and their lives at risk. He said the only true thing is that the cell of a regular blood donor does not age fast and he or she has the likelihood to live a longer life. Also, statistics from WHO programme on blood transfu-

sion safety, which access blood safety trends, safety and priorities show that less than one per cent of the population of developing countries donate blood, compared with over 65 per cent in developed countries. Despite these startling statistics family replacement and paid donors has remained the main source of blood recruitment in Nigeria. Apart from saving lives, studies have shown that people who voluntarily donate blood have the likelihood of living longer. Researchers found that the majority of the people who are regular blood donors rarely suffer from anaemia of the aged or the anaemia of the elderly. Meanwhile, as it standard practise across the world for blood donation to keep registry of donors in hospitals and as part of the firm’s commitment to continually improve healthcare delivery and strengthen the system, Norvatis donated materials such as blood donation register, personal blood donor record card and appointment card for donors. The Country Group Head, Norvatis Pharma Services, English West Africa, Vera Nwanze, while applauding the efforts of stakeholders for supporting the campaign, she added that it aimed at supporting local communities, social institutions and non profit organisation with projects compatible with the Norvatis commitment to social responsibility. For Nwanze, blood is vital to human life. It carries essential nourishment to all the tissues and organs of the body, she added that timely access to safe blood transfusion is a life-saving measure in many clinical conditions and can also prevent degeneration of illness and reduce mortality rate in patients suffering from violence, injury, road accidents, child birth related complications and other conditions. “Blood transfusion services occupy a vital space in any national health service delivery system. Safe blood saves lives-but, for too many patients around the world especially in Nigeria whose survival depends on blood transfusion, blood is neither available nor safe. Many issues contributed to its paucity, this includes various myths and religious beliefs preventing its acceptability. Every second in every day, people around the world-of all ages and diversity need blood transfusion to stay alive.

Mortein, health ministry, others rally against malaria S part of activities marking A this year’s World Malaria Day, one of Reckitt Benckiser’s premium brands, Mortein has joined forces with Nigeria’s Health Minister, Professor Onyenbuchi Chukwu and other stakeholders to step up an advocacy for the elimination of malaria in Nigeria. Speaking at a joint ministerial press briefing with key partners to mark the day in Umuahia, Managing Director, Reckitt Benckiser, Rahul

Morgai affirmed the commitment of the company to offer Mortein, the company’s brand of insecticide as partner brand to government in leading the charge in the fight against malaria in Nigeria. Quoting statistics from United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Rahul said, “despite great progress in the fight against malaria, the disease still remains the third largest killer of children globally.


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How vector-borne diseases fuel poverty, stalls development in Africa, by UN *Alerts over rising cases of fake malaria drugs, deploys over 700m malaria nets

Ban Ki-Moon By Chukwuma Muanya

HE United Nations (UN) T on the occasion of the World Health Day blamed the gross poverty and under development in several regions of the world especially Africa on vectorborne diseases, which profoundly affect people’s lives. UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, in a statement to mark the World Health Day, which was delivered by the Officer-InCharge of the United Nation Information Centre (UNIC), Ikoyi, Lagos, Ms Envera Selimovic, however, said investing in vector control and disease prevention is a wise and necessary investment towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and define a post2015 development agenda. The event to mark World Health Day with theme “Small Creatures, Big Threat” was organized yesterday in collaboration with United Nations of Youth Network Nigeria (UNOY). Ki-Moon said: “We have the scientific knowledge and have developed proven interventions to tackle these diseases. In Africa, for example, more than 700 million insecticide-treated bed nets have already helped to cut malaria rates drastically, particularly among children and pregnant women.”

The UN Scribe said every year more than one million people die from diseases carried by mosquitoes, flies, ticks and other insects, such as triatomine bugs. These vector-borne diseases, he said, include malaria, dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis. Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), William Wu Shiyin, in his remarks alerted over the prevalence of pseudo or rather fake anti-malaria medicines in the Nigerian market. He, however, said that UNODC is committed to fighting fake medicines. “There are lots of fake medicines for malaria here. So UNODC is committed to fight this issue in collaboration with the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Nigerian Police.” Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its National Surveillance Officer, Dr. Irene Isibor, in her remarks called for concerted efforts to make sure the country gets rid of vector-borne diseases. “We need to work at the community level in order to achieve this. It is unfortunate that at this time of our development we still have vector-borne diseases causing preventable

deaths. To ensure that vector-borne diseases are a thing of the past we need small joint actions to achieve big impact,” she said. Guest Speaker and Chairman Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Bunmi Omoseyindemi, said: “It is our action and inaction that has made us not to live in harmony with disease vectors. We humans have become a threat to them and they are fighting back. We are not living in harmony with the environment. If the environment is clean and the garbage is properly disposed, there will be no breeding place for all these organisms. They want to survive, so we have to find a way where we live in harmony with them. “We have to put effort on ways to prevent us having these diseases by placing emphasis on health promotion. We need to draw an action plan involving the community. We need to work with the community and we do this through health education so that members of the community will know.” Meanwhile, Ki-Moon said climate change, altered habitats and increased international trade and travel are exposing more people to the vectors that transmit these diseases and they present a risk in all regions, including countries where threat

had formerly been eradicated, but the most affected are the world’s poorest people especially those who live in remote rural communities far from health services or in urban shanty towns. Ki-Moon said sustained political commitment can save millions of lives and yield substantial social and economic returns, but it is important to recognize that vector goes beyond the health sector. He also said poorly planned development initiatives such as forest clearance, dam construction or irrigation to boost food production may increase the disease burden. KiMonn, however, said addressing this issue demands an integrated, coherent and united effort across many sectors, including the environment, agriculture, water and sanitation, urban planning and education. He said: “Everyone has a role to play in the fight against vector-borne diseases, international organisations, governments, the private sector, civil society, community groups and individuals. On this World Health Day, I urge countries and development partners to make vector control a priority. Let us work together to tackle this serious but eminently preventable threat to human health and development.”

Stem cells made by cloning adult humans WO research groups have T independently produced human embryonic stemcell lines from embryos cloned from adult cells. Their success could reinvigorate efforts to use such cells to make patient-specific replacement tissues for degenerative diseases, for example to replace pancreatic cells in patients with type 1 diabetes. But further studies will be needed before such cells can be tested as therapies. The first stem-cell lines from cloned human embryos were reported in May last year by a team led by reproductive biology specialist Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon Health & Science University in Beaverton (see ‘Human stem cells created by cloning’). Those cells carried genomes taken from fetal cells or from cells of an eight-month-old baby1, and it was unclear whether this would be possible using cells from older individuals. (Errors were found in Mitalipov’s paper, but were not deemed to affect the validity of its results.) Now two teams have independently announced success. On 17 April, researchers led by Young Gie Chung and Dong Ryul Lee at the CHA University in Seoul reported in Cell Stem Cell that they had cloned embryonic stem-cell (ES cell) lines made using nuclei from two healthy men, aged 35 and 752. And in a paper published on Nature’s website Tuesday, a team led by regenerative medicine specialist Dieter Egli at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute describes ES cells derived from a cloned embryo containing the DNA from a 32-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes. The researchers also succeeded in differentiating these ES cells into insulinproducing cells3. Nuclear transfer To produce the cloned embryos, all three groups used an optimized version of the laboratory technique called somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), where the nucleus from a patient’s cell is placed into an unfertilized human egg which has been stripped of its own nucleus. This reprograms the cell into an embryonic state. SCNT was the technique used to create the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, Dolly the sheep, in 1996. The studies show that the technique works for adult cells and in multiple labs, marking a major step. “It’s important for several reasons,” says Robin LovellBadge, a stem-cell biologist at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London. More related stories At present, studies to test potential cell therapies derived from ES cells are more likely to gain regulatory approval than those testing therapies derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are made by adding genes to adult cells to reprogram them to an embryonic-like state. Compared with iPS

cells, ES cells are less variable, says Lovell-Badge. Therapies for spinal-cord injury and eye disease using non-cloned ES cells have already been tested in human trials. But while many ES cell lines have been made using embryos left over from fertility treatments, stem cells made from cloned adult cells are genetically matched to patients and so are at less risk of being rejected when transplanted. Ethically fraught Lovell-Badge says cloned embryos could also be useful in other ways, in particular to improve techniques for reprogramming adult cells and to study cell types unique to early-stage embryos, such as those that go on to form the placenta. Few, however, expect a huge influx of researchers making stem cells from cloned human embryos. The technique is expensive, technically difficult and ethically fraught. It creates an embryo only for the purpose of harvesting its cells. Obtaining human eggs also requires regulatory clearance to perform an invasive procedure on healthy young women, who are paid for their time and discomfort. About ten years ago, making human ES cells from cloned embryos was among the hottest areas of research, recalls Egli. Most stem-cell biologists shifted focus as convenient technologies for making iPS cells became established, but Egli did not. “I didn’t think it was right to only try one approach when it was so important to find cures for these diseases,” he says. He thinks that iPS cell lines work well for drug screening and basic research questions, but it is still unclear whether iPS cells or ES cells will work best as therapies. “If you had a choice, you would pick the one from nuclear transfer rather than iPS,” he says. This is because iPS cells often do not become completely reprogrammed or may become warped during the reprogramming process, which could make them less stable. Even if cloned ES cells do prove better suited for therapy, creating a different ES cell line for each patient would probably not be necessary, says Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology in Marlborough, Massachussetts, and a coauthor on the Cell Stem Cell paper. Instead, he imagines, scientists would create banks of cell lines that could serve patients needing replacement tissues. Rogue scientists But that possibility may be many years away. First, researchers plan to compare iPS cells and ES cells derived from the same person, to see which might work best for drug screening or for making replacement tissues. These studies are well under way, but work is hampered in the United States because federal funds cannot be used to study cloned ES cells, notes Mitalipov.


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Eating your way to younger skin in 28 days • Two women who followed a diet that claims to boost skin, help you lose up to 5.4 kilos and even reverse wrinkles. . . and it took years off them forking out for FhopeORGET expensive creams in the they’ll protect against wrinkles, banish puffy circles, or rejuvenate a rapidly ageing complexion. According to top nutritionist and skin specialist Karen Fischer, all that time, effort and expense could be completely wasted if you kick off your day with a slice of buttered toast or plan to end it with a pan-seared steak. While we have long known that sun damage and cigarette smoke speed up skin ageing, dermatologists have recently pinpointed the biggest ageing trigger of all — destructive molecules called Advanced Glycation End products (or AGEs). As we revealed in our Sugar Detox series earlier this year, too much sugar in the blood causes glucose molecules to attach to the proteins in collagen (the glue that holds your skin together) to form AGEs. These sticky brown compounds stiffen the otherwise elastic fibres in the skin, creating lines, blotches and wrinkles. But sugar is far from the only ageing culprit in our diet. For her new book, Younger Skin In 28 Days, Fischer has scoured hundreds of scientific studies to name and shame other common foods and cooking methods that contain high levels of AGEs or contribute to the AGE-making process in the body. THE DAILY DIET LIMITS Rather than calorie counting, we should be AGE-counting — consuming no more than 5,000-8,000 kilounits (kU) a day (Western diets contain an average of 15,000). Given a 100g piece of panfried steak contains 10,000 kU, and a fried egg 1,000 kU more than a poached egg, it’s easy to see how quickly the toxins — and the wrinkles — accumulate. But dark- purple and red fruits and vegetables, such as purple sprouting broccoli, red cabbage, beetroot, aubergines and berries, contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that help protect against AGE-formation. Eat several portions a day and swap green salad leaves for purple ones, white onions for red onions, and rice for red quinoa. Her message is clear. If you have prematurely ageing skin, dullness, discoloration, deep lines or drooping jowls, you could be unwittingly eating too many AGEs — which are common in animal products, and increase exponentially when food is fried, grilled, pasteurised or smoked. Here comes the good news: you can protect your skin, and even reverse some of the damage by consciously minimising your intake of AGE-increasing foods — such as red meat, dairy products, processed food and all forms of sugar and sweeteners — and filling your diet with foods that have natural skinboosting properties — such as purple, red or black fruit and vegetables, beans and

wholegrains. ‘The best weapon against skin ageing is your fork,’ explains Fischer. ‘Eating the right foods supplies your skin with the nutrients it needs to produce new collagen, fight AGEs and look healthier and younger.’ Indeed, her 28-day plan is so timed because, she says, it takes 28 days for your body to produce new skin cells in the deeper layers of the skin and for them to travel to the surface. So, can eating the right foods really take years off your appearance in just a few weeks? We decided to put Fischer’s fast-track plan to the test by asking two women to try the diet for 28 days while continuing their usual skincare routine. Before they started, we assessed theirskin using both a Visia scanner — which measures wrinkles, sun damage, redness and pore size — and a TruAge scanner, which is clinically proven to measure levels of AGEs in the body. We repeated the tests at the end of the month to see if there were marked improvements. The results were astonishing — as you’ll see in our two guinea pigs’ stories. THE PLAN The diet kicks off with a three-day detox — no meat or caffeine but unlimited fruit and vegetables (raw if possible) — before easing into a pattern of healthy eating; reintroducing small amounts of caffeine, poultry and fish but steering clear of dairy, sugar and alcohol. After a hearty breakfast, Fischer recommends filling half of your lunch and dinner plates with vegetables, one quarter with low-AGE protein, such as chicken, fish, beans or lentils, and the other quarter with low-AGE carbohydrates, such as sweet potato, basmati rice, quinoa or spelt. For dessert, she favours anti- oxidant-rich fruits such as pomegranate, guava, banana, papaya or any berries (frozen are fine). In addition to changing your diet and drinking eight glasses of water, herbal tea or fresh vegetable juices, Fischer recommends daily supplements of omega 3, calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamins D, C, B3 and B6, (available from biocare.co.uk), and a daily shot of purple juice from blueberries, cherries and olives. SKIN-SAVING COOKING You can potentially halve your AGE intake by changing the way you prepare food in the first place: l COOK SLOWLY The searing heat used in baking, grilling, barbecueing and frying causes browning, which increases AGE formation, especially in foods that are rich in protein and fats. Cooking with liquids at lower temperatures makes a big difference, so switch to poaching, boiling, steaming and making soups, curries, stews and casseroles. l MARINATE IN LEMON AND LIME Marinating meat and fish

in acidic ingredients — like fresh lemon or lime juice — before cooking protects the food from forming too many AGEs during the cooking process. You can also add the juices to drinks and salad dressings. l SPICE THINGS UP Turmeric, cumin, ginger, cloves and cinnamon are all excellent at inhibiting AGE formation. Add them to casseroles and curries, pop a piece of fresh ginger or a few cloves into your tea, and sprinkle cinnamon on porridge or add to smoothies. l ADD APPLE CIDER VINEGAR Unlike other vinegars, studies show apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar, which reduces AGE production. Dilute a tablespoon in water and add to soups and stews, or use it to make salad dressings. My skin’s softer and brighter OLD SKIN AGE: 39 NEW SKIN AGE: 33 Kate Habberley, 42, works for a small communications consultancy and lives in Oxfordshire with her husband Jeremy and their two young sons. Busy mum Kate was used to starting her day with toast, butter and marmalade. For lunch she’d typically have a cup of soup and oatcakes, followed by an afternoon of snacking on biscuits, crisps and chocolate. For dinner, she’d eat whatever her husband was cooking — usually man-sized portions of pasta. Before starting the 28-day plan, she said: ‘I’m overeating on a regular basis, and am indulging in far too much unhealthy food. ‘I am a stone overweight, and I think my skin feels and looks older than my years — it is lacklustre and dull with an infuriating combination of wrinkles, blemishes and frequent breakouts.’

Kate is not a big meat-eater or wine lover — but she did miss dairy products and her beloved sugar while she was on the diet. ‘I was becoming a proper sugar addict — I’d happily work my way through a packet of Hobnobs or chocolate digestives, and end most days with a whole packet of wine gums or a chocolate bar,’ she says. ‘Quitting sugar took some getting used to. ‘I had a major strop about two weeks into the diet when we were out as a family and everyone else was tucking into tea and cakes. Because the cafe didn’t have soya milk, I had to endure black coffee and a smoothie.’ But it was worth the effort. At the end of the 28-day experiment, Kate’s TruAge score dropped six years to just 33 (meaning the AGE activity in her body is like a 33-year-old’s) and her Visia scan showed a nine per cent reduction in redness, fewer enlarged pores and an improved skin texture. As an added bonus, the weight fell off. When she jumped on the scales at the end of the trial she’d lost nearly 12lb — much of it from around her tummy. She told us: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled with the results. And as the month progressed, I found it increasingly liberating not to be dogged by sugar cravings. ‘I’ve really enjoyed the salads and the soups, discovering the joys of pomegranate juice and the delicious taste of sweet potato when roasted with lemon juice and a brush of olive oil. ‘I feel much, much healthier. My energy levels have soared, I’m sleeping better — and I didn’t need the scan results to tell me my skin is softer, brighter and clearer.’ The change is so significant that Kate plans to stick to the

basics of the diet long-term. She says: ‘I might be tempted by the odd slice of toast now and again, and nothing is going to convince me that quinoa is my friend, but I’m happy to stick to soya milk rather than cows’ milk and keep an eye on my sugar intake. ‘I wouldn’t want to go back to my old way of eating and its impact on my skin.’ My red blotching has gone OLD SKIN AGE: 49 NEW SKIN AGE: 46 Debra Cull, 54, a florist, lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband John. Debra’s old diet was, in her own words, a toxic mix of burnt toast (‘the more burnt the better — with lots of butter!’) and deli meats (‘I love a tapas-style supper of chorizo, salami and cheeses, washed down with a glass of wine’). But she was conscious that her fair, freckled skin was rapidly showing signs of age. Before embarking on the 28-day plan, she said: ‘I really love gardening and I spend a lot of time outdoors. Although I wear sunscreen when it’s hot, I don’t wear a hat as often as I should, which I’m sure has contributed to premature ageing of my skin. ‘I hope the diet will slow down the wrinkling a bit, and perhaps reduce the redness I get from hot flushes. ‘In fact, I hope the diet might help settle my errant hormones and calm those flushes, as they’re beginning to dog my days and nights.’ After just one week on the plan, Debra was already seeing results. ‘My skin seemed fresher, clearer — not so ruddy or crepey around the eyes,’ she said. Spurred on by the changes, she stuck to the diet rigidly, even making her own spelt flatbreads and ‘experiment-

ing with purple foods I didn’t even know existed’. At the end of the 28 days, Debra’s TruAge had dropped three years to 46, and the Visia scan showed a 6 per cent improvement in her skin texture, an 11 per cent reduction in open pores, and a significant drop in redness. She was also delighted to discover she’d lost 5lb over the month. Most exciting of all, she says, was that the hot flushes she was regularly experiencing during the day and night stopped completely for the duration of the experiment. ‘I am really pleased with the impact this diet has had,’ she says. ‘Not only do I feel healthier — my energy levels have noticeably increased — but I can see that my skin looks healthier, too. And the absence of flushes has been quite a revelation. ‘I thought I’d miss my crispy toast and grilled steaks but I’ve been quite happy switching to porridge topped with blueberries for breakfast, and lunches of purple sprouting broccoli with poached eggs on top. ‘I’ve also been eating a lot of poached chicken and salmon, and far, far more vegetables and salads than I used to. I’m now much more aware of what I eat, and I’m really keen to keep the diet going as much as I can. ‘But even though I’m sure quitting alcohol has been one of the most significant factors in my skin’s improvement, life is too short to stop drinking wine for ever!’ DAILY SNACKS Unlimited raw vegetables (carrot, pepper, cucumber, celery, broccoli) with hummus. Handful of raw almonds or 2-4 Brazil nuts. One fresh vegetable juice. Unlimited herb/fruit tea. *Adapted from


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Reaching every child: lessons from India’s polio programme Pooja lives Fgi-OUR-year-old with her family in a jhuga makeshift shanty made of corrugated iron- on a construction site on the outskirts of Kolkata, where her father has been working for the past few months. The settlement is crowded with temporary workers and their families living in sheds and slum dwellings in and around the buildings that are under construction. They don’t have access to toilets or safe drinking water. Pooja’s father’s work is precarious. Once the construction at this site is completed, he and his family will pack up their few possessions and move on, setting up home wherever he can find work. “Children of migrant workers often miss out on routine and supplementary immunization,” says Dr Nata Menabde, World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to India. “They are less well vaccinated compared to children living permanently in one place, so they dilute population immunity when they move into high-risk areas.” Population, or “herd” immunity, occurs when a sufficient proportion of the population is immune to a particular infectious disease. In the case of polio, immunity is provided by vaccination. As India moved towards eliminating polio, cases of the disease continued to be detected among migrant communities in otherwise polio-free states. Genetic sequencing of the virus showed that migrant populations were sustaining the transmission and transmitting the poliovirus into these areas, thus threatening eradication efforts. With support from WHO India’s National Polio Surveillance Project, the Government of India launched a strategy to improve reach to these migrant populations. Health workers map migrant settlements The first challenge was to track the people that needed to be reached. WHO India worked closely with the health authorities to develop a plan to locate migrant populations and incorporate them into immunization plans. Each primary health centre was made responsible for identification and mapping of migratory/mobile settlements in its area. Doctors enlisted the help of auxiliary nurse midwives, community health workers, social health activists and polio vaccinators to walk through their areas to identify and map pockets of migratory populations and estimate the number of households. This information was then used to plan targeted polio vaccination campaigns. The strategy identified more than 400 000 highrisk settlements, including urban slums and migrant settlements at construction sites and around brick kilns, as well as other nomadic sites such as migratory fishing villages.

Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Mohammed “These are some of India’s most underserved, marginalized people,” says Dr Sachin Rewaria, training focal person at WHO Country Office for India. “Their living conditions put them at risk of many health problems, yet they are not on the radar for any health services. Some of the children had never received any vaccinations in their lives.”

Learning from polio vaccination campaigns The intensive mapping formed the basis for targeted polio vaccination campaigns over the next few years. Teams of vaccinators were deployed to visit 125 to 150 households per day in these settlements. Since children often accompany their parents to work, the vaccinators had to make

Oral polio vaccination early morning or evening visits to the settlements, when children were most likely to be around. “Now that India is poliofree, we are using the learnings from polio to ensure that these children receive routine immunization as well,” says Dr Rakesh Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,

Government of India. In 2013, the Government held four special immunization weeks across the country, which aimed to provide routine immunizations to identified migrant communities. Routine immunization plans now include these high-risk sites and outreach routine immunization sessions are organized fre-

quently because there is such a high turnover of families. “The legacy of the polio eradication campaign is that India now has the know-how and operational skill to reach every child with essential health interventions, no matter how marginalized and remote they are,” says Dr Menabde. *Culled from WHO website

Stakeholders task pregnant women on healthcare By Paul Adunwoke OLLOWING the increase in childhood mortality and death of pregnant women in the country, stakeholders on health have tasked pregnant women to register earlier at primary healthcare during their pregnancy, saying it will help to reduce the increase the mortality. They also charged pregnant women to eat fruits more than any other foods; they said it would help any problem that might affect her to be managed accordingly.

F

They said this, during one day health policy dialogue programme, organized by Humanity Family Foundation for Peace and Development in collaboration with Doma Education Development Foundation, funded by Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (Sure-p) on maternal, newborn baby and Child health, held in Onikpanu, Lagos. Mrs. Kemi Adeyeye representing Humanity Family Foundation for Peace and Development, none governmental organization (NGO),

based in Ikorodu, Lagos, said they represented Sure-p, to educate community members on the need to register with government primary healthcare, she said, Sure-p is a Federal government programme meant to care for pregnant women and reduction of child mortality, in all the 36 state of the federation, using the money removed from subsidy in 2012. “We want to educate market women, their leaders, Community Development Associations (CDA), Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC), National Orientation Agencies, Christians and Moslem leaders who will deliver the massage back home to their people. There is need for pregnant women and nursing mothers to patronize government hospitals where there are trained personnel to avoid lose of their lives. Women with pregnancy needs love, attention and care, they should eat good food and have peace. Information is very important because many of our mothers do not have knowledge about the Sure-p healthcare Centers,

it is very important because it is free of charge and in every Sure-p health Centre there is trained personnel on ground for 24 hours and when our women get there they will receive quality healthcare, I believe it will go a long way to reduce the mortality. We have been going from one local council to the other in Lagos State to enable us get to the grassroots”. “Our pregnant women should take a lot of vegetables, fruits, water and then take their medications, when and how it is prescribed.

HIV-infected men at increased risk for heart disease, large study finds HE buildup of soft plaque in T arteries that nourish the heart is more common and extensive in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infected men than HIV-uninfected men, independent of established cardiovascular disease risk factors, according to a new study by United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) grantees. The findings suggest that HIV-infected men are at greater risk for a heart attack than their HIV-uninfected peers, the researchers write in Annals of Internal Medicine. In addition, blockage in a coronary artery was most common among HIV-infected men whose immune health had declined the most over the course of their infection and who had taken anti-HIV drugs the longest, the scientists found, placing these men at even higher risk for a heart attack. “These findings from the largest study of its kind tell us that men with HIV infection are at increased risk for the development of coronary artery disease and should discuss with a

care provider the potential need for cardiovascular risk factor screening and appropriate risk reduction strategies,” said Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH. “Thanks to effective treatments, many people with HIV infection are living into their 50s and well beyond and are dying of non-AIDS-related causes¬frequently, heart disease,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), also part of NIH. “Consequently, the prevention and treatment of non-infectious chronic diseases in people with HIV infection has become an increasingly important focus of our research.” NIAID and NHLBI funded the study with additional support from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of NIH. Past studies of the association between heart disease and HIV infection have reached inconsistent conclusions. To help clarify whether an association

exists, the current investigation drew participants from theMulticenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), a study of HIV/AIDS in gay and bisexual men established by NIAID nearly 30 years ago. “One advantage of the MACS is that it includes HIV-uninfected men who are similar to the HIV-infected men in the study in their sexual orientation, lifestyle, socioeconomic status and risk behavior, which makes for a good comparison group,” said Wendy S. Post, M.D., who led the study. Dr. Post is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. Another advantage was the MACS’ size, with nearly 7,000 men cumulatively enrolled, 1,001 of whom participated in the new study. The participants included 618 men who were HIV-infected and 383 who were not. All were 40 to 70 years of age, weighed less than 200 pounds, and had had no prior surgery to restore blood flow to the coronary arteries.

Dr. Post and colleagues investigated whether the prevalence and extent of plaque buildup in coronary arteries, a condition called coronary atherosclerosis, is greater in HIV-infected men than HIV-uninfected men and whether that plaque is soft or hard. Coronary atherosclerosis, especially soft plaque, is more likely to be a precursor of heart attack than hard plaque. The scientists found coronary atherosclerosis due to soft plaque in 63 percent of the HIV-infected men and 53 percent of the HIV-uninfected men. After adjusting for cardiovascular disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, high body mass index and smoking, the presence of soft plaque and the cumulative size of individual soft plaques were significantly greater in men with HIV infection. In addition, by examining a subgroup of HIV-infected men, the scientists discovered two predictors of advanced atherosclerosis in this popula-

tion. The first predictor deals with white blood cells called CD4+ T cells, which are the primary target of HIV and whose level, or count, is a measure of immune health. The researchers found that for every 100 cells per cubic millimeter decrease in a man’s lowest CD4+ T cell count, his risk of coronary artery blockage rose by 20 percent. The scientists also found that for every year a man had taken anti-HIV drugs, his risk of coronary artery blockage rose by nine percent. Because the investigators examined coronary artery plaque at a single point in time, further research is needed to determine whether coronary artery plaque in HIV-infected men is less likely to harden over time, or whether these men simply develop greater amounts of soft plaque, according to Dr. Post. In addition, she said, studies on therapies and behavioral changes to reduce risk for cardiovascular disease in men and women infected with HIV are needed to determine how best to prevent progression of atherosclerosis in


40 | NATURAL HEALTH Thursday, May 1, 2014

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Management of diabetes mellitus (2) week Thursday, I LdietAST considered water and in the management of

Bread...Making folic acid - a B9 vitamin - a compulsory ingredient in bread could prevent at least 300 babies a year developing spina bifida and other birth defects, it is estimated.

Folic acid-fortified bread to cut number of babies born with spinal defects HE British Government is T set to force manufacturers to add folic acid to white bread in a bid to cut the number of babies being born with spinal defects. Health minister Earl Howe yesterday gave the clearest indication yet that action will be taken, following a survey into the country’s diet and nutrition. Making folic acid - a B9 vitamin - a compulsory ingredient in bread could prevent at least 300 babies a year developing spina bifida and other birth defects, it is estimated. Debate has raged for more than two decades over whether the Government should introduce compulsory fortification of flour, but there has been growing pressure from scientists and nutritionists to tackle the issue. Experts have said flour fortification with folic acid would be one of the single most effective public health measures the United Kingdom (UK) could take. Earl Howe said the Government would announce its decision in the ‘next few days’ but hinted that ministers would make fortification mandatory. Shadow health minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath told him at question time in the House of Lords “It is clear and the Government has already briefed out that it is going to agree to this. “We are going off on a very long Easter recess and joy would be unconfined if you told us now what the Government has agreed to. Why don’t you come clean on it?” Lord Howe replied: “Because I have been told I can’t.” Women wanting to start a family, and in early pregnancy, are advised to take folic acid supplements to prevent birth defects, but uptake is low. Fewer than one in three women do so before becom-

ing pregnant, according to research earlier this year, and there is a lack of the vitamin in their diets. The Food Standards Agency has advised the Government that mandatory fortification would prevent most cases of disabilities such as spina bifida. There have been concerns that such a policy might promote ‘mass medication’ of the population, and it could be harmful to some. It may mask a vitamin B12 deficiency in the elderly, which can seriously damage the nervous system, and it may be linked to bowel cancer. Lord Howe said the Government had been waiting for information on the ‘folate status’ of the population from the national diet and nutrition survey, which would report how much B9 people absorb naturally. He said the results of the survey had been ‘significantly delayed’ but the Government would press ahead and make a decision

on the issue by Easter. Labour’s Lord Rooker, a former minister and chairman of the Food Standards Agency and a leading supporter of compulsory fortification, urged the Government not to wait any longer. He said: “At the present time the congenital anomaly register shows that on average in England and Wales there are 13 pregnancies terminated every week due to neural tube defects and three live births with spina bifida and other conditions, two thirds of which tragedies could be avoided by fortification.” He said the United States had fortified flour since 1998. Lord Howe said: “It is right that the Government balances both the risks and the benefits of a policy that would see the mandatory fortification of a staple food and I think that is a responsible course to take.” Fewer than one in three women take folic acid supplements before becoming

pregnant, according to research, and there is a lack of the vitamin in their diets He added: ‘It is worth us remembering that no other country in the European Union has taken the decision to fortify flour with folic acid. “We need to do this evaluating the risks and benefits using the most up-to-date data we can get.” But Lord Patel, an independent crossbench peer and retired obstetrician, told him: “You said no other European country has adopted fortification. “Will you agree that none of the other European countries have the same incidence of neural tube defect as we in the United Kingdom have. It is far, far greater in the UK?” Lord Howe said that was an issue that would be ‘weighed up.’ Charities including the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (ASBAH) have called on the Government to take swift action.

NIMPA, IMRC to train health counselors on diabetes, stroke, infertility management By Chukwuma Muanya ETERMINED to stem the tide of the non communicable ailments in the country, the Natural Integrative Medicine Practitioners Association (NIMPA) in collaboration with Integrative Medicine Research College (IMRC) has concluded plans to train health counselors on how best to counsel patients with diabetes mellitus, hypertension and stroke as well as male and female infertility. The training programmes are scheduled as follows: Hypertension /Stroke on Wednesday, May 7, 2014; Diabetes mellitus on Wednesday, July 9, 2014; and Male and Female Infertility on Wednesday, October 8, 2014. The trainings are scheduled to hold at Water Parks (Aquatic Hotels) Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos.

D

President NIMPA, Dr. Isaac Ayodele, told journalists in Lagos that the initiative, meant to build the career of NIMPA Members and others who have flairs for natural medicine is geared towards educating participants in the natural ways of preventing, treating and managing diabetes mellitus, hypertension/stroke, male and female infertility through nature’s remedial gifts that is herbs, fruits and vegetables to mention a few. NIMPA General Secretary, Dr. Gilbert Ezengige, in a statement explained that the initiative would translate to improved wellbeing and productivity among the citizenry. According to Ezengige, participants at the end of the specialized training will be equipped with the skills to make positive and significant contributions to the wellness

of patients experiencing those health challenges. The statement reads: “Participants will be tutored and guided step by step with practical demonstrations by seasoned natural medicine experts on how some natural bio resources in Nigeria are transformed to healing remedies for diabetes mellitus, hypertension/stroke, male and female infertility.” NIMPA noted that issues relating to diabetes mellitus, hypertension and stroke as well as infertility in both sexes are fast becoming a menace to the society leading to gross domestic inefficiency, non productivity at work, poverty and marital instability and as such calls for a concerted, proactive and pragmatic approach at addressing these largely lifestyleinduced health challenges.

diabetes mellitus. I promised to continue this week with the types of food diabetics should avoid and other management methods. However, before I do so I will like to discuss briefly a documentary I watched in the internet over the weekend. It was on the role of alkaline water in the management of diabetes mellitus in a patient who had developed a massive ulcer on the foot. Like all such patients, this particular patient was slated for amputation, but consuming four to six litres of alkaline water daily changed that plan. Not only did he drink so much of the alkaline water, he soaked the affected foot in alkaline water twice every day. Within a couple of weeks the ulcer began to heal and he could put the foot on the ground and even walked without crutches. His blood sugar level also had begun to drop. This supports the fact that dehydration and the acidic pH contribute to the cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus. As I stated in the last two articles, dehydration, causes the release of Prostaglandin E, which blocks the release of insulin and redistributes water to the pancreas. The pancreas produces the alkaline buffer solution that neutralizes the acidic stomach contents as they arrive in the duodenum. In an acidic environment inside the body brought about by dehydration, production of the alkaline solution will be hindered. Types of foods diabetics should avoid To begin with, diabetics should avoid foods that have high glycaemic indices. Just as I mentioned in an earlier article, our foods in this part of the world are mainly carbohydrate based. Not only that, the fiber which should have helped in the regulation of absorption of the glucose in these foods have been eliminated in the process of refining them. I am referring to items such as flour and rice. Diabetics are therefore adviced to avoid refined things like white flour and its products (cakes, cookies, pasta, doughnut, chin chin, pastries as in meat pies and sausage rolls), polished white rice and white sugar. Other things you should avoid are red meat (if you have to eat red meat, make sure it is the leanest portion), dairy products, trans fat and hydrogenated fats

(margerine, shortening etc), and alcohol. The diabetic should aim at eating low glycaemic carbohydrates (from lentils, beans, cauliflower, avocado pear, paw paw, apples etc), whole grains and whole oats are also good sources. These in combination with good proteins and fats, eaten in little quantities more often will surely prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Other management methods of diabetes Supplementation Supplements such as chromium, Vitamins E and C (antioxidants), magnesium and vanadium, all from plant sources have been tested and found to be useful in the management of diabetes. Research has shown that a lot more of the vitamins and minerals are deficient in people with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. There is a supplement, discovered by a Nigerian, Professor Ernest Izevbegie, from bitter leaf, known as Vernonia amygdalina, which has been found to be effective in the control of blood sugar. Testimonies to this abound and I have found it to be effective in my practice. In fact, one of my leaders in the church, in addition, drinks a glass of bitter leaf juice daily. His blood sugar has remained normal for more than two years. Exercise Exercise is one of the lifestyle changes that the one with diabetes mellitus must embark upon. Two very important benefits of exercise to the diabetic are increased utilization of the glucose by the cells and increased sensitivity of the cells to insulin. As more glucose is utilized during exercise, the amount of glucose that should accumulate in the blood circulation reduces. Furthermore, the increased sensitivity of the cells to insulin brought about by exercise renders the cells more receptive to the effect of insulin and more glucose is driven into the cells. Exercise can therefore be said to directly suppress the development of insulin resistance. The type of exercise recommended is both aerobic and muscle building types of exercise. Brisk walking for 30 minutes for about 4 times a week should burn sufficient glucose to prevent a build up and an insulin spike. You need to realize that it is important to check your blood sugar levels and the haemoglobin A1C regularly. Doing so will help to prevent a state of hypoglycaemia.


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Education Surge in host community-campus fracas

Main gate of Federal Polytechnic Oko

The trend of communities poking their noses into the affairs of federal tertiary institutions located in their domain is gaining ascendency. These meddlesome communities sometimes attempt to install or arm twist the Federal Government into appointing one of theirs or their anointed candidates into choice offices in the institutions, or even want the leadership of such institutions to take orders from them. The feud between Oko Community in Anambra State and the Federal Polytechnic, which it plays host to, looks like a classic example. This is happening at a time the crisis that enveloped the University of Nigeria (UNN) Nsukka as well as that between the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa and its host community is just settling down. ENO-ABASI SUNDAY writes on this unfortunate trend, which President Goodluck Jonathan recently cautioned against. ROFESSOR Godwin Onu is in the opening P chapters of his second term as rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Orumba North council area of Anambra State, having only been re-appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan last month, against the wishes of some members of the host Oko community. In setting sail in this second journey, Onu has had to do so in extremely troubled waters. With the high tide and furious undercurrents yet to ebb, the helmsman appears to be weathering immense tidal waves in a bid to stay afloat. The matter, which started with a peaceful protest by the harmless women over allegations that they were being unfairly treated by the school authority, has exacerbated to the point where 13 youths have been banished from the community and the palace of the Oko monarch, Prof. Laz Ekweme razed d o w n . Interestingly, the arrowheads of the campaign do not want Onu put away for running the institution aground (as evidence abound to the contrary). Instead they are accusing him of dehumanising the women and causing great discomfort in the community since his arrival, through his actions and inaction, an allegation his aide has vehemently t h r a s h e d . Before the peaceful protest by the women (which ignited the current crisis), a lot of burning issues had been going on behind the scene, with many saying the seed of discord was planted back in 2012. This was in the wake of a demonstration by students  of the institution, which led to the destruction of property worth millions of naira belonging to both the school and locals.  Curiously, youths of the community, some of whom were initially up in arms against Onu appear to be firmly in support of his reappointment by Jonathan having fallen out with their elders led by the monarch. Mrs. Maureen Izuegbunem who led the protest had accused Onu of dehumanising the women whom he hired to ensure that the school premises remained spick-andspan, only to allegedly deny them their salaries for over a year. According to her, “He (Onu) has morbid hatred for this community. He has vehemently refused to pay us compensation for the destruction of property in the ‘2012 students crisis,’ which he instigated and it was a committee that he set up that made the recommendations that he pays the compensation.” On the surface, the provost appears to have nerves of steel, but once the strike action is suspended and students return to campus,

the relationship between the town and the gown must be cordial in order that the safety of the students is not compromised. To date, the Oko Peoples Union (OPU), which has leveled several allegations against Onu, is unrelenting in its determination to get him out of office even as it is also seriously against the management of the polytechnic. A statement, which was endorsed by its President-General, Mr. Cyprian Nwanmuo, and the Vice-President, Mr. Clement Udoye, on March 4, had also kicked against the renewal of the tenure of the rector and his rejection communicated to the supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike. According to them, “Prof Godwin Onu has failed woefully to manage himself peacefully and operate smoothly and harmoniously within his work environment and is at daggers drawn with virtually everybody in his work place. He goes to war with his host community for every flimsy reason.” At the moment, the community is badly polarised with most youths, who are members of the OPU youth wing, under the leadership of its acting president, Evang. Tochukwu Ezeokafor, pitching tenth with the embattled rector, while most women alongside the elders are queuing behind their monarch. Onu has, in the last four years established linkages with some universities in India and the United Kingdom all with a view to boosting scholarship in the institution. Particularly, the understanding with Sharda University, India on Nanotechnology and the Chinese Studies Exchange Programme, with the Confucius Institute, China are two areas that were gaining momentum before the ongoing industrial action took off. Evidence that peace was yet to return to the community further manifested last week when youths, some of whom have been banished stormed the Government House, Awka

to call on the state government to intervene in the crisis. They carried placards with inscriptions like “Igwe has banished 13 youths for no just cause,” “Igwe is shooting and killing his subjects with soldiers,” “Governor, please use your good offices to give us peace in Oko,” “Dethrone Igwe Ekweme and let us have peace,” “Igwe is ostracising his people,’’ and “Igwe is making mockery of Oko community,” among others. The youth leader Ezeokafor, who spoke said they were protesting the injustice and instigation of crisis by the leadership of the community, stressing that they were tired of the situation where the supposed security officers of the community were the ones humiliating the subjects for their selfish reasons. The school’s public relations officer, Mr. Obini Onuchukwu, has persistently absolved his principal of all the allegations raised against him by the community, stressing that the same community gave his boss a special distinguished service award last October, for his transformation of the institution. According to him, “I am therefore highly disappointed that the same people are now calling for the removal of the rector.” He said Onu has rejuvenated the institution and radically improved on its infrastructural facilities since coming on board. He listed some of his achievements to include the erection of about 17 new structures, eight of which are now ready for commissioning, introduction of 25 new programmes, eight of which are ready for assessment for accreditation. Onuchukwu had told The Guardian in the early stages of the crisis that Prof. Ekwueme’s call for the removal of Onu was politically motivated even as he opined that if the highly celebrated Professor of Music,

Fundamentally, all stakeholders must subscribe to the fundamental ethos that tertiary institutions are peculiar in terms of their diversity, cosmopolitanism and avant-garde character.  Hence, in terms of ownership, the host community must recognise that it is privileged to be hosting the entire world, literally speaking, through the tertiary institution. For good measure, tertiary institutions put their communities on the world map of scholarship and human capacity development. No tertiary institution will gain respect beyond the locality if it is perceived or run as an extension of the palace of a local potentate or a monopoly of the local community. Sadly, that is the case in several places in Nigeria today.

who is also the younger sibling of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme could be muscling Onu out of his community, then it wont be out of place for him to urge indigenes of Kaduna to agitate for his removal as Chairman of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). He also described those calling for Onu’s removal as a “cabal” of few insatiable men and women, adding that the cabal must have infiltrated the town union because the rector hitherto enjoyed a robust relationship with the town union. He said, “The traditional ruler should leave the rector to concentrate and do his work without any further distractions. We expected him to act more maturely instead of inciting the people. The traditional ruler has displayed so much rascality and has used same to infiltrate the town union. All this bad blood started when the institution turned down most of the daily selfish demands from the palace. The development plan of the school would have been derailed if we continued to attend to all their demands on daily basis. He also noted that the issue of payment for the 2012 students’ riot damages has been settled in full, but the cabal continues to demand for it because the rector had instructed a direct payment to affected individuals. For now, the relationship between Oko community and the institution remains topsyturvy pending the outcome of the intervention of the state government. Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Media, Mr. James Eze has, however, promised the youths that all their grievances would be addressed. Before the Oko crisis began to brew, and not long after the six-month long nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was called off in December 2013, the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) was engulfed in a fresh round of crisis. The domestic strive led to the removal of the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the school, Dr. Emeka Enejere, an indigene of Nsukka community. In the New Year, the crisis escalated as all categories of staff, ranging from lecturers, senior and junior non-academic staff as well as the National Association of Academic Technologists of the institution downed tools asking the government to recall Enejere. They also called for the removal of the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof Bartholomew Okolo. Enejere, a UNN alumnus and former lecturer, was allegedly sacked by the Federal

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42 Thursday, May 1, 2014 EDUCATION

‘It’s out of place for communities to dictate to govts, school authorities’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41 Government for being “a friend’’ of the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi. He was replaced with lawyer to the six anti-Amaechi members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala, SAN. Before Enejere was showed the door, the governing council had been embroiled in a crisis with the vice chancellor of the UNN, Prof Bartholomew Okolo, over alleged misapplication of funds. Just as concerned parties were seeking ways of sorting out the festering crisis, the host Enugu North Senatorial Zone (Nsukka) dabbled into the matter, as indigenes of the place joined the four workers’ union in the institution to demand for Enejere’s immediate re-

instatement. In an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan entitled “Removal of Emeka Enejere as Chairman, Governing Council, University of Nigeria, Nsukka,” the people demanded the immediate re-instatement of Dr. Enejere. In the letter, which was signed by the President General of Nsukka Town Union, Mr. Austin Alumonah, the people of Nsukka zone said Enejere was suspended for insisting on due process in running the affairs of the university by the school’s leadership. Interestingly, at the 43rd Convocation ceremony of the institution, its Visitor, President Jonathan cautioned host communities of federal government-owned educational institutions to hands off and enable the

It is, however, aberrant to have host communities go beyond poking their noses into the affairs of the institution to the point of insisting that the management of the institution takes orders from them. This typically happens in situations where the host community had been part of lobbying for the appointment of the head of the institution, or members of the management team especially for the ‘son or daughter of the soil.’ The common refrain is ‘after putting you there, you have to be loyal to us to enjoy the office’. If the officer fails to be “loyal”, he or she begins to court the wrath of the community. Ultimately, the “vice chancellor, provost of rector must go” agitations begin to brew schools operate as global entities. While expressing happiness that peace had returned to the school, after it was engulfed by protests following Enejere’s removal, Jonathan, who was represented at the event by the Wike, urged host communities to respect the sanctity and federal character of

institutions located in their areas. “Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my address would not be complete if I do not make reference to the recent disturbing developments in this university. While I am pleased that peace and normalcy had returned to the university, let me seize this occasion to

reiterate that the federal institutions should not be seen as the property of the communities or states in which they are situated,” Jonathan warned. As Jonathan was issuing the warning, the leadership crisis, which had engulfed the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa State, which the community had also got involved was petering out. In August last year, four months to the completion of Dr. Pius Otaru Salami’s tenure as rector, the school’s governing council had started preparations for the appointment of a new rector. However, a vacancy announcement for the post stirred controversy in the state as some locals alleged it was an attempt to deny the state indigenes the opportunity to, for the first time in the almost 30 years of school, head the institution. Expectedly, this development generated some hot air between the host community and the school’s management, with the community accusing the management of plots to scheme out indigenes with the qualification to fill the vacant post. They further alleged that the advertorial was skewed to shut out their people in favour of certain interests, who have held sway at the polytechnic since 1981 when the institution was established, even as they further alleged that the advertorial did not get the approval of the governing council of the school. Not many stakeholders are amused by the unfolding trend, which does not make for a long lasting smooth relationship between federal government-owned tertiary institutions and their host communities. In fact, some are of the opinion that a bold line should be drawn to demarcate where each party should apply brakes. “It is not aberrant to have some host communities literally poke their noses in the affairs of the institutions within their catchment area. The inextricable social linkage accounts in part for this, since some staff and students are indigenous to such communities and feel affected by developments in the institution. Even those staff and students who are not indigenes of the host community are impacted by the economic interdependence of the host community and the institution to the point that when one of the parties sneezes, the other will catch cold,” said former executive secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Peter Okebukola. To further elucidate the interwoven relationship between the town and the

gown, Okebukola said, “When the students are on vacation or on strikeinduced stay away, the host community groans under severe drop in economic activities including loss of revenue from the usuallyelevated house rent. On the other hand, when the community can only offer lowlevel service to the institution such as tailoring, hairdressing, Internet and other technical services, students travel long distances to procure such high-level services. Although symbiotic, it is the host community that benefits more from the relationship, including making the name of the village or town globally known, hence many community leaders will fight to secure the establishment of institutions, especially universities in their domain.” The former acting vice chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU) stressed that it was out of place for host communities to meddle in the activities of the institutions to the point of dictating to government, who heads such schools. Said he, “It is, however, aberrant to have host communities go beyond poking their noses into the affairs of the institution to the point of insisting that the management of the institution takes orders from them. This typically happens in situations where the host community had been part of lobbying for the appointment of the head of the institution, or members of the management team especially for the ‘son or daughter of the soil.’ The common refrain is ‘after putting you there, you have to be loyal to us to enjoy the office’. If the officer fails to be “loyal”, he or she begins to court the wrath of the community. Ultimately, the “vice chancellor, provost of rector must go” agitations begin to brew. “The other angle to the story is that internal troubles within the institution can be externalised and the local community hoodwinked into being part of tackling the school’s management. This is a sad development in the Nigerian higher education system and the rising crescendo of the phenomenon is recent.” Going down memory lane, Okebukola said, “While snippets of the phenomenon had existed in the past, the recent rise in the occurrence of host community interference can be traced to the 2007 university autonomy law. A provision of the law, resides in council, (that is) the final power of appointment of a vice chancellor. President Olusegun Obasanjo meant well in putting this law in place. Sadly, its implementation is being abused. “Today, you have local communities lobby council and in many instances, insist that they want the ‘son or daughter of the soil’ to be vice chancellor. The chairman of council and many members being politicians, typically bend to such demands in order to curry political favours from the community. Before this law was promulgated, council was the penultimate step in the process and was vested with the powers of presenting three names to the presi-

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‘Schools should respect host communities’ sensibilities’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 42 dent. It is the president, who after consultations that appoints the vice chancellor. “When I was executive secretary of NUC and part of the informal consultations, the indigeneship factor had no place as former President Obasanjo insisted only on merit, except in very few instances when security reports on the top-scoring candidate was not favourable. The current scenario sees the “local” vicechancellor being pressured to appoint senior academics, who are also indigenes and the whole university is turned into a village school. Offices are shared on the basis of local governments within the state where the vice-chancellor comes from. The universities of Lagos, Ife, Ibadan, Abuja and a few other federal universities are yet to be visibly infected by this virus. All state universities are severely infected. It is a virus that compromises quality of leadership of our universities and poised to run the quality of university education aground,” Okebukola concluded. For the Vice Chancellor of Caleb University, Prof. Ayodeji Olukoju, “There must be a clear understanding of the following issues: the universal raison d’etre of tertiary institutions; joint ownership of the tertiary institution; respect for sensibilities of the host community, and the rights, privileges and peculiarities of  tertiary institutions the world over.  “Fundamentally, all stakeholders must subscribe to the fundamental ethos that tertiary institutions are peculiar in terms of their

Okebukola

Olukoju

Onu

Okolo

diversity, cosmopolitanism and avant-garde character. Hence, in terms of ownership, the host community must recognise that it is privileged to be hosting the entire world, literally speaking, through the tertiary institution. For good measure, tertiary institutions put their communities on the world map of scholarship and human capacity development. No tertiary institution will gain respect beyond the locality if it is perceived or run as an extension of the palace of a local potentate or a monopoly of the local community. Sadly, that is the case in several places in Nigeria today. Having said that, the vice chancellor maintained that, “tertiary institution must respect the mores, conventions and cultural practices of their host communities. Flouting local municipal

laws or thumbing one’s nose at local practices that can be accommodated cannot make for peace. The culture of academic freedom that prevails on campuses must be tempered by recognition of the rights and sensibilities of the wider local community. In effect, there must be constant consultation between both parties and a commitment to maintaining order and mutual respect, as well as the sustenance of the institution as a place of character development and academic excellence. Olukoju, however, recommended that: “The head of the institution or his desig-

nated representative should constantly liaise with the community to proactively forestall crises and clashes. This will restrain hotheads and potential troublemakers on both sides. Henceforth, a Memorandum of Understand (MOU) should be signed by host communities, the establishing authorities and proprietors of tertiary institutions to establish the rules of engagement or code of conduct. For the Fellow of Nigerian Academy of Letters, President Jonathan’s recent warning to host communities to hands off and enable the schools operate as glob-

al entities was neither enough nor sufficient to deter perpetrators from fomenting trouble at regular intervals. Reason: “For far too long, some host communities have been allowed to make unreasonable demands, specifically, the right to produce heads of such institutions. This has been taken to absurd levels of indecency. The government should be more interventionist since it established and owns those institutions.” Olukoju who said that the situation has become so bad that some of the institutions have since “ceased to be national institutions. In

some places, deliberate efforts have been made to weed out “strangers” (nonindigenes), no matter how qualified and competent, for indigenes, who may not necessarily be competent. It is only in western Nigeria that the sick clamour for indigenes of local communities to head federal institutions has not gained traction.” He lamented that, “Government’s complacency and acquiescence, if not complicity, have emboldened some misguided elements of such communities to resort to extra-legal methods to make ridiculous demands, as if the institutions were domiciled in those communities to serve  narrow, local interests. All stakeholders, including the alumni, must be involved in arresting this ugly development.” Asked to proffer the best way of maintaining a cordial relationship between a tertiary institution and its host community, he responded, “Regular consultations among critical stakeholders; recognition of, and respect for cultural, spatial and emotional boundaries; developing a win-win mentality and plan of action; active participation in events organised by both parties; effective enlightenment; prompt action on demands for redress; and appropriate rewards for good deeds and sanctions for misdeeds.


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Five bag THAF scholarship as group plans two schools By Eno-Abasi Sunday N a day the pioneer O director general of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), Apostle Hayford Alile turned a year older, five indigent students were blessed with scholarship packages to further their career in private tertiary institutions in the country. Three others persons, who are aspiring entrepreneurs also smiled home with N300, 000 each. The amount is meant to also help them further their career. In his address at this year’s The Hayford Alile Foundation (THAF) lecture, which held at the University of Lagos, Alile said, the group’s accomplishments since its launch in 2010 have been gradual even as it remains on course. “We have so far sponsored 12 individuals through the Fate Foundation’s Aspiring Entrepreneur Programme. Last year’s graduands are Mr. Joel Mmalagu and Mrs. Nkem Onabanjo. Our students in the University of Benin on our scholarship just graduated top of their classes. “Etinosa Ekomenrenren made a 1st Class in Engineering while Miss Aisosa Omobude and Miss Jennifer Osagie both made 2nd Class Upper in Fisheries and Fine Arts respectively. This is proof that our investments in them were truly worthy. But we still have a long way to go with millions of indigent brilliant children to assist in line with our mission.” The 74-year-old continued, “At today’s event, we will bless five undergraduate students with scholarships – two each to Benson Idahosa University, Benin City and Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti and one to Madonna University, Okija. “Our partnership with Fate Foundation continues as we sponsor three new individuals to attend this year’s Aspiring Entrepreneur Programme. Of the 12 students we have sponsored through Fate Foundation, five going have to six have established their own businesses with a total of about 30 employees.” The pioneer NSE boss revealed that THAF was working towards establishing a plumbing institute and a secretarial administrative school, where people can receive training beyond shorthand and typing skills. “Most CEOs are very busy and good professional secretaries can make their duties less tedious. Young graduates can be exposed to specialise as secretaries in legal, construction, architectural etc areas.” In her lecture titled, “Innovating for Market Distinctivess,” Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Ms Evelyn Oputu, said: “Amid the pressures of global expansion and competition, the widespread adoption of digital technologies and social media platforms, the changes in consumer attitudes and spending, and ongoing economic uncertainty, chief executive offi-

cers, chief technical officers, chief financial officers and chief marketing officers need to find innovative ways to reinvent their businesses, their marketing teams and themselves. According to her, “In the 21st Century, three factors are emerging vital to value creation and competitiveness: efficiency, a large responsive domestic market and innovation… Every company, in every industry, needs an innovation strategy – whether it be high-tech product innovation, packaging innovation in consumer goods, or process innovation at financial services companies. Now more than ever, innovation is key

to growth, to acquiring and sustaining competitive advantage, and to building shareholder value for the long term. If this is so, why is every company not focusing their energies on innovation? Shedding light on how firms can develop powerful innovation capacities, Oputu said it was no mean task considering the implications. “First, there is no correlation between the amount of money a company spends on research and development and its overall financial results. Second, although most executives acknowledge the need to explore new businesses and markets, they

almost always bow to more pressing claims of the core business especially when times are hard. Third, innovations typically don’t get a fair share of the firm’s capital and

resources. At best, leaders of the firm’s established strategic business units ignore innovation projects. At worst, they see them as threats to the firm’s core identity and values. Against

this background, the companies that will win in the innovation super league are those companies that have openness to new ideas in their DNA, have the ability

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‘capacity building for teachers high on transformation agenda’ From Kanayo Umeh, Abuja HE Federal Government T says capacity building for teachers remains a necessary measure needed to adequately prepare them to function effectively in a challenging global environment. Speaking at a workshop organised for Mathematics teachers in junior secondary schools (JSS) in Nasarawa State, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Dr. MacJohn Nwaobiala stressed that building teachers’ capacity was one of the highest priorities on the agenda of government in the current transformation process. According to him: “Majority of teachers do not possess the relevant competencies necessary for the implementation of continuous assessment. competence needed in writing objective, reliable and standardised test items, come by training and experience. Most teachers in schools are not grounded in the principles of test construction and a lot of teachers have poor knowledge of scoring, interpretation of test scores and weak knowledge of test scores.” He noted with dismay, the rising army of poorly educated teachers that pervade the country’s institutions of learning. “We all know that the quality of teacher as well as the quality of instruction have been on the decline, contributing significantly to the dismal performance of students nationwide. As one of the steps to address this ugly trend, the ministry has put this work-

shop in place to enable JSS teachers in Nasarawa State, acquire skills in item writing in a core subject like Mathematics. “The objective of this workshop is to train the trainers and teachers trained at this workshop are expected to return to their various schools to organise similar workshops, so that knowledge gained would be spread. This workshop is expected to train teachers in mathematics only. He revealed that the Federal Government is aware of the poor performance of students in Mathematics both in inter-

The objective of this workshop is to train the trainers and teachers trained at this workshop are expected to return to their various schools to organise similar workshops, so that knowledge gained would be spread. This workshop is expected to train teachers in mathematics only. nal and external examinations nationwide. “It is therefore, believed that one of the ways to ameliorate/halt this scenario is by developing the capacity of teachers who teach this subject in diverse ways, including item writing. We all know that

education is the right of every Nigerian child irrespective of gender, age or geographical location. It is on this backdrop that I urge you all to ensure at all times that the education provided is of good quality, functional and relevant to the economic development of

Nigeria, bearing in mind the vision of Nigeria to be among the top 20 nations by the year 2020,” he said. In his remarks, Director, Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. chike Uwaezuoke stated that the Federal Government appreciates the importance of capacity building of its workforce to the country’s educational development. “This Workshop is aimed at ensuring qualitative education and pushing the frontiers of knowledge to a higher realm. It is a well-known fact that many teachers frequently have the task of constructing tests, but

have relatively little or no training or information to rely on in this task. Also the number of persons who can meaningfully critique test items in terms of the principles or constructs involved is limited. “I urge all participants to come together during the course of this workshop to review each other’s tests, the time constraints notwithstanding, with a view to improving the quality of items and on getting to your various states, develop item bank that would ensure uniformity in the examination questions,” he stated.

Olapeju preaches moral, cultural rebirth at King’s college cultural Day By Ujunwa Atueyi rINcIPAl of King’s P college, lagos, Otunba Dele Olapeju, has stressed the need for schools, community and parents to continually remind their children and wards of their origin and tradition, as a way of restoring moral value in the society. At the recently held “2014 cultural Day” celebration of the college, Olapeju, maintained that parents as well as education providers have a huge role to play in inculcating decency in younger generations through cultural inheritance. To him, through academic curriculum; extra curricular activities and family values, schools and parents should be able to shape the minds of young people and guide them towards appreciating

the beauty of Nigerian culture. According to him: “There is need for us to continually bring these children back to our roots and origin, especially now that westernisation is increasing in our environment. Our innate cultural tendencies and activities are receding while westernisation is taking over on a daily basis. “We did not descend from the sky, everyone should remember that we have an origin and we must uphold our culture and tradition. On our part we will continue to teach indigenous languages, inter relation of languages and ethnic groups in Nigeria to our students”. “Through our curriculum and activities,” he continued, “we try to address all these issues, when this is done parents should take

over at home because the home is the engine room of child’s development, so parents should take it up from their homes, by bringing in our culture in dressing, attitude, food and languages”, he stressed.  He hinted that the rich and varied cultural heritage of

Nigeria has a profound power to inculcate moral lifestyle in the children and help build a new society that would have respect for every tradition. “We are children of Africa, we are children of Nigeria, we are free born and we must be able to promote our culture among our chil-

dren because the future lies in them,” he expressed. Still commenting on the importance of the ceremony to the school, Olapeju said, the day was set aside to recognise all aspects of Nigerian culture, including creative expressions, historical inheritance, language, foods and drinks.

Alile foundation awards scholarship CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45 to manage innovation projects from conception to market introduction, have the intuition to kill projects early on, if necessary, and/or have the capability to tie new-product development tightly to specific sales, marketing and financial goals.” But how does innovation

contribute to distinctiveness or competitive advantage, Oputu answered, “The way businesses define and articulate their product offerings and their customer-centred missions will always influence how they migrate risk and seize opportunities. Within this context, I will address the possibility of new market spaces for businesses

together with the leadership and innovative business models underpinning delivery. “A quick analysis of mission statements and strategy documents of most businesses to see how they position themselves shows a uniformity that points to a “race to the middle”, inevitably creating a crowded market space.


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Nobel laureates, Sargent, Maskin for Covenant varsity’s economic conference By Tope Templer Olaiya WO world-acclaimed Nobel T laureates in Economics, Prof. Thomas Sargent of New York University and Prof. Eric Maskin of Harvard University, will lead a galaxy of economists to the Covenant University International Conference on African Development Issues (CU-ICADI) in Nigeria next month. The conference would focus on vectors conducive to economic growth and alleviation of poverty. The maiden conference holding from May 5th to 6th is christened “Rising Economic Opportunities for Investors in Africa and the Prospect of African Economic Miracle.” Speaking to journalists in Lagos at the weekend, member of the organising committee and a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin, United States, John Ifediora, observed that over the last decade, poor economic indicators of famine, extreme poverty, wars, low growth rates amongst others that characterised the post-independence era of many nations in Africa are being reversed. “The continent is witnessing the fastest growth rate in the world reaching seven per cent per annum in some cases as against one percent in the previous decade. This growth trend has raised high hopes as to the possibility of Africa experiencing a sustainable growth impetus,” Ifediora said. The presence of the Nobel laureates in Nigeria in one confer-

ence, he said is not only unique, but indicates the important role Nigeria plays in Africa, and the foresight of the university in organising such historical event. “Coming at a time the country is battered with negative stories, the presence of this newsmakers will lift Nigeria’s image momentarily out of the doldrums and show to the world that Nigeria is actually not a bad place to come to. This will also raise the profile and ranking of Covenant University for having two Nobel laureates in their faculty.” Ifediora said while the Nobel laureates would headline the conference, the discussants assembled to provide further practical insight and depth are nationally and internationally recognised experts in the field of economics, finance, public policy analysis, and governance of private and public resources. These include Prof. Jonathan Leape of the London School of Economics, two-time Finance Minister, Dr. Kalu I. Kalu, the acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Sarah Alade, the Director-General of the Nigeria Budget Office, Dr. Okogu Bright and Professor Machinko Nissanke of the University of London among other egg heads. Ifediora of the University of Wisconsin, said the conference would be particularly relevant to policy makers at all levels of government, development experts, economists, business and corporate lead-

ers, and academics. Asked to provide a glimpse of what is expected at the conference, Ifediora said: “I contend that social institutions matter, and that economic development is path-dependent. The path taken so far by African states in their quest for sustained development, while different to a large extent from those embarked upon by other resources-rich countries such as Iran, Algeria, Indonesia, and Venezuela, ultimately led in many instances to the same destination: one of missed opportunities, poverty, inadequate infrastructure, marginalised educational systems, a growing pool of unskilled and displaced work-

ers, and underdevelopment of crucial sectors. “While the path chosen is deliberately purposeful, it is invariably shaped by lived experiences of policy makers, and the political and economic institutions adopted post-political independence in the 1960s.”  He stated further: “That these institutions matter stems from the fact that they are rules that guide conduct, and sanction what activities maybe engaged to advance society’s welfare in terms of governance, the use of social resources, and property rights. “In almost all resourceendowed countries in Africa that failed to achieve sustained economic development, policy

makers relied almost exclusively on oil or other natural resource to drive macroeconomic agenda for growth; and they did so when discovery of natural resources in their territorial competence coincided with periods of nation-building, and experiments with political and economic ideologies. “The growth-sustaining qualities of inclusive political and economic institutions are their liberating effects on individuals and capital. By giving the governed free choice to pursue activities compelled by selfinterest, investment in human capital through education, and acquisition of skills invariably follow. Capital, free to move

into areas of higher than normal returns, helps beget technologies that enable both workers and capital to become more productive.” Ifediora concluded that the cycle of improvements in skills and technology are the basis of sustained economic growth that is made possible by inclusivity and added: “Nigeria’s failure to achieve broad economic prosperity is (as in many African countries) in more ways than one, attributable to low levels of education, lack of adaptable skills to modern technologies, and the inability to emulate advanced economies.” 

NCC donates digital facilities to two Imo polytechnics From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri HE Nigeria T Communications Commission (NCC) has donated digital equipment to the Imo Polytechnic, Umuagwo, and the Federal Polytechnic, near Owerri in the state. The donation is under NCC’s Advanced Digital Awareness Digital Programme (ADAPTI) and the equipment include, computer sets, Internets facilities and solar power devices.   The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who was represented by his Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said the outfit has made similar donation to about 297 institutions of higher learning in the country, while 144 other institutions have benefitted since the inception of the project in 2008.    “ADAPTI is one of the programmes, which the Nigerian Communication Commission introduced to bridge the digital divide existing in the academia, through the provision of computers and other ICT facilities, which would equip the lecturers and other experts and improve their ICT skills. It is also to enrich the students. It is against this backdrop that the commission provides computers and other ICT systems to the beneficiaries, including installation of stateof-the- art e-learning suites in some tertiary institutions.” Juwah said another programme of the commission, the Universal Access Provision

Fund (USPF), set up under the 2003 NCC Act, was implementing the School Access Programme (SAP) for Secondary schools and Tertiary Institutions Access Programme (TIAP) and Digital Access Programme (DAP), which 217 schools have benefitted from in the country. Present at the ceremony were the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Chief Hope Uzodinma representing Imo West Senatorial Zone), Deputy Chairman, House Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Chief Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe (Imo–Ahiazu, Ezinihtte Federal constituency), and the Head of Department of Mass Communication, Imo State University, Prof. Victor Kogah among others.

(Left –Right) Board of Governors of Meadow Hall: Justice Yetunde Idowu, Senator (Dr.) Olorunimbe Mamora and Mr. Andy Nwani, with the Director Mrs. Kehinde Nwani, at the 2014 graduation ceremony of Meadow Hall Graduate Teacher Trainee programme.

FUTO begins construction of ultra-modern staff quarters From Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri HE Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), has begun the construction of staff quarters for various categories of staff members of the institution. The gestation period for the project, which contract was awarded to a private developer, Investment Industrial Amalgamated Limited, is nine months. A total of 300 housing units (200 semi detached and

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another 100 two-bedroom semi detached are to be built. The General Manager, Marketing and Strategic plans, Dr. Surplus A. Surplus, who confirmed the commencement of work, said the project would be spread across a total of 800 plots of land. Performing the ground breaking exercise recently at the premises of the institution, the Pro- Chancellor and Chairman of the school’s

Governing Council, Dr. Emmanuel Enemuo, warned members of the host community against disturbing the construction work as adequate compensations had been paid for the land. He, however, declined giving out the total cost of the project. Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Chigozie Asiabaka, who noted that the project was taking place 34 years into the school’s existence, called for understand-

ing from all stakeholders. Members of the governing council, the monarch of Owerri, Eze Emmanuel Njemanze, some members of staff and students of the institution witnessed the ceremony. Some members of the host community -Umuchima, Ihiagwa, Owerri West council area, had kicked against the ceremony taking place saying the area was the only portion left for their children to develop.

Meadow Hall School graduates trainees from GTTP N a move aimed at enhancIbringing ing professionalism and back passion to the teaching profession, Meadow Hall School, Lekki, Lagos has graduated the second batch of trainees from its Graduate Teacher Trainee Programme (GTTP), a three-month teacher trainee programme targeted at young graduates who are passionate about the development of the education sector. The programme was launched last year to support government’s efforts at raising the standard of education in the country by introducing

the trainees to the latest developments and international best practices, for effective teaching and learning. The school also provides the trainees an opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience using British and Nigerian curricula. Speaking during the recent graduation ceremony of the second batch of teachers who took part in the programme, Director of Meadow Hall, Mrs. Kehinde Nwani, said the initiative was launched as a result of her passion for education and the Nigerian child, adding

that the only way to reach children beyond the Meadow Hall environment was to train teachers for the society. She reasoned that one way of making a lasting impact on the education industry was to train graduates who were passionate about education in the best practices of the profession. “I brought the idea to the Meadow Hall Training School and we developed a curriculum on core education courses as well as 21st century skills such as collaborative, logical reasoning, creative and inno-

vative skills. We also included other life-changing courses such as personal effectiveness, professionalism, work ethics, and a number of other courses.” While highlighting the benefits of modern methods of teaching, she said teachers should be facilitators of learning, who make learning interesting enough to cause the children to be inquisitive. She enjoined the teachers to hold on to knowledge acquired during the programme, as it was capable of moving them in the direction

of success. Member of the Meadow Hall Board of Governors, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, who commended the school for initiating the programme, described education as a continuous process and a lasting legacy. While noting that appropriate education has the power to unlock the potential of every child, he urged the teachers to demonstrate character, competence and understanding, as well as passion for the profession for their chosen profession.


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MarketReport EQUITY MARKET SUMMARY

AS AT 30=04=2014

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Thursday, May 1, 2014 MARKET REPORT

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MARKET INDICATORS

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Access Bank’s gross earnings hit N208b By Chijioke Nelson and Helen Oji CCESS Bank Group has A declared gross earnings of N208 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2013, as against N197billion recorded in the previous year. The group recorded a profit before tax of N45billion, as its total assets and liabilities grew to N1.84trillion and N1.6trillion, against the N1.75trillion and N1.6trillion recorded in the corresponding period respectively. However, the shareholders yesterday at the bank’s annual general meeting approved a total dividend of N8billion, interim dividend of 25kobo paid in half year and a final dividend of 35kobo per share approved representing a total of 60kobo per share awarded. The shareholders also approved the raising of $1billion additional capital by the Board of Directors in order to establish a Medium Term Notes Programme, either by way of public offering, private placement, rights offering, book building process via the issuance of convertible or nonconvertible loans, medium term notes, bonds or other securities. Commenting on the result, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said that despite the economic and regulatory challenges the institution has continued to improve its execution skills, fit for purpose and with the right scale and structure to be amongst the top profitable banks. According to him, Access bank can now in line with its corporate objectives pursue and entrench itself in the top three position in all markets the bank chooses to serve.

Wigwe disclosed that customers’ deposits increased by 10.8per cent to N1.3trillion on the back of renewed customer engagement and upholding brand promises of “Speed, Service and Security.” He affirmed, “We believe our customers will continue to benefit from the stability and efficiency of the prudent riskmanagement structure the we have in place” The GMD, who stated that the bank surpassed its lending target and increase loans by 33.2per cent for the year under review, attributed the improvement to the bank’s foreign exchange lending support trade and foreign exchange income generating sectors, while sorting to ease pressure from tighter lending in its local currency book. The Chairman of Access Bank, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, said he has a deep understanding of the bank’s operations and has been an integral part of the team that built the bank from number 65 in 1992 to its current top tier-1 position in Nigeria. He explained that in 2013 the bank was able to make significant progress in its journey to transform the institution into a customer-focused and resultsoriented institution. According to him, Access Bank corporate governance and riskmanagement frameworks remain strong and robust, as the policies have protected the bank whilst allowing it pursue opportunities that drive longterm growth and value. He affirmed that the Board of Directors was confident that the Bank has the appropriate capacity to protect and safeguard the interests of its depositors and shareholders at all times.

Shareholders approve FSDH Merchant Bank’s 35 kobo dividend By Helen Oji OR increasing shareholders value on investment through robust dividend, Shareholders of FSDH Merchant Bank Limited yesterday, commended the company’s board on its 2013 performance, even as they unanimously approved the bank’s N978.1 million dividend, translating to 35 kobo per share. Addressing shareholders during the bank’s first yearly meeting in Lagos yesterday, the Managing Director of the Bank, Rilwan Belo-Osagie told shareholders that the total asset size of the bank stood at N83 billion while shareholders fund increased from N22.7 billion in 2012 to N23.7billion during the year under review. The Group, according to him, achieved a profit before tax (PBT) of N2.066 billion, which represents a decline of 8.9 per cent from N2.27 billion posted in 2012. The bank’s profit after tax attributable to the group was N2.62 billion, which is 17.9per cent slide, when compared to N3.19 billion achieved in previous year. Earnings per share (EPS) for the group stood at 93 kobo, which is 25 kobo less than the 118 kobo posted in 2012. Belo-Osagie attributed the decline in profitability was as a

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result of three major factors: start up challenges, increase in operational expenses and the tight monetary policy stance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “Though the bank officially started operations as a merchant bank on January 15 2013, for most part of the first and second quarters of the year we operated more as a discount house as opposed to a merchant bank. This was because once we got the Merchantbanking license, we had to subsequently apply to the CBN for a foreign exchange dealership license. “Approval for this was received in April and we then started dealing in foreign exchange in May 2013. Furthermore, we had to open foreign correspondent banking accounts. This process can be rather lengthy due to the enhanced due diligence that is carried out by foreign banks before commencing business relationships with banks in frontier markets. ‘This was on account of staff related costs and other administrative expenses. As part of our drive to operational our conversion from a discount house to a merchant bank, there was the need to bring in new skills and experience, especially in areas where as a discount house we were not appropriately skilled.”


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Sports Aba Marathon LOC in Okpekpe to liaise with AFN, others

FIFA writes NFF over match fixing allegation From Ezeocha Nzeh, Abuja ORLD football governing W body, FIFa, has waded into the allegation by a con-

S a prelude to the unveiling of a the programme for the successful hosting of the second aba Township Half marathon, a team from the Local Organising Committee of the competition has arrived Okpekpe, edo State, to witness this weekend’s road race in the town. The Okpekpe Road race is a 10kilometre course, while the aba event is run on a 21.1 kilometre course and both races are overseen by the athletics Federation of Nigeria (aFN). Led by mr Seye adebayo, the aba marathon organisers will lend support to the Okpekpe race and hold meetings on the sidelines of the event with officials of aFN, representatives of the IaaF, National Sports Commission, as well as sponsors, vendors and service providers. Both races debuted in 2013, aiming to fill the vacuum created by lack of credible road races that can grow to meet international standards. The aba Township marathon last year surpassed expectations by attracting up to  5,000 runners from across the country. This success prompted the aFN to draft the marathon into its calendar, with the second edition slated for December 21. according to the organisers, already, inquiries have started streaming in from east, Central and West africa about the aba race.

victed Singaporean match fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal that he helped Nigeria to fix its South africa 2010 World Cup qualifying matches. Perumal in his recently released book alleged that he helped Nigeria to influence the result of the mozambique versus Tunisia match to enable the Super eagles win their group during the last round of matches. In a letter to the NFF secretariat, which the federation received on Tuesday, said it would work with the Nigerian officials to investigate the alle-

Sepp Blatter

gation, stressing that the matter has been referred to its ethics committee for full investigation. Confirming the receipt of the letter yesterday in abuja, a top management staff of the NFF disclosed that FIFa has disclosed that it would watch the tapes of all the matches played by the Super eagles and other countries grouped along with Nigeria in the qualifiers to determine the strength of the allegation. The Guardian gathered that a similar letter from FIFa was written to the Football Federation of mozambique, which Perumal alleged he paid the sum of $100,000 to its officials to secure the win over Tunisia that saw Nigeria tak-

ing the group’s qualifying ticket for the World Cup. The NFF officer, who pleaded anonymity, noted that the alleged match fixer has been in the watch list of the football governing body for a long time over his roles in match fixing before he was eventually arrested in Finland by the Interpol, stressing that the federation has mandated its Integrity Officer, mohammed Sanusi, as well as its match-fixing Investigative Officer, Christian emeruwa, for thorough investigation of the allegation. Dismissing the claim, the NFF officer stated, “It is primarily not our case, since it is a World Cup match that the allegation is all about.

2014 World Team Table Tennis Championship Ibile Games 2014 begins in Lagos He Lagos State Sports today when action in swimNigeria thrashes Bosnia-Herzegovina, confronts Canada T Festival, tagged IBILe ming, taekwondo, gymnasGames 2014, got underway tics, weightlifting, powerlifteam Nigeria yesterday in the third game to put the the team has lost three with yesterday at the various cen- ing and tennis begin. T Tokyo showed the Super game at 2-1. the only win recorded against The tournament, which will tres across the state. eagles how to beat Bosniaon Tuesday. Like a true leader, Toriola Italy Seven sports, including ayo, Basketball, Darts, Table Tennis, Para Table Tennis, Deaf Table Tennis and Squash heralded Day One of the competition at Rowe Park Sports Centre, Yaba and the Knock Up Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. Other centres will come alive

end on may 10, is involving no fewer than 162 secondary schools (public, private, missionary, military and para military) in the junior category, while the Local Governments and Local Council Development areas are taking part in the Senior/Open Category.

Herzegovina at the World Cup when the Segun Toriola-led side thrashed the european side 3-1 at the ongoing 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championship. Toriola started the onslaught, while aruna Quadri increased the tally to 2-0, but Ojo Onaolapo fell in

rounded up the match with a win to give Nigeria a 3-1 win. But the female team could not match their male counterparts’ feat when they were beaten 3-0 by Portugal in their fourth game. Out of the four matches played so far by the Funke Oshonaike-captained side,

The team last group game will be against Turkey today. But the male team has performed creditably, winning three out of its four matches with the only defeat being against Czech Republic. The team will also today battle Canada in their bid to gain promotion to the elite divi-


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SPORT Thursday, May 1, 2014

Onigbinde sad over Nigerian clubs’ failure in CAF competitions By Alex Monye UPER Eagles’ former hanSOnigbinde, dler, Adegbouye is dismayed by the early elimination of Nigerian clubs from African competitions, saying it is a clear indication that the country was not developing quality local players. Speaking on the backdrop of Bayelsa United’s exit from the CAF Confederation Cup last weekend, Onigbinde told The Guardian that Nigerian teams would continue to lose to other African sides if the clubs continued to place more priority in  earning points at all cost to win the league rather than focus on grooming players that would give a good account of themselves when given the opportunity to display their

talents. He posited that Super Eagles transformation agenda would not see the light of the day if the league, which is supposed to produce players for the senior national team, did not churn out quality players. ‘’The reason Nigerian clubs like Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Warri Wolves and now Bayelsa United failed to excel in the CAF championships  this year can be attributed to the  Inability of the clubs to sign players and develop them in all aspects of soccer. “I wrote a book on how Nigerian football would develop, but till this moment nobody has said any thing about it. “The performance of our teams in the continent is a reflection of the poor state of

the league. Club managements place more emphasis on picking points at all cost to win the league rather than developing the players. Again, the NFF organizes the league to fulfill the laws of the land without monitoring the standard of the game,’’ he said. He added: “Nigeria doesn’t have  a sustainable developmental programme in place. How can a league that does not have quality feeder teams churn out quality players to win  continental championship and also give the foreign-based players a good fight in the Super Eagles. “Our respect as African champions would be questioned if the right structures are not put in place to showcase talented footballers in  CAF organized championships.

By Samuel Ifetoye HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday reaffirmed its resolve continue supporting the Nigeria Tennis Federation’s (NTF) efforts to raise the standard of the game by increasing its sponsorship of its annual tournament from last year’s N9.06 million to N14.3 million. According to the apex bank, the gesture is aimed at making participation at the CBN Senior Tennis Open Championship scheduled for May 9 to 17 at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, more attractive for players. A breakdown of the prize money shows that winners in the Men’s and Ladies’ singles will go home with N.7 million each, while the runners-up in both categories will earn N.5 million each. At a press briefing to unveil the 2014 edition of the event, the CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac A. Okorafor, said, “We are of the view that the timing for this year’s championship

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CBN Open tennis Championship’s prize money raised to N14.3m would afford the NTF the ment of the game in Nigeria opportunity to select players to represent Nigeria at the Davis Cup, scheduled to hold in September. “We all are aware of the prime position of the Davis Cup in tennis. The championship also helps the players build their international tennis circuits.” Also speaking at the event, NTF President, Sani Ndanusa, in a statement read on his behalf by Yemi Owoseni, said, “since inception of this championship, CBN has contributed immensely to the upliftment of our position, as the event has always served as trials for Davis Cup team events and the All Africa Games. “The federation is particularly challenged by the Central Bank’s resolve for the develop-

through her support for the Junior Tennis Initiative aimed at discovering future stars to serve as feeder to this senior championship. “The CBN deserves all commendation for her support. Talents have been discovered from the Junior Tennis Championship – the likes of Michael Michael, Sarah Adegoke, Idoko Emmanuel and Ime Jose, among others, showed that with continued support and encouragement, they will make great impact in the future.” Ndanusa, however, appealed to other well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to emulate the CBN in developing tennis through sponsoring any of the federation’s tournaments.

Little Omodara predicts Nigeria’s victory at Milo African Championship MODARA Tope, a pupil of O St. Barnabas LGEA, Kwara State, has predicted that his school would reclaim the Milo U-13 African Championship (MAC) for Nigeria when the competition kicks off in Lagos on May 29. Nigeria won the inaugural edition of the Championship in South Africa in 2010 through Ashegun School from Oyo State, but lost in the finals two years later when St. Stephens School, Lagos was beaten by their Ghanaian hosts. But Tope, a primary five pupil and striker for the team, which was recently presented to the media in Lagos, hinged his optimism on the support

they have received from Nestle Plc, producers of Milo since winning the championship. “Nigeria will win the cup, I know because we have been preparing very well and have enjoyed Milo since we won the national championship”, disclosed Tope, who has already played in an U13 championship in Benin Republic. At the unveiling of the championship in Lagos recently, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestle Plc, Nigeria, Dharnesh Gordhon had explained that the Championship aims to promote cross-cultural ties and discipline through football.


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European Round-up

City, PSG to face restrictions next season ANCHESTER City and M Paris St Germain are expected to have financial

restrictions imposed on their squads for next season’s Champions League after breaching UEFA’s spending rules. The expenditure restrictions for breaking the financial fair play (FFP) rules would see both clubs effectively given a limit on the salary bill of their European A squad. The clubs are also expected to be ordered to make a cut in the number of players permitted in the A squad, which is normally 25-strong, and to be handed large fines when UEFA’s club financial control board (CFCB) meets on today and tomorrow, when a number of other European clubs will also be dealt with. The sanctions packages are understood to be part of a settlement offer to the clubs, which they can accept, reject or try to negotiate ahead of the meeting. Both UEFA and City have refused to comment but it is understood the relevant sanction in the FFP rules set to be applied is: “Restriction on the number of players that a club may register for participation in UEFA competitions, including a financial limit on the overall aggregate cost of the

employee benefits expenses of players registered on the Alist for the purposes of UEFA club competitions.” The idea of the sanctions is that a restriction in the expenditure on players by both clubs who have breached the rules will help them in their efforts to comply with the limits on losses in future seasons. Clubs can lose up to €45m (£37m) over the last two years under UEFA’s rules. City made losses of £97.9m in 2012 and £51.6m last year, but were able to write off some sums spent on facilities, youth development and a number of other items. Both Abu Dhabi-owned City and PSG have a number of sponsorship deals related to their owners, which the CFCB had to determine were of fair market value. Qatari-owned PSG effectively wiped out its annual losses of €130m (£107.4m) by announcing a back-dated sponsorship deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority worth up to 200 million euros a year. According to French newspaper La Parisien, the CFCB determined that PSG’s sponsorship deal with the tourism authority should have a fair market value of half its current price.

‘I don’t think what Chelsea play has anything to do with football’ AYERN Munich winger B Arjen Robben says he will not watch how former club, Chelsea, fare in UEFA Champions League match against Atletico. Robben’s European Cup holders went out to Atletico’s city rivals Real in Bavaria last night, 5-0 on aggregate, but the Dutchman had little words of encouragement for his former team-mates. He told Sky Sports News: “I don’t really care. I watched the first game, it was 90 minutes. I couldn’t watch it because I don’t think it had anything to do with football. “It’s ok, the two managers, everybody does it in their own way. I think Real

Madrid are going to win the final and I wish them all the best.” Munich retained the Bundesliga with ease in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge and still have a German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund to contest. Robben said they could not afford to underestimate Dortmund, their home rivals, who they beat at Wembley last season to win the Champions League. He said: “We have been punished tonight (Tuesday), but we have to lift our heads, because we have a cup final coming up. “We took a beating, we have to accept it, cry about it, go

Champions League finals, reason why I’m in Madrid, says Bale EAL Madrid forward R Gareth Bale said reaching the Champions League final shows why he chose to swap Tottenham for the Bernabeu in the summer. “This is why I came to the biggest club in the world - to win trophies and play in massive games,” Bale told ITV. “It’s a fantastic result for us. We’ve been working hard, got our tactics right and deserved the win.” Leading 1-0 from the home leg, Real went 3-0 up on aggregate through two Sergio Ramos headers before Bale set up Cristiano Ronaldo for a third on the break. A late Ronaldo free-kick

rounded off Real’s first victory over Bayern in Munich and booked their first appearance in the final since 2002. “They always leave space on the counter-attack, which we like because we have quick players and were able to exploit that,” added Bale. performance.” Real boss Carlo Ancelotti, who coached AC Milan to the European title in 2003 and 2007, described his team’s performance as “perfect”. “You dream of a perfect game - the first half was great for us,” he said. “The team has a great spirit for working for each other.

Real Madrid’s players celebrate after winning 4-0 against Bayern Munich in a UEFA’s Champions League second-leg semi-final... on Tuesday.


TheGuardian

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

By Chiedu Uche Okoye AS the fear of death not gripped Nigerians, H especially those living in the north-eastern parts of our country? Are the killings being executed by the Fulani herdsmen and the Boko Haram group not portents of doom for Nigeria? Nigeria has not descended into war; however, people are being needlessly killed in many states of the federation. Insecurity of lives and property is the major problem in the country, which this civilian administration is battling to exterminate. The Boko Haram group controls a large area of the North-east, which necessitated the declaration of state of emergency in the North-eastern states. The murderous bloody campaign of the Boko Haram group has led to the deaths of thousands of Nigerians. Many have fled the troubled states. And, those displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency are begging for financial help and shelter. But, it is not only the Boko Haram group that is causing problem in Nigeria. The nomadic Fulani herdsmen do raid villages in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States on the grounds that animal rustlers are poaching their cattle. So, the Fulani cattle rearers often clash with native farm owners in the north central states of Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau. Human lives, farm produce and properties have been lost owing to their fights. It was in the news recently that Governor Suswan of Benue State was attacked in a village in Benue while he was assessing the extent of damage done to that village by the Fulani herdsmen. The sophistication of the weapons wielded by Fulani cattle rearers and the fearlessness they exhibited while attacking the governor are proofs that they have financiers and backers who wield enormous influence and power in Nigeria. So, it is an indisputable fact that we have an anarchic situation on our hands. Now, armed robbers and kidnappers are having a field day in the country. They terrorise people in broad day-light, unchallenged. After armed robbers had carted away huge sums of money from a bank, the police men would arrive the crime scene, and start shooting in the air. Again, the rich live behind fortresses and drive in bulletproof cars for fear of being kidnapped. Daily, we hear news of the abduction of prominent Nigerians by kidnappers. And, those kidnapped will not regain their freedoms until they’ve paid huge sums of money as ransom. In the recent past, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s mother was kidnapped in her home in Delta State. She didn’t regain her freedom until many days passed. Nobody is safe in Nigeria, anymore. But, I don’t want to believe that Nigeria is going to the dogs. Nigerians are living in a climate of fear, however. Lawlessness precedes war and the disintegration of a country. Do our leaders think that what happened in some Arab countries cannot be re-enacted here? Are they not aware that the huge army of the unemployed youths is a timebomb waiting to explode? The unemployed youths can cash in on the chaotic situation in some states of the Federation to cause revolution. Some weeks ago, about 20 young Nigerians died in stampede while they’re trying to enter the venues for the Nigerian immigration service recruitment test. It is said that over 500,000 people were vying for 5,000 vacancies in the Nigerian Immigration Service. That is a proof that unemployment is a major problem troubling our country. People with post-graduate degrees are doing menial jobs not befitting of their training and social standing in order to earn a living. Where is the dignity of labour? And, millions of young Nigerians are without jobs after they have completed their mandatory NYSC programmes many years ago. These disillusioned and disgruntled youths constitute an available army from which politicians can recruit political thugs. But, what has the Federal Government done to stem the tide of unemployment in Nigeria? Almost nothing. The employment opportunities created by the Federal Government is marginal. However, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, always reels out numerical data to prove that our economy has leap-

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Nigeria: A country battling for breath

flogged to a great height. But, has our economic growth translated to improved standards of living for us and the creation of jobs for the unemployed youths? In countries where governments are efficient and effective, the youths are invaluable assets. They will be mobilised and drafted into mean-

ingful ventures and enterprises. Others will be recruited into government establishments. But, our youths are wasting away because the government appears to be directionless and clueless regarding how to tackle our economic and employment problems. Consequently, many youths have become armed robbers,

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In countries where governments are efficient and effective, the youths are invaluable assets. They will be mobilised and drafted into meaningful ventures and enterprises. Others will be recruited into government establishments. But, our youths are wasting away because the government appears to be directionless and clueless regarding how to tackle our economic and employment problems. Consequently, many youths have become armed robbers, prostitutes, kidnappers, and confidence tricksters

prostitutes, kidnappers, and confidence tricksters. It behooves the government to formulate and execute economic and people-oriented policies that will reduce our suffering and create job opportunities for millions of unemployed young Nigerians. Nigeria’s myriad problems are not intractable; and Nigeria is not irredeemable. We can still reclaim Nigeria from the jaws of ruination and disintegration, and set it on the path of political renaissance, economic prosperity, and technological advancement. The on-going national conference offers us another golden opportunity to confabulate and reach consensus decisions on many issues, which have been hindering our national development and dividing us. These agreements will serve our national interests. But, delegates to the national conference should subsume their selfish and ethnic interests under the national interests when they’re discussing national issues. But, can our leaders muster the political will to implement and abide by the decisions and resolutions reached at the on-going national conference? • Okoye, a poet, lives in Urouwulu-Obosi, Anambra State.


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Govt okays introduction of 40 hybrid seeds in Nigeria World Bank seeks review of agric mechanisation From Abiodun Fagbemi (Ilorin) and Itunu Ajayi (Abuja) S part of its commitment A to the successful implementation of the ongoing Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), the Federal Government has concluded plans to allow Monsanto, a leading global biotechnology company, to introduce 40 varieties of hybrid seeds into the country. The company, reputed for its hybrid seeds investment drive in the global agricultural development market, said the introduction of the crops would help identify the best of varieties that would grow in the country. This would enable it take the right investment decisions in its effort to partner federal and state governments to improve farmers’ crop yields nationwide. However, for a meaningful agricultural revolution, the Representative of the World Bank in Nigeria, Dr. Abdoulaye Toure, has stressed the need for a holistic review of the nation’s agric mechanisation system. Toure, at the sensitization and demonstration workshop on agricultural mechanisation technologies organised by West Africa Agricultural Products Projects (WAAPP), in collaboration with the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), Ilorin, said the vast arable

land in the country to the exclusion of modern agric tools would not boost food production. Nevertheless, he expressed shock at the variety of agric tools and machines designed by NCAM, noting that the institution would soon be a centre for agric tools manufacturing for all the West Africa. Monsanto’s Vice President, International Row Crops and Global Vegetable Business, Mr. Michael Frank, said the company’s focus was to develop the right seeds and biotechnology that would enhance the productive capacities of local, small holder farmers, thereby improving their profitability and socio-economic well-being on a sustainable basis. Frank told newsmen in Abuja yesterday that their investment in Nigeria is based on the findings of about two years of assessment visits by representatives of the company. According to him, the company would focus on hybrid maize, cotton and soya beans seeds supply in the country after more tests would have been conducted, as “we believe with our cotton technology we can really help cotton farmers in Nigeria to increase their yield.” Meanwhile, the training, aimed at causing revolution in the agric sector of the West

African sub-region, has 13 participating nations and, according to Toure, Nigeria has been penciled down to lead the campaign for the much expected change in food production. “One needs to commend NCAM for its breakthrough in the area of agricultural technologies. This is what we need to support the vast agricultural land in West Africa in order to have a breakthrough in

agric systems in the country and other West African nations,” Toure said. Some of the demonstrations carried out on the NCAM manufactured tools were on such machines as mellon shellers, rice polisher, fish smoking kiln, combined cassava gratter, maize sheller, multiple crop thresher, mellon washer and palm nut cracker. Also speaking at the event, the WAAPP national coordina-

tor, Prof. Damian Chikwendu, like Toure, rued the alleged low utilisation of agric technologies in the country’s agricultural sector. Chikwendu disclosed that WAAPP currently works with about 600,000 farmers, adding that farming, rather than theory, would require more concentration on practical. For the NCAM Director, Ike Azogu, the institution over

the years has responded to its national mandate by producing about 200 research results published in many national and international journals. According to him, the institute has produced about 40 machines in major crop specialisation, tested over 40 tractors, developed seven tractors and provided over 2,000 Industrial Training placements for the nation’s qualified youths.


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Anambra to include vocational training in school curriculum Benue varsity holds Number Theory seminar May 17 From Joseph Wantu (Makurdi) and Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka) EGINNING from the next B academic session, vocational education would be compulsory for all pupils in primary and secondary schools in Anambra State, as the government seeks to eradicate street trading and shift orientation from jobseeking graduates to employer-graduates. According to Governor Willie Obiano, who spoke at the conclusion of a two-day retreat for members of the state executive council and some top government officials in Awka yesterday, his administration has concluded plans to include vocational education into the primary and secondary school curricula. He said “the course/subject would help equip the pupils and students to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to produce crafts and other tools towards making them self-reliant after leaving school. Meanwhile, the Benue State University (BSU) has fixed May 17 for a seminar on Prime Number Theory, propounded by one of its Mathematics Education lecturer, Mr. Michael Atovigba. Atovigba, who claims to have discovered an algorithm for total count of primes up to a natural number, will that day officially present his finding before his peers for a review.

The finding on the prime number equation is from Tiv ethno-mathematics, made during his research in arithmetic for his doctoral programme. Atovigba claims that his equation produces more precise count of primes up to a natural number than the existing Riemann Hypothesis-based prime number function. The seminar would be hosted by the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, where the doctoral student lectures. His thesis is on “Effect of activity-based approach on attitude and achievement of pupils in arithmetic.” Obiano assured that government would put in place a platform to elevate skillbased education to its pride of place and make it attractive for children and teenagers. Also, he said, there is a scheme where traders would equally be encouraged to venture into manufacturing in order to keep pace with changing global trends, while street trading and hawking would be discouraged. “Government would stop street trading within the next four mouths; the affected traders will be provided with alternative market arrangement,” he said, noting that his administration has resolved to sustain efforts at increasing the state’s Gross Domestic Product.

Taraba agency seeks more funds to tackle HIV/AIDS spread From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo HE shocking rate of T HIV/AIDS prevalence has compelled the Taraba State Aids Control Agency (TACA) to seek for a supplementary budget to tackle the scourge. If approved, the funds, according to the Permanent Secretary and Director General of the Agency, Dr. Siman S. Ambita, would be used to combat the disease,

which has recorded an increase from 5.8 per cent to 11.4 per cent in spread rate. Ambita, who made this known yesterday during the disbursement of funds to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for HIV/AIDS intervention said 17 out of the 22 CSOs in the state would benefit from the disbursement exercise. He stated that the state would require about N6.5 billion, which could only be realized through a supplementary budget for 2014. According to Ambita, the aim of empowering the CSOs “is to make them partner TACA to address the HIV/AIDS challenge in the state.” Though the World Bank provided N205,413,230 as counterpart funds to the state, the Agency discovered this sum inadequate hence the need for the supplementary budget. Making reference to the last survey carried out by the National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey, the state Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, through his Secretary to the Government (SSG), Garvey Yawel, expressed dismay at the shocking increase of HIV prevalence in the state. The project manager, Dr. Garba Danjuma, said efforts would be intensified to assist in controling the spread of the disease in the state.


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